Saturday, June 12, 2010

What do you know about Islam?


Yesterday six millions of Jewish, Tomorrow ... millions of Muslim.
All through history we the use of targeted propaganda by politician and leaders are used to manipulate the masses, to vilify and demonize a segment of the population.  Today with the use of global technology again propaganda are spearheading and invisible agenda. Vilifying Islam and it people, demonize it to justify a genocide. In the United States the general population are media and technology junkies, views are like lobotomized, robotized souls brainwashed to behave and think as we are told and should to fit in.  Our freewill is just an illusion. Can you be part of this society without a credit card? a credit score? ... Why are we so easily sawed to condemn an entire Religion because of the action of a few fanatics, Nationalists an extremist Muslim?  are the Crusade, the inquisition,the KKK are a representation of Christianity? Educate yourself, yesterday it was six millions of Jewish, is tomorrow ... millions of Muslim?
"Education is not the answer to the question. Education is the means to the answer to all questions."
-- William Allin 
 

Author: Laura Cosse
About the Author
Laura Cosse' converted to Islam in 1996.  She is the author of several Islamic children’s books and currently resides in Virginia Beach, VA with her husband and twin sons, Muhammad and Hamza.  For more info and articles please visit www.AdvocateIslam.com





Was Islam Spread by the Sword?


    The idea of Islam being spread by the sword is one of the most common misconceptions among both the Muslims and non-Muslims.  Many non-Muslims have written untold volumes of anti-Islamic literature propagating the fallacy of Muslims holding swords above the heads of Christians and forcing them to convert to Islam.  This is total nonsense.  On the other hand we have some Muslim apologists who, in their great fervor to defend Islam and portray it as the peaceful religion it is, seem reluctant to admit that Muslims did indeed fight wars to expand their territories.  So what is the truth of the situation?  I would like to begin our quest for the truth on this matter by quoting the Qur’an, the literal word of God and the primary source for Islam:  “Say the truth from your Lord, then let whomsoever wills believe and let whomsoever wills reject.” 18:29

   Let’s start with the prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and look at his example.  He did preach Islam peacefully in Mecca for 13 years without once raising a finger against his enemies even though he and his followers were harshly persecuted, tortured, mocked and sometimes murdered.  The first wars with Mecca did not occur until after the hijra to Medina, and those battles were defensive against Abu Sufyan and his amassed troops.  After the Treaty of Hudaybiyya, the peace treaty between the Muslims and the Meccans, was unilaterally broken by the Meccans, the Muslims conquered Mecca without any bloodshed.  Tribal customs would dictate that the Meccans should then be slaughtered for their transgressions against the victorious Muslims, and indeed the Meccans anticipated this, but Muhammad (PBUH) granted them amnesty on the condition that they cease fighting the Muslims.  This was a beautiful act of mercy which led to the majority of Meccans choosing to convert to Islam, though no person was ever forced to do so.

  
What is conversion to Islam?  Converting to Islam is something that has to be done by choice, it is something that you believe in your heart, that there is only one God and that Muhammad is His prophet and messenger.  Words without belief are meaningless.  Of course God alone knows what is in each and every person’s heart, so you won’t be able to fool God by meaningless lip service to Islam, and religion is solely for God and the benefit of the individual.  So, forced conversion is impossible.  The Qur’an attests to this fact in 2:256 where it states:  “There is no compulsion in religion.”


So how did Islam spread so rapidly across North Africa to the Iberian Peninsula and east across India and Central Asia all the way to Southeast Asia?  Primarily it spread by trade.  Very often while Muslim merchants were traveling abroad they would impress the people they did business with by their honesty and integrity, so much so that those people would ask questions, learn about Islam, and eventually choose to convert. 


However, there were indeed wars as well, most of which were in the times of the first four caliphs.  The prophet Muhammad advised his armies of how to approach the non-Muslim governments, he told his armies to call them first to Islam, and if they accept it then leave them alone.  If they reject Islam, call on them to submit to the Muslim government and pay the jizyah tax, a poll tax paid by non-Muslims to the Muslim government for their protection and upkeep of the lands and buildings.  If they refused both of those options, then they were to fight.  But, the fighting itself had many rules, it wasn’t just a bloodbath, free-for-all like we’ve seen in other times, for instance by the Mongols and the Christian Crusaders, rather it was warfare waged only against the armies themselves.  It was forbidden to fight civilians and it was forbidden to destroy their agriculture and means of livelihood.  There was no raping, pillaging and plundering by the Muslim armies; they fought only the armies sent out by the government until they surrendered and left the innocent civilians alone.


There are numerous hadiths of the prophet (PBUH) where he clearly distinguishes between the combatants and the non-combatants.  In a hadith related by Abu Dawud he said, “Do no kill any old person, any child, or any woman,” and he said, “Do no kill people sitting in places of worship.”  Abu Bakr, the first Caliph, gave detailed instructions to his army heading for Syria based on his knowledge of Qur’an and hadiths:


“Stop, O people, that I may give you ten rules for your guidance in the battlefield. Do not commit treachery or deviate from the right path. You must not mutilate dead bodies. Neither kill a child, nor a woman, nor an aged man. Bring no harm to the trees, nor burn them with fire, especially those which are fruitful. Slay not any of the enemy's flock, save for your food. You are likely to pass by people who have devoted their lives to monastic services; leave them alone.”


Once a government had fallen into the hands of the Muslims, the citizens paid a poll tax and were free to practice any religion they chose. Christianity and Judaism flourished under Islamic rule since the Muslims protected their churches and synagogues and other holy places, even though they had the power to wipe them out if they had so chosen.  Perhaps the most amazing law of all is that if a Christian or a Jew committed a crime and was found guilty, they were tried by their own courts and punished by their own laws, not by the courts and laws of the Muslims.  Can you imagine in America today a Muslim being tried in an Islamic court rather than the American system?  This was truly progressive governing.


Many of the citizens welcomed the Muslims as their rulers and viewed them as liberators who had rescued them from oppressive kingships, granting them their basic human rights and so much more.  Many of the citizens of a conquered land would choose to embrace Islam once they came in contact with the Muslims, and Islam did spread rapidly through these acquired lands.  But, individuals were never forced to convert to Islam.


The proof that individuals were not and are not forced to convert to Islam is in the facts of populations.  In Egypt there are over 14 million Coptic Christians, in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and all the other lands ruled by Muslims there have continuously been large populations of Christians and Jews.  Muslims ruled over Spain for more than 800 years, yet the Christian and Jewish populations have thrived throughout that time.  There are over 450 million Muslims in Indonesia today but there was no war by Muslims that brought the religion there, it was only merchants.  And, perhaps the most fascinating, the fastest growing religion in the United States and Europe is Islam.  Are Americans and Europeans being forced to convert?  Of course not, it’s something else.  These people see truth and justice in Islam that they don’t find in any other religion or way of life.  These people choose Islam for themselves, by themselves, just like the Meccans did 1400 years ago.  That is the truth about how Islam has spread throughout the world.


Peace be on you and yours.
Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/religion-articles/islam-101-was-islam-spread-by-the-sword-283817.html
For more info and articles please visit www.AdvocateIslam.com

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Who are the Turks?


(The Göktürk Empire in 600
The name Turk (Chinese: 突厥, pinyin: tū jué; jyutping: duk kyut) was first applied to a clan of tribal chieftains (known as Ashina) who overthrew the ruling Rouran confederency, and founded the nomadic Göktürk Empire ("Celestial Turks").  These nomads roamed in the Altai Mountains (and thus are known as Altaic peoples) in northern Mongolia and on the steppes of Central Asia. The Göktürks were ruled by Khans whose influences extended during the sixth to eighth centuries from the
Aral Sea to the Hindu Kush in the land bridge known as Transoxania. In the eighth century, some Turkic tribes, among them the Oghuz, moved south of the Oxus River, while others migrated west to the northern shore of the Black Sea.
 The name Türk spread as a political designation during the period of Göktürk imperial hegemony to their subject Turkic and non-Turkic peoples. Subsequently, it was adopted as a generic ethnonym designating most if not all of the Turkic-speaking tribes in Central Asia by the Muslim peoples with whom they came into contact. The imperial era also provided a legacy of political and social organisation (with deep roots in pre-Türk Inner Asia) that in its Türk form became the .common inheritance of the Turkic groupings of Central Asia.


( The Seljuk Empire at its zenith upon the death of Malik Shah I in 1092)
The Seljuks (Turkish Selçuklular) were a Turkish tribe from Central Asia. In 1037, they entered Persia and established their first powerful state, called by historians the Empire of the Great Seljuks. They captured Baghdad in 1055 and a relatively small contingent of warriors (around 5,000 by some estimates) moved into eastern Anatolia. In 1071, the Seljuks engaged the armies of the Byzantine Empire at Manzikert (Malazgirt), north of Lake Van. The Byzantines experienced minor casualties despite the fact that Emperor Romanus IV Diogenes was captured. With no potent Byzantine force to stop them, the Seljuks took control of most of Eastern and Central Anatolia. They established their capital at Konya and ruled what would be known as the Seljuk Sultanate of Rum. The success of the Seljuk Turks stimulated a response from Latin Europe in the form of the First Crusade. A counteroffensive launched in 1097 by the Byzantines with the aid of the Crusaders dealt the Seljuks a decisive defeat. Konya fell to the Crusaders, and after a few years of campaigning, Byzantine rule was restored in the western third of Anatolia. Although a Turkish revival in the 1140s nullified much of the Christian gains, greater damage was done to Byzantine security by dynastic strife in Constantinople in which the largely French contingents of the Fourth Crusade and their Venetian allies intervened. In 1204, these Crusaders conquered Constantinople and installed Count Baldwin of Flanders in the Byzantine capital as emperor of the so-called Latin Empire of Constantinople, dismembering the old realm into tributary states where West European feudal institutions were transplanted intact. Independent Greek kingdoms were established at Nicaea (present-day Iznik), Trebizond (present-day Trabzon), and Epirus from remnant Byzantine provinces. Turks allied with Greeks in Anatolia against the Latins, and Greeks with Turks against the Mongols. In 1261, Michael Palaeologus of Nicaea drove the Latins from Constantinople and restored the Byzantine Empire. Seljuk Rum survived in the late 13th century as a vassal state of the Mongols, who had already subjugated the Great Seljuk sultanate at Baghdad. Mongol influence in the region had disappeared by the 1330s, leaving behind gazi emirates competing for supremacy. From the chaotic conditions that prevailed throughout the Middle East, however, a new power was to emerge in Anatolia, the Ottoman Turks.

Anatolian Beyliks (Turkish: Anadolu Beylikleri, Ottoman Turkish: Tevâif-i mülûk) were small Turkish principalities governed by Beys, which were founded across Anatolia at the end of the 11th century. Political unity in Anatolia was disrupted from the time of the collapse of the Anatolia Seljuk State at the beginning of the 14th century, when until the beginning of the 16th century each of the regions in the country fell under the domination of beyliks (principalities). Eventually, the Ottoman principality, which subjugated the other principalities and restored political unity in the larger part of Anatolia, was established in the Eskişehir, BilecikBursa areas. On the other hand, the area in central Anatolia east of the Ankara-Aksaray line as far as the area of Erzurum remained under the administration of the Ilhani General Governor until 1336. The infighting in Ilhan gave the principalities in Anatolia their complete independence. In addition to this, new Turkish principalities were formed in the localities previously under Ilhan occupation. and
During the 14th century, the Turkomans, who made up the western Turks, started to re-establish their previous political sovereignty in the Islamic world. Rapid developments in the Turkish language and culture took place during the time of the Anatolian principalities. In this period, the Turkish language began to be used in the sciences and in literature, and became the official language of the principalities. New medreses were established and progress was made in the medical sciences during this period.Ottoman era
The Ottoman Empire (Old Ottoman Turkish: دولت عالیه عثمانیه Devlet-i Âliye-yi Osmâniyye, Late Ottoman and Modern Turkish: Osmanlı Devleti or Osmanlı İmparatorluğu), was a Turkish state. The state was known as the Turkish Empire or Turkey by its contemporaries.  Starting as a small tribe whose territory bordered on the Byzantine frontier, the Ottoman Turks built an empire that at the height of its power (16th–17th century), spanned three continents, controlling much of Southeastern Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.
As the power of the Seljuk Sultanate of Rum weakened in the late 1200s, warrior chieftains claimed the lands of Northwestern Anatolia, along the Byzantine Empire's borders. Ertuğrul gazi ruled the lands around Söğüt, a town between Bursa and Eskisehir. Upon his death in 1281, his son, Osman, from whom the Ottoman dynasty and the Empire took its name, expanded the territory to 16,000 square kilometers. Osman I, who was given the nickname "Kara" (Turkish for black) for his courage, extended the frontiers of Ottoman settlement towards the edge of the Byzantine Empire. He shaped the early political development of the state and moved the Ottoman capital to Bursa


The Ottoman Empire (1299 – 1923)
By 1452 the Ottomans controlled almost all of the former Byzantine lands except Constantinople. On May 29, 1453, Mehmed the Conqueror captured Constantinople after a 53-day siege and proclaimed that the city was now the new capital of his Ottoman Empire. Sultan Mehmet's first duty was to rejuvenate the city economically, creating the Grand Bazaar and inviting the fleeing Orthodox and Catholic inhabitants to return. Captured prisoners were freed to settle in the city whilst provincial governors in Rumelia and Anatolia were ordered to send four thousand families to settle in the city, whether Muslim, Christian or Jew, to form a unique cosmopolitan society.
During the growth of the Ottoman Empire, Selim I extended Ottoman sovereignty southward, conquering Syria, Palestine, and Egypt. He also gained recognition as guardian of the holy cities of Mecca and Medina; he accepted pious the title of The Servant of The Two Holy Shrines.
Suleiman I was known in the West as Suleiman the Magnificent and in the East, as the Lawgiver (in Turkish Kanuni; Arabic: القانونى‎, al‐Qānūnī), for his complete restructuring of the Ottoman legal system. The reign of Suleiman the Magnificent is known as the Ottoman golden age. The brilliance of the Sultan's court and the might of his armies outshone those of England's Henry VIII, France's François I, and Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. When Suleiman died in 1566, the Ottoman Empire was a world power. Most of the great cities of Islam (Mecca, Medina, Jerusalem, Damascus, Cairo, Tunis, and Baghdad) were under the sultan's crescent flag. After Suleiman, however, the empire's power gradually diminished due to poor leadership; many successive Sultans largely depended upon their Grand Viziers to run the state affairs.
The Ottoman sultanate lasted for 624 years, but its last three centuries were marked by stagnation and eventual decline. By the 19th century, the Ottomans had fallen well behind the rest of Europe in science, technology, and industry. Reformist Sultans such as Selim III and Mahmud II succeeded in pushing Ottoman bureaucracy, society and culture ahead, but were unable to cure all of the empire's ills. Despite its collapse, the Ottoman empire has left an indelible mark on Turkish culture and architecture. Ottoman culture has given the Turkish people a splendid legacy of art, architecture and domestic refinement, as a visit to Istanbul's Topkapi Palace readily shows.The Republic of Turkey
The Republic of Turkey was born from the disastrous World War I defeat of the Ottoman Empire. The Ottoman war hero, Mustafa Kemal Pasha (who was later given the surname Atatürk by the Turkish Parliament with the Surname Law of 1934), sailed from Istanbul to Samsun in May 1919 to start the Turkish liberation movement; he organized the remnants of the Ottoman army in Anatolia into an effective fighting force, and rallied the people to the nationalist cause. Under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Pasha, a military commander who had distinguished himself during the Battle of Gallipoli, the Turkish War of Independence was waged with the aim of revoking the terms of the Treaty of Sèvres By 1923 the nationalist government had driven out the invading armies; replaced the Treaty of Sèvres with the Treaty of Lausanne and abolished the Ottoman State; promulgated a republican constitution; and established Turkey's new capital in Ankara
During a meeting in the early days of the new republic, Atatürk proclaimed:
To the women: Win for us the battle of education and you will do yet more for your country than we have been able to do. It is to you that I appeal.
To the men: If henceforward the women do not share in the social life of the nation, we shall never attain to our full development. We shall remain irremediably backward, incapable of treating on equal terms with the civilizations of the West.[80]
—Mustafa Kemal
Chronology of Major Kemalist Reforms:
November 1, 1922 Abolition of the office of the Ottoman Sultan.
October 29, 1923 Proclamation of the Republic of Turkey.
March 3, 1924 Abolition of the office of Caliphate held by the Ottoman Caliphate.
November 25, 1925 Change of headgear and dress
November 30, 1925 Closure of religious convents and dervish lodges.
March 1, 1926 Introduction of the new penal law.
October 4, 1926 Introduction of the new civil code.
November 1, 1928 Adoption of the new Turkish alphabet
June 21, 1934 Law on family names.
November 26, 1934 Abolition of titles and by-names.
December 5, 1934 Full political rights, to vote and be elected, to women.
February 5, 1937 The inclusion of the principle of laïcité in the constitution.
The Kemalist revolution aimed to create a Turkish nation state (Turkish: ulus devlet) on the territory of the former Ottoman Empire that had remained within the boundaries of the Republic of Turkey in 1923. The meaning of Turkishness (Turkish: Türklük) implies a "citizenship" (of the Republic of Turkey) and "cultural identity" (speaking the Turkish language and growing up with the mainstream Turkish culture) rather than an ethno-genetical background. The Turkish-speaking Muslim citizens of the Ottoman Empire had been called "Turks" for centuries by the Europeans, and the Ottoman Empire was alternatively called "Turkey" or the "Turkish Empire" by its contemporaries. However, the Devşirme system and intermarriages with people in the former Ottoman territories of Southeastern Europe, the Middle East and North Africa ensured a largely heterogeneous gene pool that makes up the fabric of the present-day Turkish nation. The Turks of today, in short, are the descendants of the Turkish-speaking Muslims in the former Ottoman Empire.
Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code notoriously made it a legal offense to "insult Turkishness" prior to its amendment in 2008.
"Turkishness" (citizenship of Turkey) is the cornerstone of the Republic of Turkey, according to the Turkish Constitution. Kemalist ideology defines the "Turkish people" as "those who protect and promote the moral, spiritual, cultural and humanistic values of the Turkish nation." Kemalist ideology defines the "Turkish nation" as "a nation of Turkish people who always love and seek to exalt their family, country, and nation; who know their duties and responsibilities towards the democratic, secular and social state governed by the rule of law and founded on human rights, and on the tenets laid down in the preamble to the constitution of the Republic of Turkey."
Turkey is the only secular republic with a majority of the population (99%) being Muslim. Turkish law is not based on Islamic law, but is rather a republic modeled after the Swiss and French legal systems.


Ne Mutlu Türküm Diyene (How happy is he/she who calls himself/herself a Turk).
—Mustafa Kemal Atatük

Geographic distribution 

Turks primarily live in Turkey; however, when the borders of the Ottoman Empire became smaller after World War I and the new Turkish Republic was founded, many Turks chose to stay outside of Turkey's borders. Since then, some of them have migrated to Turkey but there are still significant minorities of Turks living in different countries such as in Northern Cyprus (Turkish Cypriots), Greece, Bulgaria, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Republic of Macedonia, the Dobruja region of Romania, Pakistan, the Sandžak region of Serbia, Kosovo, Syria,India, China, Countries of Central Asia and Iraq.

The three most important Turkish groups are the Anatolian Turks, the Rumelian Turks (primarily immigrants from former Ottoman territories in the Balkans and their descendants), and the Central Asian Turks (Turkic-speaking immigrants from the Caucasus region, southern Russia, and Central Asia and their descendants).

Turks in Turkey
People who identify themselves as ethnic Turks comprise 80-88% of Turkey's population. Regions of Turkeyİstanbul (+12 million), Ankara (+4.4 million), İzmir (+3.7 million), Bursa (+2.4 million), Adana (+2.0 million) and Konya (+1.9 million). with the largest populations are
The biggest city and the pre-Republican capital İstanbul is the financial, economic and cultural heart of the country. Other important cities include İzmir, Bursa, Adana, Trabzon, Malatya, Gaziantep, Erzurum, Kayseri, Kocaeli, Konya, Mersin, Eskişehir, Diyarbakır, Kahramanmaraş, Antalya and Samsun. An estimated 70.5% of the Turkish population live in urban centers. In all, 18 provinces have populations that exceed 1 million inhabitants, and 21 provinces have populations between 1 million and 500,000 inhabitants. Only two provinces have populations less than 100,000.

Turks in Europe  

As a legacy of the Ottoman Turkish Empire, there are significant Turkish minorities in Europe such as the Turks in Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Kosovo and the Republic of Macedonia.

The post-World War II migration of Turks to Europe began with ‘guest workers’ who arrived under the terms of a Labour Export Agreement with Germany in October 1961, followed by a similar agreement with the Netherlands, Belgium and Austria in 1964; France in 1965 and Sweden in 1967. As one Turkish observer noted, ‘it has now been over 40 years and a Turk who went to Europe at the age of 25 has nearly reached the age of 70. His children have reached the age of 45 and their children have reached the age of 20’
Due to the high rate of Turks in Europe, the Turkish language is also now home to one of the largest group of pupils after German-speakers, and the largest non-European language (Turkish originated in Asia Minor) spoken in the European Union. Turkish in Germany is often used not only by members of its own community but also by people with a non-Turkish background. Especially in urban areas, it functions as a peer group vernacular for children and adolescents. 

Turk in America
The US Census reported in 2006 that approximately 170,000 Americans identify as having at least partial Turkish ancestry, while the Encyclopedia of Cleveland History states that there is an estimated 500,000 Turks living in the United States; the largest Turkish communities are found in Paterson, New York City (i.e. Brooklyn and Staten Island), Long Island, Cleveland, Chicago, Houston, Miami, Washington D.C. (mostly in Northern Virginia), Boston (esp. the suburb of Watertown), Philadelphia, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Since the 1970s, the number of Turkish immigrants has risen to more than 4,000 per year.
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