The son of Arnoud van Doorn, the famous Dutch policy maker and distributor of an anti-Islam film Fitna that caused unrest in 2008, surprised the audiences at the three-day Dubai International Peace Convention by embracing Islam.
Arnoud’s son, Iskander Amien De Vrie, was one of the 37 people who converted to Islam during the convention in 2014.
“I bear witness that there is no God to be worshipped but Allah and I bear witness that Muhammad (peace be upon him) is his worshipper and last messenger,” said Iskander in his Shahadah (testimony) to become a Muslim.
Arnoud van Doorn shot to fame in 2008 as one of the names associated with the anti-Muslim film Fitna, which was released in 2008. The film promoted misconceptions about Islam and Arnoud was one of the film’s distributors.
Five years later, Arnoud was a changed man having learned more about Islam, which he today calls as ‘a religion of peace’. He converted to Islam after learning more about the religion and his decision shocked the world.
“I saw my father become more peaceful after converting to Islam. That’s when I realised there is something good in this religion and it made me change my perception of Muslims. I started studying the Holy Quran and going through lectures of important scholars,” said Iskander in an interview with Khaleej Times.
Iskander, 22, credited his college friend Younis for setting a good example of what Muslims really are and how they live their life. “My friend Younis is a good practicing Muslim who taught me something new every day. He was patient with me and there was no way I could be rude to him,” said Iskander.
Iskander also drew inspiration from his father’s life and how he underwent a transformation to become a more peaceful person.
Talking about the anti-Islamic movie Fitna, Arnoud called it a “mistake”, which he deeply regretted. “There is a misconception among people that I produced the movie Fitna, but I wasn’t involved in it. I was only responsible for distributing the movie. Today, it is something that I deeply regret.”
Arnoud hopes to produce a movie about the righteousness preached in Islam and correct his earlier “mistakes”. “I feel an urge and a responsibility to correct the mistakes I have done in the past. I want to use my talents and skills in a positive way by spreading the truth about Islam. I am trying to make a new movie about Islam and the life of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). It would show people what examples the Prophet set in his life and the movie would invite younger people to Islam.”
With both the father and son now leading life as Muslims, the astonishing story was talked about by speakers and scholars even after the convention was over.
Arnoud is now calling on people to support his Islamic Foundation, which is fighting Islamophobia in Europe. Having started the European Dawah Foundation, Arnoud has come a full circle from his earlier days as a member of the right-wing anti-Islam Freedom Party.
His team of volunteers works towards bridging the gap between Muslims and non-Muslims and helping people clear their misconceptions about Islam.
Iskander now plans to take a trip to Saudi Arabia to perform Umrah and hopes his mother would also embrace Islam soon.
Watch: The Purpose of Life
THE BIBLE SO MISUNDERSTOOD IT'S A SIN
God says in the Quran chapter 2 verse 183: “O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous.” Other translations say ….you may become pious.”
Fasting is one of the rules decreed by God for human being. As a matter of fact, messengers of God fasted. It is written in the Bible:
“But he (Jesus) for forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was hungry.” Matthew 4:2
“So he (Moses) was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights. He neither ate bread nor drank water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments." Exodus 34:28
Every year, millions of people obey God’s command of fasting for one month. The ritual is done in Ramadhan month. It is often called Ramadhan fasting. The month of Ramadhan lasts for 29 or 30 days. After fasting in Ramadhan month is over, they celebrate the Ied Day on the 1st of Syawal. Syawal is the next month after Ramadhan month.
There is a goal behind every action. God does not set rules without the goal. As God says in the Quran, the goal of fasting is that we may become pious, righteous, and have good conduct. That means, after completing the 30 days of fasting, we should be pious and righteous. We should not lie, do corruption, cheat, hurt other people’s feelings and we should not get angry, jealous, envy, or disappointed if we don’t get what we want. However, if after completing the 30 days of fasting and it turns out that we still like to lie, hurt other people’s feelings, cheat, utter bad words, be angry, be offended, be upset over things that don’t go along with what we want, then question will arise. What is going on here? God says that the goal of fasting is for us to be righteous and have good conduct. But how come, after the Ramadhan fasting, we are still not pious? Far from righteousness? Why is our attitude still the same just like before Ramadhan fasting?
There are two possibilities here. First, the method of Ramadhan fasting apparently can’t be used to achieve piety. In other words, Ramadhan fasting is a wrong method for that. Second, the way that people implement the Ramadhan fasting is wrong.
God does not lie and does not break promise. When God says fasting is for achieving piety, then we can be sure that the goal can be achieved. Thus, the mistake is not in the method but in the interpretation of the fasting. Wrong interpretation leads to wrong implementation which makes it impossible to achieve the goal.
It is sad to find out that people take Ramadhan fasting only as physical ritual, which is abstaining from eating, drinking, and sexual intercourse from dawn to sunset. Merely doing the physical dimension of fasting will only give us hunger, thirst, and tiredness. It clearly cannot make people righteous or God-conscious. If that’s the case, it means the interpretation is not correct. We can see that during Ramadhan people actually eat more than usual and spend more money for food and clothing more. Furthermore, people interpret the Ied Day as the time when they can eat anything and they feel free from bearing hunger and thirst during Ramadhan fasting.
Therefore, reinterpretation of Ramadhan fasting is necessary in order for the goal to be achievable. Since the goal is righteousness, Ramadhan fasting certainly goes beyond physical dimension. It must cover spiritual dimension. From there, Ramadhan fasting must be interpreted as “only following God’s rules and abstaining from our desire”.
Consequently, for 30 days, we only do what God wants us, human being, to do and we give up our desires or ego. We desire food and drink in the morning, during the day or afternoon but God wants us to give up food and drink until sunset. We (married couple) desire sex but God wants us to abstain from sex for a while. When people do mischief to us, we have desire to take revenge or to be angry but God wants us NOT to be angry or take revenge. Instead, God wants us to forgive them and do good deeds to them. When our children misbehave, we usually become upset but God wants us to be patience and remind our children in friendly way. We desire to eat a lot of food and drink when breaking our fast but God wants us to be simple in breaking the fast. We desire new and expensive clothes for celebrating Ied but God wants us NOT to waste money and just wear clean clothes. Also, God wants us to be honest, generous, say good words or be silent, help each other, learn and understand Quran, as well as increase our act of worship in form of praying and remembrance of God.
Imagine, for 30 days, a person only does what God wants. For 30 days he gives up his desires and ego. For 30 days he fills his heart with remembrance of God. For 30 days, he trains himself spiritually. If a person does that, of course he will be righteous. And after 30 days of spiritual training, he will be ready to handle the problems of life until the next Ramadhan (the next training) arrives. That is the true interpretation and implementation of Ramadhan fasting. Correct interpretation leads to correct implementation. Correct implementation leads to fulfilled goal.
I shall close this with a question to myself: “Have I interpreted and implemented Ramadhan fasting correctly?”
– Fasting Revisited –
Videos to watch:
twitter: Maharani Hasibuan
Have you ever had these questions? Ponder the answers from God as stated in Holy Quran:
Why am I afflicted by trials? “Do the people think that they will be left to say, "We believe" and they will not be tried? But We have certainly tried those before them, and Allah will surely make evident those who are truthful, and He will surely make evident the liars.” Quran chapter 29 verse 2-3
Why don’t I get what I want? “…But perhaps you hate a thing and it is good for you; and perhaps you love a thing and it is bad for you. And Allah Knows, while you know not.” Quran 2:216
Why is this calamity so hard for me? “Allah does not charge a soul except [with that within] its capacity.” Quran 2:286
Frustrated? “So do not weaken and do not grieve, and you will be superior if you are [true] believers.” Quran 3:139
How shall I deal with hardship? “And seek help through patience and prayer, and indeed, it is difficult except for the humbly submissive [to Allah].” Quran 2:45
What will I get in the end? “Indeed, Allah has purchased from the believers their lives and their properties [in exchange] for that they will have Paradise.” Quran 9:111
To whom shall I rely on? “But if they turn away, [O Muhammad], say, "Sufficient for me is Allah; there is no deity except Him. On Him I have relied, and He is the Lord of the Great Throne." Quran 9:129
I can’t bear with this problem! “Indeed, no one despairs of relief from Allah except the disbelieving people." Quran 12:87
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Please fill the blanks…
1. God (Allah) creates LAUGH and….
2. Allah causes DEATH ad gives….
3. Allah creates MALE and …..
4. Allah gives WEALTH and ……
Honestly, most of us will fill the blanks with the following answers:
1. CRY / WEEP
Are those answers correct? Let’s check them with the Qur’an, which is the manual book for human being. Does God have the same answers?
وَأَنَّهُ هُوَ أَضْحَكَ وَأَبْكَى
"And that it is He who makes [one] laugh and weep." (Quran chapter 53 verse 43).
وَأَنَّهُ هُوَ أَمَاتَ وَأَحْيَا
“And that it is He who causes death and gives life.” (Quran 53:44).
وَأَنَّهُ خَلَقَ الزَّوْجَيْنِ الذَّكَرَ وَالْأُنثَى
“And that He creates the two mates – the male and female.“ (Quran 53:45).
وَأَنَّهُ هُوَ أَغْنَى وَأَقْنَى
“And that it is He who enriches and suffices.” (Quran 53:48).
It turns out that most of us answer the first three correctly and fill the fourth blank wrongly.
God’s answer for number 4 is not poverty but sufficiency. Praise be to God as He only enriches and suffices. He does not create poverty; He does not make people poor. That is not God’s attribute. One of the attributes of God is that God is The Most Merciful, so, it is impossible for God to do any harm to human being.
Actually, it is us, human being, who create poverty. Such condition happens out of many factors such as economic recession & economic injustice due to corrupt economic system and people’s laziness in making effort to get out of poor condition.
But, in reality, poverty often happens because we are not grateful for what we have. We always want more and more riches… We always want to buy more and more clothes, cars, jewelry, houses, etc. Ingratitude leads to never-ending desire for wanting everything more despite the fact that we don’t need them…
On the other hand, people who are grateful to God are always happy as they are contented all the time. They might not be rich but they don’t feel poor at all. In other words, they feel 'rich' inside (their soul).
Being grateful is one of God’s rule that must be obeyed. It is the act of worship and is the proof of our submission to God’s will. God says, “O you who have believed, eat from the good things which We have provided for you and be grateful to Allah if it is [indeed] Him that you worship.” (Quran 2:172)
God doesn’t need to be thanked; God doesn’t need to be praised. Yet, God commands us to be grateful to Him because He knows that being grateful is good for our soul. When we are grateful to God, we feel peace, calm, and happiness in our soul. Being grateful brings so much spiritual benefit that money can’t buy.
“And We had certainly given Luqman wisdom [and said], "Be grateful to Allah." And whoever is grateful is grateful for [the benefit of] himself. And whoever denies [His favor] – then indeed, Allah is Free of need and Praiseworthy.” (Quran 31:12)
Poverty, both in spiritual and economical sense, is bad thing. On the other hand, God is the source of kindness. Thus, it is impossible that God, being The Kindest & The Most Merciful, bestow poverty for His servants.
God does not make people poor. God only gives wealth and suffices. Yet, if we are ungrateful to Him, ‘poverty’ will surely come.
Twitter: Maharani Hasibuan
God commands us to ponder about all of His creation, including animals. In the Quran, there are many verses about animals. Some examples are:
“And your Lord inspired to the bee, "Take for yourself among the mountains, houses, and among the trees and [in] that which they construct. Then eat from all the fruits and follow the ways of your Lord laid down [for you]." There emerges from their bellies a drink, varying in colors, in which there is healing for people. Indeed in that is a sign for a people who give thought.” Quran chapter 16 : verses 68-69
“The example of those who take allies other than Allah is like that of the spider who takes a home. And indeed, the weakest of homes is the home of the spider, if they only knew.” 29:41
“Allah has created every [living] creature from water. And of them are those that move on their bellies, and of them are those that walk on two legs, and of them are those that walk on four. Allah creates what He wills. Indeed, Allah is over all things competent.” 24:45
“And indeed, for you in grazing cattle is a lesson. We give you drink from what is in their bellies – between excretion and blood – pure milk, palatable to drinkers.” 16:66
Anyway, out of many verses about animal, I’d like to elaborate on the following in which God says:
“And We have certainly created for Hell many of the jinn and mankind. They have hearts with which they do not understand, they have eyes with which they do not see, and they have ears with which they do not hear. Those are like cattle; rather, they are more astray. It is they who are the heedless.” 7:179
Cattle, such as cows, indeed give benefits to human being through the milk, the meat, and even the excretion that we can use as natural fertilizer. However, unlike human being, animals don’t have hearts. That’s why, one type of animal behave the same way all over the world.
In the verse above, God says that there are people who use their hearts, eyes, and ears but still they can’t understand, can’t see or hear. What kind of understanding, seeing, and hearing that God wants? It is the understanding, seeing, and hearing God’s rules. If we use our hearts, eyes, and ears according to God’s will, it means we use them properly. People who don’t use them accordingly simply mean that they use the hearts, eyes, and ears based on their desires. And God says that such people are worse than cows. Why does God say that?
Observe the cows when they are queuing to be slaughtered for the meat. We will see that when one cow is about to be slaughtered or killed, then not far from that cow are other cows busy grazing or doing nothing, despite the fact that their turns to be killed are coming soon. The other cows have eyes but they don’t ‘see’ their friend is about to be killed, have ears but they can’t ‘hear’ their friend’s voice when it is dragged to be killed. They are so ‘brainless’ and definitely heartless that it is easy for them to graze or to relax while their friend is slaughtered and their turns are approaching.
Imagine if the scene above are for people! Imagine that my friend is about to be killed and my turn is right after my friend’s! How frightened, anxious, worried, and restless I would be. I would think of something to get away from it, to find a way to escape from death.
So, if we don’t use our hearts to grow God's consciousness, if we don’t use our eyes to see the greatness of God and ponder over it, and if we don’t use our ears to listen and to understand God’s commands, then we are WORSE than the cows. Being the same with cows might be good enough, but here God says that such people are worse than the cows! Can you imagine how low we can be in the sight of God…?
Submitting the using or function of our hearts, eyes, and ears to the wills of God will automatically drive to God’s conscious behavior or action and such action will definitely earn God’s reward, thus increasing the chance for heaven.
What is the consequence of being the same or lower than cows? It is God’s commands to use our hearts, ears, and eyes according to the rules of God, thus, if we don’t obey God’s commands, we are sinful and that will increase the chance for hell. The absence of God’s consciousness in doing daily activities will result in zero reward from God. Such activities might gain appreciation from human being but reward from people is vain in the hereafter.
God warns human being with punishment for not using our hearts and senses. God says, “And they will say, "If only we had been listening or reasoning, we would not be among the companions of the Blaze." Quran 67:10.
Human being is God’s most perfect creation because unlike other creatures, God bestows us with brain and heart that can think, feel, and make choices. We can learn from animals but let us not make ourselves the same level with animals.
My twitter: Maharani Hasibuan
Until now, many christians still believe that Jesus or Prophet Isa (peace be upon him) does not have a place in Islam. They believe that muslims don't believe in Jesus at all. Well, as a matter of fact, muslims do believe in Jesus, but as a prophet not as god in trinity. No muslim is a muslim unless he believes in Jesus as a messenger sent by God Almighty.
Quran, the last revelation of God, speaks higly about Jesus and his mother, Mary. What does Quran say about Jesus?
Quran, in chapter 3 verses 45 – 48, states that Jesus was born without father. He was born from Mary who was still a virgin. God taught him writing, wisdom, the Torah and the Gospel and Jesus was one of the righteous and close to Allah (God):
- [And mention] when the angels said, “O Mary, indeed Allah gives you good tidings of a word from Him, whose name will be the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary – distinguished in this world and the Hereafter and among those brought near [to Allah ]. (Quran chapter 3: verse 45)
- He will speak to the people in the cradle and in maturity and will be of the righteous." (3:46)
- She said, "My Lord, how will I have a child when no man has touched me?" [The angel] said, "Such is Allah ; He creates what He wills. When He decrees a matter, He only says to it, 'Be,' and it is. (3:47)
- And He will teach him writing and wisdom and the Torah and the Gospel." (3:48)
"And Zechariah and John and Jesus and Elias – and all were of the righteous." (6:85)
"And We gave Jesus, the son of Mary, clear proofs and supported him with the Pure Spirit." (2:87)
The fact that Jesus was born without father is often considered as the attribute of divinity therefore making him God. However, Jesus was not the only one who was born immaculately. Adam was 'born' even without mother and father. God says in the Quran 3:59, "Indeed, the example of Jesus to Allah is like that of Adam. He created Him from dust; then He said to him, "Be," and he was."
Then, God clearly says that Jesus is just a messenger of God. God says in the Quran 5:75, "The Messiah, son of Mary, was not but a messenger; [other] messengers have passed on before him. And his mother was a supporter of truth. They both used to eat food. Look how We make clear to them the signs; then look how they are deluded."
One of the tenet of christianity is that Jesus is God, together with the father and the holy spirit. However, the verse above states otherwise. God says, “They both used to eat food.” This sentence wasn’t revealed for nothing. Eating food is the activity of human being, the activity of creatures. The activity of eating leads to other activities such as drinking and discharging. Do those activities represent the attributes of the Creator or God? Of course not. Those are the activities of human being. God does not need to eat or drink or go to the bathroom. The signs have been made clear by God, but some people don’t use their mind and heart and they are still misled.
The divinity of Jesus is further declined in the Quran. All clarify that Jesus is merely the servant of God who followed God's rules. God says that Jesus is a kind person as opposed to some verses in the Bible describing Jesus being rude to his mother, calling her 'woman', and uttering bad words. Also, Jesus did not die in crucifixion. He was raised to heaven by God and he will come again to the world when the end of the world is about to arrive.
- [Jesus] said, "Indeed, I am the servant of Allah . He has given me the Scripture and made me a prophet.” (19:30)
- “And He has made me blessed wherever I am and has enjoined upon me prayer and zakah as long as I remain alive.” (19:31)
- “And [made me] dutiful to my mother, and He has not made me a wretched tyrant.” (19:32)
- “And peace is on me the day I was born and the day I will die and the day I am raised alive." (19:33)
- “That is Jesus, the son of Mary – the word of truth about which they are in dispute." (19:34)
The teaching of Jesus was the same with the teachings of all prophets that came before him. All prophets were sent to spread the message of the oneness of God, to worship God alone and not to take idols as god. Trinity and other types of idolatry are forbidden.
- “It is not [befitting] for Allah to take a son; exalted is He! When He decrees an affair, He only says to it, "Be," and it is.” (19:35)
"O People of the Scripture, do not commit excess in your religion or say about Allah except the truth. The Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, was but a messenger of Allah and His word which He directed to Mary and a soul [created at a command] from Him. So believe in Allah and His messengers. And do not say, "Three"; desist – it is better for you. Indeed, Allah is but one God. Exalted is He above having a son. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. And sufficient is Allah as Disposer of affairs." (4:71)
- And [beware the Day] when Allah will say, "O Jesus, Son of Mary, did you say to the people, 'Take me and my mother as deities besides Allah ?'" He will say, "Exalted are You! It was not for me to say that to which I have no right. If I had said it, You would have known it. You know what is within myself, and I do not know what is within Yourself. Indeed, it is You who is Knower of the unseen." (5:116)
- I said not to them except what You commanded me – to worship Allah , my Lord and your Lord. And I was a witness over them as long as I was among them; but when You took me up, You were the Observer over them, and You are, over all things, Witness. (5:117)
- And when Jesus brought clear proofs, he said, "I have come to you with wisdom and to make clear to you some of that over which you differ, so fear Allah and obey me. (43:63)
- Indeed, Allah is my Lord and your Lord, so worship Him. This is a straight path." (43:64)
- But the denominations from among them differed [and separated], so woe to those who have wronged from the punishment of a painful Day. (43:65)
Thus, Jesus, or Prophet Isa (peace be upon him) is a messenger of God, a prophet. He didn't call people to worship him, rather, he called them to worship The One and Only God (Allah). Jesus himself worshipped God. During his life, Jesus obeyed all the commands of The Almighty God. He submitted his will to the will of God. And his full submission to God's will is just another term for Islam…
Videos: Jesus can't be the son of God
Twitter: Maharani Hasibuan