Some have remarked how in United 93 “Allah” had been translated as “God” rather than “Allah.” Let Us explain the three prevailing theories, that We know of, concerning the origin or nature of the word allaah.
One theory maintains that allaah is a contraction or corruption of al-ilaah. “ilaah” means “a god,” the feminine being “ilaat.” Thus, when the shahaadah says laa ilaaha illa-llaah, what it really is saying is that there is no god (or goddess, presumably) other than allaah, or that the only deity that exists is allaah.
Another theory maintains that allaah is connected with allaat, a goddess mentioned in the Qur’an and, evidently, in Arab paganism allaah’s wife. As such, it is maintained that allaah is really al-laah, while allaat is really al-laat, both being partners and thus grammatically the same word but simply differentiated by gender. We are sure it can also be said that allaah really is al-ilaah (The God) while allaat is really al-ilaat (The Goddess) by corruption or contraction. (A sidenote: In Arab paganism, allaah was the father of the gods and the moon god; allaat was the mother of the gods and the sun goddess. Indeed, in a variety of Semitic languages, “moon” is male and “sun” is female. This can explain why the moon was used by the Arabs as Islam’s symbol.)
According to both of the above theories, allaah is not a name but a title, as it were, meaning “The God.” As such, allaah can be translated as “God.”
However, many Muslims believe that allaah is a name, just like Jack or Ahmad or Yechizqiyahu or Balasubramanium. These Muslims believe that one may not translate it as “God.” Although it may have a same sense as the English “God” (and Dominus, Dios, Dieu, et cetera; in Judeo-Christian dominated languages, “God” has virtually become a name), a name cannot be replaced with a noun. One cannot replace “William,” for example, with “boy.” These Muslims would also point to how words for “god” (“ilaah”) and “the god” (“al-ilaah”) already exist in Arabic, neither of which is allaah, thus allaah is fundamentally different from ilaah/al-ilaah. “allaah” is thus comparable with the Name of God in the Hebrew Bible (the four-letter name of God, also known as the Tetragrammaton). However, this link cannot be used too much as Jews have replaced The Name with the Hebrew for “Lord.” But the point such Muslims would make is that Jews have replaced The Name, not translated it.
One point that devout Muslims have in their favor is the fact that over time words change their significance. Whereas it may be true that at one point allaah served as a noun to distinguish The Deity from others, now it serves as the name of The Deity. Which aspect ought to prevail, historical facts which may no longer be irrelevant or modern theology which may supress if not ignore historical facts?
We are sure this is an issue of debate amongst Muslims as well: is allaah a name or a noun? However, whatever the answer is for Muslims, it would have no affect on Islamic theology, jurisprudence, beliefs, or whatnot. For them, it’s simply a minor linguistic puzzle. Because it is difficult to ascertain which theory ought to be adhered to (indeed, one must question whether historical facts matter or current theology), for English-speaking people this may be a matter of personal taste. Some believe it does not matter what word one uses to address The Supreme Deity, while others believe it does matter.
It is difficult for Us to express Our thoughts on the movie. We honestly need to watch it a few more times before We can formulate a proper response. Throughout the movie, We were thinking too many things. What are the Arabs saying? What are they doing? What are the passengers thinking? What is going on at the various flight control centers? What is going on at NORAD? So much thinking detracted some of Our attention from the movie.
In short: Although We cannot say We liked the movie–after all, the entire movie and its subject matter is not something to be “liked” as much as appreciated–We must say that We approve of it and exhort anyone prepared to watch it to do so.
Here are some points:
1. We really liked the realism of the filming. The movie lacked the shine and polish of a Hollywood blockbuster. There was something real and gritty about it. This emphasizes the reality of what the movie depicts. It also makes its actors more human. There were so many little details that contributed to making it realistic. It wasn’t about the big things; everything contributed to it being realitic.
2. We liked the chaos, confusion, and frustration that was depicted in the movie. Every location was thrown into chaos, confusion, and frustration: the plane, air traffic control centers, NORAD, et cetera. The difficulty of officials to ascertain what exactly happened was quite well depicted and, may We add, quite educational. It had slipped Our mind how the authorities would have dealt with the crisis as it was happening. No one was prepared for such a scenario: indeed, the movie subtly makes a big deal about there being a possible hijacking at all. It seemed to be such a novelty, something unexpected.
It is crucial and important for anyone watching the movie to realize the difference between what is known now and the lack of information as the events transpired. It is now known which plane hit which target, which planes were hijacked, and so on. As the events were happening, no one knew this information. The desperation of civilian and military authorities to deal with such rapidly changing scenarios is indeed also heart-rending. These people were so violently, so to speak, thrust into the 9/11 world. Spectators only had to watch and worry; authorities had to do something. What to do was difficult because they hardly had an idea what was happening.
We are glad the movie producers did not gloss over these aspects. There is a certain heroism in the authorities’ scramble to comprehend and act accordingly. All things considered, they did very well.
3a. Prior to leaving for their demonic mission, it is shown that the terrorists shaved. Unlike Flight 93 of A&E, the movie makes clear exactly where/what they are shaving. According to Sunni Muslim law, in order to be pure/clean, men are required to remove the hair from under their arms and from the pubic area. Indeed, when Muslims go for pilgrimage, one of the requirements of “assuming iHraam” (iHraam refers to be being in a state of ritual purity usually specific to pilgrimages or other such sacred acts) is removing this hair. In any case, the removal of this hair is necessary for ritual purity.
3b. One scene shows a terrorist using a water bottle to splash water on his hands. He splashes water on both hands. He is performing wuDoo’ (ritual washing). Why he would be performing wuDoo’ then and there We cannot tell. Was he washing blood off of his hands? If so, why? He would not need to, as according to Islamic law he would be by default ritually pure by being a “martyr.” Perhaps seeing the movie a few times more might help Us.
4. The movie producers paid a large amount of attention to details. They should be commended for this. In particular, there were many details about the behavior and speech of the Arabs that impressed Us. Quite a bit of the Arabic was not translated. Some of it was supplication. Other was conversation which We could not make out.
5. At one point, the lead terrorist remarks with joy that his brothers (other terrorists) attacked two targets. His use of “brothers” disgusted Us. His pride in their acts disgusted Us. May he and his “brothers” all suffer eternal punishment. Yes, this movie will make one disgusted.
6. Like The Passion of the Christ, this movie is somber and will not be pleasant. Nevertheless, the movie had to be made, and We believe its producers did a magnificent job. We do not recommend this for children. Let them be innocent for a while yet.
May God in Heaven abundantly bless, sanctify, and honor the brave and innocent men and women who so suddenly lost their lives – many martyred in heroism – on That Day. May He crush the enemies of The Republic and her people.
We are now leaving to watch United 93. Although the movie is at 11:30 am, We wish to be there a little early so We can get an appropriate seat should there be many people.
If We are able to, We shall write Our thoughts thereon when We return.
In the meanwhile, all are welcome to read reviews as posted by commenters on Ace of Spades Headquarters.
There is one picture that We can stare at for hours. It is a picture that makes many emotions well up from within Ourself. It is a picture that disturbs and enrages Us. It also makes Us feel quite melancholy, quite sad. It makes Us wonder about the many people’s lives that were so cruelly cut short on That Day, September 11, 2001. One minute, one is dining at a restaurant or working in one’s office or responding to an atrocious collision; the next…
This picture has been dubbed The Falling Man. The man in it has been identified as Jonathan E. Briley (a”h z”l).
Warning: click with caution. This is not a pleasant or happy picture. It may be considered quite disturbing. We do not agree with the Mainstream Media’s self-censorship in not showing this picture, but We understand their reluctance to do so.
Here is the picture with explanation on Wikipedia.
Here is the picture with explanation by Michelle Malkin (shlit”a).
While the instructor harangued against The Government and The Armed Forces, of which you are a member, We kept silent.
While he made ludicrous allegations against The United States and their Armed Forces, We kept silent.
While he smeared into the dust the honor and devotion of The Armed Forces, We kept silent.
While he would lecture to you, personally, on the evils of The Armed Forces, We kept silent.
While he would dismiss your respectful and reasonable arguments with more moonbattery, We kept silent.
While he would spew forth hate-filled diatribes against The Armed Forces (in an institution paid with funds from The Government, who would pay his salary) while not distinguishing between The Armed Forces as a body and individual soldiers, We kept silent.
While he would claim you ought to have known or done better, We kept silent.
While he would lie despite being corrected, We kept silent.
We kept silent. And now Our heart weighs heavy. We did not speak up in your defense, or in the defense of The Armed Forces, or in the defense of The Government. We rationalized away Our silence by maintaining that no one could say anything to counter his arguments, that he was entirely beyond the boundaries of reason and logic, that nothing We could say would make a difference. But that does not excuse Us.
We kept silent. You attempted to defend your honor, to defend The Armed Forces, to defend The Government’s policies. You tried to explain, to enlighten him. But your efforts were in vain: he did not listen, he dismissed your arguments, he steamrolled over them as if they were grass. And We kept silent.
We kept silent. Thank you for fighting for spineless cowards like Us. We apologize for not speaking up. It is inexcusable, and this will be something We will have to answer for before the judgment seat of God. May your mercy increase God’s mercy for Our undeserved forgiveness.
When We were taking an Arabic class, Our instructor was a Palestinian. He was not a good instructor and he was quite the run-of-the-mill anti-American, anti-Israeli, anti-Jewish, paranoid, conspiracy-theorizing, arrogant moonbat. What made matters worse was that he would routinely launch into emotional and strident anti-American tirades while knowing full well that one of his students is in the military and was sent back from Iraq after being injured.
One day, the instructor went on and on about how Arabs are enraged at how Americans are violating their cultural sensitivities by barging into homes, dealing with women, and otherwise not kow-towing to their misogynistic customs. He admitted that it would be difficult to honor Arab culture while attempting to secure stability in Iraq, but he nevertheless said it was imperative that American soldiers learn Arab culture and what they should and should not do.
Now, with all due respect, We believe that soldiers do not have the time to ascertain whether the women of a household are properly veiled and/or have a male relative with whom the soldiers can deal while the soldiers are hunting for terrorists hiding in people’s homes. Especially, may We add, when said terrorists have taken to hiding under veils.
The instructor claimed that Arabs have severely condemn this American injustice and barbarism, that these policies only entrench Arab hatred for America, and that some say they prefer Saddam’s regime to American violation of Arab culture. “This never happened in Saddam’s days!” he says Arab women wailed. Yes, evidently it seems that some Arabs believe that gassing hundreds of thousands of people is far better than talking to a woman without a male relative present.
We are sure you will enjoy this small paragraph from a pamphlet by an organization called Dawat-e Islami (Urdu: daawat-e islaamee, Urdu version of the Arabic ad-da’watu-l-islaamee / ad-da’wah al-islaamee).
The reason women are often of Hell*.
Muhammad (may God bless and grant peace to him and his people) once passed by some women while going to the place for Eid prayers one Eid day, and he said: “O women! Make sacrifices** because I have often beheld you as of Hell.” The women stated: “O Prophet of Almighty God (may God bless and grant peace to him and his people)! Why is this?” He stated, “Because you curse a lot and are ungrateful.” (Sahih Bukhari no. 304, volume 1, book 90.)
Shahzada-e Attar Haji Ahmad Raza Qadri Rizvi, Ihtiram-e Muslim. Karachi, Pakistan: Maktabah al-Madinah, n.d., p. 16 (parenthetical in the original).
*”of Hell” – literally, “jahannamee,” of or pertaining to jahannam (Hell).
**”Make sacrifices” – literally, in Urdu, “sadqah karo,” meaning, “do Sadaqah,” which refers to financial sacrifices as well as expiatory or more superstitious sacrifices of animals to thank God or avert His wrath.
Note: The author is the son of the founder and leader of the organization, which claims to be a Sufi order. The founder/leader is called: ameer-e ahlesunnat [Leader of the People of the Sunnah, or Leader of the Sunnis] aboo bilaal [father of Bilal, probably his firstborn son] hazrat ["his presence," a title of deep respect and reverence] allaamah [learned one] mawlaanaa [our lord] muhammad ilyaas attaar qaadree rizvee; his name is, simply, Muhammad Attar Qadri Rizvi (muhammad attaar qaadree rizvee). The blessing after his name is: daamat barkaahum aloliyah. All together: ameer-e ahlesunnat aboo bilaal hazrat allaamah mawlaanaa muhammad ilyaas attaar qaadree rizvee, daamat barkaahum aloliyah. And We thought the Pope had a long title.
Is not Islam so entertaining? So enlightening?
Here is some entertainment from Sahih Bukhari (SaHeeH bu(kh)aaree) (which compiled sayings of Muhammad, sayings of Muhammad’s companions, deeds of Muhammad, deeds of Muhammad’s companions, and other relevant narrations, arranged thematically). This collection was compiled by Muhammad al-Bukhari (muHammad al-bu(kh)aaree; full name: muHammad bin ismaa’eel bin ibraaheem bin al-mu(gh)eerah bin bardiziyah al-bu(kh)aaree; lived from 810 to 870 CE).
Ka’b bin al-Ashraf was a Jewish poet who was particularly vexing for Muhammad. As non-Muslim poets were wont to do, Bin al-Ashraf was wont to insult Muhammad and Islam. These words seriously hurt Muhammad, perfect prophet of the Almighty God. We are sure the words of Bin al-Ashraf also seriously hurt and offended Islam’s Almighty God. The poor dears.
For ease of reading, We have divided the narration into paragraphs, which, from what We can tell, did not exist in the original. This is from a translation of the collection which We downloaded from off the Internet.
Volume 5, book 59, Hadee(th) number 369 of SaHeeH bu(kh)aaree:
Narrated Jabir bin ‘Abdullah: Allah’s Apostle said, “Who is willing to kill Ka’b bin Al-Ashraf who has hurt Allah and His Apostle?” Thereupon Muhammad bin Maslama got up saying, “O Allah’s Apostle! Would you like that I kill him?” The Prophet said, “Yes,” Muhammad bin Maslama said, “Then allow me to say a [false] thing [i.e. to deceive Ka'b bin Al−Ashraf]. “The Prophet said, “You may say it.”
Then Muhammad bin Maslama went to Ka’b bin Al−Ashraf and said, “That man [i.e. Muhammad] demands Sadaqa [i.e. Zakat]* from us, and he has troubled us, and I have come to borrow something from you.”
On that, Ka’b bin Al−Ashraf said, “By Allah, you will get tired of him!”
Muhammad bin Maslama said, “Now as we have followed him, we do not want to leave him unless and until we see how his end is going to be. Now we want you to lend us a camel load or two of food.” (Some difference between narrators about a camel load or two.)
Ka`b bin Al−Ashraf said, “Yes, [I will lend you,] but you should mortgage something to me.”
Muhammad bin Maslama and his companion said, “What do you want?”
Ka’b bin Al−Ashraf replied, “Mortgage your women to me.”
They said, “How can we mortgage our women to you and you are the most handsome of the Arabs?”
Ka’b bin Al−Ashraf said, “Then mortgage your sons to me.”
They said, “How can we mortgage our sons to you? Later they would be abused by the people’s saying that so−and−so has been mortgaged for a camel load of food. That would cause us great disgrace, but we will mortgage our arms to you.” Muhammad bin Maslama and his companion promised Ka’b bin Al−Ashraf that Muhammad bin Maslama would return to him.
Muhammad bin Maslama came to Ka’b bin Al−Ashraf at night along with Ka’b bin Al−Ashraf ‘s foster brother, Abu Na’ila. Ka’b invited them to come into his fort, and then he went down to them. His wife asked him, “Where are you going at this time?”
Ka’b bin Al−Ashraf replied, “None but Muhammad bin Maslama and my (foster) brother Abu Na’ila have come.”
His wife said, “I hear a voice as if dropping blood is from him.”
Ka’b bin Al−Ashraf said. “They are none but my brother Muhammad bin Maslama and my foster brother Abu Na’ila. A generous man should respond to a call at night even if invited to be killed.”
Muhammad bin Maslama went with two men. (Some narrators mention the men as Abu bin Jabr, Al-Harith bin Aus, and ‘Abbad bin Bishr.) So Muhammad bin Maslama went in together with two men, and said to them, “When Ka’b bin Al−Ashraf comes, I will touch his hair and smell it, and when you see that I have got hold of his head, strip him. I will let you smell his head.”
Ka’b bin Al−Ashraf came down to them wrapped in his clothes, and diffusing perfume. Muhammad bin Maslama said. “I have never smelt a better scent than this.”
Ka’b bin Al−Ashraf replied. “I have got the best ‘Arab women who know how to use the high class of perfume.”
Muhammad bin Maslama requested Ka’b bin Al−Ashraf, “Will you allow me to smell your head?”
Ka’b bin Al−Ashraf said, “Yes.”
Muhammad smelt it and made his companions smell it as well. Then he requested Ka’b again, “Will you let me (smell your head)?”
Ka’b bin Al−Ashraf said, “Yes.”
When Muhammad bin Maslama got a strong hold of him, he said (to his companions), “Get at him!” So they killed him and went to the Prophet and informed him. (Abu Rafi’) was killed after Ka’b bin Al−Ashraf.
More stories and aHadee(th) to come!
Christopher Taylor, whose comments We appreciate, has a very informative post on oil and oil prices. We learned many things, and We suggest it be read. We most heartily agree with the reduction of taxes on oil so that gas prices can be reduced.
Over the past few days, two events have erupted on the Right Blogosphere that have demonstrated, amply, the tremendous impact of blogs on and in the real world. Many people may dismiss blogs as part of the virtual world, but, as dedicated players of The World of Warcraft have demonstrated, the virtual and the real worlds intersect significantly.
The first issue had to do with some Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist using sock puppets to defend himself on his own blog as well as on other blogs. Whereas this may not seem to be significant to begin with, it becomes significant when one realizes that the journalist’s alter egos, so to speak, appeared necessarily as entities other than the journalist to give the impression that there are people out there who like and support him. We find this deception to be completely untenable. A blogger, Patterico, busted the journalist’s antics. The journalist’s response was weak, to express it in polite terms. The newspaper put an end to the blog. Surely, this will impact his credibility in the future. Yet it amazes Us with what speed, thoroughness, and skill this was discovered.
The second issue is probably more significant, dealing with the CIA’s firing of Mary McCarthy for revealing classified information to the Press. Mainstream media publications have not raised the hue and cry found on the Right Blogosphere, where various trends, associations, coincidences, and links have been found, explored, studied, and expounded upon. For every word the mainstream media publish, the Right Blogosphere has two scathing points to make against McCarthy and those around her. The mainstream media’s almost amusing attempts to defend McCarthy have also been thoroughly blown to bits. The facts of this issue and the motives behind the issue are abundantly clear. Obviously the mainstream media will try all they can to mitigate this issue, for the Press has not been uninvolved. The fallout of public rage against McCarthy can easily lead to investigations against the Press. The Press proudly puffed itself up with pride and arrogance over “exposing” The Government’s secret prisons. Called a whistleblower, some see her as a heroine. If it turns out that what McCarthy did was quite wrong indeed (and what she did was quite wrong indeed), the Press will be left looking foolish, if not downright despicable.
Beware the Power of the Blogosphere. It can easily bring down the mighty.
To Her Majesty Elizabeth the Second, Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and to Her Majesty’s loyal subjects, We send Our heartfelt and best wishes on the occasion of Her Majesty’s eightieth birthday. She is truly an exemplary monarch.
We do not usually like to talk about matters concerning the intelligence community as We have been quite disappointed in it. Too many members of the intelligence community are not taking their jobs seriously, using their positions to harm the Bush Administration and, thereby, unwittingly national security.
Regarding the recent issue of the Central Intelligence Agency firing a Mary McCarthy for leaking sensitive information to the media, We made some comments in this thread of the Ace of Spades Headquarters and in this thread of protein wisdom.
Regarding the partisanship of The Agency:The CIA is supposed to be non-partisan. When did this change? This used to be one of the feathers in the CIA’s cap.
Regarding the general issue of leaks: By the very nature of their work, the work of the CIA and the NSA (and a whole lot of TLA-agencies) is by definition illegal. If they were legal, special agencies would not be needed. Members of the intelligence community must be willing to break any and all laws. The exception, of course, are the laws of the United States. Then again, these agencies do not have the authority to include the United States in their scope. The FBI and the DHS, et cetera, take over on that, and they operate on very different rules. But to suggest that the CIA might be doing something improper and must, therefore, be exposed is ludicrous to the extreme.
These leaks from the CIA are doing more to endanger national security and our efforts to work with other nations in the war on terror. We find it utterly ridiculous how leftists constantly harp on our lack of allies and at the same time actively engage to alienate what allies we have.
She should be prosecuted and jailed. Her actions are unacceptable, untenable, and unjustifable. Frankly, We would like to see her tried and executed for treason (The United States are at war, after all) but We understand many may find that to be on the extreme side.
We do not understand how such people can bring it upon themselves to commit such treasonous acts against The Republic. Even if one hates the Administration, one would be expected, at the very least, to love The United States. Members of the intelligence community who abuse their position and knowledge to attempt to harm the Administration are some of the worst traitors because of their access to sensitive information.
We must express Our profound disappointment with various members of the intelligence community who are casting a bad name on the intelligence community and who are jepoardizing the hard work of many dedicated members thereof. The intelligence community ought to establish its own courts wherein such criminals and traitors can be suitably tried and sentenced. Whether in times of war or peace, such a profound betrayal of The Republic ought to punished by execution.
There are many who say that Jews control the Government of The United States. (Some, who are in need of medication, call the Government of The United States the “Zionist Occupation Government,” abbreviated as “ZOG,” because evidently The Government is under occupation by Zionists. If by Zionist one means “he/she who supports the continued existence of the State of Israel,” then America is by and large Zionist. But their definition of Zionist is quite different. One must avoid such people.) Such an argument is completely ridiculous. If this were true, Israel would feel no need to involve itself in diplomacy and public relations with The United States (as all states do).
However, We are very grateful for the power and influence of the lobby of those who support Israel.
One may say that this lobby is Zionist but it certainly is not confined to Jews. Various Christian organizations are actively supportive of Israel; they are Christian Zionists. This strong lobby means that The Government is directed into courses of action that are supportive of Israel, unlike The United Nations, which seems to utterly disregard Israel’s plights and the Arabs’ insidious terrorism.
Frankly, Israel matters. We do not know exactly why We feel so strongly in favor of Israel (indeed, at times We feel that Israel can, literally, do no wrong), but We feel it may have to do with a similarity of values: Western liberal democratic values. Plus, a simple comparison of Israel’s propaganda and Palestinian propaganda demonstrate the humanity of the former and the horrid violence and inhumanity of the latter.
We also feel sorry for the Jews. We have recently been reading about The Holocaust. An article on the Wansee Conference prompted Our interest. It appalls Us that the leaders of a government can so calmly and rationally discuss the mass extermination and genocide of Jews. Indeed, the Conference was held precisely because various government officials believe that the said extermination and genocide was not happening fast or effectively enough. Such a scenario was not only possible, it actually occurred. Surely not even fiction could come so close to pure evil. We thank God that the evil, vile, and despicable regime of the NSDAP was wiped out.
The Holocaust was different from other massacres. This was a systematic, planned out, rationally-driven, and horribly effective effort to completely exterminate an entire people. Other efforts always relied on random pogroms and massacres: nothing organized or planned out. But in The Holocaust, the very resources of the state were put into organized use to accomplish the dreadful goal. Ever since, the very phrase “final solution” (from the German phrase “Endlösung der Judenfrage,” meaning, “the Final Solution of the Jewish Question“) has rigthfully rung with dread, horror, and revulsion in the ears of all good people.
And yet…and yet…such virulent anti-Semitism still exists. What difference is there between German anti-Semites calling for the mass extermination and genocide of Jews, on one hand, and on the other hand Palestinians and other Arabs and Muslims calling for the Jews to be driven into the Sea? Whether by fire or water, the end goal is the same. The fact that such vileness is common and accepted amongst Arabs and Muslims fills Us with inexpressable disgust.
In the emotionally-driven issue of Israel versus the Arab World, We have lost all sympathy for the Arab cause, whether it concerns Palestinians or the usurpation of Arab or Muslim lands. No people who act in such a horrible manner deserve the world’s unconditional sympathy, as they have received until now. From their words it seems that the entire world has been duped by Israel and/or Zionists into opposing and persecuting Palestinians. From the facts, one can see that the world supports the Palestinians perhaps too much and does not support Israel enough.
It amazes Us how Israel has remained strong and confident despite all what the state and its people have had to go through. We are sure the constant reinforcement of Jewish survival – “they came after us, they lost, we survived, let’s eat” – helps in making this confidence and strength inherent among them. Pharaoh, Haman, Hitler, Yaaseen – they are all the same.
Yet, as a state among other states, such a situation ought not be. It is utterly unjustifiable. It goes against the very principles of the international state system. No state’s existence is up fro debate, yet it seems that, as in all other areas, Israel is an exception. We stand strongly in support of Israel against misguided and false propaganda against it. We condemn in the strongest words the evil and insidious machinations of Arab terrorism. And We call the attention of all people to the fact that it is painfully obvious how the Arabs do not want peace, how they constantly lie, and how they continue to engage in unjustifable campaigns of terror against Israel and The United States. We, finally, give Our thanks to Israel-supporting Americans of all types for their constant support for beleaguered Israel.
After some time of relative calm, during which the only thing Palestinians were doing against Israel was trying to shell them with Kassam rockets – child’s play, really -, the Palestinian terrorists have struck and they have struck hard.
We understand if Palestinians attack kibbutzim. They represent Jewish tenacity and, in the Palestinian mind, usurpation. Despite all of the Palestinians’ antics, kibbutzniks stay. They don’t move.
What We cannot understand is when Palestinians attack fast-food restaurants. We remember clearly the waves of shock, horror, revulsion, disgust, and absolute abhorrence that washed over Us when Palestinian terrorists attacked Sbarro’s.
The Israeli Defense Forces (hereinafter “the IDF”) select their targets based on their involvement in militant and terrorist activity. Recently, a lot of the IDF’s activity has been in deterring and dismantling the firing of Kassam rockets, particularly from the recently-evacuated Gaza Strip. What many feared, that withdrawing from the Gaza Strip would turn it into a hotbed of anti-Israeli activity, seems to have come true. Nobody can justifably accuse the IDF of deliberately targetting civilians or others not associated with militancy and/or terrorism. Such accusations are, indeed, common, but they cannot be justified or proven. The fact that Palestinian militants and terrorists operate from and in the midst of civilians brings upon the Palestinians’ head the blood of any who may die as collateral damage. The IDF does not want for there to be collateral damage, but due to Palestinian tactics this is inevitable.
However, the lamentable and unfortunate death of civilians as collateral damage as they are within the vicinity of Palestinian militants and terrorists is in no way whatsoever comparable to Palestinian militants and terrorists going into an obviously civilian area, with no involvement whatsoever with the IDF, and attacking the civilians thereof. There can be no justification for this whatsoever.
We utterly condemn this attack and all people, organizations, and states behind it. We also condemn the Hamas government for justifying this attack. We also demand that the international community condemn the Palestinian terrorists for this and demand them to reform before demanding and/or condemning Israel.
Update: We should explain Our title. We find it reprehensible that Palestinians would find a falafel stand to be a suitable target for an attack, as if it were a weapon of mass destruction or otherwise involved in Israel’s supposed “occupation” or “oppression” of the Palestinians.
We do not think it means what they think it means.
Christians and Jews are very familiar with addressing God with familial titles. “Our Father in Heaven” is a very common title used by both Jews and Christians. In Hebrew prayers, “Avinu” (“our Father”) is used quite a bit. Christians are quite wont to refers to themselves and others as children of God, sons and daughters of God. Indeed, it is common for Jews and Christians to view the relationship between humanity and God as between children and a Parent.
Such a view is anathema in Islam. It is interesting that God is never referred to as “Father.” The concept that God could be a father is strongly condemned in the Qur’an itself. Of course, this is mainly in the Christian God-is-the-Father-of-Jesus sense but despite this Muslims cannot call God the father of humanity or humanity the children of God. Such an intimate relationship is considered to be completely improper.
The proper relationship with and conception of God in Islam is reflected by the abundance of names using the construction of ‘abd + one of the 99 names of God. Some common names of God used this way are allaah, ar-raHman, ar-raHeem, al-malik, al-’azeez, al-qaadir, and ar-razzaaq, among others. Technically, any of the 99 names can be used, although many are not used at all. (I have yet to hear of anyone having been named ‘abdu dhoo-l-jalaali wa-l-ikraam, for example.)
In Arabic, “‘abd” means “slave.” “Servant” would be a more modern, softer translation, yet it really means “slave.” Humans are God’s slaves because He is their master (maalik) as He is their creator (khaaliq). Humans owe Him their unconditional obedience. The relationship between humanity and God is necessarily like that between a slave and his master. Anything more intimate, such as that of a child and a Parent, is anathema: it robs God of His majesty.
In Islam, God’s involvement has been through humans (ostensibly, mediators). Even in the case of revelation, it was never from God directly to the prophets. Revelations were sent via the angel Gabriel (jibraa’eel). Only Muhammad is said to have seen God, and that too when he had his Ascent and Vision of Heaven. If this was only a dream or vision, even this would have to thrown out. In contrast to this, the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament are full of descriptions of how God had contact with humanity. Indeed, this becomes even more dramatic in the New Testament when God Himself became human for the sake of humanity.
It should not be so difficult to imagine why Islam is so different. Even though, theologically, it can be said that Jews, Christians, and Muslims worship the same God, the Muslim understanding of God is radically different from that of Jews and Christians.
According to a news report by Yahoo! News, the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, said that “the Zionist regime is heading toward annihilation. The Zionist regime is a rotten, dried tree that will be eliminated by one storm.” (Emphasis added.)
Oy. We need not say anything more.
On forms that ask for one’s race, may one check “other” and write in “human”? Is not “human” a race?
For amusement, do try to get Stephen Lynch’s songs. Information on his CDs can be found on his website. Some of his songs are controversial (foul language, indecent material, controversial material, et cetera) but they are all quite amusing. Unfortunately, We do not know of any songs that can be heard online. (Our Press Office has no comment as to how We have obtained Our collection of Stephen Lynch songs.)
Among the holy days, observances, and celebrations of the Muslim calendar is the Celebration of the Birth of the Prophet Muhammad (in Arabic: ‘eed mawlid an-nabee; Urdu: eed meelaad-e nabee, eed meelaad an-nabee). The date upon which this falls varies between Sunnis and Shiites. According to Sunnis, it is on the twelfth day of the Islamic month of rabee’ al-awwal (literally “first rabee’”; the next month is rabee’ ath-thaanee, literally “second rabee’”); according to Shiites, it is on the seventeenth day of the same month. (This cannot be conducive to rapproachment between Sunnis and Shiites.)
Muslims celebrate this day with great pomp and festivity. For weeks before the date, lights are strung up on public buildings, mosques, and homes. Every night for many days prior to the date, after the last prayer, mosques blare lectures and songs praising Muhammad. On the day itself, many attend a meelaad, a celebration praising Muhammad with songs and lectures. People dress up in their finest clothes. Wishes are sent. Businesses are closed. It is, veritably, the Islamic version of Christmas, but without the gift-giving and commercialism.
Although this day is celebrated by most Muslims, not all Muslims do so. Salafis (fundamentalist Muslims) believe such celebrations to be bida’ (innovations; singular: bid’ah) and, as such, forbidden in Islam. This is met with vociferous opposition by non-Salafi Muslims, some of whom claim that Muhammad himself celebrated his birthday. In any case, in countries like Pakistan where Muhammad has been virtually deified, opposition to this celebration would be met with immense opposition, so those who do not approve of it (like Our maternal grandfather, may he rest in peace) simply keep quiet.
We, naturally, object to such celebrations, but We will detail why We object at a later date.
Considering how sacred this day would be and how commendable the activities thereon would be, a recent event has utterly flabbergasted Us. It was a suicide attack. Now, considering militant Muslims see nothing wrong in flying passenger airplanes into two office buildings, We ought to realize that nothing is sacred or off-limits to them. Also considering their propensity to attack places of worship, pilgrims, and events of worship – harming thereby their own fellow Muslims – We ought to realize that nothing is sacred or off-limits to them. Nevertheless, We remain absolutely stunned by what happened.
According to the online version of the Urdu newspaper Jang, Jamaat-e Ahlesunnat (Urdu version of jamaa’at ahl as-sunnah, both meaning “Group of the People of the Sunnah” or “Group of the Sunni People”), a Sunni organization, was holding a gathering at Nashtar Park on the life of Muhammad. As namaaz-e maghrib (Urdu and Persian for “prayer of maghrib” or “prayer at sunset,” one of the five daily prayers; in Arabic: Salaat al-maghrib) was being performed, a suicide terrorist detonated his bomb. Around 50 people have died so far with an unconfirmed number of people injured. The suicide terrorist was towards the front of the congregation, so most of the leaders of the organization were among those killed.
A suicide terrorist. A bomb. Detonation. During prayers.
Who could have done such a dastardly deed? In Our mind, there can be only one of two groups: a Salafi group or a Shiite group.
We seriously doubt it was a Salafi group. Even a Salafi group, despite Salafism’s strident denunciation of bida’, would not stoop so low as to attack fellow Sunnis while they are praying. Shiites, on the other hand, are all together different. Remember, for them this was not ‘eed mawlid an-nabee. For them, that day is still five days away. They do not believe that Sunnis’ prayers are valid. What is most important is that sectarian violence has plagued Pakistan for some time now. This makes Us initially believe that a Shiite militant group would have been behind this suicide attack. Of course, this has not been the most disastrous sectarian attack but its circumstances make it especially horrific. Whoever has been responsible, the only outcome of this will be more violence. If it turns out to have been carried out by a Shiite group, this violence will soon spiral out of control as vengeance and counter-vengeance is sought. Those who will be most impacted will be innocents.
The extent of Our disgust at the moment knows no limits.
Update: A news article Zarar Khan of AP available via Yahoo! News states: “Hardline Pakistani Sunni groups are at odds with moderate Sunnis in the country, and regard public ceremonies marking the prophet’s birth as offensive.” This is an important item to keep in mind. As much as this was likely perpetuated by Shiites, the chance it was done by a Salafi group still exists until it is found out who did this.
According to a press release just issued by the Public Communications Office of the Office of Satan, Inc., construction has almost finished on the Tenth Circle of Hell, to be named Musawi (in honor of Zacarias Moussaoui, in Arabic Zakariya Musawi). Spokesdemon of Satan, Inc., Lucifer, said that this was built in anticipation of “various very bad men indeed whose end is upon them.” Anonymous sources say this announcement was delayed as senior executives of Hell passionately debated whether to name it after Zacarias Moussaoui or Abu Musab az-Zarqawi. The project was known as Usamabinladinistan, but Satan, Despot of Hell, scrapped it on the advice of his counsel, Beelzebub, as the name was too cumbersome even for satanic tongues.
In an interview with Dante, the renown Italian poet spoke passionately in medieval Italian. A celestial escort explained that Dante’s tone was due to genuine emotion and not to the fact he was speaking Italian. He was reportedly enraged that Satan would execute this project without consulting Dante, who popularized the model of Hell built in circles. Dante ended with a gesture which Heaven’s lawyers emphatically assured us was not obscene, just an Italian way of indicating he does not care.
Unconfirmed reports indicate that special pathways have been made to transport the souls of the relevant damned directly from the Tribunal chambers to the new Tenth Circle of Hell. Although Lucifer wold not confirm this during a press conference, he did say that the people for whom this new project was intended were so evil that even Satan, Despot of Hell, recoils from them.
When asked for a comment on this issue, none was made by the Most Blessed and Holy Corporation of the Trinity, Inc. Saint Michael the Archangel hinted that the Most Blessed and Holy Corporation of the Trinity, Inc., has been less than pleased with certain human beings, and may not intervene on their behalf should they be issued tickets to the Tenth Circle of Hell by the Tribunal. Saint Gabriel the Archangel was a bit more direct: “If I had my way, I’d grab them today and throw them down there myself.” A spokesangel for Heaven assured us that Saint Gabriel the Archangel was only speaking for himself and not on behalf of Heaven. A pity.