October 23, 2006

From: Mohammed Rafiq Lodhia
To: My Fellow Muslims
Subject: BE NOT AFRAID

My Dear Fellow Muslims,

As-Salaam Alay-Kum

Norman Cousins was once considered as a leading crusader to save mankind from self-destruction. In the very front cover of his book, “Who Speaks For Man?” published during the year 1953 of which one of its paragraphs reads as follows:

“Belonging to a nation, man has nations that can speak for him. Belonging
to a religion, man has religions that can speak for him. Belonging to an
economic and social order, man has economic or political orders that
can speak for him. But belonging to the human race, man is without a
spokesman.”

Half a century later, we Muslims do not seem to have found a worthy spokesman for our Muslim Ummah, to speak on behalf of Islam to the worldwide community at large. We are billions in number, and yet, not even a single Islamic scholar could dare stand to deliver a single powerful message disavowing the brutal terrorist acts and suicidal missions that are rampant in Iraq and Afghanistan. No doubt, there were a few weak voices in defense of Islam only to be silenced by more powerful threatening voices. Such is a tragedy of the Islamic world.

Many of my brothers and sisters have been reading my messages; some with admiration about the spirit of my message, whereas, a few grudgingly accepting my goodwill messages. Truthfully speaking, my writings are more or less leaning towards the western mode of thinking, nonetheless, I am proud to convey the truth as I hear them and read them in any shape or form. On hearing one of the major speeches by our President George W. Bush (I have used the word “our” as I am a proud American citizen and do cherish my adopted country), I am left wondering that while we Muslims proclaim to live by the truth must at least try to appreciate his stunning, striking and cautionary words as follows:

Stunning: Bin Laden says his own role is to tell Muslims, quote, “what is
good for them and what is not.” And what this man grew up in wealth and
privilege considers good for poor Muslims is that they become killers and
suicide bombers. He assures them that this – that this is the road to paradise
– though he never offers to go along for the ride.

My question to all of you is, “Is this statement, ‘True’ or ‘False’?”

Striking: Zarqawi has said that Americans are, quote, “the most cowardly of
God’s creatures.” But let’s be clear: It is cowardice that seeks to kill children
and the elderly with car bombs, and cuts the throat of a bound captive, and
target worshippers leaving a mosque. It is courage that liberated more than
50 million people. It is courage that keeps an untiring vigil against the enemies
of a rising democracy. And it is courage in the cause of freedom that once
again will destroy the enemies of freedom.

My question to all of you is, “Is this statement, ‘True’ or ‘False’?”

Cautionary: The time has come for all responsible Islamic leaders to join
in denouncing an ideology that exploits Islam for political ends, and defies a
noble faith.

My question to all of you is, “Is this statement, ‘True’ or ‘False’?”

Deep down in our hearts we all know that President Bush is speaking the truth, but for long living with lies fed by the hateful sermons of our perverted Mullahs and Ayatollahs; both Sunni and Shia Muslims refuse to confront the truth. Can we for once cling to the famous lines of William Shakespeare, “To thine ownself be true, and try to digest this bitter truth as eloquently spoken by America’s President. Never mind the invasion of Iraq, but let’s try to find the answers by looking in our own backyard, not only by questioning our religious authorities, but also by sternly demanding them to denounce the murderous ideology as propagated and instigated by the tyranny of the minority.

Every single day, quite a majority of Muslims consume their hatred towards America, and especially President Bush. We have been indoctrinated with “Hate U.S.A.” slogan; we have been dehumanized to such an extent that the blown pieces of bodies of our fellow Muslims by the suicide bombers do not move our hearts; we certainly lack moral character and cannot even learn how to distinguish between rightful and wrongful acts; we fear acts of civil courage and fail to hold those Islamic preachers and scholars accountable who are constantly feeding us with their own misguided translation of our Holy Quran without any fear of Almighty Allah.

Letter and spirit of our Holy Quran have been abandoned by our own free will. Out of sheer laziness to read and comprehend the laws ordained in our Holy Quran by our own selves, we have collectively and intentionally neglected the warnings of Almighty Allah as follows:

They take their priests and anchorites to be their Lords in derogation of Allah.

Surah: At-Tauba or Repentance – Chapter: 9 – Verse: 31 

Lest we forget, it was Abdul Hamid Siddiqui, a Sunni Islamic scholar who translated the Sahih Muslim into English was the person who carefully defined the meaning of the above Quranic verse by stating that, when this verse was revealed, Adi Ibn Hatim, a convert from Christianity, asked the Holy Prophet as to the significance of this verse, for he said, “We did worship our priests and monks.” The Holy Prophet’s reply was, “Was it not that the people considered lawful what their priests declared to be lawful, though it was forbidden by Almighty Allah.”

Surely and knowingly we have outrightly defied the laws as explicitly laid out in our Holy Quran, and we alone are guilty of taking the words of our Mullahs and Ayatollahs as lawful. As staunch Muslims, we ought to know that hostage taking and killing of humans are unlawful acts, but we continue to gleefully watch the murderous acts of the Muslim Zealots” without showing any remorse, and still continue to shift the blame on America. All this mayhem around the Islamic world are solely due to a pin drop silence adopted by our scholars who are in fact timid to issue a “Fatwa” condemning such violent acts of terror, and especially suicide bombings. Why should they, as it is against their personal interest? Power to rule the minds of the ignorant masses is far more appealing than to state a simple truth based on the laws of our Holy Quran.

Consciously or unconsciously, we Muslims have no earthly of the height of our stupidity and timidity to fess up to our shortcomings. This reminds me to enlighten all of you of the words of Fazlur Rahman Malik, Professor of Islamic Thought at the University of Chicago (1980) as written in his book, “Major Themes of the Quran, that, “the basic weakness of man from which all his major ills spring is described by the Quran as ‘pettiness (da’f)’ and ‘narrowness of mind (qatr).’” Unfortunately, the entire Muslim Ummah” is suffering from these two syndromes as we have voluntarily chosen to live our lives from day to day and hour to hour without any sense of moral balance. Little wonder that Muslims now more or less belong to that particular category of species as emphatically stated in our Holy Quran: “they are like cattle, indeed, worse. Simply glance at the digital image as attached herewith, and you will come to realize that we Muslims are all being carried away by the brute force of our own crowd, or better yet, ponder over the Quranic verse as follows:

Many are the Jinns and men
We have made for Hell:
They have hearts wherewith they
Understand not, eyes wherewith
They see not, and ears wherewith
They hear not. They are
Like cattle, – nay more
Misguided: for they
Are heedless (of warning.)

Surah: Al-Araf or The Heights
Chapter: 7 – Verse: 179

Interestingly, in early March 1951 while talking with Norman Cousins, India’s Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru has this to say:

“More and more the individual is giving way to the crowd. When he is by
himself, he can be approached and he is responsive to reason. You can
appeal to the good that is inherent in him; he has a sense of responsibility.
His conscience, if not always in absolute control, is at least a factor in his
decisions and actions. But then he is attracted to the crowd and strange
things begin to happen. The crowd seldom places the reins on itself that
the individual often feels compelled to do. The crowd dominates the
individual but lacks a conscience of its own. Almost everywhere today
the individual is giving himself over to the crowd or is being seized by it.
The crowd is a brute. The crowd terrifies me.”

My fellow Muslims, I also remain terrified at the sight of the street rage that goes on in the Islamic countries. I can only express regret that it is this very crowd which is right in our midst who are systematically and methodically being provoked by our Mullahs and Ayatollahs that have defied our noble faith of Islam. Here again, my question to all of you is, “Are we going to come to the rescue of Islam or are we going to continue to hate America?” “Are we going to continue to take our misguided Mullahs in derogation of Almighty Allah or are we going to continue to obediently follow them and go against the will of Almighty Allah?” Most importantly, are we going to get damn serious by taking personal responsibility to rectify the distorted image of Islam as portrayed in the western media or are we going to just turn a deaf ear?”

Finally, I must end this message of Eid-ul-Fitr greetings by reminding you of the three little words, BE NOT AFRAID which was preached by Pope John Paul II to the millions of people who lived under the yoke of communist tyranny. Today, the religion of Islam is in dire need of a spokesman or spokeswoman to help encourage us all to display our individual act of bravery and to jointly condemn the brute force of terrorism that continues to terrorize the citizens of the world at large. As always hating America and shifting blame on President George W. Bush is not going to get us anywhere. Indeed, President of America spoke the truth, and we must in turn try to find the root cause of our internal problems. Let’s face it, we have nothing to show for our bravery as hardly a few soldiers from the Islamic world are willing to be stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan to take over from American and allied forces. Where is the Islamic bravery, folks?

May Almighty Allah bless you and your beloved family during this Eid festival till the next. May He also bestow wisdom upon us to differentiate right from wrong and to extinguish the burning flame of hatred towards America from our hearts. May He guide us all to the straight path so to enable us to exalt our moral character to match up with that of our very beloved Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) of whom Almighty Allah proudly proclaimed, “And most certainly; Thou (O Muhammad) – Art of most sublime and Exalted Character. Surah: Al-Qalam or The Pen – Chapter: 68 – Verse: 4.

Very respectfully yours,

Mohammed Rafiq Lodhia

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

PEOPLE WILL RESPOND

However friendly the universe may be to man, it has left the conditions of human existence precariously balance. All men need oxygen, water, land, warmth, food. Remove any one of these, and the unity of human needs is attacked, and man with it …

Therefore the need of new education and self-understanding. The new education mus be less concerned with sophistication than compassion. It must recognize the hazards of tribalism. It must teach man the most difficult lesson of all – to look at someone anywhere in the world and be able to see the image of himself. The old emphasis upon superficial differences that separate peoples must give way to education for citizenship in the human community.

With such an education and with such self-understanding, it is possible that some nation or people may come forward with the vital inspiration that men need no less than food. Leadership on this higher level does not require mountains of gold or thundering propaganda. It is concerned with human destiny. Human destiny is the issue. People will respond.

Excerpts from the book: Who Speaks For Man?
Author: Norman Cousins
Publisher: The Macmillan Company (1953)

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

THREE LITTLE WORDS

Pope John Paul II has traveled the entire world challenging tyrants of all sorts, speaking to millions of people, bringing them a single, simple message: “Be not afraid.” He preached this message to people living under Communist tyranny in Poland, Czechoslovakia, Nicaragua, and China – “Be not afraid.” He preached it to Africans facing death from marauding tribes and murderous disease – “Be not afraid.” He preached it to Americans, warning us how easy it is to be trapped in a “culture of death” even in our luxurious country – “Be not afraid.

Those three little words hold the power to transform individuals and change the world. They can supply the quiet resolve and unvoiced courage necessary to endure the inevitable intimidation. Listen to the truths that lie within your hearts, and be not afraid to follow them wherever they may lead you.

We are not called upon to risk our lives against some monstrous tyranny, because America is not a barbarous country. Our people are not oppressed, and we face no pressing international threat to our way of life such as the Soviet Union once posed. The war in which we are now engaged is cultural, not civil.

Yet today, as in the past, our Republic needs bravery and civic virtue, not timid civility, if it is to remain strong. So I leave you with the simple exhortation: “Be not afraid.

Clarence Thomas
Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court

BE NOT AFRAID
The American Enterprise
April / May 2001

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