Month: January 2014
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As Libya emerges from the shadows of dictatorship, it must decide whether to embrace retribution or reconciliation.
Filmmaker: Ashraf Mashharawi
In 2011, Libyans rose up against their leader, Muammar Gaddafi, as the Arab Spring took root in the north African country.
In the conflict that followed, the city of Misrata became a key battleground. During the battle for the city, some residents reported being tortured by Gaddafi loyalists from the town of Tawergha, 50km to the south.
After the battle, Misrata became a launch-pad for the rebels as they prepared to move on Tripoli in a final bid to oust Gaddafi. But, before heading to the capital, Misrata-based rebels made a trip to Tawergha.
The regime was able to incite hatred between Libyans. Everywhere, not only in Misrata.
Emad Elbannani, from the Justice and Construction Party
Much of the town’s almost 30,000-strong population fled. Some sought sanctuary in Benghazi in the east; others in Tripoli in the west and Sabha in the south. Most of the refugees are black Libyans.
In the refugee camps of Janzour, on the outskirts of Tripoli, and Al Halis, on the outskirts of Benghazi, many of the residents from Tawergha say they are still being persecuted.
With the new Libyan government so far failing to embrace the notion of national reconciliation, some Libyans are taking it upon themselves to pursue peace and forgiveness.
The Road to Tawergha is about war, retribution and the difficult road to reconciliation that Libya must travel if it is to emerge from the shadows of Gaddafi’s 42-year reign.
Human Rights Watch: Statement at the Human Rights Council on the International Commission of Inquiry on Libya
Oral statement under Item 4 – Interactive Dialoque with the International Commission of Inquiry on Libya
March 12, 2012
Human Rights Watch welcomes the report of the International Commission of Inquiry on Libya, which rightly highlighted a wide range of past and ongoing human rights violations. We support the Commission’s conclusions that “international crimes, specifically crimes against humanity and war crimes, were committed by Gadhafi forces in Libya.”
Human Rights Watch’s research also confirms the Commission’s conclusion that anti-Gaddafi forces “committed serious violations, including war crimes and breaches of international human rights law.” We support the Commission’s finding that crimes against humanity of torture and killing by anti-Gaddafi forces in Misrata have apparently taken place.
Of deep concern are reports of torture and maltreatment in detention facilities run by militias, sometimes resulting in deaths. Armed groups are also engaging in arbitrary arrests and revenge attacks against those who supported or are perceived as having supported the Gaddafi government.
The state is slowly taking control of detention facilities, and this is welcome. But militias still illegally hold between five and six thousand detainees, and most of them have not had any judicial review. The government should redouble its efforts to bring these detainees under its control, and give them prompt judicial reviews or release them. The Libyan government should send a clear message that only official security structures are authorized to make arrests, and it will not tolerate illegal detentions or torture.
The creation of an inter-ministerial body to address human rights violations is welcome. But the problems require concerted action, including prosecutions of all those who violate the law.
Another concern is the fate of roughly 35,000 people from Tawergha, who are blocked from returning to their homes by militias from Misrata. These militias accuse Tawerghans of having committed atrocities against Misrata together with Gaddafi forces, but it is collective punishment, and likely a crime against humanity, to prevent the entire town from returning home. In addition, the displaced people in western Libya are subject to ongoing harassment and attacks, including one last month on a camp in Janzur that killed seven people. The government should immediately bolster security at camps where displaced people are staying, and implement plans to ensure their safe return home.
For these and other serious violations committed in Libya, accountability is required. Security Council Resolution 1970 gives the International Criminal Court ongoing jurisdiction over war crimes and crimes against humanity committed on the territory of Libya since February 15, 2011.
Free and fair elections in Libya, schedule for June, will require laws that protect the rights of Libyans to criticize their leaders and others in public life and to associate and assemble as they see fit, without fear of prosecution or other reprisal. Guaranteeing the independence of civil society and the active participation of women will be critical for a transition to democracy, and for this reforms are required. Human Rights Watch is also concerned that vetting procedures may be used to ban candidates based on vague and broadly defined criteria.
Libya has passed important laws on Transitional Justice and Amnesties, and these are important steps. But the government should make these laws public and widely available so they can be understood and implemented in line with international human rights standards. It should make publicly available all oil and gas contracts, so Libyans know how their national wealth is being managed.
To protect women’s rights, the interim government should withdraw all remaining reservations to CEDAW, and reform personal status laws that discriminate against women, including laws on inheritance, marriage, divorce, and custody of children and adopt laws that protect women and girls from gender-based violence.
Human Rights Watch believes that Libya should ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture, which would allow for independent inspections of detention facilities.
With the likely ongoing crimes against humanity occurring in Libyan territory, the primary responsibility to protect the population of Libya rests with the Libyan government. However, the international community also has a duty to assist the government, speedily and fully, to implement its responsibility to protect and end these crimes immediately.
Given the gravity of the challenges still faced in Libya, the Human Rights Council should establish an international mechanism, such as an independent Expert, to assist Libya in abandoning past abusive practices and following up to the recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry, and to report back regularly to the UN Human Right Council on progress and challenges.
Lastly, Human Rights Watch calls on NATO to investigate cases in which Libyan civilians died from its attacks during last years’s campaign, as recommended by the Commission of Inquiry. NATO took extensive measures to minimize civilian casualties and the number of victims is relatively low. But that does not lift the legal obligation to investigate questionable cases. NATO should also compensate the civilian victims of its campaign.
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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
Messiah or Mashiach, designates a King or High Priest traditionally anointed with holy anointing oil as described in Exodus 30:22-25. The term was not applied exclusively to Jewish Kings, and the Hebrew Bible refers to Cyrus the Great, king of Persia, as a messiah. Following the death of Simon bar Kokhba, the term came to refer to a Jewish king who would rule at the end of history. In later Jewish messianic tradition and eschatology, messiah refers to a leader annointed by God, and in some cases, a future King of Israel, physically descended from the Davidic line,” who will rule the united tribes of Israel and herald the “Messianic Age” of global peace.
The translation of the Hebrew word Masiah as Xpiotoc (Khristos) in Greek Septuagint became the accepted Christian designation and title of Jesus of Nazareth. Christians believe that prophecies in the Hebrew Bible (especially Isaiah) refer to a spiritual savior and believe Jesus to be that Messiah (Christ).
Islamic tradition holds the view that Isa (cf. Islamic view of Jesus), son of Maryam (cf. Islamic view of Mary) was indeed the promised Nabi (humans who, in the Islamic faith has been choosen as Prophets of God) and Masih (the Arabic word Masih, literally means the “anointed one”), and in Islam, Isa al-Masih is believed to have been anointed from birth by Allah with the specific task of being a prophet and a king. The Israelites, to whom Isa was sent, had a traditional practice of anointing their Kings with oil. Imam Bukhari describe Jesus as having wet hair that looked as if water was dripping from it, possibly meaning he was naturally anointed. Muslims believe that this is just one of the signs that prove that Jesus is the Messiah.
In Islam, Isa is believed to hold the task of killing the false messiah (Masih al-Dajjal, a figure similar to the Anti-Christ in Christianity) who will emerge shortly before him during Qiyamah (Armageddon in Islamic belief). After he has distroyed al-Dajjal, his final task will be to become leader of the Muslims. Isa will unify the Muslim Ummah (the followers of Islam) under the common purpose of worshipping Allah alone in pure Islam, thereby ending divisions and deviations by adherents. Mainstream Muslims believe that at that time Jesus will dispel Christian and Jewish claims about him.
Mainstream Muslims believe that Isa will again return to Earth in the end of times along with al-Mahdi, and they will defeat Masih al-Dajjal together.
In Islamic eschatology, the Madhi ( Arabic for the “Guided One”) is the prophesied redeemer of Islam who will rule for seven, nine or ninteen years – (according to various interpretations), before the Day of Judgement ( Yaum al-Qiyamah / literally, the Day of of Resurrection) and will rid the world of wrong doing, injustice and tyranny.
In Shia Islam, the belief in the Madhi is a “central religious idea” and closely related as the “Twelfth Imam,” Muhammad al-Mahdi, whose return from the occultation is deemed analogous with the coming of the Mahdi.
In Sunni traditions there are several hadiths, (traditions and sayings of Prophet Muhammad, salla alaiyhi wa salaam), referring to the Mahdi:
The Sunnis view the Mahdi as the successor of the Prophet Muhammad, the Madhi is expected to arrive to rule the world and he is expected to reestablish uprightness, harmony and, correct religion.
The definite term Mahdi, means “the rightly guided one.” The Mahdi is not mentioned in the Qur’an, but rather in the Sunnah (traditions of the Prophet Muhammad). Some hypothesise he came about when Arabian tribes were settling in Syria under “Mo’awiya.” ‘They anticipated ‘the Mahdi who will lead the rising people of the Yemen back to their country’ in order to restore the glory of their lost Himyarite Kingdom. It was believed he would eventually conquer Constaninople.’
The Kaysaniya extended two other notions that became thoroughly related with the belief in the Mahdi. The first was the notion of return from the dead, particularly of the Imams. The Second was the indication of occultation. When Muhammad B. al-Hanafiyah died in 700, the Kaysaniya maintained that he was in occultation in the Razwa mountains west of Medina, and would one day return as the Mahdi and the Qa’em.
The appearance of the Prophet was also proposed onto the Mahdi. An enormously influential tradition attributed to ‘Abd-Allah B. Mas’ud has Muhammad predict the coming of a Mahdi coined in his own image: “His name will be my name and his father’s name my father’s name”.
The First School of thought:
The Mahdi is frequently mentioned in Sunni Hadith as establishing the caliphate. Among Sunnis, some believe the Mahdi will be an ordinary man, born of an ordinary woman.
According to one hadith Prophet Muhammad said: “The world will not come to an end until the Arabs are ruled by a man from my family whose name is the same as mine and whose father’s name is the same as my father’s.”
Umm Salama said: “His (the Mahdi’s) aim is to establish a moral system from which all superstitious faiths have been eliminated. In the same way that students enter Islam, so unblievers will come to believe. When the Mahdi appears, Allah will cause such power of vision and hearing to be manifested in the believers that the Mahdi will call to the whole world from where he is, with no postman envolved, and they will even hear and see him.” “I heard the Messenger of Allah say: “The Mahdi is of my lineage and family'”
Abu Sa’id al-Kudri said: The Messenger of Allah said: “He is one of us.” The Messenger of Allah said: “The Mahdi is of my lineage, with a high forehead, and a long, thin, curved nose. he will fill the earth with fairness and justice as it was filled with oppression and injustice, and he will rule for seven years. The Messenger of Allah said: “At the end of the time of my Ummah, the Mahdi will appear. Allah will grant him rain, the earth will bring forth its fruits, he will give a lot of money, cattle will increase and the ummah will become great. He will rule for seven or eight years.”
A typical modernist in his views on the Mahdi, Abu Ala Maududi (1903-1979), the Pakistani Islamic Revivalist, stated that the Mahdi will be a modern Islamic reformer/statesman, who will unite the Ummah and revolutionise the world according to the ideology of Islam, but will never claim to be the Mahdi, instead recieving posthumous recognition as such.
Second school of thought:
Among those modernist Islamic scholars who wholly reject the Mahdi doctrine are Allama Tamanna Imadi (1888-1972), Allama Habibur Rahman Kandhalvi, Javed Ahmad Ghamidi (1951-).
Javed Ahmad Ghamidi writes in his Mizan (balance; scale) a comprehensive treatise on the contents of Islam: “Besides these, the coming of the Mahdi and that of Jesus from the heavens are also regarded as signs of the Day of Judgement. I have not mentioned them. The reason is that the narratives of the coming of the Mahdi do not conform to the standards of hadith criticism set forth by the Muhaddithun ( a specialist who profoundly knows and narrates hadith, the chains of their narration, isnad, and the original and famous narrators). Some of them are weak and some fabricated; no doubt, some narratives, which are acceptable with regard to their chain of narration, inform us of the coming of a generous caliph; (Muslim, No: 7318) however, if they are deeply deliberated upon, it becomes evident that the caliph they refer to is Umar ibn Abd al-Aziz who was the last caliph of the early history of the Muslims. This prediction of the Prophet has thus materialized in his personality, word for word. One need not wait for any other Mahdi now.”
The Twelfth Imam
Mahdism is more prevalent in Shia Islam. The Twelver Shi’ites believe him (the Mahdi) to be the Twelfth Imam who is in occultation until he returns at the end of time. Mahdism in Twelver Shi’ism innate many of its essentials from previous sacred trends. According to the customary date most often taken, Imam Hasan Askari, the eleventh Imam, died in 874. His death like that of preceding Imams gave rise to an age of commotion among the faithful, but this phase the calimity appeared even more solemn and the Imamis did not themselves waver to plea the eras that were to trail “the period of perplexity or confusion.”
The cryptic destiny of the assumed son of the eleventh Imam led to numerous rifts with prominent doctrinal adjustments. Some groups claimed that his son died at a very early age, others that he had survived until a certain age and then died, and still others soley denied his very reality, considering that Hasan Askari never had a son. Only a small minority sustained the notion that the son of the eleventh Imam was alive, that he was in “occultation,” and that he was to recur as Mahdi at the end of time. This idea was progressively accepted by all Imamis, who accordingly became known as ‘Twelvers.” Sources from this era replicate, in their specific method, the hesitation and crisis believers experienced. A close study of these sources definitely seems to display that thoughtful hesitations and serious gaps occurred concerning a significant number of vital doctrinal fundamentals that became articles of faith.
There are many theories to about the Twelfth Imam. There are sources that attribute two dissimilar formations of the occultation to Mahdi. According to the first mentioned by Ebn Babuya, the Hidden Imam ‘exist in the world by his spiritual substance thanks to a subsisting essence.”
According to another theory stated by Ebn Nadim, Abu Sahl is said to have kept that the Twelfth Imam died, but covertly left behind a son as a descendant to him; the heredity of Imams would therefore be preserved in occultation from father to son until the last Imam reveals himself publicly as the Mahdi. Ultimately, none of the theories were continued, but here one distinguishes uncertain struggles to justify the notion of occultation. Everything of this inclines to show that through this stage of development, the Imami community experienced what one might deliberate an attentative identity predicament. This “time of confusion” is one of exploratory in the dark, of study, improvement, and the more or less tender formation of dogmas related to the power and legitimacy of the Twelfth Imam. These doctrines were faced with, and overpowered, much confrontation before finally standing as articles of faith.
Birth and the occultation of the Mahdi:
The eschatological Redeemer of Imamism is presented as Abu’l-Qasem Mohammad b. Hasan al-Askari, twelth and final among the Imams. he thus bears the identical title and konya as the Prophet, therefore satisfying the hadith that perhaps go back to ‘Asem b. al-Hanafiya, son of Ali, who once when he was called as Mahdi, stated that his honor entailed in bearing the same forename and konya as the Prophet. Nonetheless, it was imprudent to call the Mahdi by his title, according to a prohibition attributed to several among the Imams, the intention of which was to defend the Protector from the danger modeled by the ‘Abbasid. This also mirrored doubts that evaluated upon the personality of the Mahdi.
According to particular explanations, Mahdi’s mother, to whom numerous names are specified (Narjis, Rayhana, Sawsan, Maryam), was a black slave of Nubian origin; according to other interpretations, undenialby well-known and hagiographic, she was the grand-daughter of the Byzantine ruler, himself adherent of the Apostle Simon. According to this account, the Byzintine princess was taken by Muslim troops and traded as a slave in Baghdad to a man belonging to the entourage of the tenth Imam, ‘Ali al-Naqi who then came to Sammara and presented the girl to Hakima, the latter’s sister.
Even before her confinement, the princess had a vision of Mary, the mother of Jesus, as well as of Fatima, the daughter of the Prophet Muhammad, both of whom had requested her to convert to Islam and let herself be siezed by the Muslim masses as she was intended for a magnificent life.
In Samarra, the tenth Imam, having by prophecy acknowledged in her (Narjis) the future mother of the Mahdi, offered her in marriage to his son Hassan, the future eleventh Imam. Signs of the mother’s pregnancy as well as the birth of the child were astoundingly covered, since the ‘Abbasids’ wanted to abolish an anticipated child whom persistent gossips labeled as a Savior. The father revealed the baby to some forty close disciples, and then the child was concealed. According to numerous versions, the eleventh Imam is said to have adopted a two-fold method to promise the child’s refuge. First, apart from his close circle, the Imam retained the birth of the child undisclosed, going so far as to entitle his mother, Hodayt, as his sole heir. Now, it is well-known that according to Imami law, under some circumstances the legacy belongs to the mother of the deceased when the final does not leave behind a child. Secondly, Imam Hassan al-Askari had alternative to a trick to cloud the matter and divert attention. Sometime beforehand his death in 874, he allowed a report to spread that his servant Saqil was expecting with his child. Informants of the caliph al-Mo’tamed carefully observed the activities of the Imam, who was kept under surveillance in the military camp in Samarra. The Cave in Samarra’ is where the Hidden Imam is said to have arisen his occultation. Typologically, one can differentiate three groupings of stories of encounters, based on the prime dimension endorsed: an altruistic dimension in which the great kindness of the Hidden Imam towards his advocates and his worry for their comfort are stressed; an initiatory aspect in which the Imam demonstrates his followers prayers, conveys divine knowledge, an endures secrets; and lastly, an eschatological element, presented primarily by late spiritual sources, in which the happenstance encourages a believer’s specific spiritual revivification.
The end of time and rising of the Mahdi- The “end of time” or date of the ultimate arrival of the Hidden Imam, is unknown and followers are insisted to anticipate liberation tolerantly and virtously. The future approaching of the Savior is most recurrently topic in prophecies made by the Prophet, Fatima and the Imams: complete extensive chapters are devoted to the subject in the sources. This future is foreshadowed by a number of signs. The widespread signs are the prevalent envasion of the earth by Wicked, the overpowering of knowledge by unawareness, and the loss of an intelligence of the blessed and all that associates man to God and his neighbors. These, in some degree, require the demonstration and the rising of the Qa’em, or else mortality will be astounded by obscurity. cite “Furthermore, there are certain specific signs among which five recur more regularly and are hence justifibly called the ‘five signs”: (1) the coming of Sofyani, the enemy of Qa’em, who will command an army in battle against the latter; (2) the advent of Yamani, who appears in Yemen to preach support for the Qa’em; (3) the Cry/Scream of supernatural origin, coming from the sky and calling man to defend the Imam’s cause; (4) the swallowing of an army composed of the Imam’s enemies in a desert often located between Mecca and Medina, according to a hadith most likely propagated by ‘Abd-Allah b. Zobayr during his war propaganda against the Ummayad caliph Yazid, during the latter’s campaign against Mecca and Medina, popularized by traditionist of Basra, Qatada and; (5) the assasination by Meccans of the messinger to the Qa’em, often called Nafs or al-Nafs al-Zakiya (echoing the messianic rebellion and death in 762 of the Hasanid Mohammed b. Abd-Allah, surnamed al-Nafs al-Zakiya).”
The Mahdi accordingly becomes visible, all the while having inexplicably kept his youth. He combats and ultimately deracinates Evil, re-establishing the world to its novel wholesome state. For this to happen, he must first retaliate the slaying of Imam Hosayn in order that the common of Muslims be removed of the wicked corruption that it ever committed. Furthermore, according to the eschatological guideline of raj’a, a definite number of previous saints, fatalities of their society’s prejudice, and their oppressors originate back to life in order that the moral may take retaliation on the malicious ones. The Redeemer will so not only re-establish Islam, but all faiths, to their wholesomeness and new veracity, creating “submission to God” the worldwide religion. He will also convey knowledge to manhood by enlightening the obscure secrets of Holy Scriptures… The whole world will be taken to submission. Powers of inequality an obliviousness will be all eliminated, the earth will be inflated with justice and wisdom, and mortality revitalized by knowledge. The Mahdi accordingly formulates the world for the last trial of the ultimate reappearance of the Last Judgment. According to some traditions, the Mahdi will be in control upon the earth for certain time, seven, nine or nineteen 7,9,19 years, after which ensues the death of all civilization just preceding the Judgement. Other traditions state subsequently the demise of the Qa’em, the regime of the world will continue in the influences of the initiated for a definite period before the Day of Resurrection.
Influences and Consequences
Contrasting to Sunnism, where certainty in the Mahdi, although existing, never developed a vital article of faith, in Shi’ism in overall, and Twelver Imamism in specific, it is made a constituitive doctrine of its spiritual dogma, its dualist image of the world and more exactly, its commencement of, “place of return” or the henceforth. Throughout the course of period, Imami panegyric as well as hagiographic works devoted to the Hidden Imam tried hard to validate that the figure of the Mahdi, contemporary in Sunni Hadith, mentioned to the Twelfth Imam Imami urgings increased drive through the 13th century when certain great Sunni intellectuals subsidized their sustenance to the Imami doctrine of categorizing the Mahdi with the Twelfth Imam: “the two Syrian Shafi’ite scholars Mohammad b. Yusof Ganji in his Bayan fi akbar saheb al-zamin, composed in 1250-1251, and Kamal-al-Din Mohammad ‘Adawi Nasibini in his Mataleb al-so’ul, completed in 1252, and the renowned Sebt Ebn al-Jawzi in his Tadkerat al-kawass. Given the dates of these authors and their works, coinciding with the arrival of the Mongols, the end of Sunni caliphal power and the increasing political influence of the Imamis, one wonders if this doctrinal reversal was not dictated by a certain opportunism. One might note in this respect that Mohammad b. Yusof Ganji was assassinated in Damascus in 1260 for having collaborated with the Mongol conquerors. In any case, it is from this period onward that one notices, from time to time, some learned Sunnis rallying to Imami Mahdism.” The sensation is also manifest among Sunni sages. Already in the 11th century, Abu Bakr Bayhaqi had criticized the agreement of some Sufis regarding the documentation of the Mahdi with the last Imam of the Twelvers. Setting apart the effect of Imamism upon the eschatological hagiology of Ebn al-‘Arabi one can quote the devotee of the latter, Sa’d-al-Din Hammuya in his Fara’ed al-semtayn, the Egyptian ‘Abd-al-Wahhab Sa’rani in al-Yawaqit wa’l-jawaher or, more newly, the Naqsbandi master from Balkl, Solayman Qonduzi in his Yanabi’ al-mawadda.
In Shia Islam “the Mahdi symbol has developed into a powerful and central religious idea.” Twelver Shia Muslims believe that the Mahdi is Muhammad al-Mahdi, the Twelfth Imam, who was born in 869 and was hidden by God at the age of five (874). He is still alive but has been in occultation, “awaiting the time that God has decreed for his return,” When it comes he promised that no one who had believed will be left behind.
According to Moojan Momen, Shia traditions state that the Mahdi be “a young man of medium stature with a handsome face” and black hair and beard. “He will not come in an odd year (…) will appear in Mecca between the Kaaba and the station of Abraham and the people will witness him there.
The Twelfth Imam will return as the Mahdi with “a company of his chosen ones,” and his enemies will be led by the one-eyed Antichrist and the Sufyani. The two armies will fight “one final apocalyptic battle” where the Mahdi and his forces will prevail over evil. After the Mahdi has ruled earth for a number of years, Isa will return.
The Prophet, Rasul Ullah Muhammad ibn Abd Allah ibn ‘Abd al-Mutalib (salla alaiyhi wa salaam) said:
The Mahdi is the protector of the knowledge, the heir to the knowledge of all the prophets, and is aware of all things.
The dominion (authority) of the Mahdi is one of the proofs that God has created all things; these are so numerous that his (the Mahdi’s) proofs will overcome (will be influential, will be dominant) everyone and nobody will have any counter-proposition against him.
People will flee from him (the Mahdi) as sheep flee from the shepherd. later, people will begin to look for a purifier. But since they can find none to help them but him, they will begin to run to him.
When matters are entrusted to competent (the Mahdi), Almighty God will raise the lowest part of the world for him, and lower the highest places. So much that he will see the whole world as if in the palm of his hand. Which of you cannot see even a single hair in the palm of his hand?
In the time of the Mahdi, a Muslim in the East will be able to see his Muslim brother in the West, and he in the West will see him in the East.
Sadir al-Sayrafi says: I heard from Imam Abu Abdullah Jafar al-Sadiq that: … He whose rights have been taken away and who is denied (Hazrat Mahdi (as) will walk among them, move through their markets and walk where they walk but they will not recognize Hazrat Mahdi (as) until Allah gives them leave to recognize him, just as He did with the Prophet Yusuf (as).
Hazrat means “(His)Exellency” or His Eminence. Also, AS or (as) means “To Him Peace” (Peace Upon Him).
Muhammad al-Baqir, the Fourth (Isma’ili) or Fifth (Twelver) Imam said of the Mahdi:
The Master of the Command was named as the Mahdi because he will dig out the Torah and other heavenly books from the cave of Antioch. He will judge among the people of the Torah according to the Torah; among the people of the Gospel according to the Gospel; among the people of the Psalms in accordance with the Psalms; among the people of the Qur’an in accordance with the Qur’an.
Ja’far al-Sadiq, the Sixth Imam, made the following prophecies:
Abu Bashir says: When I asked Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq. “O Son of the Messenger of God! Who is the Mahdi (qa’im) of your clan (ahl al-bayt)?”, he replied: “The Mahdi will conquer the world; at that time the world will be illuminated by the light of God, and everywhere in which those other than God are worshipped will become places where God is worshipped; and even if the polytheist do not wish it, the only faith on that day will be the religion of God.
Sadir al-Sayrafi says: I heard from Imam Abu Abdullah Ja’far al-Sadiq that: Our modest Imam, to whom this occultation belongs (the Mahdi), who is deprived of and denied his rights, will move among them and wander through their markets and walk where they walk, but they will not recognize him.
Abu Bashir says: I heard Imam Muhammad al-Baqr say: “He said: When the Mahdi appears he will follow in the path of the Messenger of God. Only he (the Mahdi) can explain the works of the Messenger of God.
The face of the Mahdi shall shine upon the surface of the moon.
According to Moojan Momen, among the most commonly reorted signs that presage the advent of the Mahdi in Shia Islam are the following:
The vast majority of the people who profess to be Muslim will be so only in name despite their practice of Islamic rites and it will be they who make war with the Mahdi.
Before his coming will come the red death and he white death, killing two thirds of the world’s population. The red death signifies violence and the white death is plaque. One third of the world’s population will die from the red death and the other third from the white death.
Several figures will appear: the one-eyed Antichrist (Masih ad-Dajjal), The Sufyani and the Yamani’
There will be a great conflict in the land of Syria, until it is destroyed.
Death and fear will afflict the people of Baghdad and Iraq. A fire will appear in the sky and redness will cover them.
Characteristics from Sunni sources:
Ali Ibn Abi Talib quoted Prophet Muhammad (saw) as saying: The Mahdi is one of us, the clan of the Prophet. God will reform him in one night. (Reported by Imam Ahmad and Ibn Maqah)
At-Tirmidhi reported that Prophet Muhammad (saw) said: The Mahdi is from my Ummah; he will be born and live to rule five or seven or nine years. (If) one goes to him and says, “Give me (a charity)”, he will fill one’s garment with what one needs.
Abu Dawud also reported a hadith about the Mahdi that Prophet Muhammad (saw) said: The Mahdi will be of my stock, and will have a broad forehead, a prominent nose. He will fill the earth with equity and justice as it was filled with oppression and tyranny, and he will rule fore seven years.
Women in the Imam’s Army:
Imam Ja’far ibn Muhammad as-Sadiq (peace be upon them both) has said: “There will be thirteen women alongside al-Qa’im (when he makes his advent).”
Al-Mufadhal (the narrator of this tradition) asked the Imam “And what will their role be?” The Imam replied: “They will treat the injured and look after the sick just as the (women did) at the time of the Messenger of Allah (during the battles).”
Islam Ahmadiyya Viewpoint:
In Islam Ahmadiyya, the term “Messiah” and “Mahdi” are synonymous terms for one and the same person. Like the term Messiah which, among other meanings, in essence means being anointed by God or appointed by God the term “Mahdi” means guided by God, thus both imply a direct ordainment and a spiritual nurturing by God of a divinely chosen individual. According to Ahmadiyya thought, Messiahship is a phenomenon, through which a special emphasis is given on the transformation of a people by way of offering suffering for the sake of God instead of giving suffering(i.e. refraining from revenge). Ahmadi Muslims believe that this special emphasis was given through the person of Jesus and Mirza Ghulam Ahmad among others.
Ahmadi Muslims hold that the prophesied eschatological figures of various religions, the coming of the Messiah and the Mahdi in fact were to be fulfilled in one person who was to represent all previous prophets. The prophecies concerning the Mahdi or the second coming of Jesus are seen by Ahmadis as metaphorical, in that one was to be born and rise within the dispensation of Prophet Muhammad (saw), who by virtue of his similarity and affinity with Jesus of Nazareth (as), and the similarity in nature, temperament and desposition of the people of Jesus’ time and the people of the time of the promised one ( the Mahdi) is called by the same name. As the beliefs of all Muslims seems to be fulfilled yet in one person. Numerous Hadith are presented by the Ahmadis in support of their view such as one fron Sunan Ibn Majah which says:
” There is No Mahdi but Jesus son of Mary”
– ibn Majah, Bab, Shahadalu-Zaman
Ahmadi Muslims believe that the prophecies concerning the Mahdi and second coming of Jesus have been fulfilled in the person of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian (1835-1908) the founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Movement. Contrary to mainstream Islam the Ahmadis do not believe that Jesus is alive in heaven, but that he survived the crucifixion and migrated toward the east where he died a natural death and that Ghulam Ahmad was only the promised spiritual second coming and likeness of Jesus, the promised Messiah and Mahdi.
The Nation Nation of Islam
On May 27, 2012, The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, the National Representative of the Nation of Islam addressed approximately 5000 of his followers at the San Diego California Convention Center. In his opening address entitled “Guidance In a Time of Trouble.” Minister Farrakhan likened the beliefs of the Nation of Islam an its founder (Master W. Fard Muhammad) to the Mahdi Doctrine in the following words:
“In the name of Allah the Beneficent the Merciful. We thank Him for His Prophets and His Messengers and the scriptures which they brought. We thank Him for Moses and the Israelite Prophets who gave us the Torah and what is called the Old Testament. We thank Allah for Jesus and the Apostles that gave us the Gospel and what is called the New Testament. We could never thank Allah enough for His Servant and Prophet Ibn Abdullah Muhammad (saw) through whom came the Holy Qur’an the final revelation of God to this world a revelation that takes the human family up to and prepares us for life in the hereafter. We thank Allah for His Prophets and Messengers. I am a student of the most Honorable Elijah Muhammad and I could never thank Allah enough for His Merciful intervention in our affairs in the person of Master W. Fard Muhammad. We believe him to be the great expected Messiah, Mahdi, the Twelfth Imam who was to come and we believe he has come and with that Twelfth Imam would be the return of Jesus the Messiah. We believe we’re in that time.”
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Forbes’ inaugural list of the 40 Richest People in Africa
Edited by Kerry Dolan
Reported by Zina Moukheiber, Mfonobong Nsehe, Edwin Durgy, and Susan Adams
“Forbes’ inaugural list of the 40 Richest people in Africa is a testament to the growing global importance of the continent. Fortunes are being created everywhere from South Africa clear north to Morocco and Egypt in a diverse array of industries, by companies that cater to local tastes or worldwide needs.” “The combined wealth of the 40 richest is $64.9 billion – more than Thailand’s 40 richest (at $45 billion) but less than Taiwan’s (at $92.7 billion).”
Below is Forbes 2012 list of People in Africa with a net worth of at least $ 1 billion:
No. 1 Aliko Dangote. Net Worth: $11.2 billion – As of March 2012. Source of Wealth: sugar, flour, cement, self-made. Age: 54. Citizenship: Nigeria. Residence: Lagos, Nigeria. Marital Status: Married. Children:3. Aliko Dangote is Africa’s and Nigeria’s Richest Man as of 2012 according to Forbes Magazine with a net worth of $11.2 billion.
No. 2 Nicky Oppenheimer & Family. Net Worth: $6.8 billion – As of March 2012. Source of Wealth: De Beers, inherited. South Africa’s Richest Person: #1. Age: 66. Citizenship: South Africa. Residence: Johannesburg, South Africa. Marital Status: Married. Children: 1. Nicky Oppenheimer is worth $6.8 billion. he is the richest person in South Africa and is the 139th richest person in the world. How did he get rich? He is the Chairman of De Beers Diamonds, of course, and also has a significant interest in Anglo-American plc, the gold mining company. he also owns Tswalu Kalahari Reserve, the largest private game reserve in South Africa.
No. 3 Nassef Sawiris (tie). Net Worth: $5.1 billion. Egypt’s Richest Person: #1. Source: construction, inherited and growing. Age: 51. Citizenship: Egypt. Residence: Cairo, Egypt. Nassef Sawiris in Onsi’s youngest son and is worth $5.1 billion. He is the richest person in Egypt, and the 199th richest person in the world. He took over leadership of Orascom’s construction and fertilizer division in the late nineties and sold its cement business to Lafarge in 2007, although he still owns a stake and sits on the French company’s board. He is also the largest shareholder in Texas Industries.
No. 3 Johann Rupert & family (tie). Net Worth: $5.1 billion – As of March 2012. Source: Luxury goods, inherited and growing. Age: 61. Citizenship: South Africa. Residence: Stellenbosch, South Africa. Marital Status: Married. Children: 3. Johann Rupert is the second-richest person in South Africa, being worth $5.1 billion. He is the 199th richest person in the world, and made his money from Richemont, the Swiss luxury group that owns Cartier, Dunhill, Chloe bags and MontBlanc pens. The company purchased online fashion portal Net-a-Porter. Remgro, his South African holding company purchase VinFin earlier in 2010. He also owns Rupert & Rothchild and L’Ormarins wine estates, and one of South Africa’s most exclusive golf clubs.
No. 5 Mike Adenuga. Net Worth: $4.3 billion – As of March 2012. Source of Wealth: Telcom, banking, oil, self-made. Age: 58. Citizenship: Nigeria. Residence: Lagos, Nigeria. Marital Status: Married. Mike Adenuga is the seacond richest person in Nigeria with a fortune of $4.3 billion. He is the 248th richest person in the world and made his money in telecommunications with Globacom, a carrier that has recently launched its 4G network. The company has also invested in the submarine cable connecting Nigeria to the world. His beginnings were small, as he started selling lace and Coca-Cola, but then he finally won a contract to build military barracks in the late 1080s. Adenuga also has a stake in the Equitorial Trust Bank, and is the chair of Conoil.
No. 6 Naguib Sawiris. Net Worth: $3.1 billion – As of March 2012. Source: Telecom, inherited and growing. Age: 57. Citizenship: Egypt. Residence: Cairo, Egypt. Marital Status: Married. Children: 4. Naquib Sawiris, Onsi’s eldest son, is the seacon richest-person in Egypt – he is worth $2.9 billion, which makes him the 367th richest person in the world. He is head of Wind Telecom, which is a mobile service provider for Africa, South Asia, Europe, Canada and the Middle East. Naguib attempted to sell his service provider to MTN group previously, but failed.
No. 6 Christoffel Wiese (tie). Net Worth: $2.7 billion – As of March 2012. Source: Consumer retail, self-made. Age: 70. Citizenship: South Africa. Marital Status: Married. Children: 3. Christoffell, or Christo as he’s more commonly known, is the fourth rischest peron in South Africa. he is worth $2.7 billion and made his money as CEO of Shoprite. He owns a stake in Pepkor, a discount clothes, shoes, and textiles store in South Africa, and is known for restoring a South African farm estate and remodeling it into a five-star hotel. Other assets include Lourensford Estate, the wine producer, and a private game reserve in the Kalahari. He is the 782nd richest person in the world.
No. 8 Onsi Sawiris. Net Worth: $2.9 billion – As of March 2012. Source: Construction, self-made. Age: 82. Citizenship: Egypt. Residence:Cairo, Egypt. Marital Status: Married. Children: 3. Onsi Sawiris is the third richest-person in Egypt, and the #401 in the world. He is worth $2.9 billion and made his millions as the founder of the business dynasty that includes Orascom telecom, hotels and construction. He was encouraged to study agriculture when he was younger, but found it boring and opened up his own contracting firm, which had to be rebuilt after it was nationalised in the 1960’s.
No. 8 Miloud Chaabi. Net Worth: $2.9 billion (tie) – As of March 2012. Morocco’s Richest Person: #1. Source of Wealth: Real Estate. Age: 83. Citizenship: Morocco. Marital Status: Married. Morocco’s richest man got his start in 1948 developing housing, then expanded through Ynna Holding into hotels, supermarkets, and renewable energy. Chaabi was a member of Parliament, where he was dubbed the “red capitalist” when he allied himself with the socialist party.
No. 10 Patice Motsepe. Net Worth: $2.7 billion – As of March 2012. Source: Mining, self-made. Age: 50. Citizenship: South Africa. Marital Status: married. Children: 3. Patrice Motsepe is South Africa’s third richest person, worth $2.7 billion. He made his money in mining and is the 442nd richest person in the world. his money is the result of purchasing low-producing gold mine shafts in 1994, which he made profitable. Since then he has built African Rainbow Minerals, benfiting as a result of South Africa’s Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) laws. he also owns a stake in Sanlam.
No. 11 Othman Benjelloun. Net Worth: $2.3 billion – As of March 2012. Source: Banking, Insurance. Age: 79. Citizenship: Morocco. Marital Status: Married. Children: 2. Othman Benjelloun’s father was a large shareholder in a small Morroccan insurance company. Benjelloun took over in 1998, and built it into RMA Watanya, a leading insurance company. He then used it to expand into banking. his publicly traded BMCE Bank is present in more than a dozen African countries ( due to an aquisition of Bank of Africa), and has a market capitalization of $4 billion.
No. 12 Mohamed Mansour. Net Worth: $1.7 billion – As of March 2012. Source: Diversified, self-made. Age: 64. Citizenship: Egypt. Marital Status: Married. Children: 2. Mohamed Mansour is the older brother of Youssef and Yasseen, and is worth $1.7 billion, he made through his fortune through various ventures. He is the fourth-richest person in Egypt, and the 595th richest person in the world. His family is the biggest seller of GM vehicles around the world, and the Mansour Group has interest in diverse industries, such as supermarkets and real estate.
No. 13 Yaseen Mansour (tie). Net Worth: $1.6 billion – As of March 2012. Source: Diversified, self-made. Age: 50. Citizenship: Egypt. Residence: Cairo, Egypt. Marital Status: Married. Children: 4. Yaseen Mansour is $1.6 billion and is the fifth richest person in Egypt. he is the youngest brother of Mohamed and Youssef Mansour, and is the head of Egypt’s second-largest retail estate developer Palm Hills Development. He is the 692nd richest person in the world but is facing allegations of corruption after his couzen, who was ousted Egyptian president Mubarak’s housing minister, was found to be a shareholder in that company and other mansour holdings.
No. 13 Anas Sefrioui (tie). Net Worth: $1.6 billion – As of March 2012. Source: Real Estate. Age: 55. Citizenship: Morocco. Marital Status: Married. Children: 3. Moroccan entrepreneur Anas Sefrioui formed a real estate development group in 1988, but his big break came nearly ten years later when he won a contract to build a chunk of government-subsidized housing underc the patronage of Morocco’s late King Hassan II. He won another $1 billion state contract in 2005 to build more housing units.
No. 15 Youssef Mansour. Net Worth: $1.5 billion – As of March 2012. Source: Diversified, self-made. Age: 66. Citizenship: Egypt. Marital Status: Married. Children: 5. Youssef Mansour is the older brother of Mohamed Mansour. He is worth $1.5 billion and is the sixth richest person in Egypt. He is the 864th richest person in the world and was behind the construction of the largest supermarket chain in Egypt, called Metro. He apparently enjoys collecting furniture that King Louis XIV of France was fond of, and Renaissance paintings.
No. 16 Mohamed Al Fayed & Family. Net Worth: $1.3 billion – As of March 2012. Source: Retail, self-made. Age: 79. Citizenship: Egypt. Marital Status: Married. Children: 5. Mohamed Al Fayed is worth $1.5 billion, making him the 960th richest person in the world and the eight richest person in Egypt. His business interest include ownership of Fulham Football Club in England, hotel Ritz Paris and formerly Harrods Department Store in Knightsbridge.
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The Women of Islam in The House of Allah
Article – Women in Islam Wednesday, 01 Sha’ban 1428
An Essay by Islamic Scholar Imran Nazar Hosein
There is no doubt whatsoever that this essay is going to provoke both positive and negative response from readers. But our purpose in writing it is to provoke enlightened responses that would dispel complacency over (what this writer perceives as) unfortunate instances of misguided tradition. Let us at the outset remind the Muslim reader of the prophecy of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah Most High be upon him) concerning the Day of Judgement:
“Narrated Anas ibn Malik: One day when the Messenger of Allah was sitting amongst us, he dozed off. He then raised his head, smiling. We asked: What makes you smile, Oh Messenger of Allah? He said: A Surah has just been revealed to me, and then rececited: ‘In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful. Verily We have given thee al-kawthar (fountain of abundance). Therefore turn to thy Lord for prayer and surely thy enemy is cut off (from the good).’ Then he (the Holy Prophet) asked: Do you know what al-Kawthar is? We said: Allah and His Messenger know best. The Holy Prophet said: It (Kawthar) is a fountain (spring or river) which my Lord, the Exalted and Glorious, has promised me, and there is an abundance of good in it. It is a cistern and my people will come to it on the Day of Resurrection, and cups there (for drinking) would be equal to the number of the stars. A servant will be turned away from (among those gathered there). Upon this I shall say: My Lord, he is one of my people. He (the Lord) will say: You do not know that he created new things (in Islam) after you. Ibn Hujr made this addition in the Hadith: “He (the Holy Prophet) was sitting amongst us in the mosque, and He (Allah) said: (You don’t know) what he innovated after you.” (Sahih Muslim)
Let us also recall another prophecy concerning the alarming extent to which Muslims would deviate from the original religion of Islam. The Prophet prophesied that Muslims could be divided into seventy-three sects and that in such an event all but one would enter into Hell:
“Narrated: Abdullah ibn Amr: Allah’s Messenger said: There will befall my Ummah exactly (all those) evils which befell the people of Israel, so much so that if there was one amongst them who openly committed fornication with his mother, there will be among my Ummah one who will do that, and if the people of Israel were fragmented into seventy-two sects my Ummah would be fragmented into seventy-three sects. All of them will be in Hell-Fire except one sect. They (the Companions) said: Allah’s Messenger, which is that? Whereupon he said: It is one to which I and my companions belong.” (Sunan Tirmidhi)
“Narrated Ali ibn Abi Talib: Al-Harith al-A’war: While passing through the Masjid I found the people engrossed in (prohibited) talk, so I went to Ali and told him. He asked if that was really so, and when I assured him that it was, he said: I heard Allah’s Messenger say, ‘Dissension will certainly come.’ I asked him what is the way out of it, to which he replied, “Allah’s Book is the way (out), for it contains information of what has happened before you, news of what will happen after you, and a decision regarding matters which occur among you. It is the distinguisher and is not jesting. If any overweening person abandons it Allah will break him, and if anyone seeks guidance elswhere Allah will lead him astray. It is Allah’s strong cord, it is the wise reminder, it is the straight path, it is that by which the desires do not swerve nor the tongues become confused, and even the learned cannot grasp it completely. It does not become worn out by repetition and its wonders do not come to an end. It is that concerning which the Jinn did not hesitate to declare, when they heard it, “We have heard a wonderful recital which guides to what is right, and we believe in it.” He who utters it speaks the truth, he who acts according to it is rewarded, he who pronounes judgement according to it is just, and he who invites people to it guides to a straight path.” (Sunan Tirmidhi)
The Qur’an, in turn, has asked us to hold fast to the Sunnah (way) of the Prophet:
“You have indeed in the Messenger of Allah an excellent model (of conduct) for any one whose hope is in Allah and the Final Day, and who engages much in the praise of Allah. (Qur’an, al-Ahzab, 33:21)
And so, it is with the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Messenger that we must respond to all trials. And this brings us to the subject of “the greatest of all trials that mankind would experience from the time of Adam to this last Day”, i.e., the fitnah (trials) of Dajjal the false Messiah or Anti-Christ. It was in connection with that attack of Dajjal that the Prophet warned that “the last people to come out to Dajjal would be women, and that a man would have to return to his home and tie down his wife, sister, and daughter to protect them from being seduced by Dajjal.” It is clear that Prophet Muhammad anticipated, in the above prophecy, the modern feminist revolution that has deceptively misled and corrupted so many women in the modern age. We write this essay to warn that the feminist revolution will exploit to its advantage every mistake that Muslims make concerning their women. and we direct attention to one grave mistake that has already been made, and which is likely to explode in the face of this Ummah with devastating effect in the not-too-distant future as Dajjal moves to exploit that mistake to his advantage. What is that mistake?
A DANGEROUS MISTAKE FOR WHICH WE WILL PAY DEARLY!
Prophet Muhammad warned his followers: “Do not prevent women from coming to the Masjid (for prayer)”. If Allah Most High, or His Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah Most High be upon him), were to give an order, then Muslims have a religious obligation to submit to that order and to obey it. No one has the authority to cancel an order which has come from Allah or His Messenger. An order can be suspended in consequence of an abnormal situation having arisen (such as a suspension of the divine law of cutting of the hand of the thief in consequence of an abnormal situation created by drought and famine). But neither can an order be cancelled, nor can it be permanently suspended. And yet, despite the clear orders of the Prophet concerning the rights of Muslim women in the House of Allah it is a quite common sight around the world of Islam today to witness Masajid (plural of Masjid) from which women have been permanently excluded. Such a flagrant violation of women’s rights is sure to provoke a bitter response from the feminist revolution. Indeed we are eventually likely to witness that revolution so exploiting this matter as to eventually succeed in having women give the Juma Khutbah (sermon) from the Mimbar (pulpit) of the Masjid. Already one such profoundly misguided woman has led the way in a New York City church that was used as a Masjid, to open the gates for that evil destructive storm.
But the deprivation of Muslim women’s rights is not limited to their exclusion from the House of Allah. Even when they are allowed to come to the Masjid they are often not allowed to pray in the same space with the men. Rather, a separate space is allocated to them. This can even be in a separate building, an annex, an upstairs gallery, a basement, ect. And finally, when they are allowed to pray on the same floor with the men, two separate spaces are created through the imposition of a barrier (of bricks, wood, cloth ect.) which has the effect of creating two separate spaces for prayer – one for men and the other for women. Sometimes the separate space created for women is at the back of the men; but sometimes, and alarmingly so, it is at the side of the men. In addition to creating a separate space for women, the barrier also has the effect of reducing women to praying congregational prayers with their ears alone, and not their eyes. Women cannot see the congregation (Jama’ah) at prayer. They can only hear! But Prophet Muhammad very clearly placed men and women in the Masjid to pray ‘in the same space’ with women behind the men, and gave men and women the right to pray with both their ears and their eyes. Consider the following:
Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet said: “The best row for the men (in the Masjid) is the first (row) and the worst or most dangerous is the last; and the best row for women (in the Masjid) is the last, and the worst (or most dangerous) is the first.” (Sahih Muslim)
It is quite clear from the above Hadith that men are supposed to first fill the front row in the Masjid, and then proceed after that to fill row after row in the direction away from the Mimbar (pulpit). If and when women choose to attend Salat in the Masjid, they are supposed to first fill the last row, and then proceed after that to fill row after row in the direction towards the Mimbar (pulpit). As the Masjid fills up the back row of men would draw closer and yet closer to the front row of women. And it is that close physical proximity of men and women, with no barriers in between them, which creates the situation that is pregnant with danger. Among the dangers described by the Prophet himself was that a man may not have enough cloth to cover his private parts when he protrates. And so the Prophet ordered women to keep their heads down on the ground in prostration (Sijdah) until the men (in front of them) had a chance to sit up:
“Narated Asma’ daughter of Abu Bakr: I heard the Messenger of Allah say: One of you who believes in Allah and in the last Day should not raise her head until the men raise their heads (after prostration) lest they should see the private parts of men.” (Sunan Abu Daud)
The inescapable implication of both the above Ahadith is that women prayed in the Prophet’s Masjid in the same space with the men, but behind them, and that they prayed with both their ears and eyes since a woman who raised her head too soon could see the private parts of the men in front of her (if he was not adequately clothed). This possibility also indicated that there was no barrier in the Prophet’s Masjid between men and women as would obstruct women’s vision. If women choose to perform their Salat at home, on the grounds that such is preferable, it still would not solve the problem faced by those women who choose to visit the Masjid for Salat, and are denied rights mentioned above. Indeed they are forced into such situations of prayer such as praying at the side, rather than behind the men in which their Salat would be in manifest conflict with the Sunnah and hence of dubious validity.
The remedy for the present situation in which women are deprived of their rights, even in the House of Allah, is quite evident. It is that Muslims must now insist that women be allowed to come to the Masjid; that they be allowed to pray in the same space with the men but behind them; and that they be allowed to pray with both eyes and ears, and hence with no barrier between men and woman as would obstruct women’s vision of the men in front of them. And nothing less than that can save Muslims from the grave charge of having changed the religion left by the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah Most High be upon him) even in the Masjid itself! And nothing less than that can save Muslims from the evil feminist storm that is sure to sweep the world of Islam in the not-too-distant future, and sure to exploit this mistake of the Ummah to reap evil capital from it.
About Shaikh Mawlana Imran Nazar Hosein
Shaikh Mawlana Imran Nazar Hosein is an Islamic scholar, philosopher and author, specialising in world politics, economy, eschatology and modern socio-economic/political issues. He is the author of Jerusalem in the Quran. He was born in the Caribbean island of Trinadad in 1942 from parents whose ancestors had migrated as indentured labourer from India. He is a graduate of Aleemiyah Institute in Karachi and has studied at several institutions of higher learning including the University of Karachi, the University of the West Indies, Al Ahzar University and Graduate Institute of International Relations in Switzerland.
He worked for several years as a Foreign Service Officer in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Government of Trinadad and Tabogo but gave up his job in 1985 to devote his life to the mission of Islam.
He lived in New York for ten years during which time he served as Director of Islamic Studies for the Joint Committee of Muslim Organizations of Greater New York. He lectured on Islam in several American and Canadian universities, colleges, churces, synagogues, prisons, community halls, ect. he also participated in many inter-faith dialogues with Christians and Jewish scholars while representing Islam in USA. He was the Imam , for sometime, at Masjid Dar al-Qur’an in Long Island, New York. He also led the weekly Juma’ah prayers and delivered the Kutbah (sermon) at the United Nations headquarters in Manhattan once a month for ten years continously.
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On September 18, 2006, Anousheh Ansari captured headlines around the world as the first female private space explorer. She also earned a place in history as the fourth private explorer to visit space and the first astronaut of Iranian descent.
She blasted off for an eight-day expedition aboard the International Space Station as part of the Expedition 14 crew of the Soyuz TMA-9, which included NASA astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin. This was the accomplishment of a lifelong dream for her.
While in space, Anousheh wrote a blog that invited readers to share her experience. She described the Russian Soyuz capsule during liftoff, talked about the sights and smells of the space station, and explained the intricacies of everyday activities such as eating and washing up in zero gravity. The blog captured international attention. Her personal web site and her blog site garnered more than 50 million hits from readers around the world.
Back on Earth, as a successful serial entrepreneur, Anousheh returned to her job as co-founder and chairman of her latest technology company. Prodea Systems, a company that will dramatically alter the nature of the in-home technology experience. Prodea Systems will help customers unleash the power of the Internet and realize the full potential of their digital homes.
An active proponent of world-changing technologies and social entrepreneurship, Anousheh has dreamed of space exploration since childhood. Her family provided the title sponsorship for the Ansari X Prize, a $10 million cash award for the first non-governmental organization to launch a reusable manned spacecraft into space twice within two weeks. This feat was accomplished in 2004 by legendary aerospace designer Burt Rutan in 2004. With the success of the X Prize competition, Anousheh had helped launch a new era in private spaceflight.
In 2001, Anousheh served as co-founder, chief executive officer and chairman of the board for Telecom Technologies, Inc. After earning three key U.S. patents and growing the company to 250 employees with 100% sequential growth year over year since inception, the company successfully merged with Sonus Networks (Nasdaq: SONS), a provider of IP-based voice infrastructure products, in a deal worth approximately $750 million dollars. She served as the company’s chief executive officer and chairman of the board. Telecom Technologies created a product called a “softswitch” that allowed voice communications over the Internet.
A living example of the American dream, Anousheh immigrated to the United States as a teenager who did not speak English. She immersed herself in education, earning a bachelor’s degree in electronics and computer engineering from George Mason University, followed by a master’s degree in electrical engineering from George Washington University. She is currently working toward a master’s degree in astronomy from Swinburne University.
Anousheh is a member of the X Prize Foundation’s Vision Circle, as well as its Board of Trustees. She is a life member in the Association of Space Explorers and on the advisory board of the Teacher’s in Space project. She has received multiple honors, including the World Economic Forum Young Global Leader 2007, DFW International Community Alliance Hall of Fame award, the Working Woman’s National Entrepreneurial Excellence Award, George Mason University’s Entrepreneurial Excellence Award, George Washington University’s Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award, and the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for Southwest Region. While under her leadership, Telecom Technologies earned recognition as one of Inc. magazine’s 500 fastest-growing companies and Deloitte & Touche’s Fast 500 technology companies.
Anousheh has served on the boards of not-for-profit organizations such as Make-a-Wish Foundation of North Texas and Collin County Children’s Advocacy Center. She currently works to enable social entrepreneurs to bring about radical change globally, with organizations such as ASHOKA, which supports social entrepreneurship around the world, including the Middle East and Central Asia. In addition, she is a partner of the Meadowood Social Venture Fund and a board member of the PARSA Community Foundation, which promotes strategic philanthropy and social entrepreneurship among the global Iranian community, with a special interest towards Persian women.
Her message is gaining traction. Even as she orbited Earth, Anousheh was watched by dozens of Iranian women who went to an observatory near Tehran to catch a glimpse of the space station. Middle Eastern girls posted messages to her blog and talked about their dreams. In celebration of her accomplishments, “Anousheh Ansari Day” was proclaimed in the City of Dallas on Nov. 7 and in the City of Plano on Nov. 2, 2006. She also was awarded an honorary doctorate from International Space University.
Anousheh Ansari dreamed of going into space since she was a little girl in Iran. That young girl, however, could not have known the impact she one day would have on dreamers around the world. Ultimately, Anousheh would build a lifetime of accomplishments in a few short decades, from creating a multi-million-dollar business to driving technological change to blasting into space. She hopes her tale of determination, struggle, and ultimate triumph will inspire children and women everywhere to dream big, study hard and see obstacles as merely problems to be solved.
Through it all, Anousheh continues to quote Gandhi, one of her personal heroes who said, “If you want to change the world, you must be the change you want to see in the world.”
The Hocaefendi, “respected teacher”, Muhammed Fethullah Gulen, remains a mystery in the Unite States
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Chief Rabbi of Israel Eliyahu Bakshi Doron, left, gives a vase as gift to Islamic scholar and spiritual leader Fethullah Gulen, right, during his visit to Istanbul on Feb. 25, 1998. (AP Photo/Murad Sezer)
A Rare Meeting With Reclusive Turkish Spiritual Leader Fethullah Gulen
JAMIE TARABAYAUG 14 2013, 9:05 AM ET
Fethullah Gulen is a Turkish religious spiritual leader, some say to millions of Turks both in Turkey and around the world, and the head of the Gulenist movement. His network of followers span the globe and have opened academically-focused schools across 90 countries, including the U.S.
The hocaefendi, meaning “respected teacher,” as he is called, left Turkey in 1998 to avoid charges from the Turkish government of involvement in anti-secular activities. He eventually settled in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania, where he continues to preach, write, and guide his followers through television and the Internet.
He is sickly and doesn’t travel, yet secular Turks worry his influence in political ranks will grow Islamist influence there and turn the country into a religious state. He is well-known in Turkey and across Central Asia, yet here in the United States, he remains a mystery.
The reclusive spiritualist keeps to his home in the Poconos, attended by believers, praying, lecturing, and claiming his influence is not as wide-ranging as his critics claim it to be. He rarely gives interviews, but I was recently allowed to travel to the idyllic resort-like compound he has been living in for around 14 years and meet with Gulen for an interview. An edited transcript of his translated answers follows:
The Atlantic: It’s so rare to have an interview with you, why is that?
Fethullah Gulen: I grew up in a humble family with a shy personality. I accept these kind offers out of respect for those who are requesting such interviews, otherwise, I would prefer to live a secluded life just by myself.
We just saw your living quarters, and I saw a very small bed, a small mat, a small room. When you can have all the space you need, why do you use such a small area for yourself?
My whole life has been this way, during my years as a student, and later on in life I have always lived in such humble spaces. It’s because I would like to live like my fellow citizens because I consider myself among them. By no means do I consider myself superior in any sense. Also, it is in my nature. I believe in the hereafter; I believe that’s the true life, therefore I don’t want to attach myself too much to this world.
Do you still teach every day?
I try to spend time with the students here every day as much as my health allows me. Some days my health prevents me from doing so, but I’d like to continue to study with them for as long as I am alive.
I heard you had no female students.
In Turkey, our friends are running a program in which female students are taking graduate-level courses in divinity. Here, the same system couldn’t be replicated, but there are ladies who regularly follow the lectures.
According to Islamic tradition, is the role of women limited to motherhood?
No, it is not. The noble position of motherhood aside, our general opinion about women is that, while taking into account their specific needs, it should be made possible for them to take on every role, including the jobs of physician, military officer, judge and president of a country. As a matter of fact, in every aspect of life throughout history Muslim women made contributions to their society. In the golden age (referring to the years during Mohammed’s lifetime) starting with Aisha, Hafsa, and Um Salama (the Prophet’s wives), had their places among the jurists and they taught men.
When these examples are taken into consideration, it would be clearly understood that it is out of the question to restrict the lives of women, narrowing down their activities. Unfortunately, the isolation of women from social activities in some places today, a practice that stems from the misinterpretation of Islamic sources, has been a subject of a worldwide propaganda campaign against Islam.
If there is one thing that you would say to people here in this country who don’t know a lot about you, your beliefs and your teachings, what would that message be?
I don’t have a need to promote myself. I’ve never sought to be known or recognized by people. I simply share ideas I believe in with people around me. If people recognize me despite that, that’s their mistake. But my core belief is to seek peace in the world, helping people eliminate certain malevolent attitudes through education as much as possible. An Arabic proverb says: “If something cannot be attained fully, it shouldn’t be abandoned completely.”
What message do you have for Americans who are concerned about the number of charter schools founded by people you inspire? How do you expect that influence to reflect on that educator’s life?
First of all, let me clarify that I have never been personally involved in the founding or operation of any school. My influence, if any, has been through my sermons, talks and seminars. If I have any credit among the people who listen to my words, I have channeled that credit or credibility to encouraging them to establish institutions of education. I have tried to explain that we can achieve peace and reconciliation around the world only through raising a generation of people who read, who think critically, who love fellow humans and who offer their assets in service of humanity.
JAMIE TARABAY is a former contributing editor at Atlantic Media. Her writing has appeared in National Journal, TheAtlantic.com and the quarterly dispatch: Beyond Iraq. As Baghdad Bureau Chief for NPR News, her reporting on the war in Iraq received the Alfred I duPont-Columbia University Award. She is the author of A Crazy Occupation; Eyewitness to the Intifada.
Gulen Inspires Muslims Worldwide
Oxford Analytica 01.21.08, 6:00 AM ET
Fethullah Gulen is a provincial Turkish preacher who has inspired a worldwide network of Muslims who feel at home in the modern world.
The chief characteristic of the Gulen movement is that it does not seek to subvert modern secular states, but encourages practicing Muslims to use to the full the opportunities they offer. It is best understood as the Islamic equivalent of Christian movements appealing to business and the professions. Like them, it is feared by some for its ability to mobilize considerable resources and for its influence among decision-makers.
Gulen was born in 1938 in a village near Erzurum in eastern Turkey. His father was an imam, and Gulen learned from him the elements of Islam as well as some Persian and Arabic. His first appointment in 1957 was to a mosque in Edirne. At roughly the same time, he was introduced to the teaching of Said-i Nursi (1876-1960), a politically active Kurdish preacher.
Nursi influence: Nursi, whose name comes from the village of Nurs but brings to mind the word Nur, meaning “light” in Arabic, became the founder of the Nurcu (Followers of Light) movement. Although Nursi’s roots were in the strictly orthodox and conservative Naqshabandiyah Sufi order (tarikat), his message was that Muslims should not reject modernity, but find inspiration in the sacred texts to engage with it.
Izmir base: Gulen put Nursi’s ideas into practice when he was transferred to a mosque in Izmir in 1966. Izmir is a city where political Islam never took root. However, the business and professional middle class came to resent the constraints of a state bureaucracy under whose wings it had grown, and supported market-friendly policies, while preserving at least some elements of a conservative lifestyle. Such businessmen were largely pro-Western, because it was Western (mainly U.S.) influence, which had persuaded the government to allow free elections for the first time in 1950 and U.S. aid, which had primed the pump of economic growth.
From his base in Izmir, Gulen organized summer camps where the tenets of Islam were taught and started a network of student boarding houses known as “lighthouses.” He sought to transfer the loyalty of Muslims from the Ottoman empire to the Turkish secular republic, even when the republican regime put pressure on the Muslim community. This explains his support for the military coup of 1980 and for the soft coup in 1997, which forced Necmettin Erbakan, the Islamist prime minister, to resign.
Official toleration allowed Gulen to concentrate on what became his life-work–the creation of a network, first of private schools and residences, then of universities, media outlets and civil society groups as centers of excellence promoting a modern, Islam-based ethical framework. Starting with the wealthy businessmen of Izmir, Gulen mobilized resources allowing him to control one of Turkey’s leading newspapers, Zaman, a television channel and a radio station, as well as a university with campuses in Istanbul and Ankara. Like his schools, Gulen’s other activities try to be self-financing, competing on quality.
Over the years, Gulen extended his reach from Turkey to the Turkic republics of the former Soviet Union ( Zaman runs a successful edition in Azerbaijan), then to other successor states of the Soviet Union, the Balkans and finally the West. His embrace of globalization became more pronounced after his move to the United States in 1997, in order to escape harassment at home, seek treatment and influence his followers throughout the world.
It is not yet clear whether the Gulen movement will, like Opus Dei, outlive its founder. In any event, it is a unique and highly successful manifestation of flexible, modern Islam in a globalized setting, and it is likely to have a lasting impact on the modernization of Islam and its opening to engagement with Western ideas.
Oxford Analytica is an independent strategic-consulting firm drawing on a network of more than 1,000 scholar experts at Oxford and other leading universities and research institutions around the world. For more information, please visit www.oxan.com. To find out how to subscribe to the firm’s Daily Brief Service, click here.
Gülen teaches an Anatolian (Hanafi) version of Islam, deriving from Sunni Muslim scholar Said Nursî‘s teachings. Gülen has stated that he believes in science, interfaith dialogue among the People of the Book, and multi-party democracy. He has initiated such dialogue with the Vatican and some Jewish organizations.
Gülen is actively involved in the societal debate concerning the future of the Turkish state, and Islam in the modern world. He has been described in the English-language media as “one of the world’s most important Muslim figures.” However, his Gülen movement has been described as “having the characteristics of a cult” and its secretiveness and influence in Turkish politics likened to “an Islamic Opus Dei“. In the Turkish context, Gülen appears as a religious conservative.
Gülen was born in the village of Korucuk, near Erzurum. His father, Ramiz Gülen, was an imam. Gülen started primary education at his home village, but did not continue after his family moved, and instead focused on informal Islamic education. He gave his first sermon when he was 14. He was influenced by the ideas of Said Nursi and Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi.
Comparing Gülen to leaders in the Nur movement, Hakan Yavuz said, “Gülen is more Turkish nationalist in his thinking. Also, he is somewhat more state-oriented, and is more concerned with market economics and neo-liberal economic policies.”
His pro-business stance has led some outsiders to dub his theology an Islamic version of Calvinism. Oxford Analytica says:
“Gülen put Nursi’s ideas into practice when he was transferred to a mosque in Izmir in 1966. Izmir is a city where political Islam never took root. However, the business and professional middle class came to resent the constraints of a state bureaucracy under whose wings it had grown, and supported market-friendly policies, while preserving at least some elements of a conservative lifestyle. Such businessmen were largely pro-Western, because it was Western (mainly U.S.) influence, which had persuaded the government to allow free elections for the first time in 1950 [sic] and U.S. aid, which had primed the pump of economic growth.”
Gülen retired from formal preaching duties in 1981. From 1988 to 1991 he gave a series of sermons in popular mosques of major cities. In 1994, he participated in the founding of “Journalists and Writers Foundation” and was given the title “Honorary President” by the foundation. He did not make any comment regarding the closures of the Welfare Party in 1998 or the Virtue Party in 2001. He has met some politicians like Tansu Ciller and Bulent Ecevit, but he avoids meeting with the leaders of Islamic political parties.
In 1999, Gülen emigrated to the United States, claiming the trip for medical treatment, although arguably it was in anticipation of being tried over remarks (aired after his emigration to U.S.) which seemed to favor an Islamic state. In June 1999, after Gülen had left Turkey, videotapes were sent to some Turkish television stations with recordings of Gülen saying,
“The existing system is still in power. Our friends who have positions in legislative and administrative bodies should learn its details and be vigilant all the time so that they can transform it and be more fruitful on behalf of Islam in order to carry out a nationwide restoration. However, they should wait until the conditions become more favorable. In other words, they should not come out too early.”
Gülen complained that the remarks were taken out of context, and his supporters raised questions about the authenticity of the tape,which he accused of having been “manipulated”. Gülen was tried in absentia in 2000, and acquitted in 2008 under the new Justice and Development Party (AKP) government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Gülen does not advocate a new theology but refers to classical authorities of theology, taking up their line of argument. His understanding of Islam tends to be conservative and mainstream. Though he has never been a member of a Sufi tariqat and does not see tarekat membership as a necessity for Muslims, he teaches that “Sufism is the inner dimension of Islam” and “the inner and outer dimensions must never be separated.”
His teachings differ in emphasis from those of other mainstream Islamic scholars in two respects, both based on his interpretations of particular verses of the Qur’an. He teaches that the Muslim community has a duty of service (Turkish: hizmet) to the “common good” of the community and the nation and to Muslims and non-Muslims all over the world; and that the Muslim community is obliged to conduct interfaith dialogue with the “People of the Book” (Jews and Christians), although this does not extend to other religions and atheist. Gülen has appeared to be intolerant of atheism, commenting in 2004 that “terrorism was as despicable as atheism”. In a follow-up interview, he claimed he did not intend to equate atheists and murderers; rather, he wanted to highlight the fact that according to Islam, both were destined to suffer eternal punishment.
The Gülen movement is a transnational Islamic civic society movement inspired by Gülen’s teachings. His teachings about hizmet (altruistic service to the “common good”) have attracted a large number of supporters in Turkey, Central Asia, and increasingly in other parts of the world.
In his sermons, Gülen has reportedly stated: “Studying physics, mathematics, and chemistry is worshipping Allah.”Gülen’s followers have built over 1,000 schools around the world. In Turkey, Gülen’s schools are considered among the best: expensive modern facilities and English taught from the first grade. However, former teachers from outside the Gülen community have called into question the treatment of women and girls in Gülen schools, reporting that female teachers were excluded from administrative responsibilities, allowed little autonomy, and—along with girls from the sixth grade and up—segregated from male colleagues and pupils during break and lunch periods.
Interfaith and intercultural dialogue
Gülen movement participants have founded a number of institutions across the world which claim to promote interfaith and intercultural dialogue activities. Gülen’s earlier works are (in Bekim Agai’s words) “full of anti-missionary and anti-Western passages”, and “vitriolic” diatribes against Jews, Christians, and others. During the 1990s, he began to advocate interreligious tolerance and dialogue. He has personally met with leaders of other religions, including Pope John Paul II, the Greek Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomeos, and Israeli Sephardic Head Rabbi Eliyahu Bakshi-Doron.
Gülen has said that he favors cooperation between followers of different religions as well as religious and secular elements within society.
Views on contemporary issues
Gülen has criticized secularism in Turkey as “reductionist materialism”. However, he has in the past said that a secular approach that is “not anti-religious” and “allows for freedom of religion and belief, is compatible with Islam.”
According to one Gülen press release, in democratic-secular countries, ninety-five percent of Islamic principles are permissible and practically feasible, and there is no problem with them. The remaining five percent “are not worth fighting for.”
Turkey bid to join the EU
Gülen has supported Turkey’s bid to join the European Union and has said that neither Turkey nor the EU have anything to fear, but have much to gain, from a future of full Turkish membership in the EU.
According to Aras and Caha, Gülen’s views on women are “progressive” but “modern professional women in Turkey still find his ideas far from acceptable.” Gülen says the coming of Islam saved women, who “were absolutely not confined to their home and … never oppressed” in the early years of the religion. He feels that western-style feminism, however, is “doomed to imbalance like all other reactionary movements … being full of hatred towards men.”
However, Gülen’s views are vulnerable to the charge of misogyny. As noted by Berna Turam, Gülen has argued: “the man is used to more demanding jobs … but a woman must be excluded during certain days during the month. After giving birth, she sometimes cannot be active for two months. She cannot take part in different segments of the society all the time. She cannot travel without her husband, father, or brother … the superiority of men compared to women cannot be denied.”
Gülen has condemned terrorism. He warns against the phenomenon of arbitrary violence and aggression against civilians and said that it “has no place in Islam”. He wrote a condemnation article in the Washington Post on September 12, 2001, one day after the September 11 attacks, and stated that “A Muslim can not be a terrorist, nor can a terrorist be a true Muslim.” Gülen lamented the “hijacking of Islam” by terrorists.
Gülen criticized the Turkish-led Gaza flotilla for trying to deliver aid without Israel’s consent. He spoke of watching the news coverage of the deadly confrontation between Israeli commandos and multinational aid group members as its flotilla approached Israel’s sea blockade of Gaza. He said, “What I saw was not pretty, it was ugly.” He has since continued his criticism, saying later that the organizers’ failure to seek accord with Israel before attempting to deliver aid was “a sign of defying authority, and will not lead to fruitful matters.”
Syrian Civil War
Gülen is strongly against Turkish involvement in the Syrian Civil War.
Influence in Turkish society and politics
The Gulen movement has millions of followers in Turkey, as well as many more abroad. Beyond the schools established by Gülen’s followers, it is believed that many Gülenists hold positions of power in Turkey’s police forces and judiciary. Turkish and foreign analysts believe Gülen has sympathizers in the Turkish parliament and that his movement controls the widely-read Islamic conservative Zaman newspaper, the private Bank Asya bank, the Samanyolu TV television station, and many other media and business organizations, including the Turkish Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists (TUSKON).
Split with Erdoğan
Despite Gülen’s and his followers’ claims that the organization is non-political in nature, analysts believe that a number of corruption-related arrests made against allies of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan reflect a growing political power struggle between Gülen and the prime minister. These arrests led to the 2013 corruption scandal in Turkey, which the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP)’s supporters (along with Erdoğan himself) and the opposition parties alike have said was choreographed by Gülen after Erdoğan’s government came to the decision early in December 2013 to shut down many of his movement’s private Islamic schools in Turkey. The ongoing power struggle between the Erdoğan government and the Gülenists in the police force and the judiciary has revealed the existence of an alleged well-organized and powerful “parallel state” directed by Gülen himself. The scandals uncovered what the Erdoğan government has said are the long term political agenda of Gülen’s movement to infiltrate security, intelligence, and justice institutions of the Turkish state, a charge almost identical to the charges found against Gülen by the Chief Prosecutor of the Republic of Turkey in his trial in 1999.
In emailed comments to the Wall Street Journal in January 2014, Gülen said that “Turkish people … are upset that in the last two years democratic progress is now being reversed,” but he denied being part of a “plot” to unseat the government, as Erdoğan has alleged.
Gülen has authored over 60 books and many articles on a variety of topics: social, political and religious issues, art, science and sports, and recorded thousands of audio and video cassettes. He contributes to a number of journals and magazines owned by his followers. He writes the lead article for the Fountain, Yeni Ümit, Sızıntı, and Yağmur Islamic philosophical magazines. Several of his books have been translated into English.