About the Progenitor of God Alone

A good Muslim friend of mine wrote to warn me about the God Alone movement, which was initiated by a man named Rashad Khalifa.  Khalifa was an Egyptian scientist who claimed to find a “Qur’an Code” based on the number 19, which he asserted as proof that the Qur’an has come down to us in uncorrupted form.  He ended up in Tucson, AZ, where he was assassinated in the early 90’s.

The above video is a straightforward presentation of the anti-Khalifa position, which is in line with traditional Islam.  I do appreciate having access to this information as I continue to self-educate around the religion of Muhammad.

Thanks, also, to my friend (you know who you are!) who was not afraid to take me to task over a very touchy subject.

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The Politics of Just Living

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One of the tensions in my life, especially since doing a Sociology degree in college, has been between spirituality on the one hand and social engagement on the other.

A part of me (Libra Moon, some would say) has always been concerned with issues of justice. I’ve always come down on the side of the underdog, knowing intuitively that the “have-nots” are continually screwed by the “haves,” and that the “haves” will do just about anything to maintain their status as overlords. At the same time, I’ve known intuitively that, should a “have-not” somehow scramble out of the muck and into the rarefied stratosphere occupied by the “haves,” this new arrival will most likely take on the behavior of his new social class, so that the oppressed is now the oppressor.

With all of this in mind, I have in the past spent a lot of time and energy keeping up with the drama played out between “haves” and “have-nots.” I purchased and devoured books on the following:

The Cold War

The Vietnam War

— The JFK/Malcolm X/MLK/RFK assassinations

The CIA

Watergate

The Spanish Civil War

Nazism

The Federal Reserve

U.S. Intervention in Latin America (and beyond)

The Red Scare

The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

AIM and the Black Panther Party

Conspiracy Theories around all the above, plus

9/11

Danny Casolaro and The Octopus

The New World Order

UFO’s

Iran-Contra

COINTELPRO

The War on Drugs

And so forth… you get the picture.

At a certain point – say, around the year 2002 – I looked at the many piles of these books that had mushroomed in my office – some of them already read, most of them waiting – and I asked myself, “What is the point in all of this?”

I’d spent all that time thinking there was an answer to the who, what, when, where and how of our political history. The same names popped up, going back centuries – the same families, same money interests, same bloodlines. I thought that, if I just studied this stuff diligently enough, there would come a time when a light would snap on in my head, and I’d finally emerge into an intellectual clearing – and I’d be able to tell others about my discovery, thereby rendering thousands of years of human ignorance obsolete, so that we may all move forward into a Golden age of total honesty and mutual assistance.

Silly me.

Instead, I came to that moment in 2002 – having already spent years in meditation, studying holy texts and engaging in nonstop spiritual dialog – when I understood that these conspiratorial (or not) machinations were not going to end just because someone like me thought he’d stumbled onto “their” game. It occurred to me that, even if all the worst aspects of all the conspiracy theories – that royal bloodlines are connected with extraterrestrials, that bankers are the new slave drivers, that the New World Order will turn humanity into a Borg hive of soul-less automatons – there is no amount of screaming and hollering and “revelatory disclosure” on my part that is going to bring measurable change. The more you shout CONSPIRACY, the more marginalized you become – laughed at, ridiculed, pushed straight out of “respectable” conversation, relegated to Internet forums filled with other nutjobs who you’d otherwise not touch with a mile-long pole.

It’s not been, however, a matter of simply ignoring my passion for social justice in order to escape into spiritual practice. Rather, it’s been a matter of slowly shifting the emphasis from screaming and hollering (i.e., complaining) about the degenerate state of the external world, migrating toward greater and greater inner awareness, withdrawing from my anguished projections onto the world mirror and allowing something more essential (as in, of my Essence) to bubble up to the surface of my worldly presence.

In other words, I decided to elevate meditation, study of the sacred, and spiritual dialog to occupy larger and larger parts of my daily existence, so that when I now take a look at the horrors of current events, I’m able to honestly assert myself as “not that” — as an antidote, a solution, a reason for hope.

And in the process, I’m meeting many others who’ve come to a similar place. They’re no longer sniveling, playing the victim and waiting for the worst. They are making of themselves living examples, trusting that as a collective expression, millions around the world will form a wave of positive change from within. They trust that external circumstances stand no chance of holding back this wave.

So hey… vote for your favorite Presidential candidate. March for change. Slap bumper stickers on your car. Write to the Editor, to your Representative, your Senator. Sign petitions. Hold placards on street corners. Argue your point of view. Give your two cents. Participate.

I’m for all of this.

I just hope that we all remember: our Paradise is already here, right now, beneath our feet, in our hearts. It’s been here all along; it was never gone. We just have to live it from where we are, no matter what our external circumstances may be. We have plenty that we can do to build-up our Paradise. We can meditate. We can eat right. We can walk instead of drive. We can love instead of hate.

The point is, life’s too short to spend it in opposition to the world around us. With the time we’ve been given, how can it hurt to assert our own Paradise every moment of every day? All those Players of the Game – teach them by your example! They know not what’s best for them, as they are bought into a set of values born of television. Love them, even as they wave weapons in your face. They may not know it, but they are not separate from you.

In this way, the bridge between social justice and spirituality is maintained. In this way, the puzzle is solved… and we are free to get on with just living.

Truly Amazing

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Who would’ve imagined something like this?

 

Uproar as archbishop says sharia law inevitable in UK

The Archbishop of Canterbury drew criticism from across the political spectrum last night after he backed the introduction of sharia law in Britain and argued that adopting some aspects of it seemed “unavoidable”. Rowan Williams, the most senior figure in the Church of England, said that giving Islamic law official status in the UK would help to achieve social cohesion because some Muslims did not relate to the British legal system.

His comments, in a lecture on civil and religious law given at the Royal Courts of Justice, were swiftly rebutted by the prime minister’s spokesman, who insisted British law would be based on British values and that sharia law would be no justification for acting against national law.

“Our general position is that sharia law cannot be used as a justification for committing breaches of English law, nor should the principles of sharia law be included in a civil court for resolving contractual disputes. If there are specific instances, like stamp duty, where changes can be made in a way that’s consistent with British law … to accommodate the values of fundamental Muslims, that is something the government would look at.”

Williams was also criticised by the Tory peer Sayeeda Warsi, shadow minister for community cohesion and social action. “The comments may add to the confusion that already exists in our communities,” she said … “We must ensure people of all backgrounds and religions are treated equally before the law. Freedom under the law allows respect for some religious practices. But let’s be clear: all British citizens must be subject to British laws developed through parliament and the courts.”

Sharia law sets out a broad code of conduct for all aspects of life, from diet, wearing of the hijab to marriage and divorce.

British courts do not recognise Islamic marriages performed in this country unless they are registered separately with the civil authorities. The result is that some Muslims think they are protected by family law when they are not, and others can think they are properly divorced, when they are still married. However, Britain recognises Islamic marriages and divorces conducted in Muslim countries such as Pakistan or Bangladesh.

Under Islamic law polygamy is condoned, allowing a man up to four wives and giving him the primary right to call for divorce. This means he can leave his first wife, refuse her a divorce and remarry, yet still consider himself living in accordance with his faith.

Some Muslim groups supported Williams’ views. The Ramadhan Foundation, an educational and welfare body, said the speech was “testament to his attempts to understand Islam and promote tolerance and respect between our great faiths”.

More than 800 people were in the Great Hall of the Royal Courts of Justice in London for last night’s speech, while another 200 poured into the overspill marquee.

Williams said introducing sharia law would mean Muslims would no longer have to choose between two systems.

“If what we want socially is a pattern of relations in which a plurality of diverse and overlapping affiliations work for a common good, and in which groups of serious and profound conviction are not systematically faced with the stark alternatives of cultural loyalty or state loyalty, it seems unavoidable,” he said.

Earlier, in a BBC interview, the archbishop was more succinct. He said it was a “matter of fact” that sharia law was already practised in Britain. “We already have in this country a number of situations in which the internal law of religious communities is recognised by the law of the land … There is a place for finding what would be a constructive accommodation with some aspects of Muslim law, as we already do with some kinds of aspects of other religious law.”

He did not endorse, however, the “kind of inhumanity” that was associated with sharia law in some Islamic states.

Methinks that there is a fair amount of “misunderstanding” in this article’s presentation of sharia law, as my understanding is that women have a very clear path to divorce, and that the subject of polygamy in Islam is not as cut-and-dried as this article intimates (as is the case with Mormonism).  The Bible has all sorts of references to polygamy, and yet the practice is very limited in today’s Christian world — as is slavery.

The fact is, I think that the Archbishop is to be commended for saying something that, while he had to know it would bring down the wrath of orthodoxy, is nevertheless a common sense observation that honors and respects an entire people.

If a clergyman said this in America, the uproar would be deafening, and the messenger would be run out of town on a rail.

I’m stunned.