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Middle aged heterosexual, WASP male. Semi retired, semi-sane and semi-serious. And endangered species and I'm not going quietly!!!!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Church of Allan - The Plain Truth About God

A serialization of the book, The Plain Truth About God.

Chapter 11. Jihad Inc.

The Arab Muslim.


** Women have three roles - obey the father, obey the husband, obey the son.
—Mid-East Proverb.

** It goes without saying that societies in the Islamic, Christian, and Judaic areas of the Middle East have always been, and will try to stay, patriarchal societies.
—Anonymous

** “The true republic; men, their rights and nothing more.” ”Women; their rights and nothing less.” -Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906)


In spite of some of the harsh words leveled at Arabs and Muslims in this chapter, we must not loose sight of the fact that this culture has given the world much throughout its history.

As well as the worlds second largest (and growing) religion it is also the ancestral home to the numerical and mathematical system that is now used throughout the world.

This culture has given us great literature and art as well as the birthplace of many of our theories on the human condition.

Given the Arabs love of logic and debate, the Human family has benefited enormously from their contributions to the humanities and sciences.

Sufism.

Even with the constraints placed upon Islam that give it a great inertia against any change, there are nonetheless great movements in the religion that have manifested itself in two very different ways.

The first of these, Sufism, can be described as the “mystic” version of Islam and its adherents refer to themselves as Sufis---people who see themselves on a spiritual journey toward God.

In order to guide spiritual travelers and to express the states of consciousness experienced on this journey, the Sufis have produced an enormously rich body of literature.

Suffice to say that the Sufi, while acknowledging they are on the pathway to God and will achieve oneness of spirit in Paradise, also believe that it is possible to become close to God in this life.

Furthermore, the attainment of the knowledge that comes in intimacy with God is the very purpose of creation---while the difficulties in following the path derive primarily from one’s self or ego.

(Sounds a lot like the Eastern Religions)

In other words, it can be said that if one is not recognizing or experiencing God’s “closeness” (or presence) the responsibility for this condition lies within.

Some of the effects of the dominance of the ego are that one may become overwhelmed by the need to gratify desires such as anger, lust, anxiety, boredom, regret, self pity, depression, and the many addictions that afflict us.

Hence, one of the emphases of Sufism is the struggle to overcome the dominance of one’s ego. A struggle that first and foremost involves choosing at each moment to remember and surrender actively to God— irrespective of whether the form in which God manifests is one of absence or presence, benevolence or severity.

The struggle with one’s own ego has been called the greater struggle or greater “Holy War” (al-jihad al-akbar) in contrast to the lesser struggle, “holy war” (al-jihad al-asghar), which is against injustice in this world.

The lesser struggle of Jihad is certainly against perceived injustices and oppression in the world, but the greater struggle is what Muhammad talked about whenever he officially declared a “Jihad!”

It was, in effect, a war against the “seven deadly sins.”


Numerous Muslim scholars have spoken favorably about Sufism while one of the criticisms often leveled at Sufis by their fellow Muslims is that they withdraw from social and political activity.

This is far from being true in Muslim central Asia, where in Chechnya for example,

Sufis were very active in fighting against Russian invaders.

Baha’i.

The regions (Middle East) distinction as being the birthplace of a great majority of humanities philosophical and religious endeavors means it should come as no surprise that there is another movement in the works today that could once again change the course of our spiritual development.

Here I am referring the advent of the Baha’i faith and its possible impact on future religious thought!

The practice of Baha’i has at its core some of the seeds of a religion that could one day unify all the “people of the book.”

Its philosophy is not only simple and elegant, but seems to have the fundamentals of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam within its framework.

It has the potential to become a world religion that is not driven by the old demons (pardon the pun) of the past!

It bears watching!

Allan W Janssen is the author of the book The Plain Truth About God (What the mainstream religions don't want you to know!) and is available at the web site www.God-101.com

Visit the blog "Perspective" at http://God-101.blogspot.com

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