Sacred Freedom. Western Liberalist Ideologies In The Light Of Islam by Haneef Oliver

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    After the events of September 11, I saw the need to compile a book about terrorism and religious extremism in the world today. After publishing this book, it occurred to me that another subject - that of negligence in religious affairs - was also in desperate need of being addressed for both Muslim and non-Muslim readers.

    On a daily basis, we are being inundated with different kinds of manmade liberalist ideologies in the mainstream media. Because of the sheer volume and almost monotone voice of many media outlets, people are given the impression that these ideologies must be accepted by every living individual and society in the world today, and that the validity of these ideologies is not open to question.

    At present, Westerners and liberalists in general are intrigued as to why people are still turning to Islaam for enlightenment in this modern age. This is particularly intriguing for those who are convinced that Islaam is something that impedes progress, and that Islaamic civilization has proven to be inferior to other civilizations as a result of its adherence to Islaam. This subject has been addressed in this book as a response to Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconiâs remark that Islaamic civilization is âstuck where it was 1400 years ago.

    I have also analyzed the two main reference points in Western humanist thinking throughout the book. The first of these is the belief that people are free and responsible for deciding their own actions, and therefore, that God should only have a personal, marginal place in their lives. The other important point of reference for Western policy and societal orientation is the belief that the opinion of the majority should act as mankindâs principle criterion in shaping human behaviour and legislation.

    One of the major points of contention that liberalists have with Islaam is the reluctance the Muslim world has shown in embracing these two principles.

    Some liberalists take a more militant approach in trying to spread these two principles in the Muslim world, while others censure these tactics, hoping that more temperate policies will win the Muslims over to contemporary humanist values. Whatever the method, the message remains the same: Muslims must change their beliefs and eventually conform to this ever-changing series of humanist values.

    After reading this book, the reader will be able to judge whether the devotion that people have towards these two principles is deserved, and whether there is any basis for peopleâs opposition to the principles of Islaam.

    The reader will notice that the first two chapters establish certain essential matters that are referred to later on when discussing issues related to contemporary Western ideologies. The first chapter deals with the subject of how we can know that a Creator does actually exist, while the second chapter deals with why this Creator deserves to be worshipped and served alone in our lives.

    It should be noted that the concept of worship in Islaam is much broader than just a limited set of religious rites. Prayer, charity, good treatment of parents, decency towards people and excellence in the workplace are only a few examples of how a Muslim is expected to worship the Creator.

    In order to substantiate what I have written from an Islaamic perspective, I have quoted quite extensively from the texts of Islaam. In quoting verses from the Qurâaan, I have avoided using archaic English as is found in some Biblical and Qurâaanic translations, as it tends to render some of the subject matter obscure. What has been written below the Arabic verses found in this book is a âtranslation of the meaningâ of the Qurâaan, as opposed to a literal translation.

    In certain rare instances, I have included some verses from the Old and New Testaments. Muslims believe in the scriptures that were given to the former prophets. However, they do not believe that the scriptures that are in circulation today amongst the present day Jews and Christians are exactly the same as they were when they were originally revealed. Consequently, Muslims neither accept nor reject their contents, unless a matter can be confirmed or negated by a verse of the Qurâaan or an authentic hadeeth (prophetic narration).

    It is my hope that this book will contribute to a better understanding of Islaam, and I welcome any kind of feedback from anyone who finds any points of contention within it.

    Haneef Oliver

    1425/7/6

    21/08/2004

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