Friday, August 31, 2012

Islam And The Modern World: Homework Is Earthwork

1: Give an incident of Early Christian-Muslim encounters. What is your impression of this incident?

2: The first verse/command revealed to the prophet was to recite/read. What do you think are the implications of this command for the nature of Islam as a religion and more importantly the significance of knowledge and learning to the Muslim way of life?

 Dialogue between Christians and Muslims at its root is contentious, a debate forever asking, which of the two religions has a patented, exclusive right to the truth regarding matters of the so-called ‘Divine’. Gregory Bar Habraeus was a Bishop in the Syriac Orthodox Church in the 13th Century.  In 1268 A.D. Gregory Bar Habraeus engaged Muslims in a dialogical encounter that resonated in a tone reminiscent of a modern political debate.

In 1268 A.D.The Muslims wrote in their objection of Christianity and Habraeus, “He (Jesus) was the expected one. But he is a prophet and a servant of God and not the Son of God. For God has said in the Koran: “God is one, He was not born, nor was he given to birth, and there is none like unto him.” And that the Koran is truthful is established by the truthfulness of our prophet, which is confirmed in three ways: First, the miracles that he had performed, as this book (Koran), which he spoke, while he was unlettered, and as the water that flowed from between his fingers, and as his foreknowledge. For he said that the Romans will be defeated, but his people will prosper and dominate the East and the West, and thus has happened. Second, is his virtuous manner. For he was quiet, humble, merciful and just. He did not lie nor transgress, but rather he was diligent, prosperous and victorious. Third, his name was mentioned in the Torah and the Gospel.”

Gregory Bar Habraeus responded, “The issue of the book and that of the miracles which are recounted, and the words of the foreknowledge are merely motivating and stimulating words to his partisans in order to more become brave in battles for the hope. Second, concerning the virtues, which you have alleged, are not signs of prophesy, seeing that even your prophet had praised the infidel king, Anousharwan with such virtues. Nor is the victory a sign of prophesy, because Alexander was even more victorious. 3: if he, Muhammad were mentioned in the Torah, and the Gospel, it would not have been hidden from us.”

What do I think of this incident?

The encounter between Gregory Bar Habraeus and Muslims represents healthy theological dialogue. Though ‘healthy theological dialogue’ could be construed as an oxymoron, it is however analogous to a hamster on a wheel who expends a great deal of energy only to end up at the same place it began. Similarly theological encounters very rarely, if ever, get anywhere in the way of tolerance, or mutual understanding. 

2. The first verse/command revealed to the prophet was to recite/read. What do you think are the implications of this command for the nature of Islam as a religion and more importantly the significance of knowledge and learning to the Muslim way of life?

Since the first word is reported to have come directly from the arch angel Gabriel it implies that a Muslim is to believe in Angels, and that these Angels are capable of bringing forth revelation from the God who supposedly created the heavens and the Earth. The supernatural origins of Muhammad’s command to ‘Read/Recite’ further implies that an individual Muslim’s cognitive process must digress from notions of rationalism and transcend the empirical realm of what is understood as four dimensional reality: length; width; height; time/space. Accepting the word ‘Iqraa’(read/recite) as having a divine origin is a psychological acceptance that leads to a metaphysical perception establishing in Muslims an existential relationship to their own consciousness. All religions do this, and Islam is no different. Angels, demons, devils, jinns, and God, or gods are the actors in what can utterly be defined as a rich psycho-drama, from Iblis’ refusal to bow down to Adam to Jesus being raised from a physical death in Christianity. It could be argued that religion rivals both Hollywood and Broadway. 

The acceptance of the word ‘Iqraa’ begins a psychological procession in the Muslim in a departure from rationalism into an altered psychological state of a metaphysical speculation, consequently ushering forth an existential contemplation of the self. Such is faith.  Existential contemplation can be a productive psychological place as the word ‘Iqraa’ establishes a Muslim creed that is essentially introverted in nature. Salat or prayer lays the foundation of an introverted relationship that a Muslim has with God.

 Al Khwarizmi a Muslim mathematician wrote the book ‘Ilm Al-Jabr’ Wa’l Muqabalah’ which introduced modern ‘Algebra’ to the world. Could this heady, introverted state of existential contemplation on behalf of the Muslim lead to a sound and highly structured branch of Modern mathematics less than 200 years after the death of Muhammad?  A supposed angel tells an unlettered man to read and recite and 200 years later a Muslim discovers a highly complex mathematical system? The question now becomes: was Al Khwarizmi a mathematical genius because of Islam or was he a genius because he was simply a genius? Mozart’s genius in music is not tied up with Christianity. Mozart was a genius because Mozart was a genius. If Christianity laid claim to Mozart’s genius-Christianity would assume an unscrupulously pretentious position.

Iqraa is the beginning of a conservative political line-a line evolving into the Holy Quran and the establishment of the religion of Islam. The Muslim way of life establishes allegiance and loyalty to Islam which is in my view a political party. To continue to look at Islam as a benign religion is to be naïve and unfamiliar with the principles that fuel Islam, political principles and precepts hidden between ayah’s of the Quran open to the interpretation Islamic scholars with hidden political agendas. The Political party of Islam is fragmented, but the West (synonymous with modernism) doesn’t run like a well-oiled machine either.     


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Islam In The Modern World

Islam In The Modern World:

I’m attending Syracuse University, and one of the classes I have this Semester is Islam in the Modern World. Instead of devoting all my time to my school work and neglecting my readership I thought that it would be interesting to write about what I’m studying in the course.

First Assignment: What Does The Course Title ‘Islam In The Modern World’ Mean To You?

The course title, ‘Islam In The Modern World’ implies that Islam is somehow separate from the Western concept of Globalization and excluded from both the definition and idea of ‘modernity’. The course title tacitly reckons with the reality that Islam must be addressed on all political fronts and on a multiplicity of social horizons-horizons that all nations of the world must at some point take note of. A more detailed clarification of ‘Modern World’ is needed to reconcile Islam with the Modern World. Islam has been traditionally understood as a religion, a new perception of Islam must take shape. Islam is a global political force. ‘Modern World’ arrogantly assumes ‘The West’, and all the international alliances comprising this united political bastion of democratic nations and their collective notions of democratic governance. ‘The West’ from a counterintuitive standpoint means, ‘not’ socialism; ‘not’ communism; and ‘not’ Islam but a strict set of democratic principles that firmly establish Western Ideology and its relationship to global capitalism. Islam and the West represent two diametrically opposed political temperaments, in which conflict is inevitable. What the West defines as liberating democratic ideals, Islam defines as Dunya (The World and all its hedonistic  delights). Ultimately, Muslims in the ‘Modern World’ are faced with a pressing question, ‘Deen (Religion) or Dunya (The World)?’

     Religiously based authoritarianism has traditionally characterized Islamic Government, and many would contend Islamic Law or Shari’a is completely incompatible with the liberal democratic ideals so pervasive in the West. However, what may be incompatible upon first glance-upon further review may share a wide range of similarities. Authoritarianism has always been growing out of the necks of both Western Ideology and Islam. The Mutaween are the religious police in Saudi Arabia and fundamentally such an agency is no different in principle than the Department of Homeland Security. One Agency makes sure every woman is wearing her Hijab and that no man is drinking beer while the Patriot Act makes provisions that the constitutional rights of any given citizen can be suspended at the slightest hint of suspicious behavior. Every government has an authoritarian attitude toward its citizens.

     Cultural ethos is a byproduct of tradition, race, region history, ethnicity and a groups level of economic development, and in terms of Islam: a broad cultural narrative may be too complex, particularly when the vast variety of individuals practicing Islam throughout the world are considered from both an objective and academic standpoint. Through Western eyes, a Muslim in West Africa is not looked upon like the Muslim in Saudi Arabia yet they both practice Islam. Arab Muslims massacre African Muslims in the Sudan wholesale: Muslim on Muslim slaughter for the sake of taking control of oil rich land in the Sudan to feed China’s addiction to Petroleum. Such an act proves Islamic values like democratic values may at times lack authentic continuity.  ‘Islam In The Modern World’ opens a geo-political can of greedy worms. Greed is nothing new to Islam or the Modern World. There is also the looming philosophical question of human nature that is prevalent in both Islam and Democracy-a question which goes beyond the comfortable confines of religion and the neat ideals that infuse Western Ideology’s debt based economic philosophies. Debt is greed unfulfilled and the Muslims are not cured of the economic viruses of debt nor greed.

     Classism too, is wholeheartedly a part of Islam. Classism seems to go a step beyond modernity in that classism is seemingly timeless as it runs rampant in Islam, in as much, as the caste system does in India. Prophet Muhammad owned a black slave named Bilal and similarly George Washington had a personal black slave named Willie Lee who stood by the first President’s side throughout the entire revolutionary war.  

In Prophet Muhammad what do we find?

     Muslims have defined him as the best of creation, and the seal of the prophets, and are prepared to kill and die in the event that Muhammad’s name is offended.

In George Washington what do we find?

     In celebration of Washington’s 110th birthday Abraham Lincoln said this of Washington, “Washington is the mightiest name on Earth-long since mightiest in the cause of civil liberty; still mightiest in moral reformation. On that name a eulogy is expected. It cannot be. To add brightness to the sun or glory to the name of Washington is alike impossible. Let none attempt it. In solemn awe pronounce the name and in its naked deathless splendor leave it shinning on.” Abraham Lincoln, February 22, 1842.

     The greatness of the patriarch is a common theme in all religions and governments. The U.S. Constitution establishes America as a sovereign political state: a Nation.  Sura Al Maidah: Ayat 3; states, “on this day I have perfected your religion.” A question must be posed, ‘Is Western Ideology or any political ideology different from religion?’ The argument could easily be made that Democracy and it’s free Market economy is no different than a religion. It also can be argued that Islam is a political system of government unto itself. Shari’a law, and its system of Fiqh (process) establishes a system of government for Muslims. To examine Islam as a religion and fail to take into consideration that it is a political entity is indicative of shortsightedness on behalf of the observer. Failing to see Prophet Muhammad and George Washington as iconic political statesmen represents a myopic political perception.  ‘Modernity’ is an ideal that could very possibly cause confusion if not understood properly. What ‘Islam in The Modern World’ really asks is, ‘How does the predominately European elite power structure in the West view Islam?’

     Elite oil rich Saudi Princes have no problem purchasing the toys of the modern world while the Muslim in Darfur makes salat on the torn prayer rug with the mark of sajud on his forehead, sincerely hoping for the afterlife?  Allah Subhannu Watallah is supposedly God for both men, but the two Muslims live in two completely different realities. The oil rich Saudi Prince embraces the Haram (forbidden) of the modern world, partying with 6 feet tall blond Models ironically imported from the Modern World, but the Mutaween (religious police) aren’t allowed to chastise him and yet they remain vigilant and on the lookout for a woman to stone. The Muslim in Pakistan bobs his head back and forth in a madressa (Islamic School), his face in the Quran striving to get his tajweed (Quran Pronunciation) perfect in order to become a Quari or a Hafiz of an Arabic Quran while he himself speaks Urdu. Urdu’s not good enough. He must recite in Arabic as the Japanese student tries to learn English. Exporting of the national tongue is a definitive sign of imperialism.

     Arab imperialism is no different than European imperialism-imperialism is another concept that Islam and democracy share. These political rivals have sold their bill of goods throughout the world whether it’s the beauty and the enchantment of the Quran being recited in Arabic in a Masjid in London or the availability of Pepsi and blue jeans in Iraq. The idea is the same for both democracy and Islam: export your value system from one corner of the Earth to the next.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Bourne Supremacy: Fuck Outta Here

One of my best friends growing up was named Bryant, everybody on the block called him ‘Butch’ and Butch made everybody show and prove, every time anyone made an assertion or a claim or a declaration of any sort the first thing out of Butch’s mouth was, “Fuck outta here.” He didn’t even say, ‘Get The’ just simply, “Fuck outta Here.” and then he’d flag you with his hand, as if to wave you away and then say, “you lying”. He didn’t have knowledge wisdom cipher b.u.t. he instinctively knew to take nothing on face value. Butch had common sense and I suppose his pessimism was his own personal survival mechanism. Our degrees ask can a devil fool a muslim? and the answer is no not nowaday? As God and Earth we upgrade and ask, “Can a devil fool God?" And answer the same, “No not nowaday.” In the words of Butch, “Fuck outta here!” Niggaz get fooled every Goddamned day.

When we step out of our front doors every morning nothing in the external reality speaks to the fact that the Black Man is God, not the car you drive, not the highway you drive it on, not the office building you go into daily; nor the paycheck you collect weekly. Why? Nothing is made by you. Germans manufacture Benzos, White faces are on the dough and we are subject to the colored man’s law which boils down to fact that God is governed. Imagine that: God is governed, meaning you are socially subject to power and authority beyond your immediate control. You’re driving and cee cipher hits the siren, and you get pulled over. They pulled you over because they could. Where is God? God calmly takes the ticket and drives off cussing in anger at the reality of receiving a ticket. This is what it means to be subject. How can Allah be subject on an Earth he made and in a Universe which according to the knowledge degree in the one to ten he is ‘…God of…’? In my imagination Butch is sitting next to me laughing, saying, “Fuck outta here, you ain’t no God! If you were God you wouldn’t have gotten a ticket!” What Butch doesn’t understand is that there is no mystery God, no intangible or egotistical intelligence directing every happening in the Universe. Intelligence throughout the Universe is pervasive by virtue of the mathematical programming interwoven with the fabric of the Universe’s underlying design. There is no egocentrically based centralized being above your head causing all events to transpire. So why am I ‘subject’ if I am God? The idea of the Mystery God has tainted the reality of the True and Living God. The Mystery God is based on false notions, false hopes, false powers, and is an all together conceptual non-entity premised on a fabricated falsification.

I’m sitting at home tired from the gym and I’m relaxing watching The Bourne Supremacy and think to myself for a second that this cracker is a bad movafucka; kicking; and chopping; and leaping; and fighting nine movafuckuz at one time; and driving recklessly through busy streets, crashing into parked cars. Jason has no car insurance b.u.t. he’s crashing into parked Benzos and Beamers and when he finally gets cornered he drives off the two story roof of a parking garage.  Every electronic device Jason has is somehow  always compatible with the microchip he must steal by first successfully breaking into some highly secure office of some C.I.A. dude’s safe. Damn what luck he has! He then decodes the encrypted microchip and downloads the secret file to his phone and gets away smoothly. True and living real world scenarios go down completely different: first of all nine movafuckuz would whoop Emblem’s ass; second of all, if I hit a parked car I’d be pissed, cops will come and I’d have to file a report, give proof of insurance. The whole accident will cause my rates to go up; and when I break in to the C.I.A. to steal the secret file I’m gonna trip the silent alarm, get caught or maybe shot and put in jail and stand before a judge who is gonna set bail at a hundred geez at least. True and living reality does not function like Hollywood. If I had to fight Matt Damon I’d whoop Matt’s punk ass, b.u.t. if I had to fight Jason Bourne he’d hit me in the solar plexus, and then quickly snap my neck and then the director would say, “Cut! Good scene Matt.”

The Mystery God is like entertainment, absorbing the 85 into the drama of falsification. Reality is an entirely different truth. Some Gods who get this Math confuse their new True and Living God status with the Mystery God. There are no similarities, nor connections between the Mystery God and the True and Living God. Every 85er is screaming about God in some way shape or form b.u.t. nobody is screaming about you when you step outta the born jewel. Nobody sees you Nigga! The dumbest shit about the comic book character Superman was that nobody could see that if you just take Clark Kent’s fucking glasses off that he looks exactly like Superman! What the fuck was wrong with them White People’s eyes in Metropolis? What the fuck is wrong with the people who don’t see the True and Living God? Nothing is wrong with them. They don’t see you because you are a human being subject to the same laws they are. You eat, sleep and shit the same as they do and you ain’t got ‘Oprah’ or ‘Bill Gates’ Money. These laws run consistent through the entire human family, meaning that 5 Percent vegan shit stinks just like 85 Percent chitterling shit. Shit is Shit! We ain’t better than nobody else. What tells us that we are God is our own inner-voice, our own self. God is our inner-voice that says, “Keep on keeping on nigga.” God is you telling you,  “I’m gonna get through this and make it happen.” God is you telling you, “I’m gonna figure this shit out somehow someway.” Colored man has buildings all around his civilization, and we have our buildings in ciphers-phone ciphers, a few books, Facebook, twitter, or face to face from time to time however there is very rarely real bricks or cement involved when we build, just words that soon dissipate into thin air. Nothing in this reality speaks to you as God! Nothing! Maybe black people may show a little more prowess in sports and music, b.u.t. we know that it is the colored man that controls that dog and pony show at the end of the day. Can you hear your voice-your inner voice telling you that you are God? This makes you God, it makes you own up to the responsibility of being a man, accept the struggle, it’s the striving, surviving day by day in the Wilderness of North America and all over this Planet Earth. That is the reality of the Born Supremacy, not Bourne Supremacy and stealing some secret microchip. So yeah, shit is gonna happen from time to time in life, and the white man will continue to do amazing things like land probes on Mars b.u.t. Fuck Mars! And with my hand on my balls I pledge allegiance, and say, “Fuck outta here I’m still God!” Say it to your last Breath nigga, regardless of whom or what. Nobody is gonna tell you that you are God except you. No book can prove it! Nothing you will cee will confirm it! The only confirmation is in you-alone!