It All Started From The Mistake

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.

–khaleejtimes.com

Watch: The Purpose of Life

 

Fasting Revisited

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:

Was Jesus Crucified?

Patrick Questioned Why Jesus Can't be the Son of God

Yusuf Estes Shared His Research about Bible and Quran

Jesus, Islam, Quran 

A Man Asks Whether Muslims Must Fight With The Jews

From Atheism to Islam

The Purpose of Life (Prof. Jeffrey Lang)

twitter: Maharani Hasibuan

The Answer of Sultan Brunei

The following is the answer of Sultan Brunei to the west regarding stoning to death as the punishment for gay:

BANDAR SERI BAGAWAN, Brunei – In your countries you practice freedom of speech, freedom of press, freedom of religion, etc. It’s in your constitution It’s your political system, your national identity, your rights, your way of life.

In my country, we practice a Malay, Islamic, Monarchical system and we’re going to start practicing the laws of Islam, Sharia Law. Islam is in our constitution, our national identity, our rights, our way of life.

We may find loopholes in your laws and justice system and you may have found ours, but this is our country. Just like you practice your right to be gay, etc. for this world you live in now, we practice our rights to be Muslims for this world and the Hereafter.

This is an Islamic country practising Islamic law. Why don’t you worry about your kids being gunned down in schools, worry about your prisons being unable to accommodate convicts, worry about your high rate of crimes and DUIs, worry about your high suicide and abortion rate, worry about whatever it is that you should be worried about there. Many religions are against homosexuality, it’s nothing new.

The moment you hear that Islam and Muslims making a stand and trying to reaffirm their faith, you judge, you boycott, you say that it’s wrong, it’s stupid, it’s barbaric.

Again, go back to those worries that you should focus on I’ve mentioned earlier. Is it not wrong to legalize deadly weapons, is it not wrong to allow unborn babies to be killed, is it not wrong to allow a lifestyle that results in AIDS and discontinuation of the next generation?

Why do you care so much what’s happening here in an Islamic nation when you didn’t even bat an eyelid about the Syrians, Bosnians, Rohingyas, Palestinians, etc.

Thousands are being killed there and you don’t care, not one is killed here under this Sharia Law, and you make a big fuss, even when the citizens here who are directly affected by it, accepts it with peace.

Punishments may be harsher but it does not mean it’s easier to be carried out. There are processes to go through before an actual conviction. We are fine with it, we are happy. – Brunei United

 

Watch: Jesus, a Prophet of Islam

              Yusuf Estes, a Glimpse about Qur'an & Bible

            The Purpose of Life, by Jeffrey Lang

            From Atheism & Islam

Twitter: Maharani Hasibuan

Email: mzanirah@yahoo.com

 

What Does Quran Say About Jesus?

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):

  1. [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)
  2. He will speak to the people in the cradle and in maturity and will be of the righteous." (3:46)
  3. 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)
  4. And He will teach him writing and wisdom and the Torah and the Gospel." (3:48)
  5. "And Zechariah and John and Jesus and Elias – and all were of the righteous." (6:85)

  6. "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. 

  1.  [Jesus] said, "Indeed, I am the servant of Allah . He has given me the Scripture and made me a prophet.” (19:30)
  2. “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)
  3. “And [made me] dutiful to my mother, and He has not made me a wretched tyrant.” (19:32)
  4. “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)
  5. “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. 

  1. “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)
  2. "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)

  3. 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)
  4. 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)
  5. 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)
  6. Indeed, Allah is my Lord and your Lord, so worship Him. This is a straight path." (43:64)
  7. 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

The Journey of Jeffrey Lang to Islam

The following is the journey of Prof. Jeffrey Lang to Islam, taken from islam.thetruecall.com

“Dad, do you believe in heaven?”

When young Jeffery asked his father about the existence of heaven as they walked their dog along the beach, it was apparent that this child possessed a highly inquisitive mind. There perhaps was also a sign that he would subject things to a logical scrutiny and validate them from a rational perspective. Little surprise was it, then, that one day he would end up being a professor of mathematics, a matter where there is no place for anything but logic.
 

During his senior years at the Notre Dam Boys High, a Catholic school, he formed certain rational objections against belief in the existence of a Supreme Being. Discussions with the school Priest, his parents, and classmates could not convince him of the existence of God, and to the dismay of the Priest and his parents, he turned into an atheist at the age of eighteen. He was to remain so for the next ten years throughout his undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral studies. It was a little before or after his becoming an atheist that he first saw the following dream:

It was a tiny room with no furniture, and there was nothing on its grayish-white walls. Its only adornment was the predominantly red-and-white patterned carpet that covered the floor. There was a small window, like a basement window, above and facing us, filling the room with bril­liant light. We were in rows; I was in the third. There were only men, no women, and all of us were sitting on our heels and facing the direction of the window.

It felt foreign. I recognized no one. Perhaps I was in another country. We bowed down uniformly, our faces to the floor. It was serene and quiet, as if all sound had been turned off. All at once, we sat back on our heels. As I looked ahead, I realized that we were being led by someone in front who was off to my left, in the middle, below the window. He stood alone. I only had the briefest glance at his back. He was wearing a long white gown, and on his head was a white scarf with a red design. And that is when I would awaken.

During the next ten years of his atheist life, he was to see the same dream several times. He would not be disturbed by the dream, however, for he would feel strangely comfortable when he awoke. But not knowing what it was, he could not make any sense out of it and thus gave no importance to it despite its repetitions.

Ten years later in his first lecture at the University of San Francisco, he met a Muslim student who attended his mathematics class. He was soon to develop a friendship with him and his family. Religion, however, was not the topic of discussion during the time he shared with that Muslim family, and it was much later that one of the family members handed to him a copy of the Qur’an.

He was not looking for a religion. Nevertheless, he started reading the Qur’an, but with a strong prejudice. “You cannot simply read the Qur’an, not if you take it seriously. You either have surrendered to it already or you fight it. It attacks tenaciously, directly, personally; it debates, criticizes, shames, and challenges. From the outset it draws the line of battle, and I was on the other side.” Thus he found himself in an interesting battle. “I was at a severe disadvantage, for it became clear that the Author knew me better than I knew myself.” It was as if the Author was reading his mind. Every night he would make up certain questions and objections, but would find the answer in his next readings as he continued his readings in the accepted order. “The Qur’an was always way ahead of my thinking; it was erasing barriers I had built years ago and was addressing my queries.” He fought vigorously with objections and questions, but it was apparent that he was loosing the battle. “I was being led, working my way into a corner that contained only one choice.”

It was early 80’s and there were not many Muslims at the University of San Francisco campus. He discovered a small place at the basement of a church where a few Muslim students made their daily prayers. After much struggle in his mind, he came up with enough courage to go and visit that place. When he came out of that place a few hours later, he had already declared the shahada, the proclamation of a new life – “I bear witness that there is no god but Allah and I bear witness that Muhammad is His messenger.”

After he made his proclamation, it was the time for the afternoon prayer and he was invited to participate. He stood up in rows with other students behind a prayer leader named Ghassan, and started following them in prayer –

We bowed down in prostration with our faces on the red-and-white carpet. It was serene and quiet, as if the sound had been turned off. And then we sat back on our heels again.

As I looked ahead, I could see Ghassan, off to my left, in the middle, below the window that was flooding the room with light. He was alone, without a row. He was wearing a long white gown and on his head was a white scarf with a red design.

The dream! I screamed inwardly. The dream exactly! I had forgotten it completely, and now I was stunned and frightened. Am I dreaming? I wondered. Will I awaken? I tried to focus on what was happening to determine whether I was asleep. A rush of cold flowed through my body, making me shudder. My God, this is real! Then the coldness subsided, succeeded by gentle warmth radiating from within. Tears welled up in my eyes.

Everyone’s journey to Islam is unique, varying from one another in many different ways, but Dr. Lang’s is an interesting one. From one who challenged the existence of God, he became a firm believer in God. From a warrior who fought a fierce battler against the Qur’an, he became one who surrendered to it. From one who never knew love and who only wanted to live a comfortable materialistic life until he died and became “long-forgotten soil underneath an unmarked grave”, he turned into one whose life became full of love, mercy, and spiritualism.“God will bring you to your knees, Jeffery!”, said his father when he denied the existence of God at the age of eighteen. Ten years later, that became a reality. He was now on his knees, and his forehead on the ground. The highest part of his body that contained all of his knowledge and intellect was now on the lowest ground in complete submission before the Majesty of God.

Like all Muslim reverts, Dr. Lang felt that he was favored by God’s mercy and that it was God Himself who directed him to Islam. “I perceived that God was always near, directing my life, creating the circumstances and opportunities to choose, yet always leaving the crucial choices to me. I was awestruck by the realization of the intimacy and love that reveals, not because we deserve it, but because it is always there and all we have to do is turn to Him to receive it. I cannot say with certainty what the meaning of that vision was, but I could not help seeing in it a sign, a favor, and a new chance.”

Note: Jeffrey Lang is currently an associate professor in the Department of Mathematics at the University of Kansas. In addition to numerous articles, he has written three books that are widely read among American Muslims.

Struggling to Surrender, Beltsville, 1994

Even Angels Ask, Beltsville, 1997

Losing My Religion: A Call for Help, Beltsville, 2004

He gives lectures at various universities as well as at Islamic conferences and conventions.

Watch: Prof. Jeffrey Lang's Lecture, The Purpose of Life

            Jesus A Prophet In Islam And The Qur'an

My twitter: Maharani Hasibuan

Challenging God For A Sign

Ruben was a humorous Australian guy. He was an atheist. But lately, he had an urge to find the existence of God. He then studied all the world's major religions such as Christianity, Catholic, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Judaism. He didn't study Islam due to terrorism issue, so Islam wasn't an option for him.

However, strangely enough, his feet sort of brought him to a mosque and he met an awesome individual. "I didn't know what moved me to go there, but I just stepped in, still using my shoes, and just entered the mosque. I just thought, I might die there because I was the only white man there.''

Ruben met a tall and big man from Middle East with his beard and long dress. Ruben saw a terrorist in front of him. But he was shocked that the suspected "terrorist" greeted him very friendly and even served him some food. "His name was Abu Hamzah. I never thought that I would be treated like a guest."

Ruben didn't want to waste his opportunity of asking Abu Hamzah many things about Islam. Ruben asked him why he had beard and why muslim women wear hijab (scarf on the head to cover the hair). He also asked about polygamy and many more. At that time, Ruben was so sure that Abu Hamzah couldn't answer such difficult questions. Yet, Ruben was astonished. In order to answer Ruben's questions, Abu Hamzah took the Qur'an and answered the questions based on the sayings of God (Allah) in the Qur'an. "So, he always opened the Qur'an to answer my questions. Muslims are not allowed to have their own opinions about God's revelation," said Ruben.

Ruben went home bringing a piece of Qur'an from the mosque. He read the translations and he was speechless. He was amazed in how the Qur'an explains about the process of human's creation. It took six months for Ruben to comprehend the Qur'an until finally he concluded, "This is what I have been looking for. This is what I need…"

Despite the conclusion, Ruben had a thought of challenging Allah for a sign before he truly said the confession statement and converted into Islam. He lit a candle, sat down by the window, and said, "Allah, this is the time for me to convert to Islam. But before I do that, I need a sign, just a small sign like thunder or collapsing house."

He waited for quite a long time and there was no sign. The candle wasn't blown off as he expected and seen in movies. "Oh come on, Allah, just one sign," Ruben insisted. Still, there was nothing happened. "To be honest, I was so disappointed,"said Ruben.

With disappointment, he then opened again the Qur'an and there he read a verse, "He has made subject to you the night and the day, the sun and the moon, and the stars are in subjection by His command. Verily in this are signs for men who are wise." (Qur'an chapter 16 verse 12).

Ruben quivered. He quickly ran to his bed and hid under the blanket. He was sweating and was too afraid to do anything. "How arrogant I am. I demanded a sign meanwhile the sun and all the things in the universe are all His signs!"

Finally, Ruben declared his confession statement or syahadah in the mosque. The community at the mosque became the witness of his spiritual change. He had difficulty though, uttering the syahadah in Arabic and he had to repeat many times. The syahadah itself in English means: "I bear witness that there is no god but Allah and I bear witness that Prophet Muhammad is the messenger of Allah."

After the declaration, all the men in the mosque hugged him. It was unforgettable moment as he never experienced such a warm welcome before. Ruben was so happy.

On the other hand, Ruben's family was worried with his conversion. They thought that by becoming a muslim, Ruben joined a terrorist group. But, his parents noticed that their son became a much better person instead. 

Twitter: Maharani Hasibuan

Watch: The Purpose of Life – Prof. Jeffrey Lang

             Jesus, Islam, And The Qur'an