About Samuel Inbaraja

Samuel Inbaraja is from Pondicherry, India. His is a follower of Lord Jesus Christ. He is a doctor by profession. His ministry includes teaching, preaching, evangelism, mentoring, apologetics, giving, etc. His hobbies include blogging, sports, music, cooking, photography, and travelling.

Sufism – Mystical Islam (Part 1)

INTRODUCTION

sufi

 

 

 

Sufism is the mystical or esoteric school of thought in Islam. The Arabic word for Sufism is ‘tasawuff’. A practitioner of Sufism is called a Sufi or a Dervish. The following quotations reveal the various understandings of Sufism. [Read more...]

Islam – Religious Practices (Part 4)

This is the fourth and final installment on this topic. In this post you will be introduced to Islamic conversion,  halal-cart2circumcision, Jizya and Halal food.

12. Conversion: Islam is a one way street. A person is “free” only to convert to Islam but not out of it. The punishment in many Islamic countries in accordance with the sharia law is death. Yes, Islam in its purest sense prescribes capital punishment for those who leave Islam.

In non Islamic countries, Islamic evangelists use lectures, debates, literature and personal communication to bring people to their faith. The Sufi missionaries were very good at this. With respect to Christians, they use a polemic approach attacking the Bible, the divinity of Jesus , his death and resurrection, marriage and social pressure.

In Islamic countries in addition to these, pressure tactics are used by Muslims personally and as a society to force non-Muslim minorities to become Muslims.

Marriage is one of the important way Muslim men convert non-Muslim girls into Muslims. In some Islamic countries like Egypt and Pakistan, there is news about Christian girls being kidnapped and then forced to marry Muslims and convert to Islam. See Christian girl abducted, converted and forced to marry a Muslim in Lahore for one such sad story.

In Ukraine, I have seen non-Muslim girls who fall in love with Arab boys and then convert to Islam in order to marry them. It is a very prominent way Islam is spreading in Europe.

13. Circumcision: Circumcision is to Islam what baptism is to Christians. Once when I was young I saw a boy seated in a car decorated like a chariot. I was told that the boy was celebrating “sunnath marriage”. That’s how the local Muslim called circumcision in that part of India. They were celebrating the circumcision ceremony of the boy.

Muslims are still the largest single religious group to circumcise boys. In Islam circumcision is also known as “tahara”, which means purification. Circumcision is not mentioned in the Qur’an but it is highlighted in the Sunnah (the Prophet Muhammad’s recorded words and actions). In the Sunnah, Muhammad stated that circumcision was a “law for men and a preservation of honor for women.” The main reason given for the ritual is cleanliness. It is essential that every Muslim wash before praying. It is important that no urine is left on the body. Muslims believe the removal of the foreskin makes it easier to keep the genitals clean because urine can’t get trapped there. Supporters of circumcision also argue that excrement may collect under the foreskin which may lead to fatal diseases such as cancer.” [1]

Female circumcision or Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is a hotly debated topic in Islamic circles and has been openly practiced in North Africa, even by non-Muslims, from the time of Pharaoh. “But what is the reason underlying the circumcision of girls, which is applied in some Islamic countries? The first reason is the statement of Muhammad: “Circumcision is a law for men and a preservation of honor for women.” The second reason lies in the supposition that circumcision makes a woman more enjoyable, provided that it is practiced moderately. “‘Atiyya the Ansarite narrated that a woman used to circumcise in Medina, and the Prophet said to her, ‘Do not overdo it, because this makes woman more favorable and it is more agreeable for the husband.’” As to the third reason why a female should be circumcised, it is to “diminish her lust,” and to “tone down the sexual desire of the woman.’” [2]

14. Jizya: Jizya is the tax we as Christians or non-Muslims will be paying, if we lived under Islamic government. This of course can be avoided if the non-Muslim converts to Islam.

Jizya is the hjizya-quotecaptureead or poll tax that early Islamic rulers demanded from their non-Muslim subjects. Islamic law made a distinction between two categories of non-Muslim subjects—pagans and dhimmis (“protected peoples,” or “peoples of the book;” i.e., those peoples who based their religious beliefs on sacred texts, such as Christians, Jews, and Zoroastrians). The Muslim rulers tolerated the dhimmis and allowed them to practice their religion. In return for protection and as a mark of their submission, the dhimmis were required to pay a special poll tax known as the jizya. The rate of taxation and methods of collection varied greatly from province to province and were greatly influenced by local pre-Islamic customs.

In theory the tax money was to be used for charitable purposes and the payment of salaries and pensions. In practice, however, the revenues derived from the jizya were deposited in the private treasuries of the rulers. The Ottomans usually used the proceeds of the jizya to pay their military expenses. A convert to Islam was, in theory, no longer required to pay the jizya. The Umayyad caliphs (661–750), however, faced with increasing financial difficulties, demanded the jizya from recent converts to Islam as well as from the dhimmis. This discrimination against converts was a cause of the Abū Muslim rebellion (747) in Khorāsān and helped to precipitate the downfall of the Umayyads.” [3]

15. Halal Food: Halal means lawful or permitted. Haram means forbidden. These words, according to Sharia law, apply to all aspects of Islamic life, including foo

???????????????????????????????d. Halal is the Islamic equivalent of Kosher.

Halal slaughter method is considered the most humane way of killing an animal. “To be halal certified the animal must be facing Mecca, have its throat cut while still alive and then ritually sacrificed by a Muslim who recites a prayer dedicating the slaughter to Allah”  [4]. “When an animal is slaughtered, the jugular vein is cut and the blood is allowed to drain from the animal. Remember, Muslims are prohibited from consuming animal blood.” [5]

“According to these guidelines gathered from the Qu’ran, Muslim followers cannot consume the following:
pork or pork by products, animals that were dead prior to slaughtering, animals not slaughtered properly or not slaughtered in the name of Allah, blood and blood byproducts, alcohol, carnivorous animals, birds of prey, and land animals without external ears. These prohibited foods and ingredients are called haram, meaning forbidden in Arabic.” [5]

Conclusion: The call of Christ goes out to the Muslim caught up in deception and working his way to a salvation about which he can be never sure. All these religious practices are a burden and distraction, turning the attention away from seeking the truth and plunging men into despair and destruction.

“28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11 : 27 – 30).

Where Mohammed set his followers on the path of war and burdensome rituals, Jesus calls the same and everybody else to find the rest in him, to have the peace which they are so desperately seeking. Yes, his yoke is easy and his burden is light. He has taken the hard yoke of our sins upon him and he has given us a lighter yoke of trusting him. The salvation offered by Christ is infinitely superior and wonderful compared to what Islam offers, which is nothing but heavy burden of ritualism, sharia and an uncertainty of ones eternal destiny.

[1] http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/islam/islamethics/malecircumcision.shtml

[2]http://www.light-of-life.com/eng/reveal/r5405et7.htm#p123

[3] http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/304125/jizya

[4] http://www.halalchoices.com.au/what_is_halal.html

[5] http://mideastfood.about.com/od/middleeasternfood101/a/halalfoods.htm

 

 

 

ISLAM – RELIGIOUS PRACTICES (PART 3)

6. Islamic Head Dress:

ISLAMIC HEAD DRESS

ISLAMIC HEADDRESS

Seen as a sign of female oppression by outsiders and a few insiders too, the headdress of Muslim women make them stand out.

“The (really) rough rule of thumb for where these headdresses are popular is
Hijab:  Roughly used everywhere in some form.  Many times a generic word for head covering.
Al-Amira:  A hijab found in Arabic countries and those places where Muslims wish to immitate Arab outside influence.
Chador: Required by law in Iran.  Traditional in Persian areas.
Niqab: Popular in the Arabian Pennisula.  Some use in Pakistan since the 1970s.
Burqa:  Eastern Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.  Becoming the Islamic fundamentalist dress of choice in Europe.” [1] [Read more...]

ISLAM – Religious Practices (Part 2)

The Five Pillars of Islam (contd.)

4.  Alms giving
Zakat, the Islamic equivalenimagest of tithes is one of the pillars of Islam.

“One of the most important principles of Islam is that all things belong to God, and that wealth is therefore held by human beings in trust.The word Zakat means both ‘purification’ and ‘growth’. Our possessions are purified by setting aside a proportion for those in need, and, like the pruning of plants, this cutting back balances and encourages new growth.Zakat is the amount of money that every adult, mentally stable, free, and financially able Muslim, male and female, has to pay to support specific categories people.This category of people is defined in surah at-Taubah (9) verse 60: “The alms are only for the poor and the needy, and those who collect them, and those whose hearts are to be reconciled, and to free the captives and the debtors, and for the cause of Allah, and (for) the wayfarers; a duty imposed by Allah. Allah is knower, Wise.” (The Holy Qur’an 9:60). Allah states in Surah at-Taubah verses 34-35: “O ye who believe! there are indeed many among the priests and anchorites, who in Falsehood devour the substance of men and hinder (them) from the way of Allah. And there are those who bury gold and silver and spend it not in the way of Allah. announce unto them a most grievous penalty – On the Day when heat will be produced out of that (wealth) in the fire of Hell, and with it will be branded their foreheads, their flanks, and their backs, their flanks, and their backs.- “This is the (treasure) which ye buried for yourselves: taste ye, then, the (treasures) ye buried!” (The Holy Qur’an 9:34-35). [Read more...]

Islam – Religious Practices (Part I)

As a child, I grew up in the coastal town of Pondicherry, India. Though I still live there in Pondicherry, I don’t live downtown, like I did in my childhood. The southern part of downtown Pondicherry is a predominantly Muslim. My first Muslim friend lived right below me in the ground floor. Then when we changed our house, we rented another house a few streets nearby owned by another Muslim, Mr.Cader. During my childhood I had a dozen Muslim friends, all of whom gave not just good company but also shared their lives. Through these encounters and experiences, I came to understand Muslims and also got introduced to Islamic religious practices.

When I went to work in Male, Maldives as a medical officer in 2008, I shared my free accommodation with a Pakistani Muslim, Dr. Samad, who was from Karachi. Also when I went to Ukraine to do my post-graduate studies in the city of Dnepropetrovsk, I stayed with an Algerian Muslim for a few months, followed by a Somali Muslim for about six or seven months. My neighbors were also Muslims from Jordan and Egypt.

In spite of all the differences, discussions and debates we had I must admit that these were very hospitable and friendly people who understood certain aspects of life which I have seen missing among Christians, especially Western Christians. The sense of unity was evident in the meals – which they never had alone. Every mealtime was a time of fellowship for them and they would cook and eat together. The sense of fellowship was very strong and real even with the difference in nationalities.

Five Pillars of Islam

The Core Religious Practices of Muslims are called “The Five Pillars of Islam”.
1. Creed:

images (3)

The first pillar of Islam is the recitation of the creed.
Everyone who recites the creed is considered a Muslim. The creed is called ‘Shahada’. In Arabic it reads “La ilaha illa Allah wa-Muhammad rasul Allah”, which in English reads, “There is no god but God and Muhammad is the prophet of God”. It is recited during the call to prayer, during prayer, before death and in the contemplative prayers of Sufis. Many Muslims even believe that confession of shahada is just enough to enter heaven.

 

 
2. Prayer: isl 2

The Qutbah mosque still stands a couple of streets perpendicular to where my house was located in Shaji street. From that mosque everyday of every year, I heard the call to prayer, recited by the mullah of the mosque, resounding from the loud speakers. Since I heard it atleast 2 -3 times everyday, I learnt it subconsciously. This call of prayer also became sort of an alarm making me aware of the time of the day. Whenever I heard it I knew what time of the day it was. If it was in the early morning, it was usually 5 am, in the afternoon it was at 1 pm, and in the evening it would again be 5 pm (I missed the other two times the call to prayer sounded because I was at school). So I still remember the shahada as the mullah from Qutbah mosque sang it. It is sung with an Arabic tune during the call to prayer and recited during prayer.

Muslims pray five times a day. Not all may follow it strictly but they do follow it to different degrees. The Arabic word for prayer used in Islam is “Salat”.

When I started to work in Male, Maldives as a doctor, I saw that there was a separate prayer hall where the muslim doctors left in the middle of the work for their prayer whenever the call was sounded. Prayer is so important that they would stop everything, the whole system woud come to a halt and everyone would go for prayer.

The five prayers in Islam are
1. Fajr – dawn
2.Zuhr – immediately after noon
3.Asr – mid-afternoon
4. Maghrib – sunset
5. Isha – night
The prayers are prayed strictly facing Mecca. The person may be anywhere in the world, but he must face Mecca when he prays. Click here or more detail on the poitions with details of what is recited in each position, please click .

Personal supplication in Islam is called “dua”:
“In the Qur’an, Allah says: “When My servants ask about Me, I am indeed close to them. I listen to the prayer of every supplicant, when he calls on Me. Let them also, with a will, listen to My call, and believe in Me, so that they may walk in the right way” (Qur’an 2:186).The word du’a in Arabic means “calling” – the act of remembering Allah and calling upon Him.Aside from the daily prayers, Muslims are encouraged to call upon Allah for forgiveness, guidance, and strength throughout the day. Muslims can make these personal supplications or prayers (du’a) in their own words, in any language, but there are also recommended examples from the Qur’an and Sunnah.” (1)

3. Fasting:

The month of Ramadan is the month of fasting for muslims. Muslims would fast the whole month, between sunrise and sunset. This is a very strict form of fasting, where it is forbidden to swallow even their own saliva. This fasting ended with a feast on the first day of the next month which is the festival of ‘Ramzan’, as we called it in my childhood. The actual name is Ed – ul – Fitr. One strange phenomenon which still vividly remember from my childhood is the red sewage. The open sewage in our street became red, literally with blood, as goats were killed in every muslim house . Of course, I enjoyed the foodwhich sometimes arrived in my house from one of my friends during the festival.

“Ramadan is the month in which the Quran was revealed. The Quran clearly says “O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that you many learn piety and rightousness” – Al Baqarah, 2:183. Fasting is to be done by all able bodied men and women and children who have reached puberty. If a person is sick or has some medical reason or if a women is pregnant then they are waived from fasting.During Ramadan the people who fast are not allowed to eat or drink anything (including water) from dawn to after sunset. Also one has to restrain other body parts, which may render the fast worthless despite the main factor of hunger and thirst; so the tongue,for instance, must avoid backbiting, slander, and lies; the eyes should avoid looking into things considered by the Lawgiver as unlawful; the ears must stop from listening to conversation, words, songs, and lyrics that spoil the spirit of fasting; and finally restraining of the heart, and mind from indulging, themselves in other things besides zikr or Allah (remembrance of Allah).Also when one is fasting and feels hunger and thirst he has to remember other people in the world who do not have food and water. Charity is one of the extremely recommended acts during fasting. Muslims are required to give minimum of 2.5% of their annual savings as charity to poor and needy people. Also there are various sayings of the prophet (pbuh) where he has said that any charity made in Ramadan is multiplied upto 70 times. If some people are poor and cannot afford to give money then even a smile is an act of charity.” (2)

 

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1: —- about.islam.com [ www.islam.about.com/cs/prayer/a/dua.htm ]

2: ——- Islamic awareness website http://www.islamawareness.net/Calendar/Ramadan/whatisramzan.html