Inform, Inspire, Embolden. Reconcile!

The New Wave of Muslim Preachers

The last decade or so has been difficult for Muslims in many countries, but Muslims are still suffering the most in their own countries due to bad governance, low literacy rates, and poverty. If many non-Muslims are anxiety stricken by the savage actions of some bloodthirsty fanatic Muslims, it is helpful to remember the victims are overwhelmingly Muslims. However, some politicians have found the blanket accusation of all Muslims beneficial for their hate mongering. It has now become too common for fascists to hide behind the terrorist curtain and show their naked prejudice. Worse, ignorant elements who hail from religiously diverse countries, have found it serving to their bigotry to insult all Muslims. And it will be good if Western politicians remembered their governments and intelligence agencies were responsible for creating the modern-day Hydra, with a hundred heads, that is terrorizing Muslim countries more than others.

Understandably, the war to defeat the terrorists of the Muslim world is primarily the responsibility of Muslims—just like the Italians defeated Brigate Rosse, the Germans defeated Baader-Meinhof, and the Japanese defeated Nihon Sekigun. But parallel to the physical war, Muslims have to attend to the underlying social structural causes and reasons, that made the existence of terrorists possible; and the fight is mainly against ignorance and bad governance. Sadly, Muslims must do that while at the same time being bombarded (literally and figuratively) by continuous vilification—even the lowly riffraff of the world think they now have the license to insult Muslims wholesale. Yet, the Muslim revival movement is already gaining ground among different sectors of the societies, mainly the youth.

Since a few years ago, many Muslims are being influenced by fervent preachers who are challenging the long-held misconceptions and cultural problems that until recently, were considered a taboo. While the rest of the world is naively wondering, “what is wrong with Muslims”, a serious intellectual debate is raging in the Muslim World. Thanks to social media, particularly YouTube, confident and well-educated preachers are pulling the rug from under the conservative establishment and its preachers who controlled the pulpit and monopolized the inter-Muslim discourse agenda for too long.

Narrations in the middle

Many Muslims and non-Muslims alike, do not understand that most of the contemporary problems associated with Islam are mainly based on the claimed narrations of the life and practices of the Prophet Mohammed, known as Sunna (traditions/Hadith). Unfortunately, some of the narrations were compiled two centuries after the death of the prophet, and they have been in the center of the misconceptions that burdened Muslims for centuries.

Though there are many books of narrations, the most debated is Bukhari’s eight volume compilation that contain over 7000 Ahaadith (pl. narrations) covering a myriad of topics. Generally, common Muslims accept the narrations because they are authenticated by a council of scholars, “Ijmaa”, who decide on confessions and questions that concern Muslims. Ijmaa, or consensus, is somewhat equivalent to the Christian Ecumenical Council.

Over the years, the narrations have become so revered that many consider them akin to the Qura’an, and many consider Bukhari, a person who could have prejudices, wrong judgments, and misquotes, as infallible. Unfortunately, some narrations do not sound logical to the critical minded who reject them. In addition, the compilations are based on word of mouth told by someone who quotes a chain of sources that lived many generations earlier. Thus, its accuracy is questionable and most of it cannot pass a rigorous scholarly scrutiny based on the techniques of this age; and some narrations clearly conflicts with the Qura’an and common sense. Sadly, holding such a view could arouse the wrath of the fundamentalist establishments and expose one to the risk of being considered an apostate.

To explain the dilemma, let’s see a sample of a controversial narration attributed to the prophet: “my nation will be divided into 73 sects, all destined to hell-fire except one.” This narration, and many like it, have encouraged the literalists and fanatics into believing only their group is destined to be saved, and to condemn other Muslims and non-Muslims alike—that “narration” contradicts the central message of Qura’an.

For so long, many critical issues remained a taboo and whatever was discussed, hardly reached the common Muslim, unlike today when social media has become accessible to many Muslims who are feeding on information they never knew existed. And they are finding answers to their questions that remained vague for centuries when debates were limited to narrow circles, and books were quarantined, stored far from the reach of the public (Aama, as the commoners are called with belittling gesture), and the public sphere is controlled by well-funded, well protected, well promoted preachers and scholars who suffocate the Muslim religious discourse; and that has became an impediment to modernization.

Consensus on what?

Christianity passed through many such phases, particularly Catholicism, which went through more than twenty ecumenical councils and congresses to discuss on a host of controversial issues, such as the use contraceptives, and Liberation Theology that started in Latin America, and the like. The Protestant churches also hold such congresses and ecumenical council, but if they reach a dead-end, they leave it to the rational judgement of the adherents. The Abyssinian Tewahdo Church still holds to the decisions of the Fourth Ecumenical Council of the Chalcedonian churches that was held in Modern Turkey in AD 451. Similar to Christian churches, Islam is divided into factions–mainly Sunni and Shiaa–and each sect holds its separate council, but the day to day life of a Muslim is much influenced by religious edicts (Fetwa) issued by some scholars.

In the last few decades, religious edicts issued by fanatic personalities, or by those who think they can legislate Islamic laws on behalf of God, has been wreaking havoc everywhere. For instance, in Egypt alone over 200 people were killed by extremist Muslims in less than two years between 1992-1993. Orthodox Muslim fundamentalists believe they are the only genuine Muslims and act as if they have a divine authority to kill anyone who doesn’t subscribe to their worldview.

The Afghanistan experience 

It is worth remembering that the modern phase of Islamic fundamentalism was sparked by the return of thousands of young Muslims who were trained and armed by the West, mainly the USA, to fight the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. When the Soviet Union left Afghanistan, the haphazard plans failed to transition the country to normalcy. Elsewhere, the same haphazard plan failed or provide rehabilitation and accommodation for the thousands of Muslim youth who returned to their countries with heavy doses of fundamentalist ideology, only to be marginalized and hopelessly unemployed, and they couldn’t re-integrate into their original societies.

The same has happened to the adventure of the West in Iraq, where Bremer disbanded the Iraqi army whose members faced the same fate as those who returned from Afghanistan. By then, “Arab-Afghanis” as the combatants were known, had already formed a franchise of Al-Qaeda under the leadership of Bin-Laden and Aymen Al-Zewahri–it was natural for Al-Qaeda to establish a franchise in Iraq with the Afghani-Arab Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi, as its leader. Over time, the chaos created by the power vacuum and mayhem in Iraq, and the dictatorship in Syria, and the restless youth who were emboldened by fiery fundamentalist preachers, and intelligence work by some countries, gave birth to ISIS whose transgressions added to the already spreading fundamentalism, particularly in the Arab world. That gave rise to a new breed of preachers, or provoked them to be critical of what is happening in the Muslim world.

Revival

The monopoly of discussion agendas in the Muslim public and intellectual realms by the Orthodox strain of Islam, is being eroded. That includes the influence they had over the Minber, the mosque pulpits; the fundamentalist control of Muslim thought is being shattered as a new wave of scholars and preachers are taking the center stage. Renowned thinkers and scholars, including The Syrian Engineer, Dr. Mohammed Shahrour, the Saudi thinker and scholar Dr. Hassen Maliki, the Tunisian Lawyer and politician Abdulfattah Moro, the Lebanese preacher Shiekh Yassir Aoudah, and a few others are shaking the strong foundation of hate preaching, to the chagrin of the Orthodox Muslims.

There is also another group of rebellious sheiks and scholars who are making their non-conformist views known. For instance, a young Al-Azhar University graduate, Sheik Mohammed Nasr is so outspoken that he is continuously ridiculed by the traditionalists who mockingly branded him “Mizu”, a nick that was supposed to portray him as immature. However, “Mizu” invoked his Egyptian wit and transformed the belittling nick into a rhyming Arabic slogan: Aayiz teqeezu, haat lu Mizu (if you want to annoy them, bring them Mizu)—as part of the vilification, a Pakistani website alleged that Mizu claimed to be the “Mahdi”!

Though eloquent, Mizu does not belong to the heavyweights, but he has a considerable following among the young, particularly in Egypt where his criticism of the Al-Azhar University curriculum and Selefi establishments, are centered around the concerns of the young: love, marriage, music, liberal lifestyle, women’s rights, etc.

The Adnan Ibrahim phenomenon 

Thanks to YouTube, the above-mentioned scholars and thinkers are greatly influencing Muslims, however, the most prominent preacher among them all is the Palestinian-Austrian Dr. Adnan Ibrahim, who was born and raised in a refugee camp in Gaza, and moved to Yugoslavia before settling in Austria where he is an Imam of a mosque. Dr. Adnan has taken the center-stage in the contemporary debate that is raging in the Muslim world, particularly in the Arab countries, including the most conservative of them. Unfortunately, not many have noticed the neo-revival movement that is  taking root within the Muslim communities.

Dr. Adnan’s dozens of lectures on YouTube, ranging in topics from quantum physics, to philosophy, language, and history, have become very popular among Muslims. Some of the videos have registered over a million views, not counting the many social media groups dedicated to spreading Dr. Adnan’s teachings, and who clone his social media accounts republishing his lectures and the recordings of his regular interviews by popular TV stations. Last Ramadan, a program on Rotana Television (owned by the Saudi Prince, Al-Waleed Bin-Talal) dedicated a series of thirty interviews with him and the series became a major topic of discussion in the Saudi media.

A very devout Muslim, and well versed in the history or Fiqh (deep understanding) of Islam, Dr. Adnan is an astonishingly skilled debater and a passionate orator who could deliver exciting lectures for hours, casually quoting scripture, history books, names, dates, poetry, and details of ancient events, by heart, without referring to notes; his memory is mind-boggling and he lectures as if he is reading from a book. A comedian said, “Dr. Adnan has transplanted a super-computer inside his head.”

I have watched and listened to his lectures diligently and I have also listened to his detractors—there is no comparison in quality and depth. Compared to him, his detractors appear as amateurs, yet a few young selefists have found a niche and became popular by besmirching his name. But the attacks are understandable: Dr. Adnan is shattering views that he considers misconceptions by Muslims and Christians alike. For instance, every follower of Abrahamic religions believes that Eve was created from the ribs of Adam. He argues that Eve was not lesser than Adam and she was not created from his rib, and challenges the established mainstream traditional interpretations of scriptures through grammar and linguistic nuances of the Qura’an.

Elegantly dressed like a serious college professor, Dr. Adnan avoids dressing up in the traditional garb and could not be pigeonholed or counted on any of the conflicting schools and groups within Islam—some of whom have adopted certain symbolism, such as distinct dress codes, and ways of wearing their beards. He condemns the inter-Islamic division, as well as attitudes towards other religions; and avoids mentioning his detractors by name, yet he seems to enjoy demolishing their arguments in such a way that many of his regular listeners know who his targets are.

Traditionally, Muslim scholars and preachers avoided many taboo subjects, and they would berate people who raise those issues. But Dr. Adnan has delved into subjects and topics that has not been raised, let alone preached from the pulpits, in a sermon. Muslims are not accustomed to an imam lecturing about evolution, Freud, Nietzsche, Goethe, and Buddhism. They are not used to listening to lectures about quantum physics, speed of light, and philosophy, with heavy doses of unexpected subjects in between, at a mosque. That culture of scholarship has been banished from religious circles for many centuries and listening to Dr. Adnan lecturing about Leo Tolstoy and his literature, the philosophies of Francis Bacon and Emanuel Kant, is a daring reformation of the traditional, boring, recycled, and uninspiring sermons that Muslims have been subjected to for ages. That is why Dr. Adnan has become a unique Muslim phenomenon, particularly to the young, who are thirsty for inspirational sermons instead of the all too common fanatic sermons, that has been attracting the lost Muslim youth, to the extremist and terrorist camps, who exposed Muslims to so much agony, and whose cruel, savage, and mindless actions, are used by the bigots of the world, to define Islam and Muslims.

Here is a sample of Dr. Adnan’s lectures with a subtitle in English

PART 2

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  • Michael Tesfamariam

    “,,,,the war to defeat the terrorists of the Muslim world is primarily the responsibility of Muslims,,,” True, though that is not what is happening around the Muslim World, their leaders rather let the self-important greedy Western powers to do the job for them & get their communities in bloody messy. Arab & Muslim leaders should never never have allowed any foreigners to come their home to deal with any kind of domestic terrorism. Interning piece anyway.

  • Abraham H.

    Selam Mahmuday, thanks a lot for your friendly engagement, and I appreciate your opinion and the information you shared with us. This is to tell you that I fully agree with your view regarding the practice of religion here on earth and as to what is demanded of the believers to reach the Paradise. As you have noted I’ve only quoted what is available on the internet, which I think is the same or may be even better than reading a single Quor’an Book as there are various sources that one could get on the internet. Also I believe most of the translation to English is done by the Scholars and qualified people. This is not to deny there are some prejudicial folks out there whose objective is to distort the information and spread intolerance between the faiths and hatred among people. Therefore, I try my best to get the most reliable and neutral sources; I felt the sources I linked such as the Guardian article, the islam dot org, and the WikiIslam websites were reliable enough for this purpose.
    Dear Mahmud, you said in your point nr.4 “… and of course, everyone entering paradise is virgin (clean, chastise, pure, virtuous…)”, but then later on you seem to try challenge the word ‘virgin’ that I quoted from the translation by saying “The key ward is bekr (singular) abkar, abkaran (plural): it could mean, early, first, maiden, virgin, intact…it’s connotation is with something new, young, sober, chastise, pure, virtuous, not touched….So, different translators emphasize any of this words. The exact translation of virgin is Azra’e”. Don’t you see a bit of contradiction here? My opinion is there is no need to feel defensive about this particular issue of ‘virgins’ provided as reward in Paradise, because it is clearly stated in the Qur’an. Who gets to Paradise and how it is reached are the questions that the sane religious leaders have to explain to the followers.

  • Hameed Al-Arabi
  • Fanti Ghana

    Hello Abraham H,

    Some of the major issues in our religions involve translations. I was involved in a Bible study group who were comparing the current Bible (KJV) with that of the original texts as written in Aramaic and Hebrew decades ago. It was quite an eye opener.

    Think of the word “cool” for example. What do you think it would mean if you were to say “that is cool” in 1917 verse today? Now imagine what it would mean 1000 years from now!

    There are many words in the English language that reversed meaning for no known reason. The word “moot” is one of them. It used to mean practically exactly the opposite before the 1900s.

    In the article you linked, it said something about a German scholar explaining the misinterpretation and showing the exact words in Syriac having a different meaning as follows.

    Luxenberg’s new analysis, leaning on the Hymns of Ephrem the Syrian, yields “white raisins” of “crystal clarity” rather than doe-eyed, and ever willing virgins – the houris. Luxenberg claims that the context makes it clear that it is food and drink that is being offered, and not unsullied maidens or houris.

    In Syriac, the word hur is a feminine plural adjective meaning white, with the word “raisin” understood implicitly.

    I don’t know Syriac to say Luxenberg is correct or not, but the reason this explanation intrigued me was, although I don’t recall what the context was, I remember the words “pure, so pure you would see the seed in the middle” in connection with some fruit when I was very young. It was from a dear family friend teaching me Islam right in front of my mother.

    So, as if the translations are not problem enough some people also try to capitalize on them by misleading and or exaggerating words and phrases of our books. I have heard more time than I can count how the Bible is riddled with contradictory terms.

    Divorce is forbidden->allowed->forbidden in three different sections of the Bible. I will leave the “why” as an exercise!

    Be careful Abraham Hawey; evil comes in many forms.

    • Abraham H.

      Selam Fanti, I get your message, I’m personally respectful of other people’s religion and faith. What I’ve done here is a mere quote of what was published in the Guardian about the issue that Stefanos Temenwo raised. The text you quoted is just a view of one researcher that was put in a book he published in the year 2000. Otherwise all the verses and Hadith that deal with issues of Paradise, virgins in Paradise, etc is available in the Islamic Holly Books as quoted in the article.

      • Saleh Johar

        Hi Abraham,
        Sorry, I have to come again. The “vergin” stuff is the imagination of perverts interpretations and prejudice of Orientalists who thought the Persian stories of Alf Leila w’leila must be inspired the Quran. Please refer me to the word virgin in that connection in the Quran. If not, please do not repeat it carelessly.

        • Abraham H.

          Selam SGJ, sorry Saleh I cannot give more evidence than what I refered you to already definitly there is more both from the Qura’an and Hadith; from the Qura’an I gave you the Surah Al-Waqi’a in particular verses 34-37.
          وَفُرُشٍ مَّرْفُوعَةٍ
          إِنَّا أنشَأنَاهُنَّ إِنشَاء
          فَجَعَلْنَاهُنَّ أبْكَارًا
          عُرُبًا أتْرَابًا

          English:
          34. And endeared women.
          35. Indeed, We created them of a novel creation.
          36. And made all of them virgins.
          37. Loving their husbands and of equal age, fluent, and sweet of tongue.

          And from Sahih Bukhari:
          حَدَّثَنَا إِبْرَاهِيمُ بْنُ الْمُنْذِرِ، حَدَّثَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ فُلَيْحٍ، حَدَّثَنَا أَبِي، عَنْ هِلاَلٍ، عَنْ عَبْدِ الرَّحْمَنِ بْنِ أَبِي عَمْرَةَ، عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ ـ رضى الله عنه ـ عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏

          “‏ أَوَّلُ زُمْرَةٍ تَدْخُلُ الْجَنَّةَ عَلَى صُورَةِ الْقَمَرِ لَيْلَةَ الْبَدْرِ، وَالَّذِينَ عَلَى آثَارِهِمْ كَأَحْسَنِ كَوْكَبٍ دُرِّيٍّ فِي السَّمَاءِ إِضَاءَةً، قُلُوبُهُمْ عَلَى قَلْبِ رَجُلٍ وَاحِدٍ، لاَ تَبَاغُضَ بَيْنَهُمْ وَلاَ تَحَاسُدَ، لِكُلِّ امْرِئٍ زَوْجَتَانِ مِنَ الْحُورِ الْعِينِ، يُرَى مُخُّ سُوقِهِنَّ مِنْ وَرَاءِ الْعَظْمِ وَاللَّحْمِ ‏”

          English:
          The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “The first batch (of people) who will enter Paradise will be (glittering) like the full moon, and the batch next to them will be (glittering) like the most brilliant star in the sky. Their hearts will be as if the heart of a single man, for they will have neither enmity nor jealousy amongst themselves; everyone will have two wives from the houris, (who will be so beautiful, pure and transparent that) the marrow of the bones of their legs will be seen through the bones and the flesh.”
          NB. the Sahih examples are referenced from the online WikiIslam, which leads to Quranx dot com, hadith collection, and the Qura’an verses referenced from al-Islam dot org.

          • Peace!

            Hi Anraham,

            Just curious to understand your point here that in a normal conversation most people ask questions with purpose either for research or for studying or something useful. Now, if you are studying Islam or doing research about Islam, ask for the names of good muslim scholars and their recommended sources given there are also other versions of Quran out there to destroy the Image of Islam and muslims which may not serve the purpose of your question.

            Peace!

          • Abraham H.

            Selam Peace, I get your concern and I’ve emphasized that in my reply to Mahmud above. When looking for this type of information one doesn’t need to leave their sofas nowadays; plenty of useful information is available as long as we have the time and interest to learn. But still, as you rightly said, we have to strive to get the most reliable and trustworthy and Scholarly information.

  • Saleh Johar

    Hi Abraham,

    Please be cereful when you make such claims.

    1. The text of the Hadith is not called “verses.”

    2. Please do not lead me to the article, but I want you to quote the verse in the Quraan that promises “reward of virgins that await Muslim (men) who happen to enter paradise.”

    3. Those who are wreaking havoc everywhere are mislead like you–both of you believe in the nonsense you mentioned. And you are not quoting; your words are in the affirmative when you confirmed that to Temnewo. Kindly support your claim with a verse from the Quraan–and be ready to explain the meaning it in its original language.

    • Abi

      Selam Ato Saleh
      I miss your way of demanding reply by saying ” type your reply “.

      • Saleh Johar

        Hi Abi,

        You do? Okay, now type where you have been. Good to see you here again

        • Abi

          Selam Ato Saleh
          I was restraining myself from debating religious matters. I’m the least qualified to say anything .

          • Saleh Johar

            Hi Abi,
            Please do just that, stay away from it and keep your heart healthy 🙂

          • Abi

            Selam Ato Saleh
            I’m trying my best:)
            Thanks

    • Abraham H.

      Selam SGJ, Stefanos Temelso asked a question, and I found information on the internet that is relevant to his enquiry and I posted it. I didn’t say something new which is not written in the article that I linked. Also, please don’t take this as a provocation; it is simply presenting information to the inquirer.

      1. I apologize for this one, it was just my ignorance about whether the text of the Hadith could be termed verses.

      2. My reference was the article which again referenced the Koran and Hadith to present the respective verses and Hadith to the issue at hand. I’ve also verified what is written in the article with the English translation of the Koran via the website al-islam dot org. There are many verses and Hadith referenced in the article, and as an axample of the Koran verse that deals with the Paradis and its rewards I can name sura 56 verses 12- 39. In this sura, particularly verses:
      34. And endeared women.
      35. Indeed, We created them of a novel creation.
      36. And made all of them virgins.
      37. Loving their husbands and of equal age, fluent, and sweet of tongue.
      PS. I don’t know Arabic, hence I used the English version of the Koran.

      3. I’ve no any bad intention when I linked the information which is freely available to anybody interested to find out. My only intention was to find the information for Stefanos Temenwo, and also myself about the question he raised.

    • tes

      Selam Saleh,

      What Estefanos and Abraham have brought is not from no where. I always use to hear it and with the rise of ISIS it became so loud and repetetive. I could safely say more than 80% Christian Eritreans have the same perception though the number might be different.

      It is good therefore to give a seriousand elaborated corrective explanations than trying to policing. Please therefore share your wisdom and try to share your responsibility to correct such wide spread misconception.

      When people like Estefanos and Abraham quotes or brings such points they need good engagement as it might help for others to learn.

      tes

      • Abraham H.

        Selam tes, please take a note that I’m not corroborating the question asked by Stefanos as to the number of virgins in Paradise; no number is mentioned in Qur’an, only in Hadith. Plus I’m in no way claiming that those who die through suicide bombs taking with them innocent women, children, and men are doing so hoping to enter Paradise and get its rewards, as I’m fully agianst such deeds and claims.

        • tes

          Selam Abraham H.,

          Nothing is sensitive here. What Stefanos has said is what is already circulating and what you brought here is already what is going on in the research works. Therefore feel safe to discuss. Our discussion is not to add to the stereotype but to find a way to change people’s perception about the core values of Islam.

          Regarding you, if you were not curious on subject matter, you couldn’t bring supporting materials for what Stefanos has brought for discussion. Speaking scientifically I think, yours more senstive than Stefanos’s question was innocent as he wants a response that says, right or wrong:

          “Is it true that the Qur’an al kareem says if someone dies in a Jihad he will be rewarded with sixty virgins when he died?” Is this true or wrong brother Johar? TX in advance.

          .

          If anybody was sensitive here at this forum, I think what you came with was more sensitive it could help one to conclude Stefanos’s question to be to the “TRUE”. However, none is sensitive. All we need is open discussion and improve our stereotype on Islam.

          tes

          • Abraham H.

            Selam tes, you wrote, “If anybody was sensitive here at this forum, I think what you came with was more sensitive it could help one to conclude Stefanos’s question to be to the “TRUE”.” Again wrong, for the one who read what I linked and understood well what is written, it doesn’t lead them to believe what Stefanos came with as ‘true’. The article concludes, in fact, that the claim of ’72 virgins in Paradise’ [which is to be found in weak Hadith] could actually be a mis-interpretation of the Syriac language. A quote from the article: “Luxenberg ‘s new analysis, leaning on the Hymns of Ephrem the Syrian, yields “white raisins” of “crystal clarity” rather than doe-eyed, and ever willing virgins – the houris. Luxenberg claims that the context makes it clear that it is food and drink that is being offerred, and not unsullied maidens or houris.”
            The article also explains that suicide is not allowed in Islam, mentioned in Hadith. However Islam strongly values Martyrdom; now the question that comes is what is true Jihad that could deserve the status of Martyrdom?
            At the end you said, “All we need is open discussion and improve our stereotype on Islam.” I agree on the first part of this sentence, but still I urge you not to include me in your “stereotyping on Islam” claim as I don’t have such kind of stereotypes towards any Faith.

  • Abrehet Yosief

    Selam Hayat Adem,
    Observing how our young spend their time, a reward for current times would be “72 video games with unlimited game life and a battery that never dies”.

    • Hayat Adem

      Dearest Hafti Abrehet,
      Exactly. Maybe a lot better than “Jihad”, but it is another scary world. A space for balanced purpose is disappearing.

  • said

    Greeting,

    What Islam could teach Donald Trump about democracy and freedom
    America’s ideals are under threat, but not from Muslims
    article Washington post by David Decosimo teaches religion Boston University

    find link
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2017/03/08/trump-could-learn-a-thing-or-two-about-freedom-and-democracy-from-islam/

  • Stefanos Temelso

    Hi everyone, I consider the article a an in depth explanation of the current situation of Islam. There are so many misunderstandings and it is crucial that people like Johar give us such a balanced and lucid explanation. One question I had and which was answered for me in the negative by two Moslem friend is, “Is it true that the Qur’an al kareem says if someone dies in a Jihad he will be rewarded with sixty virgins when he died?” Is this true or wrong brother Johar? TX in advance.

    • Selamat ATI Stefanos Temelso,

      I am neither a Moslem nor Saleh Johar. Now that the abovios I have made more obvious…

      Supposing I said: “On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me________”
      And …
      And “on the Sixtieth day of Christmas my true love gave to me….”

      I will point out that my true love is One and Only One that with each and every virgin gift from her(/his) each day virgin eyes…. Gave me “and a partridge and a pear tree.”

      From the article what thinks you of Jihad Al nefths and Jihad Al Kebir?

      AmEritrean GitSAtSE Azilo40 Agniyeya Children Books Press

    • MS

      MarHaba Estifanos

      Let me help you:

      1. There is no mention of 72 or any number of virgins in the Quran. There is no explicit promise of virgins. There is a controversy in translations. Remember, the Arabic language that the Quran is written in is very tough. Translators have made errors when translating related words. The word you will find is “Houri” or nymph, which means a mythological term for a beauty (in Greece and pre-Islamic Arab), Wikipedia describes nymphs as ” generally regarded as divine spirits who animate nature, and are usually depicted as beautiful, young nubile maidens who love to dance and sing; their amorous freedom sets them apart from the restricted and chaste wives and daughters of the Greek polis.” Because they hear/read Ahadith that are not so strong describing those beauty as “virgins” when the translators find the word Houri in the Quran, and I believe it is mentioned in one Sura, they unconsciously veer to “virgin”. And Guess what? The translators are also men with surges of testosterone. Other than that there is no 72 virgins in the Quran. To bad for the boys.
      2. There is sensational depictions of paradise, such as beauties, black-eyed peers….[Well things that young men want to hear. And Wedi-Temelso, I think the European boys are more on-the-go than their American counter parts.
      3. There mention of the virgins in documents Ahadith (sing, Hadith), but they are not to the degree of SaHih (collaborated and confirmed ones)
      4. The Quran, like the Bible and other texts is full of suggestive languages, particularly when describing paradise. Hey, most of the verses were revealed when men were needed to fight, may be God spoke their hearts. May be, wo Allahu Aelem.
      5. Jihad is primarily for self defense. Now, some Aulama (Scholars define that as defending the religion through active defense which entails preempting threats, etc. But Suicide is strictly prohibited. It’s Haram.
      I hope this will help until another person jumps in. Please take this with caution and do your own research.
      With due respect.

      • Nitricc

        Hello your greatness: you advised Estifanose by saying ” Please take this with caution and do your own research” I have done a little research and I conclude the Religion of Islam needs to reform it self. Do you agree or disagree? if yes, where exactly do you think the needs to reform are?

        • MS

          Ahlan Nitrickay
          Since you have made research and identified areas where Islam need reform, it would be helpful if you go ahead and share with me (us) including Hayat and iSem. Please do so. The majority of Muslim countries are half way to completing reform. It’s work in progress. I discussed this with tes for two days, and I think I have touched many points, but it is a matter of courtesy and here is the short answer:
          What is needed is political reform. That takes care of issues related to making their constitutions compatible with contemporary political standards (participatory politics, human rights….), and also it will be a defense against radicalism, because when you empower citizens, you are disempowering the few radical elements.

    • blink

      Dear Stefanos
      The book was written long time ago and there must be many wrong things in it. I do not believe any religion is perfect not Islam ,Jew and Christianity . These three religions are full of wrong things . What we need is not praising it but demolishing it by enlightening young generation to look for better way of living in harmony.

      • Saleh Johar

        Hi Blink,
        Context is important. I believe we should start from reality of the Eritrean people less we cross into a social engineering project like the PFDJ. Demolishing religion as you suggested means confronting Eritreans and they will either demolish you or you will demolish them. Guess which one is likely to be the case! Worse that the problems caused by religion, is the fact the some people want to impose their religion on the people , and that religion could be an ideology or atheism which is the worst religion in our case. Even the worst religious zealots do not openly say “Demolush”. What makes you different than those you seem to target? Please think of the Eritrean context.

        • blink

          Dear Mr.Saleh
          Yes you are 100% right . If i comment from the Eritrean context , i already committed crime . By the way i could have said little nice , The word demolish does not fit the way i thought on stefanos question .accept my apology with small room to my view of religion.

      • said

        Greeting,

        Blink
        there is no conflict between Christianity and Islam.
        They are part of the great Abrahamic tradition – indeed, there is a key verse in the Koran that reads: ‘The people closest and dearest to Muslims are those who say: “We are Christians.”

        It is, therefore, the duty of Muslims to defend Christianity when it comes under assault.
        Indeed, Christian ethics form the basis of our justice system, with its emphasis on fairness and equality before the law. And without the restraining, selfless morality

        • Fanti Ghana

          Hello said,

          “The people closest and dearest to Muslims…”

          The man who made me more Christian than I was at one time was an amazing Muslim Imam who used that exact phrase at one time and more with me.

          However, when that wonderful experience got completed was when I had the privilege of sitting in a car next to one of the Popes from the Ethiopian Orthodox Church Synod when he came to attend a conference about 8 years ago in the US. What he had to say about Islam was so beautiful he reminded me of my father figure Imam I mentioned above. I had several questions, but we were already two hours in the car after it was parked and getting late, so I decided to quit while I was ahead.

          I believe that without adding any effort, if our region would teach Bible in Arabic and Quran in Ge’ez just for one year, we would have a different understanding of one another.

          • said

            Greeting
            Fanti
            Thank you for quoting the Ethiopian Orthodox Church Synod. he is a learned person and he knows the similarity ,In nutshell Islam makes frequent reference to Jesus and to the Virgin Mary, who is cited more times in the Quran than in the New Testament. the Virgin Mary’s name occurs more times in the Quran than in the New Testament; Muslims also believe in the virgin birth of Jesus.
            “And make mention of Mary in the Book, when she withdrew from her people unto a place towards the east, and secluded herself from them; and We sent unto her Our Spirit, and it appeared unto her in the likeness of a perfect man. She said: I take refuge from you in the Infinitely Good, if any piety you have. He said: I am none other than a messenger from your Lord that I may bestow on you a son most pure. She said: How can there be for me a son, when no man has touched me, nor am I unchaste? He said: Even so shall it be; your Lord says: It is easy for Me. That We may make him a sign for mankind and a mercy from Us; and it is a thing ordained.” (19:16-21)
            Say, We believe in God, and in what has been revealed to us, and in what has been sent down to Abraham and Ismail and Isaac and Jacob and their offspring, and what has been revealed to Moses and Jesus and to all the prophets of our Lord. We make no distinction between them and we submit to Him and obey. (Quran 3:84)

          • Fanti Ghana

            Hello said,

            Since you mentioned Mary, in fact, the Abyssinian King who is credited to accepting the first Muslims running from persecution had asked them for details of what their religion teaches regarding Mary. It is said that because their interpretation was so exact word for word as he knew it they were accorded his acceptance and his respect. So, yeah, the similarities are staggering.

          • said

            Greeting
            Fanti

            Yes Indeed it well known story among Muslim worldwide as it being told briefly. When the Muslims responded that they were not criminals but victims of religious persecution, the Negus asked: “What is this religion wherein you have become separate from your people, though you have not entered my religion nor that of any other of the folk that surround us?”
            The Prophet’s cousin Ja’far, known for his eloquent speech, stepped forward and said:
            “O King, we were people steeped in ignorance, worshiping idols, eating unsacrificed carrion, committing abominations, and the strong would devour the weak. Thus we were, until God sent us a Messenger from out of our midst, one whose lineage we knew, and his veracity and his worthiness of trust and his integrity. He called us unto God, that we should testify to His Oneness and worship Him and renounce what we and our fathers had worshiped in the way of stones and idols; and he commanded us to speak truly, to fulfill our promises, to respect the ties of kinship and the rights of our neighbors, and to refrain from crimes and from bloodshed. So we worship God alone, setting naught beside Him, counting as forbidden what He has forbidden and as licit what He has allowed. For these reasons have our people turned against us, and have persecuted us to make us forsake our religion and revert from the worship of God to the worship of idols. That is why we have come to your country, having chosen you above all others; and we have been happy in your protection, and it is our hope, O King, that here with you we shall not suffer wrong.”
            The Negus, a devout Christian, was intrigued by Ja’far’s words and asked him if this Prophet had brought a scripture like the messengers of old. Ja’far nodded, saying that their Scripture was the Qur’an, which means recitation in Arabic. The Negus asked them to recite from their holy book.
            And Ja’far recited for them a verse that had been revealed to the Prophet about the birth of Jesus Christ, who was revered as one of God’s messenger’s by the Muslims.

          • Dear Fanti Ghana,
            Indeed, that is why they are called Abrahamic. Abraham the father of isaac, who is supposed to be the father of the jews. Abraham the father of ishmael, who is also supposed to be the father of the arabs. The three religions believe in the one and only God, and most of the teachings are similar. They should have been standing for each other and not against each other.

          • Abraham H.

            Selam Horizon, isn’t it so strange; even between the Christians themselves and the Moslems there are many divisions and sectarian frictions! That is the nature of humans, I guess.

          • Abi

            Fantastic
            You must be the only Ethiopian in the whole town to spend two hours with the Pope. I don’t know where you reside but I’m definitely sure you are on a ” witness protection program “.
            Just wanted to say hello in Abiyotawi way.

          • Fanti Ghana

            Hello Abisha,

            I was just about to say hello up there under your conversation with SGJ.

            It was quite an experience! I had friends with me a lot more deserving but I must have impressed him with my speed and eagerness in opening the car door ካልገባህ አሉኝ፤ እንዴት እምቢ ይባላል?

          • Saleh Johar

            Fanti,
            Papasu Mekina keftew gba siluh, Embi malet yasrekesal 🙂

          • Abi

            Fantastic
            I hear you. I was an expert in opening the passenger door to the earthly heaven.
            I hope you opened the door to the heavenly heaven.

          • tes

            Dear Fanti Ghana,

            You might not know but my love and respect for you is more than you can imagine. But I can not simply watch when Abi is again forced to come and join us in this beautiful forum that he doesn’t want to be away except when his wife said so. It is not good for him to be kicked from his bed at this age. We care about him. You know what I mean.

            Abi, hmmm..

            Greetings

            tes

          • Abi

            Kemey Kemey hawuna Tes
            I almost missed your comments.

          • Fanti Ghana

            Hello and welcome back Prof., tes

            From the moment you reappeared, I was meaning to say hello, but you looked busy. So, hello!
            The love and respect is mutual brother tes.

            የአቢ ነገር ተወኝ እባክህ፤

            ና ሲሉት ኣይመጣ ሂድ ሲሉት ኣይሄድ
            ሃያ ይሁን መቶ ካልጋ’ማይወርድ፤

            ለኛ ከፋን እንጂ ልበ ገራገሩ
            ሲሄድም ሲመጣም እያስለቀሰን ፍቅሩ፤

            ፍቅራችን ቀስቅሶት ኣላስችል ብሎት
            ብቅ ከማለቱ በሩ ሲከፈት
            በስመ ኣብ ኣለና ጨዋታው ገርሞት
            ሰላም ብሎ ወጣ ማን ጋር ይሟገት፤

          • Abi

            Fantastic
            ተስፋው ይለምልም ብርሀኑም ይስፋ
            ፍቅር እንዲገባው አንዳንድ ከርፋፋ
            እብድ አይከሰስ እብድ አይወቀስ
            እኔም በፈንታዬ ቁጭ ብዬ ላልቅስ

          • Dear Fanti Ghana,
            Is it possible to teach the Quran in geez without translating it first? Translation of the Bible into geez took place in the early years of Christianity, and the great majority of ethiopians are not in the position to read it. Translating the Quran into geez will be a colossal job, few people could undertake. Much more, if i am not mistaken, arabic is said to be the only language that can give the true meaning of the religion. May be we have to wait the age of superior artificial intelligence translation of the future.
            The problem then may be if human beings are still interested in religion or not, or those who disparage religion may have found their new religion, believing in the big brother.
            We live in a complicated world, and it will be more complicated in the future. The easiest and the best thing to do would have been to let each religion function in peace side by side unhindered with respect for each one of them. In addition, it is much easier for any individual who wants to study the Quran to study arabic first and then the religion. This i think is the easiest and most practical way to achieve one’s goal.

          • Fanti Ghana

            Hello Horizon,

            The translation was implied of course, but the intended message was to show how similar the two are. Our society may someday see the bigger picture, but for now we seem to be stuck in our respective ways.

            If one really think about the core messages of both religions and God which are:
            Be fair
            Be righteous,
            Be kind
            Be loving
            Be respectful of parents and elders
            Be decent
            Help the weak and the poor
            Do not lie
            Do not steal
            Do not murder
            Etc… there are really no differences.

            The rest is just instructions about how to do these. What a tragedy!

  • said

    Greetings,
    Paulos and Berhe Y
    The Exuberant Over-Expectations of American Equity Investors
    Many pro- Donald Trump economic and stock market analysts like to point to the record highs the US Dow Jones have reached since the election for President of Donald Trump as an indication and the proof of the soundness of the planned economic policies of the new US President. However, nothing could be farther from the truth.
    True, the market is reacting to the anticipated immediate windfall huge gains that US Corporations right across the board would instantly achieve should President Trump succeed in implementing his Campaign promises during the early period of Trump’s presidency counting on an easy passage of Trump’s new economic policies through a Republican Controlled Congress. The Catch here, while this would prove true for American corporations in general in the beginning; however, too soon to tell if it is going to be sustainable continuing trend for the medium term and can prove true for a future American prosperous economy in the longer term.
    The near immediate windfall profits that would accrue to the coffers of US Corporations on the force of the adoption of the promised Trump economic policies are no guarantee they would carry on for long should these economic policies fail in meeting their target of a sustainable high economic growth hovering around 4% that the US has not witnessed anything like it since the past 30 years. This equally applies with regard to employment and the improved incomes of American workers and the American Middle Class.
    It does not require a genius to figure out that with immediate major cut on Corporate Taxes; slashing out restrictive regulations, especially with regard to oil, gas and mining companies; as well as the discarding of the Obamacare Health Project benefiting American insurance companies, medical doctors and medical hospitals; engaging in major infrastructure spending that would greatly benefit major engineering and equipment supply companies; along with enhanced military spending that would hugely improve the profitability of Corporations in the Defense industry; thus, investor confidence immediately factors in all above in investors’ rush to trigger a rally in American stocks sending the stock markets to all historic highs.
    All that is Upfront, possibly a tremor in response of investors’ exuberance and exaggerated expectations, however, let us now entertain a possible less optimistic scenario for the economy down the line.
    Firstly, even with the assumption that all Donald Trump’s economic policies get adopted, there is no guarantee, as proven in the past example of the Administration of G. W. Bush that cutting taxes and scraping regulations would prompt corporations to heavily invest, stimulating the economy, creating jobs and generating significant increase in the Government tax revenues.

    Secondly, the expected huge cuts on social programs would greatly worsen an already high social tensions precluding social peace considered essential for garnering national consensus necessary to ensure the successful implementation of Donald Trump’s unorthodox outlandish ambitious programs. This, especially that these new economic programs will, undoubtedly, further increase the gap between the Haves and Have-Not worsening further the already existing huge income and wealth disparity in America.
    Thirdly, stocks would become highly overpriced as investors would automatically factor in the one-time corporate windfall profits as simply representing a future trend projecting them on the future performance of the economy.
    Finally, and not discounting any of the above, the economy is expected with simultaneous heightened activities to heat up sending inflation high and along with it the cost of debt. As everyone is inquiring where the Trump Administration would come up with the money to spend on all these expensive programs, the debt market will get crowded with both the Government and investors competing earnestly competing for funds should the economy achieve the 4% growth, thus providing the perfect formula for gyrating interest rates.
    Finally, things seem now to be hanging in the balance as the Administration of Donald Trump appear to be tattering as the man is fast losing credibility as he might be soon be declared unfit to continue his term in office.

  • MS

    Selam tes and all
    [Forgive me for this rather lengthy comment, the engagement level tes presented needs it. If you feel it’s too long, please skip it; you are not required to read it. Thank you}
    Thank you tes. Like wise, I too really enjoyed your rejoinder, and found it to be full of helpful material. I was trying to restrain myself from commenting in area which I feel am not qualified to comment on, because your questions are specific and have unusual depth. I would want other informed folks who study the field to answer them. It’s a quite different matter to be a follower of a certain religion versus someone who is versed in the history of that religion. In Islam we say something in good faith and end it by saying “wo Allahu AElem”, meaning “and God knows better”. This is to mark the emphasis that man is fallible and makes mistakes in his endeavor. However, when you: a/ try your best in good faith; b/ you are aware of your fallibility and weakness, you are forgiven. Because the Quran says (and please excuse me for appearing to have seized the pulpit), anyway, the Quran says ” La yukelefu Allahu nafsen illa bewes’aha” translation: Allah does not burden a soul beyond that it can bear; that’s similar to the Tigrigna saying that goes “Chru b’AQma tGhgom”. Therefore, consider this an amateurish attempt to repay your expanded reply. It may not meet your expectation, it may not answer your questions fully, but it’s worth considering it.
    I. Terminology and brief introductory notes
    Terminologies:
    Islam= submission to Allah (God)
    I. a. Faith (Aiman); the ideation of the presence of God with all his describing qualities (not different from the other Abrahamic religions). This includes the belief in AlQaib (that which can’t be seen or comprehended by the human faculty).
    Deen: religion
    1.b. The first part of your question related to the relationship between religion and faith in Islam. Let me put it this way, and this is based on my feeble understanding. To a Muslim: Islam=Aiman=deen; the argument is that if you have become a Muslim, you have already believed in the essence of Islam (faith), and you would not be able to do that if you were not Mudayn (religious). Becoming a Muslim, therefore is becoming a faithful, and to become a faithful, you will have to have tied a knot with your creator through the belief systems, languages, statements, texts, practices(Aqida/creed). Muslims pay more attention on individual endeavors and practices. So Islam comprises faith (Aiman), and practices (religious activities, some are duty-bound, others are additional. 1.c. The following points could summarize the religion:
    1. Believing in Allah (God)- la sheriku lahu; no co-partner, no associate
    2. Believing in angels (All previous Abrahamic religions’ angels)
    3. Believing in the Holly scriptures, Jewish, Christian, and the last one Quran, which is believed to be the last Holy Scripture
    4. Believing in all messengers that came before Islam, Mohammed (PBUH) is the last messenger
    5. Believing in the day of judgement
    6. Believing in Qadar (fate and destiny); however, man is bestowed with will and he is responsible for his actions.
    II: A brief note on Islamic history
    II.a. How the religion took form (I will avoid the vast history of the sociopolitical components that resulted in the dominance of the first Muslim community) = Once the revelation came to the prophet, he started talking about it, lecturing in market places and relatives. Slowly he garnered followers; those followers started writing his verses and sermons. Therefore the religion took shape through:
    (i) compiling verses that were revealed to the prophet specifically from Allah through the agent of Angel Gebril (Gabriel), in different occasions. This resulted into the Quran. The Quran is believed to be the word of Allah.
    (ii) The other component of the religion comprises Ahadith (Hadith for sing) which contains speeches of the prophet, some are confirmed as correct (saHiH) other are not confirmed (weak). These speeches, conversations, responses to inquirers, etc., were compiled in the years that followed his death. Also his daily practices (Suna) are considered part of this category.
    (iii) The last part comprises individual scholars endeavor and contributions, opinions, deliberations, provisions….that don’t contradict the Quran and the confirmed Ahadith.
    III. From a simple community of believers to conflicts/confusions and the rise of religious State.
    From the start, there was a problem in designating as to who should be the successor of the prophet. That led to the Shia and Suna. That’s an area unto itself and I’m skipping it. The years following the death of the prophet saw fervent debates between the followers in exact intent of some verses, or Ahadith or practices/actions of the prophet, etc. These heated arguments deepened the knowledge of the religion, it spread it and gave it a solid foundation. However, in the process, it devolved into bickering and inner-fighting, which in turn led sects/dominions, doctrines (mezahb). In Islam there are about 5 major Schools of thoughts/doctrines). The conflicts eventually took the forms of congregations and led to wars and the desire to muzzle and subjugate opponents. Here comes the merging of State and religion, because each sect would need to defend its position, subdue the other side, and dominate lands and resources. The rest, we discussed it yesterday.
    III. Is it possible to be a Muslim and secular.
    This is my take and I would say yes, it is possible. Secular does not mean nonbeliever. Becoming a secular is a necessity, particularly in countries of diverse constituents. Secular, to me, means accommodating all adherents of diverse faiths in equal footing. Citizenship overrides all other identities. Citizenship demands that the political system becomes impartial to all sects. Secularism actually ensures that citizens will exercise their religious rights without the tempering of the state. Secularism ties the hands of the state from interfering in or favoring religions.
    As I said earlier, considering its history, Christianity moved from State religion to secularism in recent past. Most constitutions of the Muslim countries are hybrid of Sharia and secular principles, but there is a heated debate going on in the Muslim world and the direction is promising. Already women are challenging openly Saudi authorities. Women were elected as prime ministers in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, and India with the second Muslim majority .
    VI. In Eritrean context:
    We have no choice but to fight for a secular political system.
    Thank you.

    • Saleh Johar

      Ahlan Mahmoud,
      Excellent summary. I would like to add a few things:

      1. You mentioned five Madzahib, but that is the commonly accepted in Sunni Islam. Don’t forget Muslims include many sects, including Shia’a, Ibadiya, etc.
      2. I believe a Muslim is by nature secular based on the nature of the world today–if Muslim jurisdiction was left to evolve naturally, that is where it would end. But the powerful passed a proclamation: no more jurisprudence is allowed 🙂
      3. The oppression of women are based on traditional values of many societies, but the man-controlled religion advances its oppressive nature by using scripture.
      4. In Islam there is no clergy, but we now see a whole class of people imitating the Popes of the middle ages.

      • MS

        Ahlan AbusalaH
        and thanks for the additions, fully accepted.

    • Simon Kaleab

      Selam MS,

      You said:

      1) “Believing in the Holly scriptures, Jewish, Christian …”

      According to Christian scriptures, Jesus was crucified, died on the cross, and arose from the dead on the third day. Does Islam accept this?

      You also said:

      2) “Is it possible to be a Muslim and secular? This is my take and I would say yes, it is possible.”

      Secular means not subject to or bound by religious rule. Don’t you think you are contradicting yourself?

      Is it possible for you to give clear, concise and precise answers?

      • MS

        Selam SK
        Thanks.
        1. Please refer that to religious scholars. The Imam in the city you live in will be happy to answer it.
        2. I’m not contradicting myself.
        “Secularism is the principle of the separation of government institutions and persons mandated to represent the state from religious institutions and religious dignitaries (the attainment of such is termed secularity). One manifestation of secularism is asserting the right to be free from religious rule and teachings, or, in a state declared to be neutral on matters of belief, from the imposition by government of religion or religious practices upon its people.” [taken from Wikipedia]. If you are a believer, you are bound by the teachings of your church and the duties it imposes on you, in your private life and around your congregation. The same is true to me. At official level, one can’t make his/her religious philosophies and beliefs as the foundation of running state affairs, nor does one has the right to impose his/her religious beliefs on others.
        3. I don’t do it purposely, but I don’t do efforts to making it short. Nevertheless, I’m not hurting anyone, because no one is obliged to read my comments.
        Thanks.

        • Simon Kaleab

          Selam MS,

          The questions are not answered satisfactorily. But nice footwork, better than Pele, Amarildo, Garrincha, Tostao, Rivelino, Zico, Romario, Ronaldo, Rivaldo, Mario Kempes, Maradona,
          Neymar Jr., and Messi combined.

      • tes

        Selam Simon,

        I don’t think secularism is the way you are defining it. As Mahmud said, to be secular is to separate religious institutions or beliefs from civic affairs. The way Socialists/Communists see secular state is different from those other types ideologically motivated states.

        I think I like the word “Laïque” – which is a french word for secular but it is not exactly what other countries use to narrate. According to contemporary definition, French thinkers put Laïque as an ideology. First it was introduced(1905) to separate catholic church from the civic affairs of french state. And now are expanding it on Islam. More than 100 years has passed and yet the debate is still going on.

        Therefore it is better to see secularism beyond what you have put.

        tes

        • Simon Kaleab

          Selam tes,

          A State can be secular. A person cannot be a practising Muslim and secular at the same time. But a practising Muslim can live under a secular State.

          • tes

            Selam Simon,

            There is no connection between an individual’s belief and a secular state. I think you have a misundestanding.

            Secularism is freedom of state from any set dogmas and beliefs and allow people to live as they wish without influencing the statehood. Secularism does not interfer with individual or group beliefs/religion and equally it rejects individual or group beliefs/religion to be imposed on a state.

            For example, Saudi Arabia is not a secular statesimply because it is a declared islamic State, hence Islam influences every citizen’s life.

            Turkey is a secular state. The state is therefore free of imposing any belief/religion to its citizens. And the citizens have freedom to observe any belief or religion they want.

            But there is other type of secularism definition. For example, Communist countries like USSR, China, North Korea, Eritrea, etc. are officially states against any religion or beliefs. And these types of states are not secular but anti-religion/belief states. Citizens who live in these states/countries have no freedom of religious practice.

            Of course my center of arguement about Muslim countries is their failure to differentiate state from religion – hence to be secular. Some countries try to prove their legitimacy to be officially religious state based on majority line but the problem of being a religious state does not give freedom of citizens. This becomes worse when Constitution and Laws are designed based the religious doctrines. The case of Sudan – South Sudann division is one typical example.

            Therefore it is good to have a good understanding of what a secular state is. before pinpointing on the belief/religion affiliation of an individual.

            tes

          • Simon Kaleab

            Selam tes,

            I wrote only 4 sentences, it is not difficult to grasp what I am saying.

            We are out of sync.

          • tes

            Selam Simon Kaleab,

            Ok, may be I misunderstood you but this is what it makes me to challenge your take. Remember, even a single word can provoke millions of pages of written thoughts. Do not try to be too much a mathematician.

            1. A person cannot be a practising Muslim and secular at the same time.

            I totally disagree with you.

            1. Turkey is secular country with total number of population of 75 million out of which 99.8% are Muslims.
            2. In America there are are 3.3 Muslims and yet USA is a secular state.

            These simple two facts nullify your statement.

            2. But a practising Muslim can live under a secular State.

            What do you mean by this sentence? I can conspire many things from this. And from what I see, I think it is a negative remark. The word “UNDER” in politics is not really good.

            For these reasons, I tried to avoid collatorally damaging reactions and tried my best to exmplain what it means being a secular.

            I think you are better in x+y = c, where c is a defined number.

            tes

          • MS

            Selam SK
            The sentences you wrote show me you have trouble distilling the concept of secularism (since yesterday). So buddy if we are to continue conversation, you have to do some digging on secularism. As far as Islam versus secularism is concerned, there is nothing in the teaching of Islam that prohibits the applications of the cardinal tenets of secularism. NOTHING. Actually, Islam says little on government. Governance is left to the followers to figure out a system that suites them. To the contrary of the belief of some (those who want to twist the religion for political gains, and those who twist it based on prejudice), there are enough of suggestive insertions that support the idea that the fundamental nature of Islamic faith does not contradict the fundamental natures of secularism. Islamic literature is full of terms and phrases that favor secular system; the literature is replete with words sentences phrases that contain “dialogue”, counsel, counseling, consent…”.
            Coming to your reply, tes has given you extended explanation. I will just ask you to clarify yourself. Two of your three statements don’t make sense. And here is why.
            “A person cannot be a practising Muslim and secular at the same time. But a practising Muslim can live under a secular State [desisting from the political aspects of his religion].”
            a. The first sentence is FALSE. If you think otherwise, please explain.
            b. Your second sentence is confused. Under secularism, a person does not have to desist from any of his/her political aspects of his/her religion. Since the state is secular, the institutions of the state (constitution, judicial system, civic unions….protect citizens from the overreaching of others. For instance, Muslims can call for Sharia in the USA, Canada, Turkey….but the States of those countries and their institutions are based on secular principles, that those demands could be addressed legally and constitutionally. Secular means the state is not going to enforce religious beliefs of some on others, nor some citizens will use the instruments of the state to impose their religious beliefs on others. However, citizens can still remain practicing their religion while abiding by the secular nature of the state and its laws. When threats of zealot occur, such as the ones coming from the current administration, citizens have the backing of their secular constitution to fight back.
            Regards.

          • Fanti Ghana

            Hello Mahmuday & Simon,

            I think explaining secularism from Christian perspective might help. We have “secular priests” and/or “secular clergies” and both mean not a party of any particular institute. A government which is not based on the teachings of any particular religious doctrine is secular. Muslim, Christian, or otherwise.

          • Simon Kaleab

            Selam MS,

            Unfortunately, your arguments are based on a logical fallacy – Strawman.

            I speak about a person being secular, but you switch to describing what a secular State is. You also wriggled out of answering one of my questions.

            No more than three sentences above, which is economy of thought.

          • MS

            Dear SK
            The tactic you are using is age old. It does not merit a response in kind. I was sure you would explain yourself.

          • Simon Kaleab

            Selam MS,

            My tactic of asking nightmarish questions, that stick in the throat.

      • Selamat Simon Kaleab,

        “Wo Allahu AElim” as I have just learned from MaHmooday “The Best” SaliH-Ephors5-E9. The tone of your double edge spear seems to be leading or leaning in a certain direction.

        Yes, I am an AfriCAN that CAN
        An African with a Spear
        With a gift from my father
        Why shall I have fear?

        AmEritrean GitSAtSE Azilo40 Agniyeya Children Books Press

    • tes

      Selam Mahmud Saleh,

      This is an enlightening and very deep. In fact more than I ever expected. It is very educationa. More than that it has answered most of quest and contemplation about Islam.

      Just to share,

      1. I grew – up near a mosque. I need to thank to the morning call for prayer that was aired from the mosque as my family were using it as an alarm. And luckily it is the most pleasant voice I ever used listen during all theses days.

      Allahu Akbar, meaning God is Great!

      2. During my visit to Cairo, I got to know an Egyptian whom we developed good friendship. He is a graduate from Al-Azhar University and his family are religious and decent. He introduced me to all his family. We spent good time to discuss about Islamic teachings, very basic but very insightful. We went together to a mosque and I joined him in his salat. He introduced me on how to make salat. It was great experience.

      But some of his talk continued to resonate in my mind and that is – Islam is the last religion of humanity. I was always fascinated about world religions but this particular incidence had enforced my quest about Islamic teachings and beliefs.

      My fellow up questions are therefore all dimensional. Enough about sharing.

      Now, I would like to ask you further based on your equation.

      You wrote, “To a Muslim: Islam=Aiman=deen; the argument is that if you have become a Muslim, you have already believed in the essence of Islam (faith), and you would not be able to do that if you were not Mudayn (religious).”. this is very important equation and the argument that goes with it is much stronger.

      Here is then what I see the problem with Islam and I believe it is the source of all problems surrounding Islamic teachings.

      The time one can not differentiate faith/belief from religion, there is a strong attachment of the beliefs and daily life. And since daily life is all influenced by politics, either the belief affects politics or politics affects beliefs. In Islam, I see both cases.

      If so, can we conclude that it is hard to separate politics from Islam?

      tes

      • MS

        Selam tes
        You have understood me correctly. And the argument that some Muslims make, particularly, the Selefists, is exactly the problem you mentioned. Now here are the silver lining (and please continue discussing this with your Muslim friends), these are just personal observations:
        -Muslims are as diverse. There are very conservative portion and there are moderate ones. Since rulers like to have the backing of the conservatives, for now they possess the means. But they are being challenged everywhere.
        – There is a pressure from the modern world, cultural, political, economic pressures. Saudi Arabia may claim to be a strictly Islamic Kingdom. It may be domestically Islamic (in order to continue the reign of the royal family), but its ties with the world is based on capitalist principles. Today, you can’t survive and prosper in the world if you are to apply strict Islamic principles in economics and what it entails of transactions. Saudi Arabia is investing in the Western markets. Western capital is sustaining its economy.
        – The majority of the youth and the middle class are calling for liberalized political system, i.e., democratic system.
        – There are already moves towards that direction as I have mentioned in my earlier posting.
        – There is a debate* among scholars on how to make the religion more progressive. Therefore, the current struggle is between reformist elements and the strongly entrenched conservative ones. As both of us have mentioned it, Islam needs reformation, and I think it’s entering that phase.
        * What’s interesting is: if you can tune in on Sudanese TV, you watch a lively debate of citizens about their government policies, about civic issues, human rights, they do elections (does not matter how clean they are, but the conception of “elected government is there”). Compare that with some openly secular governments, starting from our own PFDJ!! Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia have multi-party democracy. Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Mauritania have somewhat secular forms of governments; both Morocco and Jordan are ruled by constitutional monarchies, but they have elections, Unions, private newspapers…etc. All of the above are not admissible in the “selefist” definition of state. Iran, despite its Revolutionary Guard with its Supreme leader, does enjoy a fairly reasonable degree of openness.
        Anyway, also some purport the notion that there is Islamic State, in the truest sense, there is none. But rulers and their hardcore conservative elements who benefit from the states quo are using religion to stay in power.
        – The feasibility and viability of Islamic State in countries of diverse constituencies, like ours, is of course out of the picture.

        • tes

          Selam Mahmud,

          And all Awatistas are cordially invited to drop your opinion or take.

          Very much appreciated. You know I have a thousand questions when it comes on solution oriented discussion. Therefore be patient and kind with me.

          I am coming now to the Eritrean problems.

          I do have an open qualms with Jeberti political movement, the Al-Nahda Party. I do not have any right to interfer on what they want to be as I believe it is their ultimate right to call themselves who they are. I am a strong supporter of rights to Identity, be it at individual level or group of people, as Amanual Hidrat prefers to call it social groupings.

          My problem with Al-Nahda Party is on their aspiration that pushed them to form this party and their advocacy for political power by forming identity based political party.

          The problem is:

          1. They are basically identity based political party that wants to be recognized. This is OK as far it remains political. But I do understand that religion is also injected as part of the recognition process. This might give us a clue on religious inspired political program. I have watched some youtube video which are really worrisome. And I am afraid it might lead to ethnic based conflicts as political power is established to advance their primary agenda.

          What is your understanding on this subjct matter.

          2. I do understand that Jeberti people have a full right to be who they are. In fact, every Eritrean knows who they are. And if they believe that their rights is denied, is their struggle political right or human right issue?

          If, it is political right, as they are working under Al-Nahda Party, it is OK but it might have some reactions that might lead into ethnic conflicts.

          If it is human rights issue, I do believe that no matter what type of resistance they encountered, it is their absolute right to call themselves as they wanted and no one can take it that away. And if they really want to fight a good fight, I do believe that A Civic organization that promotes Jeberti Identity could be the best mechanism to break all barriers. and I don’t see any challenges to be faced.

          I am bringing this because it is a political movement that has combined, religion/faith (according to a Muslim’s take as you testified), human rights issue and politics. And has a potential of creating political conflicts.

          My basic assumptions are:

          One:

          a. A political party is a is a group of people who come together to contest elections and hold power in the government.

          b. A human rights group, or human rights organization, is a non-governmental organization which advocates for human rights through identification of their violation, collecting incident data, its analysis and publication, promotion of public awareness while conducting institutional advocacy, and lobbying to halt these violations.

          c. Civil society is the “aggregate of non-governmental organizations and institutions that manifest interests and will of citizens.

          d. Civil rights include the ensuring of peoples’ physical and mental integrity, life, and safety; protection from discrimination on grounds such as race, gender, national origin, colour, age, political affiliation, ethnicity, religion, or disability; and individual rights such as privacy and the freedoms of thought, speech, religion, press, assembly, and movement.

          e. Political rights include natural justice (procedural fairness) in law, such as the rights of the accused, including the right to a fair trial; due process; the right to seek redress or a legal remedy; and rights of participation in civil society and politics such as freedom of association, the right to assemble, the right to petition, the right of self-defense, and the right to vote.

          (Reference, wikipedia)

          Two:

          I do believe that Jeberti people have civic and political rights like any other Eritrean citizen. But I believe there is a difference between civic rights and politcal rights.

          To conclude, Al-Nahda Party is a party that has a complex formation that has merged identity issue, religious(as per their claims) issue and political power. This might have a never ending conflict of political struggle.

          These are my understanding.

          My question is:

          How far is religion separated from the Eritrean power struggle?

          Of course, there are many cases that need similar synthesis but for today, I think this can give us a general take.

          I thank you.

          tes

          • MS

            Selam tes
            I will skip issues related to AlnaHda party. Honestly, I don’t know it. As far as Jeberti identity question is concerned, you have the best understanding compared to other non-Jeber citizens that I have read or heard about. Most articles, comments and opinions are dismissal and patronizing. My take is simple. As citizens they have every right to raise and frame any issue that is pertinent to them as a community. If identity is one of them so be it. I have confidence in the community that the majority are as reasonable as I think I am and they are not going to let few militants to hijack their cause. I may continue later but for now, forgive, I will be busy. I hope others will help in educating us about Alnahda, and the Alnahda-Jeber link. The point you made regarding Civic vis-à-vis political is important. I’m sure there are better versed folks who could enlighten us.

          • MS

            Selam tes
            You asked:How far is religion separated from the Eritrean power struggle?
            I had it in my mind that I should give it a try, but then forgot to answer that question as I was rushing out.
            How far, I am not sure. But from the configurations of the organizations, it is evident that religion is playing a great deal in Eritrean politics. It has always been there, from the political parties of the 40s-50-s, to the parliament, to the frictions between the leaders of Eritrean organizations, to today’s opposition parties. There are already parties formed on religious agendas. I think raising religious demands is not bad, But they will need to be propagated within the national discourse. When someone sticks to his religious demands, he should not forget that others will also do the same, which will lead to suspicion and stalemate. The other fact of Eritrean politics which, I think, is stronger than religion is regional, and ethnical demands. All these aspects will continue to be the defining characters of Eritrean politics for the near future. We need a national democratic framework that mitigate them.

  • tes

    To all Awatistas,

    Follow-up question:

    Logic – 1

    All Catholics are Christians – hence Christianity
    All Christians are not Catholic.

    Logic – 2

    Christinaity is belief/faith
    Catholic is a religion

    Logic – 3

    All Sunnis are Muslims – hence Islam
    All Muslims are not Sunnis.

    Logic – 4

    Islam is a belief/faith
    Sunni is a religion.

    Do they make sense for you?

    tes

  • Paulos

    Selamat Awatistas,

    How about we get practical and investment savvy Awatista educate us on how to make money. I hear you say, go and read, “Rich Dad Poor Dad” kind of stuff. Thing is I am too lazy to put my hand on it and my synapsis go on a loose to get the gist. One thing I realized is that at the end of the day, it is not “Rodin The Thinker” who rules the world, it is the guy with lots of money and I am sure there is a hidden world elusive to those of us who live from paycheck to paycheck. Statistics tells us that 80% of the millioners in the US make their money through smart investments. I get the investment part but what I seem to miss is the smart part. Any ideas Awatistas?

    • Berhe Y

      Dear Paulos,

      I think this is a good topic and I am sure many awatista can benefit from. Rich Dad, Poor Dad is a scam and don’t waste your money. There is a CBC documentary “The Fifth state” about it and how the scam people using aggressive selling tactics..I think similar to Trump University kind of deal.

      I have tried to study the “Smart Investment” for many years, but I can tell you, I have failed miserably or at least I have not gotten what I though was possible.

      But if you are looking for the best advice on investing, you should look at this two sources.

      1) Graham, the Smart Investor (that’s how Warrent Buffet learned). iSem can tell you all about it…
      2) Warren Buffett and his annual letter to share holders..(all the way back from 1970) you can find it in his website.

      What I have learned from the past 18 years…is the following

      Warren have a very simple smart advice. It’s very simple to understand, yet very difficult to follow (being discipline). The biggest fact is Time, I will tell you what I mean…but to his advice..what he calls them “The FOUR M”.

      M- Meaning
      M – Moat
      M – Margin of Safety
      M – Management

      He said when invest in stocks…you are buying a business there for the business you are buying it should have the 4 M satisfy you. For example, Apple…

      Does it have meaning to you? For me Yes.
      Does it have a Moat? Can other companies attack it and will it fail? Yes..it has a brand…but who knows..
      Does it have margin of safty? What this means is, to find out the intrinsic value of a company / stock price..very hard to do. And then buy the stock at 50% of it’s value..for example if Apple intrnic value is 100..and the stock is selling today 200 then it’s over priced…how ever if the stock dropped to 50 dollars then. you have 50% margin of safety.
      Does it have good management? Steve Jobs was great, the new guy I don’t know. Apple hasn’t invented anything since he passed away (except apple watch) time will tell. He said do not bet on horse but on the jockey.

      Having all said that…then he has two simple rules when investing..

      1) Do NOT lose money
      2) Do Not forget rule 1.

      I can tell you I have I have broken this rules many times…but over…..

      If someone tells you there is easy way to investing…like the day traders, Gold stocks, etc..I think, with the very few…it’s hard…

      Then he a simple rules…because Time is the biggest factor…He says…

      The average person should NOT invest more than 20 times in their life time…You have to act like you have lifetime decision to make…

      Like I said after so many years, I think I come to understand this last statement now. Had I understood the way I understand it now…I would have made a lot of money over the last 18 years….

      Let me repeat again, an average person should not invest more than 20 times in their life time…

      This I think is the only way there could ever be such a thing called smart investor..again I am speaking for us average people…not the inventors. not the entrepreneurs, but average people..who have regular jobs, who have family to feed, who do not have a lot of money to start with…

      20 times in your life time, that means…
      1) Buy Low
      2) Sell High.

      How do you know that…You don’t. no body does but you can have pretty good idea how to time it…

      So for example now the stock market is really high DOW over 20,000….after 2000 crash it was 8000….(dropped from 15,000)….Now I can’t tell you when the market will crash..but it will certainly crash may be in the next year or so….

      So if you follow Buffet advice, sell high buy low…and if you think the stock market has reached high..then you would sell now…(1 Punch card)….and you wait..until the crash happens..a year, 2 years…..In the mean time invest your money in small interest paying (commission free, money market, as good as a cash) that you will be able to access when the crash happens.

      Usually within 6 months after the big crash is a good time to buy…

      Then the next question is. how are you suppose to buy what and how to look for companies that has the 4 M…

      Well if you are an average person and you do not have time to research…then his best advice is to follow the index fund and buy the index instead those that have low commission…

      ON GROWTH OPPORTUNITIES
      “Charlie Munger and I have no magic plan to add earnings except to dream big and to be prepared mentally and financially to act fast when opportunities present themselves. Every decade or so, dark clouds will fill the economic skies, and they will briefly rain gold. When downpours of that sort occur, it’s imperative that we rush outdoors carrying washtubs, not teaspoons. And that we will do.”

      This is exactly why he says..an average person needs to trade 20 times in his life time..that’s 10 times buying and 10 times selling..but this happens every 10 years or so…so average person who has a span of 50 years to invest…may only invest 10 times in his / her life time…

      For me if I can assess my situation in the past 20 years..I would probably invested only 2 times (4 times).. in 2000, dotcom crash and 2009 housing crisis and waiting for the next crash…

      Berhe

      • Paulos

        Selam Berhe,

        Thank you so much really. I am impressed. Can you please dumb-down on the thing you said Moat? Not sure what it means?

        • Berhe Y

          Selam Paulos,

          I read a book sometime ago by Phil Town titled the “Rule #1 Investor”, he basically try to put warrent buffet principle in practice and show you how. He has a blog I use to follow but it’s been a while now, because I find investing with companies / companies is really hard and time consuming and I try to stick what Buffet rules…seat and wait kind of game for the long term investment RRSP (like 401 K) or Child savings..

          Here is how he defines it

          “We want a durable business that we can be assured is going to last a long time. We want that because we need to be able to predict the future in order to know the value of the business today. The future is notoriously unpredictable so we need all the help we can get. We get that help from some kind of monopoly, called Moat.”.

          Buffet best example company is Coke company..

          Berhe

          • Paulos

            Selam Berhe,

            Makes sense thank you again. I know an Eritrean guy who seems to have an extra sense for where the money is. He is already a multi-millionaire and I wouldn’t be surprised if he becomes the first Eritrean billionaire in few years time. As far as I know he never went to any business school or anything like that but again not sure if it is pure luck or what have you but every investment that he makes, he always succeeds. Would you say luck plays a big chunk of it? And what do you say about investing in Ethiopia? Would you say it is risky?

          • Fanti Ghana

            Hello Paulos,

            Do you remember the talk of salary increase for Eritrean troops a while back? Well, I am not sure if that happened or not, but in the interview video of Pres. Isaias with the three reporters recently he gave a clue by saying something like since the price of food/commodity is down, it is equivalent to “salary increase.”

            So, when and if wealth challenged, try the short cut: remove the needs!

          • Paulos

            Selam Fantination,

            Good catch. That is smart. Talk about reverse psychology! Isaias reminds me the lawyer character played by Brad Pitt in the movie “Sleepers.” The lawyer intentionally and subtly argues against his client for a psychological reason only known to the character.

          • Abrehet Yosief

            Selam Paulos,
            Once you have done what Fanti recommends, i.e. spend less 🙂 and until you reach the stage Berhe Y recommends, you can start with mutual funds. Your bank may be able to recommend you to an investment advisor. Yes you pay a fee but most of the time good quality doesn’t come free. The mutual funds usually have a combination of stocks/bonds with different risk/revenue outlook. This will get you used to looking at the reports and charts on a regular basis and the starting small amount you invest will take the “laziness” out of your brain and wake it up so you can continue to invest on your own. You have also to keep in mind that whenever you sell stocks, it is considered a capital gain and you have to pay taxes. In general the higher the risk the higher profit you will get, so the age you start investing and what you expect to get out of it are a big factor. Hence my recommendation to go to an investment advisor. The GERD bonds are open to Ethiopians/foreigners with Ethiopian origin. They are a safe investment (as bonds are most of the time guaranteed) and you feel good having contributed to a good cause, initially they were offering at least 1.25% higher interest than the prevailing bank interest you would get. I don’t know what the bonds are selling for now. You might also look at Nevsun shares, they are dividend paying and if you get together with like minded people you might have a say on how they do their business.

          • Paulos

            Thank you haftey. I really appreciate.

          • Abraham H.

            Selam Abrehet Yosief, I don’t know how you miss this, but as a general rule it is not wise to invest in companies that are operating in connection with dictatorships, and despotic regimes like those of ours. Because, obviously it means propping up these illegal and criminal regimes.

          • Abrehet Yosief

            Selam Abraham H,

            You are right. However, there is also another aspect of it. As a shareholder you can request the board of directors on the methods of their production and influence how they do business. You don’t have to be a majority holder. By getting a proxy from a good number of shareholders, you can influence the corporate governance. Some require the shares to be held for more than a year. I haven’t researched the by laws of Nevsun, but it is an idea that others have used to good cause. Even if a proxy holder could attend a meeting and raise questions during shareholders annual meeting, it causes enough discomfort for the management. There is more than one way to fight a dictatorships.

          • Abraham H.

            Selam Abrehet, yes, there are various ways of standing up to a dictatrship, but this is not one of them. Investing in a company where the PFDJ owns 40% of the stakes can never be fighting against the PFDJ unless you are dishonest. Firstly , your reply to Paulos was geared towards how he could make money fast, it is mainly now when I challenged you that you are bringing this indirectly infleuncing the Nevsun management by getting shares in the company. Since when did the PFDJ become answerable to its trade partners? To be direct, Nevsun and the Eritrean mafia regime are partners in business as they are also partners in exploiting Eritrean labor and natural resources. And what we have so far witnessed is a Nevsun management that works hand and glove with the Isayas regime in the exploitation of Eritreans.
            In my opinion the main reason the Isayas regime has survived so long despite its unimaginable transgressions against the Eritrean people is because we Eritreans are so muted in our resistance. We prefer to give in to the powerful rulers and live by conforming to the oppression instead of having the courage to stand for our rights. Worse yet, many of us offer direct or indirect support to our oppressors. And as long as we keep on this self-defeating behaviour, we would never free ourselves from the shackles of the dictator and Isayas is guaranteed to rule until his death and beyond through his ‘heirs’.

          • Abrehet Yosief

            Selam Abraham H.
            First, it was not after you “challenged” me that I discussed the opportunity that a being share holder offers a chance to influence corporate governance. This is what I said. “You might also look at Nevsun shares, they are dividend paying and if you get together with like minded people you might have a say on how they do their business”. Second, buying shares of Nevsun in the stock market doesn’t mean investing in the company. Unless PFDJ is selling its shares, which I doubt since it would decrease the percentage of their holding, purchasing shares or selling doesn’t enrich them further. While, the ideal solution is for PFDJ to be eliminated and Nevsun or any other company to make sure they are dealing with a legitimate government and observe social and environmental obligations, until that happens, I believe confronting the system in all fronts is a good idea.

          • Abraham H.

            Selam Abrehet Yosief, thanks for your reply, you said, “Second, buying shares of Nevsun in the stock market doesn’t mean investing in the company”; of course it is investing, by doing so you’re making capital available to Nevsun and keeping the company afloat. It would not be exaggeration if we say Nevsun is in actual terms the Bisha mining company, because that is its almost only means of survival. And in my book, anyone who does business with Nevsun, hence doing business with the mafia regime of Isayas, has a hand in the oppression of Eritreans and engaged in deriving blood money.
            Your reply to Paulos was mainly to give him your advice on how he could make easy money; so it surprises me how on earth would you choose Nevsun from millions other potential and conscientious companies where he could invest in?

          • Abrehet Yosief

            Selam Abraham H.
            The only time Nevsun gets capital from selling shares is at the initial offering. After that shares are exchanged in the stock market and the shareholder make/lose money. I picked Nevsun because I wanted to say while investing there is an opportunity to influence a company. I cannot explain any further. There is no need to sweat this any further as I am not actively pushing for anyone to buy Nevsun shares. It was suggestion and you don’t agree with it.

          • Abraham H.

            Abrehet, very bad suggestion!

          • Fanti Ghana

            Hello Abrehet Y,

            You have noticed my economic advice to Paulos, so you know I am the last person to talk about shares and markets, but I have a question of curiosity.

            If some group manage to buy a great amount of Nevsun shares, can they decide or influence what the rate of pay and work hours should be?

          • Berhe Y

            Dear Abreham H.

            Although you are correct by stating that investing in Nevsun is also means investing in the PFDJ government but Abrehet is correct in stating that you have a chance to influence the company.

            You are correct, the PFDJ is not accountable to any body but Nevsun is, to it’s shareholders. If it wasn’t for the bad press the PFDJ / Eritrea gets, Nevsun and it’s valuation should be at least 10 or more dollars per share. It’s a cash cow..it has one of the industry highest paying dividends, zero debt and lots of cash….but public opinion and media does matter. And those people running Nevsun know this very well and they would do anything to change that, to raise the share price of the company, as they did by paying American Journal / Burton.

            To get back to Abrehet example, if you have 1000 dollars, does it matter if someone gives you 1 cent or if you lose 1 cent. If you are like most people, the answer is no…but if you lose 1 cent to 1000 people may be you will start to pay attention.

            Say you buy 10 shares of Nevsun, and that’s 50 dollars. Nevsun is valued close to 1 billion dollars do you think your 10 shares would make a difference for the capital of the company.

            But if you have 1000 people buying 10 shares, may be it will have some impact.

            Buying 10 shares, you will be privileged to receive the annual reports, the share holders meetings, the public seminars, where there will be opportunity to ask question, to demonstrate, to show outrage and since there will be media companies that will invited to the same meeting, you get a chance to expose the company for all it’s “bad dealings” to the world. By doing so you hurt the shares of the company “bad news and publicity” and you make your voices heard. The company can’t kick you out, escort you out or can’t give you a chance to speak…And if there are 100 people showing up to these meetings, you can guess what the outcome will be.

            I think it’s good that we understand the system and work with the system out to have maximum effect. Protesting against Nevsun this way will probably have much better results than what we have attempted before.

            Berhe

          • Abraham H.

            Selam Berhe, context matters, and the reason why we are speaking at all about this issue is because Paulos asked the forum about some advice as to how make fast money. And he got a reply from you and Abrehet about how to do so; Abrehet recommended him Nevsun as one example. The other talk about trying to influence the company’s policy of doing business in Eritrea by buying shares in the company is just a Big Lie. Be honest folks, most, if not all of the diaspora Eritreans who might have invested in Nevsun and other PFDJ owned companies are doing so by the pure motivation of earning money, not this silly claim of yours “to influence the company”, please go tell that to your mom! If you are in Toronto go out in the streets and demonstrate against the investment of Nevsun in PFDJ mafia controlled Eritrea, that way you could do more help than what you are proposing.

          • Berhe Y

            Selam Abraham,

            First of all I don’t own shares of Nevsun and I am not suggesting anyone invest on Nevsun or not. And no body suggested that if those Eritreans investing (if there are I don’t know) are doing so to influence or not.

            So no body is lying about anything. I understood Abrehet comment in exactly they way she meant it and I commented. And no body is suggesting this method is better than other means.

            i don’t know if you read what I comment here and I sure you gave read Abrehet. In your mind, do you think that she or I have any sympathy to the PFDJ regime, to just second guess people intentions.

            You don’t agree fine.

            Berhe

          • Saleh Johar

            Dear Berhe, Abrehet and Abraham,
            Some ten years ago Nevsun was holding a meeting in San Francisco and information about Nevsun’s operation was so scanty. We at awate prepared a poster/leaflet to urge people to attend, demosntate, or do anything they can at the venue of the meeting. We also suggested that a few Eritreas get together and buy some stocks so that we remain in the loop as what is happening. That is because, as Berhe said, a stockholder is entitled to get information and attend meetings. No one heeded our suggestion.
            Coming to your point, I do not conider NEVSUN a good investment and will not encourage others to invest it, because it is mining on contested area whose owners are absented. The nature of Nevsun’s operation are exposed to risks and it might be a target–it is benefiting the tyranny.
            The contradiction is that the PFDJ encourages its affiliates to invest in Nevsun and if the opposition does the same, it is aukward and I do not know how to explain it. As for the capital influence of Eritan capital, I dount we have much wealth to even make a dent in any high netwroth enterprise.
            At any rate, here are my views that were first published on Oct. 11, 2006, and republished on April 11, 2012: http://awate.com/mining-for-truth-at-nevsuns-bisha-mines/comment-page-1/

          • Abraham H.

            Selam SGJ, could please clarify what you wanted to say with “The contradiction is that the PFDJ encourages its affiliates to invest in Nevsun and if the opposition does the same, it is awkward and I do not know how to explain it.”? Opposition investing where? In Nevsun? In Eritrea? I think what we know so far the opposition let alone to invest capital, its members are even not allowed in PFDJ’s Eritrea to get a final burial grounds in their motherland.

          • Saleh Johar

            Hi Abraham,
            It’s like me advising you to invest in Nevsun. Awkward, isn’t it.

          • Abraham H.

            Hi SGJ, you made it even more complicated, why not say exactly what you wanted to say? You advising me to invest in Nevsun? Why would you advise me to invest in Nevsun, a company that benefits your and my mortal enemy? Even if you would advice me so, I would not heed it because I’m not ready to be associated with the PFDJ in any shape or form.

          • Saleh Johar

            Hi Abraham,
            What I wrote is very clear. But let me expand since you are having problems understanding it.

            I am in the opposition and you are also an opposition member. I cannot tell you to invest in a PFDJ financial concern because I do not want these concerns to grow. Therefore, an opposition member advising another opposition member to invest in a PFDJ concern is awkward. It’s contradicts the notion of opposition unless the investment is planned in a way that would weaken the PFDJ, otherwise, I believe it’s not a right thing to do. Therefore, I wrote, if an opposition member asks you to invest in the Red Sea corporation for example, it is awkward because it will be LIKE me asking you to do the same, which I will never do.

            Your other questions should be clear from the above explanation. I hope I explained enough because I do not know how else to explain it–unless someone in this forum can help explain it, provided they understand my comment, and not complicate it more 🙂

          • Abraham H.

            Selam SGJ, my bad, I misunderstood you. This is how I understood the part I quoted, assuming that you were defending Abrehet in her recommending Nevsun for investment, and assumimg Abrehet belongs to the opposition: “The contradiction is that the PFDJ encourages its affiliates to invest in Nevsun and if the opposition does the same, it is [considered] awkward and I do not know how to explain it”.

          • Berhe Y

            Dear Paulos,

            Billionaire Eritrean..wow that’s amazing..I hope he does. I don’t think it’s luck..I think it requires a lot of discipline and patience…

            I think timing is very important and understanding long term is probably the safe bet. Picking individual companies and stocks, I think personally it’s very hard, ..but it’s like gambling. I had a friend (Canadian I use to work) who use to do day trades, with options, margins etc..and his approach is ..out of 7 trades he makes..he expect to lose in 6 trades..but make money with 1. But that one trade he makes money, he expect to make enough to cover his loses and make more. And he did made money that way..but I think he spends a lot time looking at the charts, etc….almost a full time job (even more).

            Warren Buffet they advice people to invest in companies that have long term benefits (where the stock to does not fluctuate) but stay study because they provide items / products the public needs and they pay dividends…like Johnson and Jonson, Coca Cola, Gillette etc..

            As to investing in Ethiopia, honestly I do not have much knowledge. I don’t even know how to go about doing it…I heard people buy real state and made lots of money but unless you have a lot of cash to inject (FDI) and setup shop there (factory), I have no idea.

            For example in Ethiopian Airline sells shares, yes I would recommend it, because it has the 4 M I think….may be the banking sector..

            One area that I think it’s may be a good investment is in the GERD bonds…again, I don’t know the terms.

            As to the risk, I think it is there. Specially considering the political situation, I think there is a greater risk compared to other countries who are stable / democratic. But who is to say, considering how things turned out in China and other emerging countries.

            But I think over all Africa is a good place with good potential today…but I have zero knowledge..

            Berhe

          • Paulos

            Selam Berhe,

            That really helps a lot. Thank you again. Last question, which book would you recommend?

          • Berhe Y

            Hi Paulos,

            For smart person like i think The Intelligent Investor would be good. I think it’s the only book Buffet recommends..but it’s a little bit over my head..

            But this book “The Dhandho Investor” by Mohnish Pabrai considered one of the disciples of Buffet on value investing is at level that can make sense.

            Berhe

          • Paulos

            Thank you Berhe.

          • Berhe Y

            Dear Paulos,

            You are welcome. I hope Amde, Saay and others can add a lot.

            Berhe

  • Abraham H.

    Dear Fanti, thanks a lot for your tolerance and replies; I’ve to leave this thread here.

  • tes

    Selam Mahmud Saleh,

    It is the first time that I came to agree with almost all what you said except very few lines. But these lines will not hinder us from discussing further as we have agreed on strong points. Lets move on therefore.

    As you have revealed perfectly, the merging of:

    1. Faith and religion
    2. Religion with State

    Are the two common problems. I strongly believe as such. What I like most about secular world is that ordinary people have complete freedom to practice whatever faith they have or in whatever religious group they belong. The time a state declares its constituent based on religion or religious doctrine, the more it becomes conservative. And this conservative attitude blocks any type of evolution or transformation. More than that there is intolerance towards other groups.

    For example, all the Islamic States have problem in this aspect. It is hard to swallow what is going on in Saudi Arabia. The state being Islamic, no other religion is accepted there.

    The awareness that we need to develop in our Eritrean fellow is therefore differentiating faith and religion. I think Turkey’s modernization is good example.

    A follow-up question:

    1. Do you think it is possible for a Muslim to differentiate his/her faith from religion?
    2. Can we categorize the different branches of Islam as religion? Like -Sunni, Shia and all other divisions?

    tes

    • MS

      Selam tes;
      My interest is religion and politics.The questions you posed are interesting. My knowledge in the area is limited. They need educated answers. I hope others will join in. As far as the political side of it is concerned, I have no problem discussing it. Someone who believes in another religion does not hurt me. A nonbeliever does not hurt me. A sinner does not hurt me. The person that hurts me is someone who tries to impose his/her interpretations of religion on me, it does not matter if that person is from my religion or from other religions. That’s why looking at faith as a personal choice is more competent with the 21st century.

      • Simon Kaleab

        Selam MS,

        You have many positive and interesting ideas, but you are treading too cautiously.
        “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”

      • tes

        Selam Mahmud,

        I am also more interested on the political side. My approach is trying to be more methodological at its best. And so far so good.

        Not mixing again between a Muslim politician and Muslim’s politics, I understand that there are Muslims who manipulate Qur’an to build their own fanatic political agenda. For example, ISIS uses exploited for a known ended objective of Qur’anic teachings to hire and control recruited* memebers.

        Don’t mind me if I sound naive. I have ample references when I am delving into this subject matter: politics and religion.

        For example, Eritrean Orthodox Church was and is an active instrument exploited by PFDJ to suppress religious freedom in Eritrea. I remember attendants of Sunday Schools, in Tigrigna, Bet- Timhrti Senbet aggressively attacking Pentecost adherents and to some extent against Catholic church. These attendants use a term, “Menafikan”, one who doesn’t believe on the core teachings of the church, and is considered an enemy. The politics of such labelling is beyond one can imagine. I was closely observing such bad politics and I think I have a lot to say in the future. But its effect is still alive and is affecting to a large extent Eritrean diaspora community. Let me address it in the future.

        Saying that my curiousity of differentiating faith from religion is purely politics. In my opinion, if we are able to develop a wider understanding on the notion of faith and religio and there by able to differentiate them well, the probability of creating peaceful atmosphere is fairly easy.

        I might not be knowledgeable enough but I could have categorized Islam as a faith and Sunni, Shia and other branches and school of though under Islamic faith as “Religions”. Doing this can help us to clearly differentiate their doctrine and teaching methodology. So far they are under the cover of Islam as a glo al religion and people are in a constant confusion.

        For example, in Christianity, there are different churches pr religions. Catholics, Orthodox, Protestant, Jehovah Witness, etc. And further, just like Islamic school of though, each religion is further divided into sub religions.

        FOR EXAMPLE, ORthodox Church is divided into Greek Orthodox, Coptic, Russian, Armenian, etc. Though the term ‘Orthodox’ put them in one religion based on their interpretation of Jesus Christ, the way they practice their rituals and way of life is different. For example, eating habits of porc meat.

        As I can see in the discussions and from what I read, I think simimar conclusions can be made. Hence we might treat different branches of Islam as religions. And each religion to have different sects. Doing this can help us creating public awareness and develop a reconciliatory system that can minimize conflicts of continuous misunderstanding.

        To conclude, my approach is purely political and searching a solution on what Saleh Johar has brought for us.

  • said

    GREETINGS
    Moderator
    First i just hope you read my general comments prior to your deleting and It is not true what you have said and I think you are too hard and not fair. Can you tell me and point out ,the big chunks that I did sourced properly you mentioned .one sentence ,or one line, you are totally wrong, with all the respect to you. I will be first person to admit and I will apologize.I couldn’t help but respond to your detailed and good article. i put well-informed comment and is far more relevant to the above article. . These reform scholars I referred and sourced out , I put their name and their work briefly the like Dr. Mohammad Shahrour, The late George Tarabishi, a Syrian Christian, Tunisian Hisham Ju’ait, the US Chief Supreme Court, Ali-Abdel Razek, like Taha Hussein, great Lebanese scholar Hussein Mroui, The late Algerian Mohammad Arkoun, professor at the Sorbonne Professor, like Moroccan Fatimah Al-Mernisi, Abdallah Al-Erwi and the late Mohammad Abed Al-Jabri. Egyptian Professor Hamed Nasr, Islamic clergy. Syrian Jalal Sadek El-Azem, what could be more reference and source than this .but to imply less is beyond my control. Sorry to burden you with these poorly reasoned and random thoughts. Just to let you know that I always read your writings faithfully and with greatest interest.

    • Saleh Johar

      Ahlan Said,
      I wrote the article, but you are responding to the moderator! My advise, as moderators we are not allowed to debate moderation issues with forum members. If you have anything with the writer, it is and I will engage with you as much as I can. My second advise, just accept or reject the moderators notes and move on. You can still comment to your heart’s content.

      I saw your exchange and what I found it is the moderator explained what he thinks because you insisted on knowing it. Otherwise, there was no need for this. I suggest you move on.

      • said

        Salam Saleh,
        You have put Dr. Adnan video ,I have known him for years and many great scholars and many independent free thinkers have pointed out many his enormous errs and contradiction . To the Enlightened Muslim scholar Dr.Bassam Jarrar also Palestinian from west bank pointed out Dr.Adnan Ibrahim basic ignorance and mistake he makes . Judged for your self, please see as below
        short video dr Bassam Jarrar vs dr.Adnan Ibrahim
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eiD-Z9QaGag

        • Saleh Johar

          Ahlan Said,
          you said, Bassam “pointed out Dr.Adnan Ibrahim basic ignorance and mistake he makes.”

          I have seen that and worse–some selefis have said Adnan is “Murted” and you know what follows that accusations. My conclusion is they are too jealous of him because they cannot engage a fraction of the young that he inspires. Had you read article attentively, you would not have missed the following:
          “I have watched and listened to his lectures diligently and I have also listened to his detractors—there is no comparison in quality and depth. Compared to him, his detractors appear as amateurs.”
          But thank you, I have listened to Bassam and many others, their views is not palatable to me–but they can keep defaming Adnan without coming close to demolishing his views, apparently you have a different view. Dr. Adnana has over 200 clips on YouTube and for Bassam to accuse Dr.Adnan Ibrahim of “basic ignorance and mistake, doesn’t fly. But as I said, there is an army of preachers of the establishments that is out to get Adnan–do you think any the type of preachers who think singing, dancing, smiling would approve of Adnan? You think any preacher who says ISIS is a true Muslim movement would approve of Adnan? You think a sheikh who states raiding people and taking slaves, then selling them would improve the economy would approve of Adnan? I do not think so–exhibit maybe available on request, but please do not ask… google it instead, if you wish
          Finally, I am really not interested in Adnan but his lectures, though I believe he one of the smartest preachers, if not the smartest. The topic of my article was more of a phenomenon, and more. That’s all.

          • tes

            Selam Saleh,

            Just a question –

            Have you ever come to know Tariq Ramadan? He is a Professor in Islamic Theology who is influencing Europe on the way they think about Islam. His teachings are also getting some ground in Africa, like Senegal.

            If you happen to know him, could you shade some of your opinions about his teachings.

            tes

          • Saleh Johar

            Hi Tes,
            Yes I know him and I have read the history of his father and why he ended up in Europe. Tariq is okay in my view, but he is not a heavy weight–it could be that he grew up outside the Muslim culture, but he sounds like a guy who grew up in New York, teaching Tigrinya 🙂

          • tes

            Selam Saleh Johar,

            This is great response. You have said it all on how you take him. In France, he is among the heavy weight. He is always there when new scenarios develop. I am following his discourse for the last 3 years. I also follow some on Peace TV but I found Tariq more logical. Despite that I am far from teachings of Islam. Hopefully to know deeper as time goes on.

            tes

          • A.Osman

            Selamat Saleh,

            I have tried to listen to Tariq Ramadan in the past, I do not find him appealing maybe because his focus is on presenting Islam to the West or clarifying misconceptions….charisma may also be missing…. However, Adnan focuses on Muslims, addresses current issues, untangles difficulties, comes up with novel interpretations and covers wide ranging topics. Also the depth of his knowledge in Islam and Science makes him the heavyweight that you call him.

            Regards
            AOsman

          • Fanti Ghana

            Hello Memhir,

            Today was a good day. I have an Egyptian dear friend who happens to be an amazing scholar on Islam and the history of our region. I have known him for over 25 years. About 20 years ago, I gave him the nick name “MTT” (Morality Test Tool). He is one of my treasures.

            After listening to Dr. Adnan’s videos you posted, I was totally impressed and delighted. So, this morning I stopped by my MTT’s house to ask him about what he thinks about Dr. Adnan’s teaching and/or whether he knows him or not. Indeed, he knows him very well and he added “he is the best there is.”

            As far as I am concerned, Dr. Adnan has passed with flying colors.

          • said

            Salam Saleh
            I just wanted to point out for you ,a very simple example that Adnan challenged his audience ,he says you will never find a single Ayah(Verse) in Qur’an about the Al-Malaa’ikah (Angels)
            that say they believe (yumunoon) in Allah .Adnan quotes instead the angles they wittiness Allah ,this is serious challenge , Bassam quoted for him the Ayah *Verse) from Qur’an. that the Al-Malaa’ikah (Angels)
            they do believe in Allah. Adnan is denying ALLAH revelation in the Quran . Those [Angels] who carry the Throne and those around it exalt [Allah] with praise of their Lord and Believe in Him Chapter (40) sūrat ghāfir (The Forgiver God)

            This so obvious.

          • A.Osman

            Selamat Said,

            Come on, he did not deny – he just assumed a case on a premise and the error was clarified.

            I have listened to that piece about angels, what Dr Adnan was saying is since belief/faith is about the unseen, the angels know God with certainty and do not need to believe. Based on that premise, he states that all verses in the Quran that mention the angels would not deal with them believing. Once the other sheikh gave an example, Adnan in another clip explained it away by saying it does not mean the literal meaning of belief in the unseen.

            I think Islamically we believe, that nobody has seen Allah, even the angels, so they are a degree above us……….even in Bible there is a statement ….no one has seen God and lived…Exodus 33:20.

            What I like about Adnan is that he is person that tell you I made a mistake and readjust his view on any topic, provided you have a valid challenge.

            Regards
            AOsman

          • Saleh Johar

            Ahla A Osman and Said,
            De ham etto. I have listened to Adnan either explain himself more if such a confusion arises. But those who do not like his views are mostly fault finders and jump into accusing him out of context. I hope Said doesn’t believe there is a literal throne on which God sits like a human being! Also, dear Said, I hope you are aware of the perpetual theological difference among the Mujessima and other sects. One example is the difference of interpretation of “Al ‘arsh estewa” . Bassam took a piece out of context to score a point and then disappeared.

            I was a victim of such willful misquote recently, the crazy fascists took a few words from a speech and went: has, saleh Johar doesn’t like Christians. I think Bassam is Agazian 🙂

            Dear Said, please do not make this about Adnan, it is about a culture of ignorance some people from the selefi sect imposed on Muslims.

  • Abraham H.

    Selam All, what surprises me of faiths or religions is that there are many types of them. Does this mean that there are many ‘Creators’? I feel that the various religions are mutually cancelling each other. Let’s say I believe in Islam, but according to the other religions I would not be saved when the day of reckoning comes, because I don’t believe in those other religions. Likewise also for soemone who believes in one of the other religions than Islam.
    PS. Sorry guys if this feels blasphemous to those of us who are religious.

    • Saleh Johar

      Hi Abraham,
      It is not blasphemous. You just need to study the issue on your own because your question is about human behavior and it doesn’t happen I. religious issues only. Take our views on the PFDJ for example. Or our views on many topics– they are diverse and sometimes may lead to conflicts. It’s human behavior, not religion. That is why people call for accepting diversity, in all aspects of our lives.

      • Abraham H.

        Selam SGJ, I feel your example of other aspects of human life like politics is not relevant to my question, because those aspects are man made. But my concern was about the main religions which are said to be devine messages sent to human beings from some all powerful ‘Creator’.

        • Saleh Johar

          Hi Abraham,
          I am out, with apologies 🙂

          • Abraham H.

            Selam SGJ, I respect your decision, thanks for engaging me.

        • Fanti Ghana

          Hello Abraham H,
          I will give it a shot.

          Assume for instance God send us a message through someone God knows is righteous. The messenger tells us the message. To be absolutely sure, we ask questions, we get clarifications…etc., and over time this messages will be passed on from generation to generation long after the original messenger has passed away.

          Since the message was meant for all people with different intelligence levels and vast stretch of time, it is possible it will contain ideas and concepts that make sense at one time but no longer does at another and so on.

          Add to that the human element SGJ mentioned such as different people having different understanding of the same message. That will ultimately cause scholars adding, omitting, or modifying parts of the message sometimes with good intention at others for bad or greedy intentions.

          Before you know it there will be multiple schools that will have their versions as the only truth at least, from their perspective.

          • Abraham H.

            Selam Fanti, thanks for taking the effort to explain to me; so what I get from your post is the messege from the Creator is one and the same to all humans but they / their respective God’s messengers to be exact, have interpreted it in different ways, hence we ended up having the various religions? If so which one of the current religions is the correct one, or the closest to the original messege of God? And does this mean that the followers of the ‘other’ religions that do not believe in this ‘real message of God’ doing so in vain?

          • sara

            Dear Abraham- i think this will sufficiently answer your doubts–the Quran says…. “People, We created you all from a single man and a single woman, and made you into races and tribes so that you should know one another. In God’s eyes, the most honored of you are those that are best in conduct. God is all-knowing, all-aware.”

          • Hayat Adem

            St. Fanti,
            Einstein was asked about the popularity of his theory and the over 900 hundred books written by so many authors explaining it in so many different ways. Well, there could be over 900 people claiming to understand my thoughts but as far as I know, only 12 people in the world have fairly understood the essence of it.

          • Fanti Ghana

            Hello Hayata,

            What a perfect example!
            By the way, I hate your job.

          • Hayat Adem

            St. Fanti,
            hahaha.. my friend once faced a strange adjective in a night club. I couldn’t make any sense out of it. maybe people like Amde can explain why Tigrigna speaking people are described that way..but may be it is a very localized version and even Amde may not be aware.. but I’m sure it can’t escape Abi.. are you around, Abi?
            Man (in amharic, aggressive tone): oh.. you look so gorgeous…my name is Abate..what is yours?
            My friend (in accented Amharic): Well, thank you..I’m Semhar (not actual).
            The man (still smiling): tSilla nesh (are you tSilla)?
            My friend (a bit confused): Well, I could be; but what does tSilla mean?
            (Those who heard the exchange laughed and laughed..)
            No what brought this..yes.. yes:
            Okay St. Fanti.. you could be damn right about my job but what is my job!?

          • Fanti Ghana

            Hello Hayata,

            You’re right, this joke looks like tailored for Abi. I even imagined a few things he might have said.

            Oh, the job: whatever the heck it is it is keeping you away from us, and it is testing my limits.
            “The Nile” arrived last month! It is now #3 in the waiting list. Nice cover so far!

          • Hayat Adem

            Dear St. Fanti,
            That is fantastic. You will not regret. The Nile has a lot of new stuff and honesty.

          • Hayat Adem

            Dearest Dis Donc,
            How are you? You are not gracing this forum as much these days. And, this could be my way of bringing you out of your den on to here.
            Seriously though, Is it it a sacredly protected zone? You don’t even allow me to repeat what Einstein said?
            Cheers,
            Hayat

          • Dis Donc

            Dear hayat,
            I didnt want it to come out bad but there are really bad stuff in there. I would be very careful about it. That is all. Really really bad stuff that I would rather not write it here! Sorry for not coming often but too busy….

          • Hayat Adem

            Hi Dis Donc,
            I guessed that right- you were so busy!
            Honestly, this Dis Donc doesn’t sound the Dis Donc I know from previous exchanges. I’m not a physicist but a real physicist would always find it difficult to motivate non-physicists to be interested in any aspect of physics, not to scare them away, saying: “really bad stuff!” What happened to you? Are you now in the business of making a sacred cow out of physics, or what:)
            Hayat

          • Dis Donc

            Derar Hayat,
            Sorry for the late response, I was out for an engagement. Actually, I am saying similar to what you are saying. If you had known the subject thgoroughly you would have refrained from the comments that get thrown around, here in this site. Only if you have known…. No matter! I will let it go from now on as I cannot be here full time to explain it. See you next time!

          • Fanti Ghana

            Hello Dis Donc,

            I am seconding Hayat’s curiosity whether you are our Dis Donc or an imposter.

            “Only if you have known…. No matter! I will let it go from now on as I cannot be here full time to explain it”

            “If you had known the subject thgoroughly you would have refrained from the comments that get thrown around, here in this site.”

            A few days ago, you warned Amde and Paulos for “mixing things up” followed by some halewlew although there was no mix up of any sort.

            High arrogance = low self steam.

          • Fanti Ghana

            Hello Hayata,

            This is not our Dis Donc!

            a couple of days ago, Blue Asmara posted a comment somewhere else impersonating some other commentator with the obvious intention of black mailing him.

            The tone and level of arrogance I noticed in the last 2-3 days fits Blue Asmara and no where near our Dis Donc.

          • Hayat Adem

            Hi St Fanti,
            That clears the fog adequately. Thanks.

          • Abraham H.

            Selam Fanti, this is, indeed, ‘our Dis Donc’ as his comments, including those that fall to your taste, are freely visible on his account. All you need to do is click at his username.

          • Fanti Ghana

            Hello Abraham H,
            Thanks. You maybe right. If that is the case it is quite a change of personality.

    • Dear Abraham H.,

      I am sorry for delving into a sort of religious philosophy, for this is not the aim of the discussion, and much more, i am not the right person for this job. Nevertheless, in my opinion, at least the two religions believe in the one and only God, and they are not cancelling each other. If human beings have tried to portray God as if He belongs exclusively to the one or the other group, it is the work of human beings. I believe that it is the actions of a person and not his words that are going to save him. Jesus had said so on many occasions, and i believe it. As Dostoyevsky has wrote in his book, the Karamazov brothers, if there is someone who can move a mountain, it won’t be the pope, any other religious leader, or a famous general, but somebody unknown, who lives a humble life and does good, somewhere in some small corner of the world. This tells that good practice in life is much more important than anything else. All religions are meant to be for the good of all human beings and to serve the human society. If they have missed their target, it is human beings who are responsible.

      Taking this chance, i would have liked to say that examining the positive role the two religions should play, will take us to a sober and fruitful discussion. We should acknowledge that their is a politicized bigotry towards religions, which could lead the world to a catastrophe. Let us hope that there will come a time when race and religion are beyond any sort of scrutiny, and are seen as exclusively personal things.

    • Burhan Ali

      A’ Sheikh ‘l akbar Mudhyeddin Ibn Arabi a leading Muslim Sufi of the 12th century wouldn’t find it blasphemous but he will perhaps see in it a little lack of attention, He would address your problem, in the form of a poem thus:

      My heart can take on

      any form:

      a meadow for gazelles,

      a cloister for monks,

      For the idols, sacred ground,

      Ka’ba for the circling pilgrim,

      the tables of the Torah,

      the scrolls of the Qur’án.

      I profess the religion of love;

      wherever its caravan turns along the way,

      that is the belief,

      the faith I keep.

      From Poem 11 of the Tarjuman al-Ashwaq, translation by Michael A. Sells.

  • tes

    Selam Mahmud Saleh,

    Though science may reveal what is secret, there will still be unanswered questions about beliefs and religious doctrines. I agree with you on the Scriptures. Those Holy Books are written and compiled by human being. But the power that let these words to be written will still continue to be mysterious.

    And the search for this mystery will continue to enforce religious faiths of all beliefs. The more human being delves into scientific research related to faith, the more religions will continue to be produced. We can look into spirit Science today, it became a religion.

    tes

  • said

    Greetings,

    I can comfortably profess that all the elements of starting the process of Reform in the Islamic Doctrine, Narratives and Islamic heritage are well in place. What’s truly lacking is the Political Will on the part of both the Ruling Classes and the Western Hegemonic forces, foremost the US, to getting that process rolling in earnest to reaching fruition by the realization of the process’s objective of effecting profound reform in Islamic thought and profound transformation of the Islamic mind.
    There now exist huge wide scholarly produced literature and committed well-learned and well-versed scholars in the Islamic doctrine and Islamic heritage who are strong advocates and proponents for the commencement in earnest of a Reform Process in the Islamic thought, dominant popular Islamic narratives and the espousing of serious critical scrutiny of the inherited Islamic heritage at large. These great scholars, present and expired, have produced volumes of well-researched and well scrutinized literature examining every aspect of Islamic thought and Islamic literature as they stand ready, at the forefront, as exemplified in some of the examples below, to blaze the path and enlist vociferously for the advancement of the process of Islamic reform.
    These reform scholars are tackling reform in Islamic thought to causing a profound change in Muslims’ minds to render Muslims in general more susceptible to more inclusive universal vision and the espousing of a more universal perspective through relentless, conscious and multi-pronged endeavors, including:
    • More accurate interpretation and exegeses of the Qur’an as the Islamic foremost holy book relying on better understanding and interpretation of the Arabic language and linguistic renderings in which the Qur’an was revealed to Prophet Mohammad(SWSA)in the first place. This, besides engaging in critical scrutiny and re-examination of the different and varied historical settings and the full contexts, often referred to as the occasion, under which certain Islamic Qur’anic verses were revealed.
    • The necessity to completely separate the Qur’an, the main and only source of revelations and as communicated to Prophet Mohammad(SWSA) , the messenger, the sole living authority of the conveyance of the Message during his life time; and the Hadith, the related Actions and Sayings reported on the Prophet, i.e. the “Prophet’s Tradition” as compiled and related very long time, almost centuries after the Prophet, the true authority’s demise.
    • Revisiting and reinterpreting the accumulated huge narratives of the Islamic Heritage in light of historical scrutiny. Huge nearly unfathomable body accumulated Islamic narratives and heritage remains off bound to be treaded with enormous caution since it acquired through contrived motivations often treated off limit under the guise of sacrosanct limitations and folkloric generally public observed taboos.

    Beside the existence of numerous Islamic reform scholars who are well-versed in the interpretation and exegeses of the Qur’an reliant on great proficiency, there are thousands scholar and Islamic theologians through the era unmatched, in their knowledge of Qur’anic explanation and Jurisprudence (Al-Shari’a) and the Arabic language, there have to be Majority Consciences among grand accepted scholar and theyare well known in their particular field of knowledge and in any particular theological issue, their opinions to be fully accepted ,those of our time and latest names I put here in, are not accepted by vast majority scholar they tried in their own way to reform but failed , the like Dr. Mohammad Shahrour, have not earned their place yet a retired Syrian university professor, is a well-published and most articulate proponent of a more relevant interpretation of the Qur’an based on verified philology of the language, Arabic, that in which the Qur’an had originally been conveyed to the Prophet. Professor Shahrour and other Muslim reform scholars on his line seek the bringing out of the true intended meanings and made the more relevant in view of the reality of changing times and changing historic settings. The Links below give but a few examples of the multitudes of speeches and debates that Professor Shahrour was engaged in addressing the different points of contentions in the popular misconstrued perceptions and prevalent exegesis and interpretations of the Qur’an that increasingly poses as in dissonance and even out of sync with the intended purposes and meanings.
    Professor Shahrour’s book, “Al-Kitab Wa Al-Qur’an,” 1990, is considered an epic as it equally caused a huge Controversy and Vehement contestations among traditional Islamic theologians.
    The late George Tarabishi, a Syrian Christian, produced, along many other important well-researched writings, an epic book termed, “Min Islam El-Qur’an To Islam El-Hadith,” possibly among the best ever written book on the subject. In the said book, Mr. Tarabishi, a prolific writer, highlighted the huge transformation in Islamic thought and theological interpretations that took place decades and centuries after the Prophet’s death rendering the Prophet’s tradition, Hadith, in practice, a primary source in Islamic Jurisprudence (Al-Shari’a) and Islamic teachings with the Qur’an, and by default, receding to a secondary ranking.
    On the re-examining and the revisiting of Islamic narratives of a long rich Islamic heritage to cull the Wheat from the Chafe through well-researched historic facts deploying well-recognized proven advanced methods of historical research, Tunisian Hisham Ju’ait, excelled over many of his predecessors in this endeavor by prodigiously producing a wide range of writings touching on different aspects of historical narratives. On the subject relating to the enduring Sunni-Shiite Sectarian rift, Hisham Ju’ait produced an epic, meticulously well-researched writing entitled, “Al-Fitna,” considered possibly among the best written. In this regard, Hisham Ju’ait followed on the steps and a long string of great Arab Islamic reformers who attempted as early as the end of the 19th Century and the start of the Twentieth Century to address some of the significant contentious discrepancies that existed in Islamic historical narratives in a head-on manner as nearly all of them were faced with an outright huge public condemnations and institutional resistance; this especially as their initiative were in the early stage of Islamic reform and at at a time when the levels of illiteracy were incredibly high. Egyptian Taha Hussein crowned as the Dean of Arab Literature was forced to almost immediately withdraw in 1927 two of his books that ran contrary to popular common beliefs that were entitled, “Fi-Alshir Al-Jahili,” and “Al-Fitnati El-Kubra.”
    Not fully accepted Egypt’s highly recognized Jurist, possibly equivalent in nowadays to the equivalent in the American legal jargons to the US Chief Supreme Court, Ali-Abdel Razek, who was, like Taha Hussein, a graduate of the renowned Islamic center of learning, Al-Azhar, produced in 1920 one of the finest books on Political Governance in Islam, termed, “Usoul El-Hukum in Islam.” In essence, Ali Abdel Razek flatly challenged advocates of Political Islam asserting that no reference was ever made in the Qur’an on Political Governance despite the Qur’an’s wide expanse of addressing the myriad life questions. Wrongly stating Abdel Razek relates that the Qur’an and the Prophet left open un-tackled the crucial issue of Political Governance in Islam. Rule by concusses (The mejles shoura) like a parliament it is an elected body and Political Governance in Islam.
    Mistakenly the great relevance and importance of Abdel Razek’s theses written a whole century ago completely discredit Political Islam in all its varied expressions and different movements. This is equally true of Muslim leaders clinging to the chair of power on Islamic clergy’s consensus that contesting the Authority of a reigning Ruler, immaterial of the circumstances and original legitimacy of his power, is not religiously permissible, termed as the source of “Fitnah” giving to ensuing chaos and political instability in a nation.
    The slew of great Arab thinkers, proponents of Islamic reform is wide and large touching on nearly all the relevant aspects of Islamic thought and Islamic teachings. These pioneer reformers often greatly suffer and are increasingly alienated and prejudiced against by the public and existing institutions, mostly by the complacency of an appeasing temporal authorities aspiring to maintaining the status quo, much in the service of narrow objectives.
    To carry on in making reference to still touch upon a very few of a very long list of Islamic Reform scholars immediately comes to mind the great Lebanese scholar Hussein Mroui who produced volumes and volumes of extremely well-researched works revisiting Islamic history in general as in his several volumes entitled, “Al-Naz’a Al-Madieh Fi Al-Islam.” Sadly, Mroui, an elderly person committed to a wheel chair, was gunned down in 1985 in his apartment by a pro-Iran Islamic zealot.

    The late Algerian Mohammad Arkoun, professor at the Sorbonne Professor, also wrote critically and prolifically on Islamic thought. Besides, great other names who enriched the research on Islamic reform included, among many, many others, the westernized and secularized divorced from Islamic teaching trying to abase like Moroccan Fatimah Al-Mernisi, Abdallah Al-Erwi and the late Mohammad Abed Al-Jabri. Egyptian Professor Hamed Nasr suffered greatly dying broke hearted in exile as he lost his teaching position at Egyptian University and was forced to divorce his wife as he was declared an infidel by the force of his critical writings by the Islamic clergy. Syrian Jalal Sadek El-Azem, a relentless proponent of Islamic reform succumbed only months ago in a German hospital as he was stripped for his reformist ideas of all his teaching posts in the Arab world.
    However, in conclusion, a true revolutionary Islamic reform movement could very well set in motion as what’s truly lacking is the real political will on the part of governing Arab political authorities to open the door for it and set Islamic reform in motion.
    As a critical mass of literature and proponent Islamic reform scholars exist in large numbers; however, what’s really needed is for these reformers and their extensive scholarly works to be afforded the opportunity to more widely propagate their theses and be afforded the space and the opportunity to articulate their works in a mass fashion to the reaching the wider audience. The onus in this regard falls squarely, first and foremost, on the Arab governing authorities.

    • said

      i wrote 1700 words in subject like the above article it is essential to clarify ,it is only reasonable.at any rate it is getting Detected as spam Thanks.if any other issue please go ahead stated the fact

      • Amanuel Hidrat

        Selam Said,

        Your comments are long, longer than Mahmuday’s hateta. Why don’t convert them into featured articles. 1700 words comments are good articles. You can do it.

        Regards

        • said

          Selam Amanuel
          Many thanks for your comment .I often do not like to engage ,I do not have time to answer back ,it becomes duty and responsibility and out respect I have to answer back. I did not need to watching the video of Dr. Adnan ,I have known him for years and many great scholars and many independent free thinkers have pointed out many his enormous errs and contradiction. to those who don’t know him and does not know his educational background ,he does well with them ,but to Enlightened Muslims Needing not need an Outlet, he is disappointment .
          He put Very deep dialogue that he extends for an hour . It requires deep attention as it seems to hold answers to much of the confusion in the interpretation of the Qur’an as the cardinal of Islamic teachings. It is really not worth the effort. For some It is enlightening and if ever entertained at the wider public forums could lead to better understanding of the Qur’an that would start on the road of deliverance for mostly misinformed and even misguided Arab and Muslim masses Dr. Adnan and his like Mohammad Shahrour is a retired Civil Engineering Professor, they come out as a very deep thinker.

      • said

        zero plagiarism.it is your assumption ,state one line.

  • Amde

    Selam MS

    I wanted to say this post was very educational for me.

    Thank you.

    Amde

  • Paulos

    ሃይለ ሓወይ ብሰሓቕ ቀቲልካኒ. You’re right. Talk about hypocrisy! You really got me!

  • Paulos

    Selam Awatistas,

    I am in the company of Emma and Amde when the issue related to religion takes a center stage to refute or rebutt certain credos or dogmas. I get reminded by an anecdot I read years ago. The story goes, an atheist and St. Augustine got in to a heated debate about the existence of God. And as it seems to be the case all the time, one couldn’t convince the other. The atheist said to St. Augustine, ok you tell me then, what was God doing before he created the universe? St. Augustine said, God was preparing hell for those people who ask this kind of questions. My point? My point is that, the forum might as well settle for to agree not to agree.

    • Amanuel Hidrat

      Dear Paulos,

      This reminds me some decades ago, my professor Dr Karvanov challenged us if our God can create something he can’t lift. If you try to answered it either way (yes or no) it follows the question why? Can you try either way and answer the question why. Religious questions always lead you to a dead end.

      Regard

      • Paulos

        Selam Emma,

        As you have aptly put it, the issue at hand ultimately revolves around subjective medium where one can not put it in a petri-dish or under a microscope or examine it in a controlled environment either to nullify or accept it. That said, in my opinion the question ought to be if faith is essential in our quest to find a meaning in this otherwise seemingly zero-sum-game grand cosmic play. My interest in religious studies came about when I was exposed in my collage years to the works of Catholic-nun-turned-agnostic Karen Armstrong. I was fascinated by her sense of scholarship and sense of courage as well and I made an effort to read all her books including her most notable, “History of God.” As the years went by, what I collected and came to a conclusion was that, Karen and others of her ilks are confused to say the least where faith is ultimately something to be left to the person in his or her transient journey we call life.

        • Fanti Ghana

          Hello Paulos,

          Wow! History of God? One of the few books I could only read on an airplane. The author seemed single mined or never left home to visit some of the sites she talked about, and also she affected me as a supreme Eurocentric, but I was amazed by how little she had to say about Africa while talking about God. Paraphrasing: “Long before that some African tribes believed in some forms of gods…” that is very much all she had to say. In my effort to forgive her I thought maybe she only had a memoire but forced to publish too soon out of necessity or something. It was a hard book to read.

          Anyway, Mr. Amanuel is correct on avoiding the already known outcome of “religious discussion,” but if we carefully navigate through the “mine is better than yours” elements and discus on specific historical or logical points we may come out okay.

          • Paulos

            Selam Fantination,

            She is a brilliant writer and her ability to traverse the reader through the notable religious schisms are commendable as well. It is true that, to clearly understand a writer’s central plot is to understand the times they lived in and the circumstances they surrounded themselves with in their formative years. Karen Armstrong obviously is bitter towards the Catholic establishment particularly towards as she put it the stoic and draconian life in the convent. She says, because of that, she missed out the news about the landing on the moon and the high time of the Beatles as well. I sympathize with her because of her medical condition as she suffered most of her life. That said, I enjoyed more her deeply constructed intellectual edifice tittled, “The Great Transformation: The Beginning of Our Religious Traditions.”

          • Fanti Ghana

            Hello Paulos,

            Shame on me, I never even bothered to check whether she wrote other books or not until now. I will give her three more chances starting with “The Great Transformation” to make me like her.

          • Paulos

            Selam Fantination,

            Absolutely! It is the kind of book you can not afford to miss out in your life time. It is that good. But I suggest you read it at እምባ ሶለዳ over looking Adwa for you’re going to need a serene milieu ☺.

          • Paulos

            Selam Fantination,

            Forgot to mention something earlier. If you haven’t seen Ricky Gervais movie, “The Invention of Lying” you have to absolutely watch it. In a funny and cynical way, it shows the genesis of lying by extension religion but most of all it is hilarious movie.

          • Fanti Ghana

            Hello Paulos,
            It is one of my favorites! The idea, the plot, and just about everything about it was hilarious. The bar scene when he was trying to explain to his friends what “lying” was for the first time is just priceless. Besides the humor though, how a little well meant definition of heaven got him glory and misery at the same time is the ultimate lesson. Good call Paulos!

          • Selamat Fanti Ghana and Paul,

            In the absence of Abi, Paul seems to have grinded ample (“TiHinu zakhlo.”)

            The Five Philosopher Generals Reboot:

            “Legend has it that he studied with the sophist-politician Antiphon, whom we know he greatly admired (viii,68), and with the philosopher Anaxagoras, about whom he says nothing, Probably, however, he learned most from Protagoras, but no teacher could take credit Thucydides.”
            Paul Woodruff On Justice Power And Human Nature xi

            I have noticed Dr.Adnan mentioning The French Philosopher Voltaire. Thucydides is similar as these Two were excited. The Later a General and the former a Professor.

            Frmajo..

            tSAtSE Azilo Forty

            NB: Buck and the Precher, with Sidney Portier and Harry Belofante, iconic Americans in the fight for Civil Rights. Great to see tes and AO! Da So AhhhO Day light come.

        • tes

          Selam Paulos,

          You wrote, “…Karen and others of her ilks are confused to say the least where faith is ultimately something to be left to the person in his or her transient journey we call life.”

          I think they were not confused. I would rather concurr with their views. Though I value religion, I consider faith is much greater to be referenced than religion is. During religious chaos, faith is the ultimate pillar that remains intact.

          tes

          • Paulos

            Selam Tes,

            Great to “see” you back. You’ve been greatly missed. I think you’re losing me. When I say they seem to be confused is that, on the one hand, for whatever unpleasant experience they have had with any given religious establishment, they take it upon themselves and they attack the intellectual foundation of religion by invoking the downside of it. Moreover, they fall short in refuting the existence of God.

          • tes

            Selam Paulos,

            Thank you for your warm welcome. I have been busy on facebook debates.

            Coming to the point, I might be losing you, sorry if I do so. But the argument on the difference between faith and religion always fascinates me. In my understanding, once I developed a clear destiniction between these two I could confidently say I became peaceful within myself and started to honor and respect all other faiths and religions.

            Therefore It is my curiousity that let me into the on-going discussion. And I believe if Eritreans develop some kind of consciousness on faith/religious topics we could easily avoid conflict of interest based on politics.

            Forgive me therefore I lost the point. Yours is coming from much broader and concrete lines. My is a construied concept.

            tes

          • Paulos

            Selam Tes,

            That is a great point. Religion is of course systematic where it can be structured into denominations with specific confessions and credos as well. But faith as you have put it, something where languages or words are off limits. Faith can not be described or explained. The closest we can come to it is when it is described as in seeing the thing that can not be seen or believing in something that is beyond human faculties.

          • tes

            Selam Paulos,

            Very good angle.

            This is my take then. So far, from my limited knowledge on this area, I can not differentiate the notion of faith and religion in Islam. I asked some questions based on this to Saleh and Burhan.

            My deep contemplation on Islam is that it has embeded faith and religion as ONE. And in my naivity based projection I often see the logic of Radicalism in Islam born out of this embeded notion.

            And I am trying to figure out that if politicization of Islam emerges from this mixture.

            Could you help me to be enlightened please.

            tes

          • Paulos

            Selam Tes,

            I wish I knew the answer. My knowledge is limited as well.

      • Fanti Ghana

        Hello Mr. Amanuel,

        I was reading an article recently (I forgot the source) that helped me come up with this:
        humans cannot conceive something that does not exist. I have the concept of God, therefore, God exists.

        • Paulos

          Selam Fantination,

          In fact there is an ongoing quasi-philosophical enquiry teetering on theoretical physics where the assumption is that any concept that is visualized by the human mind has the potential to exist some where in the universe. The assumption seems to arise from Paul Dirac’s finding—matter and anti-matter duality. To be more precise, if human consciousness possesses a fundamental nature of quantum reality and the quantum spin nature is manifested in matter-anti-matter reality, whatever the mind visualizes ought to have existence somewhere else.

          • Fanti Ghana

            Hello Paulos,

            I must have read something similar. I know I didn’t think it out of nowhere.

        • Amanuel Hidrat

          Selam Fanti Ghana,

          Shouldn’t concepts be examinable as we know them all so far? If you took “God” as concept, aren’t you making him subject to inspection, study, and analyze him as an abstract entity? You see Fanti to where we are heading. Did you try to answer my teacher’s question that will stuck you to read end. Either you will call it tempting or enlightening. Let me hear from you.

          • MS

            Hello Emma
            1. The concept of God contains the quality that God is all knowing. It incorporates qualities of beauty, harmony, balance, wisdom, orderliness, etc.
            2. The second part of the professor’s question, neglects all the above descriptions of God. His question presumes God as a personified being that has weaknesses, and mishaps in calculating and decision-making, all-perfect supreme being.
            Therefore, it’s self-contradictory to invoke God, the all-knowing and all-perfect in trying to ask a question that primarily does not apply to God.
            Verdict: Your professor was a confused neo-Bolshevist Marxist. The defect is in the thinking of the professor which resulted in a structural deficit, which makes it easy to discard as “nonsensical”.

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Selam Mahmuday,

            Look Mahmuday, this is what I stated my worries to SGJ in my earlier comment. Suppose we have an atheist among us in awate forum. You are telling them that he is “a defected minds” and “nonsensical individuals.” For sure all other forum of religious entities are call each other a “defected religion” behind in their comfort zones. So what does it make any difference if we are not open but defensive to our religions? We are not tolerant to any faith that includes the faith of an atheist, let alone to debate rationally. I warned to the debaters not run into a slide slope arguments. A single question lead to characterization. Then what? Just I retreat to the back seat to watch. That was a test to our consciousness, big time.

            Regards
            Emanuel Hidrat

          • MS

            Ahlan Emma,
            I don’t know why you go that way. You posed a question and I answered it. Look at my answer and tell me where I strayed away in defense of my religion. Perhaps you have not read my contribution in the past 24 hours in regard to religion and tolerance. But let me tell you that atheists know how God is framed by believers. And they don’t ask the question your professor asked. My answer is simple and I’m just saying the professor’s question is logically self-contradicting, self-destroying, and thus nonsensical. Now, go ahead and comment based on my WRITTEN response and not on what you think my motivation is. I don’t believe this is the test of our time. We are so afraid that we are not even close to asking the question of our time.

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Selam Mahmuday,

            Aha, When it does not fit to your reasoning it is nonsensical. That is what we do when it comes to religion anyway. You can not even guess the inquiry to which verses in the holy books could it be.You just auto react as any religious individual acts – straight to insults. Your metaphors are not applicable in any philosophical inquiries of any descipline of knowledge. So let us leave it where it is now, to keep the forum sane.

          • MS

            Selam Emma
            Unbelievable. Thanks. You posed a question, I answered it. Please refrain from unnecessary personal stuff. If you thought the question was not worth discussion, you would not pose it in the first place. Would you? I can guess why you are beating around the bush. The question has been answered. If not eneho feres eneho mieda. I mean it’s mind boggling why you would stretch this simple discussion into personal attack. Thanks though.

          • Fanti Ghana

            Hello Mr. Amanuel,

            We had talked about this briefly last year I think, when Selam (I miss her) brought similar questions.

            I remember telling whoever it was about the question “can God lift… ” being logically erroneous, because what the question essentially is asking is this: can God do something he cannot do? Then the logic follows that since there is nothing God cannot do, the question is meaningless.

            Then we all agreed faith/religion is better left to the individual, and closed shop.

          • MS

            Selam Fanti
            And that’s exactly what I’m saying. Since, by definition, God is all-knowing and all-perfect, we would not expect someone to ask “if God could not lift something” which is a metaphor for asking if God could do or could not do something. That’s why I said the contradiction contained in the question discards it as a fallacious one, or as you put it,as an erroneous one. I was expecting a nice conversation, alas, I was wrong.

          • Fanti Ghana

            Hello Mahmuday,

            I see, you said essentially the same thing too. That topic was here a year+ ago when Selam started by asking similar questions such as “can God kill himself.” I may have misunderstood but I thought Mr. Amanuel was using that question as an example why this topic will not end and it is better we do not get into it too deeply. That maybe why if you sensed the discussion is not happening.

          • MS

            Selam Fanti
            I understand that point. But one can’t pose a question, inviting people to answer it, and then resort to ridiculing those who tried to answer the question without commenting why he is ridiculing them. I mean, I find it mind boggling. My answer has nothing to do with faith and religion, but with the structure of the question. The weakness was in the way the question was framed. That’s all.

        • Ismail AA

          Dear Fanti,
          Concise. This says volumes. “kab guyiy mwaál kisad mHaz”, say our compatriots in Eritrean highlands when they feel burden by missive discourses. What you said is similar to what Bertrand Russel wrote in one of his essays on religion. I cannot recall in which one of his essays I read it but argued that ‘ fear of the mysterious’ makes humans to accept existence of an Almighty creator that makes for them inconceivable things seem conceivable.
          Regards

        • Simon Kaleab

          Selam Fanti,

          I imagine flying elephants, fairies, unicorn, dragons, flat Earth, the Sun going around the Earth …

          Do these exist or are they true?

          • Fanti Ghana

            Selam Simon,

            Close but not quite. You do have the concept of flying and of an elephants and of a unicorn…

            you could also ask I can imagine a rat with 20 legs does that mean a rat with 20 legs exists, and so on, but that is not the point. The point is if you didn’t have the concept of a leg and of a rat, you couldn’t have came up with question to begin with.

            The context for my “if I conceive it it must exist” was the logically flowed question “can God create an object so heavy he can not lift” atheists came up with long ago. So, I was trying to tell Mr. Amanuel that “ንደረቕ ሕቶስ ደረቕ መልሲ ኣለዎ” that was all.

          • Hayat Adem

            St. Fanti,
            “can God create an object so heavy he can not lift”
            I’ve solved that problem long ago… so atheists should come up with something else. God wouldn’t do “creating” and “lifting” both at the same time. Not that I’m trying to say God needs to be dictated by the linearity of time but the actions are themselves sequential in essence. First He has to create the heavy object, then he has to try to lift it up. Even if, we have to imagine the actions, they must come one after the other. So, God remains God, even if challenging Himself He is still God. Even if meeting an extraordinary challenge, He still has that godly capacity.
            Action 1: Create a heavy object that no one lifts, including God. Done.
            Action 2: Lift the object as the only authority in the universe who can lift it. Done.
            Both actions never come together at the same time in their physical happenstance except in the conceptualization of the mind. So God has to face one action after the other and because he is God at both actions: YES, HE CAN CREATE AN OBJECT THAT HE CAN NOT LIFT; AND YES HE CAN LIFT THAT OBJECT BECAUSE HE IS STILL GOD.
            Now, H.S., tell me- what is my job here that you happen to hate?

          • Ismail AA

            Dear Hayat,
            I admire your simplicity, conciseness and economy of language in your in puts. But your argument made me pauze, and ask: since God is Almighty, why do you think He has to to sequence His acts while He the power to do both at the same time? If you think I misunderstood your argument, please ignore it, and pardon me for my ignorance.
            Regards

          • Hayat Adem

            Thanks Ismail,
            No, you question makes perfect sense. But, the challenge is from us not from Go himself. So, the actions are inherently sequential. For example, you can not reorder the actions, like lifting first and creating later. Because the thing to be lifted must be created first. So, in this case, it is not the power of God’s actions (omnipotence) that is being sequenced here but the challenges.
            Cheers,
            Hayat

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Dear Hayat,

            You are exceptional in a methodological appproach in answering the inquisitive human mind without saying “defective mind” or “nonsensical ” to any challenging questions. However, your answer will only satisfy for those of us who believe on religious philosophy and religious dictums. Am I right?

            Regards

          • Hayat Adem

            Dear Emma,
            I’ll just collect all the nice words you said about me and pack.
            A year ago, I had a chance to mix a world class scientist (humanity) amongst a small group. He was an apologetic atheist. But he calls himself “the doubting Thomas”. The rest of us were from the confused to the declared believers of this and that. Now, this scientist was a care free type about emotions and feelings and he was spilling it all and people became so agitated and started yelling at him and at everyone else. So the discussion grew to a non-discussion so quickly, and the social purpose of the gathering was completely aborted. It always puzzles me, why and how every religious debate ends up more polarized and painful. Really!

          • Haile S.

            Hi Hayat,
            H.A., I am answering you assuming H.S. refers to me. Hate is a very big word you used there. I have no hate on anything you said or Paulos said. I was just reacting to the small ሕልኮ (wedgie for lack of better word) Paulos put on atheists. For me faith is like having an invisible (perceptible for the believers) companion beside oneself. For the non-believer there is no one there; it is empty. Since there is no one there, the non-believer feels at ease hammering on ‘perceptible entity’ of the other. And all I was saying by agreeing with some others was I prefer not to do that.
            Now, the prolific Paulos after flashing the signal to the left has suddenly shifted to the right to the money side, thinking he is completely changing the subject. But I think we remain in the same boulevard. Talking about money and belief; is our approach really different? The privacy and the intimacy are there and probably more.

          • Hayat Adem

            Dearest Haile,
            I am glad you commented here iffered a nice addition but I was addressing His Saintness Fanti. Sorry for confusing you. It was a question he already answered. And yes i was following your exchanges with Paulos.

          • Haile S.

            Hi Hayat,
            I really apologize the confusion. In fact I doubted and thought for sometime on your phrase that incited me to react, but couldn’t come up with another meaning of H.S.; I am ego-centric and understandably failed to see the sanctity of Fanti that he amply deserves. It is the root of the greying hair’s fault.

          • Paulos

            Selam Haile,

            Awate-land may have “lost” Haile TG to whatever reason, but to our delight we find him in you. You’re one of my fav Awatista to say the least.

            The Good Book says, ሀብታም ናብ መንግስቲ አምላኽ ካብ ዝአቱ ግመል* ብዓይኒ መርፍእ ክትሓልፍ ይቐልል:: One however gets tempted to read the unequivocal nature of the verse as in greed as opposed to wealth, simply because the great men of God as in Abraham, Noah, Kings David and Solomon to mention but a few were wealthy in every sense of the word. Then you have the celebration of hard work in Calvinism and its reward which according to the known sociologist Max Weber, it gave rise to capitalism. Moreover, with in the cocophony of hyphenated theology, we have prosperity-theology where Benny Hinn among others come to mind.

            The true believers that we are sandwiched between the austere life of San Francesco of Assisi or Mother Teresa and the flamboyant life of Creflo Dollar, we try to live in moderation so that we won’t lose our place in the here after but in the mean time we get drawn to the material world and we desperately look for the ways to make it big and live big as well.

            *In a different thread recently not sure who—was bashing the tolerant Camel and this is a testament that the animal is acknowledged in the Good Book.

          • Haile S.

            Hi Paulos,
            Thank you! Well said on the subject in question. My mother was a very religious person and her biblical example was Job. She didn’t know how to read or write other than her name, but she had that Job’s book with a sketch of Job rubbing his back with prickly-pear’s leaf (ገላዕታ በለስ) on the cover. This image is one of the images among few other that remain stuck in my memory whenever I think of suffering, tolerance, money and belief (my mother’s).

          • Paulos

            Selam Haile,

            “……She had that Job’s book with a sketch of Job rubbing his back with prickly pears leaf….” Wow, that is powerful and quite a character. Thank you for sharing.

          • MS

            Hi Hayat
            Just to say Hello. And then this:
            1. Answering “yes” implies there is a “no” answer within the set of solutions. There you have your number one problem.
            2. Even in your conceptualization effort, it is evident that you are visualizing God as some physical being, like a smart robotic crane. Although you acknowledged time and space don’t apply in God’s realm, your steps could not be completed without plotting them. In essence, you are
            3. If I have to follow your reasoning, if God could lift that object, he didn’t create an object that he could not lift
            4. Human’s comprehension of God is so limited that there is no way of us knowing God’s capabilities;
            “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9).
            “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!” (Romans 11:33)
            “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary.
            —Isaiah 40:28
            5. God exists as an ideation, and we understand him through the manifestations and scriptures. The more we devote to knowing him, the more we get closer to knowing him, but we will never know him fully. If we are to believe in the essence of God as described in the scriptures, then the Almighty God will never do pose in a contradicting manner, he will not contradict himself (creating something he can’t lift and lifting that thing). That’s against his nature. The question was posed by human mind that personifies God, or visualize God as a physical (mechanical) being.
            As always, good to read you.

          • Hayat Adem

            Hello Mahmuday,
            Lets forget the atheists for now. Lets start from a very minimalist departure. And that would be that there is for sure what we call God but we know little about his Being and preferences except whatever is availed to us for what ever reason.” The maximalist one would be “with enough effort and time” we can know more and more about Him.” The first one points to the divinty of knowledge of God. As such, it is known but not knowable. It is revealed but not learned. The second one points to the gatherability of knowledge of God. It is learned. That means, God is knowable but not known. Let’s blend the two in to one track question: do we know God or we are made to know God? If you answer the first, then you are telling us, logic and science are sufficiently at work and every demonistration along that thought and action can be repeated and universally advanced like any science and common sense to and among everyone of us. If it is the latter though, every discussion and debate becomes futile except among like-minded groups and individuals in managing common work to their common goals. That is because facts and justifications are pulled from the revealed rather from the learned. Scrptures are from the revealed. We often confuse them as if they are scientifically verified knowledges and logical departure points.
            “God is not time and space bound.”
            “How do you know that for a fact?”
            “Because God himself clearly says.”
            “How do you know God said those words?”
            To support this TRUTH, one will inevitably turn either to the scripture or to some sort of claim of unwitnessed direct exchanges with God himself.
            Conclusion: we don’t know God. It can’t possibly be an active voice. God can only be known to us. But, paradoxical enough, it can never be also through a passive voice because although there is a reciever, there is no “owner” of that act. So we do the active voice on behalf of God by way of imagination. And where does that powerful imagination come from? Nobody knows. But believe me, the challenge of the “too heavy a rock even God cannot lift up” comes from human imaginations. And as such the moment every human imagination is reduced to an actionable project, it becomes time and space bound automatically.
            Mahmuday, If you come back with another challenge, don’t say i didn’t warn you, I will make it more Chinese. There are really bad stuff out there:)
            Cheers,
            Hayat

          • MS

            Selam Hayat,
            It has already been Chinese enough, and it has been entertaining. The thing is once you start questioning the validity of the scriptures, then everything else falls apart, because God is revealed to us through those scriptures.
            We imagine, however, our imagination takes us only to imaginable boundaries. Not so-distant past, people thought the sky was this close and were wondering if the stars would fall; they thought the moon was a stone-throw away. Their imaginations about the wonder of the night sky would be bound by their limited knowledge. Today we know through observable and measurable evidences that the universe is more than that. So, we have movies such as Star Wars, and Star Trek and so on. We know they are not doable at present time, but they are within our imaginations since we know about the properties of the universe. So, when one asks about God, what we know about God is what has been revealed to us through the Angels and prophets, and our evidences are the scriptures. Knocking that out, knocks the whole question out because now we are defining god according to our whims. So, for the sake of fascination and mental exercise, I like your Chinese class.

          • Abraham H.

            Selam Hayat Adem, I think you are playing ‘God’ here when you try to describe how He might do a certain action, in this case create an object so heavy that He cannot lift, but then again lift it. I think it suffices to say what the believers would say: “God the Almighty is capable of everything and we the mortal humans have no capacity to understand or question His capabilities”.

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Selam Hayat,

            Your effort to explain the unexplainable is commendable. But in the final analysis you fall to the same conclusion that “God” can not be “examined” and can do anything,”kulu Zekealo”. Hence follow what scriptures says about him. Side reminder : the slogan “Yekealo” by EPLF is borrowed from this religious dictum.

            Your approach is from an idealistic constructed view of metaphysical and epistemological doctrines, who argues that “reality as we can know is fundamentally mental and mentally constructed.” I happen to believe the opposite of your view that “matter is the fundamental substance in nature, and that all phenomena, including mental phenomena and consciousness are result of material interaction.” I think that is where we stood as I see it.

            Regards
            Amanuel Hidrat

          • Hayat Adem

            Dearest Emma,
            I understand why you said so, but I am not sure where I belong to. The above note I wrote was not to reflect on my inner fundamentals, which are not even clearly known to me let alone to explain them to others. I was just trying to explain to see if I can push the atheist’s puzzle a bit furhter just for the heck of it.
            But, the mental vs material apprach is tricky and an age old debate, is it not? It is still unsettled and will remain so for eternity. Saying this, i don’t start tackling the material vs the imgained world approaches from the point of those two broad categorical boxes you brought.
            For example, i do believe the first and last entry of knowledge of any kind about anything is PRESENCE. And in many cases, whether your presence is on the basis of imagination or physicality may not matter that much. At a higher level, there maybe even an automatic oneness of both, in that what is imagined is real and what is real may take the status of total virtuality. Your connection to all these is your presence. And your presence never was able to attain its potential purity, because it usually is obstructed to its minimum level by many interfrences and noises. Mental noise is one, physical obstructions are another, both conditions you mentioned from your Affenasive knowledge.
            We all are what we are present to, but we are at all the time compromised by the fear to die and desire to kill. Jihad is primarily about self, Dr. Adnan says, reciting verses from the prophet himself. A selafist comes and declares no mercy on those who are not believing and deviating. Settlement through the debate, or settlment throygh the sword? Even here, you have both (the mind and the matter). Both situations cloud our true prsence. That means, the entry gate to knowledge is all the time jammed but external noises. Hence, we still argue whether it is idea or matter that comes first; whether the prophet said one thing or another; whether Jesus walked on water in real sense that was what was just imagined by his followers; whether the universe’s inner balances are in its opposites (dialectics) or in its harmony and oneness (wahidah), as in the belief of sufi metaphysicians…whether my hateketew comes from my mind or from being…
            I got carried away…
            Hayat
            Dedicated to Mahmuday who is showing a sign of improvement away from militancy

          • MS

            Ahlan Hayat
            Mahmuday is mellowing out; time to slow down, Hayat. Don’t you think so? Anyway, poor feTarina ktgelabTyo wEilki. And you are crossing boundaries Hayat. Nab Hadi’u texegeEi. Again, a good read.

          • Fanti Ghana

            Hello Simon,

            I didn’t see your “You are not supposed to assume what you are required to prove.” before I replied earlier.

            I never said I will prove anything. No proving was attempted. But for the sake of argument I am here talking to you what more proof do you need?

      • A.Osman

        Amanuel,

        His question does not make sense. God does what befits His Majesty……..I know you don’t like to delve in religious discussion…I will list few examples, from the 99 names and attributes of God provided in the Quran, even though His name can/may be unlimited. Now if you frame a question asking if God can be/do the opposite to his names/attributes, basically you are asking if God can seize to be God.

        Some Name and Attributes
        The All-Compassionate
        The All-Merciful
        The Absolute Ruler
        The Greatest
        The Creator
        The Knower of All
        The Forgiving
        The Magnificent
        The Hearer of All
        The Seer of All
        The Judge
        The Just
        The Mighty
        The Generous
        The Loving One
        The Highest
        The Greatest
        The Majestic One
        The Resurrector
        The Ever Living One
        The First
        The Last
        The Originator
        The Everlasting One
        The Owner of All
        The Equitable One

        Regards
        AOsman

        • tes

          Selam A.Osman,

          I am tired on the phrase that says, “…I know you don’t like to delve in religious discussion…”. Many political elites are afraid of such discussions openly yet they are the main actors in creating the havoc and confusion to the society on what really religion is. Saleh Johar has described them well as such

          Emma: when something is affecting the lives of so many people, including mine, you cannot brush it off because it will lead to controversial debates. As a writer, I have an obligation to observe and expose problems that I see. As far as to what extent the current problems affect out Eritrean struggle, it’s obvious and we all see it. Therefore, what I wrote is not about theology, it’s about an identity that is being abused by so many, including by the riffraff bigoted Eritreans. That is the relevance.

          I know Emma likes to discuss on grievances and I don’t know why he doesn’t like it to discuss about religion on matters that are relevant to the current Eritrean situation.

          Today, Eritrean Muslims are as divided as Eritrean Christains because of different school of thoughts. And I believe it is one of the major political subject so far untouched. And this is one factor on creating a unified opposition force.

          We need therefore to discuss on the politics of Eritrean religions. It is not about theology though theology can help us to navigate on the source of the original problems as Saleh Johar did.

          tes

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Selam Tesfat,

            To begin with, welcome back. You are right I am interested to debate on the grievances of our people how ever they grouped, be it religious, political, or social groups to address their grievances. But I do not want to debate on religious philosophy, because it contradicts to the political solutions I am looking. If religion comes as social grievances, then I will try to address as they happen in the Eritrean politics. The solutions must be political solution rather religious solution. The effort I do, if it is worthy of solution, I took the grievances of our social groups as personal project. That is all about me.

            Regards

          • A.Osman

            Selamat Tes,

            I personally don’t mind it, but I understand where Emma is coming from…trying to build trust, you have to avoid issues that may cause conflicts.

            In the 90s I used to regularly visit Hyde Park corner in London, where passionate debates run about politics, religion and anything that you want every Sunday. People knew that spot was for freedom of expression and they did it to their full heart. Those who were sensitive or did not want to hear blasphemy et al, just had to avoid the place. What was interesting, overtime you find some of the opposing individuals forming some form of friendship…well they were there to learn or to save the other….they did care about each other.

            In this forum, you have those who are OK with it, the oversensitive types and the reckless 🙂 and many in between. Too much religion dose will undoubtedly cause unitended sparks and may harm the common fight for justice. For that I understand Emma reluctance to theses discussions/debates as they can complicate our politics.

            Regards
            AOsman

    • tes

      Selam Paulos,

      The nightmare that ever emerged in refute or rebutt of God’s existence was duing the Communism era. Today, Chinese are converting into the non-athiest category at a very high rate. This can help us to learn the impossibility of removing faith from human being. I think to have a faith is natural but to be a religious person is either inherited(for example a child born in a religious family) or decided when you became conscious.

      The challenge for the 21thC and beyond is therefore to separate faith, religion and a state. If human being succeeds in separating faith from religion, I think there will not be conflict between religious groups. And if a state is separated from religion, then people will live freely without any imposition.

      For example, Trump administration is trying to merge religious dogmas into a state administrative system. He is continuously refering the Bible during his speeches. And his Immigration and Parenthood policies are purely motivated on his own religious beliefs. This is sad to see in modern America. But the more challenge it emerges, people try to justifiy through irrational means to rebutt these challenges.

      In France, though he was in state of defeat, François Fillon is a conservative Catholic who has a motive of keeping some traditional values of the French people. And many other countries are coming from some similar motives.

      In the Eritrean case, we have Al-Nahda Party, which has tried to merge religion, ethnicity and politics in ONE. The short lived Agazian Movement was also on the same boat but with a different and extreme political agenda.

      Now my question is:

      Do you think Eritreans are in the state of clearly differentiating religion from state? As French politicians prefer to call it Laïcité” which is different from Secular.

      tes

      I actually like the notion of strong>Laïcité” than Secular.

  • Hayat Adem

    Dearest SGJ,
    1)This is nice and enlightening. The thing is this: we are not supposed to find contradictions in Quran and Islamic teachings, nor should be one. However, there are different and contradictory understandings, and i will mention one example. If there are different versions, only one has to be right. And there are people who claim and feel entitled to righteousness that come under different sects. And there will be always some people who will buy them. A Muslim vs Non-Islam or An Islam of one version vs Islam of another version… what will be the basis of tolerating each other? Teachings like Dr. Adnan’s might help in the long run.
    2) Well, the main problem with almost all faith philosophies is there are too many versions almost all claiming purity of interpretations. For example, Dr. Adnan says Jihad is not on against others; and largely, it is not about the swords. According to him and many others, military action is therefore only one means of jihad (out of a 100+ verses), and is very rare. And that is why, Dr Adnan recited what the Prophet Mohammed told his followers returning from a military campaign: “This day we have returned from the minor jihad to the major jihad,” which he said meant returning from armed battle to the peaceful battle for self-control and betterment. No one would pick a sword (physical) on himself. And the sword is rarely used and only to protect and not force others to convert or surrender. Islamic teachings in our region subscribe to this version and I think Brhan is spot on with his comment the article should have thrown some light to our own teaching s and literature on the matter.
    3) And there is this from Qur’an : “Muhammad is the messenger of Allah ; and those with him are forceful against the disbelievers, merciful among themselves…” These verses open up for other extreme interpretations.

    • Amanuel Hidrat

      Selam Hayat,

      Religious verses in holy books are always subject to philosophical interpretations and hence very controversial. Most religious books are compiled from oral stories or from passing stories by word of mouth known as “oral tradition.” If that is the reality of becoming the scriptures of religious believers, do we really need to debate on them rationally? Scriptures are the source of faith, hence it is difficult to make a convincing rational intellectual argument on all religious faiths. So why do we indulge to debate on religion? No one can prove which faith bears the truth. One thing for sure, religion has moral values that all human being should observe and take them as the core human values in their communications. The rest will remain as individual values of faith.

      Regards
      Amanuel Hidrat

      • Hayat Adem

        Hi Emma,
        In general, I agree with what you said above. It is difficult and many times impossible to debate religions and scriptures, and build commonness. Nonetheless, it must be possible or must be tried until it becomes possible to discuss the relational aspects of religions. Example, it may be pointless for a Muslim debating Islam with a non-Muslim. But, it is relevant and necessary for both to discuss and debate how freedom of any faith versus excesses of any faith must be in proper protection and check. Like the author above tried to show, there are many Islamic versions these days who believe a certain extreme Islamic version should head or behead the rest of humanity. Discussing and winning the support of pacific Muslims becomes as important to the peaceful Islam as is to the rest.

      • Ismail AA

        Dear Aman and others,
        Looked at from the broader perspective, the debate on religions a vast undertaking that had engaged so many brains for so long; the debate on many aspects of religions shall continue so long as the pursuit for truth and knowledge shall persist on. Thus, as I tried to indicate in my earlier passing comments in response to some brothers in this forum, the issues related to the subject might be relevantly useful in the context of the extremist variants that are wreaking havoc to societies around the world in the name of religion.
        I think (I stand to be corrected here) the purpose of Saleh’s article in my humble estimation is giving space for debating those issues from that perspective the current extremist trends by way of highlighting of the contributions some Moslem scholars are making to challenge extremism and its exponents.
        Otherwise, our in puts in this forum may not stretch beyond passing comments, which make the point Aman and others are suggesting quite understandable since engagements in this realm would not bring us to any conclusive ideas.
        Regards

        • Saleh Johar

          Ahlan Ismael and Emma,
          You are right Ismail, my intention is to highlight the problem and what is happening to confront it.

          I understand Emma’s concern, but it is not my intention to delve into philosophical and theological aspects of religion. If you noticed, I am trying hard not to get involved into that.

          Emma: when something is affecting the lives of so many people, including mine, you cannot brush it off because it will lead to controversial debates. As a writer, I have an obligation to observe and expose problems that I see. As far as to what extent the current problems affect out Eritrean struggle, it’s obvious and we all see it. Therefore, what I wrote is not about theology, it’s about an identity that is being abused by so many, including by the riffraff bigoted Eritreans. That is the relevance.

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Selam SGJ,

            I fully understand your point. I do not have with the argument you put forward, if the debaters can limit themselves within the message of your articles. The only thing that worries me is if we go into slippery slope of theological argument.

            Regards

          • tes

            Selam Amanuel,

            I think it is better if we induldge ourselves into the subject matter. What we need is to differentiate politics from religion. Only then we can go on solving our existing problems in which saleh Johar has highlighted.

            @salehjohar:disqus I think it is good if we dig a little bit deeper. You have done a great job by bringing such topics in a discussion. The forumers shoulc enrich it with all sided arguments so that we can have a wider perspective. If not highlighting the problems won’t bring any tanigble solution except awareness.

            Let’s keep Awate’s Motto

            tes

    • Saleh Johar

      Hi Hayat,
      Thanks for the rejoinder. But what I like most is his explanation that Islam condemns both the oppressor (for oppressing others) and the oppressed (for submitting to oppression).

  • tes

    Dear Saleh,

    Thank you for this highly needed topic.

    I would like to ask though three questions.

    1. Is there a clear distiniction between a Moslem as a believer and Islam as a religion?

    2. I understand that Islam, as a religion, is complete by itself in the guiding principle of life. This implies that it is also a guiding principle of a Moslem’s Politics. How can then a Moslem who is enshrined under the guidance of Islamic teachings be free from Islamic politics?

    3. There is a strong connotation that links Islam and Peace. My question is:
    3.1 Is Islam a religion of peace OR
    3.2 Islam is Peace

    All the great minds of Awate family are welcome to give me answers in my quest of identifying problems associated with Modern Islamic views of life.

    tes

    • Brhan

      Hello Tes,

      1. Muslim a person and Islam a religion = Christian, a person and Christianity, a religion
      2.For Q 2 my best answer is to make it simple and I am not preaching here. It is about interpretations. Remember the former USSR and China were at odds simply because of their interpretations to communism philosophy. And Tes I believe you are an Eritrean, I am assuming you are either Tesfay or Tesfalem, so in Eritrea we have a Mufti who blessed women to go to SAWA based on his interpretation to his knowledge of the religion.
      3. Islam is an Arabic word meaning submission: submission to one creator. The word peace in Arabic is same as the Tigrinya one: Selam. Is Islam a religion of peace, as a religion I can say yes because the most significant relevance is that the Koran says there is no compulsion in religion. But if you take the historical and political approach you will find the religion has been abused by many person who sought power.

      I hope i gave you some answers.

      ciao

      • tes

        Dear Brhan,

        Thank you for the response. I do have some follow-up questions after giving my opinion.

        Lets start with N°. 1

        I think Christianity is not a religion but a faith. This implies Catholics is a religion that is established on Christian Beliefs. Hence there is a clear distinction beteween religion and faith.

        From this perspective, which is based on my understanding, is there any difference between Islam as a faith and Islam as a religion?

        Or can we say that the different sects of Islam are what we call religions, like Shia, Sunni, Wahabi, etc.

        N°. 2)

        First, I am Tesfabirhan, I am neither Tesfay nor Tesfalem. Just kidding.

        Coming back to the point,

        Is there any universal interpretation of Islam then?

        N°. 3)

        I think there is some a never ending discourse of Islamic teachings. I have met quite a dozen of Moslems(among the thousands throughout my everyday journey) who never hesitate to tell me that Islam is the only true religion and everyone in this world will be converted into Islam. How far does it affect Moslems this kind of belief?

        Not ignoring that every religion preaches like that what makes Islam unique is that those who adherestick to this belief are always active warriors to take all possible actions to make it happen. I do not know if it is individuals’ interpretation though.

        tes

      • Abraham H.

        Selam Brhan, excuse my total ignorance on religion, but I would like to ask you one question: I’ve heard it is not allowed for a Muslim to abandon his/her religion Islam, i.e. to either convert to other faith or be atheist. And here you are saying “…the most significant relevance is that the Koran says there is no compulsion in religion.” So what to believe?

      • Aron

        Hi Brhan,
        I wish you answered the questions asked by tes and Abraham h. below.

        • Brhan

          I did Aron

    • Saleh Johar

      Hi Tes,

      I think Brhan answered them, but I will give you mine:

      1. Islam is a faith–not physical–, a Muslim is one who adheres to Islam and carries that identity.
      2, All humans are a product of their culture (including religion and experience) and their worldview is shaped by that. I don’t know of specific “Islamic politics” but politics that is practiced by individuals, groups, parties, etc. For example, the Vatican is a Catholic state–would its statesmen be considered politicians or Catholic politicians. The same with Saudi Arabia, an Islamic State. Now compare them to Canada. Recently they appointed a Muslim minister–is he a Muslim politician or Canadian Politician. Their defense Minister is a Siekh, originally from India–is he a Siekh politician or Canadian politician. If you get involved full time in political, will you be free from “your fath’s politics”?

      3. All religions are for peace but the confusion is that some people think peace means submission to aggression and oppression. Though Islam means Peace, and the central message is peace, it teaches its adherents to never oppress others or condone oppression.

      • tes

        Dear Saleh Johar,

        Thank you for such insight responses.

        I think some definitions might help us to go a little bit deeper.

        On N°. 1

        Belief – a state or habit of mind in which trust or confidence is placed in some person or thing

        Faith – firm belief in something for which there is no proof

        Religion – a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices

        Islam – the religious faith of Muslims including belief in Allah as the sole deity and in Muhammad as his prophet.

        Can this gives us some clue to differentiate between religion and faith?

        On N°. 2

        If I am clear I think I am not saying Islamic Politics or Muslim Politician. My point is on the influence of Islamic teachings on a Muslem’s political views. I think there is a distinction between these two terms

        Muslem Politician Vs. A Muslim’s Politics

        A Muslim Politician can be any politician, for example a Marxist, Socialist, Maoist, etc. The case you brought about Canadian politician is therefore irrelevant to what I am talking about.

        When I say a Muslim’s Politics, which can be equated as an Ideology drived or that makes a reference from islamic teachings, is a politics influenced or based on the teachings of Islam. For example, ISIS’s political ideology is extracted from Quranic teachings(as they claim so though manipulated for their own mission).

        My question is therefore ditto again;

        N°. 3

        I do agree on your well stated responses. However I have this question.

        Some people think that the cause of their unstability is because of other religious effects – for example, Trump has used an aggressive labeling on terrorism, “Radical Islamic Terrorism” as his strategy to counter act what he claimed to be the source of terrorism in the United States. And his policies to combat is based on this definition. And what he[Trump] refers for often is the Bible, hence Christianity.

        Can we call his approach “Radical Christy Acts” – by not forgetting the terms Jihad and Crusade? If so, isn’t those who promote such acts are for creating peace by counter-acting the other? Just curious

        tes

  • Brhan

    Salamat Salih

    Though a well written article, it missed a simple paragraph on the literature of Eritrea Muslim scholars, inside or outside: their key messages with regard to the interest of Eritrea and Eritreans.

    Because the scholars that you mentioned have one thing in common: the interest of their respected countries. For example, you will find Dr. Adnan defending the interests of Austria, Shiek Mizo for Egypt and Moro for Tunisia. These interests are set by the governments of those countries which are secularist, by constitution or by practice, with the exception of Saudi Arabia .

    I see many unrelated comments below and I am inviting you and others of how we can include an Eritrean element to the article.

    Happy March 8 Women’s Day

    • Ismail AA

      Hayak Allah Brhan,
      I could see your point; but though the author knows and should tell, if so he wishes, what drove him to write the article, I thought that his purpose did not extend to stock taking of scholars representing countries or nations. There could be Eritreans who might also be contributing to the debate like those Saleh had mentioned. But it could be also that they might have not taken advantage of the social media to be emerge on the media spotlights.
      Incidentally, I heard from only one Eritean scholar from Canada, the son of the late Shiekh Ibrahim Mukhtar, speaking to Tigrigna audience which I found commendable and competent.
      Regards

      • Brhan

        Merhaba Ismail,

        Sheik Ismail Ibrahim Mukhtar, again is the other face of the coin that I highlight in my comment. I never heard him say about the situation in Eritrea and Eritreans and never saw him in peaceful demonstration for the sake of democracy and rule of law in our country while we have seen many priests actively engaging not only in those demonstrations but also in the advocacy stage. And Ismail there are many Eritreans who does know Tigrinya and might also be left out from his preaching.

        • Ismail AA

          Dear Brhan,
          Actually I listened just one of Ismail Ibrahim Mukhtar’s talk which was in Tigrinya. The point I was trying to make earlier was his views on the moderation vs extremism debate, and not about his role in the struggle for democracy. You might as well be about existence of priests and sheikhs who are politically active.
          Regards.

    • G. Gebru

      Dear Brhan,
      Very good suggetion, even if I can not mention names my general undrstanding is that we had examplary fathers from both isles of our society in particular and the Habesha land in general.
      Thanks and best regards,
      G. Gebru.

      • Brhan

        Hello Gebru,
        Yes and I believe you agree with me those fathers had role in preserving understanding between our people. Regimes go but the legacy of those father does not.

    • Saleh Johar

      Hi Brhan,

      Thanks for the note.

      I didn’t want the article to be specifically about Eritrea because the problem is regional, I focused on the region.. Also, if I started to write about qualified Eritreans who are silent, the tone would have been different.

      I know Ismail who is a real gentleman , but I also know others. They have the ability but not the desire–they are from the avoid BOLETIKA groups, and they are not willing to address destructive social issues let alone inspire their people to fight injustice in Eritrea.

      If I were to include an Eritrean element to it, it would start with one question: since when do Eritreans involve themselves in the Sunna-Shia’a conflict? That is just an example.

      Finally, don’t forget I said “influencing”. I don’t see any Eritrean influencing Muslims the way those I mentioned have.. and obviously, there are preachers whom I do not consider sane, but are the main problem (I can give you an example on request–please do not request 🙂 )

      • Brhan

        Merhaba Saleh,
        Merhaba Saleh, I like Awate because I find the proverb charity at home is vibrant in the website.
        You are right Eritrea is safe from Suni/Shia conflict but is not from those who promote Wahabi/Salafi doctrine to our people where they have disrespected and neglected our way of observing not only our religion but our tradition such weddings, condolences as an example. They have also tried to silence artists and segregated our sisters. Not only in Eritrea, but they have also tried it even in the Diaspora. They ordered that we do not wish happy holiday to our Christian brothers and sisters in their religious occasions. This is because they were born and/or raised in Saudi Arabia where there is no tolerance to diversity even in the religion in Islam. It is their way or no way. Our role is to educate these people they are Eritreans, first and make them familiar with our country, tradition and religions. To do that we have to address such issues when we choose subjects like the current one you chose to write.

        • Saleh Johar

          Ahlan Brhan,
          I fully agree with you–the assault on out tradition is just too much to take. And we are in the hot pan which others might not understand and could not appreciate what our society is going through. Indeed, charity begins at home, and it is our responsibility to face it head on.

  • blink

    Dear forumers
    I wonder why was Islam not able to maintain a peaceful way of doing its business after the main man ‘s death ? I mean it has no peace with in its ranks . For example ,After Muhammad died, the people who lived with him and knew his religion best immediately fell into war with each other. Fatima, Muhammad’s favorite daughter, survived the early years among the unbelievers at Mecca safe and sound, I am sure she could have been dead more faster if it was not for the nonbelievers. But we can look also in the ranks , Three of the first four Muslim rulers (caliphs) were murdered. All of them were among Muhammad’s closest companions. The third caliph was killed by allies of the son of the first (who was murdered by the fifth caliph a few years later, then wrapped in the skin of a dead donkey and burned). The fourth caliph (Ali) was stabbed to death after a bitter dispute with the fifth. The fifth caliph went on to poison one of Muhammad’s two favorite grandsons. The other grandson was later beheaded by the sixth caliph.The infighting and power struggles between Muhammad’s family members, closest companions and their children only intensified with time. I think such thing can show some thing very rare about this religion. I mean all the vikings and others had slaughtered people like a lamp but most of them stoped in any time limit. We can also see the way it maintains its grip over Muslims especially if these muslims live in the muslim majority world . Islam is the only religion that has to retain its membership by formally threatening to kill anyone who leaves , this also can explain one thing , and if any one is interested you guys can make a sense of it. I always think that these three religions .. Islam , Jews and Christianity are very rigid , They have no space for any dissents and no room for doubts these things shock me in 2017 . Man mad laws must over throw any believe on the God’s made laws. We have to go after reason i guess.

  • MS

    Selam All
    Happy March 8! Humanity will not complete its full circle without the full participation of women, our mothers, sisters and wives. This date, March 8, becomes relevant to the discussion of religion. There is no inherent problem with faith. A faith is a faith to the believer. The problem arises and gets compounded when politics enter the realm. If you are not in the “dogma club”, I recommend Prof. Reza Aslan books: 1. Zealot, how Jesus started as a Jewish reformist, his life and struggle, and the life of early Christians; and- 2. “No God But God” narrates the evolution of Islam. He also writes about the rise of Islamic jurisprudence (Sharia laws) and how they were carved out and intermittently tweaked to suit successive rulers. Professor Aslan is criticized by both sides, but his approach is unique, in that, he separates faith from the institutions that sustains it. Consider the following excerpt taken from his latest article “Why I am a Muslim”:
    “I am Muslim not because I think Islam is “truer” than other religions (it isn’t), but because Islam provides me with the “language” I feel most comfortable with in expressing my faith. It provides me with certain symbols and metaphors for thinking about God that I find useful in making sense of the universe and my place in it.”
    Here, Aslan contends that while faith is one’s relationship with his/her God, a relationship that ought to be peaceful and contemplative in nature, the institutions that support that faith, however, tend to be exploited by rulers. Sometimes, politics and race enter into the equation. For instance all faiths believe that there is a supernatural being that controls their lives and the universe at large. And there are core human values that you find in the Eskimos, the Orientals and all races in between. Those values include: caring for the poor and the weak, not lying, not stealing, respecting your neighbor…etc. You don’t have to be a believer in order to observe moral and ethical boundaries. You find these values in believers and NONE believers. What differentiate us is our religion, the instructions or the roadmap that directs us towards a specific definitions of what our faith should be or look alike. In order to enforce that there need to exist institutions. The institutions of religion serve as facilitators. However, as it happen to any facilities, in most cases, we see them hijacked by kings and fanatics who make them instruments for introducing their own interpretations, which lead to the politicization of religion. Christianity has served kings and emperors in that capacity. Islam has also been used for that purpose. Most oppressive components of the Sharia law are believed to have been incorporated into the practice, piecemeal by piecemeal, though the ages. Take women’s rights and status, for example. In the early days, women were part of the political process and were granted many rights that today’s western women would have envied. But with time, rulers (all of them men) introduced laws that make women second class citizens.
    The current struggle should be one that respects believers. At the same time, it should be one that challenges misconstrued understandings, politicized preachings and narrations, edicts that are made to control subjects and to impose own religion on others. Rulings and preachings that have nothing to do with the core tenets of the religion, and practices that don’t pass modest scrutiny should be challenged.

    • Ismail AA

      Ahlen Ustaz Mahmoud,

      I also add my voice to yours and congratulate women for March 8, which all humanity should cherish and celebrate. Besides, your extended input about Saleh’s important article has been very useful to me because you have commendably summarized the place of women in religions.

      I agree with your take that religions and their missions shift once expediency driven politics are mixed with doctrines of faiths. History recorded the havoc such experiences had caused at various phases of human development. The sad events that we watch happening in many spots of the globe can be understood in that context. For instance, I think the tragic events that have been unfolding in the Middle East, especially in Iraq and Syria, may not be fully comprehended without taking note of the geopolitical and economic agendas pertaining to gas, petroleum and Arab-Israeli conflict, that fuel the murderous machine of extremist variants that have been committing unimaginable crimes.

      I was not aware of Prof. Reza Aslan’s books, but reminded me of the writings of a great Iranian sociologist, Dr.
      Ali Shariati (d.1977). He had approached religion, especially Shi’ism, from sociological perspective, and his writings were source of inspiration to vast segments of Iranian youth before and after the Iranian Revolution in 1979. Though he did not belong to the traditional (conservative) clerical establishment, and, therefore, some of his ideas were not to their liking, the impact of his thinking had persisted, nevertheless.
      Regards

    • blink

      Dear MS
      I think ,You are muslim simply due to one main reason ,and that is , you are born Muslim and grow up as a Muslim . It is very hard to escape especially at the old ages . I wonder how many young muslims are not muslims inside deep to their heart . I wish i could tell by looking at any once face .

    • ኣማንኤል ኣድሓኖም

      Ya Ustaz I agreed wholeheartedly.

  • Abraham H.

    Selam All, one good news coming out of Eritrea: the Eritrean gov shabait website reports the laying of a cornerstone for the buliding of a Confucius Institute, school of Chinese language and culture in Asmara to be built at the cost of US $4 million.

    • tes

      Selam Abraham H.,

      I don’t think this is good news. Remember there is no single institut constructed so far that teaches Eritrean languages to the Eritrean people.

      tes

      • Abraham H.

        Dear tes, nice to see you again here; I guess this building is being constructed by the Chinese mission to Eritrea. I’m not sure whether there are institutions in Eritrea today that focus on Eritrean languages and culture, but the fact that such an institution is being built is positive, even if it is the first of its sort.

        • tes

          Dear Abraham H.,

          When there is investment by Chinese in Eritrea, what we should look into is the Chinese system of keeping silence in everything. Chinese are the worst investors and dictators like Issaias adore them most.

          It is good therefore to reject these kind of dangerous countries that do not care about human suffering.

          China, one day will be accountable for her silence about the Eritrean people since 1991 and her continuous support of the Eritrean regime during UN meetings.

          I condemn any kind of investement, whatever it is by China in Eritrea. Hence it is not good news for me but another headache on the Eritrean problems.

          tes

          • Abraham H.

            Selam tes, you’re entitled to your views but I personally consider this particular investment in terms of human resources development. Such an institution would give Eritreans the chance to study the Chinese language and culture and hence would be of immense improtance in future bilateral trade and other relations between China and Eritrea. Imagine if China were to partially or wholly finance the building of a hospital in Keren, wouldn’t that be of great help to the innhabitants of Keren and its environs?
            I know China is involved, for example, in the mining sector in Eritrea and they own 60% shares in the Zara mining company. I’m specifically concerned in such types of investments because I believe they are merely contributing to the plundering and theft of Eritrean natural resources to the benefit of the corrupt Isayas and his cohorts.

          • iSem

            Hi Abraham:
            I agree with Tes here, Chinese investment, even if it is tempting, under the current regime is bad for Eritrea and its people and its posterity. Chinese are known for cutting corners and whatever they built specially when PFDJ is not accountable to us, the Chinese will not be accountable. Actually many of the building and other things they are building maybe unsafe from the materials they use to the application of safety standard.
            Also the deals the PFDJ makes on our behalf is illegal because PFDJ is illegal mafia groups and primitive brutes and they do not have out best interest. China is milking Africa, the continent infested with dictators. Every deal that PFDJ makes does not benefit Eritrea and especially if that deal is made with the Chinese. We could do better with other companies from countries with citizens and not subjects and companies who have investors and not state owned, The Chinese do not care about the environment and human right and we can do nothing about it. But investors and people and citizens can do something about companies that hail from places with rule of law in the event they screw up and abuse.

            Lots of people made tons of money by pushing China but China maybe an accident waiting to happen given the repression and controlled capital freedom. Many people are hard on with the Chinese GDP growth, GDP is simple, it is the total amount of income of all the citizens who are employed and given their population and the fact that they have let up the noose on the free market, it is obvious that we get higher GDP and it does not necessarily reflect their ingenuity and I think that they still have decades to catch up with the west and USA in quality of life and human rights. China has been heavily investing in Nantochoy add it will surpass USA in total scientific papers published. They have many challenges in the environment and in lifting people out of poverty and they ill be spreading their tentacles and depleting the resources of nation like Eritrea, whose governments do not care about their people. For sure they are far better than our neighbours, the Arab countries (actually it a misnomer to call them countries that are run by families countries.). The Arab countries, who have almost the same population as the USA combined only publish 0.2% of the scientific papers , but still China is a long way and we cannot benefit by making deals with the mediocre when we can make deals with the starts, USA Canada and many European countries.
            Also, not as bad as Japan, China is aging and quickly and the one child policy has been lifted, but people are not interested to have more kids, so in all fronts China is not the winner. Europeans and the USA and Canada refresh their demographics and ideas by immigration and China will remain stale
            I agree with you though about learning the language spoken by over a billion people both for personal and business opportunities, but as national interest the Chinese deals should be kept to minimum even hen we have a government that has our best interest in the for-front.
            Even better Eritreans should be encouraged to learn the language spoken by close to half a billion people: Spanish. As Latin America cleans its acs and slowly implements rule of law they will propose and so L.America is predicted to be a growth area for business and pleasure as they unlock their wealth

          • Berhe Y

            Dear iSem and tes,

            I think you guys are really over reacting. I don’t see Chinese setting up this school will have a negative effect for Eritrea today or in the future. All the growth that we speak in Africa, for example in Ethiopia, they got Chinese invests heavily. Sure we may not agree their approach of non interfering in one political issue, but that may be better than the interference by Americans or the French for example “national interest” where they see the other way when things do not favor them, and punish those who have less “national interests”.

            I understand Chinese investment will benefit the PFDJ regime and it will support him to stay long in power but what we are failing to think is, life after PFDJ is gone. That’s what we need to have in mind..and when we do that, we need the whole system established and ready to take over.

            Having Eritreans learning Chinese will help in the future when the regime will fall and they will be ready to establish the relation ship required to rebuild our country.

            PFDJ didn’t become PFDJ because of the Chinese, it become PFDJ because it’s PFDJ.

            Berhe

          • iSem

            Hi BY:
            About learning the language, I have no issue, I even intend to learn Manderin soon. And as I said in the comment it is good to know the language spoken by 1 billion people for trade, and culture enrichment
            About the benefits of Chinese investmentit is mypic at its best and it serves only PFDJ now.
            I do not see the current Chinese involvment in Eri and in Africa different than colonization, instead of full takeover as the European colonization, where they ensalved the natives in their own countries, the Chinese are selectively colonizing the country by pleasing few dictators and leaving their foot print in their wake.
            Eritrean culture especially the highlands have deep Italian connection and the reason is they stayed there long, Eritreans were soldiers and so on. Now the longer the Chinese stay the more indelible their culture will be and the culture they will live is not only food, language and the good stuff that will enrich Eri, but tell-tale of repression, intolerance, all the bad things they are known for and their building that future Eritreans will brag about like they do now with the Italians buildings will not be as enduring as that of the Italians , they are doing it for profit, the Italians did it for passion and to experiment their knowledge.
            So post PFDJ what will the Chinese leave: penchant to disappear people, the notion that it is ok to cut corners, it is ok to kill people for the “good” of the country.
            China is clamoring for resources to feed its hunger and is doing it at the expense of the African people’s health, environment and human rights, that is what is wrong with Chinese investment and involvement with the deals they are getting in Eritrea for next to nothing
            And of course PFDJ became PFDJ because of Chinese, becuase nothing good or bad that comes from PFDJ is original:-)
            PFDJ is just doing the same thing they did in Sahel, cutting corners for short term benefits, true to their nature, PFDJ will elongate its life but shorten the life of the country and culture

          • Dear iSem,

            What has africa gained from the west over the last 500 yrs of colonization, compared to what it has gained from china over the last quarter century, if one takes as an example countries like ethiopia? The difference is colossal. Is there a case in which the west stood with the people of a third world country against dictators, forfeiting its national interest to uphold democracy? Is it not true that whenever they stood against dictators it was mainly because these dictators refused to serve their interests? At least the chinese are not hypocrites as is the west. Of course, chinese investments like any other investment are with the aim to gain profit, and they do not try to do it behind a smoke screen of democracy as the west does.

            If you are talking of cultural purity, eritrean culture as you said has traits of italian culture in it, and in this case, cultural flow is a possibility, but not inevitable. Another thing is why the chinese culture is demonized compared to the italian culture? Italians colonizers may have built asmara for their own people with eritrean labor, because they thought that they will stay for a thousand years as masters of the region. If they had stayed longer in ethiopia, they would have done a similar thing in addis as well, of course, again with free ethiopian labor. As much as the quality of buildings constructed by the chinese is concerned, I do not think that we have read cases of buildings collapsing in china for no reason at all, not in ethiopia either.

            Environmental degradation is always a possible danger of economic development, unless the government controls the situation with responsibility, so that the pollution we see in china is not repeated in countries like ethiopia. Any foreign investor, either from the east or the west, will always try to minimize its expenses and maximize its profit, and will not care for the environment, unless the local government cares.

            The only thing we can condemn the chinese for is that they will lengthen the life of the regime in asmara by acting as a lifeboat in the sinking ship of the pfdj. The west will not have done differently. A good example is the investment at the bisha goldmine.

          • iSem

            Hi Horizon: One of the advantages of becoming new country in Africa is you have the information that no country had before and you do not have to invent the wheel so to speak. And Eritrea under PFDJ has squandered the opportunity of a country born mere 25 years ago. To see the advantages of colonization, albeit the slavery and servitude, look at the countries who were colonized had some industries: India, Sudan and Eritrea. Asmara as Mussolini called it, litter Rome was the envy of the Africa, but for sure the infrastructure is a reminder of the brutal enslavement of our great grand fathers and grad fathers went through. But just purely in terms of being introduced to the industrialisation, I am talking bout.
            The reason African dictators love China is because it does not pester them and not because Chinese give better deals or better services. At least the Europeans have proved that they have brought prosperity and freedom and liberty to their own people and they have some basic Ethics. Even during the British Empire, people like Eric Blair were writing about the truth and brutality of the systems.
            Quality? Chinese quality is not even close and they would even be worse in the places like Eritrea You said, “…. they will lengthen the life of the regime in Asmara by acting as a lifeboat in the sinking ship of the pfdj. The west will not have done differently. A good example is the investment at the bisha goldmine.” So what is worse than this? That is why I said Chinese investment without a government that cares for its people, in an environment without independent press, independent institution, checks and balances will come to haunt Eritrea and all dictator infested countries in the future when their environment is so polluted that it would not be liveable. But that is the legacy of Africa, it only gives blood, enslavement to its people and then blame it to the European colonization and by accident when it produces some visionary men in Congo and Ghana, it will nip them in the bud by its own sons. I say Africa is infested by China and under the dictators, the glitter and shine will lose its luster in the long term. There is better way to do it, but the better way is not good for the Africa’s strong men.
            If like Abi “dabbo” is our only reason for becoming a country, then the” dabbo” will be more abundant with the Chinese than without them but it has high possibility that it is a poisoned one and will us down the road.
            There is a joke in Addis or Asmara and it goes like this: the habesha girl gave birth and the infant died shortly and during the mourning someone asked who was his father anyway and when told he was a Chinese expatriate, the questioner replied, no wonder it died so soon, it is Chinese goods:-)

          • Berhe Y

            Dear iSem,

            So why are you learning Mandarin you don’t want Eritreans in Eritrea to learn Mandarin:) then.

            understand where you are coming from. But I know you know a lot of chines people and most of them like all other people around the people, they are honest and hard working people. Have you seen interview or video of Jack Ma..

            The problem may be it’s with their governments, but I doubt they are worst than the western companies and countries.

            weather we like it or not, we have to honor the investment and the commitment the PFDJ government did on our behave when the regime is toppled…or unless we want to become like the PFDJ thugs..who do everything via Shitara…

            To my understanding the Confucius Institute is about cultural and language exchange. It may have some political angle but for the most part is to create relation ship between people. For example, what the British Council in Eritrea does in education.

            Berhe

          • iSem

            Hi BY:
            I did not say that.Never. Read again.
            Well, sure, honest Chinese, so were the Ethiopian Derg soldiers we met in Asmara, so is eveyone, but it is the system, the people are there to make wages and support their families and in the process they are tools of the Chinese systems

            So are many PFDJ supporters, on indivisual level they are charming, nice, no different from the average opposition. I am talking about the system. Read my response to Horizon. If Eri had a government by the ppl would you choose China dominating or diversify. Sure we should not ban Chinese byt watch them like hawks and bargain with them to death, that is not done

          • Berhe Y

            Dear iSem,

            I know you didn’t say that, I was joking..

            May be I didn’t get you…how is the opening of Confucius institute harm Eritrea?

            Berhe

          • Abraham H.

            Dear iSem, thanks for your relply, I agree with your take about doing business with the PFDJ mafia regime as such kinds of business aimed for profit would only facilitate the exploitation of the Eritrean people and their resources. But if you paid attention to my post, I was writing about investments in the development of human resources, because I believe such kinds of investments would eventually come to the benefit of the people in the long run after the PFDJ is gone. Also remember there are many Western companies operating in Eritrea doing business with the regime despite the regime’s dismal records in human rights. I aslo oppose these types of companies.

  • said

    Greetings,
    Re posting
    Beaten Arab masses left nakedly Orphans
    The Arabs all through their long history; that amalgam of sub-ethnicities; subcultures; multi-religions and multi-sects; gravitated, during one time or the other, during an epoch or another, around a leader or a reform movement, collectively or in isolated parts of the Arab Empire, that tended to hold the promise to uphold Arab national ambitions for revival playing often successfully the role of interim saviors. Such leaders, often, shared the masses’ ambitions and hopes for deliverance and salvation. Therefore, the Cult of Personality that single individual savior ever in attendance remained in the Arab political culture the central and dominant figure superseding institutions and institutional life.
    The above description befitted specific leaders and personalities all through Arab history, however, not these days, as the Arabs are found leaderless, devoid of any rallying ideology and any meaningful plans for meaningful encompassing socioeconomic development.
    At the very start of the revival of the Arabs, it all started with Prophet Mohammad who on the banner of a new doctrine, Islam, his battle-hardened followers overtook, through series of decisive conquests, new realms and new neighboring territories of Egypt, the Levant, Iraq, Persia and the entire North Africa. All this was carried out on the quest for proselytization, the spreading of the new faith, the new religion of Islam.
    The Prophet and his chosen close disciples of the first four caliphs and later a few distinguished Caliphs during the subsequent Dynastic Rules of the Umayyad Dynasty and the Abbasid Dynasty, extending over two centuries, managed to preserve the relative unity of the Empire, provide a national identity of the Arabs and provide for security and relative wellbeing of the Arabs and the other ethnicities subjects of the forming Islamic Empire.
    Figure in this vein among the strong leaders of the two dynasties the founder of the first dynasty, Muawiyah Bin Abu Sufian; and in the following Abbasid Dynasty figures the names of two strong and enlightened Caliphs, Harun al-Rashid and his son, of a Persian mother, Al-Mamoun.
    For nearly two and a half centuries until the end of the 9th Century, the Muslims and the Arabs were united under the banner of one strong Islamic Empire with religion, Islam, being the main source of identity despite the ruling over different none Muslim minorities who retained their original faith as were generally identified politically and legalistically under the rubric of Ahl Al Zimmah.
    It was during the enlightened rule of the Abbasids Caliph Al-Mamoun (Died in 833 C.E.) that strong movements to reform and determine a more inclusive definition of Islam flourished. In particular, al-Muʿtazilah movement enjoyed the upper hand as their teachings relied mostly on rationale reasoning and denying the status of the Qur’an as uncreated. The philosophical speculation of the Mu’tazilites centered on the concepts of divine justice and divine unity and was much influenced in its reasoning by the Greek philosophers.
    The battle between al-Muʿtazilah and their opponent theologians of the very strict Hanbali School (In reference to Ahmad Bin Hanbal, a contemporary of AlMamoun) – as the later evolved into the Salafist movement dominating the Islamic theology to this day – proved determinant for the future of Islam and Muslims’ future political and social lives. The Hanbali School believed in the literal interpretation of the Qur’an with the Wahhabi movement representing the latest version of the affirmation of the Salafist Doctrine.
    However, with the fall of the Abbasid Empire with the eclipse of their powerful Caliph Al-Mu’tasim, brother of Al-Mamoun, who died in 842 C.E., while still remained existing in name as an empire until 1260, the Abbasid Empire was virtually ruled by the Seljuk Turks; this, as the Empire split into regional fiefdoms often ruled by none Arabs, including Circissians and Mamluks, originally slaves originating from the Caucus and Central Asia regions.
    The Fatimid, followers of the Ishmaelite Sect ruled over Egypt, North Africa and the Levant for nearly two centuries extending until the end of the 12th century as under whose rule the City of Cairo and Al-Azhar, the Islamic center of learning, were founded.
    Saladin, a Kurdish leader contemporary of the Crusaders who succeeded in 1187 to push the Crusaders out of Jerusalem, managed and his very short-lived dynasty, the Ayoubis , to rule over Egypt and the Levant for only a few decades. The Mamluks succeeded in regaining the ruling over Egypt and the Levant for another three
    centuries after the eclipse of the short rule of the Ayoubis and until their lost battle with the Ottoman Turks in Marj Dabiq, North of Aleppo, in 1516.
    However, despite the despondent rule of the Ottomans, strong local leaders would emerge from time to time asserting strong local and regional authority that the Turks would overlook and tolerate for a time before finally moving in in force to reassert their presence and control as the uncontested empire. This continued until the end of WWI and the dismantling of the Ottoman Empire in 1919.
    Names like Mohammad Ali in Egypt, an Albanian Turkish officer who founded a dynasty that lasted until Nasser’s coup d’état in Egypt, is an example of an ambitious local leader who tried to expand his rule to extend beyond Egypt to include the Levant with a nursed ambition to eventually declare independence from the Ottoman rule had he not been prematurely cut to size by both the Ottomans and the Western powers keen on maintaining the status quo in the game of geopolitics.
    Ahmad Pasha al-Jazzar of Acre, who as an Ottoman Governor extended his rule to include most of the Levant, is another example of a local leader who harbored dreams of extending his hold into a larger empire (he was Bosnian of obscure background adopted by the Mamluks as a Christian boy). It was during his reign that Napoleon failed to invade Acre during the prolonged siege of Acre in 1799.
    However, the rise of the House of Saud – The First Kingdom – on the back of a Pact with the Salafist zealot reformer Muhammad Bin Abdel Wahhab in the central region of the Arabian Desert – the Najd Province – in the middle of the 18th century that proved quite significant in terms of the rebirth of that Kingdom a century later to becoming nowadays the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
    As the rule of the First Saudi Kingdom expanded all over the Arabian Peninsula through continuous conquests on the force of carrying the banner of the Wahhabi reform, the Ottoman Turks ordered Mohammad Ali of Egypt to send an expedition headed by his adopted son Ibrahim Basha to end the Saudi Kingdom. Ibrahim Basha succeeded in ending the First Saudi Kingdom in 1814 pushing the Al-Saud back to their original fiefdom in Najd, in the arid central heart of the Arabian Desert. In the meanwhile, Ibrahim Basha took captive the Saudi ruler who was finally put to death in his exile in Alexandria, Egypt.
    After the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the success of France and Britain in slicing its Arab patrimony and putting in motion a plan to creating a Jewish homeland in Palestine, a young descendant of Al-Saud, the founder of current
    Kingdomof Saudi Arabia, Abdul Aziz Bin Abdel Rahman Al-Saud, began a new march to recreate anew the expanded Saudi Kingdom, always under the long established historic pact with the Wahhabi Clergy as the Al-Saud Dynasty would enjoy unrestricted temporal authority as the descendants of Muhammad Bin Abdel Wahhab would retain control and set the rules over all religious matters.
    The British government through their so-called Indian Government operating out of Bombay, India, sponsored Abdel Aziz Al-Saud in his ambitious territorial expansion plans and provided him with the necessary logistics and funding (Excellent narrative in this regard can be found in David Holden’s book, “The House of Saud,” 1978; David Holden was mysteriously murdered in Egypt in December 1977 while his book was still in progress as it was later finished by Richard Johns). The discovery of oil, the engine of growth of the Western economies, rendered Saudi Arabia the more important as was enviously attached to the Western Sphere of Influence. In the meanwhile, the kingdom extended its largess from the abundant oil revenues to spreading the Wahhabi teachings through the creation of wide web of dedicated schools, mosques and religious centers espousing the Wahhabi Salafi teaching.
    Interestingly, and simultaneously as the British were supporting the Saudi King to expand in Arabian Peninsula, the British, out of their High Commission offices in Cairo, were promising another ambitious founder of a new ruling Dynasty, the Hashemites, Sheerif Hussein, the Grand Sheerif of Mecca, of the Western Hejaz region of the Arabian Desert; the rule and his sons over the entire Arab Middle East for his cooperation in enlisting the Bedouin tribes in the fight to ending Ottoman Rule during the heat of the WWI. The territories promised to the Sheerif of Mecca were still in the possessions and part of the Sovereignty of the Ottoman Empire during the still undecided outcome of the ongoing WWI.
    The Heshemites through the scions of the Grand Mufti, Shareef Hussein of Mecca, ended ruling separately over Jordan and Iraq. However, the rule of the Heshemites in Iraq came to an abrupt end with the bloody military coup d’état that took place in Iraq on July, 1958.
    Now, the Arabs after the raging internecine fraternal local strife in the region in the aftermath of the so-called Arab Spring; the squandering of the Arab scarce resources; the total failure of timid attempts at political reform and meaningful socio-economic developments; the incredible rising power and aggression of the implanted Zionist state, the Arabs are found completely leaderless without a rallying ideology and without a future plan. The serendipitous huge wealth
    emanating from the sale of energy failed to play the attendant important role of spurring a wide-reaching meaningful socio-economic revival of the Arab world.
    The Arabs now stand naked and very vulnerable with an Islam, once their cementing and rallying force to unity, is being long hijacked by the Salafists; with a tiny Israel homeland of world Jewry finding its survival linked to the fragmentation and dominance of the Middle East through pre-emptive acts of aggression and incessant usurpation of land; and the oil wealth being dissipated on mostly white elephant projects and fruitless regional strife.
    In all this, Iran, the rebirth of old Ambitious Persia that once dominated the entire Gulf region remains at present the truly sole coherent regional power with the clear binding and rallying ideology and the resources to ultimately assume uncontested dominance, as an indigenous power in the Middle East. The Donald Trump Administration and Israel will try all that in their powers, given the opportunity, to deny Iran that possibility as the rest of the local regimes in the region would enlist as proxies in another long grinding wasteful strife that risks, if ever materializes, to leave no one better off, i.e. if not much worse.

  • Paulos

    Selamat Awatistas,

    A pro-Ethiopian government website Ethiopia-prosperous is reporting that an active battle engagement has been going on for longer hours between an Eritrean opposition force known by an acronym ደ.ም.ሓ.ኤ and Eritrean soldiers on the Mereb and Rama area with heavy casualties on the Eritrean side. It says, the engagement has not slowed down. Not sure how far true the news is.

    • blink

      Dear Paulos
      Bad news we are experiencing such, just after 17 years bloody war . This war will be bloody and ugly .But i did not understand how you say the heavy casualties on the Eritrean side , are not they both Eritreans ?. Any one who wish to get justice by bullets is simply foolish . But if the websites are aiga form or awramba ,It is better to wait little.

      • Paulos

        Selam Blink,

        I agree war is not anybody’s wish. True, they both are Eritreans, I should have phrased it better. The heavy casualties it says is on the government side but again not sure how credible the news item is.

        • blink

          Dear paulos
          can you see change caming by bullets in Eritrea to be good? I mean , what happen if some one from the armed opposition passed the lists of men in the armed opposition to Eritrea ? This age is not like the 1980th , lists of names can be simply passed to any one and make the process messy .

          • Paulos

            Selam Blink,

            I wish I had the answer to that for the solution in my view comes from high above as in a prayer to God. The situation in Eritrea is too complex and too frightening as well where again it is beyond us.

          • sara

            Blink Selam,
            Its strange times… Cheering the death of eritreans by eritrean.

      • Abraham H.

        Selam blink, indeed, loss of life on both sides of the Mereb is so terrible enough; it is sad that the Isayas regime has left Eritreans with no other alternative than to take to arms to try and restore thier lost human dignity.

    • Fanti Ghana

      Hello Paulos,

      I didn’t want to say anything about it but I had a clue yesterday about troop movement from someone I don’t quite know how to rate. Although Ethiopia-prosperousis is extremely biased, they swear by EPRDF which means I like them, but I don’t think they would fabricate news at all. However, if it is not true then it can only mean that somebody serious mislead them seriously.

      • Paulos

        Selam Fantination,

        Probably it’s falling through the cracks for none of the Eritrean websites are picking up the news but of course time will tell. Thanks for the info.

      • blink

        Dear Fanti
        ” if it is not true then it can only mean that somebody serious mislead them ” That line is ,oh ,what world are we living in man . Second you swear by EPRDF in the eyes of so much to tell horrible stories . I hope the news is fake news as it is known some EPRDF sites are …. lets leave it there. The dictator can not be removed on such way .

        • Fanti Ghana

          Hello blink,

          1) I have noticed many times an interchangeable use of the words “lie” and a “mistake.” Say, for example, you ask what my name is. I tell you “Mizingu.” although my true name is “Fanti,” now, if someone else asks you for my name and you reply “Mizingu” does that mean you are a liar? That was the idea I was using when I stated that “someone must have mislead them” because I have never seen them fabricate anything before.

          Yes, they exaggerate a little when it is positive and down play it a little when it is not, but I never seen them fabricate anything for as long as I have known them.

          2) “…horrible stories.” blink, there are other stories does not mean one have to report them all the time no matter what the subject. If EPRDF builds a railroad to Nairobi, what would be wrong with reporting “EPRDF built a rail road to Nairobi.” However, if the report says “EPRDF is ‘great’ because it built a railroad to Nairobi,” then we have an issue. By the same token if the report is about something bad EPRDF did, the same rule applies.

    • KBT

      Selamat kulukhum
      You said an Eritrean opposition force kkkk
      Are you kidding me,what force the opposition have ???
      Maybe Ethiopian army sous cover any way
      You guys must understand it’s game over none will
      Woyane can not help anymore he is fighting for his own survival

  • Abrehet Yosief

    Selam Ustaz,
    Thank you for a timely article. This is issue is very important to all of us, including Christians, who are raising children, specially boys in the West. Our kids, who have a hard time navigating between the cultures of our home and the west, are more comfortable with children of similar background. The brotherhood they feel with Muslims of their age is very strong. It behooves us parents to help them navigate their thirst for acceptance and a credence that values them. I was going to make the recently published book “Letters to a young Muslim: by Omar Saif Ghobasch” part of my collection. I will include the videos you listed as well.

    • Saleh Johar

      Selam Abrehet,
      Explaining the madness (the violence and the bigotry alike) to children is the most difficult task that Muslim parents are going through. You have to be one to realize how painful it is. Particularly when your own people pick the foolish attitude as if it is a fashion they have to conform with. Of course you see even those who couldn’t lean their noses think they have the license to display their hate openly. And I know how many good hearted people are agonizing over what is happening to their Muslim relatives, neighbors, friends and compatriots. But do not despair, it is a wave that will pass like any other waves 🙂

    • Fanti Ghana

      Hello Abrehet Yosief,

      I am replying after several should I-should I not debates, because I know you got it (shouldn’t), but I am compelled to stress the beautiful way Dr. Adnan quoted and applied John Locke in his subject of tolerance (should).

      – “All humans are exposed to error.”
      – “The perfect human ever exist in one culture.”
      – “Force and compulsion can never be a method of convincing.”

      Isn’t this the best “Bible/Quran/Torah” teaching ever?

  • Dear SJG,

    An excellent, educational and I would have liked to say a very daring article on a very important subject. Thank you.
    I would have liked some clarification though on the topic of ‘jihad’, as explained by the gentleman in the video. If I have understood him well, he said that one of the three teachings of ‘jihad’ was to respond with aggression to an external aggression, and not to commit aggression on others without provocation, unlike the christian teaching of forgiving and offering the other cheek.
    I could be wrong, yet I think that most of the conquests which lead to the expansion of islam at least to the middle east from its place of birth, must have taken place during the early years of islam, when the teachings of the Prophet Mohammed were still fresh in the minds of his followers. I do not think that such an extended campaign and conquest occurred only as a response to an external aggression. Of course, it was also propagated through trade. If we take the christian religion as well, especially the catholic church, history can bring to the forefront many cases of aggression, be it in the holy lands, the inquisition, the americas, and others.
    Then, is it possible that despite what the gentleman said, islam had inherently the essence of expansion in its nature, and aggression was one of the means used, which of course holds true for the christian religion as well? Or, should we say that in the hands of human beings, right from the beginning, religions were used as weapons for hidden agendas, and the problem lies in human nature and not in the religious teachings themselves?
    Regards.

    • said

      Greetings Horizon ,the problem lies in human nature and not in the religious teachings themselves? this why The Beaten Arab masses left nakedly Orphans
      The Arabs all through their long history; that amalgam of sub-ethnicities; subcultures; multi-religions and multi-sects; gravitated, during one time or the other, during an epoch or another, around a leader or a reform movement, collectively or in isolated parts of the Arab Empire, that tended to hold the promise to uphold Arab national ambitions for revival playing often successfully the role of interim saviors. Such leaders, often, shared the masses’ ambitions and hopes for deliverance and salvation. Therefore, the Cult of Personality that single individual savior ever in attendance remained in the Arab political culture the central and dominant figure superseding institutions and institutional life.
      The above description befitted specific leaders and personalities all through Arab history, however, not these days, as the Arabs are found leaderless, devoid of any rallying ideology and any meaningful plans for meaningful encompassing socioeconomic development.
      At the very start of the revival of the Arabs, it all started with Prophet Mohammad who on the banner of a new doctrine, Islam, his battle-hardened followers overtook, through series of decisive conquests, new realms and new neighboring territories of Egypt, the Levant, Iraq, Persia and the entire North Africa. All this was carried out on the quest for proselytization, the spreading of the new faith, the new religion of Islam.
      The Prophet and his chosen close disciples of the first four caliphs and later a few distinguished Caliphs during the subsequent Dynastic Rules of the Umayyad Dynasty and the Abbasid Dynasty, extending over two centuries, managed to preserve the relative unity of the Empire, provide a national identity of the Arabs and provide for security and relative wellbeing of the Arabs and the other ethnicities subjects of the forming Islamic Empire.
      Figure in this vein among the strong leaders of the two dynasties the founder of the first dynasty, Muawiyah Bin Abu Sufian; and in the following Abbasid Dynasty figures the names of two strong and enlightened Caliphs, Harun al-Rashid and his son, of a Persian mother, Al-Mamoun.
      For nearly two and a half centuries until the end of the 9th Century, the Muslims and the Arabs were united under the banner of one strong Islamic Empire with religion, Islam, being the main source of identity despite the ruling over different none Muslim minorities who retained their original faith as were generally identified politically and legalistically under the rubric of Ahl Al Zimmah.
      It was during the enlightened rule of the Abbasids Caliph Al-Mamoun (Died in 833 C.E.) that strong movements to reform and determine a more inclusive definition of Islam flourished. In particular, al-Muʿtazilah movement enjoyed the upper hand as their teachings relied mostly on rationale reasoning and denying the status of the Qur’an as uncreated. The philosophical speculation of the Mu’tazilites centered on the concepts of divine justice and divine unity and was much influenced in its reasoning by the Greek philosophers.
      The battle between al-Muʿtazilah and their opponent theologians of the very strict Hanbali School (In reference to Ahmad Bin Hanbal, a contemporary of AlMamoun) – as the later evolved into the Salafist movement dominating the Islamic theology to this day – proved determinant for the future of Islam and Muslims’ future political and social lives. The Hanbali School believed in the literal interpretation of the Qur’an with the Wahhabi movement representing the latest version of the affirmation of the Salafist Doctrine.
      However, with the fall of the Abbasid Empire with the eclipse of their powerful Caliph Al-Mu’tasim, brother of Al-Mamoun, who died in 842 C.E., while still remained existing in name as an empire until 1260, the Abbasid Empire was virtually ruled by the Seljuk Turks; this, as the Empire split into regional fiefdoms often ruled by none Arabs, including Circissians and Mamluks, originally slaves originating from the Caucus and Central Asia regions.
      The Fatimid, followers of the Ishmaelite Sect ruled over Egypt, North Africa and the Levant for nearly two centuries extending until the end of the 12th century as under whose rule the City of Cairo and Al-Azhar, the Islamic center of learning, were founded.
      Saladin, a Kurdish leader contemporary of the Crusaders who succeeded in 1187 to push the Crusaders out of Jerusalem, managed and his very short-lived dynasty, the Ayoubis , to rule over Egypt and the Levant for only a few decades. The Mamluks succeeded in regaining the ruling over Egypt and the Levant for another three
      centuries after the eclipse of the short rule of the Ayoubis and until their lost battle with the Ottoman Turks in Marj Dabiq, North of Aleppo, in 1516.
      However, despite the despondent rule of the Ottomans, strong local leaders would emerge from time to time asserting strong local and regional authority that the Turks would overlook and tolerate for a time before finally moving in in force to reassert their presence and control as the uncontested empire. This continued until the end of WWI and the dismantling of the Ottoman Empire in 1919.
      Names like Mohammad Ali in Egypt, an Albanian Turkish officer who founded a dynasty that lasted until Nasser’s coup d’état in Egypt, is an example of an ambitious local leader who tried to expand his rule to extend beyond Egypt to include the Levant with a nursed ambition to eventually declare independence from the Ottoman rule had he not been prematurely cut to size by both the Ottomans and the Western powers keen on maintaining the status quo in the game of geopolitics.
      Ahmad Pasha al-Jazzar of Acre, who as an Ottoman Governor extended his rule to include most of the Levant, is another example of a local leader who harbored dreams of extending his hold into a larger empire (he was Bosnian of obscure background adopted by the Mamluks as a Christian boy). It was during his reign that Napoleon failed to invade Acre during the prolonged siege of Acre in 1799.
      However, the rise of the House of Saud – The First Kingdom – on the back of a Pact with the Salafist zealot reformer Muhammad Bin Abdel Wahhab in the central region of the Arabian Desert – the Najd Province – in the middle of the 18th century that proved quite significant in terms of the rebirth of that Kingdom a century later to becoming nowadays the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
      As the rule of the First Saudi Kingdom expanded all over the Arabian Peninsula through continuous conquests on the force of carrying the banner of the Wahhabi reform, the Ottoman Turks ordered Mohammad Ali of Egypt to send an expedition headed by his adopted son Ibrahim Basha to end the Saudi Kingdom. Ibrahim Basha succeeded in ending the First Saudi Kingdom in 1814 pushing the Al-Saud back to their original fiefdom in Najd, in the arid central heart of the Arabian Desert. In the meanwhile, Ibrahim Basha took captive the Saudi ruler who was finally put to death in his exile in Alexandria, Egypt.
      After the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the success of France and Britain in slicing its Arab patrimony and putting in motion a plan to creating a Jewish homeland in Palestine, a young descendant of Al-Saud, the founder of current
      Kingdomof Saudi Arabia, Abdul Aziz Bin Abdel Rahman Al-Saud, began a new march to recreate anew the expanded Saudi Kingdom, always under the long established historic pact with the Wahhabi Clergy as the Al-Saud Dynasty would enjoy unrestricted temporal authority as the descendants of Muhammad Bin Abdel Wahhab would retain control and set the rules over all religious matters.
      The British government through their so-called Indian Government operating out of Bombay, India, sponsored Abdel Aziz Al-Saud in his ambitious territorial expansion plans and provided him with the necessary logistics and funding (Excellent narrative in this regard can be found in David Holden’s book, “The House of Saud,” 1978; David Holden was mysteriously murdered in Egypt in December 1977 while his book was still in progress as it was later finished by Richard Johns). The discovery of oil, the engine of growth of the Western economies, rendered Saudi Arabia the more important as was enviously attached to the Western Sphere of Influence. In the meanwhile, the kingdom extended its largess from the abundant oil revenues to spreading the Wahhabi teachings through the creation of wide web of dedicated schools, mosques and religious centers espousing the Wahhabi Salafi teaching.
      Interestingly, and simultaneously as the British were supporting the Saudi King to expand in Arabian Peninsula, the British, out of their High Commission offices in Cairo, were promising another ambitious founder of a new ruling Dynasty, the Hashemites, Sheerif Hussein, the Grand Sheerif of Mecca, of the Western Hejaz region of the Arabian Desert; the rule and his sons over the entire Arab Middle East for his cooperation in enlisting the Bedouin tribes in the fight to ending Ottoman Rule during the heat of the WWI. The territories promised to the Sheerif of Mecca were still in the possessions and part of the Sovereignty of the Ottoman Empire during the still undecided outcome of the ongoing WWI.
      The Heshemites through the scions of the Grand Mufti, Shareef Hussein of Mecca, ended ruling separately over Jordan and Iraq. However, the rule of the Heshemites in Iraq came to an abrupt end with the bloody military coup d’état that took place in Iraq on July, 1958.
      Now, the Arabs after the raging internecine fraternal local strife in the region in the aftermath of the so-called Arab Spring; the squandering of the Arab scarce resources; the total failure of timid attempts at political reform and meaningful socio-economic developments; the incredible rising power and aggression of the implanted Zionist state, the Arabs are found completely leaderless without a rallying ideology and without a future plan. The serendipitous huge wealth
      emanating from the sale of energy failed to play the attendant important role of spurring a wide-reaching meaningful socio-economic revival of the Arab world.
      The Arabs now stand naked and very vulnerable with an Islam, once their cementing and rallying force to unity, is being long hijacked by the Salafists; with a tiny Israel homeland of world Jewry finding its survival linked to the fragmentation and dominance of the Middle East through pre-emptive acts of aggression and incessant usurpation of land; and the oil wealth being dissipated on mostly white elephant projects and fruitless regional strife.
      In all this, Iran, the rebirth of old Ambitious Persia that once dominated the entire Gulf region remains at present the truly sole coherent regional power with the clear binding and rallying ideology and the resources to ultimately assume uncontested dominance, as an indigenous power in the Middle East. The Donald Trump Administration and Israel will try all that in their powers, given the opportunity, to deny Iran that possibility as the rest of the local regimes in the region would enlist as proxies in another long grinding wasteful strife that risks, if ever materializes, to leave no one better off, i.e. if not much worse.

    • Saleh Johar

      Selam Horizon,

      In fact I agree with Dr. Adnan’s explanation of Jihad–he explained it very clearly.

      In Islam, those who tolerate oppression are equally guilty as the oppressors, and aggression should never be tolerated. To fight aggression and injustice is deeply seated in the Muslim psyche, particulary fighting against “those who drive you out of your homes”–in times of war, compassion is shown only to women, children, the old and prisoners of war.

      Muslims have religion like anybody else, and as nations, they have interest to protect, threats to remove, and a host of other things that any country faces. But you must have noticed that Colonialism is rarely defined as religious wars though it was carried out with the bible, by Christians. But when it comes to Muslims, it is defined solely on religious grounds, religious expansion. And there has been a historical bias against Muslims since a long time by the West that came out victories in the last few centuries.

      There are many Muslim scholars who criticize the military expansion of the years of Islam, particularly by Muawiyah, who installed himself the fifth Caliph and killed Ali (the fourth Caliph) and that was the start of the Shia’a Sunni divide. Muawyah (and the Ummayad dynasty he established) is probably responsible for the most part for the expansion of the Muslim empire to North Africa and then to Iberia. But remember all the North parts of Arabia were under the Byzantine empire, the West was under the under the Persina empire and both were not your typical just rules though most of the Arabs then were either Jews or Christians. Once they become powerful, they had to push out the surrounding empires and once in it, there was no stopping–they reached all the way to the South of France.

      So, do you see that as a normal empire building by ambitious leaders or Muslim expansion by religious zealots? Generally, the West and its byproducts (African scholars for example) are oriented to see any Muslim action as religiously driven as if Muslims do not have economic, political, military and other interests to protect just like the rest of humanity. Of course that characterization could be applied to any Christian person, but Christianity is not under attack except in the stone age domain of ISIS where they share the violence with Muslim victims–don’t you think Christians are are having it easy 🙂

      I am sorry I don’t feel like going into the philosophy of religion, my interest is the identity part only, everything else I do to deal with the identity and cultural aspects of it–try Simon and Amde, I am sure they can indulge you in that 🙂

      Let me bring it home for you:

      I know that you consider me a Muslim though I have not told you that. Okay, my name gives me away 🙂
      Now consider two scenarios:

      1) I could be a devout Muslim who performs all rituals and lives by the scripture, or,
      2) I could be a person born to Muslim parents but I am an atheist.

      If we both met in Addis Ababa or Asmara, knowing only my name, how would you deal with me?

      Would you treat me as a Muslim or as an atheist?

      Of course you know the answer, I will always be treated like a Muslim because my identity is a Muslim. That is why we need liberal democracy so that people can be defined as citizens before anything else.

      • Dear SJG,

        Thank you for taking the time to respond. As we all know, the state and religion were not separated, especially in those days. Most probably, after countries started to become multi-religious, people started to talk of separation of the state and religion. Otherwise, politics and religion, or the state and the church, or the state and the mosque, have walked side by side and worked in harmony throughout their history, as if they were inseparable siamese twins, be it christianity or islam. In christianity, the church served the king and the king the church, and I believe that a similar thing happened in the arab world too.
        The pope of rome blessed italian soldiers of fascist italy before they left to invade ethiopia. Another good example is what Desmond Tutu had said. If I am allowed to paraphrase him, he said, ‘you came with your bible and you told us to close our eyes to pray. When we opened our eyes you had our lands and we had your bible.’ In both cases the governing class and the religious leaders were both beneficiaries.
        Historians and religious leaders have presented both historical facts from biased angles, thus creating a distorted picture in believers of both religions. Nevertheless, there was no much difference in the way both religions functioned throughout their history.
        Today the problem of religion has become much more complicated, multifaceted and extremely dangerous. It has cause and effect, and I believe that one single narrative is not adequate to explain everything that is happening. There is no better time than today, when the leaders of the two antagonizing religions should come forward and stand before the world community and condemn violence unequivocally, wherever it may come from, and work together to confront both demons; fascists, the far-right, supremacists, and ultra-nationalists from one side, and radical islam from the other.
        Regards.

  • said

    Greeting
    Beaten Arab masses left nakedly Orphans
    The Arabs all through their long history; that amalgam of sub-ethnicities; subcultures; multi-religions and multi-sects; gravitated, during one time or the other, during an epoch or another, around a leader or a reform movement, collectively or in isolated parts of the Arab Empire, that tended to hold the promise to uphold Arab national ambitions for revival playing often successfully the role of interim saviors. Such leaders, often, shared the masses’ ambitions and hopes for deliverance and salvation. Therefore, the Cult of Personality that single individual savior ever in attendance remained in the Arab political culture the central and dominant figure superseding institutions and institutional life.
    The above description befitted specific leaders and personalities all through Arab history, however, not these days, as the Arabs are found leaderless, devoid of any rallying ideology and any meaningful plans for meaningful encompassing socioeconomic development.
    At the very start of the revival of the Arabs, it all started with Prophet Mohammad who on the banner of a new doctrine, Islam, his battle-hardened followers overtook, through series of decisive conquests, new realms and new neighboring territories of Egypt, the Levant, Iraq, Persia and the entire North Africa. All this was carried out on the quest for proselytization, the spreading of the new faith, the new religion of Islam.
    The Prophet and his chosen close disciples of the first four caliphs and later a few distinguished Caliphs during the subsequent Dynastic Rules of the Umayyad Dynasty and the Abbasid Dynasty, extending over two centuries, managed to preserve the relative unity of the Empire, provide a national identity of the Arabs and provide for security and relative wellbeing of the Arabs and the other ethnicities subjects of the forming Islamic Empire.
    Figure in this vein among the strong leaders of the two dynasties the founder of the first dynasty, Muawiyah Bin Abu Sufian; and in the following Abbasid Dynasty figures the names of two strong and enlightened Caliphs, Harun al-Rashid and his son, of a Persian mother, Al-Mamoun.

    For nearly two and a half centuries until the end of the 9th Century, the Muslims and the Arabs were united under the banner of one strong Islamic Empire with religion, Islam, being the main source of identity despite the ruling over different none Muslim minorities who retained their original faith as were generally identified politically and legalistically under the rubric of Ahl Al Zimmah.
    It was during the enlightened rule of the Abbasids Caliph Al-Mamoun (Died in 833 C.E.) that strong movements to reform and determine a more inclusive definition of Islam flourished. In particular, al-Muʿtazilah movement enjoyed the upper hand as their teachings relied mostly on rationale reasoning and denying the status of the Qur’an as uncreated. The philosophical speculation of the Mu’tazilites centered on the concepts of divine justice and divine unity and was much influenced in its reasoning by the Greek philosophers.
    The battle between al-Muʿtazilah and their opponent theologians of the very strict Hanbali School (In reference to Ahmad Bin Hanbal, a contemporary of AlMamoun) – as the later evolved into the Salafist movement dominating the Islamic theology to this day – proved determinant for the future of Islam and Muslims’ future political and social lives. The Hanbali School believed in the literal interpretation of the Qur’an with the Wahhabi movement representing the latest version of the affirmation of the Salafist Doctrine.
    However, with the fall of the Abbasid Empire with the eclipse of their powerful Caliph Al-Mu’tasim, brother of Al-Mamoun, who died in 842 C.E., while still remained existing in name as an empire until 1260, the Abbasid Empire was virtually ruled by the Seljuk Turks; this, as the Empire split into regional fiefdoms often ruled by none Arabs, including Circissians and Mamluks, originally slaves originating from the Caucus and Central Asia regions.
    The Fatimid, followers of the Ishmaelite Sect ruled over Egypt, North Africa and the Levant for nearly two centuries extending until the end of the 12th century as under whose rule the City of Cairo and Al-Azhar, the Islamic center of learning, were founded.
    Saladin, a Kurdish leader contemporary of the Crusaders who succeeded in 1187 to push the Crusaders out of Jerusalem, managed and his very short-lived dynasty, the Ayoubis , to rule over Egypt and the Levant for only a few decades. The Mamluks succeeded in regaining the ruling over Egypt and the Levant for another three

    centuries after the eclipse of the short rule of the Ayoubis and until their lost battle with the Ottoman Turks in Marj Dabiq, North of Aleppo, in 1516.
    However, despite the despondent rule of the Ottomans, strong local leaders would emerge from time to time asserting strong local and regional authority that the Turks would overlook and tolerate for a time before finally moving in in force to reassert their presence and control as the uncontested empire. This continued until the end of WWI and the dismantling of the Ottoman Empire in 1919.
    Names like Mohammad Ali in Egypt, an Albanian Turkish officer who founded a dynasty that lasted until Nasser’s coup d’état in Egypt, is an example of an ambitious local leader who tried to expand his rule to extend beyond Egypt to include the Levant with a nursed ambition to eventually declare independence from the Ottoman rule had he not been prematurely cut to size by both the Ottomans and the Western powers keen on maintaining the status quo in the game of geopolitics.
    Ahmad Pasha al-Jazzar of Acre, who as an Ottoman Governor extended his rule to include most of the Levant, is another example of a local leader who harbored dreams of extending his hold into a larger empire (he was Bosnian of obscure background adopted by the Mamluks as a Christian boy). It was during his reign that Napoleon failed to invade Acre during the prolonged siege of Acre in 1799.
    However, the rise of the House of Saud – The First Kingdom – on the back of a Pact with the Salafist zealot reformer Muhammad Bin Abdel Wahhab in the central region of the Arabian Desert – the Najd Province – in the middle of the 18th century that proved quite significant in terms of the rebirth of that Kingdom a century later to becoming nowadays the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
    As the rule of the First Saudi Kingdom expanded all over the Arabian Peninsula through continuous conquests on the force of carrying the banner of the Wahhabi reform, the Ottoman Turks ordered Mohammad Ali of Egypt to send an expedition headed by his adopted son Ibrahim Basha to end the Saudi Kingdom. Ibrahim Basha succeeded in ending the First Saudi Kingdom in 1814 pushing the Al-Saud back to their original fiefdom in Najd, in the arid central heart of the Arabian Desert. In the meanwhile, Ibrahim Basha took captive the Saudi ruler who was finally put to death in his exile in Alexandria, Egypt.
    After the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the success of France and Britain in slicing its Arab patrimony and putting in motion a plan to creating a Jewish homeland in Palestine, a young descendant of Al-Saud, the founder of current
    Page 4 of 5
    Kingdomof Saudi Arabia, Abdul Aziz Bin Abdel Rahman Al-Saud, began a new march to recreate anew the expanded Saudi Kingdom, always under the long established historic pact with the Wahhabi Clergy as the Al-Saud Dynasty would enjoy unrestricted temporal authority as the descendants of Muhammad Bin Abdel Wahhab would retain control and set the rules over all religious matters.
    The British government through their so-called Indian Government operating out of Bombay, India, sponsored Abdel Aziz Al-Saud in his ambitious territorial expansion plans and provided him with the necessary logistics and funding (Excellent narrative in this regard can be found in David Holden’s book, “The House of Saud,” 1978; David Holden was mysteriously murdered in Egypt in December 1977 while his book was still in progress as it was later finished by Richard Johns). The discovery of oil, the engine of growth of the Western economies, rendered Saudi Arabia the more important as was enviously attached to the Western Sphere of Influence. In the meanwhile, the kingdom extended its largess from the abundant oil revenues to spreading the Wahhabi teachings through the creation of wide web of dedicated schools, mosques and religious centers espousing the Wahhabi Salafi teaching.
    Interestingly, and simultaneously as the British were supporting the Saudi King to expand in Arabian Peninsula, the British, out of their High Commission offices in Cairo, were promising another ambitious founder of a new ruling Dynasty, the Hashemites, Sheerif Hussein, the Grand Sheerif of Mecca, of the Western Hejaz region of the Arabian Desert; the rule and his sons over the entire Arab Middle East for his cooperation in enlisting the Bedouin tribes in the fight to ending Ottoman Rule during the heat of the WWI. The territories promised to the Sheerif of Mecca were still in the possessions and part of the Sovereignty of the Ottoman Empire during the still undecided outcome of the ongoing WWI.
    The Heshemites through the scions of the Grand Mufti, Shareef Hussein of Mecca, ended ruling separately over Jordan and Iraq. However, the rule of the Heshemites in Iraq came to an abrupt end with the bloody military coup d’état that took place in Iraq on July, 1958.
    Now, the Arabs after the raging internecine fraternal local strife in the region in the aftermath of the so-called Arab Spring; the squandering of the Arab scarce resources; the total failure of timid attempts at political reform and meaningful socio-economic developments; the incredible rising power and aggression of the implanted Zionist state, the Arabs are found completely leaderless without a rallying ideology and without a future plan. The serendipitous huge wealth

    emanating from the sale of energy failed to play the attendant important role of spurring a wide-reaching meaningful socio-economic revival of the Arab world.
    The Arabs now stand naked and very vulnerable with an Islam, once their cementing and rallying force to unity, is being long hijacked by the Salafists; with a tiny Israel homeland of world Jewry finding its survival linked to the fragmentation and dominance of the Middle East through pre-emptive acts of aggression and incessant usurpation of land; and the oil wealth being dissipated on mostly white elephant projects and fruitless regional strife.
    In all this, Iran, the rebirth of old Ambitious Persia that once dominated the entire Gulf region before the Arab invasion, remains at present the truly sole coherent regional power with the clear binding and rallying ideology and the resources to ultimately assume uncontested dominance, as an indigenous power in the Middle East. The Donald Trump Administration and Israel will try all that in their powers, given the opportunity, to deny Iran that possibility as the rest of the local regimes in the region would enlist as proxies in another long grinding wasteful strife that risks, if ever materializes, to leave no one better off, i.e. if not much worse.

  • sara

    Dear awatians,
    Islam “honored” woman before all…..
    she is mother,sister,wife,grandmother- she is every thing to man etc
    happy international women day— specially to the wonderful
    “Eritrena woman”

  • Simon Kaleab

    Selam Saleh J.,

    You correctly said:

    “Muslims and non-Muslims alike, do not understand that most of the contemporary problems associated with Islam are mainly based on the narrations of the life and practices of the Prophet Mohammed, known as Sunna (traditions). Unfortunately, some of the narrations were compiled two centuries after the death of the prophet, and they have been in the center of the misconceptions that burdened Muslims for centuries.”

    Now, can you go even further to reach the conclusion that all religions, including the most influentials such as Judaism, Christianity and Islam are made up, over a stretch of many hundred years, by people as they went along? In addition, can you conclude that people of different religions have been fighting against each other destroying human life and property over a dispute based on these made up stories called religions?

    • Ismail AA

      Selam Simon K.
      While awaiting response to your question from Saleh, allow me to write a few words about the quote above, if I may. I think the substance of the issue concerns just one aspect, and that is the Sunna or traditions of the Prophet (PBU) and not the Chapters of the Holy Qoran, which all believers accept as words or commandments of God. It is the same with all of the three vevealed religions you have listed.
      So, my point is that neither the scope of this article nor any debate in this forum can tackle and conclude religions to be “made up stories”.
      Regards

      • Simon Kaleab

        Selam Ismail AA,

        I understand your concern.

    • Saleh Johar

      Him Simon,

      The answer is no…

      Throughout history, wars were mainly fought over resources and their control:, and for power. But in most wars, religious was used to achieve other goals that serve those wars 🙂 We know the root causes for the war of Afghanistan was not religious for the West or the Soviets, yet religion was a central tool in fighting that war.

      • Simon Kaleab

        Selam Saleh J.,

        I agree with you that wars are mainly fought over economic resources, … and for political supremacy. Most of the wars in the Torah [Old Testament] were tribal and clan wars over grazing lands and watering holes.

        In Judaism, the Talmud came into existence in response to changing conditions i.e. the Babylonian exile.

        Christianity started as a Jewish sect challenging the Jewish priestly establishment. In the face the overwhelming Roman military power, it is not surprising that Christianity shifted its attention to redemption and the afterlife. At that time, there were also many other sects trying to formulate their response to the Roman occupation of their land. There were the Essense [very ascetic], the Sicarii [urban assassins who killed Romans and other Jews who did not agree with them], the Pharisees [the bookish religious scholars-Rabbis], the Sadducees [part of the conservative Temple establishment] and the followers of Jesus [who later came to be called Christians].

        Similarly, Islam arose in response to the bitter conflict between Jews and Christians in the Arabian peninsula, in particular in Najran [our own Axum had a hand in this]. Up to that time the Arabs played only a subordinate role to the great powers such as the Romans, Persians and Axum. Could Islam have been born as a nationalist political response to what was going on in the Arabian peninsula?

        There is a book by Princeton University professor, Glen Bowersock called ‘The Throne of Adulis’. Worth having a look if you have not already done so.

        • Amanuel Hidrat

          Hi Simon,

          I am impressed. Your knowledge on history is impeccable, though I disagree on your perceptional argument on religious history.

          • Simon Kaleab

            Selam Amanuel H.,

            I am not a specialist but only do general reading like everyone else.

        • Amde

          Selam Simon,

          I find this “Could Islam have been born as a nationalist political response to what was going on in the Arabian peninsula?”quite intriguing. Thank you for the reference to Bowersock’s book.

          I do not necessarily disagree with your general characterization with religion. The only point I’d like to suggest is that religion provides some really important social utility, and that is why there is no culture (that I know of) that does not have some kind of religion. It is easy for us secular types at the start of the 21st century to dismiss it and God knows there are many reasons to do that. Most religions cannot explain nature like science does. They can be used for oppression, repression and intolerance. But even with those “bugs”, religions remain indispensable. It might be worth it to understand why.

          Amde

          • Fanti Ghana

            Hello Amde,

            I had to pick one and here I am, but this response is to everyone in this thread.

            To make the discussion even more interesting, let me add one aspect that is relevant to the question
            “Could Islam have been born as a nationalist political response to what was going on in the Arabian peninsula?”

            Islam was not born/created some 1500 years ago. Islam existed the moment Adam was created. It continued down generations in more or less the same shape and purpose with occasional update from God via his messengers such as Isa (Jesus). Through this process is/was how we got our last messenger “Seal of the Prophets” Mohammad (pbuh).

            Please continue with that context until I come back later in the evening.

          • Saleh Johar

            Selam Fanti and Simon,

            Ah Fanti, you are opening topics that I tried to avoid.

            Many enlightened Muslims believe that Islam is a continuation of past revelations as Fanti explained. In fact Muslims believe that all prophets were ‘Ahnaf” plural of “Hanafi”, meaning the pristine religion as God intended it to be–and their followers are Mu’emineen, believers. However, humans being humans, they want to own everything for themselves. One more thing: Qura’an addresses all humanity: “Oh people of the world” (Aaalemin) or “Oh faithful” (Mu’emineen), and Mohammed’s mission is defined as a message to the people of the world, nothing makes it a monopoly of Muslims as we know the definition today. According to the Qura’an, everyone starting from Adam and Eve through Moses and Jesus to Mohammed, are Muslims–see, no one has a monopoly. Of course atheists (MulHedeen) are not part of the team 🙂

          • Fanti Ghana

            Hello Memhir,

            I knew you were trying to stay within the scope they were talking about, but I was thinking that if they continue too deep into “why” Islam was “created” 1500+- years ago, imagine the amount of corrections and back tracking you would have to go through. I think I did you a favor without meaning to.

          • Simon Kaleab

            Selam Saleh J.,

            I prefer to look at religion as a social anthropological construct. In particular, I like the approach of former Princeton University professor Julian Jaynes as set out in his book ‘The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind.’

            Jaynes asserts that consciousness did not arise far back in human evolution but is a learned process based on metaphorical language. Prior to the development of consciousness, Jaynes argues humans operated under a previous mentality he called the bicameral (‘two-chambered’)
            mind. In the place of an internal dialogue, bicameral people experienced auditory hallucinations directing their actions, similar to the command hallucinations experienced by many people who hear voices today. These hallucinations were interpreted as the voices of chiefs, rulers, or the gods.

          • Saleh Johar

            Hi Simon,

            And you think what? To me this Julian guy is no different than a religious preacher 🙂

          • Simon Kaleab

            Selam Saleh J.,

            Julian Jaynes [deceased] was not a religious preacher as his arguments are multi-disciplinary evidence based, open for critical examination.

            He was not saying, believe me or trust me, my theories are correct.

          • Fanti Ghana

            Hello Simon,

            I don’t know Professor Julian Jaynes or his work, but since you like his approach it is good enough for me. My question then is why do you like his approach? For the sake of saving time, I will break the question down so you will have a better idea about what I am getting at.

            1) You trust him because he previously theorized or assumed several or some ideas or sciences and then later proved them.

            2) He proved the subject (point of fact) in this topic (metaphorical language -> consciousness -> hallucinations -> gods).

            3) His thought process of reasoning, ideals, and methodology (approach) is similar to yours and based on your own experiences its truthfulness or correctness is but assured.

            4) Why was consciousness dependent on “metaphorical language” for its existence?

            Thanks.

          • Simon Kaleab

            Selam Fanti,

            To support his theory, Jaynes draws evidence from a wide range of fields, including neuroscience, psychology, archeology, ancient history,and the analysis of ancient texts.

            His book, ‘The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind’, is not expensive; it is also available for free [pdf] download. Furthermore, you can explore materials from the website of The Julian Jaynes Society to prepare a criticism of his ideas. Scientific theories continuously evolve, they are open book, never final and binding.

          • Fanti Ghana

            Hello Simon,

            At the time Jaynes wrote his Origin of Consciousness and the process with which he arrived there, was and to some extent still is, interesting. The problem is in his conclusion which amounts to consciousness is 3000 years old or less (he concluded humans began to have consciousness after 1000 BC).

            This was what caught my attention yesterday “…consciousness did not arise far back in human evolution but is a learned process based on metaphorical language,” and I googled him to educated myself and prepare for your reply, but what I found can be summed up in the following sentence.

            He is credited and respected for the methodology he applied to arrive where he did, but it has been concluded by many scientists that his theory is improbable.

            So, my conclusion is that he should have stopped before he decided to give consciousness a birthdate. It looks like he wanted it to coincide with the birth of the “Judaic Religions” and reason that prophecy is nothing but hallucination.

            Regardless of pro or con God, I have a great respect for many scientists who construct ideas and reason events to enlighten themselves and others with integrity, but there are also many who make an extra effort, even dedicate their entire life, to convince others that there is no “God” regardless of what their data shows.

            In the end, the weak scientist starts to cook data to enable him/her arrive at a desired conclusion. Unfortunately that is what I think Jaynes ultimately did.

          • Simon Kaleab

            Selam Fanti,

            You concluded by saying: “In the end, the weak scientist starts to cook data to enable him/her
            arrive at a desired conclusion. Unfortunately that is what I think Jaynes ultimately did.”

            In my opinion, you need to work harder before you arrive at this conclusion.

          • Amde

            Selam Fanti,

            አዪ…

            Unfortunately you made it less interesting for me. That probably says a lot more about me than anything else – haha.

            This is more of theology than history and the social aspects of religion. So I will just listen.

            Thank you though.

            Amde

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Sir Amde,

            Like yourself, I am out from debating religion and theology. There will be no common understanding in the critical study of the “nature of the divine.” Simon’s prospective on theology is good to watch in the debate.

            regards
            Amanuel Hidrat

          • envision

            Hi Fanti,
            ኣኽሒንካዮስ ኣቕሒሩኒ። Too overdone

          • Fanti Ghana

            Hello Amde’s friend,
            I am sorry folks, it looks like I ruined it for everyone.

          • Selamat Fanti Ghana,

            I have no doubts that religious server/birth/rebirth/revival is indeed an effect or response to injustices or disparities by one society group that’s at a receiving end from another.
            The roles of geographical powers and the historical retracing, even if very meticulous scholarly works, are subject to “expanding horizons”, to borrow the author Saleh Johar’s phrasing. We are or should be cognizant of the time variables from the numerous reference points.

            With regards to “Our Last Messenger”, though it’s value understood for its value to this forum’s and neighborhood, allow me to add that at times these evangelical scholars the article highlights and others from our recent path history and ongoing preachers can be considered as “last/lasting messengers of God” and past Messengers like MoHamed Results Allah PUB.

            That Judaism/Christianity/Islam has been there and will be there long before and after the messengers of God is also my understanding.

            The intra-islamic dynamic dialogues/conversations/and revivals does serve yours truly to understand the current fervent revival of the all churches around me. I take this opportunity to thank SJG for the resources he has provided us access to. The English subtitles are very useful in more ways than one.

            tSAtSE-Azilo40

        • envision

          Hi Simon,
          Interesting viewpoint. You said “our own Axum had a hand in this”. In fact, also according to the book you have mentioned, and retrospectively speaking, Axum had a significant role if not the main reason for the creation of Islam. Caleb of Axum defeating the Jewish kingdom in todays Yemen, installing a weak leader, abandoning his political life in favour of a monastic life, and leaving a weak leader in Axum is the main reason Islam arose.

          • Saleh Johar

            Hi Erivision,

            You can theorize as much as you want, it only expands out horizons. However, one should not have a preconceived theory and them wants to prove it by any means–that defies scholarship and honesty.

            Secondly, I have seen people who invoke history to balance the books of today forgetting that nations and cultures evolve. For example, one of our crazy wackos might think Caleb or Abraha ruled Arabia 1500 years ago and we must reclaim it now. Or a Yemeni wacko might say, Gosh, we have to avenge ourselves, let’s attach Axum.

            Abraha did try to occupy Mecca but failed. Now, claiming that Islam was created as a reaction to Axumite occupation of Southern Arabia, would naturally lead you to conclude that Christianity was created as a reaction to the Roman occupation of Palestine! That is not tenable, and religious people will not appreciate such simplistic explanation 🙂

          • envision

            Hi Saleh,
            I honestly do not understand what you are trying to say. I am mainly quoting and paraphrasig from a book by a scholar, and you are talking what scholarship?

          • Saleh Johar

            Hi Erivision,
            It was my general comment triggered by your comment and others. Please don’t read too much into it. Take it at face value.

          • envision

            Hi Saleh,
            Envision 🙂

          • Fanti Ghana

            oops!

          • Simon Kaleab

            Selam Saleh J.,

            What do you make of the year of the birth of the Prophet Muhammad? It is said to be the same year as Abraha tried to invade Mecca, called the Year of the Elephant. Is this a coincidence?

          • Saleh Johar

            Hi Simon,
            Yes, he was born around that time–the revelation came to him forty-something years later. But be forewarned: if you already have strongly held theory and you want to reinforce it, it will not work . In fact that is what I wrote to Erivision 🙂

  • Ismail AA

    Ahlen Saleh,
    Excellent article; for sure, many, who are curious and would want to know more about the topic, will benefit, just like I did.
    But, after rather hasty reading I felt to tell you that I missed two things, which had exasperated the picture you have summarized quite well. These matters do not have anything to do with doctrine or jurisprudence. They are related to state and geopolitical interest that have abused Islam and its sects for their own agendas. Here, I am referring to how the politics of gas (pipelines) and oil. Do you think adding a few remarks on these issues would have made the picture more complete?
    Regards

  • MS

    Ahlan SaleH
    Well said and well done. Excellent article, timely and informational. Indeed, the Muslim world needs a massive jolt from within.

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