Keep speaking out, hopefully your President will hear you.
Keep speaking out, hopefully your President will hear you.
Wednesday, December 5, 2007 (Tehran)
A new US intelligence review concluding Iran stopped developing an atomic weapons program in 2003 is a ”declaration of victory” for Iran’s nuclear programme, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Wednesday.
Ahmadinejad was referring to a US National Intelligence Estimate on Iran released on Monday that concluded Iran had stopped its weapons program in late 2003 and shown no signs since of resuming it.
The Iranian President, on a visit to the western province of Ilam, attracted celebratory whistles from a crowd of thousands when he described the report as a ”final shot” to those who have ”spread lies” about Iran’s nuclear programme.
Iran has touted the new US intelligence report as vindication of its claims that its nuclear programme is peaceful and Iranian officials insist that Washington should take a less hawkish stance and drop attempts to impose new sanctions in light of the report’s surprise conclusions that Tehran had halted its weapons program four years ago.
US President George W. Bush defended his approach on Tuesday, saying Iran was still dangerous and must be squeezed by international pressure despite the blockbuster intelligence finding.
The US acknowledgment about faulty intelligence about Iran recalled the erroneous US conclusion that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction, a belief that was a factor in Bush’s decision to invade Iraq.
No such weapons were ever found in Iraq.
The United States and some of its allies accuse Iran of seeking to develop nuclear weapons, a claim denied by Iran, which says its nuclear program aims only to generate electricity.
Iran has rejected two UN Security Council resolutions demanding that it halt uranium enrichment, a process that can produce either fuel for a reactor or a nuclear warhead.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini said in a statement on Tuesday that the new US intelligence report meant that Washington’s push to refer the case over Iran’s nuclear program to the UN Security Council in 2006 was ”illegal”.
In the Iranian capital local resident Daneshpour told AP Television that Bush had always been hostile to Iranians but the international community had started to be believe that Iran’s nuclear ambitions may be peaceful.
”He (Bush) is trying to introduce Iran’s nuclear works as a programme for making nuclear weapons but countries of the region and the international community have realised the peaceful nature of Iran’s activities and know Bush is a liar,” he said.
Alireza Shamsadeh, another Tehran resident, said he believed that Iran’s nuclear programme was a national issue.
”Iran is not pursuing nuclear weapons. As we can see in the media and the news, Iran cannot and will not halt enriching uranium. Of course I cannot say that a US military strike on Iran is impossible but that’s very improbable,” he said.
New US intelligence report finding that Tehran halted its development of a nuclear bomb he said provides an opportunity.
”I view this report as a warning signal that they had the program, they halted the program,” Bush said. ”The reason why it’s a warning signal is they could restart it.”
Democrats counter that Bush is more interested in making statements than genuinely trying to negotiate some common ground with them.
On the 1st of Dhil-Qa’dah 173 (A.H.) Allah blessed the 7th Imam Musa Kadhim (A.S.) with a daughter, Hadrat Fatima Masoumah (A.S.)
The Merits of the Ziyarah of Hadrat Fatima Masumah (S.A.):
There are many traditions from the Holy Imams (A.S.) recommending the Shias to perform the Ziyarah of the holy grave of Hadrat Masumah (S.A.) in the holy city of Qum.
Imam Ali-e-Reza (A.S.) said: “Whoever performs the Ziyarah of Fatima Masumah (S.A.) will be awarded heaven”.
Imam Muhammad Taqi al-Jawad (A.S.) said: “Whoever performs the Ziyarah of my aunt [Fatima Masumah (S.A.)] in Qum will enter paradise”.
Imam Ali-e-Reza (A.S.) said: “Whoever performs the Ziyarah of ‘Fatima Masumah’ with the knowledge of her status will attain paradise”.
The Battle of Camel (Jamal) was the first war declared against Imam Ali (AS) in Basra in year 36/656 after people appointed Ali as their leader of the Muslim community.
When Allah gave him (Amir al-mu’minin) victory over the enemy at the Battle of Jamal one of his comrades said on that occasion, “I wish my brother so-and-so had been present and he too would have seen what success and victory Allah had given you,” whereupon Amir al-mu’minin said:
“Did your brother hold me friend?”
He said: “Yes,”
Then Amir al-mu’minin said:
In that case he was with us. Rather in this army of ours even those persons were also present who are still in the loins of men and wombs of women. Shortly, time will bring them out and faith will get strength through them.
Note: If a person falls short in his actions despite means and equipment, this would be indicative of the weakness of his will. But if there is an impediment in the way of action or his life comes to an end as a result of which his action remains incomplete, then in that case Allah would not deprive him of the reward on the basis that actions are judged by intention. Since his intention in any case was to perform the action, therefore he should deserve reward to some extent.
In the case of action, there may be absence of reward because action can involve show or pretence but intention is hidden in the depth of heart. It can have not a jot of show or affectation. The intention would remain at the same level of frankness, truth, perfection and correctness where it is, even though there may be no action due to some impediment. Even if there is no occasion for forming intention but there is passion and zeal in the heart, a man would deserve reward on the basis of his heart’s feelings. This is to what Amir al-mu’minin has alluded in this sermon, namely that “If your brother loved me he would share the reward with those who secured martyrdom for our support.”
Nahjul balagha Sermon12
Culture Versus Islam
This is an interesting article which addresses a major problem in most Muslim communities. Although it has been written specifically for Malay Muslims, just replace the word Malay in this article, with say, Bengali or Indian or Pakistani and you will get an article fit for any culture. The author is a Malay who wrote this letter to members in his immediate community. – ITMR WebmasterIslam is a religion. But, to many Malays, Islam is a culture. It is a practice handed down by their fathers, and their father’s father before that. It is something they do out of habit rather than out of the education they have received. That is why the converts or the “Born Again Muslims”, if I may be permitted to use this phrase, make better Muslims.
Converts learn the religion from scratch and throw away their old beliefs on becoming Muslims. The Born Again Muslims re-learn the religion and are able to differentiate between Islam and the Malay Adat, and are brave enough to reject what is unIslamic though they run the risk of being branded fanatics.
The majority of Malay Muslims confuse between what is religion and what is culture. They take both as one and the same and, on many an occasion, practice religion as if it was part of the Malay culture, or adopt some of the old cultures thinking they are doing an Islamic thing.
Sometimes even the culture over-rides religion and they rush out to implement a cultural practice as if it would be unIslamic in not doing so. Culture takes precedence over everything else and, if they miss one or two obligations in Islam, like praying or fasting, it does not matter as long as that so called “adat” has been safely implemented.
For example, they would spend hours dressing up a bride for a wedding ceremony. Never mind that the
bride has to miss her Maghrib prayers because of this. Allowing her to do her Maghrib prayers would mean the preparations would be interrupted or delayed, not to mention her hair, which had been carefully set at great expense of time and money, would get all messed up.
The house would need to be cleaned and everything would need to be nicely set up in preparation for Eid/Hari Raya. This would mean they would have to miss the last day of fasting or else there would be no energy left for the great task ahead of them. Impressing the guests who would be visiting for Eid/Hari Raya is more important that fasting.
Is it not a Malay proverb which says, “Biar mati anak, jangan mati adat”? In other words, culture is so important that they would sacrifice their child as long as the culture is protected. They would not sacrifice for Islam.
How did this come about? Islam is very specific and explicit. Islam is the ultimate and everything else comes later. How could, therefore, culture stand between the Muslim and his religion? Even more important, how could the Malay get so confused that he could not differentiate between religion and culture and allow himself to practice Islam his way; religion as a culture.
Malays were Hindus long before they became Muslims. In fact, a good part of Indonesia, where the Malaysian Malays originally came from, is still Hindu. Even in those parts of Indonesia which have become predominantly Muslim, you can still see the remains of the Hindu religion and many of their dances and so on still retain this culture to a certain extent.
The Malay Sultans of early Melaka had Sanskrit names, proof of the Hindu influence. They became Muslims not through the influence of the Arabs, but through the influence of the Indian merchants who came to Melaka to trade.
That is why our brand of Islam is the same as in India and we find some differences when comparing our practices to that of the Middle Eastern Muslims.
The nation at that time owed their loyalty to the Sultans. When the Sultans converted to Islam the nation followed suit without any questions asked. They became Muslims due to the tradition of loyalty to the Sultans rather than because they were committed to the religion.
Here alone was reason enough for the weak following of the religious principles. The people were just doing what the Sultan asked. The old cultures and traditions were retained and practiced side-by-side with Islam. The early Malay Muslims were one confused lot of people and, to some extent, this confusion still remains.
In fact, you can still see aspects of Hindu culture in our so-called “Islamic” practices. Take the lighting of lanterns on the last seven nights before the end of Ramadan. This is modelled after the Hindu religious celebration of Deepavali, the festival of the lights.
What about the wedding ceremony mentioned earlier? Very much a Hindu practice where the bride and bridegroom sit on a stage so the world can see them see and to receive the blessings of the crowd who sprinkle scented water and flowers on them.
Many acts the Malays do in the name of religion is not Islamic at all.
In fact, some are even contrary to religious beliefs; bida’ah or shirik; and compromise the principles of the Islamic faith. These practices are not only sinful but makes a mockery of the One God fundamental because that forbidden practice acknowledges the existence of other forces equally powerful.
For instance, take the practice of consulting bomohs. Most Malays believe in the powers of the bomoh and many actually go to see them for assistance.
Bomohs are nothing but witch doctors. In the Western terminology “witches” are servants of the devil as they draw upon the powers of the forces of evil. The Malays swear by the power of the bomoh rather than do their Hajat prayer to get their wishes fulfilled. Bomohs use the Koran, spirits of dead people, bones of humans, and so on, to “pray” for help.
It must be remembered that though the bomoh uses the Koran it is not used for reciting the verses but as talismans or “tangkals”. The Koran is not taken in its spirit or substance but in its physical form, as an object of magic.
Sometimes the verses are recited but only for “fixing things”. The “client” may want the bomoh to help them get a job promotion, a contract they have tendered for, the love of a woman or man, and other worldly desires. In extreme cases the bomoh calls upon the “powers” of the Koran to harm an enemy or as a prevention, called “sekatan”, from an enemy who is suspected of using another bomoh to give this client bad luck or make him sick.
Islam, or the powers of Islam, is treated as something magical or mystical, and who better to call upon the magic of the Koran or the verses of the Koran than the black magic man, the bomoh. Of course, every bomoh would claim he is doing things the Islamic way and that there is no shirik in what he is doing. This gives the Malay the feeling of security, that he is not offending God in his actions or creating an associate to God.
Many religious people, those well learned in Islam dare not speak out.
They realise that this is a very sensitive area to venture into. In fact, some of these religious people even contribute to the belief by themselves offering mystical services. The Malays believe that these religious people have a closeness to God due their “ulama” status and how better to reach God than through these people.
One reason why the Malays are so gullible may be because Islam was an “imported” religion. Malays choose to be Muslims only when it suits them and revert to their old cultures and traditions freely.
Consider the concept of water and oil; they do not mix. Oil stays on top and does not contaminate the water below it. What we do not realise is, oil chokes life in the water by blocking the flow of oxygen.
In the same way, the belief in other forces other than Allah “kills” the fundamentals of Islam. Without this fundamental belief, their Islam is just as “dead” as the life in the water below the oil. It is time the religious authorities and the ulamas speak out. Re-education is required.
You are either a Malay or a Muslim and, if to be a proper or good Muslim means we have to be less of a Malay, than let it be so.