Channel: Bilal Philips
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A social misconception is that Islam
is opposed to democracy.
You know, usually, Western society
likes to hold up democracy as being the ideal is where people's rights are ensured freedom, liberty, justice to all democracy.
Whereas Islam is opposed to democracy.
the reason why Islam does not accept democracy as it is
portrayed, from a Western point of view, is that
or should come from God.
It is a question of
the group of people deciding what's right and what's wrong,
then you're going to find right and wrong very, you know, with every, every 10 years or every four years, every time you change administration, whatever, you have a new set of what is right, instead of what is wrong. So the state decides is in a constant flux, you know, they say Good and Evil are relative.
Where the Islamic view is that no good and evil
are absolutely not relative. What is evil is evil. No matter where you are, when it's explained evil, it is evil,
to commit adultery
1000 years ago, and it is evil today.
It's evil to 40,000 years ago and evil
So the laws are stable, they don't change these things, which are clearly defined by God, these man has no right to play with. So this is why you can't have democracy as we know it, or as it is portrayed in the western context. Because man has no right to interfere and make these laws.
He has a right to deal with certain other social that in the application of the law of certain social circumstances, you know, he wants to put traffic lights or, you know, building codes for houses and these type of things, man has the right to agree as a group, democratically, as to what may be done. And Islam encourages that. However,
it is encouraged as long as it does not contravene any of the Divine laws.
So democracy is encouraged in a limited sense, you know, within the sphere, which doesn't affect the absolute good than the absolute evil.
And when you practically look at the western democracies,
to be very honest.
What is put on the rulebook is not what is really in practice.
Because for example, here, and in other
countries, Muslim countries,
education is free.
from kindergarten to PhD,
some people don't want to be here in Saudi Arabia, because they have so much money. But no, in the Sudan, it is free from kindergarten to PhD, and they don't have so much money. Because
the society Islam teaches that it is the fundamental rights of every citizen to be educated.
When education is limited to one segment, that you can study up to grade 12, after high school, now you got to pay then it means that it becomes the exclusive rights of a certain segment of the society. You know, this is a class society.
if the masses of the people are given the choice, should we have free education from kindergarten to PhD? You can be certain that the mass of the people will say, Yes.
It's not there.
It's not there.
And this is a basic
help. If the masses the people out, should we have free health care? The majority will say yes, we don't have it.
Is it because people don't want it? No. They want it.
Is it because America
Poor America is the richest country on this Earth right now.
In terms of control of resources, it is the richest, it could provide free education for all of its citizens and free health care for all. It could.
it does not. And you know, of course, these are for political reasons, whatever, you know, one could get into, but I'm just bringing this point up, on the other hand, that those people who maybe make the biggest noise about democracy, when you actually go and look into the situation where democracy is supposed to be functioning, you find that there are a big question marks here. Is there really a democracy here? Or is it just a kind of a routine that people go through every four years, whatever, you know, we are going to elect this one, and I knew that one. But in fact,
the decisions are made, you know, behind
closed doors or behind the scenes.
Another misconception here common is that
Western woman should avoid
Muslim males, because they will molest them.
Women are told if you see, some groups have been told this, this has been related to me, directly and indirectly.
women who've been told if you're coming down the street, you see some Muslim males on this side better to go on the other side, because they were pincher behind, or whatever.
reality I mean, it's not to say they're not some people will do it. Yes, there are some.
But this is not the case of the majority of the males. This is not true. I mean, they will not molest women.
This is not the norm. You find exceptions, but it's not the norm.
And those people who have you know, lived here long enough and been around different parts of the kingdom can attest to the reality is that this is not the case at all.
I will add that you have an element, for example, who tends to look at the western woman as being a loose woman,
easy to get
flashed the money in her face, come up with a big car, and she'll jump in your car and go where you want them to go.
This is a misconception going the other way.
This is the result of those people watching videos and movies coming from America. But it's American propaganda. Unfortunately, America has portrayed its women in the movies and videos, etc. in this fashion. These individuals,
deviant or corrupt individuals, and this is what they have accepted, and even others were not necessarily deviant or corrupt. But they, you know, they've been exposed to some degree to media presentation of America woman. And that's the impression that they get.
It's unfortunate, it's not true.
Because the fact that the woman may not be dressing in certain fashions and cetera, it doesn't mean that the majority of them are loose or easier, whatever.
And the last misconception I just like to mention
is one that, you know, Saudis when they have their Mercedes and Jaguar, etc, when they drive along, and when the car breaks down, they just leave it on the side of the road, they go to a new car show and buy a new car, keep moving.
It may appear that way pcbc car stalled on the side of the road, etc. But this is not the practice of the people here that
I'm not saying that they may not some individuals, but this is not the general practice of the population, they try to get some mechanics fixed whatever they don't just, you know, people are not you know, every person here is not walking around with a million dollars in his pocket, you have rich and you have poor different levels of the society.
In closing, and over this is the last point I want to mention just in order to give you all an opportunity also to
give me some feedback,
discuss some of the ideas that you may have
comments that you may want to make something that I said
I just like to mention that the reasons for these misconceptions are varied.
Some of them are due to miss information,
which may be deliberate
on the part of some individuals
may have religious orientation
some people fear the spread of Islam etc. and army
Make some stories about Muslims.
Some people still reeling from the defeats of the crusades, you know, still look at the Muslims
in a war and folks that we have to hold off for all day.
And sometimes it's inadvertent, you know, people misinterpreting cultural practices here.
We had, for example, one misconception which
was spread amongst some of the military people were here that you know, what?
We see this, I have zero, drinking Chai, and
coffee all the time, tea and coffee, they put
cocaine in their drinks, what they're drinking.
Some of the guys who tried it out didn't get high, we're disappointed. We thought you all had something good going here, you know, but what happened? Can I give me any, but you know, actually, these are not intoxicating drinks, for those of you
may still be under this
And this is due to misinterpretation, possibly deliberate misinformation. We also have another source, which is an unfortunate source, you know, particularly from a Muslim point of view, and that is due to distorted Muslim practices.
You will find some individuals who are associated with Islam and they call themselves Muslims, and they come to the west. You know, like
one particular individual in
Florida, built a home there was all kinds of pornographic scenes on the walls of his home, you know, they went in Time magazine and life, special study of his balance.
You know, it's very gross, and but then this becomes associated with Muslims and Islam.
So, we can say due to some incorrect, distorted practices that Muslim, this has created, this has been a source of missing misinformation,
Islam and Muslims. So in closing, I just like to recap that the public misconceptions
misconceptions concerning beliefs
concerning who God is, and profits are,
where the quad came from, etc. Some of them concern religious practices, divorce, polygamy,
oppression of women, etc. And some of them
concern social facts
where terrorism is attributed to Muslims,
them being opposed to democracy, etc.
But if a person
honestly wants to find out, and a person who has been brought here, by the destiny of God,
I feel it's his duty to find out.
If the person wants to, they can.
by seeking by discussing with people, they can find out the truth behind the various misconceptions that they may have concerning the practices of Muslims. Muslims are quite open, willing to discuss various aspects of their social or religious practices.
Not necessarily that they're trying to convert you you know, if you mean if you ask one question, all of a sudden, people feel Oh, yes, he wants to become a Muslim someone and convert him to them. But their willingness to share what they have is part of the commandments of the religion in that we are in all enjoyed to convey the message of what Islam is to people and then it's up to them choose what they wish for themselves, because there can be no compulsion in religion. This is a statement from the Quran itself. And Muslims historically have followed that principle.
I will stop here now. And allow you a chance to either ask questions directly from the floor. We, we don't want to necessarily restrict people to writing questions, not because you know, we don't want to find any strange questions coming up, but just that for some people, they may be a bit shy to express themselves directly. They prefer
Good writing. So we're taking written questions. But
if you have a question from the floor, that you would like to raise by just raising your hand, you know, you can be allowed to get your question off for your comment.
But before we go into it, I just like to say that
I would like to give the opportunity,
first and foremost, to those people who are not Muslim, because the purpose of this was to clear up misconceptions about roosters.
And I know there are many Muslims here. And there's a tendency that you know, in these kind of sessions for Muslims to monopolize the questions
and comments, and thereby not allow their guests the nanosims to express themselves freely. So I would ask you, all those of you who are Muslims here, please
hold back the questions and allow those people who are non Muslims to
whatever they would like. And if we run out of questions, then you would like to raise some comments or whatever, then you may be free to do so.
Okay, the first question concerns the
which is a symbol found on the top of many mosques. You know, what
is the religious significance of this, actually, there is no religious significance. You know, a person might think, having seen it on the top of many mosques, that it is like the equivalent of like the cross, the cross is the symbol of Christianity, the Star of David being the symbol of Judaism, that this hill, our call in Arabic, hello, or this new Crescent, moon shape is a symbol of Muslims, but in fact, it is not.
There is no
basis from the teachings of the religion concerning I mean, what I need to say is,
if I were to take a cross and break it in front of a Christian, likely he would get very upset. If I was a ticket Star of David and stomp on it in front of a Jew, he would likely also get very upset. But if you take a crescent and stomp on it or break, it means nothing.
But most of them, it means nothing.
It doesn't have that religious significance. It has become a cultural symbol,
because of the fact that the Muslim calendar follows the lunar calendar, where the crescent moon is significant in identifying the coming in of Ramadan, the month of fasting, the ending of Ramadan, the time for hatch, it becomes the crescent becomes important in terms of being cited.
It's, you know, some five or 600 years ago, became a popular symbol used by the Ottomans, in their in their building structures, and it spread over the Muslim world because they were the ones ruling the Muslim world at the time.
But it has no if you go back to the time, early generations of Muslim, the time of Prophet Muhammad, may God be upon him and the early generations after him. This
symbol was not used at all. And so you will find mosques
in many parts of the world that don't use it. It's not a part of their structure
and there's no problem with it.
The other question which
brother areas you know, concerning the kissing of the black stone, or this is the
that corner of
The Kaaba structure, which is the first house of worship, built, as I mentioned earlier by Prophet Abraham. Now, the structure as we see it
is a rebuilt structure. Muslims are not under the delusion, that the exact structure we see is what was built by Prophet Abraham. No, it was built in that approximate shape, it wasn't quite like that. It fell down in time was rebuilt and broke, fell back down and rebuilt, caught a fire and was rebuilt, it was rebuilt over the years, over the centuries.
However, the only part of it,
which we consider to be a part of the original structure, was the part known now as the Blackstone in that corner,
which is surrounded by a frame and silver frame. And you see people in this tradition to start the circumambulation of the structure of the Kaaba walking around it, by first kissing that stone.
And it has no more significance
than the pope
kissing the ground, before he gets on the airplane, or kissing the ground, when he gets off the airplane,
it is one of the rights which is, if one is able to do so, one does so
because the Prophet had taught us to do so as part of the rites of passage. It signifies the beginning point for the for the circumambulation and the ending points at the same time. So you could say similarly to the pope kissing the ground when he begins his journey and kissing the ground when he ends his journey,
thanking God for giving him the strength to
take that part of my journey, a Muslim,
kiss the stone, signifying the beginning of the end, as they were taught by the prophet.
question why in Islam, you don't consider Prophet Mohammed as your Lord and Savior,
Christians do in the case of Jesus? Well, this is because
the teachings of the Quran have been very clear and explicit
in explaining that the Prophet Muhammad may God's peace and blessings be upon him, was only a man,
a human being, who had no power to save man.
And that, in fact, even these powers which were attributed to Prophet Jesus, these were false powers. No man has the ability to save another man to absolve another man that within this power belongs only to God.
The other part of the question, why don't you call
your religion mohammedanism? Because mohammedanism for one implies, somehow the worship of Mohammed, This, of course, is
totally out of the question. And, actually, the main reason is because God defined the name of the religion, in
the name of the religion is not something which people agreed upon hundreds or 1000s of years after the time of the Prophet, but something which was defined specifically in the crime itself, you will find in the Quran, where God says that the religion with God is Islam, submission to the will of God, there will be religion of Abraham,
the religion about
the religion of all the prophets. So God is defined what and who that religion
belongs to. What is that religion, what it entails what it means,
and what is it to make
certain portions of Christian Bible not accepted as the revelation of God
as I've read
sure. The guideline is basically what agrees with the Koran is accepted
the Quran because it is, according to Muslim belief,
a pure scripture in the sense that it has not been tampered with in any way, shape or form. Then it becomes Well, it is also described as being the corrector. The judge the distinction, these are some of the titles given by God describing the crime, clarifying. So we'll use that as our guideline, what agrees with the Quran, clearly, we accept as being part of that revelation. So because it's actually even in the Old Testament, in the, you know, in the five books of Moses,
both Jewish and Christian scholars will not accept this as being pure revelation. Because there's a story there, for example, wherein it is described that this was supposed to be revelation to Prophet Moses is described as, you know, Moses, he died at this point, and he was buried for revelation to Moses.
Nobody's gonna say that.
This is there in the Bible. And there are a number of instances there, where it is obvious that this is, you know, human writing.
And Jewish scholars don't argue that point. I mean, just the, you know, the Old Testament in the Torah. I mean, this was last, we written from memory, you know, as
three writings. I mean, there's so much evidence to indicate that there is no way that one could honestly claim, whether Old Testament or New Testament that this is 100%, the Word of God, I mean, all you have to do is look at the, you know, the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, compare it to the King James Version.
And see in the footnotes, all of the verses have been deleted.
I mean, you've got no end of verses and explain why, because this is not in the earliest manuscripts. And also they've been deleted, oh,
no, I think the final analysis, it boils down to a matter of knowledge, to see if a person doesn't have knowledge about a thing,
then he may have faith in it to do it before.
But if we have correct knowledge about the thing,
then when he has faith in it,
he is his faith is correct faith. Because the person can have faith in anything.
But doesn't necessarily mean the thing is right, or it's good.
So, ultimately, I mean, if we consider ourselves to be seekers of truth, those who seek to please God, to worship God, etc, then
our priority should be knowledge. And then faith. This is our I mean, this is the Islamic approach. And I think it is a valid approach that knowledge should precede faith, in the sense that you need to know who God is before you can worship Him and have faith in him. If you don't know who God is, if you're just brought up in an environment, for example, you're born in India, where people you know, worship, the main God, you know, Brahma was represented in different forms, you know, Shiva is the most common and favorite representation, and Shiva in Banaras. And in other parts of India is represented as a, as a as a penis,
And this is an object of worship. Now, a person who was born and grows up in this worship, he may have very strong faith in his worship. But if he has no knowledge, he doesn't reflect
and question and seek,
then his faith is useless.
So the Islamic view
which I've been able to
You know, quite reasonable is that one needs to know first, who God is.
Knowing who God is, in the sense,
not merely of what has been written about God. But what makes sense about God, because God has given us an intellect,
a sense of right and wrong. So we're not just sort of blindly obliged to accept anything simply because it has been ascribed or called to be scripture.
We have reasons. So we use our reason, we research, we gather information, and what we find after that research to be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, then
we should put our faith in it, trust, our full emotions behind it, support it,
die for a
few months back in one of the lectures, which were being graded, somewhere in the base.
There was an occasion where one of the listeners came up with
Jesus Christ, being the son of God.
It came to my ears that
even the term God the Father, God, the Son, and God, the Holy Spirit, or God, the Holy
few months back in one of the lectures, which were being great
there was an occasion where one of the listeners came up with
Jesus Christ, being the son of God,
God, the Father, God, the Son, God, the Holy Spirit, or God,
I couldn't fathom.
The origin of this misconception
is very clear.
Again, the issue is of the Trinity,
maybe understood through historical research.
Those who go back into the history and read the origins of, you know,
doctrines of Christianity,
they will find that there was a particular point in time you start with 325 ad
don'ts of Nigeria, where
the principle or the concept of the Trinity came into
full force, it was accepted as being the belief that the Christian should hold.
There was a struggle at that time between the Unitarian led by areas, the Bishop of Alexandria, who upheld the concept of God being one, and rejected the Trinitarian concept. But he was defeated at this council and in subsequent gatherings, and he and his followers were forced to consider their books were burned. The gospels, which supported their ideas were
described as apocryphal and destroyed. And the from that point onwards, the Trinitarian
belief became the standard belief, you know, the Nicene Creed becomes the standard belief of Christians, although you do find people who consider themselves to be Christians today, who do not
support them. People like the Jehovah's Witness, they consider themselves to be Christians. But of course, you know, mainstream Christianity considers themselves to have deviated, they hold it, you know, Jesus, there is no Trinity.
The Jesus was in fact, the creator.
So you will find different groups that, you know, let's bring up from time to time we may lean back towards the Unitarian concept, and even the Unitarian Church, you know, has carried on from that time maybe in certain areas.
Though today when you look at Unitarian beliefs that seems
quite a far cry from those original ideas expressed by area.
Question is Jesus's father's name mentioned in the
Actually in the Quran,
there is no mention that Jesus had a father.
Mary is described
as a righteous woman who worship God fasted, etc. And she had a child without being married at all.
So there is no possibility of any kind of a doubt as to the origin of Jesus, in that
Mary was born, Jesus was born without a father
in the most absolute, purest sense.
And in the quiet has stated that when Mary gave birth,
you know, God has sent an angel to her father that
she should point to the child when
she's questioned about this burger. And when people would come to her as they did question her, for what appears to have been a major sin of adultery, fornication.
So when they did when she did bring the child and they did question her, she pointed to the child. And according to the statements in the Quran, Jesus spoke as a child,
newborn, spoke, defending his mother saying that she was a chaste woman was devoted, devout, worshipping the one to God, and that he himself was a prophet of God. So we actually believe that Jesus,
prophets, prophets would began with his work.
And we believe in a miracle of him speaking of the child, newborn child, which is not even a part of our Christian tradition, there is a
in the Quran, where God
is described as flowing in the human being
a portion of his spirit, this is how it is often translated. And this, some people have mistakenly taken to mean that
the human spirit is a part of the Divine Spirit,
man has within him a part of the Divine. However, this translation is not really an accurate translation of the the Arabic text because the Arabic text has to be taken in context with the explanation given by the prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him. And he explained that
when the child is developing in the womb of the mother,
when he reaches the beginning of the fifth month, an angel who blows in him,
and that the Spirit itself is from the command of God, God's command of B and it is the creation,
the human spirit is created. Whereas God is uncreated. We do not believe that God is a spirit, or that he has a spirit,
he is beyond his creation, he is not,
he does not share the qualities of his creation.
So a more accurate translation really would be that
God commanded His angels
for an angel, to blow in man,
from the Spirit that He created, his spirit not meaning,
a part of his own spirit, but one of the spirits which he created, which is just like he refers to His Prophet, you know, he refers to his house, meaning the mosque,
you know, the term the the possessive pronoun, you know, his, does not necessarily indicate that the thing that scribe is actually a part of, but it could be
as in the difference between his book and his hand, is an main
part of him. His book is not a part of him, but something which he presented to me mentally, when it refers to his spirit. It's not referring to a part of God, because God has built were to blame but the Spirit was created. And as such, we cannot. We do not accept the concept that a human being has within him within his body, the spirit or a portion of the Spirit of God.
One question, I want to become a Muslim, but I'm married.
My wife, children, friends, would stand against me.
It is a real challenge. What is your advice? Well,
one has to choose, if one is convinced
that Islam is in fact,
the true religion of God, this is a path that God has ordained for men, then such a person has to make that choice.
he cannot, or she cannot, you know, be diverted by what the consequences they fear may happen, because God is in control of one's destiny. One may die tomorrow,
what reactions one expected may not be, there's a variety of different things, you know, could take place. So, my advice to this to the person who wrote this is that if you want to become a Muslim, you should do so. You may not want to reveal it to those people who you fear may have a negative reaction in the initial stages, you can relate to them gradually. But of course, amongst Muslims, you should be known.
That is your family phase, not here, they're back in the Philippines or they're back in America, wherever, you know, you don't necessarily have to tell them immediately. But what if you believe that this is the path for you, then you should declare your faith amongst Muslims. So you're known because the declaration of faith is really for your own
protection to help you as an individual, so that people know you to be a Muslim. So if they see you falling by the wayside, you know, your face getting weak in terms of your practice, etc, that they would look out for you offer help or whatever.
Question there is five times daily, compulsory prayer. But professionally, I'm a cook. And I work in the heart. galley.
I guess in a second thing, I'm sweating, hot place, right? It's very hard to make ablution.
That could cause sickness. So what should I do or we do?
the point is that the five times daily prayers is something which is fundamental for Muslim, which is obliged to do, you know, as the foundation for his life, the ordering of his daily 24 hour life.
This doesn't mean that this is the only time he can pray, but he prays to God as much as you can, but at least this is the minimum that he should stick by. Now, there is a confession given under certain circumstances where the midday prayer and the afternoon prayer, maybe join
the sunset prayer and the night prayer may also be joined together.
So a person who finds themselves in a situation where it becomes virtually impossible for health reasons or whatever to make. One of those prayers he may join us with. The other prayer with, which is allowed to join, for example, a doctor is going into heart surgery, he has an operation, which is going to take five hours is going to, you know, run through
a couple of times, prayer times, you know, then he is allowed to join those prayers. The sunset prayer may be joined with the late night prayer which can be prayed, you know, all the way up into the middle of the night and beyond. And the midday prayer and the afternoon prayer, optimal prayer can be brought forward and prayed along with this midday prayer. Such a person for example, he must get a break for lunch. When he gets a break for lunch, he may pray that midday prayers long along with his afternoon prayer in such a case, in aware if, in fact, the situation is such that if he were to make a solution that you know because of the heat of the circumstances he's working in this
could create some kind of sickness. Although I mean, I I pressed in Really?
I mean, whether a person would be sick under these circumstances, perhaps maybe if the water is extremely cold, you know,
that maybe you might find yourself in a situation but the water area when you have lukewarm water, I don't see where it should really create a problem.
I mean, I would want to be certain from medical point of view before, you know, taking a concession like that.
Okay, there are a number of other questions. But you know, we've been informed that we are late, we started late and we have gone over the allotted time, especially in considering that the dinner has been prepared for for us to eat. So
I would like to close things down now maybe with a last question concerning the misconception of labeling muslim fundamentalists. You know, just to point out that
idea of calling for the establishment of Islam as a way of life, in areas where Muslims are the majority, such people are labeled, generally speaking as fundamentalist people who want to make Islam, the law of the society, or the law guiding the society as a whole, they're referred to as being fundamentalist. But in fact, this is just basically Islamic.
And it's something which is ordained by Islam. And those people who have accepted secular systems or don't feel it's necessary that the rule of Islam be the rule of the country where Muslims are majority, such people have deviated from Islam. There is no such thing really as fundamental Islam.
It's very clear in the Islamic teachings, that the laws of the country should be according to the laws of God.
There are no there's no separation between
the religious community and the secular community,
or religious laws and secular laws, it is all integrated.
So with that, I would just like to thank you all for coming this evening. And I hope that what has been said and discussed has been in some way beneficial to you all. And I would hope that Allah gives us an opportunity to meet again sometime in the future. And if I've said anything which any of you found offensive, please know that. It was not my intention to be offensive. Just trying to talk as straightforward and open as possible. And God alone knows that. My intention was not to hurt anybody's feelings, but only to try to convey to clarify,
club for men.