I have always imagined that Paradise would be a kind of library.
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Saint John, Letter to Galatians 4:16

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We establish no religion in this country, nor will we ever. We command no worship. We mandate no belief. But we poison our society when we remove its theological underpinnings. We court corruption when we leave it bereft of belief. All are free to believe or not believe; all are free to practice a faith or not. But those who believe must be free to speak of and act on their belief.
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Monday, January 14, 2013

Chapter 13: Sword of Islam

Phenomenology of World Religions ©
Chapter 13
Sword of Islam

Abu Bakr was the father-in-law of Muhammad and his first successor. He was given the command of the faithful as Khalifah (Caliph, meaning “deputy”). Several tribes refused to accept his right to rule and a war broke out called Ridda, fought by Abu Bakr and his general Khalid ibn al Walid. The success in that battle and battles thereafter against Persia and Byzantine initiated a series of war of conquest outside the Mohammed Arabian peninsula. Their army had become formidable with dedicated followers of Islam, swordsmen mounted on camels and able archers on horseback that came out of the desert and struck the heart of Persia and Byzantine empires. The two empires were already becoming weak and their army was not organized sufficiently to defeat the Arabs. The Arabs soon conquered Syria, Palestine, Iraq, Egypt, and Persia. The Caliph Umar conquered Jerusalem in 640 and guaranteed the preservation of the Christian holy places there.
When Umar died in 644, Uthman was chosen to replace him as Caliph; but was murdered by soldiers who committed mutiny in 656, which started a civil war, which also provided a foundation for the religion of Islam to be split by three major factions – Ibadi, Sunni, and Shia.
After Caliph Ali was murdered in 661, the Caliphate moved to Damascus under the reign of Mu'awiya, who founded the Umayyad dynasty.
During the course of its history, Islam developed into numerous schools of thought and sects that had different views and philosophies that ranged from violent to puritanical, such as the Wahhabi of Saudi Arabia to the tolerant and spiritual Sufi.
Caliph Mu'awiya continued the expansion of Islam, despite internal strife within Islam, throughout Central and Eastern Asia, which included Afghanistan. He also launched the first Muslim expeditions against the Byzantine capital of Constantinople, named after the first Christian Roman emperor – but was unsuccessful. In 680 he died and was succeeded by Caliph Yazid. During this period there was strife amongst the Moslems of different factions, mostly concerning tribal warfare and internal strife between families that has been historically the case over the centuries on into today's modern world. Indeed, despite modernization of the Arab world, it retains the medieval ideology within its theocracy that is considered barbarism in the eyes of the civilized Western world, that is now threatened with internal strife within its own nations, working its way through Western civilizations via the abuse of the tolerance of free-thinking nations; and whose immigrants who have refused to assimilate in their adopted states, but instead insert Sharia Law with the goal of changing the state of which they adopted and supposedly immigrated to in the name of “improving their lives”. This will be addressed in the following chapter that reveals the dark side of the religion of Islam and what it has become today.
Yazid was challenged by Hussayn, son of Ali, in 680 and Hussayn and his followers were massacred in the Battle of Karbala in Iraq. Despite that set back of opposition by the Shi'ite faction, their ranks grew, especially among the newly converted non-Arab Moslems called the Mawali, who demanded equal rights with their fellow Arab Moslems. Out of this chaos came the Isma'ili, Carmathians (Qarmatians), and The Fatimids; all centrally believing that a special leaders was on the horizon, called the Mahdi, doctrine compared to the equivalent within the Jewish and Christian faiths of a Messiah.
The major Shi'a ritual is Ashura – commemoration of the death of Husayn (Hussein ibn Ali) . Other practices within the doctrine includes pilgrimages to shrines of Ali and his relatives. The Druze, Ismailis, Alawi, and Fatimid all believe in the Shi'ism, sharing beliefs of emanations of God, supernatural hierarchies, (angel lore) and transmigration of souls.
Those elements within Shi'ites became disenfranchised and united under the leadership of Abu Muslim Khorasani in Persia, flying their black flag (used today by Islamic militants) of rebellion in Khurasan. Social revolution was the key element of the Abbasid Caliphate dynasty; adopted by Arabs who had been displaced by Persians and other enemies, as well as the fact that certain aristocracies were disappearing. However, the good part was that the distinction between Arab Moslems and converted Moslems were wiped away, which paved the way to an intellectual and tolerant Moslem society, leading to the Golden Age of Islam. The Abbasid caliph, Al-Mansour, built a capital city on an island between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers where a small Persian village once stood. He called the capital: Madinat as-Salam – the city of peace – but history has kept its older Persian name: Baghdad.
This period in Islamic history began with Caliph Haroun al-Rashid, who was part of the Abbasid power that expanded Islam from the Arabian Peninsula to North Africa, Mesopotamia, and central Asia in a brief period of history. Baghdad had become the cultural center of the known world, at a time when Europe was overrun by superstition and tyrannical theocracy referred to as the “Dark Age” in the early Middle Age period of human history. It is noted, in highlight, that during the reign of Al-Ma'mun (819-833) there arose a spectacular cultural revolution that included poetry, literature (1001 Arabian Nights) explosion, as well as great works in the realm of science, mathematics, and philosophy that was translated into other languages other than Arabic, which preserved the ancient classics that had survived the fall of the Library of Alexandria. At the time, Baghdad was the richest city in the world, for Rome had fallen from its loftiness of the days of the empire to the seat of papal authority, home of the Vatican, and ruled by despotism and feudal monarchy. Caliph Al-Ma'mun collected texts and employed translators such as Hunayn ibn Ishaq, and established an academy in Baghdad called Bayt al-Hikmah (“House of Wisdom) that had a large library, observatory, and research center where private citizens could enjoy science and the arts. It was a reincarnation of the academies that once was located in Alexandria that supported learning and intellectual study in ancient history of Roman and Greek philosophers and scientists.
The contrast between illiterate monarchs in Europe to the enlightened Arabic civilization was astonishing, and saddened to think that Europe had once been a great intellectual and learned place before the end of the Roman Empire. Of course, religion still played an important part of society, but the study of science and philosophy was taught and encouraged in universities that later transcended to Europe through translators to different intellectual parts of Europe. This cultural revolution preserved the ancient Greek and Roman works from the Library of Alexandria as well as from the Far East through the trade routes. Those works were later translated and brought to Spain in the 12th century. Another innovation was the introduction of paper from China, as well as the introduction or concept of the “zero” into mathematics from India; which in turn was incorporated with the Arabic numerals, system of reckoning, as well as the Arabic invention (discovery) of Algebra.
Along with this cultural revolution the spread of Islam increased across the Sub-Saharan Africa into South East Asia, and Indonesia. In Europe, Spain was incorporated into the Islamic empire and the Arabs also began attacking Sicily, the island state south of the foot of the Italian peninsula. Indeed a force of one hundred ships sailed with Spanish Muslims to gain a foothold in Europe by occupying Palermo in 831. Moslem rule in Sicily and parts of southern Italy lasted until 1091, after the First Crusade began. Spain was conquered after several waves of Moslem invasions in the 8th century.
As the story of many great civilizations, with different reasons but with same outcome, the Arab empire began to disintegrate and a period of independent Caliphates and chaotic invasions followed. The Fatimids established an independent Caliphate in North Africa in 910, and conquered Egypt in 969, founding the city of Cairo. The Fatimids based themselves in Egypt and briefly retook Jerusalem in 1055, and their rule spread to Syria and Palestine. In these centuries, the Assassin sect arose, based chiefly in Iran and Iraq that had derived from the Ismai'ili faction. They were hired killers who offered their services to Moslem rulers. It is believed that they used Hashish to achieve a state of ferocity, but this has thus far just been a cultural tale. By the time the Crusaders arrived, the Islamic empire was suffering from internal strife, despite the fact they were wearing down the Byzantine Empire, who pleaded for aid from Rome) into a state of submission.
In this period of conquest and the assault against the Christian eastern empire of Byzantium, the ruler of Constantinople sent a plea for aid against the encroaching horde of Islamic warriors. The First Crusade was about to be enacted.
Pope Urban II received the plea for help to save Byzantium through an ambassador sent by Byzantine Emperor, Alexios I. Komenos asking for help from invading Seljuk Turks who had already taken over Anatolia. The Christians were also wanting to reclaim the Holy Land of Jerusalem where the Christian founder preached and died. In March of 1095, the Council of Piacenza met with Pope Urban II, which was attended by bishops from all over like Italy, Burgundy, and France, held in the open air outside the city because there were too many to fit into the council chambers. In that same year, in the month of November, the Council of Clermont met and Pope Urban II gave a stirring sermon to convince the Christian states to join together to free the Holy Land from the Moslems, as well as the eastern churches, from the control of the Seljuk Turks. Attending were nobles from many kingdoms and devout Christians interested in the Holy Land. In letters to gain momentum and support in the effort, Pope Urban II wrote and in speech:
I, or rather the Lord, beseech you as Christ's heralds to publish this everywhere and to perse all people of whatever rank, foots soldiers and knights, poor and rich, to carry aid promptly to those Christians and to destroy that vile race from the lands of our friends. I say to those who are present, it is meant also for those who are absent. Moreover, Christ commands it. [i] ...this land which you inhabit, shut in on all sides by the seas and surrounded by the mountain peaks, is too narrow for your large population; nor does it abound in wealth; and it furnishes scarcely food enough to its cultivators. … Let therefore hatred depart from among you, let your quarrels end, let wars cease, and let all dissensions and controversies slumber. Enter upon the road to the Holy Sepulcher; wrest that land from the wicked race, and subject it yourselves … God has conferred upon you above all nations great glory in arms. Accordingly, undertake this journey for the remission of your sins, with the assurance of the imperishable glory of the Kingdom of Heaven. … Most beloved brethren, today is manifest in you what the Lord says in the Gospel, … Unless the Lord God had been present in your spirits, all of you would not have uttered the same cry. … Therefore I say to you that God, who implanted this in your breasts, has drawn it forth from you. Let this then be your war-cry in combats, because this word is given to you by God. When an armed attack is made upon the enemy, let this one cry be raised by all the soldiers of God: It is the will of God! …[ii]
Jerusalem was captured in 1099 after many battles after the Crusaders landed in the Middle East in 1096. The Islamic world reacted slowly at first, not expecting such a large force of intruders to arrive, such as the Franks. Salah Ed-Din, a Kurd, took control of Fatimid Egypt and declared an end to the Fatimid dynasty in 1171. He reconquered Jerusalem in 1187 after defeating the Crusaders at the Battle of Hattin. The Crusaders remained in Syria and Palestine. The last Christian fortress to fall was at Acre, which fell in 1291. [See map]
The Abbasid still ruled as Caliphs until 1258, despite losing territory to the Buwaydids and Seljuk Turks who conquered Baghdad, the capital of Arabian Islam. The Caliphate ended when the Mongols arrived under the leadership of Hulagu who sacked Baghdad. The Mongols swept across the Middle East and reached the Mediterranean Sea leaving devastation in its wake. The advance of Hulagu finally stopped at the Battle of Ayn Jalut near Nazareth in Palestine in 1260. The Mongols eventually converted to Islam and integrated among the Moslem domains. In the 14th and 15th centuries, the invasion of Timur or Tamburlane the Great brought devastation to the Islamic world, conquering Samarkand in central Asia and reaching Syria around 1401.
The Mamluke Turks were a slave caste of warriors who took power around 1250 in Egypt and founded Salah Ed-Din and Cairo, Egypt. They were the ones who defeated and drove out the Mongols at Ayn Jalut. They quickly extended their rule into Palestine and Syria.
During all the confusion left by the retreating Mongols of Tamerlane, the Safavid dynasty took power in Persia in 1501 and established a strong independent state, but eventually had to relinquish control of Baghdad and all of Iraq to the Ottoman Turks. [See History of Modern Iran]
While the Mameluks were controlling the southern part of the Middle East, the Ottoman Turks were gathering strength in Asia Minor and into pasts of Europe. They were well organized making them successful, using the newly invented firearms, which others did not have. The Mameluks were once Turkish warrior slaves, as mentioned above, and their soldier caste called Janissaries, which means “New Troops”.

A branch of Sunni Islam that was founded by theologian Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab (1703-1792) of Saudi Arabia to ensure that Islamic fundamentalism remained the core of the religion, sources remaining with the Qur’an, Hadith, and scholarly consensus called Ijma. In the beginning it was a peaceful movement and with the help of Uthman ibn Mu’ammar, the Najd Amir, it became popular. Wahhab attacked the moral decline and political weakness that had developed in the Arabian Peninsula, influenced by foreign interference, and condemned the Christian church for its idolatry of saints, shrines, and tombs.
The first people to oppose Muhammad Ibn Abd al-Wahhab were his father, an Islamic scholar and his brother who was a qadi. In 1801 and 1802, the Saudi Wahhabis under the leadership of Abdul Aziz ibn Muhammad ibn Saud attacked and captured the holy Shia cities of Karbala and Najaf in Iraq and destroyed the tombs of Husayn ibn Ali, grandson of Muhammad, and son of Ali, the son-in-law of Muhammad. In 1803 and 1804, the Saudi captured Makkah and Madinah and demolished venerated shrines, monuments, and removed any possible evidence of polytheism as in the Shirk, like the shrine built over the tomb of Fatimah, daughter of Muhammad. In 1998, the Saudi bulldozed and allegedly poured gasoline over the grave of Aminah bin Wahb, the mother of Muhammad, causing resentment throughout the Islam. [See Sunnis vs. Shi’ites]
Wahhabism has found its way outside of the traditional Arab nations and into the United States and built mosques there establishing its fundamentalism there. Publications found coming from these mosques stated that Muslims should always oppose infidels in every way and for Allah’s sake hate them for their religion and that democracy is responsible for all the horrible wars of the 20th century. It even went as far as condemning Shia and certain Sunni Muslims calling them infidels.
Despite marked connection between Wahhabism and Jihad Salafis, Natana De Long-Bas, senior research assistant at Prince Alwaleed Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University stated:
The militant Islam of Osama bin Laden did not have its origins in the teachings of Ibn Abd-al-Wahhab and was not representative of Wahhabi Islam as it is practiced in contemporary Saudi Arabia, yet for the media it came to define Wahhabi Islam during the later years of bin Laden's lifetime. However "unrepresentative" bin Laden's global jihad was of Islam in general and Wahhabi Islam in particular, its prominence in headline news took Wahhabi Islam across the spectrum from revival and reform to global jihad.
{SOURCE: Wahhabi Islam: From Revival and Reform to Global Jihad, Natana J. Delong-Bas, Oxford University Press, 2004; p. 279}
This organization was founded in Egypt in 1928, a religious social movement, by Islamic scholar and schoolteacher, Hassan al-Banna. At the end of World War II the organization had two million members. The Muslim Brotherhood began as a religious social organization, preaching Islam, teaching the illiterate, setting up hospitals and launching commercial enterprises. As it grew, it began to oppose British rule in Egypt in the 1930s. Today it extends its radicalism supporting Hamas. Now Mohammed Mursi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood is the president of Egypt and introduced Sharia Law overriding the former Egyptian law making the brotherhood an illegal organization. It occurred by the Muslim Brotherhood infiltrating Egypt’s parliament and eventually taking control of the nation causing recent turmoil and fanaticism. [See also: Wahhabis – Discover the Networks] In the United States, Wahhabism and other hate-cult Islamic fanaticism has infiltrated prisons. Saudi Wahhabi clerics have preached and recruited violence across the spectrum of the Arab world and Middle-Near East. The Muslim Brotherhood and Wahhabi have jointly or separately funded Jihad and terrorism. In the United States those organizations are falsely painted as peaceful organizations and movement, using the religious tolerance of the democratic nations to infiltrate a nation’s infrastructure turning against governments that had allowed them to immigrate with intention of assimilation – which was not the underlying reasons for immigration.
Violent Islamic organizations and movements have been intentionally and unintentionally encouraged to continue its subversion and long-term goal of global domination through tolerant programs and policies that support an intolerant religion.
President Obama bypassed Congress and provided $1.5 billion to the Muslim Brotherhood and has supported their takeover of Egypt and continued dominance in that region of the world. Beginning in the GW Bush administration, Obama has furthered infiltration of Islamic subversion in the United States with activists within the Obama administration. It is also working on destroying the efforts of the United States by first overthrowing Saddam Hussein and affording the Iraqi people the opportunity for a democratic government by circumventing and infiltrating the infrastructure there. Egyptian lawyers testify that the Muslim Brotherhood has received billions of dollars from Obama’s administration. In the United States, Americans are concerned and outraged that Obama approved sending arms and sophisticated weaponry as American fighter jets to the Muslim Brotherhood and other extremists for their efforts in the Middle East and Arabian nations. Yet, continues his policy to deny Americans certain firearms.
Islam is involved deeply with politics. Islam is a religion that is a theocracy consisting of fundamentalists whose mindset is medieval, oppresses the people socially, and desires global conquest. It is no different from the policies that started the Crusades, but now use indirect approaches to fulfill its goals. Western nations have set up governments that exercise separation of church and state for important reasons at one level or another, and Muslims are working at changing that to Sharia Law like that which occurred in Egypt and has also worked its way into the government of the Republic of Turkey. As when discussing religion of ancient Egypt, when there is discussion of Islam there is always the underlying presence of politics included. Just as the pharaohs incorporated directly into a religion, so it is with Islam with government. Ironically, liberalism is considered a policy of infidels that are against the Qur’an and Hadji – yet, liberal political people support fundamentalism as their right in the name of tolerance, siding with an intolerant religious doctrine.

Islamic Jihad by M.A. Khan
Islam’s History of Oppression by Dr. Sami Alrabaa
Understanding Jihad – Discover the Networks

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