Carly Fiorina Teaches about Islamic Civilization

Carly Fiorina Teaches about Islamic Civilization

"The technology industry would not exist without the contributions of Arab mathematicians," says Carly Fiorina.

“The technology industry would not exist without the contributions of Arab mathematicians,”
says Carly Fiorina.

In one of her lectures, Carly Fiorina, the CEO of Hewlett-Packard, said: ‘I’ll end by telling a story.’ And this is the story:

‘There was once a civilization that was the greatest in the world. It was able to create a continental super-state that stretched from ocean to ocean, and from northern climes to tropics and deserts. Within its dominion lived hundreds of millions of people, of different creeds and ethnic origins.

One of its languages became the universal language of much of the world, the bridge between the peoples of a hundred lands. Its armies were made up of people of many nationalities, and its military protection allowed a degree of peace and prosperity that had never been known. The reach of this civilization’s commerce extended from Latin America to China, and everywhere in between.

And this civilization was driven more than anything, by invention. Its architects designed buildings that defied gravity. Its mathematicians created the algebra and algorithms that would enable the building of computers, and the creation of encryption. Its doctors examined the human body, and found new cures for disease. Its astronomers looked into the heavens, named the stars, and paved the way for space travel and exploration.

Its writers created thousands of stories. Stories of courage, romance and magic. Its poets wrote of love, when others before them were too steeped in fear to think of such things.

When other nations were afraid of ideas, this civilization thrived on them, and kept them alive. When censors threatened to wipe out knowledge from past civilizations, this civilization kept the knowledge alive, and passed it on to others.

While modern Western civilization shares many of these traits, the civilization I’m talking about was the Islamic world from the year 800 to 1600, which included the Ottoman Empire and the courts of Baghdad, Damascus and Cairo, and enlightened rulers like Suleiman the Magnificent.

Although we are often unaware of our indebtedness to this other civilization, its gifts are very much a part of our heritage. The technology industry would not exist without the contributions of Arab mathematicians.’

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Reference: A lecture titled: What does our future demand of leaders today?

* Who is Carly Fiorina?

Carleton S. (Carly) Fiorina is chairman and chief executive officer of Hewlett-Packard Company. HP is a leading global provider of computing and imaging solutions and services and is focused on making technology and its benefits accessible to all.

Since joining HP in July 1999, Fiorina has led HP’s reinvention as a company that makes the Internet work for businesses and consumers. Under her leadership, HP has returned to its roots of innovation and inventiveness and is focused on delivering the best total customer experience.

Prior to joining HP, she spent nearly 20 years at AT&T and Lucent Technologies, where she held a number of senior leadership positions in sales and marketing. As president of Lucent’s Global Service Provider Business, she expanded the company’s international business and spearheaded the planning and execution of its initial public offering and subsequent spin-off from AT&T.

Fiorina holds a bachelor’s degree in medieval history and philosophy from Stanford University; a master’s degree in business administration from the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland at College Park, Md.; and a Master of Science degree from MIT’s Sloan School. In July 2001, she was named an Honorary Fellow of London Business School. She serves on the board of Cisco Systems and was previously a board member of the Kellogg Company and Merck & Company.

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People with Special Needs from an Islamic Perspective

People with Special Needs from an Islamic Perspective

People with Special Needs from an Islamic Perspective

Not only does Islam preach justice towards people with special needs as if they were quite healthy people, but it also enjoins special treatment for them given their special needs.

As a matter of fact, tribulation is the norm of this worldly life. Man is created for a test, albeit a relatively prolonged one, followed up with either eternal happiness or endless misery. Though failure is awful, success is still worthwhile. There is nothing in between or a halfway end. Man is to make up his mind and choose for himself which way to take: either that one ending up in sheer bliss or the other one eventuating in absolute wretchedness.

Hence, everybody of us is supposed to experience a form of hardship on his way to Paradise, the abode of the immortal bliss promised by God, or even Hellfire, the abode of endless misery. It is quite safe to say that such hardship may be likened to a disability to be undergone by man.

Sometimes, such disability is caused by God. Sometimes, it is caused by man himself. Sometimes, it is visible. Sometimes, it is invisible. The bottom line is that everybody of us has a certain disability: visible or invisible, divinely caused or willingly acquired.

Broadly speaking, such disabilities can be seen as imperfections, be they major or minor. In the sight of God, a major perfection which entails humiliation both in this world and the Hereafter is the one, material or moral, is induced by man himself in such a way which causes him to lose piety. However, God sees that such mental and physical disabilities, with which He afflicts man, are nothing so long as they do not affect piety, which is the real standard of perfection in Islam. Almighty Allah says,

Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of God is the most pious of you. (Al-Hujurat: 13)

There is a well-known incident in Islam where Allah blamed the Prophet Muhammad because he ignored a blind man, who was a poor believer, to admonish disbelievers, who were richer and more prestigious and consequently much more perfect in worldly terms. There is a chapter in the Qur’an which is named after the above-mentioned occurrence. It is the Chapter of `Abasa (Frowned).

The opening verses of this chapter read:

(The Prophet) frowned and turned away, because there came to him the blind man (interrupting him). But what would make you perceive, (O Muhammad), that perhaps he might be purified or be reminded and the remembrance would benefit him? As for he who thinks himself without need, to him you give attention. And not upon you (is any blame) if he will not be purified. But as for he who came to you striving (for knowledge) while he fears (God), from him you are distracted. (`Abasa 80:1-9)

Though the blind man suffered a physical disability, he was deemed better than other men who were not physically disabled, but they were morally and spiritually disabled. He was given so great honor that God (Glory be to Him) blamed Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) for disregarding him even justifiably and for just a while.

Not only is God just towards people with special needs both on the worldly and otherworldly levels, but also He urges His servants to be also just towards their fellow brothers with special needs. Under Islam, suffering physical and mental disabilities does not constitute sufficient grounds for humiliation or even mockery.

Disability is something involuntary and beyond man’s control. Man can be humiliated only for such things he does out of free will. As I have just pointed out, disability is a test rather than a punishment or revenge. People with special needs should not have their disability aggravated by such insults or derogatory remarks by fellow human beings who are healthier and luckier.

Almighty Allah says in the holy Qur’an:

O you who have believed, let not a people ridicule [another] people; perhaps they may be better than them; nor let women ridicule [other] women; perhaps they may be better than them. And do not insult one another and do not call each other by [offensive] nicknames. Wretched is the name of disobedience after [one’s] faith. And whoever does not repent – then it is those who are the wrongdoers. (Al-Hujurat 49:11)

Not only does Islam preach justice towards people with special needs as if they were quite healthy people, but it also enjoins special treatment for them given their special needs. Islam is so fair that it warrants equal opportunities for people with special needs. For them to have equal opportunities, their disability should be compensated for. Such compensation assumes various forms as follows:

People with special needs are exempted from the military form of Jihad given their inability to engage in it. However, Islam prescribes an alternative to the military form of jihad which they can handle; it is just the Jihad of advice.

Allah says in the Qur’an:

There is no blame on those who are weak or ill or who find no resources to spend [in holy fighting (Jihad)], if they are sincere and true (in duty) to God and His Messenger. No ground (of complaint) can there be against the Muhsinun (good-doers). And God is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Al-Tawbah 9:90)

Even if the people with special needs cannot offer advice, they are still excused and just commanded to obey God as far as possible. Allah(Glory be to Him)  says:

There is not upon the blind any guilt or upon the lame any guilt or upon the ill any guilt [for remaining behind]. And whoever obeys God and His Messenger –He will admit him to gardens beneath which rivers flow; but whoever turns away– He will punish him with a painful punishment. (Al-Fath 48:17)

Though people with special needs are exempted from the military form of jihad, they are not exempted from its reward if they really have sincere intentions to engage in it. On one conquest, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said to his Companions: “You left behind some people in Medina who did not fail to be with you wherever you went and whatever you spent (of your goods) and whatever valley you crossed.” The Companions wondered: “How can they be with us when they are still in Medina?” He replied: “They were hindered by a valid excuse.” (Muslim)

To conclude, needless to say that the Islamic approach to the treatment of the people with special needs is a very unique and unprecedented one. The pertinent Islamic perspective is remarkable for ultimate justice and absolute fairness. Suffice it to say that this impartial Islamic attitude is 1434 years old, that is to say that it preceded all the affected modern approaches and is still much more equitable than all of them.

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One Direction, One people, One God

One Direction, One people, One God

unity in islam

Islam is a religion of unity. Muslims are united by their belief in One God.

By Aisha Stacey

There are more than 1.5 billion Muslims in the world, and each time they pray, they turn their faces in one direction, towards Mecca. The Islamic term for this direction is Qiblah. When a Muslim prepares to pray, no matter where he is, he turns towards the Qiblah, the direction of the Ka`bah. The Ka`bah is a small cube shaped building in the courtyard of the mosque known as Masjid Al Haram, in the city of Mecca, in the country of Saudi Arabia.

For every nation there is a direction to which they face (in their prayers). So hasten towards all that is good. Wheresoever you may be, God will bring you together (on the Day of Resurrection). Truly, God is Able to do all things. And from wheresoever you start forth (for prayers), turn your face in the direction of Al-Masjid-al-Haram (at Mecca), that is indeed the truth from your Lord. And God is not unaware of what you do.” (Al-Baqarah 2:148-149)

Muslims do not worship the Ka`bah, or its contents, it is simply a focal point. Muslims worship One God, the Most Merciful, and the Most Wise. God decreed that when Muslims pray they all face one direction. It is a sign of unity that encapsulates the unity embedded in the religion of Islam.

The Arabic word for prayer is salah and it demotes a connection between the believer and God; when all believers face the same direction it adds an extra dimension to the connection. The prayer connects the believers to God and the Qiblah connects the believers to one another. It has been said that if one could observe all the Muslims at prayer we would be able to see lines of worshippers bowing and prostrating like the petals of a flower opening and closing in unison.

The Qiblah was not always oriented towards Mecca. The first Muslims prayed towards the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. Around sixteen months after Prophet Muhammad and his followers migrated from Mecca to the city of Medina, the Qiblah was changed to the Ka`bah. According to accounts by Prophet Muhammad’s companions, the change happened very suddenly. During the noon prayer, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) received a revelation from God instructing him to, “Turn your face towards the Masjid Al Haram”.

And thus we have made you a just community that you will be witnesses over the people and the Messenger will be a witness over you. And We did not make the Qiblahh which you used to face except that We might make evident who would follow the Messenger from who would turn back on his heels. And indeed, it is difficult except for those whom Allah has guided. And never would Allah have caused you to lose your faith. Indeed Allah is, to the people, Kind and Merciful. We have certainly seen the turning of your face, [O Muhammad], toward the heaven, and We will surely turn you to a qiblahh with which you will be pleased. So turn your face toward al-Masjid al-Haram. And wherever you [believers] are, turn your faces toward it [in prayer]. Indeed, those who have been given the Scripture well know that it is the truth from their Lord. And Allah is not unaware of what they do. (Al-Baqarah 2:143-144)

Changing the direction of prayer establishes Mecca as the fixed central point for worship. It establishes a common sense or purpose.

Throughout the centuries, mathematicians and astronomers have established correct ways to determine the Qiblah (direction) from any point on the earth’s surface. There are two precise moments each year when the sun is directly above the Ka`bah, thus the direction of shadows in any sunlit place will point away from the Qiblah. There are also two moments per year when the sun is directly over the exact opposite position of the Ka`bah, thus pointing towards the Qiblah.

It is important the Muslims make every effort to face the right direction when praying; however, slight deviations do not invalidate a person’s prayer. Prophet Muhammad said, “What is between the east and the west is Qiblah”. (At-Tirmidhi) Nowadays it is easy to locate the Qiblah. It is a simple matter to look at a map and draw a line between your location and the city of Mecca. Compasses and computer programs that locate the Qiblah are readily available and most mosques throughout the world have a niche in the wall to indicate the Qiblah.

Islam is a religion of unity. Muslims are united by their belief in One God. They are one brotherhood united in the language and ritual of prayer and united by the direction of their worship. The Qiblah is not only about degrees of latitude or longitude it is about unity. It is about humankind united in the worship of the One God, Creator, and Sustainer of the universe.

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Source: Taken with modifications from Islamreligion.com

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On Islam and Violence

On Islam and Violence

islam is peace

The Qur’an says, “And if they incline to peace, then incline to it [also] and rely upon Allah.” (Al-Anfal 8:61)

By: Sheikh Abdullah Bin Bayyah

There are still wrongful accusations launched against the civilizational image of Islam, notably the one stating that “Islam is a religion of violence in essence, and a religion of rupture with the other,” depending on mistaken excerpts from the Qur’anic texts. In the following, we shall clarify the image and prove that it is possible to counter such an approach, bearing into mind that our Islam is a religion of peace and tolerance as indicated in a previous article. We should compare this approach with the following texts taken from the Old Testament in order to see how Islam is indeed the true mercy sent to the worlds. In the Torah, for example, nations are divided into two categories. With regard to the first category, Jehovah asks his people to offer others conditions of peace [When thou comest nigh unto a city to fight against it, then proclaim peace unto it] (Deuteronomy: 20:10), and if such conditions are accepted and they surrender, they should be slaves to Israel [And it shall be, if it make thee answer of peace, and open unto thee, then it shall be, that all the people that is found therein shall be tributaries unto thee, and they shall serve thee.] (Deuteronomy: 20 11)

However, if they did not surrender peacefully then you triumphed over them, then kill all their men by the sword [And when the Lord thy God hath delivered it into thine hands, thou shalt smite every male thereof with the edge of the sword: But the women, and the little ones, and the cattle, and all that is in the city, even all the spoil thereof, shalt thou take unto thyself; and thou shalt eat the spoil of thine enemies, which the Lord thy God hath given thee.] (Deuteronomy: 20: 13-14) Nonetheless, such categorized and classified use does not apply to non-Hebrew peoples residing within the Promised Land, as they shall suffer a ‘curse’, a term often translated as ‘deprivation,’ ‘holy destruction’ or ‘the curse of destruction’. In the context of the theology of Deuteronomy, the infliction of a curse on a certain group is but an equivalent to complete genocide for their personal, social and spiritual life. The German scientist Thomas Schieffelin said: “We believe in the original Torah as a holy book from God, which contains guidance and light, but the human practices distorted the content and misused application.” Islam has established the relationship with the followers of other religions on love and righteousness, unless Muslims are not transgressed upon. Allah, the Almighty, says, 

Allah does not forbid you from those who do not fight you because of religion and do not expel you from your homes – from being righteous toward them and acting justly toward them. Indeed, Allah loves those who act justly. (Al-Mumtahanah 60:8)

Interpreting this verse, Ibn Al-Arabi Al-Maliki says, “To give them a share of the money. Our religion Islam also calls to spread peace. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “To spread peace (by saluting each other saying “As-Salamu Alaikum”; peace be with you) with respect to those you know and those you know not.” This is a part of an authentic Hadith. There are fair testimonials by Western individuals on Muslims’ practices. For example, Thomas Arnold said: “If the Caliphs had chosen one of these plans (i.e., temptation to adopt Islam or extermination of Christianity), they would have wiped out Christianity as easily as what happened to Islam during the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella in Spain; by the same method which Louis XIV followed to make Protestantism a creed whose followers were to be sentenced to death; or with the same ease of keeping the Jews away from Britain for a period of three hundred fifty years.” Richard Staper, an English merchant who lived in Turkey during the sixteenth century, specifically in 1578, held a comparison between the treatment by Muslim Turks to Orthodox and the treatment by Spain to them, saying: “Though the Turks are in general of the fiercest nations, they still allowed all of them, the Roman Catholics and Greek Orthodox, to preserve their religion and follow their consciences as they chose: they allowed them their churches to perform their sacred rituals in Constantinople and many other places. This is in contrast to what I can testify to from living in Spain for twelve years; not only were we forced to attend their Papist celebrations, but our lives and properties were in danger also.”

The German researcher Thomas Schieffelin provides a picture of Islam as follows: Violence is not a virtue in itself; rather, Islam served to rectify the Arab tribal violence by subjecting it to the laws of God. As explained by Goldziher (1850-1921), the term ‘Jahiliyah,’ which usually referred to the ignorance of the tribal society before Islam, has primarily a broader meaning, i.e., ‘Barbarism: Any uncivilized, reckless, and brutal behavior by those who are not affected by the Divine Revelation and mercy.’ Complaining of the treatment by the Polish Catholics to Polish Orthodox and describing them as cursed, demons of abomination, and ruthless-hearted because of their brutality in treating Christians, Patriarch Makarios said: “The Polish wish to exterminate people of the Orthodox faith. May Allah make the Turkish state eternal, because they do not interfere with the Jews or Christians, provided they pay their taxes. The Polish Catholics were not satisfied by taking the taxes and tithes from the brothers of Christ, but placed them under the authority of the Jewish oppressors, the enemies of Christ, who did not even allow them to build churches nor did they leave for them priests who know the secrets of their religion.” Finally, we should point out three things to be meditated on by the fair among the Westerners. First: When Islam appeared, the relations among the nations were based on the law of force which involved permanent hostility against the others if they did not surrender or fuse with the dominant powers in terms of religion, culture, customs and traditions. Under this situation, the teachings of the Islamic religion came to call for peace, Almighty Allah says,

And if they incline to peace, then incline to it [also] and rely upon Allah. (Al-Anfal 8:61)

Islam call for and the establishment of treaties with enemies,

Excepted are those with whom you made a treaty among the polytheists and then they have not been deficient toward you in anything or supported anyone against you; so complete for them their treaty until their term [has ended]. Indeed, Allah loves the righteous [who fear Him]. ( At-Tawbah 9:4)

Second: Allah’s Tradition with respect to His Messengers and Prophets is to commission some of them with certain duties different from those assigned to others. For example, some of them were assigned to call to worship Allah and undertake preaching and guidance as represented in the missions of Jesus (peace be upon him) and our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) for 13 years from the beginning of his call to his companions to show patience and forgiveness, as some of them were tortured in Mecca and others immigrated to Abyssinia then to Medina. Also, some Messengers were commissioned, in addition to the call for the way of Allah, to establish the ‘State of Right’, and they received a detailed Shari`ah (religious laws) which they were commanded to apply to people’s life, as represented in the mission of Moses (peace be upon him) as well as that of our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) after his immigration to Medina and establishment of the state of Islam, requiring Jihad to repel the aggression and face the aggressors, along with the consequent mechanisms whose objective is to govern humanity according to justice. Third: The essence of the message cannot be judged according to the behaviors and actions of the followers of such message. Put differently, the behaviors of the Muslim rulers against their enemies throughout history were characterized by being right and sometimes wrong, and we do not absolve our history, but the right behaviors were indeed more than the wrong ones, especially when compared with the behavior of our neighboring Christians in their wars against Islam, whether in terms of the genocide practiced in Andalusia, the Crusades which lasted for two centuries, and the colonial wars that continued for three centuries, aborting any revival of the Islamic world. The two fathers Joseph Cook and Louis Gardier said that the Crusades broke down the Muslims’ civilizational launch.

As for this war, which has started with the beginning of the last century and whose end cannot be known except by Allah, the Almighty, and according to the testimony of Christian historians, the blood of innumerable numbers of innocent Muslims as well as Jews was shed. They demonstrated barbarity unparalleled in history except under the Tartars military attack on Baghdad. However, they did not apologize to the Muslims as they apologized to the Jews. Is it possible then to attribute to Jesus (peace be upon him) the ruthless practices committed by the Christians against humanity? Does the Pope have the courage to apologize to the Muslims instead of repeating the Byzantine controversy?

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Source: www.binbayyah.net/english/

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