In the Wake of Brussels: My Perpetual Condemnation – Again


In the Name of God: The Extremely and Eternally Loving and Caring 

I leave aside the fact that no other community is expected to condemn the actions of its criminal fringe. I leave aside the fact that the perverse logic of assigning blame to the whole for the actions of a few tends to be applied to Muslims preferentially. I leave aside the fact that most of the victims of “Islamic terror” are other Muslims themselves. I leave aside the fact the attention of the world to acts of terror in Western countries is much more than that in Muslims countries (see recent attacks in Turkey and compare for yourself).

I put all of that aside today. I put all that aside and condemn what happened in Brussels – which took the lives of 34 people – with all of my heart, all of my soul, and all of my mind.

It’s very true that such terror is being rained on scores of innocent Muslim populations by their own governments on a daily basis. It’s very true that terror has no religion or ethnic group or nationality. It’s true that Western governments have supported brutal dictatorships in the Muslim majority world to serve geopolitical interests. That is all true.

That’s does not even begin to justify, however, attacking innocent people anywhere in the world. And just as the double standards with respect to Muslims and Islam must be called out every time, terror in the name of Islam must also be called out and condemned for what it is: pure unadulterated evil.

Read the rest here: http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/commonwordcommonlord/2016/03/in-the-wake-of-brussels-my-perpetual-condemnation-again.html

Pillar of “Native Deen” Goes Out On His Own


In the Name of God: The Everlastingly and Extremely Loving and Caring

Native Deen is one of the oldest and most popular American Muslim hip hop groups. It is my absolute favorite, and I have grown up listening to their songs. In fact, way back in the 1980s group member Joshua Salaam and I went to the same religious summer school, and I remember listening to him drop hip hop rhymes with effortless mastery way back then. Their songs are at once educational, inspirational, and consoling, all the while treating listeners with amazing hip hop beats and lyrics. If you haven’t heard of them, do yourself a favor and check them out.

Yet, it is natural to wonder: what are their musical talents individually? What would they do if they broke up?
Read the rest at http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/commonwordcommonlord#iFJFaRJsOEEUSur0.99

Join Me on “The Doc Is In”


In the Name of God: The Extremely and Eternally Loving and Caring

I am grateful to our Lord to announce my new blog, “The Doc Is In.” I have been wanting to write a blog that focuses mainly on medicine and the practice of medicine today for a long time now. By the grace of God, I have finally done so.

The blog is at: http://www.chicagonow.com/doc-is-in

It will mainly be about health and medicine, and I plan to share some of my perspective as a medical professional.

Of course, I will still maintain this blog (and my column at Beliefnet). But, make sure to check out my stuff there too.

My first post is: “Tragedy’s Silver Lining.”

Look forward to seeing you there and all my blogs and columns.

God bless you and all of us. Amen.

ISIS Cannot Be Reading The Same Qur’an As The Rest Of Us


In the Name of God: The Extremely and Eternally Loving and Caring

I could not believe my eyes when I read the headline: “ISIS Militant ‘Kills His Own Mother’ In Public Raqqa Execution.”

A member of the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) killed his own mother in a public execution in the city of Raqqa on Thursday, according to activists.

The U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), which monitors the Syrian civil war using a wide network of sources on the ground, and Raqqa is Being Silently Slaughtered, an activist group inside the ISIS-held city, both reported the execution.

Ali Saqr, 20, reportedly killed his 45-year-old mother Leena Al-Qasem “for apostasy” in front of an audience of hundreds of people outside a post office building where she was employed in the city.

I didn’t think the savages of ISIS could stoop any lower than killing innocents in Paris or Istanbul. Clearly, however, I was wrong.

Yet, such savagery shows that these monsters cannot be reading the same Qur’an as the rest of the Muslim faithful…

Read the rest at: http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/commonwordcommonlord/2016/01/isis-cannot-be-reading-the-same-quran-as-the-rest-of-us.html#ixzz3xBc81RPI

Let Scripture Be Your Guide To A Better You In The New Year


In the Name of God: The Extremely and Eternally Loving and Caring

Whenever a transition in time occurs, such as the passing of the New Year, it is natural for human beings to reflect over the past and look forward to the future. Hence, many people will be making New Year’s resolutions, and there will be no shortage of people telling  you and me how best to improve ourselves in the coming year. This is all well and good.

Yet, the best “expert” on self-improvement is looking straight at us in the mirror. We know ourselves the best, and we are the best judge of what flaws we have that need improvement. And we can let Scripture help us on this journey of self-betterment.

Just as I wrote during the Islamic New Year, the Qur’an offers several verses and passages that can be used as “personal improvement checklists.” Here is such a verse…

In Praise of the Prophet: Poem for the Mawlid


In the Name of God: The Extremely and Eternally Loving and Caring
In honor of the Mawlid of our beloved Messenger Muhammad (pbuh), I penned this never-before-seen poem:

 

The sun, and day, are hot yet still ’twas dark
The brute and bully reigned with no regard
The lack of light shined forth and was so stark
The lack of light made life so rough and hard

And in this muck of being came His light
Before his coming, father passed away
Along the way, his mother sees great sight
And told to call His Name as she did lay

And then he came, in splendor large and grand
The son of chieftain grand, who basked in glow
As breath was taken slow, she held his hand
And he with Grace and Light of God did glow

“The Praised” became the name of this pure child
At last! The world will bask again in light
On path of Jesus Christ he tames the wild
And brings the Light of God for all in sight

My Lord, My God! I am not worthy true
To have his face become of dust and blood
And yet, shed blood he did as message grew
With wisdom flowing as fast as Great Flood

For God so loved the world that He me sent
A Bearer true, the son of Patriarch
With Word of Truth and Love that can’t be bent
Who calls that we, to God with love, embark

And thus, we must each day to all proclaim
The Grace in which we bask all day and night
And We must never feel at all ashamed
That we are blessed inside Muhammad’s light

How Can Islam Be “Inspired by Satan” When It Honors Jesus So Much?


In the Name of God: The Extremely and Eternally Loving and Caring

“Make no mistake about it,” he said from the pulpit in downtown Dallas, “Islam is just not another way to approach God. Islam is a false religion and it is inspired by Satan himself.”

These are the words of Rev. Robert Jeffress, who is pastor of First Baptist Church of Dallas. This church is one of the largest and most influential members of the Southern Baptist Convention, and he uttered those words on the Sunday after the ISIS attacks in Paris. He received a standing ovation at the end of the sermon.

At first, this disturbs me deeply because, if such words were uttered at a mosque anywhere in this country about Christianity or Judaism, it would be (rightly so) condemned vociferously. It is not befitting a house of worship to attack another faith as “inspired by Satan.”

On the other hand, however, such comments also baffle me because, as a Christian Pastor, Rev. Jeffress should know that Islam greatly honors Jesus and his mother Mary.

Take this passage from the third chapter of the Qur’an:

O my Lord! Behold, to You do I vow [the child] that is in my womb, to be devoted to Thy service. Accept it, then, from me: verily, You alone art all-hearing, all-knowing!

But when she had given birth to the child, she said: “O my Lord! Behold, I have given birth to a female”— while God had been fully aware of what she would give birth to, and [fully aware] that no male child [she might have hoped for] could ever have been like this female — and I have named her Mary. And verily, I seek Your protection for her and her offspring against Satan, the accursed.

And thereupon her Lord accepted the girl-child with goodly acceptance, and caused her to grow up in goodly growth… (3:35-37).

These verses are full of praise for the Virgin Mary, where God says that no male child that the mother of Mary may have hoped for could ever be like this female Mary.

Does this sound like a faith “inspired by Satan himself”?

In another passage of the Qur’an, God sets forth none other than the Virgin Mary as the best example a believer can follow:

And [We have propounded yet another parable of God-consciousness in the story of] Mary, the daughter of Imran, who guarded her chastity, whereupon We breathed of Our spirit into that [which was in her womb], and who accepted the truth of her Lord’s words—and [thus] of His revelations—and was one of the truly devout (66:12).

In fact, the Virgin Mary is the only woman mentioned by name in the Qur’an.

Does this sound like a faith “inspired by Satan himself”?

The Qur’an has even more praise about her son, Jesus Christ.

The story of Jesus’s birth is told twice in the Qur’an (3:42-27 and 19:16-33). The Qur’an recounts the miracle of Jesus speaking in his infancy (3:46 and 19:29-33) and of Jesus healing the blind, curing lepers and raising the dead (5:110). The Qur’an also talks about how Jesus used to fashion birds out of clay and breathe life into them, by the permission of God (3:49). There may even be a reference to the Last Supper in the Qur’an as well (5:112-116).

Could this be from a faith that is “inspired by Satan himself”?

Jesus in the Qur’an is “honored in the world and the hereafter, and one of the intimates of God” (3:45). Jesus in the Qur’an is “in the ranks of the righteous” (6:85). Jesus in the Qur’an is described as a “word, from God, which God sent down to Mary [and] a spirit from Him” (4:171). The Qur’an even says that Jesus was strengthened with the “Holy Spirit” (2:253, 5:110), although classical commentators have interpreted “Holy Spirit” to mean the Angel Gabriel or divine inspiration.

Could all this praise for Jesus Christ be “inspired by Satan himself”?

No, Muslims do not believe that Jesus is divine or that he is part of the Godhood. Neither do Jews. But, how can this then mean that Islam is “inspired by Satan himself”?

If more people, especially some in the Christian community, would just learn more about Islam – from real, unbiased sources – they would see how much honor and praise Islam has for Christ and his mother. They would see how much more Islam and Christianity has in common, the disagreement about Jesus notwithstanding.

If more people knew the truth about Islam, they would see that Muslims are not “the enemy,” but rather brothers and sisters under the very same God who love Jesus and his mother so very much. If only more people knew the truth…