Travellers waiting at the Train station of Light: A compilation of articles written by Yusuf Morales

Compiled February 2010

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Foreword: The following is a set of articles I have written throughout my time will working in AABC as well as some manuscripts that I managed to find during my time at AABC, this is not all of my manuscripts, but Insha Allah I will be able to publish some of them in book form. Some of them has been published in my blogs and presented before conferences. These works are a tribute to my teachers (May Allah bless their souls), the divine Qutb that has guided my life...,My family who is my source of strength , my students who remind me of my duties, my colleagues who remind me of the great task ahead. My fellow Mulids who all have become better persons and me the least of them who remind me to be steadfast and be strong, To my Boss Sir Joel who has always been considerate of my insanities, and most of All, to the Hadrat Maasumin (alayhimus salam) and Allahu Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala who is the source of light life and guidance.

Yusuf Morales a student of light

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About the author:

The Author is a researcher as well as a ghostwriter. A prolific writer that writes in several blogs, used to write in several newspapers both as a feature writer and a corecspondent. A sufi by orientation and tradition, being a member of the Shadhili and Naqhshaband Tariqahs, being initiated in their traditions. Currently he is managing a school that focuses on IT in Quezon City Manila.

He is married and has three kids.

List of Articles: 1. “Using the tools of Islamic Pluralism and Moderation as tools for Interreligious
Dialogue and a basis for a subculture of todays Muslim youth. Experiences, realizations and conclusions.”

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Should Islamic Pluralism be used as a basis for Educational Philosophy?

3. Who Speaks for Muslims? 4. Reflections from reading Aqeedah tahawiyyah 5. Pushing the Ulama Further :A step towards the migration of intellect towards
higher understanding.

6. Reflection of Peacemaking and the Prevention of War:(A post Waging Peace
Philippines conference reflection)

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7. A reflection on the Article “Childrens Environmental Rights”, from an Islamic
persepective

8. Reflections : Attending the UNESCO Conference on Power and Rights 9. Sufism: An insight into the spiritual essence of Islam 10. Peace and Islam are not strangers to each other 11. What should we do to help Islam in the Philippines 12. Islamic Pluralism as a tool for understanding others. 13. Should Holiness be a way of life for Us? 14. Dilemna 15. Traitor to the Filipino People. 16. The Era of Imam Mahdi vis a vis the new global order as espoused by the West
:An understanding and analysis vis a vis dialectics of the the West .

17. Ummatan Wasatan 18. This is our world 19. REDEFINING THE BANGSAMORO STRUGGLE IN THE LIGHT OF CONTEMPORARY
EVENTS

20. An understanding and analysis vis a vis dialectics of the the West A look at the
new global order as espoused by the West as seen in light of their political theories:

21. REDEFINING THE BANGSAMORO STRUGGLE IN THE LIGHT OF CONTEMPORARY
EVENTS

22. Mubahala: The Challenge of tawheed 23. Shahadah: What does it signify? 4

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A Teachers' contextualization of the relationship between Knowledge and faith in the life and works of Said Nursi and the process of using them to give meaning and purpose to Man's life.

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Role of Muslim Educators in the Reformation and strengthening of Islam and the hastening of the era of Imam Mahdi

26. Looking at the Quezon City Scholarship Fair 2009 27. The Teacher is the curiculum 28. Do Online Processors work? 29. Engaging students with Foss? 30. Looking from the hourglass 31. Looking at Convergence 32. What does it take to switch to desktop linux in schools 33. why i get more convinced that I should convince more people to use ubuntu. 34. Ghost visits AABC 35. GHOST personal impressions 36. puting blender on the drawing table 37. what have we done so far 38. FOSS films a requirement for IT education 39. Deploying FLOSS-centric student Interns 40. English and blogging 41. Teaching your students your subject through IT 42. Bridging the Digtal Divide in Depressed Areas in the Philippines 5

Personal Essays

43. A new Year joke 44. Memories of Activitsm..reflection series one 45. when you start becomin a parent 46. Ang tsinelas ni Pepe 47. Of frustrations and joys 48. Memories of mentors 49. An Analysis of the
recent events in the Middle East.

“Using the tools of Islamic Pluralism and Moderation as tools for Interreligious Dialogue and a basis for a subculture of todays Muslim youth. Experiences, realizations and conclusions.”

Abstract: The paper aims to use the experiences of the author when he was a resource speaker for three Youth leadership summits in Cotabato City, Tubod and Polomoloc South Cotabato, where he lectured on three topics respectively, “Islamic Pluralism as a tool for understanding others”, “Moderation in Islam, A backdraft in reflection”, and “Pillars and Fundamentals of Islam”. “Simillarities and Diferrences of Islam and Christianity” The papers aims to dissect both the reactions of the youth participants from the inputs he gave, the contents he presented, how they were adjucted to suit to the particular audience, as well as his personal realizations that he has encountered in doing the lecture tour. 6

The paper also aims to present alternative persepectives on how Interreligious and intercultural; dialogue can be best done with todays youth as well as an analysis of how this can be used as a model for creating a subculture eventually leading towards a culture of peace. Part of this paper would deal with the prime movers of our youth... the teachers..... as experinecd by the authour when he presented the topics for the teachers themselves and reflections and realizations he has gained from his workshop with the teachers themselves. The paper may not be a definitive know-all albeit a work in progress but it aims to start the ball rolling in presenting new paradigm shifts in this regard.

Introduction: Bismillah Hirahman Niraheem Alhamdullilahi Ladhi Allamal Bil Qalam Allamal Insana Ma Lam Ya' lam Wa salatu wa salmu alal Ashrafiyal Anbiya'a wal Mursalin, Sayyidna Muhammad Wa alal alihit-Tahirin wa ashabi montajibin, wa awliayka Kareem, wa

Mujadidoon al-kareem, wa ummati wasiyeen. My brothers and sisters in life.....Assalamu alaikum

In the Name of God most Merciful and Most Compassionate All Praises be to Him who has created Knowledge 7

Taught mankind what he knows not All salutations and benedictions be unto the Beloved Prophet of Islam, Sayyidna Muhammad, to his blessed family, to his righteous companions, to the Awliyah of Allah, the Reformers of Islam and to the Muslim Ummah.

The common usage of the word interfaith Dialogie has in a way repeatedly used to denote any activity where there is dscussion of religious experiences, comonalities, as well as living in the midst of diversity.

The aim of this paper, however, is not to reinvent the wheel of interfaith dialogue but to share experiences in using a new tool adapted in order to further ones activities in the pursuit of mutual understanding, learning and travelling along the path, as a member of the Naqshabandi Sufi Tariqah, as well as an active member of the Anjuman Ahmadiyyah Isha'at Islami Lahore, a religious society that aims to propagate a peaceful and interactive Islam that draws from the experiences of islam as well as the Awliyah and the reformer of the 19th Century in Asia, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad.Being a scholar known to espouse intellectual exchange as well as inter-religious understanding, I was invited to deliver a series of talks on Interreligious dialogue, among them were three topics respectively, “Islamic Pluralism as a tool for understanding others”, “Moderation in Islam, A backdraft in reflection”, and “Pillars and Fundamentals of Islam” as well as “ simmillarities and differences of islam and christianity”. Personally I believe that it is pluralism as a paradigm is one of the best tools for interreligious dialogue as it as a concept allows other belief systems to co-exist and respect each other. 8

For those who are not familiar with the concept allow me to describe it in brief as was detailed in my presentation in Islamic pluralism in last years conference.[i] What entirely is Islamic Pluralism? Islamic pluralism is defined as the concept of maintaining peaceful relations between different religions, that is manifested in a number of related ways: Islamic Pluralism may describe the Islam's worldview that it is not only one's religion as not the sole and exclusive source of truth, and thus recognizes that some level of truth and value exists in at least some other religions. Islamic pluralism often is used as a Basis for interfaith dialogue. At a minimum, religion This is normally a synonym for religious tolerance, which is a condition of harmonious co-existence between adherents of different religions or religious denominations.......This furthers inter-human understanding beyond an exclusionary and consequently intolerant institutional religiosity. Islamic revelation presents a theology that resonates with the modern pluralistic belief that other faiths are not merely inferior manifestations of religiosity, but variant forms of individual and communal responses to the presence of the Transcendent in human life. All people are created in same divine nature (fitrah Allah) with a disposition that leads to the knowledge of God, the Creator to whom all worship is due simply because of the creation.[ii] This universal knowledge of the being in creation holds equally for the believer or non-believer, the worshiper of one being or of idols. More This leads promotion of unity, co-operation, or improved understanding between different religions, or denominations within the same

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important, both a monotheist and an idolater can understand God by inspiring faith in divine mercy and forgiveness, can guide anyone who He wills to save. [iii] This paper describes the experieneces and learnings that I have gained from both the process of the seminars we have lectured in as well as the interaction that I have had with the different Government agencies, the youth, the different sectors I have talked with as well as the people there, whom I dedicate this paper. This paper is also dedicated to the Scholars, the awliyah as well as the Mujadidoon. The series of activities that I was invited to lecture was the Youth

leadership summit, which is a 4-day stay-in seminar that has the same workings of other trainings, workshops, group dynamics, teach-ins as well as contests. But the meat of this activity was to create a rather new persepective of attaining peace and order, it also encourages them to rediscover their skills and talents to become better leaders of society. As of the moment we have successfully conducted i three areas, Awang, North Cotabato, Tubod Lanao del Norte and polomoloc South Cotabato, as of this wroting we are aiming to conduct in Zamboanga, Basilan,Sulu, Tawi-Tawi and Davao. It was an inter-agency project by both the government, Local Government Units, the AFP and several NGO and CSO's. For a young group of Community leaders, The seminar was quite unique in the sense that it incorporated nationalism, patriotism as well as community building. Interfaith concepts were incorporated to ensure that the community spirit transverse the bounds of tribe, race, religion and culture. This was where I was coming at. My role was to ensure that they learn the value of interfaith and interreligious dialogue. It was here that I decided to use the paradigm of Islamic pluralism, teaching both as a paradigm to be emulated by Muslims as well as making the christians and Lumds understand that there ias way to talk and still keep the peace.

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Being a young group that was of mixed persuasions and religious orientations, it was quite a challenge how to create a presentation that would catch their attention. Muslims and Christians coming from either was actually a challenge how to present to them. Most of the apprehensions that they faced was: "How do we embrace the faith of the others?" "Its easy to embrace our friendship with them but are they welcome in embracing our diffrences in Religion?", "would they welcome us if we ask them sensitive questions?" How are we simmillar and how are we different?". "how do we embrace diversity?" What were the initial issues and impressions that the young people were concerned about? Among the things they were concerned were the following: if indeed the seminar organizers were conscious of gender sensitivity such as the proper billetting of the genders;familiarity with the different traditions of Muslims and Christians, among them prayer and dietary issues for Muslims so as not to offend the other people who were participating in the seminar, doubts about the ability , sincerity and capacity of the organizers,if they would ask the hep of organizers;who were the good guys?Christians?Muslims? Their belief systems;who were the real terrorists and why does the war in Mindanao doesnt stop? Normally the first day was getting to know each other and camp rules. The second day was the inputs day, normally islam woyld be the first set of topics to ensure that misconceptions and clarifications would be done in the first day. Whenever I would come into a room I would always try to do a little assesment and personal question stuff that would make them more comfortable listening, preparing a powerpoint presentation as well as dressing up comfortably. Seeing a Islamic scholar dress in a casual manner was the first surprise they got, getting a very simple down to-earth lecture that delved very conservative families others who are familiar with both city and rural lives. It

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more in to the practical side than the theoretical side made them more comfortable to listen and ask questions. Although on other places I would only deliver two lectures as the others were prepared by other scholars. Honestly, from the faces and smiles I saw, they were all hopefull of some solution to the conflict that afflicted their families and their lives, and that solution lay ahead of those who were lecturing before them. Tough luck, because honestly, the solution actually lay before their eyes. When I delivered a talk on "Pillars and Fundamentals of Islam", I sincerely believed that it was not the Muslims that I should focus my talk into, as every Muslim knows about these things, I was structuring the lecture on how to present the general concepts and ideas why these issues and concepts were created as guidance for Muslims as well as the philosophical foundations for Muslims being requireed to believe in them. The next topic that I delivered, was "Simmillarities and differences of Muslims and Christians," funny as it would appear, a lot of Christian children were surprised to hear that Muslims loved, respected and cherished the Biblical prophets. This was a revelation for them. Since Young Muslims were not that open to talking or discussing theological concepts with their Christian friends, its was big relief for them to hear how to break chunks of religious ideas into down to earth ideas that could be digested by both Muslims and Christians alike. When I delivered the talk "Moderation in Islam, a backdraft in reflection" I realized that indeed although there were Muslims and that my main target audience was to make Christians understand Muslims, it appeard that I also had to explain these concepts to Muslims as well who were supposed to espouse this concept. Because, the very concept of being moderate and not to be extreme in beliefs and the conflicts springing from the contraditions was an experience not only confined to Muslims themselves, it was an experience and paradigm that spread to other religions as well.This was mutually agreed upon

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by Christians and Muslims as well. For them, the concept of moderation as the best manifestation of faith was such a very attractive idea, that one can be Christian/Muslim and be cool at the same time without compromising their religion. Whenever I would deliver my talk on “Islamic Pluralism as a tool for understanding others”,it always makes them realize that indeed this is a new paradigm shift in dealing with each other, that indeed there are possibilities of making this happen and indeed it is a very practical solution for them, to mutually respect and accept each others views and opinions, whether they may agreee with each other or not. Initially they were at a loss how to accept the idea of agreeing to agree and agreeing to disagree. I explained that it is like an issue of having simmilar things you like and some things that you dislike in people, only in this situation these are concepts and not people that you may not agree with, but you may still respect and agree with other things that a person may believe in. Inputs given during the seminar: Topic Fundamentals of Islam General concept Philosophical value why it is taught It is a guide to the belief It shows them both how system of Muslims and a to deal with both the guide for them as a way intrinsic of life issues shows as and a how extrinsic Muslim.It proximate

their belief system is to Christianity Commonalities of Islam and Christianity It shows how proximate their belief system is to Christianity, it also showed that Muslims and Christians have a lot in

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common. Moderation In Islam To expalin the theological Moderation allows people basis of Moderation and enough space to interact the danger of extremism with society withour limitations as a sign of deviance and having to be afraid of the misunderstanding of the theological Teachings of Islam that is imposed upon a believer. It ensures that he knows that he is acting along the rules set by religion. Islamic others Pluralism as a This concept provides the It enables Muslims to be basis dialogue dealing for participative religions and without interfaith basis people for as interactive with people of with being in the mindset that in they are the only ones worthy of salvation. basis for understanding theological

well as the philosophical other who differs

beliefs and perceptions.

At the end of the presentations, both Muslims and Christians realized that both as individuals and Community leaders, they have a lot to share, understand and relate with each other. The inputs gave them a more bigger persepective on how to deal with people from another religious orientation and have a long and lasting friendship with them. In fact it has made them realize that at the end of the day, they may have to subsume , peripheral issues and focus more on the welfare of the communities they serve for the better interest and welfare of all. What was also good, was that Teachers from Tubod, lanao del Norte also requested for such a training and orientation, I was able to conduct a summarized presentation like this for some teachers of Polomoloc South Cotabato and They really appreciated the cultural and religious sensitivities 14

that I was able to highlight and make them understand these issues. Personally I have realized a lot of things myself. First, the paradigm of interreligious dialogue must not be confined to either the religious people or clergy and separated from the regualr masses. It must be understood that the religious people/clergy must bring and explain actively to their jama'ah/flock the need of interreligious dialogue as well as undertake community wide steps to ensure the success of these endeavours. I have realized that both Chistian and Muslim religious scholars need to inculcate this concept among their very own clergy/lay people. As most of the young people who have fears regarding this concepts normally attribute their justifications from their very own scholars and clergy regarding the inapplicability of inter-religious dialogue. Perhaps in Metro Manila this may not be that case, but in isolated areas, this has been mostly the case as I had experienced in all of the three areas that I have done my trainings. And thus I believe that efforts must be done so that these concepts trickle down to these areas and be eventually be a paradigm that would be shared by all. It is important that in order for the younger people to adpot the paradigm of Interfaith dialogue, particularly adopting the tools of Islamic pluralism, the religious people must have an active part in understanding and cultivating this intellectual legacy that is manifested in both the Qur'an and hadith. For it is the opinion of the key formators of these youth that may eventually be impressed in their minds; and if the formators themselves are not open to these paradigm shifts, then indeed we need to do extra efforts to be able to let them embrace this paradigm. Such a subculture in out youth may indeed be the impetus of a renewed thrust for Peace. Who should we be involving in this paradigm shift? Other than the youth themselves, we must involve the community leaders, the teachers who are with them them during the day, as well as the scholars who advise them on religious matters. By involving these three key

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groups, with support from both the local government and national initiatives, rest assured this paradigm of Islamic Pluralism being adopted by Muslims as well as pluralism from a Christian persepective would be embraced as a way fo life ensuring mutual respect and peace for the coming times. Religious tenets are featured in almost all of the world’s cultures. They have been the source of long-standing disputes and local, regional and international conflicts, but also the inspiration for much of the world’s great art, music, architecture and literature. The aim of education is to bring an awareness and understanding of global issues, not just those of one particular country, culture or religion. A valuable education not only teaches values within each culture or religion, but also across cultures and religions. Let’s make a difference – at an early age – by teaching children a respect for diversity.

The Author would also like to acknowledge and thank the Inter-Agency task force that organized the Youth leadership summit, jointly headed by Sec. Mesa chief of the,NCTU and Commmissioner Mohammad Camid of the National Youth Commission, for allowing me to be part of that activity as well as use the inpuits from the seminar/trainings as the basis of my conference paper.

References: 1 Islamic Pluralism as a tool for understanding others, conference paper presentation,”Theories and Practices of Interfaith Dialogue in The Philippines,April24-26, Dela Sale University ,Manila 2 Sachedina, Abdulaziz, The Islamic Roots of Democratic Pluralism,Center for Strategic and International Studies,2001, Oxford University press

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document: Assessment, Youth Leadership Summit Evaluation: Mindanao Caravvan, AFCOC,September 15,2009

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[i] Islamic Pluralism as a tool for understanding others, conference paper presentation,”Theories and Practices of Interfaith Dialogue in The Philippines,April24-26, Dela Sale University ,Manila [ii] Sachedina, Abdulaziz, The Islamic Roots of Democratic Pluralism,Center for Strategic and International Studies,2001, Oxford University press. pp14 [iii] Ibid p14

Should Islamic Pluralism be used as a basis for Educational Philosophy?

A Question for Muslim Educators

Bismillah Hirahman Niraheem Iqra Bismirabbika Ladhi Khalaq Alladhi alamal bil Qalam

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Iqra'a wa rabbukal Akrm Allamal Insana ma lam ya'alam

Indeed as the first words from the Holy Quran was Iqra'ah , roughly translated as read or recite. a manifestation to instruct or teach. The Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) has said , “Al-Ulama al-warasatul al-Anbiya'ah (the learned are the successors of the prophets.” What could be deduced from the Holy Prophet's words is that indeed the learned, the ones who teach, has a divine task of passing knowledge, whether this may be secular, religious or technical, and as such are facing a divine mandate to perform. However in the myriad of conflicting ideological paradoxes, where notions of self-righteousness, highly opinionated views and perceptions as well as propaganda-infused material has been used in teaching there has been a strong need to follow an educational philosophy that would allow Muslim educators to use all the tools of pedagogy, as well as various paradigms in education in order to fully maximize their teaching as well as ensure that their students achieve their full potential. Sayyiddna Ali (karamallahu wajhah), the fourth Khulafa al-Rashidoon has said, “do not raise your children the way you were raised, as they live in a different world today”. And as such, points out that indeed teachers must find new ways that may not contradict Islamic Education but in fact enhances it. It is here where Islamic Pluralism finds an impetus to guide Muslim teachers. The `fact' of pluralism in Educational Philosophy is no surprise. Yet, if educational Philosophy is representing and explaining the basis of teaching pedagogy and Philosophical foundations, why is there such a diversity of 18

representations and explanations ? In this article let us consider the Islamic philosophical basis of Islamic pluralism that will explain the existence of both competitive and compatible alternatives.Let us see an integrative approach for understanding Islamic pluralism by adopting it in Education. The challenge is to explain "how can a diverse, well confirmed, but irreducible set of theories be used collectively to achieve a more complete understanding than any of the theories taken in isolation?" Let us consider the reasons for reductionism and defend an alternative based on the integration of compatible, not competitive, explanations. As an educator, one must learn to integrate concepts as well as identify ideas that although intrinsically coming from other belief systems but are productive and be assimilated into both the pedagogy and methodology of education. When one looks at the myriad of opportunities available for the Muslim educator to access knowledge, it would seem unfair for the Muslim teacher not to acknowledge these sources disregard the authors or advocates of these principles or concepts that he may have come across. Indeed by acknowledging the source of his teaching methodologies and pedagogies can he further enhance them We must always remember that in education there are always multiple methods and methodologies that can be used to harness and develop a more detailed and insightful understanding of what it means to learn. Integration of commonly shared values and the philosopy of integration in Education which is in reality a manifestation of Islamic Pluralism has advatages that outweigh the disadvantages. And as such schools are the most logical and effective treatment for students better perception and respect for “the other people”. There is always the fear among us to tread on uncertain ground, to touch the sacred and the profane as well as the fault marks in one's faith both as a person as well as an educator. It is this that points out that we as educators

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must be grounded in Islamic Pluralism as a basis of our educational Philosophy.

What then is Islamic Pluralism? Islamic Pluralism is defined as the concept of maintaining peaceful relations between different religions manifested in various ways: Islamic Pluralism may describe Islam's worldview that it is not only one's religion as the sole and exclusive source of truth, and recognizes that some level of truth and values exist in at least some other religions. Islamic Pluralism is now being used as a basis of Interfaith dialogue and at a minimum, this leads to promotion of unity,cooperation and improved understanding between different denominations or religions.1 It is the non-institutional character of Pluralism that has attracted a substantive majority of the worlds population because it manifests the universal social dimension of ones personal and private life in order to project them to the world2. As a result in furthers inter-human understanding that goes beyond a level of exclusivity and intolerance for others. What must also be understand, is that Pluralism as a concept has gradually been accepted and accepted in the educational pedagogy of the west. And as such, it s only a matter of time that this Philosophy permeate all others. But worthy of note is that Islamic pluralism as a concept has long existed before any of todays Giants and scholars of education ever exdisted or even spoke of Pluralism and as such, it is our intellectual heritage that as educators, we take this and imbibe into our educational philosophy. When this is translated into action by educators, this would translate into a mutliplicity of learning and experiences for his students considering the diversity of cultures, belief systems, values as well as technological advances that continually push the world to become a more globalized community.

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Kallen (1957) defines Pluralism from a cultural persepective to be both “a working hypothesis” and an ideal affirming the primacy of differences as well the right to differences. Kallen's guiding metaphor for pluralism was that each group or unit is an orchestra and that each of the individual components contributing its own unique tone and timbre.3 Efforts allowing students to cross ideological, cultural and personal barriers are the best ways to create a process of integration and conscientization, and that these elements would allow a person to be more conscientious of what others feel and think and adopt a more “open approach” to other peoples beliefs and perceptions with a tone of respect rather than disgust. This approach and philosophy can be best described in the words of Wilber and the Integrationist (pluralist) movement: “To integrate and to bring together, to join and to link, to embrace not in the sense of uniformity, and not in the sense of ironing out all the wonderful differences,”4 Then how to we translate Islamic pluralism as an Educational Philosophy? In a way this means that we learn to see and research and combine concepts as well as dilineate other concepts that must be taught although, we may personally have biases against these concepts but in a way, we teach them in the best manner possible allowing our students to explore the various mazes of human knowledge, understanding and Philosophy, guided by the Islamic Philosophical bases in our faith, we show them the sources of knowledge, the processes of gaining knowledge as well as the methods of gaining knowledge. Remember that even the universal message of the Qur'an reaveals that without subordination to a limited historical concept, that revelation theirein respects pluralism as given and even nescessary, requiring Muslims to 21

continually negotiate, transform and emphasize the fundamental unity of mankind in its origins, and that human diversity is indispensable for human development and progress. Developing Islamic Pluralism as an educational Philosophy to be used by our educators will in a way boil down to students. In the end it will allow educators formulate their own methods in teaching, allowing them to reflect on questions as to what they want to create inquiry or interest. Would they want to let students develop a genuine interest in understanding of the interior meaning the process of making;or generate interest in what is happening;Or generate interest for the students to examine these issues or create interest to make others study;or generate interest in learning about an individual's beliefs, actions or focusing on more complex interactions in meaning or making in systems. By reflections in these questions,Educators can help students develop skills in the process of inquiry in order to contribute to the furthering of knowledge as well as the development of a well-educated individual.

On a final note, I would like to sum it up in the following concepts: Truth and knowledge is a universal legacy, and as the Prophet has said, "All beneficial knowledge is the lost property of believers"; it is also our sacred duty to impart this beneficial knowledge if not enhance it. Islamic Pluralism in a way is a suitable basis for enhancing Educational Philosophy as it allows the process of recognition, conscientization, integration and fusion of productive concepts into teaching pedagogy fr the productive use of mankind Truth, knowledge, wisdom and illumination is the universal property of mankind, and as scholars,in the true meaning of heirs to the Prophets, we must impart these to the world. And as such, Indeed Islamic Pluralism as an Educational Philosophy is

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more than attuned to todays educational situation, it is one of the best models in Educational Philosophy. 1Morales, Yusuf Roque, “Islamic Pluralism as a tool for understanding others”conference paper;THEORIES AND PRACTICES OF INTERFAITH DIALOGUE IN THE PHILIPPINES,DLSU-Manila.,2008 2ibid 3Horace M. Kallen, “Allain Locke and Cultural Pluralism”, The journal of Philosophy 54 no 5 (1957) pp 126 and 127 4Wilbur,K,(2000), “A theory of everything”.Boston, Shambahala **************** ****************

Who speaks for Islam Today? Who Speaks for the Muslims? Ever since the tragic events of 9/11, There has been a deluge of voices claiming to speak with authority over issues claiming to speak with authority about Islam have become increasingly dstressing. There are relatively few contemporary topics that are as controversial than that of how to interpret Islamic practices and beliefs. And as such, the interpretation of Islam in the West as well as in the Muslim world has become much of a cottage industry.. Indeed as one sees the

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ranks of those who interpret they are really diverse, among them are counterterrorism experts, policymakers and journalists, as well as religious studies academics, political scientists, Muslim ulama (Islamic legal scholars), Muslim feminists in the West, people who as leaders speak on behalf of various religious groups. The public's Interest on how Islam is being understood and practiced as a result experienced a dramatic increase in the recent years, and because of the blurring, its not always clear whom should we listen when its comes down to our “deen” listen to amongst the din. A survey of language used in prominent North American and European newspapers and magazines reveals an extensive list of labels categorising Muslims based on their postures toward Western culture and politics as well as towards one another. Journalists, editors, and academics alike are inquisitive about the extent to which conservative Muslims can be integrated within mainstream Western culture (e.g. “For Conservative Muslims, Goal of Isolation a Challenge” or “Progressive Muslims Challenge Tradition”), and the extent to which they can be dissuaded from adopting radical stances vis-à-vis current political issues (e.g. “The Quest for a Moderate Islam,” “Muslim Refusenik Incites Furor with Critique of Faith” or “Islamic Extremists: How Do They Conjure Up Support”).

Among non-Muslims as well as among Muslims, it seems that everyone has become a stakeholder in the future of Islam, with everyone attempting to label groups with different perspectives: conservative Muslims compete with progressive Muslims for airtime, traditionalist Muslims denounce self-hating Muslims and Islamophobes alike. Meanwhile, moderate Muslims challenge militant Muslims, putative Muslim refuseniks denounce Muslim extremists, and would-be reformists repudiate apologists who refuse to embrace the need for change. Everyone, it seems, has a party line about who the good Muslims and 24

bad Muslims are. Sadly, many of the dichotomies distort as much as they reveal, and use simple labels based on superficial preconceptions and oversimplifications. At a time of heightened insecurities and acute perceptions of threat, everyone has arrived at the conclusion that their identity and values are under attack, hence the tendency to represent the stakes as absolute: for example as a struggle to save the “real” Islam, defined in either staunchly traditional or authoritatively progressive terms. Funny as it is. Everywhere in the world, there is a perception that many Muslims who feel abused by the West often fall short of their own proclaimed values, including justice. And it is true: some Muslim activists who thrive on denunciation of Western wrongs are culpable in the silencing of other Muslim voices and inclined towards genuinely immoderate views and behavior. But one can see a similar dynamic among those Westerners who allow themselves to become entrapped by fear of the Muslim “other”. What happened to the idea that dissent can be patriotic, or that a plurality of views can be a blessing? We seem to be losing the capacity for a commonsensical moral honesty that places principles above fear, opportunism and cultural or party politics. While these sorts of contradictions weigh upon us heavily in a time of increased tensions, diagnosing the malady is the first step toward a cure. To avoid becoming extremists ourselves in the very process of arguing against the extremism of others, we need to develop better habits of listening and of dialogue. Listening alone is not a path to harmony, as the substantive differences among the many parties who are in some way “concerned about Islam” are real and enduring. Yet cultivating an ability to listen has become more critical 25

than ever, and remains the most vital means of building trust. Only high-quality and sincere listening can enable us to hear unstated concerns and articulate the fears, anxieties and negative experiences that underpin much political and religious stridency. To overcome the West’s anxiety about Islam and reduce the volatility of debate among Muslims, we have no choice but to return to the basics of human psychology and communication, and to relearn the arts of civility: which starts not with labelling, but with listening and relating. And therein lies the need to have an open ear in listening to others. And perhaps consider adopting Islamic Pluralism as a way of life.

Reflections from Reading Aqeedah Tahawiyyah

I have recently been reading Aqeedah Tahawiyah prepared in English by Shaykh Muhammad bn Yahya Ninowy (may Allah prolong his life and bless him for his efforts). Aqeedah tahawiyyah is one of the simpliest and easiest manuals in explaining Islamic aqeedah without creating any conflicts. It was Shaykh Ahmad (may Allah bless him) who forwarded me some materials and guides... I eventually started reading it alone and now am reading it with Sister Nur. She has been very supporting and guiding as to how 26

the text is being read (studied with a teacher). We have been done last Saturday morning with chapters one to three. And I appreciate and am very glad with how I saw things . I have decided to write my reflections and understandings of the first three chapters as a result of my readings. It is important to note in the words of Shaykh Muhammad bn Yahya Ninowy that, “Aqeedah is Islam, as it constitutes our faith, must be found on unshakeable convistions and established beyond doubt, therefore Muslims are demanded to search for the indisputable truth, base their aqeedah on sound convictions and naturally...use their intellect and oppose blind imitation.” As this being the basis of our path, I put my reflections on the feet of the illustrious scholars to see if indeed it is under the shade of the aqeedah of Islam. One must understand that indeed Tawheed or the path of understanding tawheed is a knowledge acquisition process. Although basiocally worship for the laymen is learning by imitation (taqlid) of the scholars as taught through the chains of transmission). It must be emphasized that people ( Muslims in particular) become accountable to Allah for their actions and decisions on the basis of their knowledge ... and that belief must always be substantiated by knowledge. It would be best and be put in the principle One of : belief=knowledge+understanding faith=belief+satisfaction. must

always consider that the main role of aqeedah is to teach tawheed in effect teach man the correct set of beliefs and valuesto prepare one's heart for the correct state of belief. (perhaps prepare him for yaqeen) A lot of people conceive Monotheism as tawheed. Perhaps it may be so and it may not be so.Tawheed establishes what is the limitations and concepts when associated with understanding how to aproach things. How to know the 27

gulf that separates the One who has created and the created. The verse in Surah ikhlas is the best parameter to use, “wa lam yakoon lahu kufuwan ahad”. Reflecting on what are the basic prerequisites to studying Aqeedah tahawiyyah indeed it is but important that the following which I have found to be trully important among them was that worship and obedience is always the result of applying acquired religious knowledge. And that this acquired knowled is required to be put into action. Remebering that every act of worship must be firmly grounded on correct knowledge. Mere intentions are not enough.The path to faith must be based on the correct understanding and knolwdge of Faith, Islam and Tawheed. There are 4 things that I have realize as a result: 1. To possess correct knowledge one must go back to the basics so that all succeeding efforts to acquiring knowledge will bebguided from the basics 2. Correct actions only will come from correct knowledge 3. Good intentions and acttions are not enough but must be firmly based on correct and accurate knowledge 4. We are mandated to acquire knowledge. A very notable part of the discussion and reading is that one must acquire knowledge from a teacher and not mere books. One taking ones knowledge directly from a book is a suhufi, bereft of the guidance and teaching of a teacher. A good point to consider here also is that books can never answer back your questions in detail, and that teachers contain the sum of all his personal knowledge, experiences as well as that of the teacher who had preceeded him or her. Thus this is indeed one of the very important reasons why transmission of knowledge through teachers is needed. I have discovered in this process the five (5) criterias in acquiring knowledge:

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1. Sincerity to Alah 2. Great effort must be exerted in this process 3. Take knowledge from someone who posesses it (a teacher not simply a book or a person who has learned through a book) 4. Students must employ proper etiquette with their teachers 5. Humility and kindness.

Tawheed is made up of two categories, one is fard/obligatory to be understood personally like the five pillar and 6 fundamentals of belief and second is the communal obligations wlike understanding the precepts and basis of Islamic teachings and the ability to refute those who are teaching the wrong concepts. When one possess knowledge it is a divine task upon him to impart it to others like truth being told . And that finally ones words and speeches should never be without basis. Wa salaatu wa salaamu alal ashrafil anbiya'ah wal mursalin wal hamdulillah hirabeel alameen.

Pushing the Ulama Further : A step towards the migration of intellect towards higher

understanding. It is a grim realization that the ulama in the Philippines as a whole has not yet matured and reached its full potential. The label “Warasatul al-Anbiya” cannot be still appended to them. One may see that even in the worldview that as a general concept, a lot 29

of them hasn't come up to their counterpart from the other parts of world. At present, when one looks at the curriculum being used to train Ulama in the country we see a wide disparity. Indeed from how we look at it since the collective culture of the Muslims in this country hasn't evolved or matured, as a result even the religious institutions did not progress a bit further, with a few exceptions of certain Muslim intellectual and religious personalities; but as a whole the Philippine Muslim religious institutions need more than a face lift but an overhaul. One may like to look at the curricular content in the educational institutions used to train Imam's and the religious. A simple survey would show that when we would try to match the curricular standard with he modern educational institutions training their Christian counterparts in the Philippines, they would lag really fa r behind. One couldn't even find equivalency between the madrasah's and the regular public educational system. This is quite alarming, add to this, Filipino scholars sent abroad to study Islamic studies come hope ill-equipped and ill trained, due to several circumstances. Most of the Filipino Muslim's best minds have taken the path of secular knowledge like engineering, medicine and other fields, and normally those who have lesser educational opportunities due to various circumstances like not being able to pass the collegiate entrance exam, dismal academic ratings in public school system, financial incapacity to pursue further studies, one or several of these and other factors push these students to “study in Madrassah” not as an option but the only choice to gain an education and gain social acceptability in their conmmunities. Others who may be able to go abroad to continue their Religious studies abroad come home ill-prepared due to the fact that they were not fully trained in Arabic before leaving and specializing only in Arabic language and not in other fields only delimits them the capacity of becoming translators. And being unprepared intellectually to read the Islamic classics in Fiqh, Shari'ah and other Islamic fields also leads them further to translate and teach concepts even not within their reach or 30

breadth of understanding. This has far-reaching consequences. Add t this the literalist-narrow-mindedness of Salafi ideology has led other Filipino Muslims to the Pitfalls of Radicalist fundamentalism. With these things in mind, one may be induced to think, “could there be a probable solution, comprehensive so that to otherwise mitigate if not eradicate the problem?”. Although indeed due to the perceived Government bias against Muslims due to the Mindanao conflict reservations of government intervention would be highly doubted and the fear of politicized intervention thus losing track of the original objective; still it is the best objective although to be done in another manner. One of the things we have done was comparative analysis of the curricular content of Southeast Asian, Egyptian, Syrian Iranian and Western Islamic religious educational models and try adapting selective characteristics of these systems. When we were given an opportunity to design the Commission on Higher Education's BS Islamic Studies curriculum, we included these important facets thus , ensuring that even following the minimum standards set by CHED in BS Islamic Studies education, we can at least raise the quality of Islamic scholarship in the country. In the case of Malaysia and Singapore, both countries allowed the profligation of Sufi-oriented Islam in their countries as well as allowing the proliferation of the Islamic classics and Islamic Philosophy. Even though the government takes an indirect hand in this matter, but allowing Sufi Islam to profligate is a good idea. I would like to emphasize on record that despite the comments on the evolution of the Amercican Muslim movement, I personally believe that even their experiences are worth studying and emulating (except of course the 31

theological evolution before the Honorable Late Warith Deen Muhammad took over the American Muslim religious institutions). Perhaps by trying to do this, we can push the Ulama a step further in professionalizing More to come later. themselves as we face more challenges.

Reflection of Peacemaking and the Prevention of War: (A post Waging Peace Philippines conference reflection)

One always would think that Peace is the absence of War, perhaps that is what others may say... from a perspective that has not seen perhaps the harsh realities of the world. However, when one goes around in Manila, far-fetched from the dismal and grave realizations of war, wounded, dying and mournful suffering of the orphans, widows, the dying and the mourning... one may see that perhaps this is a skewed perspective. For even in the midst of the urban jungles of imperial Manila, one sees the gory images and thoughts of violence, 32

though not like images of war in Mindanao, Afghanistan or Iraq... and yet the thoughts and images would also prove alarming. After several wars and Peace conferences, I was pondering.. where does this all lead us into... is this but another endless road and Quixotic crusade against imagined dragons and devils... of undefeatable crusades and quests... as one searches for the indomitable Holy Grail of peace.....

I normally don't watch the news on TV unless I see a compelling reason to do so.... PR releases of Kapuso AABC Scholarship Initiative grantees to raise the morale of School faculty staff and students by recording them, Storms monitor so that I can determine even without the declaration of CHED of suspension I can declare a school holiday; Public events that may require a suspension of classes like SONA, or monitoring financial status of the world so that I may be able to forecast what could happen in the country. But when I watched the Anti-Chacha rally recently, I was petrified to see conflicting images.... people wanting change but people who personally needed to change themselves but challenge people to change themselves. Ironic isnt it?

Then it suddenly came into my mind... how could one wage peace when all people wage war? However in my mind I see there lies a contradiction, war only happens when conflict escalates, and as the brilliant War strategist Von Klauswitz would say; “War is the continuation of Political policy in another way”, thus I was enamored to ponder more as to how to go around exactly the opposite of this argument. I remember that one of my Guru's has said, that in this world, battles are fought and though these battles are fought fiercely, they may not appear to be physical at times... but the effects are disastrous. Yes, battles are not merely fought on the fields..but most importantly I the mind of men. What Von 33

klauswitz may have tried to say or couldn't say, is ... being a man of war..... he envisioned war as an extension of the politics of a person or society forcibly imposed on another. But if these battles were fought in the mids of men, then it is clear... that when the war of ideals are lost in the mids of men, then its continuation ensues in the battlefield of men. Thus one of the greatest battles to be fought by those waging Peace against those waging war is not merely the battle to convince people that War is not the solution... but that to end war the battle to ned conflicts must also begin in the minds of men. I do hope that the next time Peacemakers meet and talk about waging Peace.. this would also be considered in their strategies.

A reflection on the Article “Childrens Environmental Rights”, from an Islamic persepective The reaction is written in response to the conference paper presented by Atty Ronaldo Guttierez during the UNESCO World Philosophy day Conference “Power and Rights” held last 20 November at the Institute of Social Order Ateneo De Manila University.the article can be accessed at:http://groups.yahoo.com/group/philophilippines/?yguid=333917463 )

The Holy Qur'an declares that man is the Vicegerent of God on Earth (khilafatul Ard) and that this trusteeship is divine in nature (amanah Ilahiyah). It is then in this context that this trusteeship is taken into the context of taking care of this divine piece of property so that the later generations (ummah) may benefit from it.

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Sources from both the Qur'an and the Hadith express the divine injunctions of preserving the environment as part of a religious duty in the sense that if one does not take care of the environment, it appears that he has violated the divine injunctions for being God's trustee here on earth. The context of protecting the environment in ensuring that future generations may enjoys it is of outmost importance that in the Islamic Rules on warfare written both in the Qur'an and the Traditions strictly prohibit any attacks made on the environment in the sense that the concept of warfare is directed at the opposing forces and that any other initiatives towards subjugation of the opposing force must be dealt with in a manner that may ensure that future generations may enjoy the fruits of a safe environment. The fourth Caliph, Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib (karamallahu wajhah) has said in one of his letters to his commander Malik Al-Ashtar, that; “in wars, we must ensure that it is only combatants we fight and no harm must be done to trees, to bodies of water or any physical resource that is of collective use of humanity. Since this collective resource is the property of the future suceeding generations.” The Prophet Muhammad (salla Allahu Alayhi wa alihi wa salam) even said, “The Physical resources we now have at our disposal is actually a loan from Allah (God) to be returned later for use of the later generations.” Islam goes a level further, claiming that man in his original state exists in a way that adapts to nature and the nature of creation, meaning by nature Man should also follow self sustainability. However, due to his excessive greed he goes to the point of extracting much and forgettingthe later generations. In a nutshell, the point from an islamic persepective on environmental rights can be summed up in a simple concise statement, 35

“We borrow the physical resources at our disposal from our later generations,we must then take care and utilize carefully so that they may use it for many generations.” This is the context of Divine stewardship of the earth. KHILAFATUL ARD

Reflections : Attending the UNESCO Conference on Power and Rights

I had recently attended a conference sponsored by by the UNESCO National Commission of the Philippines Social and Human Sciences Commitee in cooperation with Ateneo Human Rights Center and Ateneo De Manila Philosophy Department. The Theme for the Conference was "Power and Rights." and Since it was World Philosophy Day I tried to seriously relish the conference , nibbling its details and contents as if it was a course of delectable dishes. And It was held only recently (today actually), I wasnt able to make 36

commentaries on the articles presented there for this blog. But I would eventually do later after ding my other work here at the school.

In a way I found it intellectually awakening, hearing people qoute the same authors Ive read in College like Habermas, Foccault, or Maciavelli. It also was enlightening to hear what our intellectual philosophical giants had to say about the current issues of the day and how it would relate to your regular Fish monger,street sweeper or College student. I was struck in a way that there indeed is a need to philosophize about things and that Philosophy is indeed an intellectual need for a nation to continue in its development.

I remember in Islamic History that when in the times when Islamic Philosophy flourished, Islamic Civilization was also at its peak and finest. Thus, as a progenitor of creative intellectual development, I believe that indeed for the Muslim Ummah to develop again, it mus rekindle Islamic Philosophy. I only wished that in the next conference hosted by UNESCO, Prof Ibana would include speakers on Islamic Philosophy. It would also be wonderful to think that had we decided to rekindle Philosophy in this country (the Philippines) perhaps we could see a reflourishing of intellectual advances in the country and perhaps a moral revolution in the country. Remember that the Prophet Muhammad (Salu Allahu Alayhi wa alihi wa salam) has said , "The Learned (scholars) are the heirs of the Prophets." I also had a realization that has been rationalizing in my mind since attending the Interfaith Conference in DLSU, We have been always using western models and conceptual frameworks in our works, although the East has a living intellectual tradition worthy of emulation, we still take note and use western models for our discourses. Perhaps its about time to adapt a 37

moratorium on using these models and instead adapt eastern models and conceptual frameworks and eventually creating our own indigenous and even unique conceptual models and frameworks when discussing concepts in Social Sciences.

More to follow after I do my commentaries on the articles in the conference. Sufism: An insight into the spiritual essence of Islam

A Presentation Paper prepared by Yusuf Morales For the I-Faith Forum on Mysticism In Islam and Christianity Bismillah Hirahman Niraheem Alhamdullilahi Ladhi Alamal Bil Qalam Allamal Insana ma lam Ya'lam (In the Name of God Most Merciful and Compassionate Praise be to Him who has created Qalam (speech/pen/Knowledge) And created Man And what he does not know) Wa salatu wa salamau alal Khatamul anbiya wal Mursalin, Sayidna Habibina wa Mawlatina Muhammad, Salla Allahu alayhi wa alihi, wa Ahlil Bayt Tahirin (alahyimus Salam), wa Ashabi Muntajirin (Radialahhu anhum) My friends, allow me to greet you the universal Islamic Greeting of Peace: Assalamu alaikum The Slides I have prepared, actually does not coincide with my paper,as its aim is to provide a simplified presentation accordingly to western persepective. It was taken from a presentation prepared by one of my elders, Dr. Mirza Ahmad of the Naqshabandiya foundation.

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However, I believe that it would prove to be helpful in the event of the open forum in the aim of simplifying answers. This talk is dedicated to the Spiritual chains of our tradition both in the Ikhwanu-Safa and the Sadiliah Branch of Naqhabandiyah Order.

Indeed it is said that in every object, there lies its essence, its heart, its embodiment. And like the great Sage Hermes known as the prophet Khaidr has said, the essence lies in the heart of an object. Sufism, as the masters say is the heart and essence of Islam. It is the crystalization of all known knowledge; as Imam Ali, karamallahu wajhah said, it is the key to knowing oneself, and knowing God. Basically, what do we refer as Tasawuff? As a practitioner of this discipline, it is not that easy to elaborate on this vast expanse of knowledge. But I will try in my own humble way to crystalize what I have received from My Masters and share with you what little I know of Sufism. Sufism stands for the mystical Islamic science and practice in which the faithful seeks to find the truth of divine love and knowledge through direct personal experience of God. It consists of a variety of mystical paths that are designed to ascertain the nature of man and God and to facilitate the experience of the presence of divine love and wisdom in the world. Islamic mysticism is called tasawwuf (literally, “to dress in wool”) in Arabic, but it has been called Sufism in Western languages since the early 19th century.

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An abstract word, Sufism derives from the Arabic term for a mystic, Sufi, which is in turn derived from suf, “wool,” plausibly a reference to the woollen garment of early Islamic ascetics. The Sufis are also generally known as “the poor,”fuqara', plural of the Arabic faqir, in Persian darvish, whence the English words fakir and dervish. By educating the masses and deepening the spiritual concerns of the Muslims, Sufism has played an important role in the formation of Muslim society. Opposed to the dry casuistry of the lawyer-divines, the mystics nevertheless scrupulously observed the commands of the divine law (Shari'a). The Sufis have been further responsible for a large-scale proliferation activity (nashr) all over the world, which still continues. Sufis have elaborated the image of the prophet Sidna Mohammed (peace and blessing be upon him) and have thus largely influenced Muslim piety by their Mohammedian mysticism.

Without the Sufi vocabulary, Arabic, Persian and other literatures related to it, such as Turkish would lack their special charms. Through the poetry of these literatures mystical ideas spread widely among the Muslims. Sufism had several stages of growth, including (1) the appearance of early asceticism (zuhd), (2) the development of a classical mysticism of divine love (mahabba laduniya), and (3) the rise and proliferation of fraternal orders of mystics (turuq). Despite these general stages, however, the history of Sufism is largely a history of individual mystic experience. The first stage of Sufism appeared in pious circles as a reaction against the worldliness of the early Umayyad period (76-661/164-749). From their practice of constantly meditating on the Quranic words about Doomsday, the ascetics became known as “those who always weep” and those who considered this world “a hut of sorrows.” They were distinguished by their scrupulous fulfilment of the injunctions of the Quran and tradition, by many acts of piety, and especially by a predilection for night prayers. The introduction of the element of love, which changed asceticism into mysticism, is ascribed to Sayyida Rabi'a al-'Adawiya (d. 216/801), a woman 40

from Basra who first formulated the Sufi ideal of a love of God that was disinterested, without hope for paradise and without fear of hell. In the decades after Sayyida Rabi'a, mystical trends grew everywhere in the Islamic world. A number of mystics in the early generations had concentrated their efforts upon tawakkul, absolute trust in God, which became a central concept of Sufism. An Iraqi school of mysticism became noted for its strict self-control and esoteric insight. The Iraqi school was initiated by Sidi al-Harith ibn Asad al-Muhasibi's (d. 243/828), who believed that purging the soul in preparation for companionship with God was the only value of asceticism. His teachings of classical sobriety and wisdom were perfected by Sidi Abul Qacem al-Junaid of Baghdad (d. 297/882), to whom all later chains of the transmission of doctrine and legitimacy go back. In an Egyptian school of Sufism, the mystic Sidi Dhu an-Nun (d. 274/859) reputedly introduced the technical term ma'rifa(gnosis), as contrasted to learnedness; in his hymnical prayers he joined all nature in the praise of God. In the Iranian school, Sidi Abu Yazid Bastami (d. 261/846) is usually considered to have been representative of the important doctrine of annihilation of the self,fana' (extinction); the symbolism of his sayings prefigures part of the terminology of later mystical poets. At the same time the concept of divine love became more central, especially among the Iraqi Sufis. Its main representative is Sidi Abul Hassan an-Nuri (d. 295/880), who offered his life for his brothers. The first of the theosophical speculations based on mystical insights about the nature of man and the essence of the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) were produced by Sidi Sahl Tustari (d. 311/896) and Sidi al-Hakim atTirmidhi (d. 313 898). Sidi Sahl Tustari was the master of Sidi Hussein ibn Mansur al-Hallaj (d. 309/894), who has become famous for his phrase ana alhaqq, “I am the Creative Truth” (often rendered “I am God”), which was later interpreted in a pantheistic sense but is, in fact, only a condensation of his theory of huwa huwa (“He He”): God loved himself in his essence, and created Adam “in his image.” Sidi Hallaj was executed in 407/922 in Baghdad as a

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result of his teachings; he is, for later mystics and poets, the “martyr of Love” par excellence, the enthusiast killed by the theologians. His few poems are of exquisite beauty; his prose, which contains an outspoken Mohammedian mysticism is as beautiful. Sufi doctrine was in these early centuries transmitted in small circles. Some of the Shaykhs, Sufi mystical leaders or guides of such circles, were also artisans. In the fourth/tenth century, it was deemed necessary to write handbooks about the tenets of Sufism in order to ease the growing suspicions of the orthodox; the compendiums composed in Arabic by Sidi Abu Talib al-Makki (d. 386/971), Sidi Sarraj, and Sidi Kalabadhi in the late fourth/tenth century, and by Sidi Abul Qacem al-Qushayri (d. 467/1052) and, in Persian, by Sidi Hujviri in the fifth/eleventh century reveal how these authors tried to defend Sufism and to prove its orthodox character. It should be noted that the mystics belonged to all schools of Islamic law and theology of the times. The last great figure in the line of classical Sufism is Sidi Abu Hamid al-Ghazali (d. 526/1111), who wrote, among numerous other works, the Ihya' 'ulum addin (“The Revival of the Religious Sciences”), a comprehensive work that established moderate mysticism against the growing theosophical trends and thus shaped the thought of millions of Muslims. His younger brother, Ahmad alGhazali, wrote one of the subtlest treatises (Sawanih;“Occurrences” [i.e. stray thoughts]) on mystical love, a subject that then became the main subject of Persian poetry. Slightly later, turuq, mystical orders (fraternal groups centring around the teachings of a shaykh-founder) began to crystallize. The seventh/thirteenth century, though politically overshadowed by the invasion of the Mongols into the Eastern lands of Islam and the end of the 'Abbasid caliphate, was also the golden age of Sufism: the Andalusian Sidi Muhyiddin ibn Arabi ("Shaykh alAkbar," d. 636/1221) created a comprehensive theosophical system (concerning the relation of God and the world) that was to become the cornerstone for a doctrine of “Unity of Being.” According to this doctrine all existence is one, a manifestation of the underlying divine reality. His Egyptian 42

contemporary Sidi Ibn al-Farid (d. 650/1235) wrote the finest mystical poems in Arabic. Two other important mystics, who died 635/1220, were a Persian poet, Sidi Farid ad-Din 'Attar, one of the most fertile writers on mystical topics, and a Central Asian master, Sidi Najmuddin Kubra, who presented elaborate discussions of the psychological experiences through which the mystic adept has to pass. The greatest mystical poet in the Persian language, Sidi Jalaluddin ar-Rumi (d. 688/1273), was moved by mystical love to compose his lyrical poetry that he attributed to his mystical beloved, Shamsuddin of Tabriz, as a symbol of their union. Sidi Jalaluddin ar-Rumi's didactic poem Mathnawi in about 26,000 couplets—a work that is for the Persian-reading mystics second in importance only to the Quran—is an encyclopaedia of mystical thought in which everyone can find his own spiritual meaning. Sidi Jalaluddin ar-Rumi inspired the organization of the whirling dervishes—who sought ecstasy through an elaborate dancing ritual, accompanied by superb music. His younger contemporary Sidi Yunus Emre inaugurated Turkish mystical poetry with his charming verses that were transmitted by the Bektashiya order of dervishes and are still admired in modern Turkey.

At that time, the basic ideals of Sufism permeated the whole world of Islam; and at its borders as, for example, in India, Sufis largely contributed to shaping Islamic society. Later some of the Sufis in India were brought closer to other models of mysticism by an overemphasis on the idea of divine unity which became almost monism—a religio-philosophic perspective according to which there is only one basic reality, and the distinction between God and the world (and man) tends to disappear. The syncretistic attempts of the Mughal emperor Akbar (d. 1020/1605) to combine different forms of belief and practice, and the religious discussions of the crown prince Dara Shukoh (executed for heresy, 1074/1659) were objectionable to the orthodox (Ahl Sunna).

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Typically, the countermovement was again undertaken by a mystical order, the Naqshbandiya, a Central Asian fraternity founded in the eight/fourteenth century. Contrary to the creed of the school of wahdat al-wujud (“existential unity of being”), the later Naqshbandiya defended the wahdat ashshuhud (“unity of vision”), a subjective experience of unity, occurring only in the mind of the believer, and not as an objective experience. Sidi Ahmed Sirhindi (d. 1039/1624) was the major character of this order in India. His stands of sanctity were surprisingly daring: he considered himself the divinely invested master of the universe. His refusal to concede the possibility of union between man and God (characterized as “servant” and “Lord”) and his sober law-bound attitude gained him and his followers many disciples, even at the Mughal court and as far away as Turkey. In the eleventh/eighteenth century, Shah Sidi Wali'Allah of Delhi was connected with an attempt to reach a compromise between the two inimical schools of mysticism; he was also politically active and translated the Quran into Persian, the official language of Mughal India. Other Indian mystics of the same century, such as Sidi Mir Dard, played a decisive role in forming the newly developing Urdu poetry.

In This context, the idea of Mystical Islam can be best described by words, fast keywords that may immediately describe Ideas, concepts and realizations. Let us then define sufism accordingly to these words:

• “Islamic Spirituality” • “Islamic Mysticism” • “Esotericism”

• Tazkiyatun Nafs wa Qalb (Purification of the heart) • Ihsan (sincerity) • Thrust towards Perfection and excellence

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• Sufism aims in effect to bring man to Yaqeen or what laymen say as the point of Certainty which is divided into several levels: • Ilm-al-Yaqin (Knowledge of Certainty) • Ain-al-Yaqin (Vision of Certainty) • Haqq-al-Yaqin (Essence of Certainty)

To a sufi, to be able to cross the path, he must pass through four portals of disciplines which we may call • Shari'ah which is understanding the basic and basis of Islamic law so he may be guided instrinsically by what is legally acceptable and what is not legally acceptable. Allow me to share what Sheik Ahmad Sirhindi has said about this: Shariah consists of 3 parts, a.Knowledge(ilm),b.Deeds(amal)& c.Sincerity(ikhlas)Until all 3 are realized,Shariah cannot be fulflled. When Shariah is fulfilled,the pleasure of God Almighty results&this is superior to all forms of happiness.The Shariah is gaurantor of all happiness both in this world&hereafter.Tariqah is servant of Shariah&perfects the Sincereity(Ikhlas). Ahmad Sirhindi (d.1624)

• Tariqah , Initiation into the way (tariq) into which a journeyer is led into the unveiling of himself so that he may prepare himself into the experience of understanding and knowing himself • Maarifah, this is the stage where on already discovers and knows(ma'araf) himself, the stage which prepares himself for Yaqeen • Haqiqah, this is the stage where in the language of other Masters, one attains fana (elimnation) when he reaches the point of discovering truth (al-Haqq)

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In the eyes of a sufi, Sharia'h is his Qawli, Tariqat is his Fi'li and Haqiqat Ahwali (interior garment) Indeed as one may say Sufism is the path to discovering Spiritual life through the path of elimination (haya min tarikhul fana), and as such, they say those who has reached the level of haqiqah is said to have died in the embrace of Wisdom. Most Sufi poets declare this as the embrace of truth.

Why do Sufi's go all the way just to attain these things? The simple answer is that Sufis aim to : • “Acquire attributes of God” (Takhhaluque bi akhlaquillah) • “Die before your death” (Mootoo qabla unta Mootoo) • “The faithful is the mirror of the faithful” (Al-mumin mirat almumin) • To acquire nearness of God (Qurb) • Practice Ihsan • To achieve contented self (Nafs-ul-Mutmainna) • To cultivate God awareness (Taqwa) • To transform self (Tazkiya-e-Nafs ) • Removing the bad habits and acquiring the good manners

Of course many people have a hundred and one ways of defining Sufism. The previous definitions were culled from my own personal intellectual and spiritual experiences.

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This is the tradition of sufism; engaging the traveller to a personal experience in knowing oneself as it leads one to knowing God.

It is also important that there are five other things that define a Sufi: 1. he loves all creation, being one in creation 2. he respects all men since all men descended from banu Adam 3. He respects all religion because they all originated from one source 4. he views all in the light of Allah's Pleasure 5. Truth and light does not contradict, as light is a manifestation of truth

And this sums up my simple talk on Sufism.

Wa ma tawfiq illa bi Allah Wa salatu wa salamu alal Sayiddna Muhammad,wa alal alihi tahirin wa ashabi muntajirin, wa ummati wasiyin

Wa salamun alal Mursalin wal hamdullillah Hirabbil alamin

Quezon City Philippines 7 October 2008

Dedicated to My Sufi Guide (Hafidhu Allah) and the Shuyukh of His Chain

Peace and Islam are not strangers to each other

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One of the key problems in discussions of Islam and peace is exceptionalism: the belief that Islam is profoundly different from other religions, and stands outside the Judeo-Christian heritage. Here in the West, we have constructed a notion of Islam as the “other” – as a reality that exists in contrast to and against Western values. We need to challenge this notion of exceptionalism, without denying the particularity and specificity of the Islamic experience. Islam shares a great deal in common with its sister Abrahamic faiths, Judaism and Christianity and Western civilisation, to which it has made vital historical contributions. Like Christianity, Judaism, and the religions of the East, Islam is rich with precepts and traditions that support peacemaking. And like the followers of other religions, Muslims have often failed to live up to these precepts Peace and Islam have and a long history traditions. together.

In its purest form, Islam is a fatwa (command) of peace. The Qur’an mandates “peace is a word from a merciful God”. For a devout Muslim, Islam is peace. Though this perception contrasts sharply with commonplace non-Muslim impressions, it is rooted in Islamic theology. In the Qur’an, Al-Salam, which means peace, is one of the most beautiful names of Allah, the Arabic word for God. Allah is also used by Christian Arabs in their prayer. It is the same God. The yearning for peace derives from the innermost nature of humankind. The Qur’an affirms a positive view of human nature.

This characterisation of Islamic values is likely to appear unfamiliar to many non-Muslims, who are much more familiar with militant calls forjihad, a word that has frequently been (mis)translated as “holy war”.Jihad is much more than armed struggle against an enemy from the outside. The more important jihad is the struggle within the soul of Muslims for spiritual purification. 48

Abuses notwithstanding, there is a clearly articulated preference in Islamic social ethics for non-violence over violence, and for forgiveness over retribution. The Qur’an discourages unnecessary conflict, and condemns bringing about destruction, oppression and violence.

In traditional Muslim societies, the ideal of a harmonious social order was closely associated with the prescriptions of shari’a, (laws based on Islamic principles of jurisprudence). The objectives of shari’a are closely related to those of religious law in the Biblical tradition: the maintenance of proper, just relationships between the individual and God, within the family and community, among Muslims, between religious groups and ultimately between humanity and other created things.

Dear

friends,

together

we

can

make

peace.

Leaders on both sides of the Muslim-Western divide have much to gain from moving beyond preoccupation with symbols, toward genuine openness to a new experience of the “other”. Only active engagement through sustained dialogue can help us to transcend the fear and anger that produces conflict escalation, and discover the common humanity that these emotions conceal. And we are only likely to commit ourselves to such dialogue if we can begin to narrate a new story, a story about complementarity instead of the dominant story about confrontation.

Active engagement permits us to understand and recognise the authentic expressions of human religiosity, and protects us from the politics of manipulated symbolism. Active engagement is needed to move beyond negative reactions to discover human commonality, shared experiences and compatible aspirations.

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Muslims and Westerners need to experience themselves “in relationship” rather than “out of relationship”. They have an opportunity to find meaning in the common tragedy of their estrangement as well as in the possibility of reconciliation. Establishing peace in the present climate of mutual recrimination will not be easy. Peacemaking, in contrast to war-making, is proactive and requires deliberate efforts to move: from the superficial to the essential, from morbidity to creativity, from defensiveness to openness, and from the politics of fear and projection to a politics of hope.

The fact that the “war on terror” framework for responding to our present insecurity has increasingly become the subject of constant debate suggests a need for a new strategic doctrine. Using the “war on terror” concept to justify actual wars has undermined genuine efforts to promote international security. By avoiding pessimistic oversimplifications and slogans (for example, a “long war against Islamofascism”), leaders in the West as well as in the Muslim world can set the stage for effective responses to current insecurities. Friends, it’s true, the new story of complementarity exists only in the form of a working outline, and can begin with the simplest of acknowledgements: Islam and the West are “stuck” with each other, and have no choice but to learn to co-exist. Both are here to stay, prosper and learn from one another. The dignity and security of one is connected to the dignity and security of the other. We can become co-authors of this new story.

We are all heirs of the story of confrontation. When we leave aside symbols and seek to know one another, we can become architects of a humane global order based on solidarity. It involves the head and the heart.

Let us spread peace. The whole world needs the whole world.

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**************************** ************************* What should we do to help Islam in the Philippines By Yusuf Morales This is a recurring debate that everyone wants to share a piece of his mind, debate and endlessly argue about the superiority of his or her ideas, and yet do nothing to achieve it or create the needed means and scenarios to materialize it. Recently, I have met a lot of people who were asking me a very pointed question,"how can we help Islam in the Philippines?" Instead of going for the high falluting and ambitious projects that a lot of people would like to debate, Ive come up with some simple ideas that I hope some people can consider doing something about it, each in his and her own small way. Share the Intellectual legacy of Islam. For ordinary Muslims, you can do this by sharing or photocopying good Islamic books in Islamic Psychology, Islamic Philosophy, Rights of Women In Islam as well as other really intellectual islamic Books or articles and sharing them with your friends, co-workers or teachers.For Organizations, you can donate these types of books to catholic, non-sectarian,, Private or government Universities and request the Librarian that these books be not placed in the islamic section but in their particular sections where they should be placed had they not been written by a Muslim. Ensure that more Muslims finish a decent education and engage in High-yield business ventures or productive enterprises whether in private or Government service. For individuals, they can always help by ensuring they sponsor their relatives finish a good education and ensure that these people they have helped contribute to the Muslim community in one way or another to its development or help fix or donate second hand equipment a Muslim school, for organizations, they may consider making a significant influence in Manila by

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supporting a Muslim school in the national capital region to be a center of excellence not by dole-outs, but by either sponsoring scholars to study, sending school equipment, or allowing them a place to occupy so that they can continue operations, so as to ensure that these schools run and are managed efficiently and are able to effectively train students. So that when the students graduate, they can plan a way on how to either engage in a very high-yielding business, engage in Community development work, or become a public servant. We must always remember that most of the major battles are fought in Manila, and thus we must increase the number of Muslims who could effectively influnece or craft policy in government. This may seem so impossible but given the time and preparation this can happen. Ask people who are abroad who wants to think of supporting Dawah to instead support efforts for self sustainability of Institutions that represent Muslims in the country. This could ensure that this program of ensuring that Muslims become both productive and influential members of society can become a reality. Send 5% of the best minds (not the rejects) to study Islamic studies. So that we will have again the best minds and a flourishing of Islam in the Philippines, more of the Intellectual Islam.

Islamic Pluralism as a tool for understanding others.

a paper presented by Yusuf Roque Morales

Introduction:

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In the Name of God, Most Merciful and Most Compassionate, Lord of Humanity. “The people were one community(Ummah); then God sent forth the Prophets, Good Tidings to bear and warning, He sent down with them the Book with the truth, that He might decide the people toucing their differences.” (Surah al-Baqarah :213) I would like to quote words from a former Senior Advocate at the Supreme Court of Pakistan, Barrister Abdul Rehaman,”During my researches, false ideas about Islam are still popular... and that misunderstanding and misinterpretations has added to the further ignorance about Islam. Essentially a system of peace, Islam presents a non-antagonistic view of all religious systems.”1 The Potential problems of Inter-Religious and intercultural Dialogue intensify in proportion to the exclusivity of the religious doctrine. Exclusivist Religious orientations and belief system can become divisive forces that can aggravate religious conflicts that can rip the fragile national psyche of a nation and in the context of multi-cultural societies retard the emergence of a national identity of a people. We have seen these things happen countless times. We have seen that not only in the Muslim world alone that whenever religion permeates the national culture, Religious tradition maintains an active interest in issues of national politics and social justice. In the Muslim context the limit of strictly religious values in determining the national policies of a Muslim Nation state have never been fully explained or generally accepted by Muslim communities, thus creating a gray area in relating to current issues. Currently there has been in existence Muslim nation states that seek to manifest the “Islamic or Muslim “ character of their country and thus in the process may seek to express their particular world-view on particularly religious moral precepts.

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The Fear of Westoxification (Ghrabzadeghi) still exists around although this is manifested in diverse forms. And since classical Islamic Juridical thought is being taught still up to the present, the dual world-view of Darul Harb and darul Islam is still being perceived by the Western media as the dominant world-view of Muslims globally. However it would be meritorious to note that although this is true to some extent that due to the existence of groups who try to fossilize Islamic thought, notably there are indeed evidences that indeed even in our own sacred texts, there are divine ordinances that order us to talk or do dialogue with other faiths, and that even the Beloved Prophet Muhammad (Salawatullahi alayhi) has conducted dialogue or has ordered his companions to do dialogue. In the last three decade, religion has re-emerged as an important source of moral imperative needed to maintain social cohesion. Religious commitment has not only mobilized peoples sense of outrage in resisting abuses but it also has played a very constructive role in national reconciliation and nation building. It is indeed in this tradition that we wish to lay a humble wreath of acknowledgement and that we would like to continue in that path of dialogue as well. Because of the rise of the political doctrine of both the “clash of civilizations “ of Huntington and the “Preemptive strike doctrine” there was a rise of Islamic thinkers who have become alarmist, mistakenly possessing a conceptual continuity with the traditional views on Jihad and the increasing dangerous quandaries today. This has become the oft-cited” clash” with religiously inspired militancy massed against the liberal and democratic values of the West. In the conventional view of the academe and the media (largely the media), not only are Muslims engaged in destabilizing the regional security arrangements they are also zealously opposed to anything that smacks of 54

western liberal and democratic values. This skewed viewpoint has been perpetuated by scholarship that treats Muslim fundamentalism as qualitatively distinct and irreducible to any common ground, representing an image of Islam in abstraction. Add to this the very vocal and visible image of minorities that present this idea. Given the deepening global crisis arising from the misuse of religion by highly vocal minorities, it is indeed important for Muslim thinkers to rediscover and promote a common concern for peace with justice. No Muslim scholar could undermine the existing international order without taking a critical reassessment of the religious and ideological landscape that he lies thiamin. After all, in Islam, all human endeavours are distinct aspects of a total dialectic whose aim is the establishment of a global community under God. Therein lies that distinct need for pluralism. The Basis of Islamic Pluralism Before justifying Islamic Pluralism, we may need to define it. What entirely is Islamic Pluralism? Islamic pluralism is defined as the concept of maintaining peaceful relations between different religions, that is manifested in a number of related ways: Islamic Pluralism may describe the Islam's worldview that it is not only one's religion as not the sole and exclusive source of truth, and thus recognizes that some level of truth and value exists in at least some other religions. Islamic pluralism often is used as a Basis for interfaith dialogue. At a minimum, This leads promotion of unity, co-operation, or improved understanding between different religions, or denominations within the same religion This is normally a synonym for religious tolerance, which is a condition of harmonious co-existence between adherents of different religions or religious 55

denominations. Beyond the particularist domains of the church, mosque, temple and synagogue, the ecumenical sensitivity of having pluralism as a common ground has drawn the attention of the people around the world, influencing their lives beyond the confines of their faith communities. It is the non-institutional of pluralism that has attracted a substantial majority of the world population. It manifests the universal social dimension of ones personal and private faith in order to project them in the world. This furthers inter-human understanding beyond an exclusionary and consequently intolerant institutional religiosity. Islamic revelation presents a theology that resonates with the modern pluralistic belief that other faiths are not merely inferior manifestations of religiosity, but variant forms of individual and communal responses to the presence of the Transcendent in human life. All people are created in same divine nature (fitrah Allah) with a disposition that leads to the knowledge of God, the Creator to whom all worship is due simply because of the creation.2 This universal knowledge of the being in creation holds equally for the believer or non-believer, the worshiper of one being or of idols. More important, both a monotheist and an idolater can understand God by inspiring faith in divine mercy and forgiveness, can guide anyone who He wills to save.3 The term pluralism is one of the catchwords of a new order whose diversity of cultures, belief systems and values inspires both exhilaration at the endless shadings of human expression and dread of irreconcilable conflict. This need to acknowledge the existence of the other may be due to the technological advances pushing the world into a global community where unlike before were nations isolated by physical , cultural and ideological boundaries. And this context they have been relatively isolated from one another and previous encounters with diversity were not as always friendly and warmly received. And in the end, conflicts and clashes occur as a result of cultural 56 and civilizational differences, becoming a major source of

dehumanizing others.

Recognition of religious pluralism within a community of faithful promises to advance the principle of inclusiveness, which would counsel accommodation, not conflict, among competing claims to religious truth in religiously and culturally heterogeneous societies. This could lead in a way to sense of multiple and unique possibilities for enriching the human quest for spiritual and moral well-being. The Quran in recognizance of the universality of man has always been clear in its declaration that: “O Humankind, We have created you male and female, and appointed you races and tribes, that you may know one another. Surely the Noblest among you in the sight of God is the Most Godfearing among you. God is All-knowing and All-Aware.” (Surah al-Hujurat:13) The Qur'an has used the word li Ta'arafu (you may know/comprehend) whose root word, arif means to fully understand. For by understanding yourselves only that you can talk with each other. In looking at Pluralism in the Islamic tradition,we shall look at the context of the Qur'an, being the Primal source of Muslim creed and law. The Muslim pluralist creed is further elucidated in Surah al-Baqarah Ayah 285 which states: “The Messenger (Muhammad PBUH) believes in what has been sent down to him from his Lord, and so do the believers. Each one Believes in Allah, His Angels, His Books and His messengers.(they say) WE make no distinction 57

between any of His messengers and they say 'We hear and obey.'” (Surah al-Baqarah: 285)4 It is part and parcel of being Muslim to accept several general facts: First, that before the advent of Muhammad (PBUH) there were other Prophets sent before him, Second, and that some of these Prophets brought scriptures or revelation as a proof of their tasks. And thirdly it is part and parcel of their faith that they must acknowledge these Prophets saying “La nufariqu bayna Ahadin min Rusulih” We make no distinction between any of them. What is clear therefore is that from the very start Muslims are ordered to be open and welcome to other faiths. This ayah merely reinforces in an earlier ayah of the universality of revelation and that God has sent his mercy to all of mankind. As it runs states:

“The people were one community (Ummah); then God sent forth the prophet, Good Tidings to bear and warning, He sent down with them the Book with the truth, that He might decide the people touching their differences.” (Surah al-Baqarah :213) And of course the universality of prophets sent by God to all nations is mentioned many times in the Qur'an and among them I would cite these from the many l ayahs (verses) from the Holy Qur'an , : “And verily We have sent among every Ummah (community/nation) a messenger (proclaiming) worship Allah (alone) and avoid (keep away from) Taghout (all false deities/beliefs)5

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(Surah an-Nahl: 36) “And for every Ummah (a community or nation) there is a messenger; when their messenger comes, the matter between them will be judged with justice, and they will not be wronged” (Surah Yunus: 47)6 “And we have sent Messengers before you (O Muhammad) of some of them we related you (the Muslims) their story and some of them we have not related.” (Surah al-Ghafir: 78)7 What is clear from these verses that God has sent Messengers to all peoples and communities which means that each community has a distinct part of the truth. According to Prophetic Traditions, God has sent 120,000 prophets and that in that Muslims acknowledge that they have been divinely sent. As a part of the Abrahamic traditions the Qur'an speaks of a group of believers known as Ahlul Kitaab (people of the book) of which the Qur'an speaks of them and at certain times, God revelations in the Qur'an are addressed to them. The Qur'an describes them in a manner as : “And you will find nearest in love to the believers those who say “we are Christians” that is because among them are monks and priests and they are not Proud” (Surah al-Maidah :82)8 The Qur'an also sets a standard on how dealings with People of the Book (Ahlul Kitaab) should be conducted:

“And argue not with the People of the Scriptures unless it be in (a way) that is 59

better, save with such of them that do wrong: and say: We believe in that which hath been revealed unto us and revealed unto you: Our God and your God is One, and unto Him we surrender. “ (Surah Ankabut:46)9 “And unto thee have We revealed the Scripture with the truth, confirming whatever Scripture was before it, and a watcher over it. So judge between them by that which Allah hath revealed, and follow not their desires away from the truth which hath come unto thee. For each We have appointed a divine law and a traced-out way. Had Allah willed he could have made you one community. But that He may try you by that which He hath given you (He hath made you as ye are.) So vie one with one another in good works. Unto Allah ye will all return, and He will then by that wherein ye differ. ” (Surah Al Maidah :48)10 We could go on and on, describing ayah after ayah that clearly mandates each and every particular rule that tells us that as Muslims, it is but part and parcel of our faith to be pluralism and open to dialogue but then what?What does this mean for us Muslims in today's globalized world? There are several realizations to this questions. I would like to point out that the major argument for religious pluralism in Islam which is expressed in the Qur'an is clearly based on the relationship between private faith and its projection to the Islamic Polity. It is clear that in matters of private faith, the position of the Qur'an vis-a-vis other faiths is non-interventionist. In the Public projection of that faith, Islam is based on the principle of peaceful coexistence, the willingness of a community(in a Muslim country) to recognize religiously independent communities to ruin their affairs and peacefully co-exist with Muslims. Though this may not find immediate acceptance in todays world but this principle has always existed from the time of our Prophet (SA). 60

The universal message of the Qur'an reveals that without subordination to a limited historical context, that the revelation therein accepts religious pluralism as given and even necessary, requiring Muslims to continually negotiate, transform and emphasize the fundamental unity of humankind in its origin and creation by the Divine Being. And despite the fact that there are gloomy predictions being circulated elsewhere in the name of theology and faith in a way that religious ideas are being used to promote hatred, destruction and mutual distrust in human societies the affirmation of diversity is one of the cornerstones in the creation narrative in the Holy Qur'an, and instead of regarding this diversity as a source of evitable tensions, it suggests that human diversity is indispensable for a particular tradition to define its common beliefs practices, values and traditions for its community life.11

The idea that “The people are one community” is the foundation of a theological pluralism that presupposes that the divinely ordained quivalence and equal rights of all human beings.This unity may be justified theologically within the activity of the divine; it is best sought in the the sphere of ethics, which actually sustains people of faith. through this innate ethical nature, through “Fitra” (the primordial nature of every human being) which is given by Allah to all, humankind then acquires the ability to deal with others on the basis of equity and fairness. This as a result would allow the development of a global ethic that can provide the pluralistic basis for mediating interreligious relationships among peoples of diverse spiritual commitments, enabling them to build a working consensus of values and goals. Whats therefore in the place of Islamic Pluralism in Dialogue? What the Qur'an pushes forward as a paradigm is plain and simple; Islamic Pluralism is a process by which it could provide both a ethical,theological and spiritual basis for dialogue, mediation and the forging of interreligious

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relationships to build a global community of diverse spiritual traditions. May this humble article be a wreath of flowers that I lay before my spiritual teachers Marhumin Prof Amilussin Jumaani and Mufti Abdulghani Yusuf, foremost teachers and pioneers in dialogue and peace in Mindanao and to my master, Hazrat Baqiyatullah Muhammad al-Muntadhar Ibn Al-Hassan Al Mahdi.

References: Scriptural : The Meanings of the Glorious Qur'an, Marmaduke Pikthall, Tahrike Tarsile Qur'an Inc.,New York,1994 The Qur'an: Arabic Text with corresponding Meanings, ed. by Saheeh International,AbulQaseem Publishing House, Riyad KSA,1997 Translation of the Meanings of the Holy Qur'an in The English Language,Hilali and Khan, King Fahd Complex for the Printing of the Holy Qur'an, KSA, 2000 Scholarly Books: Islam in a Changing World, ed by Jerichow and Simonsen . Curzons press, Great Britain, 1997 Religious Freedom,Minorities and Islam: am inquiry into the Malaysian Experience. Yousif,Ahmed. Thinkers Library BHD,Selangor Malaysia,1998 The Islamic Roots of Democratic Pluralism, Sachedina, Abdulaziz, ,Center for Strategic and International Studies,2001, Oxford University press.USA “The Peace”; Rehaman, Abdul,Dubai Publishing. UAE, 1999

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1Rehaman, Abdul. “The Peace”,Dubai Publishing. 1999 2Sachedina, Abdulaziz, The Islamic Roots of Democratic Pluralism,Center for Strategic and International Studies,2001, Oxford University press. pp14 3Ibid p 14 4Hilali and Khan,Translation of the Meanings of the Holy Qur'an in The English Language,King Fahd Complex for the Printing of the Holy Qur'an, KSA 5ibid 6ibid 7ibid 8ibid 9Marmaduke Pikthall, The meanings of the Glorious Qur'an, Tahrike Tarsile Quran,1194,New York 10ibid 11Surah al-anbiyaa:92 and Surah al-Hujurah:14

Should Holiness be a way of life for Us?

It is said, that the ways of faith are quite surprising, its but a manifestation of God’s boundless mercies. People nowadays, use holiness as a mask for impiety. They think that public display of piety gives them authority to condemn the masses who know very little of understanding God’s mysterious ways. 63

Little do they know that the humble people that abound understand more of God’s Grace because they know they fall short of it. Thus they accept in hulmulity what blessings they recieve from God. People wish holiness be like a coat of mail be worn upon them that they walk with it everyday. If you ask me, i wont wear a heavy coat of mail. Il trip myself over and hurt myself. The best thing to consider is that when one knows the will of God, one knows that His mercies are boundless, and that he may be All-Just, but he is OftForgiving. And that Holiness as a way of life should be a soothing balm for the weariness and pains of life instead of being a coat of mail that one drags to the sea of battle in fear of one’s life. Holiness , Taqwa… should help one enjoy the blessings of life instead of making one suffer, for out of taqwa springs yaqeen

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Dilemna.

It is quite ironic now. Ive just read recently about a so-called terrorist attack by the “Deccan Mujahideen” in Mumbai India. Not that I Agree or condone what they do, I am just perplexed by why do they have to resort to such acts. indeed there are moments that I know that Muslims are treated as second class citizens in India (even here in the Philippines it happens). But violence always is not a solution to problems. And if you look at some footages, you would actually see opposites there, clean-shaven mustaches. Indeed, It is not easy to explain these incidents to people already being bombarded by negative propaganda about Islam. Although even 9-11 produced spectacular results that made more people study about Islam and embrace it, I have a distate for violence, always believeing that there should always be ways not to hurt innocent bystanders in the clash between ideologies. I am a teacher, I am a Muslim. I believe that it is important for me to emphasize that despite what all negative propaganda that reverberates around.. Islam is a religion of peace. It doesn’t condone attacks on the weak and the innocent. It is a philosophy based on compassion, love and social justice. Indeed I believe that unlike what Marx has been arguing, that all oppression is the result of material inequalities resulting to creation of class structures, or what sociologists state as evolution of cultural structures that allow oppression. I say that oppression occurs if 65 “Mujahideens” slugging it out with mustachioed Indian commandos. What I know is that mujahideens put premiums on beards and

there is intellectual inequality of the imbalance of knowledge, thus causing ignorant people to fall prey to those who have knowledge. This is much more obvious today as we know that a knowledge-based economy is the key to a lot of economic development in the country and elsewhere in the world. It is no joke to say that if we do not realize that this is the onus of all sufferring in the world, perhaps we might come again to another dark age…as such there is a strong need for us not only the West but also the East and the Muslim Ummah, to unshackle the chains of intellectual poverty and move forward and unless Muslims do this, we would be experiencing another Mumbai, wheteher or not indeed some Muslims are culprits, some people would still put the blame tag on us.

The traitor of the Filipino People

The following blogpost is the result of a conversation with a close friend of mine.Opinions expressed here are not purely of the author's, but is a result of the inputs given by his friend..... I met and had a conversation with a friend recently, he was talking about Nationalism and the love of country. He struck a chord with a new argument that I have heard from him recently; A great statesman that we all honor in historybooks was the greatest traitor ever to our country and other than the popular fact that he was killed on the way home to his country,he also left a legacy that our country suffers to this very day. Let me refresh your memory to a few decades ago.... after the verge of the 66

Korean and vietnam war, the Philippines was the second most powerful country in Southeast Asia, and we were on the verge of reclaiming of Sabah. And several presidencies attest to this, among them, during Carlos P. Garcia and subsequently up to the period of President Diosdado Macapaegal's era . However, when the British crown gave independence to Malaysia, it didnt return Sabah to the Philippines and gave it to Malaysia. And since to people in the south, political boundaries didnt matter, life went on across the divide that was Malaysia and Philippines. When President Diosdado macapagal wasnt able to continue his plan of regaining Sabah.... an ambitious newly elected president... took up the plans and gradually assembled the preparations for the regaining of Sabah. Being then still one of the most powerful countries in the region (also earning the military stockpiles of the US as well as hosting the largest military bases outside US territories, Marcos was very hopefull that he would be successful against then a new state. However, with the mishandling of the operation codenamed “Merdeka”, the illfated Jabidah massacre fell into the hands of an angry Cavite Governor and an ambitious senator, Benigno Aquino Jr. who failed to see the long-term diplomatic consequences of such an expose. Aquino then anxious to use anything in his hands to ruin Marcos used it to create a major international embarrassment for the country and later becoming the source of the country's misery until today. The Malaysians knowing that they were then unable to face the might of the Philippine Armed forces... used their special branch (which were proteges of the famed MI5 and MI6 of the British crown), scouted a favourable Moro revolutionary in the university of the Philippines, funded him and a whole cadre of Moro revolutionaries and thus started the decades long Mindanao insurrection. What was ironic is that recently the GRP made Malaysia the main broker of the talks whose impartiality may be doubted due to the Sabah issue. Thus.... my friend argues that should we sum up the result of Ninoy Aquino's action on the Jabidah Massacre... we would surmiss he was not acting 67

according to national interests but his salivation for the presidency. I may or may not wholly agree with his arguments but perhaps you may have some ideas to share... please feel free to write about them too.

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The Era of Imam Mahdi vis a vis the new global order as espoused by the West : An understanding and analysis vis a vis dialectics of the the West . A concept paper by Roque Yusuf Morales Introduction: In The Name of Allah, Most Merciful and Most Compassionate.

As the collapse of the cold war, we have seen that a new world order has unfolded in the eyes of the West, however, as this world ored unfolds, the West has been in a dilemma on how to define the parameters of this order. Indeed, numerous theories and political analysis has been proposed by the so called "enlightened scholars " of the West. But the Question now arises: how does Islam and us, the global Ummah look at this world aroder and how do we also define our parameters today? An How do we, believers and adherents of Hazrat Baqiyatullah (May Allah hasten his return) prepare in this context? We as members of the Global Muslim Ummah, may have to look at different angles as well as from different perspectives if we may arrive at a conclusion. This may not be conclusive for all times, it is our humble effort, so that we may be able to move forward in todays age and leave a legacy for other Muslims to come. 68

As one looks at the different theories expressed and espoused today, I cannot but help but remember the ideals left by those who have come before us, like Hazrat Imam Khomeini (rahmatullahi alayhi) when he wrote the then president Mikhail Gorbachev and predicted the demise of the Soviet Union, saying; that the lac of a spiritual and moral ascendancy of socialism, being materialistic in nature will ultimately lead to the collapse of the socialist world order. And as one American Scholar has said, as the current trend of Modernization proceeds, the fundamental human value from the worship of God and the virtues of Taqwa, Imaan and Ihsan are replaced by values like vice, vanity, personal interests over the others, self over others, there appears a ever and more stronger need for us Muslims to propose the need also for the West to study the high, lofty and ethical values of Islam. In the traditions of the late Ali Shariati's Ruhshanfekr being today's enlightened individuals , we will attempt to dissect the theories of the new global world order proposed by the West and their worldview and how we must propose to interact with the world in a move to propose also our own concept of a just and humane society baed on Tawheed and Adalah. In a way, as we, the adherents of our beloved prophet Muhammad (SAWA) anxiously await his honored desecendant, how do we view the global events and act towards preparation of a state of Imam Mahdi's (ATFS) return to us. II. How the West views todays Global order After the demise of the Soviet Union as predicted by Hazrat Imam (rahmatullahi alyh), the West has seen that the eternal archenemy of Capitalism and Democracy, i.e. Socialism as represented by the Soviet Union has collapsed; corollary to this the collapse of the Iron Curtain in Germany, the concept of collectivism and state owned enterprises as espoused by communism has eventually became a thing of the past, and even the Sleeping Giant China, has awakened from its slumber to partake in the eventual 69

Capitalization of the world. As there appeared a clear and present need to define a new global order, a prominent think tank from the West, Samuel Huntington in a response to this need defined a new context, civilizational fault lines... in short, where cultures clash, civilizations and nations would clash. This was the eventual definition of this paper, "clash of civilizations and the rise of a new order".However, another known Western scholar Edward Said views that the presentation of Huntington preposterous in the sense paranoic This is the ineventual problem of the causality of Huntingtons concepts..... from a clash of civilizations, it is surmised that such a clash occurs whenever ignorance takes place. instead of understanding what causes cultures and civilizations to clash, why not also try to look at the parallel sum of things like universal human values that are treasured in every culture and civilization. The same can be said of looking the the paralellism of anarchistic and terrrorist groups lingering in the different cultures like the Branch dravidian, Aum Shinyo or the Baader Meinhof gangs that are much alike the terrroristic manifestations of al-Qaeda or other groups like the Tamil Tigers and the Sin Fein in Ireland.

And as Said says, “But we are all swimming in those waters, Westerners and Muslims and others alike. And since the waters are part of the ocean of history, trying to plow or divide them with barriers is futile. These are tense times, but it is better to think in terms of powerful and powerless communities, the secular politics of reason and ignorance, and universal principles of justice and injustice, than to wander off in search of vast abstractions that may give momentary satisfaction but little selfknowledge or informed analysis. "The Clash of Civilizations" thesis is a gimmick like "The War of the Worlds," better for reinforcing defensive self-pride than for critical understanding of the bewildering interdependence of our time. “ 70

What is needed for civilizations to understand each other is dialogue, pluralist persepective and an openness to the other. As the West aims also in defining order, it also aims to define states that in its opinion are threats to the stability of the new global order, unconsciously defining these states as "rogue states" at the root of this definition is "viciousness,lack of principle and propensity to engage in unilateral action (Herman, 2006). it is clear that within that context, it is apparent that those that apparently falls out of context of the Western definition of universal Human values appears to be part of the target of Western Imperialist Hegemony. it then appears that even states that are merely guarding their legitimate interests and protecting their citizens is seen as rogue and therefore in the eyes of the West are viewed as axis of evil. As the West aims also in defining order, it also aims to define states that in its opinion are threats to the stability of the new global order, unconsciously defining these states as "rogue states" at the root of this definition is "viciousness,lack of principle and propensity to engage in unilateral action (Herman, 2006). it is clear that within that context, it is apparent that those that apparently falls out of context of the Western definition of universal Human values appears to be part of the target of Western Imperialist Hegemony. it then appears that even states that are merely guarding their legitimate interests and protecting their citizens is seen as rogue and therefore in the eyes of the West are viewed as axis of evil.

What pushes the West to aggressively pursue this Global World Order at the expense of other smaller sovereign states? The answer lies in the fact that Neoliberalism and Globalization also has played a significant role in the pursuance and aggressive implementation of this policy.

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In the total sum of things, the world new order that the west (in the view that is pushed by the United states) proposes is the Globalization of Markets, where nations are forced to co-opt their national soveriegnity in the face of tariffs and trade quotas always in the name of the Balance of Trade (BOT), however, this Balance of Trade always shifts in favor of first world countries, Transnational Corporations (TNC) that operate their businesses internationally and exploit the cheap labor cost , cheap mineral resources in the Third world at a tremendous profit with no moral conscience of returning even a small portion of their accumulated wealth, taking it abroad.

In short this is best manifested by decreasing of government subsidies and privatization of government and owned and controlled corporations, free unrestricted trade by the lifting of tarriffs and barriers (giving rise to the entry of Multinational and transnational corporations ), and the non-intervention of Government in many policies to allow MNC and TNC's to operate as they wish. Neoliberalism also influences first world countries to focus on absolute gains over other nation states. This puts minor states like for example the Philippines, Sierra Leonne, Tunisia or even Egypt at a major trade disadvantage with Trade relations with the West. This normally would put out Muslims states who are currently at Economic hardships at the mercy of the West. This is coupled by Globalization which is the international economic manifestation of neoliberalism. This in a nutshell, causes First world countries dominance over us Muslims, thereby using all available political, diplomatic tools available to them to achieve their pursuit. What then happens if this fails to materialize or they see a potential area to extend their influence? Perhaps recent events in the Muslim world from Afhanistan, to Iraq, to Sudan are enough evidence to prove that good intentions are clearly driven by the need to fuel their capitalist econmies.

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We have been always been reminding our brethren to hold to the rope of Allah and to unite to strengthen the Ummah again in the face of adversity. Now however, despite this behemeoth order that the West Wishes to impose upon us, it itself is in the brink of decay as it is largely dependent as in the words of Norman Angel another Neocon proponent, saying: "We cannot ensure the stability of the present system by the political or military preponderance of our nation or alliance by imposing its will on a rival.( Norman Angell, The Great Illusion, (1909) cited from 1933 ed. (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons),p. 137.)It only goes to say that in order for their global world order to survive, Global Bullying has become legitimized in the guide of protecting a nations vested interest. Never the less, Muslim states also possess the right to protect their collective interests as part of the Global Ummah as well as humanity.

At the head of this Global Order, is the United States, being today ruled by the NeoConservatives, this ideology has its ramifications to both US domestic and Foreign policies. III. What do we intend to do with this current context? What appears here is a complex web of complex concepts intertwined with each other which we may call the Four microcosms of the west.The current Global World Order as seen by the west is best dissected by what we can say as the Four Microcosms of the West. these are the ideological tools that they use to look at the world and interact with it. After seeing that a new world order has arisen, the west as a policy has adopted what we may call as a POST WAR HEGEMONY STRATEGY in dealing with the world. within this context they have underlined a four--set in which they deal with the world which is as follows: They define who are and can be their allies 73

They identify potential threats and enemies and define them as rogue states they apply sanctions to countries which refuse to be bullied under their new world order creation of economic sanctions by: primary boycott of countries allied to the West of any economic transactions with the Country targetted secondary boycotts by threathening Multinational corporations/Transnatrional Companies from transacting business with so-called Rogue States. application of Political Sanctions by outmaneuvering international organizations like the United Nations Security Council pressuring states allied with the West to apply pressure or expelling diplomats from rogue states. they create scenarios of which they seek to manipulate the events to their own benefits Political scenarios wherein they aim to create political tumoil by fermenting dissension in rogue states International Diplomatic isolation by trying to either neutralize or pressure diplomats from the so-called rogue states for participating in international diplomatic and political actions by either exclusion/expulsion from membership or pressuring other states to actively support actions against these states. By looking at this unipolar behemoth movement, we can ascertain that we can apply a new and novel appraoch of countering this unipolar hegemony. This we may now call a multi-polar approach. As we all know that the New global world order as espoused in the West and articulated by the United states is that it is to globalized, consumer oriented and prone to machinations of the West who may attempt to influence smaller countries and economies through coercion and pressure . We must understand that indeed in order to usher in a new global order of 74

Peace, unity, development, social justice....INDEED IT IS INDEED HAZRAT MUNTAZAR must come, but how can we push over an era wherein the appearance of Imam Zaman (ATFS) would come to pass.

Indeed we know that hazrat Al-Qaim (ATFS) shall come back as our Hazrat Maasomin (AS) has narrated in their hadiths. For such a circumstance to take place we as well must also take part in awakening the global Ummah as well as the non-Muslim world towards the accomplishment of these goals. We as a natural result, will also apply a series of steps aimed to push for the following: Creation and strengthening of a new non-aligned movement which will advocate the interests of smaller states.this may also lead the way for the strengthening of pre-existing regional forums where focus will be aimed at strengthening of local regions and states as well as political and economic cooperation among them. Creation of "Centres of Dialogue and Understanding" that aims to popularize the dialogue of civilizations as a response to the Theory of "clash of civilizations".These centres of dialogues may be schools, academic organizations Non-government organizations shall be distributed regionally among strategic areas. they shall also be tasked to undertake researches and conferences in the aim of further propagating these concepts. special focus and emphasis shall be given to East-East and East-West Dialogue of civilizations. Creation of fora that aims to include other non-aligned states on a regional basis paving the way for the creation multipolar spheres of influences as well as alignments to ensure that smaller states be not coerced by the west into concessions and that these regional states interests be pursued and protected. Commissioning of regional researches involving an exhaustive study on Islamic pluralism and concepts of dialogue from a localized persepective that may

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equip Muslim scholars and laymen with the proper knowledge, tools and methodology of dialogue and proper interaction with other cultures. Open an International Research Organization for the studyon how the Concept of Mahdiism can fully assist in the development of both the Global Muslim Ummah and the whole world in general. No plan is perfect except with the Guidance of Allah, and insha Allah,. with proper guidance and leadership of the warasatul al-anbiya'a. mwe shall be successful in the implementation of these projects. references: Imam Khomeini's (Quddisah Sirruh) letter to President Gorbachev. Wikipedia, www.wikipedia.org Beyond American Hegemony . By Michael Lind, New America Foundation The National Interest | May/June 2007 The clash of Civilizations. by Samuel P. Huntington .Foreign Affairs Summer 1993 The Clash of Ignorance. By Edward Said.,The Nation, October 2001 issue U.S. Policy on Rogue States :The concept "rogue state" is highly nuanced. The U.S. does not fall into the category despite its terrorist attacks against Cuba for close to 40 years. By NoamChomsky.,http://www.zmag.org/chomsky/articles/z9804rogue.html../ Neocon 101. The Christian Science Monitor (source: http://www.csmonitor.com/specials/neocon/neocon101.html) Beyond American Hegemony .By Michael Lind, New America Foundation .The National Interest | May/June 2007 AL-IMAM AL-MAHDI:THE JUST LEADER OF HUMANITY.By:Ayatollah Ibrahim Amini.Translated by.Dr. Abdulaziz Sachedina Discussions Concerning al-Mahdi (May Allah hasten his return)by Ayatullah alUzma al-Hajj ash-Shaykh Lutfullah as-Safi al-Gulpaygani Translated by Sayyid

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Sulayman Ali Hasan First Edition 2000.Published by:Islamic Humanitarian Service/Fath al-Mubin Publications.153 Frederick Street, Suite101 The Occultation of the Twelfth Imam(A Historical Background) by Jassim M. Hussain Published by: The Muhammadi Trust of Great Britain & Northern Ireland In co-operation with The Zahra Trust, P.O Box 29926 San Antonio TX 78229 USA **************** **************

Ummatan Wasatan?

Trying to be the Ummatan Wasatan... is this the rightly balanced Ummah... or the Moderate Ummah?

When one looks at the headlines of international stories... it would show that one out of five stories is either related to the Middle East...connnected to South Asia, or ... the topic would try to connect or resonate about Muslims or Islam. And what makes Islam... and Muslims popular... although these things may appear unpopular. However, a great ideological debate is ringing among Muslims in the midst of this negative publicity blitz against Islam.. as to whether to embrace the west for all of its toxicities and positivities or to shun it like what Japan has done in the early Industrial period and the Taliban and its Salafi allies are doing. This presents two poles of the ideological debate. However... this does not speak for Islam. For although Islam prohibits the vices and immorality associated and ever prevalent in the West, it does not also imply that it accepts the West without a grain of sand in its eyes. Muslims for centuries were both enriched by the cultures it permeated with

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every civilization it converted. Although the people embraced Islam... they integrated Islam into their culture without abandoning the positive spects of their peculiar culture. This can be seen from the distinctiveness of Muslim Malay culture although it is distinctively Malay.. it also is distinctively muslim, likewise... South Asian Muslims are disctintiveli “Deobandi (South Asian)... but it is also Muslim in its characther. Iranians are Persians by culture,... existing for many centuries before the Islamization of Najd... but also bear strongly the imprint of Islam in their daily lives.

What do I try to mean by this? Today we sey to a backlash of “aquidah” and yet when we observe them... they mainly try to “arabize” every aspect of every culture that a person has when he embraces Islam. What these people forget that Islam is a complete code... adaptable to present living conditions and culture... and even strengthens the lifestyle of people adapting it..... thus it is not radical in the sense that it actually destroys the person... it destroys the negatives in a person and rebuild with what is positive ina person,culture and society... it is fundamental in the sense that it does not make people so dogmatic and parrotting every word a person says... but makes every Person, culture and society feel that Islam is so fundamental and elementary to their everyday living and beliefe system that it is impossible to deny it. This both points out that Islam is fitrah or basic to every man or woman irregardless of creed,religion,status or persuasion. It is the Belief of the modern age, modern man and modern society.

That is what makes Ummatan wasatan....litakunoo shuhadan alal Nas.....

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This is our world.

Ever since the creation of man, this world has served as one purpose of existence.... as a place for man to grow,seek his creator, worship, and take care of this earth as his regent (khilafatul ard). Man has been at times rebellious against his lord, at times obedient, at times at peace, at times in perpetual war. shedding blood at the tiniest instance. Man has forgotten that his essence of existence, is to be the steward of this earth so that others after him may enjoy this earth, to be asteward of his fellowmen so that he may be “his brother's keeper”. It has been seen in the history of man's civilization that man has engaged himself in countless wars at immense cost to life. And despite the countless mournings, and cries for “never again”, wars continue as if they have never had war and the thirst for shedding of blood. Why destroy our homes and environments, why fight, why maim, why kill, we are but custodians of this earth, our lives are but short. Isnt it but fitting we bear tribute to life's sanctity? queer as it is, but one bomb's cost can feed hundreds of dying children in refugee camps, guns for an army is worth ten times the number of plowshares that can be bought and irrigations for farms to ward off the pangs of hunger.or even hospitals for the wounded in battle with the cost of equipment and medicines couldve been used for thethousands dying for the simple cause of cholera or tuberculosis. Queer indeed is the nature of man, but the fact remains, Jew, Arab, Westerner, Muslim, Christian , Muslim, or anybody for that matter, we are but souls sent to be stewards of this lovely earth, to cherish it and love other fellow souls in this earth. and in the end, we must realize we must figuratively “beat swords into plowshares”, “command others do do right and forbid to do wrong” , “love ones fellow men as one loves himself” , if indeed and indeed we are trully in

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search of a peace that will be lasting. “until kingdom come and Gods will be done.” REDEFINING THE BANGSAMORO STRUGGLE IN THE LIGHT OF CONTEMPORARY EVENTS In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful and Most Compassionate REDEFINING THE BANGSAMORO STRUGGLE IN THE LIGHT OF CONTEMPORARY EVENTS (This article was prepared a year before the resumption of the informal GRPMNLF talks in 2005. this actually was a paper submitted to the MNLF to reassess their position and action. Unfortunately, it was considered as an unsolicited advice) The more than three centuries of struggle of national liberation of the Bangsamoro homeland had its own turns and twists, success and failures in each era. The Colonial and postcolonial rule imposed itself on the homeland in one and a million ways from military means through political overtures that made the struggle an eternity. But before the polemics it would be wise enough to look at the lessons that we learned from our more than three centuries of war of National liberation. Our forebears during the Spanish era taught us earlier what Mao Ziadong had been teaching our Socialist comrades,” Retreat when you are attacked, attack when the enemy withdraws.” Our ancestors launched lightning raids on Spanish outposts and that we were very good in guerilla warfare as well as in our diplomatic efforts. It also taught us the value of unity that despite the fact that some of our territories are islands adjacent to the homeland, we were still able to maintain our mobility in fighting the superior armada of the Spanish fleet.It showed us that our source of strength and power is our identity as Bangsamoro (though its definition was still in the process) But it also taught us one important lesson, our foes are not forever invincible , for even in the face of British and Dutch forces, they had to reposition their forces to enable to still maintain a grip on their colonies, had peace not been 80

signed, we would’ve been part of the British commonwealth, undaunted by America’s buccaneering policies. The American invasion and its war upon our Philippine compatriots who fought the Spaniards and the incoming Americans taught us that courage is not enough to pull down the Military machine that pounced upon us, and that much wit is needed as well as firepower if we were to attempt to confront a much superiorly armed enemy, we also must remember that as we also learn about our enemy, it also learns from its battles as it confronts us even inventing new technology in attempting to defeat us, the M1911a1 is still a reminder that the Moro is indeed a formidable foe that had to be confronted with. It showed us that there are many ways of winning a war, using people as settlers or pawns instead of using guns and later creating an atmosphere that would eventually lead to conflict. It was an era where ignorance and lack of education made us pay dearly by losing a large portion of our homeland into the hand of settlers and eventually resulting to massive displacement out our traditional lands. When we protested that we be excluded from the Philippines in the Dansalan declaration we learned that the need for a powerful diplomatic arm and propaganda machine was indeed vital to the success of our movement and that it can find the recognition that we need. It was also in this era we have seen that even giants have their own weak points too for as the Americans were too busy in a lot of things their armada was decimated in a lightning raid by daredevils and that this showed that we should never lose a moment or we would find ourselves either lost in a cause and manipulated by others to fight their war or find ourselves in the midst of quislings, collaborators to the highest degree. But even they too have their end, like a cycle, when the giant got up, he pounced upon the bee that stung him. The most important lesson here was, we should prepare ourselves for the decisive moment and not falter when we have it; or we lose that chance for a very long time. The Philippine Independence in 1946 taught us what every other history lesson showed us, unless we don’t make a stand or be loud… it will be assumed we have agreed, and then subjugation follows. 81

Our incapacity for facing this made us the willing victims of a decolonization process but with another set of colonial processes that alienated us further from our land. We had never used the system to our benefit. With our fears that we would lose our faith , we lost our lands and this made our areas more smaller and made settlers own our land. They were merely pawns sent to occupy land for they were landless in Luzon and Visayas, as the Landlords wouldn’t give them, they ran to our homeland in search of Land. The Businessmen and capitalists duped our ancestors and bought large tracts of land with little money. Fooling many Lumads and Moros of their land. We should learn from this, educate our people. When the war came, we were very good in it, we were good in giving martyrs and better in overcoming our foes but we have forgotten our lessons again, unless our people are well organized, we will fall and succumb easily to the traps that the GRP had lain for us, this is why there are those that had chosen to surrender and integrate. WE had an efficient underground machinery but we had a poor aboveground movement which had caused a lot of our leaders to flee and seek asylum, cutting their links to the ground, inevitably some had made decisions that were based on theory not on actual conditions on the ground. We only had poorly divided PO’s and no NGO or support networks to strengthen community organizing and community development oriented people, so when the long set of Peace treaties were signed and phased to oblivion, everybody wanted to be in government but nobody was ready to run one but nobody had the capability to run one (except of course to corrupt and enrich oneself, except for a few) no one was spared from this tragedy. This caused us to split our ranks further and create divisions because our movement needed a deeply grounded ideology that was forestalled because many thought ISLAM will be our ideology as we progressed. But without defining what was our ideology we were already destined to ruin. The Bangsamoro homeland is already inhabited by Tripeoples, our Lumad brethren, Our Christian brethren who are descendants of the Christian settlers and Us the Moros. It is a fact undeniable that this is the Bangsamoro homeland, but they too are people who have grown to love this land, is it just that we deny them citizenship? Acknowledgement of this fact will 82

give us tremendous advantage to our struggle. We only have to talk out with them. Our brethren and comrades in the MILF believe in Islam we too believe in it, it is our life, but the facts also dictate that there are some points that have to be acted upon. The late Sheik Salamat (alayhi irham) would’ve agreed that a state that is representative of the people is the best for all. As we are now pushing forward to a new era there are many things that we need to define; 5 6 7 What are we going to do? What is our ideology or basis of unity? What is in store when we gain our homeland’s freedom?

It is indeed very hard to answer these questions especially when your answers may contrast that of your elders or those in power. But if you believe in it and work for it knowing it is the best solution, then it will work, Insha Allah. What indeed are we supposed to do? The answer to this simple question is divided into many levels. The first is to organize. The secret to any movement lies not only in its army but also in its mass movement, the stronger the mass movement the better. We must then define the roles of the aboveground movement in its relation to the underground movement and putting a line to define their roles and functions, this is to ensure that lesser people get killed or arrested and the movement gets the maximum effort. The aboveground movement must start organizing in the very moment it starts, core group and the likes as its very importance lies in its front lines, the struggle and the elders must realize that we need people with organizing skills who can easily organize, we also need the formation of NGO’s that goes along basic sectors and line services, for when the time that we have assumed government we have the right people who can handle and manage the various departments. This was the mistake of the MNLF had we people who were skilled in NGO work when we assumed ARMM, we could’ve minimized corruption and increased efficiency of the departments. We must not forget the role of the youth, which is indispensable to this, as they are the vanguard of our movement. The YMPN and the BSGN are formations that may prove 83

indispensable to the movement, as they are formations with skills that may help the movement. We must define the relationship that we will have with one particular group that would be our ally in the upcoming days, the converts of Luzon and Visayas. They are in the process of having a mass movement of their own and view that the Bangsamoro homeland is a separate state that they respect. Their role in the propaganda machinery of the People’s bureau will be vital as they form a base where we can work on joint actions. The unification movement that is being initiated by both fronts (MNLF and MILF) is important and that pluralism will play a very vital part in it. Basic points of unity as well as convergence points will ensure that our forces and fronts will not be divided, as the creation of a united front is indispensable to out struggle, this shall form the basis of our ideology although Islam shall play a central role in our actions. The creation of a united front will ensure that al efforts are coordinated and set into place. Allies from both the progressive movement and different countries must not be downplayed, as this will ensure our tactical and logistical strength as well as diplomatic recognition as a nation state. Although an Islamic state is not impossible due to the political and ethological realities of the composition of the people of our homeland a federal state may be in order after a transition government has been put into place with equal representation for all. It is indeed said that the overall moves are too much to be said in this paper but this will the topic and elucidation of a later policy paper once the central committee approves of this position that is being elucidated. WA TAWFIQ ILLA BI ALLAH.

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An understanding and analysis vis a vis dialectics of the the West A look at the new global order as espoused by the West as seen in light of their political theories: An understanding and analysis vis a vis dialectics of the the West . A concept paper by Roque Yusuf Morales 1.Introduction: As the collapse of the cold war, we have seen that a new world order has unfolded in the eyes of the West, however, as this world ored unfolds, the West has been in a dilemma on how to define the parameters of this order. Indeed, numerous theories and political analysis has been proposed by the so called "enlightened scholars " of the West. But the Question now arises: how does Islam and us, the global Ummah look at this world aroder and how do we also define our parameters today? We as members of the Global Muslim Ummah, may have to look at different angles as well as from different perspectives if we may arrive at a conclusion. This may not be conclusive for all times, it is our humble effort, so that we may be able to move forward in todays age and leave a legacy for other Muslims to come. As one looks at the different theories expressed and espoused today, I cannot but help but remember the ideals left by those who have come before us, like Hazrat Imam Khomeini (rahmatullahi alayhi) when he wrote the then president Mikhail Gorbachev and predicted the demise of the Soviet Union, saying; that the lac of a spiritual and moral ascendancy of socialism, being materialistic in nature will ultimately lead to the collapse of the socialist world order. And as one American Scholar has said, as the current trend of Modernization 85

proceeds, the fundamental human value from the worship of God and the virtues of Tqwa, Imaan and Ihsan are replaced by values like vice, vanity, personal interests over the others, self over others, there appears a ever and more stronger need for us Muslims to propose the need also for the West to study the high, lofty and ethical values of Islam. In the traditions of the late Ali Shariati's Ruhshanfekr being today's enlightened individuals , we will attempt to dissect the theories of the new global world order proposed by the West and their worldview and how we must propose to interact with the world in a move to propose also our own concept of a just and humane society baed on Tawheed and Adalah. II. How the West views todays Global order After the demise of the Soviet Union as predicted by Hazrat Imam (rahmatullahi alyh), the West has seen that the eternal archenemy of Capitalism and Democracy, i.e. Socialism as represented by the Soviet Union has collapsed; corollary to this the collapse of the Iron Curtain in Germany, the concept of collectivism and state owned enterprises as espoused by communism has eventually became a thing of the past, and even the Sleeping Giant China, has awakened from its slumber to partake in the eventual Capitalization of the world. As there appeared a clear and present need to define a new global order, a prominent think tank from the West, Samuel Huntington in a response to this need defined a new context, civilizational fault lines... in short, where cultures clash, civilizations and nations would clash. This was the eventual definition of this paper, "clash of civilizations and the rise of a new order".However, another known Western scholar Edward Said views that the presentation of Huntington preposterous in the sense paranoic This is the ineventual problem of the causality of Huntingtons concepts..... 86

from a clash of civilizations, it is surmised that such a clash occurs whenever ignorance takes place. instead of understanding what causes cultures and civilizations to clash, why not also try to look at the parallel sum of things like universal human values that are treasured in every culture and civilization. The same can be said of looking the the paralellism of anarchistic and terrrorist groups lingering in the different cultures like the Branch dravidian, Aum Shinyo or the Baader Meinhof gangs that are much alike the terrroristic manifestations of al-Qaeda or other groups like the Tamil Tigers and the Sin Fein in Ireland. And as Said says, “But we are all swimming in those waters, Westerners and Muslims and others alike. And since the waters are part of the ocean of history, trying to plow or divide them with barriers is futile. These are tense times, but it is better to think in terms of powerful and powerless communities, the secular politics of reason and ignorance, and universal principles of justice and injustice, than to wander off in search of vast abstractions that may give momentary satisfaction but little self-knowledge or informed analysis. "The Clash of Civilizations" thesis is a gimmick like "The War of the Worlds," better for reinforcing defensive self-pride than for critical understanding of the bewildering interdependence of our time. “ What is needed for civilizations to understand each other is dialogue, pluralist persepective and an openness to the other. As the West aims also in defining order, it also aims to define states that in its opinion are threats to the stability of the new global order, unconsciously defining these states as "rogue states" at the root of this definition is "viciousness,lack of principle and propensity to engage in unilateral action (Herman, 2006). it is clear that within that context, it is apparent that those that apparently falls out of context of the Western definition of universal Human values appears to be part of the target of Western Imperialist Hegemony. it then appears that even states that are merely guarding their legitimate interests and protecting their citizens is seen as rogue and therefore 87

in the eyes of the West are viewed as axis of evil. As the West aims also in defining order, it also aims to define states that in its opinion are threats to the stability of the new global order, unconsciously defining these states as "rogue states" at the root of this definition is "viciousness,lack of principle and propensity to engage in unilateral action (Herman, 2006). it is clear that within that context, it is apparent that those that apparently falls out of context of the Western definition of universal Human values appears to be part of the target of Western Imperialist Hegemony. it then appears that even states that are merely guarding their legitimate interests and protecting their citizens is seen as rogue and therefore in the eyes of the West are viewed as axis of evil. What pushes the West to aggressively pursue this Global World Order at the expense of other smaller sovereign states? The answer lies in the fact that Neoliberalism and Globalization also has played a significant role in the pursuance and aggressive implementation of this policy. Neoliberalism as a global phenomenon is manifested by the following : decreasing of government subsidies and privatization of government and owned and controlled corporations, free unrestricted trade by the lifting of tarriffs and barriers (giving rise to the entry of Multinational and transnational corporations ), and the non-intervention of Government in many policies to allow MNC and TNC's to operate as they wish. Neoliberalism also influences first world countries to focus on absolute gains over other nation states. This puts minor states like for example the Philippines, Sierra Leonne, Tunisia or even Egypt at a major trade disadvantage with Trade relations with the West. This normally would put out Muslims states who are currently at Economic hardships at the mercy of the West. This is coupled by Globalization which is the international economic manifestation of neoliberalism. Neoconservatism or commonly termed as “Neocons” is a recent political orientation that has manifested itself in the 88

United States. Although its origins have begun much earlier that the Bush Administration, its current political manifestations is clearly seen in the positions that the Bush Administration has adopted towards its foreign policy,notably Iraq, Iran and other states as well. In its principles it proposes that the United States should not be ashamed to use its unrivaled power – forcefully if necessary – to promote its values around the world. Some even speak of the need to cultivate a US empire. Neoconservatives believe modern threats facing the US can no longer be reliably contained and therefore must be prevented, sometimes through preemptive military action. As a corrolary fact neoconservatives believe that the US has allowed dangers to gather by not spending enough on defense and not confronting threats aggressively enough. One such threat, they contend, was Saddam Hussein and his pursuit of weapons of mass destruction. Since the 1991 Gulf War, neocons relentlessly advocated Mr. Hussein's ouster. Most neocons share unwavering support for Israel, which they see as crucial to US military sufficiency in a volatile region. They also see Israel as a key outpost of democracy in a region ruled by despots. Believing that authoritarianism and theocracy have allowed anti-Americanism to flourish in the Middle East, neocons advocate the democratic transformation of the region, starting with Iraq. They also believe the US is unnecessarily hampered by multilateral institutions, which they do not trust to effectively neutralize threats to global security. Although differring from the traditional conservative politicians on many issues, both conservatives and neocons favor a robust US military. But most conservatives express greater reservations about military intervention and socalled nation building. Neocons share no such reluctance. The post 9/11campaigns against regimes in Afghanistan and Iraq demonstrate that the neocons are not afraid to force regime change and reshape hostile states in the American image.

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Neocons believe the US must do to whatever it takes to end state-supported terrorism. For most, this means an aggressive push for democracy in the Middle East. Even after 9/11, many other conservatives, particularly in the isolationist wing,view this as an overzealous dream with nightmarish consequences. • Neocons envision a new global world order in which in which the United States is the unchallenged superpower, immune to threats. They believe that the US has a responsibility to act as a "benevolent global hegemon." In this capacity, the US would maintain an empire of sorts by helping to create democratic, economically liberal governments in place of "failed states" or oppressive regimes they deem threatening to the US or its interests. In a neoconservative Utopia it views the entire Middle East should be democratized in the belief that this would eliminate a prime breeding ground for terrorists. This approach, they claim, is not only best for the US; it is best for the world. In their view, the world can only achieve peace through strong US leadership backed with credible force, not weak treaties to be disrespected by tyrants.Any regime that is outwardly hostile to the US and could pose a threat would be confronted aggressively, not "appeased" or merely contained. The US military would be reconfigured around the world to allow for greater flexibility and quicker deployment to hot spots in the Middle East, as well as Central and Southeast Asia. The US would spend more on defense, particularly for high-tech, precision weaponry that could be used in preemptive strikes. It would work through multilateral institutions such as the United Nations when possible, but must never be constrained from acting in its best interests whenever necessary. At this point it would be worthwhile to point out that despite the fact that we Muslims have been a global Ummah, large and encompasses the whole world, has been unable to harness our collective strength to deal 90

with this global behemoth of neoliberalism. What makes this worse is in the words of Norman Angel another Neocon proponent, saying: "We cannot ensure the stability of the present system by the political or military preponderance of our nation or alliance by imposing its will on a rival.( Norman Angell, The Great Illusion, (1909) cited from 1933 ed. (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons),p. 137.)It only goes to say that in order for their global world order to survive, Global Bullying has become legitimized in the guide of protecting a nations vested interest. Never the less, Muslim states also possess the right to protect their collective interests as part of the Global Ummah as well as humanity. At the head of this Global Order, is the United States, being today ruled by the NeoConservatives, this ideology has its ramifications to both US domestic and Foreign policies. III. What do we intend to do with this current context? What appears here is a complex web of complex concepts intertwined with each other which we may call the Four microcosms of the west.The current Global World Order as seen by the west is best dissected by what we can say as the Four Microcosms of the West. these are the ideological tools that they use to look at the world and interact with it. After seeing that a new world order has arisen, the west as a policy has adopted what we may call as a POST WAR HEGEMONY STRATEGY in dealing with the world. within this context they have underlined a four-set in which they deal with the world which is as follows: 1.They define who are and can be their allies 2.They identify potential threats and enemies and define them as rogue 91

states 3.they apply sanctions to countries which refuse to be bullied under their new world order Creation of economic sanctions by: primary boycott of countries allied to the West of any economic transactions with the Country targetted secondary boycotts by threathening Multinational corporations/Transnatrional Companies from transacting business with so-called Rogue States. 2.application of Political Sanctions by outmaneuvering international organizations like the United Nations Security Council 3.pressuring states allied with the West to apply pressure or expelling diplomats from rogue states. 4.they create scenarios of which they seek to manipulate the events to their own benefits 1.Political scenarios wherein they aim to create political tumoil by fermenting dissension in rogue states 2.International Diplomatic isolation by trying to either neutralize or pressure diplomats from the so-called rogue states for participating in international diplomatic and political actions by either exclusion/expulsion from membership or pressuring other states to actively support actions against these states. By looking at this unipolar behemoth movement, we can ascertain that we can apply a new and novel appraoch of countering this unipolar hegemony. This we may now call a multi-polar approach. As we all know that the New global world order as espoused in the West and articulated by the United states is that it is to globalized, consumer oriented and prone to machinations of the West who may attempt to influence smaller countries and economies through coercion and pressure . 92

We as a natural result, will also apply a series of steps aimed to nullify these actions and push for the following: 1.Creation and strengthening of a new non-aligned movement which will advocate the interests of smaller states.this may also lead the way for the strengthening of pre-existing regional forums where focus will be aimed at strengthening of local regions and states as well as political and economic cooperation among them. 2.Creation of "Centres of Dialogue and Understanding" that aims to popularize the dialogue of civilizations as a response to the Theory of "clash of civilizations".These centres of dialogues may be schools, academic organizations Non-government organizations shall be distributed regionally among strategic areas. they shall also be tasked to undertake researches and conferences in the aim of further propagating these concepts. special focus and emphasis shall be given to East-East and East-West Dialogue of civilizations. 3.Creation of fora that aims to include other non-aligned states on a regional basis paving the way for the creation multipolar spheres of influences as well as alignments to ensure that smaller states be not coerced by the west into concessions and that these regional states interests be pursued and protected. 4.Commissioning of regional researches involving an exhaustive study on Islamic pluralism and concepts of dialogue from a localized persepective that may equip Muslim scholars and laymen with the proper knowledge, tools and methodology of dialogue and proper interaction with other cultures. No plan is perfect except with the Guidance of Allah, and insha Allah,. with proper guidance and leadership of the warasatul al-anbiya'a. mwe shall be successful in the implementation of these projects.

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references: *Wikipedia, www.wikipedia.org *Beyond American Hegemony . By Michael Lind, New America Foundation The National Interest | May/June 2007 *The clash of Civilizations. by Samuel P. Huntington .Foreign Affairs Summer 1993 *The Clash of Ignorance. By Edward Said.,The Nation, October 2001 issue *U.S. Policy on Rogue States :The concept "rogue state" is highly nuanced. The U.S. does not fall into the category despite its terrorist attacks against Cuba for close to 40 years. By NoamChomsky.,http://www.zmag.org/chomsky/articles/z9804rogue.html../ *Neocon 101. The Christian Science Monitor (source: http://www.csmonitor.com/specials/neocon/neocon101.html) *Beyond American Hegemony .By Michael Lind, New America Foundation .The National Interest | May/June 2007

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“Mubahala – The challenge of Tawheed” by Yusuf Roque Morales Whenever the Banner of Monotheism waves, The polytheist raises his voice to oppress and crush the light emanating from the radiance of monotheism, this event leads to a polar confrontation between tawheed and mushrik, typically manifested in the phenomenon called MUBAHALA. Little do we know that this event has occurred in more than one instance at of which we are familiar with the event related to the verse in the holy Quran. “If anyone of you disputes this matter with you now after full knowledge has come to you say: come! Let us gather together, our sons and your sons, our women and your women; our selves and your selves, then let our selves pray and invoke the curse of God on those who lie” [surah al-imran ayah 30-61] This ayah to the incident when the Christians at Najran had a discourse with the holy Prophet [SAWA], who with his proof presented on the unity of God being undeniable, the christians still held fast to their beliefs. This ayah descended as a command of Allah , of which the five noble souls, Muhammad [SA], Hassan and Hussain [the sons ], Fatima [the women ], and Ali [the selves ] complied with the divine command and challenged the christians to a spiritual duel, that whose ever is on the side of truth invoke God’s wrath on the liars. The bishop of the christians realized that any person lead and goded by God when going to a spiritual test or challenge will definitely bring his close kin and false prophet will indeed do other wise. Those, instead of risking their lives, they agreed to pay tribute and respect the faith of the prophet [SA], they however asked that they remain as Christians. Interesting to note, however, that mubahala was not actually a phenomenon 95

restricted to the era of the holy prophet each in their own time had resorted to this divine practice, of which we shall illustrate a few examples drawn from previews prophets. But first we must draw a working definition of mubahala. Mubahala may be defined as a “confrontation of a monotheist and a polytheist of which a spiritual challenge is raised by either party; it may be a charge delivered to an unbeliever of which the monotheist shows them the proof, the signs of Allah and by deducing them based on the knowledge and revelation given by God at a given moment”. It is therefore forwarded either to a group of or to an oppressor to prove the validity of a claim. It is an universal challenge of monotheism, polytheism and oppression, based upon this working definition of the aforementioned phenomenon, let us review the following examples. The Bhaghavad –Gita is a very famous vedic epic of which illustrates the battle of which Arjuna has to fight with his uncles, who have turned unbelievers and in the midst of the battle, the entity known as Krishna enlightens Arjuna on the justification of the confrontation of good and evel, represented on the one side as enlightenment, just governance and spiritual liberation on the former, while ignorance, oppression and spiritual slavery on the latter. Arjuna argues that the taking of life is indeed an inhuman act degrades one’s true purpose, but Krishna reminds him that it is his duty and calling to bid others to righteousness and to stop others from the commission of errors – even if he has to get them when challenged. The Prophet Noah(AS) himself had tried to warn his people of their inequity were faced with the same dilemma. One of the idolaters later came and taunted that if Noah’s God was indeed God, he should send a flood to devour them, a challenge of which Allah accepted and later sent the flood-even to the extent drowning one of Noah’s offspring. Two universal examples would be the lives of Ibrahim and Musa (AS) , which 96

both in their lifetimes were leaders of their peoples. Ibrahim(A) in his era was forced to be in a situation meeting the polytheist head-on, so as a result he went to the place where idols lay and broke all the idols save the biggest one. In the morning he was confronted by the infidels and was questioned concerning the incident. Replying that if the idol was indeed a self existent entity, it could have known so, therefore he concluded, they should ask it. The infidels as result were enraged and threw him [Ibrahim] to the fire telling that if Ibrahim’s God was trully God, he [Ibrahim] would be saved from the fire. Ibrahim left the fire without a hair strand burned. The same incident repeated itself in David’s time when the Jews were in object captivity. They we all to worship the statue of Darius, Daniel and his three friends refused to do so and mere thrown into fire, but due to their belief Allah and their challenge…the escaped unscathed in the fire. Musa (A) in turn, when he was ordered by Allah to set the children of Israel free, was challenged to show the might of God, thus exercising the divine phenomenon [Mubahala], of which Allah sent several pestilence’s and curses upon people of Egypt, the pharaoh in the end freed the children of Israel. As a universal phenomenon, Mubahala, therefore, must be remembered by the Muslims as a divine ordainment set by Allah to challenge the kuffar, and in the auspicious remembrance of it, we shall prove to the global kuffar that we shall face them will the truth….

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Shahadat, what does it signify? By Roque Yusuf Morales It is merely martyrdoom?That is death for a noble cause(perhaps

worthy?)Then there plenty of people who if it into this term.But what indeed does shahadat do to a man?Does it change lies initial state into a transformation so different that the end could not be said or discerned and be the result of the initial(original)stage? PERHAPS because as Husayn(A.S.) has said, "That death(for a noble cause)for the sons of Adam, is as beautiful as the neck of a young beautiful girl.Death is an ornament for mankind" How does it influence him? Notions of right or wrong vary from one person to another,since their sense of justice varies from a just man to a unjustman . Shahadat when performed in its highest state before the eyes of the RELUCTANT people (those who have a high sense of justice but hesitant to act due to his personal interests at stake) may illustrate to him the stance that justice makes,that a man of his beliefs would stand by his principles and performs this highest act of saenfice and attain his goal. Now time awaits this man,everything in expectal of the man who believes in the values see that there values see that there values are being destroyed,yes time awaits that man's action.It occups in the annals of historyand still does. WHAT DOES THE INFLUENCE MAKE IN HIM? When a man sees an ultimate sacrifice(Shahadat)done,thoughts come to his mind,he then starts to ask, why was such an act commited? Isn't there a more 98

sensible or logical way to act in order to resolve.This conflict without dying? This onlooker may or may not COMPREHEND. This concept at the onset,but later finds out that such an act was not commited in desperation done in hopelessness, but an act done wheer aim is to awaken them the consciousness of man that they may rise up and act. The onlooker then, as a results, self realizes himself and proceeds in the second stage. WHY DOES MAN HAVE TO DECIDE When Kuffar and Iman have a head on coilission, confusion arises within a unsure person with in himself. One cannot compromise...To do so would ENDANGER ONE'S FAITH LEAVING A STAIN OF HYPOCRISY IN ONE'S HEART . It would indeed bean acid test of one's faith on how he has to decide. Because it is one's faith which is at stake, there are no in betweens or half-allegiances, one must consider the results of his decisions TWO DEATHS,WHICH IS WHICH? In this view a question props up, what is to be done? Therefore in reply to this questions, a reply goes thus,”The Idealistic revolutionary standards of Islam at the time of the Prophet (SAWA) must be reviewed. Times have changed and Islam is no longer what they can the” wandering bedouins faith” and only is in Makkah and Medina. It is the large Ummah which spans the four corners of the globe. E'ven Alis brother Aqil ran to Muawiyah? One then looks at the situation realistically. It if is only shahadat which can keep the flame alive. Those who witness it (Shahadat), which in its pristime form, the Bystander will feeling as if he is in a deep ravine between two strong FORCES, Both fighting from within/without him. On one side lies the path of righteousness and Icon of which his wordly possessions and pride may vanish by simply following the way of justice, which may find its culmination at the cost of his life. 99

On the Other hand, lies the way of subjugation simply watching events happen as they evolve...But there lies the danger of the tinge of hypocrisy witch may take root and the feeling of in difference to suffering may soon form; at the same time enjoying all the material benefits to the loss of all the goods of the hereafter. Indeed he will fall into a dilemna of choosing between two pathswhich is which? Sabilillah why? The man then stamps his choice after going OVER the arguments in his mind the knows that a Shahid is the best thing,second to none in the WORLD. The Shahid may be described like a candle whose job is to burn out and get extinguished so that they may light out the path so others may see that the shuhada are the candles of society. If they do not shine, no light would guide men. Had they not shed their light on the darkness of DEPOSITION and suppression, humankind would've made no progress. WHAT IS BEYOND THE SURFACE In Islamic terminology there is a word with has a special sanctity. When anyone familiar with the Islamic modes of expression hears term, he knows it possesses a certain degree of honor the word in reference to is Shahid. From the Islamic joint of view, only the person who has accused the state of Shahid, is the only one that has created are; to its (Islamic) standards. The Qur'an tells of their state in the following verse: “Think of those who are claim the way of God as DEAD. Nay they are alive, finding their sustenance with their Lord(Al Qur'an 3:169) It is well known, In the history of Islam, many of its exatalled personalities

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have been martyrs, not to mention the people of merit within its folds like students who seeks the truth to gain the favor of God dies the death of a Shahid in the course of his studies. They are, in the words of a lover of God (Wali-Ullah) “Those who die for a Noble cause is the name of Allah.” THE PATH OF GUIDANCE As one comes across the precept that in EVERY rule of thumb, between two parties one is on the right and the other is on the (wrong) misguidance, one has no other recourse but to follow the path of guidance . Following the Quranic maxim, “command to do right and forbid the performance of wrong”, in the contemporary sense it would mean “Uphold the rule of justice and fight oppression.” There is no other way. Subjugation of priorities from personal to common good When one person soon has a firm belief that such an act needs to be performed in its expediancey, he will then start to reconsider the priorities he has made being that “A day spent in fighting for justice is better than a whole lifetime in living in silence living in tyranny,” he will set aside all worldly goals and a slowly proceeds towards Shahadat. SACRIFICE A PERSONAL EFFECT OF SHAHADAT Witnessing the injustices done, one may rise up against the oppressors and fight them. Irregardless of the consequences which may be a result of such act. Death comes only as a secondary result . The sacrifice than is a result of which may on may not materialize in death. What comes to fact here is the witnessing the act which is immortalized, only to be raised a step higher with death!

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Look at Husayn! We lets go of his life, leaves his town and rises up (Qiyam) in order to die because he has no other recourse to do so to condemn and desgrace his foes. He chooses this path in order to pull the contains aside which comes the ugly faces of the oppression which decieve, whether he lives or he dies, he obtains his objective-Shahadat, witnessing the oppression and injustice, by injecting his own blood as the force to awaken others to the Ideology of his grandfather of the Prophet (SAWA) Shahadat bears witness to that which some would rather let remain hidden in the dark recesses of history. It a symbol of that which must exist. It is bearing witness to which to what is taking place in this silent and secret time, and finally, Shahadat is the only reason for existence, The only sign of being present, only manner of resistance that truth, righteousness and justice can remain alive at a time in which uselessness, falsity and oppression rule.

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A Teachers' contextualization of the relationship between Knowledge and faith in the life and works of Said Nursi and the process of using them to give meaning and purpose to Man's life. A paper presented by Prof Yusuf Morales

Abstract:
As every paper has its purpose, this paper aims to discuss in details of how Knowledge and faith can give meaning, purpose and guidance to a persons life. The paper discusses the merits, the elements and the essentials in the path of a believer, it looks from the perspective of a believer in the scales of both knowledge and wisdom, in the sense, drawing from the Quran, the Sunnah of the Prophet as elucidated in the life and works of Said Nursi. The paper realizes that this is not discuss the totality of answers in replying to the question as to how one renders more purpose and meaning to life by the applicatio of faith and knowledge but instead realizes that this paper is a mere introductory study into its elements. One can see that in the light of Modernity and seculatization of the global world, where ethical and moral values has long gone and had withered, the essential fear that one day, the world when it has fully bowed down to modernity, secularization and globalization, in the light of the modern world would lose the morality and the ascendancy to guide people to do what is right and good. It also deals with the issues of purpose of life. And as such, this paper hopes to show a faint reflection from the treasure trove of the life,light and works of Said Nursi the answer to using faith and knowledge to give meaning and purpose to ones life. Islamization and looks at it from a systems

approach: INTEGRATION of faith and learning as a way of improving the quality and

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Introduction: Verily man has been created to be the Khalifa of Allah on Earth and has endowed him with intellectual and creative faculties in order to implement his wisdom and be his servant. One would be then led to ask, How does one lead to the understanding the meaning of The Relationship of Knowledge and and Their Rendering of Existence Meaningful. As an answer to this, I believe let us find inspiration in the light of the life and works of Said Nursi, one of the great thinkers and revivers of Islam in today's world. Allow me to rephrase some words and contextualize them from his writings and sayings so that we find light and inspiration. Allow me to mention several famous Ahadith of the Prophet that says, “As the level of knowledge of a Man increases, his search for for light and faith also increases .” The life of Bediuzzaman Said Nursi is a unique example whose service to the Qur'an and belief this century is indeed one of the shining mementos of this period. It is these intellectual heirlooms that he has passed on to his students, to the Islamic world and to the world as a whole makes it a noble endeavour to seek and dive into the depths of his works. faith,

Being new to his style of writing and thought, allow me to rephrase and regurgitate these ideals and concepts and slowly pour into the receptacle of thought passing through the funnel of my pen so that I may share unto you his 104

thoughts as I understand it. “As ones faith increases in relation to ones knowledge, ones certainty and humility also increases towards his Lord”. And as such, these sayings of the Prophet has always been manifested in Said Nursi's writings reflective of the light of knowledge in the treatise of light as seen in his life,writings, and students. To determine the relationship between knowledge and faith, we first have to have a clear conception of what these two concepts mean most especially to the Muslim. In simple terms knowledge means "information about something divine or corporeal"

Knowledge is also defined by the Oxford English Dictionary variously as:

Expertise, and skills acquired by a person through experience or education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject.

What is known in a particular field or in total; facts and information or

Awareness or familiarity gained by experience of a fact or situation. Philosophical debates in general start with Plato's formulation of knowledge as "justified true belief". There is however no single agreed definition of knowledge presently, or any prospect of one, and there remain numerous competing theories. For the Muslim, knowledge is very crucial to his faith, for Islam

emphasizes the importance of knowledge by the fact that the Islamic 105

revelation started with the word Iqra' (which means read! Or Recite!). And the several numbers of times the word 'Ilm' has been mentioned in the Holy Quran is a manifest of how knowledge and education is important in one's faith. For the word ilm goes beyond its simple interpretation as "knowledge". It is an all embracing term covering theory, action, and education. Knowledge comes under question when the Islamic conception and interpretations of the world which are the basis of faith are not acceptable, because it is contrary to rational or scientific principles. What one must ask is, whether there exist any conception of the world and interpretation of life which is rational and at the same time fit to be the infrastructure or building blocks of a particular faith. I believe obviously not, certainly not the Charles Darwin "Theory of evolution" or other scientific theory of existence. The most important angle of this discourse is to see how both knowledge and faith affect man. You see where knowledge gives man light and power, faith gives us love, hope, and warmth.

"Seek knowledge even in China". This Hadith of the Prophet Muhammad (s.l.a.w.s.) shows His eagerness and openness to knowledge no matter who are the "owners" of this knowledge or the effort required to acquire it. He who received the Revelation urged His own people in many Hadiths and Qur’anic verses to devote themselves to the scientific knowledge of the Earth, the living beings and the heavens as well as knowledge of other cultures. As it is revealed, investigating the many fields of knowledge is the only way to reading 106

the Signs (Ayat) of God. In a sense, Islam embraces all the cultures and ethnic groups as a “meta-culture” and a “meta-community”, united in their diversity within a common faith and a common eagerness for knowledge. Paradoxically, Islamic civilisation did not particularly prosper in its birth place, instead it has blossomed when Muslims moved to other lands and merged with other cultures and civilisations: i.e. along the Silk Road, North Africa and southern Europe, especially Andalusia. On the other hand, the reader of the Qur’an can only be surprised by the many references to the universe, the heavens and the sun as "signs to those who know" . The rise of Islam was also the rise of Science and Culture – particularly Astronomy which reached a state of the art in terms of accurate observations, mathematical developments and instrumentation. One can only admire the web of astronomers and mathematicians from Baghdad, along the Silk Road, to China and India: scholars driven by the "eagerness" for technical and mystical approach to knowledge. The Prophet Muhammad Himself travelled along the Silk Road. When they followed the spirit of the Qur’an and the teaching of the Prophet Muhammad, Muslim scholars revivified the Greek legacy, they embraced and added their own touch to the Persian civilization as well as Indian and Chinese cultures and technologies, diluting themselves in the reality they encountered. Unfortunately crossing swords for the sake of power and fanatic belief in religious values damaged the Islamic civilization from outside (during the crusades and the Tatars invasion) and from inside (fratricide wars or hurub at-tawa’if) . Resistance to knowledge and scientific investigation emerged within Muslim groups well before Muslims developed catharsis and resistance to the "modern western" world as a reaction to the crusades and the many colonial aggressions. Securing political power by the rulers meant prohibiting philosophical and scientific investigations. However History has its own subconscious: as a result of the crusades and expulsion from 107

Andalusia, Muslim rejection and resistance to Christianity is now associated with resistance to science and freedom of thought – assumed to be values of the "enemy" – although they are still "Signs of God for those who know". This is shown nowadays in the difficulty that the Muslim community has to be involved in international research programs in Astronomy for instance (and Science in general) and its resistance to adopt standard international criteria even for the observation of the moon for religious purpose. The question that one might ask is how can a wounded civilization emerge from its wounds and recover its glory in (re)contributing to human knowledge? Recovering its golden role in developing astronomy at the international standard might be part of the process of healing the wounded subconscious of the Muslim community and to restore the damage done to the Islamic values in the name of a belief of which Islam is innocent. Pseudo scientist Muslims and theologians alike who are trying to glorify the Qur’an by making it “the Book of All Sciences” and by developing naive and simplistic emotional views on the Universe (to compete with modern views) are digging the tomb of the Islamic civilization and throwing dark veils between Islam and scientific progress in one hand and Islam and other religions in the other hand. Science and the Qur’an: Study of the different religions, whether monotheist or not, shows that every religion has its own cosmogony or representation of the universe on which its transcendent relation to God and nature is based. In the Old Testament, for instance, the chapter of Genesis defines for once the world-view of the Christian cosmogony (whether proven right or wrong by modern science) which has been central not only to the life of the church through centuries but it was certainly at the base of scientific methods and representations developed by the modern Christian world, admittedly or not. 108

There is no such a specific chapter in the Qur’an but the reader can see that the Muslim cosmogony is referred to here and there in many Surats and that it is at the core of the relationship of the believer to God - "The God of the heavens and the Earth" and “The God of those who are in the heavens and those who are on Earth”. All the detailed descriptions of the origin of the universe, its fate and its content are given as "Signs to people of knowledge and faith" to read the work of God and His power and to testify for His Creation. Cosmogony in Islam is not only an attempt to describe the universe, it is also central to human knowledge. it is the path along which an individual develops his/her consciousness as being in the world, awareness of the complexity of the Creation, as well as his/her consciousness in contributing in human progress: the universe is the ‘place’ where one witnesses the work of God. The privilege of being "witness" in this world goes through the capacity of being able to investigate the laws of nature and to reveal the hidden complexity of the manifested phenomena, not only through contemplation and prayers . This is a very special feature of Islam and I think that it is at the basis of the development of Astronomy at the rise of Islam and during all the centuries of its golden era: the rise of modern Astronomy is not a simple revival of Greek or Indian Astronomy by Muslim scholars, but it is bodily connected to the spiritual inspiration that accompanied the rise of Islam. The Qor’an does not provide recipes of physical laws or mathematical solutions, but instead it inspires those who are open to its appeal to experience the process of contemplation / meditation / philosophical argumentation / technical measurement / mathematical proof / calculus / prediction / metaphysical speculation. For instance the canon texts fix the number and the nature of the prayers, but they do not tell one how to compute technically the times of the prayers during the day and over the year. They also say that the motions of the planets, the moon and the stars are determined with 109

exactitude, but they do not provide the law behind these motions nor how to compute them. However it is up to "those who know" to discover these laws and to develop the methods of how to compute them, as part of the process of honouring His power and the gift He gave us to witness His power. Muslims honoured the revealed message when they followed this line of inspiration and put into practice the transcendental dimension of knowledge. They were the symbol of a mystical state of being expressing itself through the empirical cognitive process of scientific knowledge.

Where knowledge helps us make implements and appliances and accelerates progress, faith helps us to determine the purpose of our efforts and gives direction to them, while knowledge makes the world a man's world; Faith makes life the life of humanity. As knowledge truly trains man's temperament, faith reforms man. Knowledge beautifies reason and thought, while faith beautifies spirit and feelings. Knowledge harmonizes the world with man and faith harmonizes man with himself. It is clear enough how man needs both knowledge and faith for with the absence of one the result is bound to be catastrophic, as it is always evident in our modern world how education/knowledge alone does not produce a full fledged man, scientific training can produce only a unilateral and healthy man and not a virtuous and multi lateral being. It is essential that faith and knowledge complement each another. For absence of faith in knowledge evidently brings about its lack in human aims and goals. Take a look at Spencer's theory on education for example giving a definition of education as "bringing man in harmony with his environment". Clearly enough knowledge makes us familiar with nature, reveals the laws of nature to us and makes us aware of ourselves. But we must also acknowledge 110

that an "education that is entirely scientific and materialist can produce nothing but tools and modern mechanics. It alienates man from beauty and estranges him form wisdom."1 Faith elevates our desires in addition to helping us in realizing our aims and objectives, it relieve us from our desires and ideals and puts them on the basis of love and ethics.

If we take this into consideration in our personal lives we would realize that faith endeavors to perfect society, free of social and economic inequality, to prevent self aggrandizement, and amassing wealth and satisfying the lust of power and wealth, domination of one group over another. For every individual with both knowledge and faith will consider these vices and avoid them for it is the combination of knowledge and faith that opens us to humanity and prevent us from individualism. Where they are absent the result is capitalism, Domination of one group over another. Although knowledge and faith supplement each other, one cannot exist without the other. One important point of discourse is the fact that faith should be identified in the light of knowledge. This saves it from being mixed with myth or prevents it from being contaminated. That is why Allah (SWT) tells "Tarifuu nii kabla antaa buduunii" that is know me before you worship me. So the logic is this: if you don’t know what your faith is all about you tend to miss the reason for your worship. People may be misguided from both those on the outside and the inside of your religious sphere. Without knowledge faith could easily be woven into a web of blind prejudice, blind faith would lead to extremism, fanaticism, and other religious and social vices.
1 Pleasures of Philosophy, P.P 168, 169, New York 1953

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The Middle East would be one example,where the existence of religious knowledge is not perfectly utilized thus bringing about a situation of political and religious crisis in the region.

We must always remember that knowledge is a sort of implement and its use depends on the will of man. So only if we have the will to learn, to acquire knowledge, then we will be able to make the best of it by using it to help us achieve our objectives and to smoothly travel through the path we choose for ourselves, whatever that path may be. In these modern times, there is no denying that science is not enough to humanize mankind, what is needed for some Scholars is faith ,whether religious or other wise. Bertrand Russell an influential 19th Century British philosopher puts it "the work that merely aims at earning income shall not produce good results. For this purpose one should adopt a profession that implants in the individual a faith, a purpose and a goal". The words of another great man in modern science who also acknowledges the importance of the presence of faith in life by writing "Art reveals beauty; it is the joy of life. Religion means love; it is the music of life, science means truth and reason; it is the conscience of mankind. We need all of them – Art and Religion as well as science"2. The Dilemna of Islamization of Knowledge . In the classic tradition that the learned are the heir of the Prophets, to us, Knowledge was but one of the divine heirlooms of our faith, This has led to a current trend of what they may call “Islamization of Knowledge” in the quest
2George Surton, Six Wings: Men of Science in the Renaissance, P. 218 (London, 1958)

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of fusing Modern science and Islamic faith.

What we must realize that clearly in contrast to some Christian approaches, many Muslim scholars were eager to identify themselves as ‘Islamic scholars’ and to shape their scholarship according to Islamic principles.

This was the nature of our Ulama, as they had tried to fuse knowledge and faith as the highest manifestation of knowledge.

This applied particularly to the clerical scholars who are collectively known in Arabic as the Ulema, membership of which carries high status within the Muslim community.

Although the Islamic education movement to Islamise knowledge only started in the late 1970s, partly as a reaction to the secularisation of education in Muslim countries.

It was part of a discourse which advocated the Islamisation of various aspects of society and life. The modern and largely Western inspired education systems within Muslim countries appeared to divorce learning from spiritual education and Muslim scholars observed that there was a rift between faith and intellect and between knowledge based on revelation and knowledge based on acquired knowledge. Young men returning to Muslim countries after studying in the West also appeared to suggest that the secular education they had received was not beneficial to their faith, as many returned with little respect for Muslim tradition, preferring instead to follow Western mores.

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The educational experience of Muslim minorities in Western countries also indicated that it was difficult to provide an Islamic education that preserved the heritage of Islam intact.

The First World Conference of Islamic Education in 1977 identified Western knowledge as the culprit, since it had divorced itself from spiritual education and had abandoned its links with revealed knowledge. It was a system that began and ended with man and which failed to acknowledge the Creator’s role as the source of all knowledge.

Some wished to disengage completely from Western thought in order to restore Islam’s autonomy and independence. Others felt that Islam and Muslims needed to engage with Western ideas.

That Conference wanted to avoid a superficial mix of secular and religious courses as a way forward. It therefore began with a logical statement of the nature of man, the purpose and goal of his existence, and the role of education in helping man to achieve this end

The Islamic Universities League held an international symposium on Islamic Studies in 2004 at Dundee University in Scotland and set out a framework for the development of the study of Islam and Muslim civilizations at university level.

The Muslim concept of knowledge ultimately identifies God as the source of all knowledge. It divides knowledge into two areas: revealed and acquired. Revealed knowledge is based on the Koran and Sunnah, whilst acquired knowledge concerns itself with the social, natural and applied sciences.

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Acquired knowledge must be in harmony with and enlightened by faith. Muslim thought has produced a hierarchy of knowledge which begins with spiritual knowledge followed by moral knowledge, then intellectual disciplines, imaginative disciplines, and finally physical disciplines. Spiritual and moral knowledge are ‘givens’, whilst acquired knowledge is gained through the imaginative disciplines. No knowledge is conceivable without values and therefore it is

unthinkable in Muslim education to suggest that knowledge is value free or neutral. In Islam all knowledge is sacred and should be used to counter error, prejudice and self-interest.

The connection between knowledge and the virtues is consequently important in Islam in order to ensure the balanced growth of the individual in spirit, intellect, rational self, feelings and senses.

The aim of this education is to infuse faith into the individual and create an emotional attachment to Islam so that they follow Islamic teaching in their lives. As Attis (1979: v) states, ‘The aim of Muslim education is the creation of the “good and righteous man” who worships Allah in the true sense of the term, builds up the structure of his earthly life according to the Sharia . . . (Islamic law) and employs it to sub-serve his faith.’ Ashraf (1985: 10) sums this up when he says, ‘If religion is taught as one of many subjects and not as the central subject governing the approach to all branches of human knowledge, one cannot hope to reassert the moral basis of society.’ There are theoretically no limits to the acquisition of knowledge in Islam and each Muslim has a sacred task to pursue knowledge to his or her best ability. Nevertheless, with the expansion of knowledge there have appeared conflicting attitudes within the Muslim community.

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Some believe that knowledge pursued for its own sake is meaningless, as they claim that all knowledge must serve God. There are significant tensions between reason and revelation. Acquired knowledge should be taught from the ‘Islamic’ point of view. However, in order to do this there was a need to evolve Islamic concepts of knowledge.

Islamic theology was to provide the worldview for all other branches of knowledge. Theology was to provide the link to integrate all branches of knowledge, as each branch is not considered autonomous. Clearly, Muslim scholars could not practically reject all Western knowledge – the intention was rather to recast Western knowledge according to Islamic principles and constructs.

This is a major objective, demanding the full intellectual resources of the Muslim community, so it is not surprising that it is not well advanced conceptually and is not without contested status within the Muslim community. The Heads of State of many Muslim countries formally subscribed to this Islamisation movement .

Nevertheless, this synthesis of faith and learning has been attempted before within Muslim education. Arab Muslims, such as al Farabi, Avicenna and Averroes, did not reject the new knowledge they found in Plato or Aristotle, but rather they assimilated it. Philosophy and science were not classified as unIslamic but rather they were re-constructed and understood according to the teachings of Islam. There are many tensions in trying to understand this medieval view of faith and knowledge and the contemporary interpretations of it. For example, there appears to be some similarities in Newman’s view to the modern movement within Islam that seeks to Islamise all secular knowledge. However,

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like Newman’s view, the Islamic view of knowledge is underdeveloped in practice.

The debate about the Islamisation of knowledge continues among Muslim philosophers and educationalists. Some scholars ‘de-Islamisation of the Muslim mind’. speak of the ‘corruption of knowledge’ in the West and how this has infiltrated Muslim minds, causing the

Some reject the idea that you can simply graft Islamic ideals and norms onto existing forms of knowledge (Rahman 1982). Rahman argues that it is not knowledge but its application that is the problem. It is the use of knowledge by Muslims that makes it bad or good, therefore there is nothing wrong with Western knowledge, but it is simply misused – by Muslims and Westerners alike. Rahman believes Islam simply has not kept pace in moral development with technological advancement and that the West treats religion as irrelevant to large areas of life and thought and has become thoroughly secular. There is also some misunderstanding of what Islamisation of knowledge means within the Muslim community itself.

Choudhary (1993: 18) believes that the Islamic community is ‘confused and doubtful about the kind of Islamisation direction to take’. Farugi (1982) has developed a method or approach to the Islamisation of knowledge which seeks to look at each branch of knowledge or academic discipline in higher education and redefine it, reorder it, rethink it and reproject it to serve the goals of Islam.

Some consider this to be anti-progress,anti-science and against human development, whilst others believe that Islamisation is simply code for Arabisation. 117

Nevertheless, institutes and universities have been established with the stated aim of the Islamisation of knowledge. Numerous books seek to outline an alternative (to Western)Muslim methodology that would be capable of responding to the social and intellectual challenges of modern Islamic societies. However, Rahman (1982:133) comments that in trying to Islamise knowledge and education, ‘this aim cannot be really fulfilled unless Muslims effectively perform the intellectual task of elaborating an Islamic metaphysics on the basis of the Quran’. Abaza claims that the attempt so far to invest knowledge with Islamic values has been less than negligible. He also observes that whilst the process has produced valuable insights, these are often marred by apologetic attitudes.

Bilgrami and Ashraf (1985: 40), working from the Islamic Academy in Cambridge, England, believe that the ideal Islamic university should not simply teach Islamic subjects alongside other subjects or establish institutes of Islamic Studies.

Rather the aim of the Islamic university is to ‘produce men of higher knowledge and noble character’ who have been educated in the spiritual, not the materialistic. They subscribe to the Islamization of knowledge and believe that the Muslim world requires a unified education system which they claim once prevailed in Muslim civilization, ‘a synthesis was brought between the rational and the spiritual approaches by the most learned scholars of the institutions, who had a complete knowledge of Islam and of modern subjects, and who with their methodology and personality brought together all knowledge into a united whole, integrating it with the unity of Truth and reality’. They suggest that this unity and integration needs to be recaptured by Muslims. Simply providing a theology faculty in a university does not aid the 118

unity they seek. Bilgrami and Ashraf (1985: 49)recognize that this is not an easy task for the Muslim community and will require intensive research and study. They propose that Muslim scholars begin by preparing a core of knowledge and draw from the metaphysics supplied by the Quran and Sunnah to formulate a basic Islamic approach tothe social, natural and applied sciences. This approach seeks to challenge the critical, secular and analytical outlook of the West by interpreting theories that underlie various disciplines from an Islamic point of view.

A lot of Scholars

are clearly concerned with the negative effects of

modern university education on the ideals and behavior of the young,and they advocate Islamization of knowledge as a partial remedy. They are careful to insist that this should not be done in a dogmatic way and that students should be trained to think for themselves. This is an important point since it would easy for academics hostile to this approach to become suspicious of institutions that promise specifically Islamic biology or even promise to give an authentic Islamic view of every subject or issue in higher education.

They may argue that this method would compromise the intellectual dignity of various disciplines in the name of religious insight, that it would demand conformity and not invite a free response, that it would simply transmit information but not cultivate critical thinking, and that it would be instruction not education. There is a distinction between teaching students how to think rather than what to think, but how we think presupposes knowing what to think. It presupposes some partisan account of the subject matter and whilst being partisan may slump into narrow indoctrination, it doesn’t have to.

As a point, the Islamization project has not progressed very far beyond philosophical 119 discussions and that Islamic scholars are only at the

conceptualization

stage

in

formulating

Islamic

concepts

for all the branches of knowledge. One difficulty they have is that the enterprise lacks criticism of its own tradition and often simply celebrates everything and everyone associated with Islam, whilst denigrating the West. The solution is not to impose on higher education a rigid pattern of knowledge in the name of Islamization, but rather to confront intelligently the difficulty of agreeing what the Islamic view of knowledge is. What we can say is that ‘preaching the theory that there exists an Islamic alternative to every branch of knowledge is not only to mislead the Muslim public but also to encourage communal suicide’.

There are many Muslim critics of the Islamisation of knowledge movement and they point to the fact that whilst there have been many critiques of the movement there have been very little concrete results in terms of an Islamic curriculum for universities (see Panjwani (2004) for a discussion of how Muslims differ among themselves on the Islamisation project).

It can appear to be a vague Islamic ideology with empty rhetoric, using a simplistic approach that fails to take account of historical events. That is why a Forum on Human Rights in Cairo condemned the whole Islamisation of knowledge project. Abaza (2002: 197) comments that ‘Islamisation is nothing but the monopoly of men of religion over scientific production, ending in inquisitions.’ Nevertheless, Muslims continue to see Westernisation as an ideological threat to their civilisation and something that aids the educational secularisation of their higher education institutions. The response is to reIslamize in some way this hitherto secularising Western-inspired educational project. It could be argued that secularisation is only possible when it becomes culturally acceptable, and in the majority of Muslim societies it is not acceptable.

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The dilemna was not in the Islamization or the integration of Faith and knowledge, the dilemna was the process, as it in other places lead to Arabization and Salafization of knowledge. And as such, the basic process was not merely to Islamize content of knowledge, but the fusion and integration of both faith and learning. Bediuzzaman’s understanding and comprehension of science as well his in-depth study philosophy should be seen in the context of the increasing Western influence in the Ottoman Empire at the end of the 19th and early 20th centuries and the attacks which were being made on the Qur'an and Islam in the name of science and materialism, and Positivist philosophy in particular; it was in order to answer these attacks. Indeed he may have not used the term Islamization as the term hasnt yet been coined in his time but the concepts that he progressively wrote in his works are clear testament to this and his interpretation of Islamization in the guise of Integration.

The integration of Faith, Learning and living

The Integration of Faith and Learning

One of the key focuses of our life

should be the integration of faith with

learning and living in its teaching and scholarship. Faith, heart, soul, and intellect must function synergically to empower people of faith and knowledge fully.

Why is the Focus on Integration Important?

1. Students must drive out fear of their minds before they will allow full

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development of them. Before they come to the university, many students have been warned by well-meaning friends, "Do not get so much education that you lose your faith." There is sometimes an assumed tension or even conflict between learning and faith. Many academics on secular campuses appear to believe that faith and learning are incompatible also, to such a degree that they take it upon themselves to attempt to "liberate" entering students from their faith.

Faith is often represented by these people as an obstacle to the modern world of "facts" (by which they often mean secularized interpretations of facts). If we want our students to love truth and pursue it freely, we must liberate them from this fear of learning by showing them that learning can strengthen and extend their faith. They must come to understand that not only does truth belong to God, meaning that there is no need to fear it, but that the spiritual battle for the modern world is taking place in a sophisticated intellectual and philosophical marketplace that requires well trained and well informed minds to engage the combat. 2. When students become aware that the mind (just as with heart and soul) can be an ally of faith—that they can strengthen their faith by strengthening their minds—they will see the importance and priority of mind training and take their academic work more seriously. We must actively promote the use of reason and intellect in building and as a tool in the philosophical battles of the modern world.

The more solidly rational and educated is the support for the faith, the stronger the faith will be and the more powerful the witness will be to an increasingly educated, skeptical, seeking, needy world.

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3. One's faith in relation to learning must be understood not as just an "added bonus" or appended item to standard scholarship from a secular worldview, but instead as a more comprehensive and more rational epistemology than, say naturalism or materialism. Islam, as a knowledge structure, is a standard of truth, providing an objectively critical approach work. In for making corrective assessments in scholarship and intellectual other words, Islam should be an anchor and a touchstone for the

analysis of culture and political structures rather than merely a point of view or another source of commentary on morals and manners.

The more solidly rational and educated is the support for the faith, the stronger the faith will be and the more powerful the witness will be to an increasingly educated, skeptical, seeking, needy world. Islam must therefore be seen not as a private emotion, not as a co-existing idea with little connection to reality, not as an "added plus" to an otherwise secular existence, not a balance in opposition to reason, but as a integrating truth that provides the world with meaning and coherence.

What does the process of Integration Involve?

Integration itself is embodied in such thinking and processes as • • • the inclusion of the whole person—heart, soul, and mind—in all acknowledging the reasonableness and truth of Islam recognizing that Islam is not a viewpoint imposed on world

activities, worship, work, thinking, feeling, studying, deciding, interpreting

knowledge, but an epistemic foundation (competing with lesser epistemes) that provides a clarifying platform for engaging all knowledge • and behavior 123 applying the standards and worldview of Islam to thought

• • •

a call to cultural evaluation by Islamic Values and standards: a call to social response the understanding of human nature, human value, and human

potential through the light of Quran and Sunnah A well performed process of integration will have an impact on • • • faith • a hierarchy of life: faith as a test of politics and ideology in the secular world values, choices, decision-making, and ethics by using Islamic meaning, the purpose of events, history, text and the purpose and views of truth and a reasonable, well-grounded faith versus a blind

reference points goals of life: in other words interpretation or hermeneutics

Implications of an Integrated Mind

As

scholars,

we

recognize

that

many

fact

claims

are

actually

interpretations imposed on filtered information, and that reigning paradigms are as much the products of philosophical structures as they are of objective truth or purely empirical evidence. We also understand that many textbooks and journals contain claims which come from a perspective that includes various metaphysical assumptions and philosophical interpretations in conflict with Islamic truth. For example, some of the claims of naturalism and postmodernist thought are clearly at odds with what we believe to be more rational explanations.

With integration, the student can recognize that certain aspects of secular learning are processed through such knowledge filters and interpretive spins, and that new information must often pass metaphysical litmus tests before being granted truth status. A highly educated Muslim can expose these 124

practices and challenge such claims by providing superior alternatives, based on better evidence, more reasonable interpretations, and revealed truth.

With integration, the believer can more readily endure times of spiritual dryness that might threaten the emotion-based Muslim. The Muslim supported by thought and knowledge will be less "prone to wander"

A faithfully integrated heart and mind can discern the difference between a cultural step forward and a mere click of the ratchet of excess.

What Happens without Integration?

When people do not learn to integrate faith and learning during their undergraduate years, then it may not occur. In graduate school and professional life, students may adopt the current paradigms of the field without realizing that those paradigms include a set of metaphysical assumptions, often naturalistic and humanistic, that conflict with Islamic truth—not because there is a conflict between faith and fact but because there is a conflict of worldviews, producing a conflict of interpretations and assumptions. Not knowing this, the student may incur a split between faith and mind, with faith weakening as the mind grows more and more into the subject. Without integration, faith tends to become an emotional commitment and response, relying exclusively on feelings which can change more easily than an intellectually grounded and reinforced belief. 125

Personal commitment.

feelings

are

more

subject

to

doubt

than

intellectual

Without integration, the students will risk compartmentalizing their faith, putting it in a box separate from their intellectual and working life. At the worst, the faith will become merely an emotional outlet, with God becoming a vending machine: put in a prayer and get out a blessing.

It will become intellectually irrelevant and emotionally useful only as long as the blessings keep coming. Once God "lets them down," with an unanswered prayer, their faith will be at risk.

Without integration, students will tend to exhibit a passive acceptance of current cultural values, lacking an active engagement and response to them, unable to separate entertainment values from moral and artistic values. Cultures with unfixed standards of reference move inevitably toward extremes, "pushing the envelope" without taste or decency.

A faithfully integrated heart and mind can discern the difference between a cultural step forward and a mere click of the ratchet of excess. Such a one can recognize that many of the productions of modern culture are not contributing to a more humane, compassionate world where beauty and truth are celebrated, and that some entertainment products are harmful to such a vision. By realizing that, as Marcus Aurelius says, "The soul takes on the color of its ideas," the integrated person can choose cultural inputs more wisely and therefore be influenced more positively. 126

Lifelong Integration

Integration is a process, that must take place every day, because we are presented with new claims, new facts, new interpretations every day. This integration, this "faithful intellect," will guide and guard our students not just while at the university but throughout their journey through the postmodern sea, where they will face a lifelong barrage of demands for belief, indulgence, and consumption. Our role as faculty is to give them the tools they can hone and use both now and in the future.

***********

*****

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Role of Muslim Educators in the Reformation and strengthening of Islam and the hastening of the era of Imam Mahdi by Yusuf Roque Santos Morales Abstract: This article discusses the primal role that teachers play in hastening the return of Imam Mahdi (ATFS). It discusses this role from the paradigm of an educator. It discusses the primal role of the educators in the task of reforming Islam and the role of Educators in ensuring that their students understand the concept and ideals of Islam and how Islam presents a more holistic world view as a response to the modern world, and finally the role teachers play in the return of the Imam (ATFS) “Islam has always paid considerable attention to teachers for their being the first layer in the structure of social development and perfection and the cause of guiding and developing behaviors and mentalities of individuals and communities.” And as such, this paper focuses on these roles as well as discusses their responses in the pursuance of this task.

Introduction: Bismillah Hirahman Niraheem Alhamdullillah Hil Ladhi Alamal Bil Qalam. 128

Alamal Insana Ma lam Ya' Lam Wa Salatu Wa salamu alal Rasulillahil kareem Wa alal Alihit Tahirin, Wa Ashabi Muntajibin Wa ala Awliya-ati Kareem, Wa Ummati Wasiyin Dear Brothers and Sisters: Assalamu alaikum wa Rahmatullah First of All allow me to first and foremost thank Allahu Subhanahu wa Ta'ala for allowing us to gather together and be with one another, strengthening our faith and gathering inspiration from each others successes, and may Allah continue to protect our Imam in this endeavor, guests and friends.

As I have observed, a significant number of members are educators, thrust in the divine task of sharing knowledge and wisdom. It is because of this I have become inspired to write a tribute to the teachers, the educators who live their lives for Islam.

Discussion: And as such, the role of educators in preparing for the return of Imam Mahdi is crucial and vital, as more than three-fourths of the world uses secular 129

education as a means of educating our youth, its strategic importance and value in ensuring that the ideals of Islam will be kept alive as well as ensure that our younger generation will keep the flame of the watch in ensuring that His return will be welcomed by his Shi'as. Allow me to look at this perspective from several angles: the primal role of the teachers in the reform of Islam and the role of teachers in ensuring that students understand the concept and ideals of Islam and that Islam presents a more holistic world view as a response to the modern world, and finally the role teachers play in the return of the Imam (ATFS) Islam has always paid considerable attention to teachers for their being the first layer in the structure of social development and perfection and the cause of guiding and developing behaviors and mentalities of individuals and communities. It is a known fact the the Holy Prophet (Salawatulahi alayhi) had shown his concern and care for teachers and emphasized their elevated status. Once, he passed by two circles of people; the first was supplicating to God while the other listening to a teacher. He commented, “The first is begging God who may or may not give them. The second was learning. I have been sent as teacher.” Hence, he joined the second. This is the best example of the Prophet’s encouraging education and teaching. Indeed Teachers mold their students into a mould that best imitates what they know and understand.

As time passes by their students

acquire the good traits and sound

trends, as well as the virtuous behavior and equanimity, from their teachers

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whose guidance and behavior eventually become a guide for them in life and is etched in their hearts. And as such ,one must remember as a teacher to be personally strict on personal discipline and train on virtuous and noble morals and manners to be the best exemplars of their students.

Once a caliph appointed a teacher for his son, he instructed the teacher, “The reformation you will provide to my son should be a part of your selfreformation. Flaws of pupils are totally related to yours. They will deem good only what you deem good and deem evil only what you deem evil.” An educator once said, “Teachers are the good exemplars to whom the students will always refer to when they are in need of answers, whether during their time as students or when they have log passed that period.” Another educator says, “Majority of people are pursuing states of the speakers. Those who are not are very rare. Hence, teachers should care for themselves more than improving their ways of teaching.” It is said that admonitions of masters that neglect applying them are being very unstable in hearts. Abul-Aswad ad-Duali composed a couple of verses in which he said: O, man that teaches others! You should have taught yourself first Warn not against a manner while you are doing This is the great shame on you Begin with yourself in interdicting sins If you do it then you are truly wise Only then, your admonition will be acceded And your words will be ensued and teaching be useful. 131

Indeed such words are good advise for teachers. It is said that the failures of society can be attributed to two important people in the lives of man; their parents and teachers. Self-disrespect and immorality of some teachers have been the cause that resulted in the present youth’s irregularity and deviation from the social traditions. When a teacher loses his ascendancy because of immorality as well as following wrong teachings and is misguided, students themselves become miguided and eventually would end up following no authority, for “even teachers would have lost the right to light the path of the lost”. If we read Imam Sajjad's (alayhi Salam) Treatise on Rights we will find that Teachers enjoy abundant rights on their pupils since they are sources of their perfection and familiarity with life, being the experts in their students eyes. They are also sources of the illumination of their student's minds . Therefore, teachers’ rights are preferable to fathers’. Pupils are required to show their teachers the highest pictures of respect and reverence. Imam Ali Ibn Al Hassan Zeinul-abidin further says,” The right of the one who trains you (sa'is) through knowledge is magnifying him, respecting his sessions, listening well to him, and attending to him with devotion. You should not raise your voice toward him. You should never answer anyone who asks him about something, in order that he may be the one who answers. You should not speak to anyone in his session nor speak ill of anyone with him. If anyone ever speaks ill of him in your presence, you should defend him. You should conceal his faults and make manifest his virtues. You should not sit with him in enmity or show hostility toward him in friendship. If you do all of this, God's angels will give witness for you that you went straight to him and learned his knowledge for God's sake, not for the sake of the people.” 132

The way of all these is laxness of desires and confine of lusts. You must understand that you are the emissary of what you have been received to the ignorant you may meet. Then, you should convey properly and never breach the mission if you should perform.”

These golden words of wisdom have been definitely filled with teachers’ rights that bring about the nation’s guidance in behavior and morals. The profession of teachers clearly in the words of Imam Zainul Abidin enjoy the most remarkable rights not only on the students, but also on the nation. This is because teachers’ are the source of guidance and cognizance from which we recover elements of our renaissance and development. Teachers’ efforts are the source of establishment of civilizations and prosperity of life characters as well as achievements of the great expectations for which the nation yearns. The Muslim Educators of old have referred to a number of qualities and responsibilities that the teachers should apply on their teaching life. These qualities may participate in making the teachers the noble exemplars and achieving the prosperity of education and teaching for creating a generation of equanimity and good manners. The desire of seeking knowledge should be developed in the minds of ones students. Teachers should refer to the most significant matters that advance them and their societies plentifully. Students will seriously pursue knowledge if this noble tendency is planted into their minds and, consequently, the country's intellectual scientific life will be prosperous .

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One must understand that as teachers we have the divine mandate to ensure that the teachings and the world view of Islam would be shared not only with our Muslim students but with our Non-Muslim students and protégées as well. This is to ensure that the holistic worldview of Islam would also be shared and nurtured by the whole community of both Muslims and nonMuslims. By applying these methods, the teachers of the early eras of Islam could produce those virtuous generations of such high traits and perfect maturity, and achieve the most remarkable scientific renaissance the sparks of which have covered all of the ages. The second part of our discussion lies in the role educators play in the return of Imam Mahdi (ATFS). There are several important points to note here among them are : • • The cultivation of an inquiring intellect that sees truth with the crucible of clarity the sharing of the ideals and teachings of islam as well as the sharing of the biography of the Hadrat Maasumin (alayhimus salam) with the end view of educating ones students to prepare oneself intellectually, spiritually and emotionally for the return of Imam Mahdi • using the classrooms as avenues for propagating the teachings of Imam Mahdi (ATFS).

These points clearly elucidates the processes and flow of how teachers can fully perform their role as ones who will prepare for the return of Imam Mahdi as well as share this knowledge with their students. 134

May these humble words be an inspiration to us all. And may our longing for his return be brief and may His return be immediate. Allow me to recite in closing, a dua from the Holy Quran: Rabbi Zidni Ilman, Rabbi Zidni Ilman, Rabbi Zidni Ilman Wa tawfiq Illa Bi Allah, wa hadanalahu Jamian, wa salamun alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa batakatuh

IT Articles

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Looking at the Quezon City Scholarship Fair 2009 We were invited to join the Quezon City City Scholarship Fair 2009. I actually was supposed to attend an "Education Nation Conference" at the University of The Philippines where my good friend Gene Morada of G.ho.st was attending.

We started at around 7 am for the flag raining ceremony and awarding of scholarship vouchers. We were looking at the different schools that were also offering their scholarships and course offerrings.

I noticed that when I saw the different schools actually followed suit. When we opened our course offerings in Multimedia applications and Computer Graphics Design in 2006, everybody barely understood and saw the significance of these courses. We actually pioneered Multimedia and Graphic Design Courses in the TESDA even before other schools and TESDA were offerring and promulgating Training regulations in these specializations in the Philippines. This was because we saw the significance of these courses in the ICT industry. We were also the ones who openly advocated putting and using FOSS in TESDA courses in order to popularize FOSS. So it was quite safe to say.. that other schools like AMA, STI, Informatics merely followed where we pioneered.

The scholarship fair was a showcase for the different schools and TEKBOK Providers.... It was also an opportunity for G.ho.st to showcase its versatility to other schools especially the bagong henerasyon foundation which had satellite training centers in the different community areas in Quezon City.

Explaining the value of cloud computing for indigent students, Trainors from Bagong henerasyon were welcoming the idea and looked forward to having a demonstration of the product to their community computer learning centers 136

Do Online Word Processors work? A friend from IOSN Mam Yolynn Medina shared me an online article , "The case for Online Word Procesors by Dustin Wax ". Naturally Id always take a look at any article shared... and see if its worth commenting or reading.

This one I like... Its written by a person who uses for his daily activities. Imagining just a browser and there you go... you can transfer from PC to PC anywhere you go. This is the beauty of cloud computing. Personally I agree with Dustin on the choices he had recommended, Google Docs (not that I am Google Fan), Zoho Apps and adobe(something I don use). This actually presents the best justification for educational collaboration, where teachers can actually check the written articles and projects prepared on Gdocs and Zoho shared with them, and be edited, collaborated, shared and commented upon. I agree with Dustin that this is a perfect example of how online word processors can be used for educational purposes. This application can also be found in G.ho.st a visrtual web based OS that has web based applications for cloud computing, an online web based office suite that handles communications and other office work. G.Ho.st also is best for schools since if you have a web based desktop that is accessible anywhere there is a connection (internet).. there is an online word processor that you can sue to prepare your projects, term papers and articles.

Indeed Online word procesors can even help minimize paper consumption... one of the best practices in education thats worth sharing with other educators.

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The Teacher is the curriculum Telling Teachers they are they are the curriculum I have recently attended a teachers seminar-workshop held by the Computer Professionals Union today at the University of the Philippines at Balay kalinaw. Its good to be at UP once again....savouring the breeze, the shady trees and of course Khas food haus with the traditional beef briani for lunch with Gene Morada of G.ho.st. The Theme of the workshop ws “Workshop on the trends and developments in Science and Mathematics”. When I arrived, a listened to inputs by various succes stories on how they used ICT as a tool in enhancing teaching in math and science. Most of the questions on the open forum was actually centered on either the lack of support from LGU's or supervisors. I however noticed several things.... the teachers paradigm and mindsets were still the repository thing. Meaning they had to grasp it on hand and serve it on spoons to their students. Of course part of what the previous speakers were telling them that there were options available to them, they just need to look for them. The same questions and tone of clarifications were going on. Of course, Gener was next to talk. ICT tools and web 2.0. Gene explained the use of the web to education and the need to use the web to enhance the interest of students and the usage of social networking sites. Also he introduced the value of cloud computing thru G.HO.ST which is actually the best tool for students who dont have their own PC's.

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I actually was supposed to talk about school experiences using ICT. Something like best practices. But I felt that I need to tell them something. So I asked them to affirm the following: The teacher is the curriculum I am the curriculum I am a teacher I will empower my students I am empowered I dont know if indeed they felt their statements. I thought them that in order to be empowered they must be able to learn the tools in order to help students. Students nowadays learn more through collaboration than spoonfeeding. It is by introduing collaborative tools like Google services like Blogger, picassa google groups,as well as other web based tools. The concept is that we allow the students to be able to share and ciritique their peers objectively would enhance not only their skills but their responsibility as well. I hope that the teachers realize that unless they learn that it is only by selfempowerment they can enhance their level of teaching and not on relying on what their supervisors, principals can tell them or what DEPED or TESDA or CHED can tell them.... They can do better because they know what their students need.... thus that is the very key to empowerment and enhancement of education at the very grassroots level. That is the message that they should understand in that seminar.Tools are there....they must be empowered to use these tools as a way to empower themselves and their students.........

CHS students trained with FOSS as alternatives Engaging Students with FOSS.

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TESDA has recently given 50 scholarship slots in computer hardware servicing NC II to our school, the Asian Academy of Business and Computers. This was part of the 175 recently given slots of Pangulong Gloria Scholarships courtesy of TESDA. Previously, we held an assessemnt on PC operations NC II around October of last year, we used open office and mozzila firefox as part of the test pakage for our students. Most of them (90 %) had passed the assessment and were declared “competent” (TESDA uses the term COMPETENT instead of passing). Last Month (April) we also held assessments for our students in Computer Hardware servicing NC II every weekend. 94% (67 students) were declared competent in this category. Currently our 2 classes of Computer Hardware servicing NC II are being trained to be both familiar with proprietary and FOSS software. Touching on the merits of FOSS,most students were surprised how come LINUX and other FOSS Operating systems never have viruses. Running on their third to fourth week, most students are still having their doubts as to the workability of linux. Perhaps after they have done installing and maintaing the computers they will have as projects.. they may realize that indeed Linux and other FOSS products are good technical alternatives to proprietary software. Our trainors, linux Guru Brian De Vivar and hardware guy John Lopez are both doing their stuff in training these students to learn to use better alternatives like Ubuntu Linux and Mandriva Linux. Unlike other Computer Hardware servicing students from other schools, our graduates will be both familiar with proprietary and FOSS. 140

Is There a current need for textbooks: Normally the trend would be in school is to require courses taken to have textbooks, and each teacher would always have his perrenial bias towards recommending his won favourite textbook, be it authored by him or his favourite college pprofessor. .In buying technology textbooks as time passes by specially in IT they tend to be outdated by the time you receive them and because we have this great thing called the Internet filled with technology information. Not so long ago, it took a fair amount of work, though to assemble a whole semester’s or year’s worth of coursework from web materials. Obviously, supplemental materials abounded, but textbooks certainly do help with a curriculum and keeping students on track from day to day. And as a school administrator for a school with students from class CD and e groups, I would always look for affordable alternatives, knowing that the web is full of them, it only would take you a specially dedicated researcher to find these things on the net. We were all set for introductory web classes and office productivity, but more advanced web goodies and programming were certainly not in our book closet. It didn’t take much of our time to do Googling, that we came over to see that there are full textbooks and curricula were now available for free to cover every topic I had in mind. The idea of Open Textbooks is a fairly new one, following in the same vein as Open Source Software. Some of them, like Wikibooks, are works in progress. Others are robust teaching tools, like those found on opentextbook.org: • Introduction to Programming Using Java • How to Think Like a Computer Scientist (this comes in 4 different versions, each specific to an implementation language)

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The Canadian site Free Learning is also a treasure trove of information and is searchable as well. This is more of a meta-database, pointing to a variety of open text resources. This doesn’t even take into account initiatives like MIT’s OpenCourseWare. Two introductory computer science courses (including notes, presentations, source code, and other supplemental materials) are availablehere, along with countless courses appropriate for high school and independent study. Courses particularly appropriate for high school are even broken out on this site We’re certainly nowhere near a time when we can dispense with purchased, traditional textbooks, especially in core subjects that often need to be aligned with local, state, or federal standards. However, I have no doubt that I can give teachers everything they need to teach a wide variety of courses in technology without spending a dime.

We just have to be wise enough and have the temerity to search within the available set of freee resources in our reach.

Looking from the hourglass.....

missives from a midset I was looking at all of the people rushing to get their shopping list filled up in preparation for a long break... christmas break as they would say. It was a very long year.... The school had accomplished a lot of things deemed unimaginable by ordinary standards by we made it and yet... we still missed the target we set for ourselves. 142

We were able to prepare new courses to be offered in school and apply them in TESDA, as well as get some (not all of our teachers accredited as Trainors/assessors in TESDA), although we had filed and applied formally for several courses in TESDA both as courses and as assessment centers for such courses, we still have to wait for formalities and ministerial processes to take place. As a school that has tried to cater to class C,D and E families, we were quite in dire straights considering that indeed in a global recession that strongly influences an already problematic national economy... tuition fee not being payed on time also means delayed payments on our operatinal expenses.....From a managers point of view, we have to improvise and ensure that indeed we can sustain the expenses of the school through alternative means . We had foreseen these events in advance... and we prepared a little for this. As advocates of Free and Open Source Software as well as EDTECH, we tried to find ways on how to earn while advocating. We stumbled upon creating a computer literacy module that aimed to train seafaring cadets in Desktop applications as well as training them to become Captain's aide and on-board secretary in a shipboard environment... we called this C-Office (short for Shipboard Office Productivity Suite) which aims to equip Navigation and Engine Cadets with Conputer literacy skills as well as Office Management Skills, soft skills that is required for global seafarers. This program was made a part of the official training program of one of the premier maritine agencies, POBAR Maritime LTD, this course was the brainchild of Capt Leo Mirante, MM, the manager of this company and DR Joel S. Garcia, president of the school. Thus although initially three Shipping manning agencies took part among them POBAR and OSM, it was POBAR that eventually adopted the program as an integral part of their manpower development 143

program. Instead of wholly teaching MS Office , Adobe Reader for PDF and Internet explorer for web browsing.... we taught them the Linux desktop system, the Open Office system and document viewer/foxit reader for document preparation and mozilla firefox for browsing, we have shown that Linux alternatives exist for usage in office productivity. We also initiated trainings fr Blender 3d animation as a tool for 3d animation.We are also looking into creating courses for PhP MySQL for web administrators and developers as well as for Java, C++ and other FOSS programming languages..... Although we may not yet received approval for the other courses and programs... we are hoping that the backlogs and leftover targets we have left for 2008 can be finished before the end of January 2009.

An IT program on Philippine free TV Looking at Convergence Ive recently seen a very interesting program in Information technology. The name of the Show is Convergence at NET-25. I liked the format of the show. Except that it does not cover FOSS/Open Souce/LINUX material. One can view its programs every evening at 8 pm at channel 25 on your free TV but you can also watch it online at www.net-25.com/convergence. They have live video streaming. Ive seen that indeed they cover much topics like new trends in Information Technology, they even cover topics such as WEB 2.0, social networking, Updates in software and hardware development, Gaming and electronic gadgets as well as multimedia solutions.

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Convergence as a whole answers to a lot of things that normally a person needs with IT....in short a must for every person who uses information technology. Il be watching their shows and be commenting on their content once in a while.

What Does It take to switch to desktop Linux in Schools?

As a school Administrator, I always try to find ways to economize in a lot of things but not sacrificing quality, I came across my favourite Zdnet Blogger Christopher Dawson on “Just what does it take to switch to desktop Linux “ and I saw that indeed the article was worth reading and commenting. According to dawson the following are the parameters needed to be considered when considering on wWhat is required to switch teachers to Linux on his desktop? Here’s Christopher Dawson's initial list.

• Know how to access Windows shares on the network • Have a rudimentary understanding of the file system to ensure that he could copy, paste, and otherwise move around his files, including how to make backups • Understand how to save documents in PDF, ODF, and Office formats • Understand the differences in interface between OpenOffice and Office 2003 (the current system used in the superintendent’s office)

These are all free. In addition to these, Dawson also includes the following issues for users:

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1. Where are their files kept ? 2. How does one access the budgeting software? 3. How does one access the student information system (web-based)? 4. How do one communicate (email and chat systems are currently webbased)?

Here are some additional important considerations. None of these seem to be deal breakers, but they certainly need to be part of a well-planned and successful conversion if schools at elementary and high school grades are to decide to head down that road: • Printing: Does all of the printers users access have Linux drivers? Although there is a trend of keeping files digitized and lessening the usage of paper to help the environment, the superintendents,administrator's and registrar’s office, perhaps more than any other administrative unit, must produce printed documents. • Backup: With Windows machines, one can redirect desktops and user folders to a regularly backed-up server; Vista does a particularly nice (if slow) job of dealing with offline file synchronization. There are plenty of ways to handle this in Linux, but as far as I know, there isn’t anything quite as slick as either group policies in Windows for the redirects or the similar functionality enabled in OS X server . • Replacing group policy and domain/enterprise levels of control in general: as noted above, while AD may have its share of issues, it makes pushing updates, enforcing policies, etc., really easy. Anyone have a good “Linux administration for dummies” link that covers good ways to handle policy for workstations across a network? • Remote access: There are plenty of remote access solutions that will work quite well with Linux, but any existing infrastructure needs to be tested for compatibility. • Complex Excel files: Compatibility between OpenOffice 3 and Microsoft Office is generally quite good. However, since the super’s office also 146

handles budget administration, there are most likely some fairly complicated spreadsheets floating around. A period of testing should certainly go on with OO.org, but a more important consideration may actually be the impact on productivity for budget admins who are extremely proficient in Excel. • “Extracurricular crap”: (something like what the regular Joe's use to “enhance their productivity by making them relaxed) “Check out any extra curricular software they may have, iTunes, Skype, etc. Yes these are silly but if users are pissed off you took away music they’ll be more likely to resist and sabotage.” another power user comments that : “In my experience it’s not the mainstream applications that prevent a switch but rather the myriad of smaller programs which have no OSS replacements. Be sure to identify and factor these programs into any migration strategy.” With these things in mind, I'd like to acknowledge the immense help accorded by Sir Chris to us non-techie school managers. Hope that his advice would also work well for you. His full length article can be accessed at: http://education.zdnet.com/?p=1976&tag=nl.e539 and http://education.zdnet.com/?p=1977

Why I get more and more convinced that I should convince people to use Ubuntu I have just read the column of my favourite Tech Blogger Christopher Dawson from Zdnet and seeing that there are similarities in some of his experiences I decided to do a rewrite of similar experiences

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Everybody knows the typical patch Tuesday cycle of our favourite OS. Every week, more and more bits of malware seem to be making their way past commercial anti-virus, firewall anti-virus, and ISP anti-virus software. New patches and downloads abound, and as a result, both my Tech guy and me personally had to re-image several computers in the last 2 weeks due to massive infestations. This is to say nothing of the home computers that I get advices and requests (I feel like getting one of those ThinkGeek T-shirts that tells people, “No, I won’t fix your computer.”) It has occurred to me that yes, I’m well aware that if Linux or Mac had greater marketshare, then they would be far more vulnerable to malware attacks. That being said, right now, none of the computers that I and my personal academic and office staff use (two desktops, one laptop and one file server all run on Ubuntu) have had even a blip of malware. My students who have switched over to Linux? No problems. Teachers with Linux Boxes at home? No worries. Not a single issue. You don’t notice people reimaging their MacBooks because of a trojan. There are plenty of reasons why people love to use Windows PCs. Games, proprietary Windows-only software, generally low acquisition costs; the usual arguments apply. However, it appears that the Tech people have to regularly turn more of their attention to ensuring that my Windows PCs stay malware free and as I observe my *buntu computers hum along happily, I’m struggling to see a good reason to stick with the Windows platform.(except of course that a lot of industry applications in multimedia and visual graphics are run on Windows based platforms; although open source solutions are already mature and also in use, not a lot of professionals use them ). Although We don’t play games,we are into developing people to do gaming development; and were hoping that eventually we could remodel and move our 148

curriculum away from teaching specific applications and focusing on computing concepts, and I’m tired of intrusive, moderately effective anti-malware software. Eventually, as we go towards full utilization of open source in pur classrooms; we hope that we can find rationalizations for other tech needs. We're hoping to eventually rely on thin clients as my tech people eventually gets the feel of an LTSP , and I simply don’t need high end kit at this level, so I can perhaps fiddle out with either a *buntu flavour that goes well on an LTSP rig. That leaves me with some other non-Mac flavor of Linux. Solaris is looking mighty nice as a virtualization platform and LTSP/Kiwi/Edubuntu and the like just might be mature enough to meet my needs at that point. As an educational administrator, there are indeed too many options open , though, to keep dealing with the hassles of Windows.as of the moment it would be wise not making any decisions just yet; I have plenty of time to give this serious consideration. Who knows, maybe the popular OS will be really awesome one of these days . But Il be relaxed knowing that because I finally have my AD tweaked just the way I like it I can always say that Using linux is the best thing next to a MAC.

G.ho.st visits AABC As anybody would say... it a dream for every person to have his own computer. However not everybody can purchase one. Yesterday, October 21, G.Ho.st visited Asian Academy of Business and computers and delivered a walk in lecture/seminar on Virtual computing by using G.ho.st as your own virtual desktop. browser based and basing on the concept, "No virus, Flash drive free ready to use desktops anywhere, anytime"; G.ho.st caught the attention and interest of 149

our students. both from the second year and first year technical students. The mere idea that you have a ready desktop anywhere itrigues and challenged the students, who ended up eventually asking in the open forum what apps they could use and how to sign up. Although the seminar room was jampacked and filled to the max; students really appreciated the lecture given by Gener Luis Morada, country representative of G.ho.st and actually requested that in time, perhaps Gene can demonstrate the other utility tools of g.ho.st. After the walk in seminar, I had a discussion with Gene and Bryan, our linux teacher about the possibility if G.ho.st can have web-based programming apps that we can use for instruction purposes as well as the possibility of collaboration in educational projects. Also commenting on the need for hardware, I asked if G.host would eventually have lighter versions that would enable p2 and p3 desktops to run g.ho.st and help a lot of public and private schools in the country.

G.ho.st personal impressions I've recently tried G.ho.st, a new virtual PC/Operating system thats web based. You can open it from a browser and youll have lots of features that you will definitely like. Imagine having your own virtual PC online that you can use and utilize, whose hard disk space increases as you invite others to join you in using G.ho.st. I recently was visited by Gene Morada, the Philippine representative of G.ho.st 150

and he introduced me to its features, I like the idea of Cloud computing specially when majority of my students com from class CD and E families, imagine what huge amount of storage space my students can have as well as a virtual desktop PC. Im a google fan, dedicated somewhat, but seiing its features, I feel like combining the usage of Google and G.ho.st and see how big my online virtual desktop space can get. Ive arranged with our IT guy Sir Bryan to have Gene have a seminar on G.ho.st here in school for our students, and i feel like we have a lot of projects and collaboration to do eventually later. Eventually i hope that G.ho.st would sponsor educational collaborational tools on their desktop so that we can use them to teach programming to our students.

Putting Blender on the drawing table Recently... we had started joint project with GMA kapuso Foundation to train 50 out of school youths in Visual Graphics and 3d animation . Of course one of the aims of that project was to make available open source tools and show that indeed they are ready for the market. Another very important reason we felt was that we wanted to prove that we can turn a person with zero knowledge in computer and graphics into a functional person ready for employment. And what more better opportunity it was to offer people a fighting chance to get employment as a graphics artist. And offerring a scholarship for 50 people who needed it most was what our partner GMA kapuso foundation felt could better serve a higher purpose and empower a lot of our constituents.

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One significant thing was.. we were already previously offering blender both as part of our regular Graphics and design as well as Multimedia Application curricular instruction. Thus, our lead animation instructor, Sir Dennis Jorolan...was already experienced with dealing with the proprietary and open source tools in 3d animation. being an open source advocate himself... he welcomed the idea. We wanted very much to put GIMP, as well as KINO, Jahshaka, DIA as well as other opne source tools on the drawing board as well; as our graphics people were very much into the idea... we are hoping that after our first batch of KASI (Kapuso-AABC Scholarship Initiative) scholars; we could prove that indeed open source tools are as good as proprietary tools. Of course, one cannot but acknowledge the foresight of the foundations executive director, Sir Nonie dela Fuente who also encouraged and welcomed the idea. So, to the soon to be scholars, to the men and women behind the project.... good luck.....

What weve done so far? Foss in AABC has a long way to go. From starting in Open Office, mozilla firefox, GIMP, Blender and Foxit, AABC has gone quite some distance in trying to go . Since we've installed Linux on our classrooms,faculty room and administrative offices Ubuntu (versions 6.10,7.04 and 8.04) and Ubuntustudio (multimedia room). And so far our students are adjusting relatively well.

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We were quite lucky that we have open source buffs in our IT department. Sir Dennis Jorolan, our animation guru and Sir Brian de Vivar , our PhPMySQL guru. Our teachers also have been undergoing in house trainings in open office, Google Docs (for document collaboration among students and faculty , Blogger (for faculty who would post lectures and advnace assignments). Though blogging among teachers still has to be reminded (of which takes time). Were still trying to master Open base and hopefully well also be able to implement that. weve been actively trying to put FOSSpective into our students. Among the significant things we think we were able to do outside of our regular students was our short courses among them the introduction of Blender as a 3d animation tool, introducing Open source tools in our COffice Shipboard office productivity course for seafarers and our webdesign courses.

This is just the start of our journey. We hope to do more

FOSS Films a requirement in IT education I recently realized the value utilizing film as a way of popularizing open source, recently we hired a new teacher Mr. Brian De Vivar, another Open source advocate and Ubuntu buff. When he had to accept another training session in C-office (shipboard office productivity suite for seafarers) which conflicted with his computer fundamentals class, i subbed in his class period. and trying to introduce the concept of open source, I let the students watch "Codebreakers" a 153

documentary of the Free software movement. I soon realized that it raised a lot of questions from our students. (we have been using open source for quite some time now and Open office/gimp/blender being some of our mainstays). when the film viewwing was over i gave them time to write reaction paper which was never submitted in time. This also gave Mr. De Vivar time to watch the movie and another one "revolution OS". he later required his students to watch this other film and other students as well. so our present crop of IT students realized that indeed, theres a new and big world out there with open source. and so our journey to FOSS continues. for those who havent seen the movie.... watch them!!!!

Deploying FLOSS-Centric Student Interns Deploying Floss-centric Students An Attempt to integrate FLOSS people in the Business and IT industry By Yusuf Morales Normally Technical Students in our school go on internship in their second year, and this is actually the second batch of interns were sending to Business, IT industry, Private Companies and Government offices. WE begun sending student interns last year both to ensure our students have actual hands on 154

industry experience as well as test the efficacy of our curriculum if it has met or exceeded the standards that are demanded by the industry. Our Programming (IT) students armed by PhP, Java, C++ and MySQL programming skills (although they also are familliar with counterpart COTS software )were deployed among IT companies, we deployed our Computer graphics and design (GD) students to multimedia companies among them Acid House (a multimedia outfit doing multimedia production for ABS-CBN, Rush TV productions (an outfit producing a program on studio 23 ),as well as some multimedia post prod rigs in Makati. These Kids know Blender (as well as the COTS counterpart) Scribus and GIMP (and their COTS counterparts), sadly they are still trying to master either cinellera or KINO as they are more used to their COTS equivalents. Our Business and IT (BIT) interns were sent to businesses, private firms and government offices, in addition to COTS office suites as well as web designer tools, they are familliar and activiely use Open Office, which we hope could be a good enticing mechanism for businesses to use. We are hoping that these second batch of office interns can also serve as people who will encourage businesses to use FLOSS. Based on the results of this batch's progress we may then see how we could situate more in the world of IT education.

English and Blogging English and Blogging: drawing experiences in teaching By: Yusuf Morales Ive been trying the Blog-English teaching method with my students and so far, all of my students have reciprocated.... they have posted some original 155

compositions as well as some "plagiarized" ones. But so far they have been improving. Ive started them with Gmail and gdocs last semester, and so far my students (who are either 2 year tech students or BS students) and they have realized the possibilities of blogging as a form of expression far better that just putting a friendster profile because they can configure the page as well as do a lot of designs by interphasing flash presentations converted from open impress presentation, that they may have uploaded directly to blogger as a flash file or uploaded to Youtube then pasted the HTML code into the blog. My English 2 students are exploring the possibilities of the blog as a way of learning and expression. heres a few examples: http://albryanenglish.blogspot.com/ http://ervenlargo.blogspot.com/ http://nickyenglish.blogspot.com/ http://snake-wwwblogcom.blogspot.com/ http://aiceenglish.blogspot.com/ Well of course these students come from public high schools and from the info they come from the lower sections, so their English is understandably new and developing. I'm hoping that the school newspaper people would also set up their own blogsite where they may post the school paper newsbits. as a form of training and learning for them. As of the moment also I am also requiring my BS in Information technology students in their Biology class (which I handle them) to post a blogger site their experiences, learnings and new discoveries both in Biology and Blogging. I do hope that by utilizing a new methodology in teaching by the use of blogging students will be able to improve their learning styles as well as make 156

them more competitive eventually in the modern world. By the way.... I also emphasize that my students use open office as their productivity suite. I use both open office and Star Office as i am an open document advocate. As always i say.... open source rocks

Teaching Students your subject through IT Teaching Students your subject with IT Musings of a Teacher trying to make his subject relevant today By Yusuf Ever since Ive started handling classes here at the school I manage, ive noticed that since most of the students here are graduate of public high schools, i really felt the impact of mis-education of these students during their elementary and high school education. Normally public students in Metro manila are jampacked into classes of 50 nay even as high as 75 students per class. so in this context... how do you expect them to fully learn? Ive been teaching in this school (asian academy) for three years and i've been teaching General education subjects, particularly the english 1 to english 4. It was quite frustrating during the first semesters as I was still trying to find a way to be able to make students cope up with English in College. at times, i would even teach them my subjects elementary English (the English that I use to teach my Korean students). Until i realized two semesters ago that why not utilize blogging? Right now, I made almost all of my students do their schoolwork and assignments by either e-groups (for my non-english subjects) and letting my 157

students blog (provided its done in English) right now my English 2 and Biology 101 students are blogging it out ... and they are enjoying it while learning..... I do hope that others will also learn that blogging is a good way to teach your students to learn.

Bridging the Digital Divide in Depressed Areas in the Philippines A Personal look at the Digital Divide. By Roque Santos Morales As far as the statistics of Education (particularly IT education) in areas outside of the Urbanized areas (primarily in the depressed areas), it appears that there is a dearth of information as to how there would be policies to address IT education. Take for instance, Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao which does not only earmark for a small passing rate in the NEAT and NSAT exams compared to other regions. In our school, I've noticed how technologically challenged are my students who come from ARMM areas in Mindanao. Understanding that it is already a privilege to be functionally literate in these areas and this is a very big issue, imagine elementary and secondary students from public high schools not having access to information technology in the Philippines. I salute the Open source people in Mindanao for doing their share in trying to popularize FLOSS in the southern part of the Philippines, but I believe that there should be a more bigger role to be played by fellow FLOSS advocates in 158

Mindanao like doing a FLOSS project aimed at ARMM areas, like for instance piloting a primary and secondary school with implementing FLOSS. What I mean here is embarking on setting up a FLOSS laboratory in one targeted elementary and high school. At least from one end we would be able to actively show that Open source indeed can help in doing projects like bridging parts of the digital divide.

Human parts:

A New Year Joke The hidden and unsung martyrs of Christmas and New Year and every festive event of christianity. As a Muslim it would be laconic to write about these two occassions from a personal point of view. Especially if I were to write from the present persepective. But I feel writing about a funny topic that most especially would touch a cord with some people, whether they may be friends or acquaintances. Everybody talks about the time where love and caring being shared in this festive event of christianity, saying that indeed these twin events are some of the most important points of celebration. So the festivities begin with frivolity and joys and with a lot of food on the table. Now back to the topic. The centerpiece of every christian home in the Philippines (being a former Spanish colony) … are the sweetmeats of every delight....hamonada, endulsao and hamon dulcinea....in short varieties of ham.. for others the Philippine contribution to Porcine Cuisine.. Lechon (Pig roasted on a stake!). Being A muslim … it wouldnt matter to me what me christian relatives and inlaws would have on their festive table as long as Im either not around or I dont eat it.... I can no longer even tolerate their smell! 159

But I'd like to say that indeed much blood.. I mean Pork Blood , is spilt on these occassions that even the massacres that we hear on every news report isnt enough to compare with the misery that every herd of pigs have to bear.... even animal rights ativitsts should start complaining about this. Considering the Filipino taste for Pork... one would wonder..... are animal rights activists doing their work? And if they dont realize this.... perhaps indeed the Pigs would continually be the unsung heroes of every Christmas and festive occasion on every Filipinos dining table.... with a dying motto: The Filipino is worth dying for.....

Memories of Activism.... reflections series one I remember the times when I had joined the ranks of the Progressive movement. I was then filled with anger and hate..... seeing a disparate and corrupt system and guided by the readings made from Idealist thinkers and imaginers... I moved forward with the idea that "People of the World, unite,... You have nothing to lose but your chains..." I remember my Uncle when he heard I joined an activist group,"There you go... dreaming an impossible dream and fighting a unwinnable war..destined for failure." But then young people, filled with zeal, idealism and hope..... joining ranks with others respecting the prowess of the working class and the proletariat... moved forward. Why did I become an activist? personally it happened it during a time I was in my youth... it was a time I was searching for meaning... for vision... when I was facing personal problems and was in a crisi on what to do with my life.... 160

and when I was confronted by peers who convinced me that it was worth it fighting for rights.... I simply took the opportunity. My readings as early as when I was in fifth grade influenced me a lot. Das Kapital.... some books on socialist thinkers like the works of Rosa Luxemborg, Antonio Gramsci and others... these ultimately lead me on that path. But emptiness, also was one reason why i continued on that path, anger, loneliness , a deflated ego . These things led me to a lot of paths, training, realizations and opportunities. But it also led me to a path of Bias and contradictions. However, the opportunity came for me to seethings in a new light. From a young age, perhaps I felt that indeed there was a distinct presence that guided me, even when I was in a state of stupor and darkness, it managed me to be brought back to the light. When Islam dawned in my life... it showed me a reason why things happened... it also eventually sharpened my knowledge, wisdom... it also made me more of an activist of a sharper nature...... But as time passes by and age mellows the zeal of youth... and maturity clarifies the vision..... eventually... that path that I always treaded was eventually brought to a fork road... leading me to a path that brought me away from it.

When you start becoming a Parent Its a joy when one becomes a parent, to embrace and smell the fragrance of your child, to smell his hair, to enjoy him grow up... and to talk to him when he still in his younger years. One of the happiest memories of my being a father was when I recited the 161

adhan and iqamah in my children's ears. It was as if I had felt that I was reciting the Adhan and Iqamah for the last time in my life. During my earlier days as a father, they were one of the hardest. I had to wake up early to buy fish at Malabon fishport and arrive on time to be able to sell the fish at a minimal profit so that I would have regular customers. I believed that it would be better to have 20 customers and gain a few extra pesos than have difficulty getting people to buy from me. I simply did what I had to do, I sold fish and swallowed every oounce of pride I had in me, himbly peddling fish from house to house, I prayed everyday that I had enough money to be able to buy my son milk, rice for us, and save enough money for the rental of the small shed we called home. I soon went also to selling pandesal after arriving from market, then selling fish as I ran out of fish to sell during the day. It was funny, but I felt God's presence and love during those most trying of moments. These days, I have to pray and meditate real hard just to feel his pressence in my everyday work. I could even bring my children to the mosque those time, and we'd pray together. All those times made me very happy. Bringing my children in the mosque and praying with them. they were the most happiest moments I ever knew. I could even recite longer ayah's and surah's from memory. Yes, It is so happy to become a parent, it makes one very happy and fulfilled. When one sees them go to school, when one sees them arrive from school, and whenever they kiss you... and whenever they embrace you.... It is a feeling one can never exchange. These things are the things that make you happy. when you answer their 162

questions, when you play and make jokes with them.... yes... it is indeed the joys of being a parent....

Ang Tsinelas Ni Pepe (ps.... my son needed an anecdote about Rizal in Filipino... so I wrote one as I coulndt find one my fancy)

Ang kadalasa'y sinasabi nila sa mga kabataan, ay wag magtapon ng mga bagay at ito'y pagsasayang. May mga pagkakataon na kapag nawala ang isang kabiyak na pares o gamit, ay isinasantabi na amang natin ang gamit na yun pagkat ito'y wala nang pag-gagamitan. Tunghayan natin ang isang silip sa buhay ni Pepe; tawag sa ating bayaning si Jose Rizal nang siya ay bata pa lamang. Nang si Pepe ay nasa edad na sampung taon, siya at ang kanyang Kuya Ponciano ay pumunta sa isang pista sa may kabilang pampang ng Laguna de Bay. Nuong mga panahon na iyon, napupuno ng mga nilad (water Lily) at medyo malakas pa ang agos ng tubig. Habangsumasagwan ang bangkero ay tuwang tuwa si pepe na nilulublob ang kanyang kaliwang paa na may suot na Tsinelas na bigay ni kanyang Kuya Ponciano. "Ang sarap maglaro sa tubig. Ang Lamig!!!", ang sambit ni Pepeng nakangiti at kumakaway sa mga tao sa pinagdaraanan nila. "Mag-ingat ka anak," ang wika ng bangkero, at baka malaglag ang iyong suot na pangyapak (ang tawag nuon sa Tsinelas)"

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"Inay", biglang sigaw ni Pepe,nadulas ang kanyang paa, at akmang nahawakan ng kanyang Kuya ponciano ang kanyang bisig, "Salamat po Kuya." Subalit, mabilis naman hinubad ni Pepe ang kanyang pangyapak, nagdasal ng taimtim, sabay inihagis ang tsinelas sa direksiyon ng pinaghulugan ng kanyang kapilang paris na pangyapak. Nabigla ang bangkero; at nagtanong, " Pepebakit mo ihinagis ang kanang kapares ng iyong tsinelas?". "Kawawa po ang batang makakatagpo ng kaahating paris lamang ng tsinelas kaya tinapon ko na rin ang kabilang paris", wika ni Pepe, "Sapagkat kung makikita iyon ng isang batang nakayapak, magagamit rin iyon ." Natawa ang bangkero, naisip niya na tila ang isang batang ito y hindi nag-iisip ng kanyang sinasabi Subalit, nang makarating sila sa pampang sa kabilang dulo,tumawa si Kuya ponciano at nagsabi, "Mama, hindi po sa hindi nag-iisip si Pepe, subalit iniisip ni Pepe sa sana ay may makagamit pa ng kanyang panyapak na nawala".

of frustrations and joys When you gain or get an agreement signed... you always get agitated.... I remember when i was then in college, lining up to get my grades from my teachers so i can reapply my scholarship. I just got GMA kapuso foundation to agree to send their scholars to the school to do Visual Graphics and Animation with us. It was a heartening experience.

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The place where I work have scholars, partially because both my boss and I were products of academic scholarships. we wanted that we would return a favor by sending other kids to school who deserved better that be uneducated and have their dreams remain dreams. but nowadays, students who get scholarships dont simply treasure or value the gifts they recieve. instead of helping the institution that they study; they simply add to the domestic problems..... only do these kids perhps realize ...... when they ,lose their privellage would they mourn and weep.... then they would realize the value and joy of being a scholar and the frustration of losing a scholarship. and that tears wouldnt even dry up. Lucky indeed are the KASI scholars......

Memories of Mentors It has been always said, that behind the success of every man is a woman behind the scenes; Yes indeed that phrase is correct. I would also add that behind the great minds of today is a great mentor who gave him wisdom and light. I had my own share of women and mentors who gave me inspiration, knowledge and success. My first mentor, like all great men... was my mother, taught me the rudiments of A,b,c she also taught me pain, sorrow, happiness, emotions and how it is to 165

live under the control of these emotions. I had great mentors my whole life, from the moment I stepped grade one, there was Ma'am Rabino (whose cute daughter was cute really in my eyes). Though My mother taught me the rudiments of literacy at age 2, this teacher taught me how to live under the shadow of cousins and aunts who bullied me. Yes, I was the older cousin of three cousins studying in the same section, but I was bullied, not physically but emotionally. Yes, It was quite a learning experience. My teachers in my elemetary years taught me how to live under the shadow of bullies. I was then a very thin boy, who would have to let bigger classmates copy from my answers for friendship and protection. Eventually, after learning a few self defense skills, I managed to remove the bullies and manipulate them to my ends. My teachers in high school were.. of course of varied persuasuins, this was where I had my intellectual awakening , both politically, introduced to marxism and Mystically, being introduced to "The Mystical Life of jesus". I was thus on the path of either perdition or anarchy. Like the young people of my time who became addicted to religion, I tried to find solace in religion to run away from the pains of life and love, and eventually found that joining school activities provided an escape to my world of pain. And joining socially oriented groups provided a haven and escape. Funny as it seems, that people would find mentors in unwitting situations. I embraced Islam in 1992, an experience that was both broke my bound of sanity and intellect out of bounds. I lost my friends, my teachers thought I lost my mind... even my adviser, Mrs 166

leonardo and mam Rabanez (whom I really admired a lot) sort of became cold. It pushed me literally to a search of people who would guide me. The first person who talked and served both as a mentor and mother to me was my classmate and bossom friend Jhaid's mother, Maryam, she was a filipino teacher in Sta barbara elementary school. She answered all my questions about islam, and although I wasnt that convinced, I toed the line. Maryam's husband Hajid (may Allah bless his soul) taught me a lot of things in Aquaculture. he was hatcher manager and eventually Fishpond manager in Fisheries, a school in Zamboanga City, he taught me on how to live on what was available, on how to live dignified even in the face of poverty and hunger. I eventually met some other teachers on the road, Bimboy and Jingjong (jhaid's siblings ) gave me some reading materials and gave me a lot of advice. the first three months after my conversion was quite hard, I had to give up the idea of Jesus being God, drinking (i was a voracious drinker), and a lot of other issues. I met two people during this period who was responsible for my tranformation from a neophyte to the Muslim thinker that I am today...... It was the time when the Abu Sayyaf and Muslim converts were the issues of the day; and masjids were wary of every convert of being a government agent; thus i was derpived of getting formal instruction and tutelage in Islam. I found my way during the month of ramadhan to a theological seminary near chong Hua high school, I soon found Sheik Hajal Jubah (may Allah bless his soul), who introduced me to Intellectual islam and Irfan (gnosis) this started the path to my intellectual journey in islam; however, jealousy among his other proteges eventually led me to part ways with this man. 167

I wandered from one Guru to another, occassionally attending the personal classes and lectures of the late Mufti ustad Abdulghani Yusuf (alyahi Irham), but never finding the right moment to settle down under his tutelage. I soon found my self under the tutelage of Prof Amilussin Jumaani, a man with a brillant mind and a colorful life. under him I was exposed to a lot of things in Islam under this scholar, who did a lot of things for islam in the Philippines. I am indeed grateful I was his protege. (notwithstanding he was the brother-inlaw of the late Mufti A. Yusuf, [alayhi irham]). My wife named my second son after him. But in the middle of all this things and teachers, two people stood out in my journey, my uncle felino and Kah Tuan (jumaani), they both provided me with advises and wisdom on how to go about my life despite my screw-ups. My uncle Felino taught me how to be the scrooge and shrewd operator I was, and kah Tuan taught me the dignity and fierceness of being a Muslim. indeed afterall those years, i miss these people who mentored me ; and how they taught me, how i wish that even now i could ask them on advises on how to face things, for most of them, what I have is my memories of them and what theyve taught me.

Memories of Pets When I was a kid, I always tried to put my hands on pets, one way or the other it was a way of relaxation, companionship and warmth. One of my favourite memories was ironically my uncle Lino's pet dogs, which though I never owned them, they occupied a very special place in my life. I was then done in college and my eventually my uncle had to take me in his 168

place, as besides being an activist with lost causes, my "job" eventually needed my a free place to stay. Though I had my other relations in Baliwasan, Mampang who wanted me to stay in their homes, I opted to stay with my grumpy uncle Lino, who had indeed grumpy dogs who had attitudes. I remember Bogart and Bulldog, both ASKALS (asong kalye breed for short), who were black and brown respectively. The first time I brought my worldly possessions in his house (which consisted of books, my clothes and books), these two dogs were staring at me from a distance after barking. It took my cousin Albert, Kerima, my Auntie Cion and my Uncle Lino to hold these dogs who viewed me as an intruder. (they should, i ran away with their owners possessions when I was younger). Eventually, Bulldog, the brown dog was slowly edging his way towards me sniffing me. Coming from a family of dog breeders (almost every Santos had a dog in Zamboanga and took dogs not as a hobby but as a part of their living), i also tried to pet the dog, who immediatley asked me to scrath his rump and his chest. The other one, black and grumpy like his patron would always stare at me with suspicion, always watching.As time passed by, Bulldog begun to like me , as whenever I would arrive from work or one of my rallies, he would rush out to the gate or door and jump at me as a sort of welcome. Indeed, I was quite emotionally scarred in my younger years, being away and living on the street and on my wits, it was quite a relief that the family "welcomed" me home. Yes, it was then a comforting thought that here was a house where I was always welcome, despite my follies and galivantings, Roy was welcomed... and the dogs were proof. I spent quite a significant number of years when I was young in that house, 169

and when I had the occassion, I would visit and sleep in the same room. Back to the dogs, yes... these dogs even shared a part of my lovelife. (when I was courting two girls there, Marianne, my neighbor who also had dogs... and Cynthia). Funny as it seems, although this part youd only find in telenovelas or cartoons, Bulldog and Bogart both had Marianne's pet dogs as friends (or more). That made my memories more funnier and fonder whenever I remember these dogs, who would chase out the Orofel dogs so I can sneak out a love letter or two at the mailbox for Marianne. They provided security for my Uncle who was a grumpy and fiery editor of several newspapers, attacking any corrupt official in Zamboanga City. And when unwelcome people came, the dogs simply barked and chased the poor unwelcome fella away from his house. There was also a neighbor's dog who in all places decided to give birth in our porch, which eventually give us a litter of puppies who dominated the household of Uncle felino. But that wasn't over yet, we were still going to have another one. One day, we found a hybrid mutt lying weakly along the side of the road, Kerima picked the pup, brought it home and started the whole series of interbreeding ang genetic mixing up of breeds; Hootch who had claws, small serrated teeth and grumpy attitude. So from the time I left the houshold for Manila in 2000, I never expected to see the dogs. However, when i came back in 2003, some of the dogs were still there and funnily, they simply snuffed me and "recognized" and went into the whole habit of jumping at me. So from that time thereon I realized, the dogs knew I was part of the household and when I went back in Zamboanga, I 170

simply stayed with Uncle Lino...reminiscing my memories of younger days and not to mention being pestered by these loving dogs. The last time I went to Zamboanga was last Summer, it was only Hootch and another dog, I cant recall-his-name-was. And hootch was back to her jolly self barking and jumping at me. I heard recently that all of Uncle's dogs died and that he and Auntie Cion were having second thoughts of raising dogs only to be heartbroken when they die. But then again, they'll realize, that indeed pets are an integral part of living on, as I later found out my cousins were asking their parents to have new pet dogs..... And then perhaps when I go back to zamboanga, maybe a new yelp across that house would be heard welcoming a traveller who once spent his younger years there.

an analysis of the recent events in the middle east looking at the events of the day: an anlysis by the SRI staff looking into the context of things it appears that a proxy war is oft in the making. with the israeli military might pounding on hapless civilians. it is quite surprising that the world waits and simply sits and watches as hapless and helpless civilians are mercilessly slaughtered. It is surprising more that the united states, the so-called harrbinger and protector or helpless people is silent. what i see is that there is a flich on this. The israelis are fighting a proxy war for the Americans and its is actually aimed clearly at Iran. but on the other hand since Iran is a big country and the CIA is unable to attack it from within, 171

it must use an alternate proxy front to be able to attack it from both the diplomatic, commercial and military side. It is said that the iran is supporting the Hizbollah, an islamic group that is wellentrenched in lebanon and also is calling for the establishment of the Palestinian state and reclaiming of the usurped rifghts of the palestinian people. it also is constantly assisting the palestinians and is said to have forward bases in lebanon, or so the Israelis claim. it is tantamount to terrorism, or so say the west. But I am at a loss at this statement. as isnt the Israeli aggression and usurpation of lands that originally owned by the Palestinians not an act of terrorism. normally, when western freedom fighters initiate acts of desperation it is not termed terrorism but either seccessionists, insurgents or rebels. But is Muslims arise and fight it is termed as radicalism and fundamentalism. the west needs to study its standards that it has set for political terms as the majority of the world although is held under its sway is merely waiting also for the right moment to collapse. this is a fear that many analysts have failed to see. even as the USSR, the large behemoth of socialism has crumpled, none had the vision to see that all this would happen. there is a proxy war brewing, but there is also a civilization thats slowly bound to collapse. Samuel Huntington has perhaps failed to see this. but it is bound to happen.

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