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By Prof. M.S. TAJAR (Former Lecturer, University of the Philippines)
The very term Islam means peace as well as submission to God Almighty. In order to understand the true Message of Islam and its peaceful Co-existence with other religions, one should concentrate on the authentic sources of the Islamic teachings i.e. The Holy Qur’an itself and the life and the practices of the Holy Prophet Mohammad (P.B.U.H.) during his own time, before the Islamic rule was hi-jacked by some extremist fundamentalist, opportunistic, Khalifahs, Sultans, Pashas, immediately after the death of the Holy Prophet, up to the last Ottoman Caliph in Turkey, in 1923. The extremist Taliban, Wahhabis, Salafis using the name of Islam, have killed more Muslim men, women, and children in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Somalia, and Yemen, than they have killed the non-Muslims! And that shows how much of Islamic faith they have, and how un-Islamic they have become!
* The word Islam itself means: Peace/Shalom; It also means submission to the will of the One and Only God. * “O’ you who have Faith! Enter into “SILM” (submission to One God/Peace) all together; and follow not the Devil.” Holy Qur’an, 2:208. * “(Tell the unbelievers, O’ Mohammad!) To you your religion, and to me, mine.” Holy Qur’an, 109:6 * “There is no compulsion in religion...” Holy Qur’an, 2:256 *”If Islam means submission to the will of God, then we are all Muslims!’’ D.W. Goethe (1710-1782) in his “Eastern Diwan” after reading the Holy Qur’an. A Confession Before I start to explain further about those Qur’anic verses, which I quoted above, I must have a confession, a mea culpa, so to speak, a religious confession, indeed. Especially, considering the fact that I am now speaking in a prestigious Catholic institution, like De La Salle University, and more particularly because, I am at the presence of some eminent Catholic Priests!
You know, I was born a Muslim, in a religious family, with an Alim as a father, and I even grew up in the religious schools of the Holy City of Qom in Iran, which is the seat of the Shi-ah Islam, as Vatican is to Catholicism, yet it took a German Lady Scholar like Annemarie Schimmel (1922-2003) to remind me, or actually to awaken me to this reality, that: Islam’s most earth-shaking Message was never “Jihad”, as some Taliban and Wahhabis and Salafis are promoting falsely, in the name of this beautiful religion, (and their Western Neo-con counterparts, among the Jewish and Christian communities, are also brandishing, that same slogan, and fighting fire with fire!). But rather, the most important Message of Islam is an amazingly forgotten or over looked one, i.e.: A Peaceful Co-existence, with all other religions, who wish to live in peace with us! Miss Annemarie Schimmel, who spent her entire adult life studying Islam, and she even lectured in some prominent universities of the Muslim and Western world, like the Istanbul University in Turkey, the Punjab University in Pakistan, as well as the American and German universities, not only quoted and explained these Qur’anic verses relating to a peaceful co-existence, with other religions of the world, but she also backed them up further, by presenting the “ways and practices of the Holy Prophet Mohammad P.B.U.H. during his own life time, and his role, as the Supreme Leader of the Muslims, both as a spiritual leader, as well as the head of the Islamic State in Arabia, circa 630 A.D.” Look at the following examples, for instance:
1.) The Holy Prophet and his true followers did not start any “fight” with the unbelievers
of Mecca, in their own City of Birth – Mecca. In fact, it was they, who were being persecuted by the people of Mecca, for their faith, and they had to migrate to other countries, like to the Christian Kingdom of Abyssinia (today’s Ethiopia) or they had to move to Yathrib or Medina, to save their own lives! 2.) All the major wars that took place, later, like – The Badar, the Honain, the Khandaq, or the Khaibar, etc. were in fact “defensive reactions to the aggressions, that were perpetrated by the Meccans, or by the others, against the Islamic community in Madinah.” (Yes, there were also some “Ghazawat,” those missionary acts to educate the Arab Bedouins, and other masses, about “a new Messenger and the Message, that there is only One God, and Mohammad is His Messenger, and a call to Brotherhood, Unity, Equality before One God, and peace in the war-torn tribal land of Arabia, and beyond.”) But (as long as the Holy Prophet was alive) never there was any coercion or conversion to Islam by force. That’s why, anyone who wanted to keep his old religion, could do so, but he would have to pay a tax (as the Muslims also were obliged to pay Zakat, Khums, etc.) which was called Jiz-ya, from the old Pahlavi/Persian word “Ga-zeet” or “Kharaaj” from the old Persian tax system, called “Ha-raag” etc.) In other words, while the attempt was to make a unified Islamic country, among the divided tribes of Arabia, yet there was no coercion to conversion to the faith” at all (as we see in the Christian Inquisitions or the Jewish persecutions of the Christians, or vice-versa, in those days or even later).
3.) In fact, during the life time of the Prophet Mohammad P.B.U.H. the Jewish community of Khaibar were living side by side, in peace, with the Muslim community in the City State of Madinah, and the two communities were actually engaged in mutual cooperation, and in various beneficial businesses with each other; Until finally, the Jews broke their peace
compact with the Muslims, and they also joined with the other enemies of the Islamic State in the war of “All Parties” or Al-Ahzab (See Chapter 33 of the Holy Qur’an).
Changes after the Prophet Mohammad (632 A.D.) I should also admit the fact that, after the death of the Prophet Mohammad P.B.U.H. (632 A.D.) the Islamic Faith and its Message of Peace, were “hijacked” by some fundamentalist extremist groups, who were violent, not only against the non-Muslims, but they even massacred the “Peace loving Descendants of the Holy Prophet himself!” (As did the Jews, with the righteous children of Abraham, and as the extremist Christians did, after Jesus Christ, at different periods, as well). The history of Islam shows very clearly that some Khalifahs, Sultans and Pashas, from the early days of this beautiful religion, up to the last days of the Ottoman Empire in Turkey, in 1923, have abused the peaceful message of the Holy Prophet, and His Blessed Descendants, or the Ahlul Bayt. And today, the extremist murderers of the “TalibanWahhabi-Salafi, Al-Shabab, and Abu Sayyaf” organizations, who have murdered so many Muslim men, women and children, in the Islamic countries like in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Somalia, Yemen, etc., are doing the same things, in the name of Islam. These murderers have killed more Muslims, in the name Islam, than they have killed the non-Muslims. (Then you start to question their claims to Islam, in the first place, or the hands behind them, who finance and lead them. As did the CIA to the Mujahidin of Afghanistan/the Talibans of today!).). Just a week ago (Sept. 7, 2010), we witnessed four suicide bombings by the Pakistani Taliban, killing over a hundred Shi’ah Muslims (30% of the entire Muslims of the world) during the Holy Month of Ramadan, while those poor people were fasting, and they were attending the Death Anniversary of Imam Ali, and the rest were attending a demonstration in support of the Palestinian people, and against the Israeli occupation of Jerusalem’s Islamic sites, which is illegal under International Law. If you look at those murderous, heartless and brainless thugs (who look more like the Jewish extremists calling “Crucify him! Crucify him!” rather than a person of Islam, i.e. of “peace” or Shalom!) closely, then you will have a clear picture of how those extremist elements (or the “revisionists”, as the political scientists would call them) have actually hijacked the entire Message of Islam, and they have turned “Islam” into a totally different message – i.e. of Hatred, Murder, Mayhem, Bloodshed and Misery to the Muslims and the non-Muslims alike – but still I would like to emphasize the fact that, they have killed more Muslims than they have killed non-Muslims! (So, who are they, really?) A Humble Suggestion Taking all those facts into consideration, I would like to humbly suggest that in order to better understand the true Message of Islam, we should concentrate our own research more on the authentic Qur’anic verses and the well-documented preaching and practices of the genuine Muslim leaders, i.e. the Holy Prophet of Islam and those whom he had approved of, rather than the preaching and practices of those whom he did not approve of, and they were,
in fact, “the Black Sheeps” of Islam – those who killed their own Muslim brethren rather than fight the invasions and aggressions against Islam, and thus showing their true color! Some More Qur’anic Verses Now, to support further these views, and in order to shed more light on the true Message of a peaceful co-existence with (and not violence against) the rest of humanity, that Islam espouses, here are some genuine Qur’anic instructions to the Muslims, as well as to the non-Muslims and the rest of humanity, as a whole:
1) “O’ Mankind! We have created all of you from a male and a female... (you are
actually brothers and sisters; so no discriminations) The best of you in the Eyes of Allah are those who are purer in their characters.” Holy Qur’an, 49:13 2) “(O’ Mohammad!) Tell the People of the Book (Jews, Christians, Majais, Sabeians) come to that word which is common between us (let’s unite)... to worship none but God Almighty!” Holy Qur’an, 3:64 3) “The Believers (Muslims) the Jews, the Christians, the Sabeians, anyone who believes in God and does righteous deeds (even a Zoroasterian, Manechian, Abadian, etc.), shall have their rewards with their Lord, and they have nothing to fear or to worry about!” Holy Qur’an, 2:62, and 5:72 4) “Call to the Path of your Lord by wisdom (= Logic) and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in the best and most gracious manner...” Holy Qur’an, 16:125 5) “If they (non-believers) argued with you, just tell them: I and my followers have submitted ourselves to God Almighty!” Holy Qur’an 3:20 6) “...And if they still refused, then your duty is just to convey the Message!” (Ibid) 7) “And if they refused, well, we have not sent you to guard over them (force anyone), your duty is just to bring them the Message...” Holy Qur’an, 42:48 8) “Allah is our Lord and (He is) also your Lord; to us our deeds, and to you, your deeds; Let there be no quarrels between you and us!” Holy Qur’an, 42:15 There are some 20 more similar verses in the Holy Qur’an, just to emphasize the fact that the Holy Prophet of Islam P.B.U.H. came to preach, and not to push, or to pressure, the people into the faith (because, according to the Holy Qur’an, there is no compulsion in religion), and he carried out the noble tradition of the great Prophets before him, (Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, etc.) very faithfully, to the last day of his life on this earth. But, what took place after him, or what some other extremists are doing in his name today, is not Islamic, because, as they say: You can never be more popish than the Pope! And I think the Bishops and the Priests in our gathering also agree with me, wholeheartedly! Pope Benedict XVI and Islamic Tolerance Now, that we are talking about the misunderstood Message of Islam, which is unfortunately twisted by some twisted-minded so-called Muslims themselves, and it is also mistaken by some non-Muslims, and even by the Catholic Church hierarchy, I also would like to discuss a little about what the present Pope, His Holiness Benedict XVI said, regarding Islam and Christian encounters, which caused a lot of controversies, debates and protests, internationally. On Sept.12, 2006 the Pope, while lecturing on the issue of Religious Tolerance (or intolerance if you please) in the German University of Rosenberg, made some controversial
remarks about the violence in the history of Islam. Then he quoted a certain historian as saying: “During the siege of Constantinople (now Istanbul in Turkey) in 1391 A.D., while the armies of Islam laid the siege around the city, inside it, the intellectual debate between Islam and Christianity was also going on, between the Byzantine Emperor, Manuel II Paleologos and a “learned Persian” Muslim, who represented the intellectual side of Islam (see “The International Herald Tribune” Sept.14, 2006 p.1 “The Lecture of Pope Benedict XVI, at the Rosenberg University”, Germany, Sept.12, 2006). The Catholic Church later explained that the Pope was actually quoting the opinion of a certain person, many centuries ago, when there was less information among the followers of different religions, and less tolerance, which, I fully agree. And here I would like to quote another Qur’anic verse, to show how favourable the Islamic views about other religions, especially Christianity, has been since the early days of Islam. The Holy Qur’an says, and I quote: “(O’ Mohammad!) You will find the kindest religious folks to the Believers (Muslims) those who are called Christians! Because, amongst them are the priests, the selfless missionaries, and they are very humble people.” Holy Qur’an, 5:85 (We have already seen this, very clearly, when the early Muslims, [Circa 610 A.D.] who were being persecuted by their own Arab countrymen in Mecca, went to Abyssinia/Ethiopia, and they were welcomed by the Christian King of Ethiopia, and his people. This has been repeated many times in history.) Another interesting positive point that I personally noticed in that lecture of Pope Benedict was: “While the war between the Turkish Ottoman Muslims and the Christian rulers was going on, there was a religious debate also taking place, between the Byzantine Emperor Manuel II and a Persian Muslim scholar.” That Persian Muslim scholar, like many other Persian Muslims, including the Saracins (the Khorasanis, the Iranian Muslims) and their Islamic scholars, were the “brains” of Islam, while the Ottoman Turks and the Arab rulers were involved in many un-Islamic atrocities, of which all the Muslims are being accused and abused, until today. This just goes to show that “every coin has two sides” and Islam is no exception. The history of Islam is not just of those abuse of power by some power-hungry and warmongering tribes of Arabia or the Turkish warriors or the Taliban/Pashtun highlanders in the mountains of Afghanistan or Pakistan! But, there is another side to it, which is tolerant, rational and intellectual, too, and that is what we are trying to discover, here. (Note: The Persian/Saracin Muslim scholars comprise some 80% of the entire Muslim intellectuals and philosophers in the history of Islam. But unfortunately, and mistakenly, many of them have been called “Arabs” in the world history books, just because of their Islamic (Arabic) names, and their religious identity). The best known among the Persian Muslim scholars, are: 1.) Salman Al-Farsi (the first Persian convert to Islam, and a respectable scholar, the great companion of the Holy Prophet of Islam, 622 A.D.), 2.) Jabir Bin Hayyan Al-Tusi Al-Kufi (of the Algebra, from whose name “Jabir”, the word Algebra was born, and the founding father of Modern Chemistry in the world, which is also called Alchemy),
7.) 8.) 9.) 10.) 11.) 12.) 13.) 14.) 15.)
20.) 21.) 22.) 23.) 24.) 25.)
26.) 27.) 28.) 29.)
Imamul Haramain Al-Jowaini (the first Muslim scholar, to be called Imam of both Mecca and Medinah), Fakhri Razi (the great interpreter/commentator/mofassir of the Holy Qur’an), Al-Khawrazmi (the father of Algorithm, from whose name “Algorithm” was born, a pioneer in modern mathematics, the “Arabic numerals”, the “Zero”, the modern geometry and engineering. Even the word engineering in Arabic language i.e. Hindasa and Mohandis come from the Persian word “Ha-andaza” meaning “The Measurement”), Imam Abu Hanifah (the Greatest Imam of the Sunni branch of Islam) from Kufa (Kuppa = the “Hills”, an ancient Persian border outpost, now in Iraq’s border with Iran), Imam Ahmad Hanbal (the second great Imam in the Sunni Islam), Bukhari (collector of Al-Bukhari Hadith Book, the greatest book, after the Holy Qur’an, according to the Sunnah Islam) Al-Sahih I, Muslim (author of the second great Book of Islamic Traditions/Hadith) Al-Sahih II, Nasa-iy (of Nasa, Khorasan province of Persia) Al-Sahih III, Abu Dawood Sajestani of the Sistan-Baluchistan of Iran (Hadith) Al-Sahih IV, Tirmidi of Tirmiz, ancient central Asia/Persia (Hadith) Al-Sahih V, Ibne Maja Caspini (Qazwini), an expert in Islamic Traditions from Qazwin of Iran (Hadith) Al-Sahih VI, Avecinna (Abu Ali Sina), the Greatest intellectual mind in the world, during the Middle Ages, (See the “International Herald Tribune”, Oct. 11/2001), Razi (Rhazes, the discoverer of the Industrial Alcohol and also the Sulphuric Acid, etc. who was also a great physician, and treated meningitis, chicken pox, and other diseases in 13th century A.D.) Ibn-Hazm of Andalusia (a Saracin of Persian Origin, and a great Muslim scholar of Spain – 994-1064 A.D.) Ali Zar-yab of Andalusia (a Saracin of Persian origin, and the greatest musician and artist – intellectual of Spain. Death 852 A.D.) Al-Kirmani (the Saracin musician of Andalucía, Spain, Circa 860 A.D.) Farabi (philosopher, linguist) from Farab/Faryab of Central Asia (inventor of several musical instruments). He was also a great philosopher, known as the “Second Master” after Aristotle. Biruni (historian, geography master) from Central Asia, Ancient Persia, Khawja Naseer Tousi (philosopher/astrologer) from Tus of Khorasan (=Saracin) [Note: A part of the moon has been named after him by the NASA], Sheikh Tabarsi (Hadith) from Khorasan, Iran, Sheikh Al-Ansari (Fiqah) from Shusha/Susa, Iran, Qazi Nurullah Shush-Tari (Martyr of Islamic Education in India), Omar Khayyam (the great mathematician, and the creator of the world’s most accurate calendar until today, which is called the Jalali calendar. By the way, he is also the second best selling poet in the history of mankind, “The Rubaiyyat of Omar Khayyam”, the most translated book, after the Bible!), Rumi (the great Islamic scholar, Sufi and the overall best selling poet in the entire history of the world literature!). His shrine is now in Kunya, present day Turkey. Imam Tabari (the greatest interpreter of the Holy Qur’an in the History of Islam), Abul Faraj Al-Isfahani (Lexicon), author of the classic Arabic work “Al-Aghani” (897967 A.D.) Shaikh Sah-rewardi (Sufi), Maula Sadra of Shiraz (Philosophy),
31.) Ibne Muskuyah (Philosophy) [Note: his family name is derived from the Persian word
32.) 33.) 34.) 35.) 36.)
“Musk/Mushg, as are the names of Mask-Va (Moscow), Muscat and De-mascus, and the Iranian cities of Meshgin-Shahr and Andi-Meshg], Al-Taftazani (Arabic Grammar), Al-Zamakh-Shari (Arabic Literature/Hadith/Qur’an), Abdul Qadir Gilani (=Jangi Doost, the Great Sufi Teacher – 1077-1166 A.D.), Kwaja Mo-inud din Cheshti of Ajmer (India), Yaqub Al-Kindi (whose last name is a Persian word meaning “The Scholar”, “The Citizen” but, he is called “Arab Philosopher” by mistake!). This great man was the first philosopher in the Islamic history. Mohammad Al-Kolaini (of Kolain, near Tehran, today), of Hadith and Islamic Traditions. Allamah Majlisi (Master of Islamic Traditions and Hadith) of Isfahan, Iran, Sibwaih of Shiraz (the father of Arabic Grammar), Hafiz of Shiraz (“The greatest and the best poet ever to walk the Earth!” according to his American translator, Daniel Ladinsky [see “The Gift, Collection of Hafiz’s poems, 1998 N.Y., USA]. Hafiz was also adored and “worshipped” by J.W. Goethe, the greatest poet of Germany and Europe, as a whole). Khalil bin Ahmad/Firuz Abadi, the father of Arabic Lexicon/Dictionary, whose famous Dictionary “Al-Qamus” became the Standard word for “Dictionary” in Arabic Language (like Zerox for the photo copier!), Al-Shahristani of the Classic “Milal wa Nihal” in Arabic language, Ibne Moqaf-fa (“Ruz Beh” also called “The Father of Arabic Prose”) the Persian translator of the 1,000 Persian stories into Arabic, which is mistakenly labelled as “The Arabian Nights”; Ibne Moqaf-fa of Persia, was also the first man who translated the Greek books of logic and philosophy into Arabic. This caused an explosion of Greek wisdom mixed with the Islamic philosophy, and that’s how the Islamic Civilization (mistakenly called the “Arab” Civilization, just because it was written in Arabic) was born. This young (36 year old) genius translator, was later burned alive, “Inquisition style,” by some Arab rulers, who were so jealous of his perfect Arabic language, and books, that they accused him of blasphemy, and “trying to write in perfect Arabic, in order to challenge the Holy Book of Islam, i.e. Al-Qur’an!” Gentlemen! That’s what I call the “Hijacking of Islam” by the extremists. Ibn Khallikan – the famous Muslim historian (mistaken as an Arab, but his real name speaks for itself, that he was from the well known “Barmaki” Persian aristocrats and ministers of Haarun Ar-Rashid, the Abbassid Caliph). He is from Irbil (now part of Iraq) one of the ancient historic cities of the Kurdish/Persian people. His full name is: Ahmad --- Al-Barmaki, Al-Irbili. (See “The Persian Names” by Maneka Gandhi/India 1994 p.180). Jama'lud Din Asad Abaadi (known as “Al-Afghani” – 1838-1897 A.D.) the pioneer of the “Back-to-Islam-Movement” in the Arab and the Muslim world. (See the “International Herald Tribune”, Jan.12/2005). This man, whose identify as an “Iranian” was discovered later, was called by the Egyptian extremist, fundamentalist, Wahhabi author Mr. Rashid Rada (1920s) as: “A dog from the Persian dogs”! (Kalbun min kilabil Ajam!) But, to defend that “silent man” from the barks of these jealous guys, I would like to introduce his personality further to my readers and to the generations to come, long after we are all gone:
Seyyed Jamalud Din Asad Abaadi went far beyond his country (Iran) and he influenced some of the greatest minds in the Arab and the Muslim world, from Afghanistan and India up to Turkey, Egypt, Syria and even Europe, and here is how:
1. The national poet of Turkey (and a host of other Turkish intellectuals) Mr. Yurda
Qul (1869 – 1944) was one of the students of Jamalud Din, and a great follower and fan of him, when the “teacher” used to lecture in Istanbul Academy, in the 1870’s. So were the great Turkish reformers like, Saeed Nursi, Mohammad Aakif, etc., etc. In the Arab world, the greatest Islamic scholar of Egypt in the last 200 years, Sheikh Mohammad Abdoh (1849 – 1905) who later on became the Rector of the Al-Azhar University in Egypt (the oldest university in the world?) and the Grand Mufti of the Sunni Islam, had also the honor of being one of the students of Jamalud Din. So was the great Egyptian author and scholar, Fareed Wajdi, and several other Egyptian literati. And last, but not the least, was his great follower, Dr. Mohammad Iqbal, the Indian born national poet of Pakistan (November 9, 1877 - April 21, 1938) and the ideologue behind the creation of the first Islamic Republic, in 1947, who probably got that idea from the teachings of Asad Aabaadi,(=The Islamic Revivalism) although, he never met the great teacher, personally. Plus many other great Muslim leaders, who directly or indirectly, were influenced by Asad Aabaadi’s views, even when he himself was in Paris in 1884, publishing his monumental magazine “Al- Orwatul Woth-qa,” in Arabic language, in order to awaken the Arab world to the “Back-to-Islam movement, and the Islamic Renaissance (O’ boy! O’ boy! What an interesting “Persian dog/cat?” he was!)
46.) Ayatullah Ruhollah Khomeini (1904 - 1989 A.D.) – the greatest spiritual-political
leader of the Muslims in the last 1,000 years. He lead a successful Islamic Revolution (1979 A.D.) and he established the Islamic Government (as did the Holy Prophet in 622 A.D.). There is no other example of any similar Islamic Revolution/Government in the world history like it, except the first one that was established by the Holy Prophet P.B.U.H. himself! No wonder, Ahmad Bin Bella, the revolutionary leader of Algeria, called it: “The Miracle of our Age!” (see Time Magazine, Apr. 1979). But the most prominent among the Persian Muslim scholars, was; 47.) Imam Mohammad Al-Ghazzali of Khorasan (=Saracin), who according to some Western orientalists, and several Muslim Jurists, was: “The greatest scholar in Islam, after the Prophet Mohammad, himself!)** That’s why even Ibn Khaldun, the pioneering Muslim sociologist from North Africa (1332 - 1406 A.D.), clearly stated that: “The biggest group of Islamic scholars were the
“Ajams!” (the Persians). (See: A.A. Velayati, “The Civilizations of Islam and Iran”, Tehran, 2005 p.560)
The Role of the Saracins in Islamic (Arab?) Civilization In the early history of Islam, the Saracins (Khorasanis, the Persian Muslims/Iranians) lead the nation of Islam; and they carried on with its civilization, from Central Asia up to China and India, and from Persia up to the North Africa, and eventually, the Persian Muslim general, called Tariq Bin Ziad of the City of Hamedan, Iran (the man after whom Gibraltar was named) conquered Spain in 711 A.D.1, and he and his followers, started the first and the best universities in Europe of the Dark Ages, where the Christians, the Jewish and the Muslim scholars, studied and researched, together, in peace!( In those days, when the European kings and nobility could not even write their own names, the peasants in the Muslim Spain could read and write! All this, thanks to the Saracin Muslim rule in Andalucia! See Joseph Macape’s “The Moorish City of Spain”. This noble Saracin tradition was continued by another Saracin (Persian Muslim) ruler, called Musa Bin Nosair (the Persian governor of North Africa, who had sent Tariq bin Ziad for the Andalusian expedition a year earlier, and the Spanish town of “Valdemossa”=Baldah Moosa, or Moosa City is named after him—see “Khadamat…”by Prof.M.Motahhari p.608) and this lead to: “The Glory that was Al-Hambra...” a tolerant culture and civilization, that is unparalleled in Europe, up to this day!*** While the Europeans (the Swiss, the French, the Belgians, the Dutch, the Germans, and even the Vatican) are not tolerant of a minaret of a Muslim Mosque; and when the Americans, in the land of milk and honey and the First Amendment and Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington, cannot even allow a Mosque/or the Islamic center of Cordoba, to be built near the vicinity of the Ground Zero, or anywhere else in the U.S.A. for that matter, and the infamous American Pastor Terry Jones, once wanted even to burn the Holy Qur’an on
Tariq Bin Ziad, who conquered Spain, was the “slave” of Musa Bin Nosair, and being a slave, he could not be an “Arab,” because the Arabs would not make a slave of their own, but only from the other nations – i.e. Mawali/Maula (=Ajami/Persian/African/Berber/Turkish, etc.) see: A. A. Velayati “The Islamic and Persian Civilizations” Tehran, 2005 – p. 759. Now, compare that Arab slavery of the conquered nations (i.e. Mawali) with Cyrus the Great of Persia, who some 2,500 years ago, upon conquering Babylonia, liberated all the enslaved Jews, and he declared “Slavery” illegal, in the entire Persian Empire, the first empire in history. (See: “World History: by Philip Grossier, New York, USA, 1974, p. 17). Also, check the “Cyrus Cylinder of the Human Rights” the Clay Tablets, some 2,500 years old, which is now at the possession of the British Museum. This was done by Cyrus of Persia, some 2,500 years ahead of Abraham Lincoln, in the USA (February 12, 1809 – April 15, 1865) and the slave trading nations of Europe, like England, France, etc. Now, was Cyrus the Great also a “Saracin” or “Khorasani?” I dare say: He was the father!
Sept. 11, 2010 (as his white brother, Hitler, used to do in the 1930’s), the Saracins of Spain, in the 8th century A.D. in the Spanish cities of Madrid, Civilia, Granada, Cordoba and Madinah Az-zahra, were building and even financially supporting the Churches, the Synagogues, the Mosques, Palaces, Universities, for every human being – be it a Jew, a Gentile, a Christian, an Atheist, a Muslim or anything else! This Saracin tradition of the Persian Muslims, and their tolerance for other religions, is evident even in this highly polarized world, and these dangerous days. There is probably not a single Al-Qaeda member among the Persian Muslims! That’s why, we can see that in the tragedies of the 9/11 in New York City, and the 7/7 of London and Madrid and Mumbai, etc.etc. the suicide bombers, came from the Arab Saudis, Yemenis, Moroccans, Egyptians, Pakistanis, and even some home-grown bombers in France, Germany, the USA. But, not even a single Saracin (Khorasani/Iranian) has ever been indicated in such illogical atrocities, against the Muslims or the non-Muslims, for that matter. The role of the Persian Muslims, since the early days of Islam, has always been, tolerance, intellectual contributions to the Islamic Science, Mathematics, Medicine, Chemistry etc.etc., which are unfortunately recorded in the world history books as, “The Arab Civilization,” “Arabesque,” “Moorish” (Moroccan). But, the truth of the matter is that, as the Pope also observed, (and Ibne Khaldun, the eminent Muslim sociologist stated, even before) the intellectual role of Islam, almost always has been represented by the non-Arabs, especially the Persian Muslim scholars; We can see that even the greatest musician of Andalusia, in Spain, during the 8th century was a Persian Muslim (Saracin) by the name of Ali Zar-yab (Arabs call him “Zarib!”) whose last name is a Persian word that means “goldsmith / gold miner.” Ali Zar-yab: The first man of the European Renaissance Ali Zar-yab was a true man of the Renaissance in Europe, during the 9 th century, long before Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519 A.D.), and other newly awakened intellectuals in Florence, or the rest of Europe, appeared in the 14th-17th century! Zar-yab, the Persian Muslim artist of Andalusia, Spain (D. 852 A. D), was the pioneering man, who in the 9th century A.D. “taught fashion designing to the Europeans!”, and he also “taught them the three square meals a day!” instead of the “normal” European’s “two meals a day” (probably because of poverty, lack of food or even lack of education and sophistication). See “Gardesh-gari,” Cultural Magazine, Tehran, March, 2005.xxx He also taught the Europeans the “sophisticated Persian (Islamic) table manners of using spoon and fork, etc.” that Europe did not know about (and even some non-Persian “Muslims” also don’t know, until today!).Before Martin Luther’s Protestant movement, some Catholics of Germany believed that fork was the tool of the Devil!( see DW-TV, German channel Oct. 31/2010) To better understand the Saracin contributions to European culture one should also take note of the Latin (Moorish) music in the Iberian Peninsula - Spain, Portugal and later on, in Latin America, the Oud, the Dulcimer, the Sarabandan Dances, the Flamenco, the Flute, the Poetry, the Gitanos, the Mosaics of Al-Hamra, and its Heavenly Fountains, the Shiraz of Xeres, the “Turkish Bath”, the paper Industry of Andalusia, the Pendulum and the early clocks, the compass, the Persian Wheel in Europe, The “Damasin Swords” steel (=Metallurgy) the Austrolabe, Rosa Lutea (=Persian yellow) the “Persianas” or the so called
Venetian Blinds and Azimina (=Ajamin=Persian Arts in Europe) etc. all with Saracin (Persian) influences.**** All those cultural, intellectual and civilized practices and religious tolerance, (in the 9th century A.D.) were being promoted and practiced by the Saracins (Persian Muslims) in the heart of Europe (from Cordova to Sicily and up to the gates of Paris) even as the Spaniards and the Catholic Church at that time, were busy with their own infamous “Inquisitions!”. They were burning alive thousands of their own Christian brethren, as well as the Jews and the Muslims, or any other “infidels” and deviant persons, that they could find, like Galileo Galilei, and many other scientists, philosophers, intellectuals and free thinkers, for their crimes of thinking or believing other than the Catholic Church! (Maybe the Taliban of today have also learned their lessons of brutality and intolerance from those Medieval Inquisitions, otherwise, the true Islam has never taught its followers to commit brutality and murder, as far as the clear verses of the Holy Qur’an, and the genuine teachings and the practices of the Holy Prophet Mohammad P.B.U.H. and his Blessed Ahlul Bayt, are concerned). The Spanish Intolerance While the Muslim Saracin rulers of Spain were so tolerant of the Jews and the Christians, their opponents, i.e. the Catholic Kings of Spain, were the exact opposite. They are known in history, as “Los Reyes Catolicos”. They were so intolerant of other religions that finally King Ferdinand (1452-1516 A.D.) and Queen Isabel of Spain (the grandparents of the present King of Spain, King Juan Carlos) expelled all the Muslims and the Jews (1480/90’s A.D.) who were living in Spain for almost 800 years or more! They forced others to convert into Catholicism, or to be put to death - a true example of the Inquisitions, ethnic cleansing and religious bigotry and intolerance, made in Spain.(According to Joseph Macape in his book “Moorish city of Spain” if Spain had not expelled the Muslims, the progress of the western world—Europe and America would have been faster and America could have been discovered much earlier!) These tragic events of religious intolerance, which took place in 1480/90’s A.D. lead to the destruction of Granada, Cordoba, Civilia, the Madinat Zahra, etc. and the end of a glorious era of the peaceful co-existence among the peoples of different faiths, in Europe, or anywhere else for that matter! Until in the year 2000, the then President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Dr. Mohammad Khatami (another new Saracin?), came up with the idea of the “Dialogue of Civilizations” and he presented this idea, as a resolution, to the United Nations, which was officially adopted by the U.N. General Assembly, and the year 2001 was declared by the U.N. as the year of the “Dialogue of Civilizations”. It took place just a few months before the September 11, 2001 tragedy in New York City, and the rest, as they say, is history! As the Romans, before, used to say: Que tempora, Que Moris! (What a time! What a moral bankruptcy!). Footnotes: * Note: Islam is probably the only religion in the world that its name means its “Ideology” and its ideology is its name, i.e. Peace/Shalom, plus the Submission to God Almighty. Meanwhile, Judaism refers to a certain tribe or a race, Christianity to the “Person of Christ”,
Zoroastrianism refers to the Persian Prophet Zoroaster, Manechianism to another Persian Prophet called Maani; the same is with Hinduism, Buddhism, etc. **With regard the Jews persecuting the Christians, the bible is full of many horror accounts, but in Arabia before Islam, there was a “haulocaust” of the Christians of Najran (in today’s Saudi Arabia) by a Jewish king of Arabia, named Dhu Nuwas. That “haulocaust” against the Christians of Arabia by an “Arabian Jewish Kingdom” took place in 523 A.D. a century before the birth of Islam! What can you say to that? (For details see Robert F. Worth in “The New York Times” Oct.22/2010 p.5). ***Speaking of the Saracins in North Africa (Morroco, Algeria,Tunisia, Libya, etc.) it’s interesting to note that in less than 200 years, some 30 Persians/Khorasanis/Saracins, ruled in those lands as Governors or Sultans. Still there are some of their descendants in North Africa. (see Prof.M.Motahhari ‘’Khadamat…”11th ed.p.395). ****During the “Inquisitions” the Spaniards would recognize the Muslims(Moors) from the “True Catholics” by checking whether they had taken a bath recently or not! If they were “bathed” then they were Muslims. (see: Dr.Ali Mazaheri, “La Vie De Musulman Au Moyen Age” Paris -1982 p.28). *****According to Ibn Batutah in his “Travels” during the Mughal rule in India, there were so many Iranians, and so much of the Persian influences, that every foreigner was called “Khorasani”—Persian/Saracin.(see Mr. Nuri, A. “The Persian Civilization” Tehran, Iran 2001 p.631). ******No wonder, the Holy Prophet Mohammad had already prophesied, that: “If knowledge be found in the stars, there will be some Persians to obtain it!”. *******Making paper, was one of the many gifts of the Saracins (Persian Muslims) to Spain, from where it also spread to the rest of Europe, that did not know about “paper” before! The Saracin paper industry (which they also got from the Chinese) went from Spain to Italy in 1279 A.D., and from there to France in 1348, then to Germany (of Gutenberg!) in 1390 and finally into (the Industrialized) England in 1495 A.D. (see Dr. A.A. Velayati “Persian and Islamic Civilizations”, Tehran 2005 p.04. ********The Saracin artists also influenced the Venetian arts and architecture, as one can clearly see in the building of the churches, monuments or facilities (Persiana or Venetian Blinds being one of them). In European paintings during the Renaissance, you could see many guys with Muslim features, attires, like turbans, and oriental looks; Those were mostly the influences of the Persians/Saracin artists in Venice in those days, like Mahmoud AlKurdi, who lived and painted in venice,during the early 16th century A.D. *********Madinat Zahra, the city built by the Muslim Caliphs of Spain, was the largest city in European history, that was built from scratch. Its ruins were discovered in 1911-see BBC. Dec. 5/2010. References:
1. “The Holy Qur’an” (English Translation) by Prof. Mir Ahmad Ali and Tafseer of H.I.
Aqa Puya, with the transliteration of Prof. M.S. Tajar, Published by the Muslim Academy of the Philippines, 2009 and by the National Bookstore in 2010 (Third Edition). 2. “The Holy Qur’an” (English Translation) by Abdullah Yusuf Ali, Published by the Iranian Muslim Students Assn. of the Philippines, with Transliteration by Prof. M.S. Tajar, 1985. 3. “Nahjul Balaagha”, Lectures of Imam Ali, by Sayyid Radhi and Ibne Abil Hadid, Ansarian Publications, Qom/Iran, 2003. 4. “Prophet Mohammad and his Household” (Ahlul Bayt) by Ustad Abdus Samad 10 th Edition, Islamic Research Center, Manila, Philippines, 2005. 5. “100 Questions and Answers About: Shi-ah, Sunnah and Wahhabism” by Ustad Abdus Samad, Published by the Islamic Research Center, Manila, Philippines, 2007. 6. “A Brief Study of the Holy Qur’an”, by Amid al-Qommi, printed by the Iranian Muslim Students Assn. of the Philippines, 1981. 7. “Principles of Islamic Government”, by Prof. M.S. Tajar, published by the Iranian Muslim Students Assn. of the Philippines, 1982. 8. “Islamic Civilization and the Contribution of Persia” a Research work by Prof. M.S. Tajar and Dr. Abdi Bakhtiari of the University of the Philippines, Diliman, 2009. 9. “Echo of Islam”, the Iranian Magazine (English Ed.), March 2010. 10. “Mahjubah”, the English Magazine for the Muslim Women, Tehran, Iran, May 2009. 11. “Gardesh-gari” Tourism and Culture Magazine, Iran, September 2000. 12. “Al-Wahdah”, Iranian Cultural Magazine (Arabic Ed.), March 2010 13. “Persian and Islamic Civilizations” by Dr. A.A. Velayati (former Foreign Minister of Iran, 1980-1988) Tehran, 2005 14. “Khadamaat…” by Prof. M. Motah-hari, Tehran, Iran—1998.
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