Respect for your neighbour

To tease the Islam hater of the "Suicidal attitude" post (not that he will read this) I will write once more about the Islam. I look for signs of humanism everywhere, now that I try to look at the world through Levinasian glasses. And with regard to the Islam I see many humanistic signs. This is then the philosophy behind the religion, not the practice of the daily life, which is often different. But if the philosophy is good and beautiful it does mean something. So I will again post a part of an Orkut Islam discussion.

NB: GN (a friend from Pakistan) replied to me about this discussion and said that "worship" is not the right word, in the way it is used in the translation of the girl from India.
The verse should be:
وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَا مِنْ قَبْلِكَ مِنْ رَسُولٍ إِلَّا نُوحِي إِلَيْهِ أَنَّهُ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا أَنَا فَاعْبُدُون21:25
And We did not send before you any apostle but We revealed to him that there is no god but Me, therefore serve Me.

And so here is part of another Orkut Islam discussion:

A girl from India says:
Look at this line "The Quran says, "And We (Allah) did not send any Messenger before you but we inspired him (saying): There is no God but Allah. None has the right to be worshipped but I (Allah). So worship me." (21:25) so i was wondering....does god really go abt telling u to worship him and pray to him?? what is the difference between god and any other politician we see?? ...for that matter what is the difference between god and a cruel dictator who demands absolute obediance... what???

Esther says:
Interesting question. Muslims can answer it better than I but I like to try it anyway.

I think the verse you mentioned aims to prevent believers from following fake human religious leaders, which Allah considers as evil. So people can say that they speak in name of God but you must not believe anyone blindly. So the difference between God and any politician is that a politician is a limited biased human who preaches for the interests of his party or his personal
interest, while God is an immense metaphysical power, as big as the universe, who doesn't represent small local and maybe selfish interests but universal goodness for the whole humanity.

Raihaan from the UK says:
One cannot compare god to a politician. A politician, as Esther said has his or her own bias and with all human emotions that come into play, comes, power, greed, deception, betrayal, etc etc. Understand that, worship alone isn't what being a muslim is all about. Worship is only in part for the spiritual self between the person and god. What comes with worship is respect, self preservation and care and defense with conviction for one's belief. In addition comes the peaceful non aggresive propagation of the Islamic message and an invitation of those outside the faith to come and learn together about the ummah (faith).

Also note that respect for your neighbour, be him muslim or not, is of upmost importance. Yes there is a code that is to be adhered to, but its not all without reason. Submission to Allah is not something which means give up your life and freedom, but the opposite. To stay away from things that are deemed harmful for the self cannot be a bad thing can it? If you see it from the point of view of prevention being better than cure. Yes Islam is complex in nature, and it takes time to understand and adopt islamic principles such as prayer, zakaat (to give a percentage of wealth to charity) the pilgrimage to Mecca, and the fast (ramadhan). Granted, that it is alot to sacrifice, but without sacrifice, without stopping to think of those who dont have, who struggle, or to reflect on ourselves from time to time, then who are we? what is our purpose? It isn't just I and them, it should be us, people, humanity, as a whole, and never should we forget that.

Islam is about peace, perseverence, sacrifice, conduct, morality and of course worship. But worship is NOT the be all and end all of being muslim. Islam is more rounded than that and requires a lot more. Islam is tolerent. It accepts people with open arms if they show willingness to learn and understand, no one is turned away, there is no exclusivity. I hope this elaborates on Esthers post and clears up a little more.

there is an old saying that if your neigbour sleeps hungry you're going to be responsible for it. the carity starts within family and if they are well off then its your neighbour rights to have that chairty in any shape.
And here is part of a scrapbook talk I had with Raihaan, related to this post:

Raihaan says:
If people can see any kind of sincerity in what I've written, perhaps it will help them to reflect and open positive discussion instead of negative all the time.

Esther says:
Yes the sincerity is clearly shown I think.

Thank you by the way for the kind things you said in the "Embrace the Islam" thread. It's too kind, what Nabeel, Undergrounded and you say.

It's strange, the Islam haters in my scrapbook said each time that I have to study the Islam and I anyway wanted to do that so you could say that I followed their advise. And then they think automatically that I will also start to hate the Islam when I read the Quran, but it's not like that at all.

You said it's difficult to understand the Islam if it's such a different perspective. But for me many parts are not so difficult to understand. I studied ethical philosophy, so I think about good and bad a lot. The Muslims at Orkut that are my informal Islam teachers, it's not so difficult for me to understand what they say, they often say what I already thought so myself, before I heard it from them.

Christianity is weak nowadays in the Netherlands, in my opinion. Many people stop believing and going to the church, especially young people and people in the big cities.

If people don't want the strong dogma's of the church anymore and if they don't go there anymore every week, it's not so bad in itself, but if people don't care anymore about the difference between good and bad, then something is really going wrong. When you believe in God and you try to be a good person and serve him well then you are concerned with being good. If God doesn't exist and nobody tells you how to live, and if you also don't pay attention to it yourself, you get an immoral society.

Raihaan says:
Yes exactly that! the immoral society aspect. That is exactly my line of thinking. That you take away god, you take away religious structure of morality and ethics. Its a whole chain of thought which leads to a breakdown.

I mean athiests talk about freedom, but what is freedom without a platform or something to hold on to? it is not freedom but free fall. I mean alot of what Atheists and humanists claim has come from the nature of man to be civil and show respect etc has come from religious teachings anyway. Because if you adopt the humanist principle of going back to our roots and doing what is already there within mankind, then I believe we would be more uncivilised as we didnt have a moral code as such.

Esther says:
The decline of christianity in the Netherlands (it is still strong in some other European countries and other parts of the world) is not a simple issue either. In general I don't support fundamentalism. The flexible open mind that accepts that there are different perspectives is needed in a religion just as well as for atheists. But if you're not careful it can go too far.

If you say that God is not important and the only thing that counts is to try to be good, the problem is that in the end you don't know how to describe the difference between good and bad anymore.

A religion is a complete code of life, a collective guide for how humans should live.

In the Netherlands many people first skipped God (and replaced him by spirituality or by nothing) and then they skipped big parts of the Bible and finally they thought that instead of going to a church they could also go to a sport club for the community spirit...
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