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Ehsan
October 26, 2003, 08:55 PM
Hopefully Ramadan is starting from tomorrow in Toronto but yet I have no confirm news. Best Wishes on Ramadan.

Ehsan
October 26, 2003, 10:21 PM
It is being confirmed, Ramadan starts from tomorrow; that is you'll have to take the 'saehri' tomorrow morning.

Zobair
October 27, 2003, 10:55 AM
Ramadahan Mubarak to you too.

Nasif
October 27, 2003, 03:06 PM
Ramadan started on Sunday Oct 26, 2003. The new moon came up on OCT. 25, 12:50PM GMT. In USA it was 8:50AM EST and 5:50AM PST. Therefore the first day of Ramadan was Oct 26 for all of USA. If you didn't fast on Oct. 26 in USA, you missed one day.

Please check US Naval Observatory for the dates of New Moon at 2003 Moon Phases (http://aa.usno.navy.mil/data/docs/MoonPhase.html#y2003)

Last day of Ramadan for Eastern USA is Nov. 24 and for Central and Western USA is Nov. 23.

It is funny that at this day and age of scientific knowledge we still are all confused how to observe our religion. Our molla's are all confused and so are we. God has given us wisdom and knowledge we fail to apply it.

Ramadan mubarak to all.

chinaman
October 27, 2003, 03:31 PM
One quick refresher for nasif. With moon, there is nothing like "come up". Its either birth or visibility. Islamic events revolves arround the visibility (not the birth) of the cresent moon. After a new moon is born, certain amount of time (>16 hours, don't remember exactly) must pass by before it becomes visible with or without equipments. While the birth of the moon can easily be CALCULATED with a very HIGH degree of certainity in advance, the visibility can only be PREDICTED with SOME degree of certainity. Hope this will clear up some of your confusion.

Nasif
October 27, 2003, 03:45 PM
China bhai I know about the visibility issue. This again is a tradition that has no Quranic basis. Moon is there for precise calculation. It doesn't matter whether we can see the new moon or not. Once new moon is born a new month has started.

If the birth of the new moon is before the sunset then new month starts right after the sunset and next day will be the first day of the month. If the birth takes place after the sunset then new month starts after the following day sunset. In lunar system a new "day" starts at night (after sunset).

God tells us that both sun and moon is there for calculation. And one cannot calculate anything precisely if input is left to subjective data as "visibility".


[Quran 10:5] He is the One who rendered the sun radiant, and the moon a light, and He designed its phases that you may learn to count the years and to calculate. GOD did not create all this, except for a specific purpose. He explains the revelations for people who know.

[Quran 17:12] We rendered the night and the day two signs. We made the night dark, and the day lighted, that you may seek provisions from your Lord therein. This also establishes for you a timing system, and the means of calculation. We thus explain everything in detail.

It is quite understandable that previous generations used the visibility because of lack of precise calculation. But now we possess the ability and thus visiblity of moon has no value.

chinaman
October 27, 2003, 04:25 PM
It is quite understandable that previous generations used the visibility because of lack of precise calculation. But now we possess the ability and thus visiblity of moon has no value.

Pure futile comment with no historic basis that I'm aware of. Visibility (weather permiting) is required by several Hadith including the famous one that says something like this:
Start fasting after seeing the moon and stop fasting after seeing the moon. (Sorry I don't have the reference right now, I'll provide it in a day or two, insha Allah)

Nasif
October 27, 2003, 05:13 PM
I am aware of the hadith. But you have to understand the context of it. If prophet was with us today, rest assured he would have told us to use mathematical calculation rather than eye observation.

Hadith cannot supercede Quran and neither can it be the final world. The final word comes from Quran, where God tells us that moon is there to be used for calculation. Calculation means the use of mathematics, the scence of precision. Therefore, we must use the mathematical approach to know the birth of new moon.

God orders us to use our knowledge to analyze issues objectively.

[Quran 17:36] You shall not accept any information, unless you verify it for yourself. I have given you the hearing, the eyesight, and the brain, and you are responsible for using them.

Consistently in Quran, we are encouraged to acquire knowledge and try to understand God's creation. Because the more we understand God's creation the more we can be appreciative of God.

If one adhears to old tradition and do not accept new knowledge then one stands still in time. This is another reason for general decline in science and knowledge in Islamic world. We must remember that at one time when Eupore was in complete darkness Islam was the light of the world, leading in all areas, science, math, medicine, technology...

But something radical happened that made Islam stagnant. That radical approach was holding fast to tradition. Whereas, God orders every muslim to go on a mission to explore the world and find new knowledge, muslim started doing quite the opposite. They held fast to age old knowlege and refused to accept anything new. Thus we see the general decline in muslim world. Now, probably we are at the "epitome" utter decline. It probably is not possible to go any more down. We are the laughing stock of the world.

Every year Ramadan time everyone is utterly confused about its start. As long as I can remember here in US every year there is 2 groups and 2 days to start Ramadan. For non-muslim this is quite amusing, probably thinking and talking to themselves, "Look at these fools, they don't even know how to count their days of the month." Again, we are making ourselves the laughing stock.

Islam calls for unity among the believers. But where is the unity? Certainly, we don't have unity when we observe the Ramadan. All of this is because we are holding strongly to traditions and we forgot to hold onto God's system.

For our own sake this is the time that we hold fast onto God's rope.

[Quran 3:103] You shall hold fast to the rope of GOD, all of you, and do not be divided. Recall GOD's blessings upon you - you used to be enemies and He reconciled your hearts. By His grace, you became brethren. You were at the brink of a pit of fire, and He saved you therefrom. GOD thus explains His revelations for you, that you may be guided.

A renaissance of knowledge in the muslim world is overdue. Blind faith and tradition will lead us nowhere but down.

chinaman
October 28, 2003, 02:23 AM
Before considering what the Prophet would have told us if he were with us today, we must consider what he had already said to us. Before going into the next topic, please tell us why you think we should use birth instead of visibility of the moon for Ramadan and Eid etc. It's a very teaching discussion. So please stick to the point and use relevant proof and reference only. Once we finish that point, hopefully we can move on to the next (to calculate or not to calculate etc.) Thank you.

mona
October 28, 2003, 04:26 AM
happy Ramadan to you all....and don't forget to set your alarm clock!

Sham
October 28, 2003, 05:31 AM
I don't really understand what more he can explain. He has argued that the calculation of birth gives us greater precision and that God tells us that he has given us the ability to use mathematical and scientific methods and hence we should. I am not educated enough on this to present my own argument but Nasif's argument sounds pretty reasonable to me.

[Edited on 28-10-2003 by Sham]

chinaman
October 28, 2003, 06:08 AM
Once again, we find ourselves in the unfortunate disarray of celebrating the Ramadan and Eid-ul-Fitr in a very divided way. Division among the scholars on various issues is anything but new in the long and glorified history of Islam. However, the divisions were thoughtful and dignified alike and we learned to live with it peacefully. Moreover those divisions lead us to clear paths so that we can use our own judgment to choose the path of our likeness. But today's division does not show us any clear path. Indeed it adds complexity to confusion. What should have been a day of joy becomes a day of distraught. Isn't there a solution for it? We sure do believe so, but we must work together in good faith to satisfy none but Him to find it. In this article, we will try to look for a solution, but first, we must study the potential causes for the disagreement.

Many questions could be asked regarding the beginning of Ramadan, dates of two Eids and other religious observances. A close look would reveal that all the questions revolve around "Lunar Month" which itself revolves around "Actual Moon sighting or it's calculation". If we get the answer for any one of the questions, it would shed definitive light to the rest of the answers. To make the discussion plain and simple let's isolate the question "Why do we celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr on two separate days within a given community?" Following discussion will mostly be focused on this particular question.

Potential Causes of disagreement

1. Human sighting vs. astronomic calculation

Many hadiths could be cited to both generally and explicitly directs moon sighting for the purpose of starting and ending of Ramadan but none could be found to prescribe for calculation alone. Astronomic calculations were not used (whether available or not) by our prophet (SAW). Some simple calculation (enumeration) was permissible however. Some present-day-scholars have advocated the use of the calculation exclusively, however it is yet to be adopted by a community. Interesting to note that, one or more Gulf State do adopt the astronomic calculation officially; but the calculation is based on "Birth of the new Moon" and not on "Crescent sighting". A crescent is the visible new moon and proceeds the later by some fifteen hours or more. For clarity, from this point on we will use the term crescent sighting instead of more general term moon sighting. Neither the moon sighting (which generally implies the seeing of the moon at any time) nor the birth of the moon is linked to the determination of ramadan, Eid, lunar months etc. It is the Crescent sighting that determines all that. While astronomic calculation is able to predict the birth of the new moon with remarkable accuracy and precision and even determine the possible time frame when the crescent sighting is possible, the fact remains, calculation can not SEE the moon.

The might of calculation could be used to either bolster or reject a claim of crescent sighting. Indeed, it is being used for this purpose today. It is safe to say that if we opt not to replace crescent sighting with calculation, some souls might be disheartened but nonetheless there will be no mass disagreement.

2. Sighting by one person vs. two persons

While differing narrations from the hadith could be called upon by the supporters of both sides of the isle, the issue rarely surfaces at present days. Recent advancement in technologies in the fields of astronomy and communication make it possible to see and report crescent sighting in no time. We can not recall when was the last time a community was divided solely on this issue. Moreover, the general consensus is that, for an otherwise suitable day, affirmative testimony from two people is the way to go. Though there are rooms for debate, multiple positive reporting usually put an effective end to it before it even get a chance to develop.

3. Sighting in any place vs. local places

This is a point on which scholars have differed for ages. In general, according to Shafii school of thought, the sighting is not a binding; while the Hanafi, Maliki and Hambali schools express the sighting to be a binding. There are even more references within these espressions that support the opposite view. For our discussion, lets not make a new school of thought. The above schools are very distinct and clear on their respective stands and views. If one chooses to hold on to one school over the other, let it be so and if one mosque or community chooses to hold on to one school over the other, let them express it (so that an individual may judge for himself) and let it be so as well. Moreover, this issue comes into play only after the report of crescent sighting.

Having said that, let's revisit the issue in the light of the advancement of our knowledge and science. Like any other issue, the first place to look for a solution is the Quran and we will look into the Hadith and elsewhere only if we could not find it in the holy scripture or if the Quranic solution is too complex for us to appreciate at this time.

4. Saudi tradition and it's implication

This is a rather unsuspected cause. Certainly, Saudi Arabia enjoys some prestige within the muslim world for obvious reasons. And for the same reasons, whether Saudis want it or not, some islamic communities are very inclined to follow their tradition. There's nothing wrong with it unless of course the followed tradition is deviated from sunnah. Let's take a closer look at the Saudi practices and traditions in determining and observing islamic events.

The Saudi traditions has known in some details to the world only recently. For civil and official purposes the Saudis use lunar months and accordingly developed a calendar known as "Umm-ul-Qurah" based on some given criteria. The Institute of Astronomical & Geophysical Research at King Abdulaziz City for Science & Technology is the official Saudi authority which prepares the Umm Ul-Qurah Calendar which is implemented throughout the country. The criteria upon which the umm-ul-qurah is based on, has undergone revisions and modifications at least twice in the last five years. There is also report of a forthcoming modification to be adopted in near future. We will not discuss here every details of the criteria and it's modifications, rather, we will focus on the very basics. The Saudi criteria is based explicitly on the birth of the new moon totally ignoring the actual sighting of the crescent. Saudi scholars and news organizations are quite aware of the issue. Some would say that the umm-ul-qurah is for civil use only and that, there are official crescent sighting committees at work. But the fact remains that the official Saudi announcement about ramadan and Eid differs from the suggestions of such committees and goes in parallel to that of umm-ul-qurah. Can we fairly conclude that, determining the starting and ending of ramadan following Umm Ul-Qurah Calendar which ignores the actual sighting of the crescent is deviation from sunnah? And can we follow a tradition that is deviated from sunnah?

Some recent reports about the 1st Sawaal

1. None of the six Saudi official committees for crescent sighting reported to have seen the crescent on Wednesday December 04, 2002. An effort using a computerized 10 LX-200, GPS, telescope also failed to visualize the crescent. However, Royal announcement was made that some people saw the crescent on that day despite the fact that the age of the crescent at sun set was less than 7 hours with an angular separation of less than 4 degrees. Eid-ul-Fitr was celebrated on December 05, 2002. On December 05, 2002 a very thin crescent was seen in Saudi sky only with a computerized 10 LX-200.

The crescent was also not seen in Jordan from a plane dispatched for this purpose at 3800 meters above the sea-level on December 04, 2002; but a very fascinating and thin crescent was seen by naked eye the following day.

2. In Nigeria at about 11:30 p.m on Tuesday December 03, 2002, some people from the North and south [Benin, in Edo State] claimed to have seen the crescent and majority of the muslims in Nigeria celebrated their Eid-El-Fitr on Wedneday, December 04, 2002.



3. On January 06, 2000 Saudi announcement confirms the crescent sighting despite the fact that it was impossible to see the crescent due to various conditions and the official moonsighting committees didn't have a positive sighting report. Later a Fatwah was decreed confirming the error and urging people to make up for the lost day of ramadan. There are reports of more errors in other years as well.

4. There are reports that the Saudi announcement of crescent sighting is based on a certain group of people who testifies the sighting year after year and at times, even before the sunset and during solar eclipses. Are those people empowered with devine vision or just part of a cheap Royal trick? There sure is ample room for a true believer to cast serious doubt about the Royal practice.

[b]Summary

We can blame the astronomic calculation for causing the confusion because, in the absence of astronomic calculation we would not know that the crescent is impossible to see on certain situations. But we can not ignore the scientific facts. Only the science can prove that it is impossible to see something when it is actually not there. We must apply proven scientific facts to either confirm or reject human observation which is subject to humanly error.

The people in North America who celebrated the Eid-ul-Fitr on December 05, 2002, rejected the Nigerian claim over the Saudi claim of crescent sighting. Rejection of Nigerian claim confirms the application of astronomic knowledge and calculation by them. Why they did not apply the same reasoning to reject the Saudi claim also? The answer is plain and simple, they blindly follow the Royal announcement, year after year since the availability and advancement of modern communication.

From the above discussion we clearly see that, it is the dubious Royal declaration and the blindful following of that declaration by some communities and states, that is causing most of the unfortunate disarray, confusion and divition among the muslims over the sacred events. Isn't it wise to put aside the Royal announcement to show and lead the muslim community the right direction, the direction without a doubt? May Allah, the Most Merciful forgive us for our sins and show us the siratul mustakim.

Nasif
October 28, 2003, 07:19 PM
Thanks for posting the informative article. The writer here iterates what I was trying to say.

From the above discussion we clearly see that, it is the dubious Royal declaration and the blindful following of that declaration by some communities and states, that is causing most of the unfortunate disarray, confusion and divition among the muslims over the sacred events. Isn't it wise to put aside the Royal announcement to show and lead the muslim community the right direction, the direction without a doubt? May Allah, the Most Merciful forgive us for our sins and show us the siratul mustakim.

This is exactly what I was saying. The way to be doubt-free is the way that God points us to. The "siratul mustakim" is in the Quran, declared by God. The so called scholars and mullahs can't point to any siratul mustakim. Watching the sky for moon with desired angular seperation is certainly not the siratul mustakim.

God's revelations are always simple to follow because He doesn't want to make religion hard for us. He is the only One who can show us siratul mustakim.

[3:108] These are GOD's revelations; we recite them to you, truthfully. GOD does not wish any hardship for the people.

[22:78] You shall strive for the cause of GOD as you should strive for His cause. He has chosen you and has placed no hardship on you in practicing your religion - the religion of your father Abraham.

None can give better laws than what God has given in Quran. Where, He repeatedly tells us to use the moon for calculation and timing. He declares the precision of sun and moon in 55:5 (given below). And still, we insist on our own ways to look at the sky, completely dumb-founded. This is how satan tricks people to deviate from the path of God. God's path is always simple to follow. Hardship befalls on those who deviates.

Please refelct on the following verses. In 2:189 God warns us not to beat around the bush regarding moon's phase. It seems our generation is doing exactly that.

[2:189] They ask you about the phases of the moon! Say, "They provide a timing device for the people, and determine the time of Hajj." It is not righteous to beat around the bush; righteousness is attained by upholding the commandments and by being straightforward. You shall observe GOD, that you may succeed.

[6:96] At the crack of dawn, He causes the morning to emerge. He made the night still, and He rendered the sun and the moon to serve as calculation devices. Such is the design of the Almighty, the Omniscient.

[55:5] The sun and the moon are perfectly calculated.

chinaman
October 29, 2003, 11:03 AM
I'm still having difficulties following you. Apparently you seems to agree with my article but again you distance yourself when you write:

"And still, we insist on our own ways to look at the sky, completely dumb-founded"

In the Holy Quran, Allah mentioned the purpose of the sun and the moon many a times (you already quoted); but nowhere you'll find a single reference that specifically dictate us to use the "Birth of Moon" to determine or calculate the months (and other events like Eid, Hajj). In the absence of quranic references in this regard, Hadith becomes our logical next source of reference. And we are all aware of what Hadith has to say.

For the purpose of Ramadan and Eid, are you saying:

1. To use scientic calculations to determine the "Birth of Moon" or
2. To use scientic calculations to determine the "Visibility of Moon"

Please do clarify your position.

Nasif
October 29, 2003, 12:34 PM
The article that you posted does not propose any solution to the problem, rather the writer just points out the problems step by step. That is what I agreed to.

We do not have to go to hadith book for the simple reason that God tell us to use calculation. And if you are to calculate then you cannot rely on subjective data as visibility. If visibily was a required aspect of start of the month God would have specifically ordered us to see the cresent before the start of the month.

It is mind boggling that after 1400 years we still couldn't come up with standard Hijri calander. Its different in every place. All of this is created because of stretching a simple issue of new moon.

Visibility of cresent is a tradition and now its obsolete. When a system is obsolete we must change ourselves to something new. Obvisouly no one uses a 1990 386 CPU for computing now a days.

There is a difference between tradition and what is required. Visibility is just a tradition passed down onto us from generation to generation. Now we sub-conciously think that its part of our religion. To satisfy this sub-concious logic we come up with execuses that "religiously" we are required to see the new moon before new month starts.

When God orders to calculate we should forget everything and just simply calculate. Verse 10:5 specifically orders us to use moon for calculation. Thus, we are obligated to calculate now because we have the means. If one doesn't have the means of calculation, then visibility can be substituted.

[Edited on 29-10-2003 by nasif]

Kalbaisakhi
November 2, 2003, 11:24 AM
Late but happy ramadan to all of u.


:lol::lol::lol:

chinaman
November 14, 2003, 11:31 PM
Originally posted by nasif
And if you are to calculate then you cannot rely on subjective data as visibility. If visibily was a required aspect of start of the month God would have specifically ordered us to see the cresent before the start of the month.


Visibility of cresent is a tradition and now its obsolete.

There is a difference between tradition and what is required. Visibility is just a tradition passed down onto us from generation to generation. Now we sub-conciously think that its part of our religion.

Hope this will help you:

002.189
YUSUFALI: They ask thee concerning the New Moons. Say: They are but signs to mark fixed periods of time in (the affairs of) men, and for Pilgrimage...
PICKTHAL: They ask thee, (O Muhammad), of new moons, say: They are fixed seasons for mankind and for the pilgrimage...
SHAKIR: They ask you concerning the new moon. Say: They are times appointed for (the benefit of) men, and (for) the pilgrimage;..

The Quranic word here to describe the moon (New Moons) is Ahillah. Quran mentioned Qamar, Muneer and Noor elswhere to describe the moon (and it's property) but used Ahillah only once. There must be a reason to choose Ahillah over Qamar, Muneer and Noor. What is the reason?

Ahillah is the plural of hilal. Hilal comes from the root word halla meaning 'it appeared'. Also, in ancient arab, Hilal was refered to the new moon which just become visible. Now we can clearly see that Ahillah was chosen to associate "visibleness" to the new moon to make a clear distinction.

"Fixed periods of time" or "fixed seasons" or "times appointed" and "for Hajj" all leads to the determination of month.

Birth of the new moon (Conjunction or Astronomical new moon) is never visible. So we must determine the months using the new moon which is visible and not with the invisible event of conjunction.

rafiq
November 15, 2003, 01:33 AM
As with all great philosophical questions, the answer to this one ultimately eludes us! Well done, to both of you for compelling evidence from both sides!

Shubho
November 15, 2003, 01:36 AM
It's funny how we only bother about petty details of our religion, and ignore (or fail to see) the big picture. This is precisely how Muslims render Islam ineffective. Who cares whether we go by visibility of the moon or some other indicator? Is this really a topic worth debating? Let those who want to start Ramadan according to visibility of the new moon do so. Others can follow their own interpretation. Squabbling about such trifling matters is a pain in the neck and clouds the true message of Islam: being a good human being and submitting to the Creator.

chinaman
November 15, 2003, 02:30 AM
Originally posted by Shubho

... being a good human being and submitting to the Creator.

Submitting to the Creator do require to follow His directions and follow it right.

And it is never funny to discus even the smallest details of the Creator's words.

As for Nasif,

I'm sorry, it took me two weeks to get back to you. In fact your thought caught me in a surprise. Because, nowhere in the net, even after extensive search, I could not find a single soul that express any inclination to "Birth of moon (conjunction)" over "New moon sighting (crescent)". However, many scholars advocate to use astronomic calculation to determine crescent visibility. Conjunction and crescent are two distict events; perhaps you wanted to use calculation for crescent instead on the conjunction for islamic purpose.

Conjunction vs crescent for islamic events is a dead issue to say the least. Quran settled it.

Banglatiger84
November 15, 2003, 02:17 PM
Originally posted by chinaman
Originally posted by Shubho

... being a good human being and submitting to the Creator.

Submitting to the Creator do require to follow His directions and follow it right.

And it is never funny to discus even the smallest details of the Creator's words.

As for Nasif,

I'm sorry, it took me two weeks to get back to you. In fact your thought caught me in a surprise. Because, nowhere in the net, even after extensive search, I could not find a single soul that express any inclination to "Birth of moon (conjunction)" over "New moon sighting (crescent)". However, many scholars advocate to use astronomic calculation to determine crescent visibility. Conjunction and crescent are two distict events; perhaps you wanted to use calculation for crescent instead on the conjunction for islamic purpose.

Conjunction vs crescent for islamic events is a dead issue to say the least. Quran settled it.

May Allah reward you for clearing this matter up. I found it very compelling evidence that it is the visibility and not the birth that matters. That said, I think such topics do not warrant the amount of debate that goes into it

Shubho
November 15, 2003, 09:42 PM
alright, if you want to show off your 'piety', go right ahead...but call me when you have an answer to the real ills facing muslim society: our economic backwardness, our social backwardness, our infighting, our terrorism, our educational backwardness, our lack of altruism, our...

...and please don't tell me they stem from a dispute about the visibility of the moon...because they don't thank you very much.

chinaman
November 15, 2003, 09:51 PM
Better yet, why don't you start up a new thread with your vision. Someone, hopefully, might come up good. You never know!

Nasif
November 17, 2003, 08:27 PM
china bhai sorry for being late in replying. Came to this forum after 2 days :( , was quite caught up in other stuff last few days. Anyway, let me get back to the topic.

I have already mentioned the verse that you quoted. It is this very verse that forces us to use calculation. Let me specify the points:

1. Lunar month starts with a New Moon and lasts until the next New Moon. The idea of "New Moon Sighting" errorneous. We cannot sight a New Moon. The New Moon stays invisible for a specific period of time. After that period it will appear as the first cresent. US Naval Observatory describes phases of moon:
http://aa.usno.navy.mil/faq/docs/moon_phases.html

2. Translation of the verse specified:http://yaqb.lrhazi.com/images/alazhr.org/2_189.gif
Arabic Transliteration: Yas-aloonaka AAani al-ahillati qul hiya mawaqeetu lilnnasi waalhajji walaysa albirru bi-an ta/too albuyoota min thuhooriha walakinna albirra mani ittaqa wa/too albuyoota min abwabiha waittaqoo Allaha laAAallakum tuflihoona

Yusuf Ali: They ask thee concerning the New Moons. Say: They are but signs to mark fixed periods of time in (the affairs of) men, and for Pilgrimage. It is no virtue if ye enter your houses from the back: It is virtue if ye fear Allah. Enter houses through the proper doors: And fear Allah: That ye may prosper.

Pickhall: They ask thee, (O Muhammad), of new moons, say: They are fixed seasons for mankind and for the pilgrimage. It is not righteousness that ye go to houses by the backs thereof, but the righteous man is he who wardeth off (evil). So go to houses by the gates thereof, and observe your duty to Allah, that ye may be successful.

Shakir: They ask you concerning the new moon. Say: They are times appointed for (the benefit of) men, and (for) the pilgrimage; and it is not righteousness that you should enter the houses at their backs, but righteousness is this that one should guard (against evil); and go into the houses by their doors and be careful (of your duty) to Allah, that you may be successful.

Before we consult the meaning of the word "al-ahillati" we must focus on the verse. Prophet was questioned by the followers about "al-ahillati" of which he did not have an answer for. Thus God intervenes and answers the question. The second part of verse "it is not righteous to enter house from back" is a figure speech (proverb). Dispute regarding "al-ahillati" probably created some disagreement among the followers and thus God is ordering everyone not to dwell on the trivial issues of "al-ahillati" but rather follow straight simple path (enter house through proper door) and obey His laws. It is telling the followers that quarrelling about the "al-ahillati" won't do any good. This is the whole point of the verse.

The direct meaning of the word "al-ahillati" is The New Moon. The root word means "to appear". During prophets time they obviously lacked tools and technology to calculate the precise new moon and they had to rely on the first crescent appearence, which created few disagreement and thus God gives the revelation in Quran which addresses this issue. This does not mean God is saying that "we must visibly verify the moon for the start of lunar month." Now that we have the precise way to know the New Moon there is no need to look for "the back door to enter the house". The front door is wide open.

3. Please focus on other verses that specifically states the pupose of the moon. I have posted these verses already that stages the moon is to serve as device for calculation. I will focus on one verse here from 10:5
http://yaqb.lrhazi.com/images/alazhr.org/10_005.gif
Transliteration Huwa allathee jaAAala alshshamsa diyaan waalqamara nooran waqaddarahu manazila litaAAlamoo AAadada alssineena waalhisaba ma khalaqa Allahu thalika illa bialhaqqi yufassilu al-ayati liqawmin yaAAlamoona

Yusuf Ali: It is He Who made the sun to be a shining glory and the moon to be a light (of beauty), and measured out stages for her; that ye might know the number of years and the count (of time). Nowise did Allah create this but in truth and righteousness. (Thus) doth He explain His Signs in detail, for those who understand.

Pickthal: He it is Who appointed the sun a splendour and the moon a light, and measured for her stages, that ye might know the number of the years, and the reckoning. Allah created not (all) that save in truth. He detaileth the revelations for people who have knowledge.

Shakir: He it is Who made the sun a shining brightness and the moon a light, and ordained for it mansions that you might know the computation of years and the reckoning. Allah did not create it but with truth; He makes the signs manifest for a people who have knowledge.

Regardless of what the translators translated, we can infer the meaning from the highlighted words.
"manazila = stages/sequence/descent (Bangla Manzil)
"AAadada" = numbers
"hisaba" = calculate (Bangla Hishab = calculate).
Thus simply put, the purpose of the "stages/phases" of the Moon is to help us "number" the years and "calculate" time. Therefore, if we are ordered to work with number and calculation we cannot look up at sky dumbfounded and think where is the moon?

Please consider the ending of the verse, "God explains the revelations/ayat/signs for those who have knowledge". By God's grace we now have the knowledge to precisely calculate moon's position at any given time. And yet, every year during Ramadad muslim en-masse act like fools as they are completely clueless to this simple truth.

Nasif
November 17, 2003, 08:33 PM
Originally posted by Shubho
alright, if you want to show off your 'piety', go right ahead...but call me when you have an answer to the real ills facing muslim society: our economic backwardness, our social backwardness, our infighting, our terrorism, our educational backwardness, our lack of altruism, our...

...and please don't tell me they stem from a dispute about the visibility of the moon...because they don't thank you very much.

No Shubho it doesn't stem from moon visiblity :)

The current Islam of the world has nothing to with the Islam proclaimed in Quran. Muslims are utterly lost in void!

[25:30]The messenger said, 'My Lord, my people have deserted this Quran.'

Arnab
November 17, 2003, 09:33 PM
I personally have trouble believing that all the essence of knowledge of humankind is concentrated in the messages of a local prophet for a local people in a localized time.

Look, every discipline of knowledge has gone through fundamental changes since then. In no way I believe the Arab people around 600 AD knew about various sciences so deeply and vastly like we know today. I don't know why we should take them seriously anymore. Yes, we can study their breadth of knowledge for cultural anthropology's sake. But that's about it.

Does Quran or Hadith talk explicitly about solid state semiconductors and how it affects the modern world, making the digital world that we are immersed in right now possible in the first place? No. It was INCONCEIVABLE back then. I bet if we created hollow 3D images and make those roam around the Arab desert at that time(given that we have a time machine), the people would worship those as Jin-Bhoot or Angels even.

The world has moved on since 621 AD, folks.

[Edited on 18-11-2003 by Arnab]

Orpheus
November 17, 2003, 10:19 PM
This ABP (american born paki - diluted paki blood o joghonno) got really angry when i mentioned Quran can not ideally run a society as many Muslims believe it can. I did say it would actually be "going backward". You should have seen the look on this brother? He was about to kill me. Started cursing.. and all bull$hitting. I was silent and just listened. Missed my train for it too.

Lesson of the story: Never discuss this face to face - especially w/ mideastern and pakis.

Nasif
November 17, 2003, 10:22 PM
Arnab: Quran is not a book to teach you solid state semi-conductor. It has as much information as you need to lead this life peacefully and get salvation in hearafter. Nothing more nothing less.

Grathering knowledge of this world and the creation around us is always encouraged in Quran. Thats why, you will see God saying, "He loves the knowledgeable.".

Quran doesn't love stagnant society. Because stagnant society leads to "dark ages". Apparently, current muslim world is in "dark ages". They are stuck in time capsule of 700AD. All this is due to lack of their knowledge of their belief. People read huge books and novels and yet they can't find time to read Quran cover to cover in their life. By reading I mean reading in a language that you understand. Parroting Quran in Arabic serves no purpose. Its just a tragic.

USA is more Islamic state than any other Islamic state in this world, because it give all the rights to individuals as it is granted in Quran. People don't take off someone's head because they expressed their opinion.

[Edited on 18-11-2003 by nasif]

Arnab
November 17, 2003, 10:35 PM
The thing is Quran is not dealing with something UNIQUE. All the philosophical issues discussed in it has been and is being beaten to death by a lot of knowledgable people long before Quran and after Quran. Quran basically reflects the philosophical issues dealt in the Arab society at that time, seen through Muhammad's eyes. As any other philosophical text, it is bound to contain some timeless truth.

I don't need Quran to tell me gathering knowledge is good. Everyone knew it long before Quran came to being.

So what is so unique about Quran anyway? That it's written in Arabic?

Arnab
November 17, 2003, 10:36 PM
USA is more Islamic state than any other Islamic state in this world

Yet they don't necessarily follow the Quran. That should tell you something about the Quran's non-uniquesness.

Nasif
November 17, 2003, 10:43 PM
So what is so unique about Quran anyway?
Please let me know the book of philosophy that tells one to worship God Alone.

Yet they don't necessarily follow the Quran. That should tell you something about the Quran's non-uniquesness.

That is not the point. The point is, Quran is there to guide you. If muslims followed it they would have created better soceity. They deserted it, and thus lost in pit of darkness.

Consider that US was created 1200 years after the revelation of Quran. A book that was ahead of its time, deseted by its so called followers.

[Edited on 18-11-2003 by nasif]

Arnab
November 17, 2003, 10:53 PM
Consider that US was created 1200 years after the revelation of Quran. A book that was ahead of its time, deseted by its so called followers.

And do you know exactly what the bill of rights, the fundamentals of American democracy, was built upon? It was built upon the principles of the Bible. Read the memoirs of the founding fathers of the US.

Quran or Bible is not unique in their message of human equality and other basic human rights. Any deep thinking philosopher will tell you the same thing.

The difference is in the implementation. The principles are always there. Muhammad, the great and sherwd political leader of his time, was able to implement it in the Arab world, by winning wars against those who opposed it. Not all leaders have the same manegerial/leadership quality to implement such things.

And it seems the founding fathers were able to implement the same principles here in the US as well.

Nasif
November 17, 2003, 11:59 PM
I agree with you that implementation is important. But implementation will come only when you know what you need and don't need. Muslims forgot what that needed after their initial rise to global power. They forgot their objective. When you know your prime objective it is easy for you to implement. In the case of US, founding fathers objective was to create to just soceity with freedom and without oppression.

Old Testament, New Testament and Quran comes from the same One. I don't quite understand what you mean by uniqueness.

Arnab
November 18, 2003, 12:30 AM
What about Greek and Roman political philosophy? The democracy that flourished in the republics of Rome and Greece? Did that also come from the One? :P

Nasif
November 18, 2003, 01:09 AM
kidding or serious? :D

In any event, where did you get the idea that I implied we must read scripture otherwise we can't become knowledgeable in human affairs? All I said before is that current muslims have no idea about their religion and what they need, because they are not in touch with the source. They don't know their scripture. Thus all are "huzur's" servant rather God's servant. Parroting what their blind forefathers told them (which was told by previous forefathers). Stuck in time.

Greek democracy is irrelevant to the topic. We were talking about Ramadan and moon, now its about Islam in general?

chinaman
November 18, 2003, 01:11 AM
I personally have trouble believing that all the essence of knowledge of humankind is concentrated in the messages of a local prophet for a local people in a localized time.

You will continue to experience that trouble unless you seek to expand your knowledge and sound understanding of the messages and it's creator.

Every discipline of knowledge has gone through fundamental changes since then.

And leading to what? Think about it.

In no way I believe the Arab people around 600 AD knew about various sciences so deeply and vastly like we know today. I don't know why we should take them seriously anymore.

You don't have to. Just remember Muhammad (SWT) was not just another Arab people. He was the last messenger of Allah, the creator of the universe. If you have trouble believing this, my friend, I can only pray for you


Does Quran or Hadith talk explicitly about solid state semiconductors and how it affects the modern world, making the digital world that we are immersed in right now possible in the first place? No. It was INCONCEIVABLE back then.

Is there any better semiconductor than the DNA?

The thing is Quran is not dealing with something UNIQUE. All the philosophical issues discussed in it has been and is being beaten to death by a lot of knowledgable people long before Quran and after Quran.

Don't be that blind, afterall you consider yourself knowlegable, don't you? It all comes down to faith and knowledge. Quran is neither a philosophical text book nor a manual for the technological giants. It is full of all kinds of knowledge for the believers. It is your call to believe or to reject. If you do like to reject, express your specific reasoning. And please don't fool yourself looking for semiconductor manual inside Quran.

If you deny the Quran's claim of being a revelation, from the One who has knowledge of everything, then you have to account for all the scientific information contained there in (do a googling), and how it made its way into the Quran, always without error, and always accurate. Justice, truth and sincerity demands that or you fool nobody but yourself alone.

Arnab
November 18, 2003, 02:27 AM
Originally posted by chinaman

1. You will continue to experience that trouble unless you seek to expand your knowledge and sound understanding of the messages and it's creator.

2. And leading to what? Think about it.

3. You don't have to. Just remember Muhammad (SWT) was not just another Arab people. He was the last messenger of Allah, the creator of the universe. If you have trouble believing this, my friend, I can only pray for you.

4. Is there any better semiconductor than the DNA?

5. Don't be that blind, afterall you consider yourself knowlegable, don't you? It all comes down to faith and knowledge. Quran is neither a philosophical text book nor a manual for the technological giants. It is full of all kinds of knowledge for the believers. It is your call to believe or to reject. If you do like to reject, express your specific reasoning. And please don't fool yourself looking for semiconductor manual inside Quran.

If you deny the Quran's claim of being a revelation, from the One who has knowledge of everything, then you have to account for all the scientific information contained there in (do a googling), and how it made its way into the Quran, always without error, and always accurate. Justice, truth and sincerity demands that or you fool nobody but yourself alone.

1. What is the point? I have read the Quran. It has no scientific reasoning or anything. In fact, it is not even science! What solid understanding can I possibly achieve from outdated methods used by Arabs thousands of years ago?

2. Leading to a better understansding of the nature around us. That's pretty obvious. The earth is not flat anymore.

3. I do have trouble believing this. Give me ONE example of scientific research by Arabs back then that can rival the rigor and research and testing of science today!

4. DNA is not made of semiconductors. Where does the comparison come from?

5. I don't think any rational individual can believe in things blindly. But what you're suggesting is just that. Scientific information? What scientific information? For a piece of information to be "scientific," it has to go through rigorous research and testing and proofs of validity. The way how common sense interpretations happen to vaguely resemble future scientific conclusions reached after years of research do not validate those interpretations. Otherwise any science fiction writer can be considered prophets by people in the future, since some of their fiction will come true anyway.

Zobair
November 18, 2003, 02:31 AM
Arnab! you are right. Muhammad (PBUH) was a shrewd political leader and managed to do the impossible in such a short space of time, converted and tamed an unruly and uncouth race. But his main intention was not to create the perfect democracy or any of the other values that people of this era hold dear to their enlightened secular hearts. If you read the Quran you should know that.

Muslim by definition means "submission" (to the Creator) and that was the central message of Muhammad (PBUH), not to conquer the Arabs, not to make them better people with more democratic ideals (that some of the ideals overlap is no surprise is it?!). Every verse in the Quran is geared to towards one purpose, submission to the Creator. If you want to submit to your Creator you have to know your Creator, you have to believe that there is a Creator in the first place, you have to seek knowledge and expand your horizons in order to get to know Him thorugh His creations, you have to strive to be a better person, to suppress the negative tendencies of your nafs /"self"/soul, to know yourself first, get rid of all the "white noise", train your nafs to feel your Creator.

He has provided "proof" in the Quran as to his existence, giving clues and details about various processes of creation which Muhammad (PBUH) with all his political shrewdness and acumen couldn't have imagined if he had lived for a thousand more years. In fact no one else did either! Thats the only proof that Humans will comprehend based on the nature of their creation. Like a physicist (a speaker whose talk I attended) said, the case of the humans is like that of a creature living in a 2-dimensional plane. It's rather hard to imagine beyond those two dimensions when all you are absolutely capable of ever physically proving the existence of (if you are a citizen in the 2-dimensional plane! and no matter how brilliant you are!) is in the 2-deminsional plane and never anything in the 3rd/4th or 5th dimension. So one has to live with theories and indirect "proofs" of such an existence. There in lies the test that the Creator keeps harping about in His Word! It is like a puzzle piece. Every bit falls in to make one coherent picture! Once you know your Creator and acknowedge His existence Your Creator has given you guidlines to live your life.

It turns out if you follow those rules and regulations, you live a just life and many of your ideals will overlap with what human beings have come up using their limited abilities. Yet for a believer, to measure effectiveness of Quran and Islam as "a way of life" with democracy and other such notions is farcical. How can you compare the two?! Democracy is at best a flawed solution to limited problems within a limited context! How can we say for a surety that it will stand the test of time?! Democracy that was envisaged and practised by the Romans/Greeks, inspite of all its glorification, was markedly different than it is today. The idea that the people of such a long time ago were so "advanced" appeals to the romantic, but we shouldn't forget the selective nature of the democracy that was practised in those times. For that matter, look at the democratic societies of today! Democracy as a concept has its own contradictions and theoretical problems. It is after all the rule of the majority with no definition of what that translates into in terms of scale, is subjective in the sense that the minority are the mercy of the fairness of the majority or the powerful. I am not denying that democracy doesnot have good points. It is designed to bring order and justice in the macro scale, it owes its origin to the need for the protection of the rights of a "group" of people. It defines a problem and offers a solution which makes it inherently limited in scope. It is in vogue today because the most powerful nation on earth ensured it is so, and defeated its rival system Communism.

Islam on the other hand, as I have stated above, has markedly different objective. It's primary concern is with establishing a relationship between the Creator and the creation that is Human. Muhammad (PBUH), if all this human inspired, would have come up with solutions to address the social problems that he saw rather than the sequence of events that he is credited to have initiated. Isn't that the human approach to take? For example he would have initiated Zakat, saying that it would reduce the economic disparity between the rich and poor, or advocated women rights, or setup up an orphanage etc. He did eventually do all those but the first thing he said was there is a Creator and it ain't the idols!!! He chose the hardest thing possible! The sequence of events in the creation and completion of the faith that is Islam and the sequence in the Quran and the content (in its structure and organiztion) does not bear any resemblance to a what a rational, intelligent, but nevertheless human being would do in the social circumstances that described the society of the day. Islam and Quran follow a whole different plan.

To say that Quran is a time-bound/era-constrained book is a slap in the face of all those intelligent and rational people, many of whom are a tad smarter than you and I, who have come to accept Islam as the Word of God, despite being born in a different religion/or lack of it, and have made enormous sacrifices because of their decisions. Many have entered this religion because all their knowledge pointed them towards it, it made the most logical sense in every sense! Many converted to it because thats what brought the best order to their personal lives, be it cleanliness, moral values, justice, pointed them in a direction that they felt most comfortable with! Quran continues to inspire thousand of people to become believers (in their creation) and will continue to do so, inspite of all the efforts that have been made to discredit it, including questioning its origin, and taking verses out of context, even by the actions of so called "Muslims" etc. etc.

Of course Islam will have elements in common with the saner principles that are expounded today, be they secular moralists, or scholars of other religions, is that so surprising? Can you make a logical inference that thus they all are the same? I hope that from what I have said above the answer that comes out, is an emphatic NO! And what if Quran says something that is radically different from what is the accepted secular norm today?! To all those believers all I have to say is, donot be apologists for what the Creator has asked you to do explicitly. By definition, if there is a Creator and He is All knowing and All Powerful, and you have accepted Him, donot be waylaid by a few crummy comments! A creator's Words do take precedence over a creation's word, don't you think?! A Muslim's gotta do what a Muslim's gotta do.

Muslims of today, islamic scholars of today, islamic governments of today may have their problems, but its certainly not from following the principles that are laid out in the Quran. The Creator has been very specific in some places and less so in others so Humans knows where their limits and freedoms lie and where they have leeway. The whole of creation is testament to that. The Creator puts it best "..in it there are signs for those who reflect"

[Edited on 18-11-2003 by pompous]

Arnab
November 18, 2003, 02:35 AM
Pompous!!!! I am not even going to attempt to read that unless you divide it into coherent paragraphs! :)

Zobair
November 18, 2003, 02:39 AM
There you go sire! :)

Arnab
November 18, 2003, 02:48 AM
Damn! What to do? What to do? Go back to the all nighter I am trying to pull for the signal processing exam due in 8 hours? Or debate on these deep issues? :)

I am going to give it a rest for tonight.

[Edited on 18-11-2003 by Arnab]

chinaman
November 18, 2003, 03:07 AM
Arnab,

No matter how hard one tries to explain you about Quran, you will continue to say what's the point, I don't see any scientific reasoning, there is no manual to make a digital casio clock or semiconductor etc etc. Because, you said it right, you don't believe in things blindly. Now that I'm aware of this, and my religion, islam, do require to believe unconditionaly in unseen Creator, I think I should stop right now.

By the way you asked about scientific information in Quran, did I mention googling?

Orpheus
November 18, 2003, 06:20 AM
To say that Quran is a time-bound/era-constrained book is a slap in the face of all those intelligent and rational people, many of whom are a tad smarter than you and I, who have come to accept Islam as the Word of God, despite being born in a different religion/or lack of it, and have made enormous sacrifices because of their decisions. Many have entered this religion because all their knowledge pointed them towards it, it made the most logical sense in every sense! Many converted to it because thats what brought the best order to their personal lives, be it cleanliness, moral values, justice, pointed them in a direction that they felt most comfortable with! Quran continues to inspire thousand of people to become believers (in their creation) and will continue to do so, inspite of all the efforts that have been made to discredit it, including questioning its origin, and taking verses out of context, even by the actions of so called "Muslims" etc. etc.

Just because a smarter person than you and Arnab chose Quran as the way of life, doesn't mean that Quran is from God. If I were to go by the majority conversions, then Hinduism would be the right religion. Here are some stats on religion in US.

http://www.atheistempire.com/reference/statstext.html

Look at the column %change. Hinduism increased by 237% in US. The bad part about this chart is that you can not figure out how many actually converted. But I read somewhere (thus the search), that more ppl are converting to Hinduism than to Islam.

Also, have a look at the Major religion in the world. If I were to go by your logic, Chritianity would be the right choice. Interestingly, Atheism/non-believers/Secular are quiet a lot. Infact if this stats had the percentage of educated people in each religion, it would be interesting to see which religion makes more sense to rational ppl.

I am sure that a dissapointing numbers of Muslims would fall under illiterates. Just think about the literacy rate of all the Muslim countries as oppose to the more atheist countries. (scroll down on the stat page to see the top atheist countries)... U.S doesn't make the chart but nonreligious are second major religion in US. %change for last 10 years, +110%. This change is more likely due to the conversions rather than immigrantion!

mona
November 18, 2003, 08:00 AM
i don't think giving Arnab all that information is the right way to go about converting him. how about this-

Quran fact of the day: 'Did you know that the total number of times any word mentioned in the Quran is divisible by 19?'

now that's what i call unique!

chinaman
November 18, 2003, 08:11 AM
No Mona that is not true. That's number 19 thing was a futile attempt by Rashad who called himself a prophet.

Arnab
November 18, 2003, 01:40 PM
Damn! East Germany had 88.2% of population as atheists! That must be the only country where atheists are an absolute majority. Why weren't those godless infidels attacked already?


Also, atheists have the least divorce rate in the US. What blasphemy! And you woudl think those godless bastards with no moral compass will make a constant mockery of the sacred ritual that is marriage.

[Edited on 18-11-2003 by Arnab]

oracle
November 18, 2003, 01:52 PM
Just like to add, no point arguing about religion, because as some have already pointed out , it is a matter of belief.Period.

Now, Politics is another matter.


Also, atheists have the least divorce rate in the US. What blasphemy! And you woudl think those godless bastards with no moral compass will make a constant mockery of the sacred ritual that is marriage.


Just a small note on East Germany. They were more happier than West Germans.
They had more sex than West Germans.
They were better Athletes.
They were more well read.
they had better libraries.
they had better taste in every cultural or arts fields than West Germans.
In short they were better off before. So you can drop all the imperialist propaganda you heard about that country.

:)

Zobair
November 18, 2003, 07:07 PM
interesting facts about East Germany...good for them...at least they show you don't need to be in a democracy to be happy :)

Zobair
November 18, 2003, 07:32 PM
Orph your stats are interesting....but as you said those are just sheer numbers and have nothing to do with conversion rate. These numbers include conversion, natural rate of increase and immigration in them. I very much doubt that hinduism has a higher conversion rate than Islam, with all due respect. I would like to find out more about where you read this stuff. Could you point me to the source.

From what I cam gather about conversion demographics for Islam so far are as follows:

1. Large number of prisoners (for committing crimes) convert to Islam every year.
2. Another popular demographic are university-faring people
3. Recently large number of, get this! Anglo Women!, are converting too!
4. By all indications, the conversion rates have increased across the board.

Also I found this interesting tidbit:

"Islam is growing about 2.9% per year. This is faster than the total world population which increases about 2.3% annually. It is thus attracting a progressively larger percentage of the world's population."

Source: Exactly how many Muslims are there? (http://www.religioustolerance.org/isl_numb.htm)

I will put in more as I find them.

[Edited on 19-11-2003 by pompous]

[Edited on 19-11-2003 by pompous]

chinaman
November 19, 2003, 03:42 AM
Dear Nasif,

If prophet (pbuh) was with us today, rest assured he would have told us to use mathematical calculation rather than eye observation.

I wouldn't dare to fantasise what if senarios with the prophet (pbuh). Quran declared Islam being complete.

Visibility is just a tradition passed down onto us from generation to generation

We already know that the moon sighting was a prophetic tradition. If a tradition comes down through authentic source to us from the prophet (pbuh), I'm not ready to defy it.

During prophet's (pbuh) time they obviously lacked tools and technology to calculate the precise new moon

True, but did Allah or His prophet (pbuh) lacked any knowledge?

Dispute regarding "al-ahillati" probably created some disagreement among the followers

Your usage of the word "probably" testifies that you might have missed the historic background of the front door -back door thing. The jews previously were also ordered by Allah for the crescent sighting, but they chose the conjunction instead for their worldly convenience. Some of the jews teased the muslims saying the moon's visibility was not a dependable method. The muslims then asked the prophet (pbuh) on the issue and the revelation came (2:189).

I have reason to believe that you conveniently twisted the meaning of the ayath 2:189. Let's asume for a second that you are correct and Allah meant us to use the new moon conjunction for counting month and hajj. We know from a number of hadiths that the prophet (pbuh) always used moonsighting for those purposes (and even went at length to practice one moonsighting witness for the start of ramadan while two witnesses for the Eid). Now, doesn't it occur to you that the above scenario would put the prophet (pbuh) directly in contention to the Quran? Messenger against the message?

And to suggest that Allah ordered us to use the new moon conjuntion but since the prophet (pbuh) lacked a calculator or pc or binocular, it was ok for him to use the crescent sighting and now that we have those tools we must use them, is rather futile to say the least.

Conclusion:

Look, I'm not a scholar and my knowledge is severly limited. But when I see a moon I like to call it so. I learned the meaning of hilal as being visible crescent. I read about the prophetic tradition of moonsighting. When the Quran says hilal are to mark fixed periods of time and for pilgrimage and several authentic hadiths confirm the prophetic exercise of moonsighting, that is good enough for me to follow it without casting slightest hint of any doubt.

Obviously astronomic calculations have only one motive: the convenience of certainty. But certainty in everything is not to our benefit. Allah could have commanded us to use the solar system for the Islamic calendar instead of the lunar; but He has not. It is His mercy that He has kept hidden the Lailatul Qadr (Night of Power) so that we have the excitement and reward in seeking it.

Orpheus
November 19, 2003, 10:32 AM
"Islam is growing about 2.9% per year. This is faster than the total world population which increases about 2.3% annually. It is thus attracting a progressively larger percentage of the world's population."


Pompous, this only means that Muslims are not really fond of birth control - that's all. It has nothing to do with Quran being the choice of rational people. I am pretty sure that people's believe on God or his teachings tend to weaken as they get more educated. That is the general scene - there are specific examples which rebuts this idea. I will search for more elaborate stats when I am home and free.. Now gotta run and take a quiz..

Allah Hafez!

Zobair
November 19, 2003, 10:40 AM
orph man!

if you look at the most populated Muslim countries of the world today...they are growing at 2.2-2.5% at the most! I am at work now...so I will furnish some data later on.

Arnab
November 19, 2003, 11:08 AM
In short they were better off before. So you can drop all the imperialist propaganda you heard about that country.

:)

I hope you noticed my sarcastic tone.

Orpheus
November 20, 2003, 06:38 AM
Originally posted by pompous
orph man!

if you look at the most populated Muslim countries of the world today...they are growing at 2.2-2.5% at the most! I am at work now...so I will furnish some data later on.

Although it will be illogical to suggest that Muslim growth is .4% annually through conversions from the datas above, there is no reason to believe that People aren't converting to Islam. People ARE but then again people are also coverting to all sorts of religion when they are bored.

It's a shame that I didn't save the link to this data but in US, the top threat to Christianity does not come from any religion. It is from the non-believers/atheist. Jew and Muslim growth were about the same (0.7)

Now let's get back to the main point of Quran being the choice of rational people. I will consider rational people as those with higher education. Now please don't quibble over the meaning of rational now.

It is very hard to find datas (non-existant most likely) where they juxtapose Quran and rational people. Since Quran is the words of God, a person has to believe in God first in order to believe in his words. Take a look at this chart: (scroll down to table 2 - bottom of table 2)
http://65.54.244.250/cgi-bin/linkrd?_lang=EN&lah=2a7974ef0fbdfe70e29375ee4816a8f6&lat=1069324638&hm___action=http%3a%2f%2fwww%2eharrisinteractive%2 ecom%2fharris_poll%2findex%2easp%3fPID%3d408

Percentage that they are abso-bloody-lutely sure there is GOD.
High school or less
%
72

Some college
%
64

College graduate
%
63

Post graduate
%
53



You see the correlation here right? As people get more educated, they are turning away from God.

So what makes you say that Islam is the choice of more smart people whereas "smart" people think they are God themselves. So, I think the case is much stronger if you say that most of nonbelievers/atheist fall in the more rational category. I will call this group "Brights" :P :D

Here is an excerpt from an essay which will clearly show you that Islam/Quran is rather the choice of illiterates. Keep in mind, this is the world picture - not a particular nation unless mentioned.
.....the Muslim countries. The average literacy rate is around 38 per cent and in rural areas in Muslim countries, the illiteracy rate among Muslim women is 93 to 97 per cent.....The mean rate for literacy for the Muslims is 35 per cent lower than that for the Third World, and 40 per cent below the worlds average......

The data suggests that almost two-thirds of the Muslims worldwide are illiterate....

Pakistan is the most advanced Muslim country in science and technology among Muslim nations. However, the literacy rate for Pakistan, home to the second largest Muslim Ummah in the world, ranks the lowest among the most populous nations, is even below the average for the Muslim nations.....

http://216.239.39.104/search?q=cache:J116C04vqnwJ:discuss.riseforislam.c om/index.php%3Fshowtopic%3D94%26view%3Dgetlastpost+Mu slim+nations+literacy+rate&hl=en&ie=UTF-8

So pompous, please don't kid yourself when you think Quran is chosen by the intellectuals!

I still wanna see the conversion percentage of differenct religion. If anyone can find it.. share! All I know is conversion to Islam increased after sept 11 and it is high among Brits.

By the way pompous, your intriguing datas on white women (rational? HAHA), and undergrads are futile if there is no comparison w/ other beliefs.

[Edited on 20-11-2003 by Orpheus : url added]

Nasif
November 20, 2003, 11:54 AM
The following picture was taken on Oct. 31, 1999. It is named "Cat's Eye Nebula", a dying star 3000 light years away.

http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/image/catseye_hst.jpg
<font size=2 color=green>[Quran 55:37-38] When the sky disintegrates, and turns rose colored like paint. Which of your Lord's marvels can you deny? </font>

It is my understanding that the more knowledge we acquire about our universe, the more we will be forced to incline towards God.

String theory and (mem)brane theory creates a picture of universe that is too marvelous to be there by itself.

Zobair
November 20, 2003, 12:11 PM
Orph! you score high on correlation studies but you are all muddled up on the cause n' effect front!



Here is an excerpt from an essay which will clearly show you that Islam/Quran is rather the choice of illiterates. Keep in mind, this is the world picture - not a particular nation unless mentioned.

quote:
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.....the Muslim countries. The average literacy rate is around 38 per cent and in rural areas in Muslim countries, the illiteracy rate among Muslim women is 93 to 97 per cent.....The mean rate for literacy for the Muslims is 35 per cent lower than that for the Third World, and 40 per cent below the worlds average......

The data suggests that almost two-thirds of the Muslims worldwide are illiterate....

Pakistan is the most advanced Muslim country in science and technology among Muslim nations. However, the literacy rate for Pakistan, home to the second largest Muslim Ummah in the world, ranks the lowest among the most populous nations, is even below the average for the Muslim nations.....

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These people didnot choose Islam because they were illiterate and backward...Islam came to them long long time ago during an era where Muslims were the most literate and forward and Islam was the dominant civilisation no?! Dude your arguement is flawed in this case on many fronts, that I can't even be bothered to go on. Just look at what the essay you took your quotes from was trying to achieve and what ideas you took away from it. This is indeed the classic "taken out of context". The article wanted to say, Muslims are backward today because of their illiteracy while they were advanced before because of their literacy while you chose to use some of the quotes to say Muslims chose Islam because they are illiterate!!!! dude!!!

And I don't buy that Pakistan is the most advanced Muslim nation in terms of science and technology either. I would say Malaysia is a better candidate, unless possessing nukes and advanced weaponry is your one and only criterion.

And about your correlation stats. Interesting but not the be all and end all. You choose education as a yardstick for judging rationality. fair enough! very very crude and, I am afraid most psychologists I have talked to would disagree with you but whatever! though dude but you should realise, education particularly higher education is dominated by western secular scholars and their points of views today. Why is that important? Because that means it is subjective and prone to possible change in outlook. Again, for example, in the past when people came to study at Islamic universities for higher education, I would imagine, the most rational (i.e. the most educated) were more convinced on the existence of God!!! The surprising thing for me is that in spite of the dominant secular trend in higher education some people choose to go against it despite consequences.

As for the white women bit...I am surprised at you?! Are you suggesting "white" women are not rational?!?!? what did you exactly mean by that? Anyways, my point was not about their rationality (or is it?), just that for many people the idea of white women giving up their "freedom" they enjoy in the west to willingly put on the shackles of Islam seems counter-intuitive, what with wearing the hijab (as most converst do) and not dating and no drinking and no (more) pre-marital sex etc. etc.

Anyways, I am done with this thread. I have a feeling its gonna degenerate soon into one of those "just for the sake of making one's point" threads! Lots of of talk little value. :P



BTW, how is your ramadan going orph? how is fasting?
[Edited on 20-11-2003 by pompous]

[Edited on 20-11-2003 by pompous]

Orpheus
November 20, 2003, 04:04 PM
This is indeed the classic "taken out of context".

Pompous, I am sorry but this is not the Classical "taken out of context". I am well aware of all the arguments given by the writer but that's not what I am interested in, am I? All I needed was some facts and that's where I got it. Are those not FACTS that I provided?

You are however right that they did not choose Islam but Islam was rather chosen by default. These are the bulk that are actually increasing the rate of Islam. I believe they were following the words of Quran when they use no birth control, getting involved in polygyny, giving marriage to children while the child is still at teen. So, please don't tell me that if they had followed Quran "correctly", everything would be alright. That's just a silly blind faith. Had they used some judgement, if they were rational - they would actually know the complications that are involved in such practices. Sometimes being rational is actually going against Quran. Time changed man, and we should try to change accordingly instead of being the murkho fundamentalist that we are.

You choose education as a yardstick for judging rationality. fair enough!
THANK YOU! I knew you were gonna say something about this :P

in the past when people came to study at Islamic universities for higher education, I would imagine, the most rational (i.e. the most educated) were more convinced on the existence of God!!!
I am sorry. Eventhough your arguments were getting interesting, you just lost it here. Do you have any datas that the more rationals would be more convinced? Nice imagination though. And please keep in mind that the data you looking for is this: NON-MUSLIMS belief in QURAN during the Islamic era. Just belief in God wouldn't suffice here.

As for the white women
Yes, this white women conversion is the latest fad. I am gonna take a guess (my last guess was true) and say that white women just tend to convert more - whether it's to Islam or Hinduism. They are just bored and want to show their open mindedness.... yes they are smart but that intelligence has little to do with choosing only Quran. Some of them are just intrigued by hijab - especially the ones with bad hair days! :p Besides Quran doesn't tell you to cover your head anyway ... (that's a diff topic)

BTW, how is your ramadan going orph? how is fasting?
Mashallah, my fasting is going very fast. By the mercy of Allah - I have fasted all of them so far. Hopefully he accepts all our effort and give us strength to do more!

Allah Hafez!