Laman

Religion’s Secret to Happiness: It’s Friends, Not Faith - Religion can be good for your health, and especially your mental health, according to the latest studies, which show that church-goers are happier and more satisfied with their lives than those who don’t attend services. But what exactly is it about religion that is so beneficial to health?


Some might argue that it is the power of faith in a being or power beyond ourselves. But according to a study led by Chaeyoon Lim, a sociology professor at University of Wisconsin-Madison, the reason religion makes us happy may have more to do with friends than with faith. 

Using data from the Faith Matters Study, a survey of U.S. adults conducted in 2006 and 2007, Lim and his colleagues found that 33% of those who attended religious services every week and reported having close friends at church said they were extremely satisfied with their lives, while only 19% of those who went to church but had no close connections to the congregation reported the same satisfaction.

As Lim noted in a statement describing his findings:
“To me, the evidence substantiates that it is not really going to church and listening to sermons or praying that makes people happier, but making church-based friends and building intimate social networks there.”
The results support the idea that friends and acquaintances can have a powerful, even contagious effect on our health. In other work conducted by Dr. Nicholas Christakis at Harvard Medical School and John Fowler of University of California, San Diego, it’s clear that our social network, regardless of how close or distant we are to the people in them, can influence our health. Christakis and Fowler showed that even people separated from you by up to three degrees can influence your weight, your happiness, or even whether you quit smoking or are prone to loneliness. 

A version of that idea of social connectedness may explain Lim’s findings, which were consistent across Protestant, evangelical and Catholic religions; they applied to Mormons and Jewish believers as well, despite their smaller sample size in the study. Lim stresses that the sense of community that religion promotes is an important part of helping people to feel involved and worthwhile, and therefore may contribute to an overall sense of happiness. ( time.com )

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Religion can be a source of comfort that improves well-being. But some kinds of religiosity could be a sign of deeper mental health issues.

Seeing their kids more eager to pray than play video games, most parents would shout, “Hallelujah” or whatever their expression of joy. And they should. Research shows that religion can be a positive force in the lives of children, just as can be for adults. “Religion,” says Bill Hathaway, a clinical psychologist of religion and Dean of the School of Psychology and Counseling at Regent University, “is related to the child having a higher sense of self esteem, better academic adjustment and lower rates of substance abuse and delinquent or criminal behavior.”

So if your child is immersed in scripture after school and prays regularly throughout the day, you may breathe a sigh of relief. She’s such a good girl. My boy is okay.

Or maybe not. Your child’s devotion may be a great thing, but there are some kids whose religious observances require a deeper look. For these children, an overzealous practice of their family faith — or even another faith — may be a sign of an underlying mental health issue or a coping mechanism for dealing with unaddressed trauma or stress.

Therapists in private practice report that they are seeing children and teens across a range of faiths whose religious practice can be problematic. The amount of time they spend praying, or in other acts of spiritual practice, is not as important, they say, as the quality of this devotion, and whether it helps the children or instead isolates them and undermines their schoolwork and relationships. Children with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), for example, may rigidly repeat holy verses, say Hail Mary’s or focus on other rituals less out of a deeper sense of faith but more as an expression of their disorder. “It looks positive but could be negative,” says Stephanie Mihalas, a UCLA professor and licensed clinical psychologist.

Such ritualistic behavior, she says, may also reflect a child’s way of coping with anxiety, and in reality could be no more spiritual than fanatical hand washing or dreading to walk on cracks. “These kids fear that if they don’t obey their religious rules perfectly,” explains Carole Lierberman, MD, a psychiatrist in Beverly Hills, “God will punish them.”

Some children suffer from scrupulosity, a form of OCD that involves a feeling of guilt and shame. Sufferers obsessively worry that they have committed blasphemy, been impure or otherwise sinned. They tend to focus on certain rules or rituals rather than the whole of their faith. They worry that God will never forgive them. And this can signal the onset of depression or anxiety, says John Duffy, a Chicago area clinical psychologist specializing in adolescents. “Kids who have made ‘mistakes’ with sex or drug use,” he says, “may have trouble forgiving themselves. “

Such fastidiousness to religious practices may not seem so harmful, but extreme behavior such as delusions or hallucinations may be a sign of serious mental illness. Seeing and hearing things that are not there can be symptoms of manic-depressive, bipolar disorder, or early onset schizophrenia. But parents may be less attuned to such unhealthy behavior when it occurs under the guise of faith.

It’s not unusual that children in families where marital discord, harsh discipline, abuse, or addiction are present, perform rituals for protection. If they know their parents approve of religion, says Lieberman, “they try to be good little children and stay below the radar of the family chaos or parents’ rage.” Or, as Mihalas has seen, some children push their already observant parents to be even stricter, fearing that catastrophe will strike otherwise.

When does religiosity raise these red flags? The crucial test focuses on how the kids are functioning in the rest of their lives. Are they doing well at school, playing sports or music, socializing with friends? If so, then their faith is probably a source of strength and resilience. If, however, the religious practices and rituals seem to be overtaking their daily lives, and displacing their normal activities, experts suggest taking steps to understand what’s triggering the focus on faith. To guide the discussion, here’s what they recommend:

Model a healthy balance between religion and life
Show them in your own behavior, suggests Mihalas, how religion can co-exist with enjoying life.

If your child switches to a different style of religion, be tolerant
If your children are doing well in other areas of their life, don’t panic, says Hathaway. Unless you feel strongly that they are morally wrong, take this shift in stride.

Be alert to a sudden and pervasive shift in religious practice
Talk to your child about it. Ask her what her religion means to her. Ask him what he is getting out of it, how it makes him feel.

If you feel your child needs help, find a therapist comfortable with religion
Before engaging a therapist, ask about his or her comfort level with devout religious practice.

Religious families need not worry that therapy will draw their child away from their faith, Hathaway says. He recalls one girl struggling with anorexia who felt that she could never be “good enough” to satisfy the harsh, judgmental God of her imagination. After psychological treatment that included a spiritual element, she not only recovered from her anorexia, she developed a more positive view of God, of other people and herself. Instead of being weighed down by guilt and anxiety, her spiritual life became a comfort and joy. And that’s the role that religion should have for people of faith. ( time,com )

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Is Allah the Name of God? - Allah is the name of the only God in Islam. Allah is a pre-Islamic name coming from the compound Arabic word Al-ilah which means the God, which is derived from al (the) ilah (deity).

The Arabic name for “God” is the word “Al-ilah.” It is a generic title for whatever god was considered the highest god. Different Arab tribes used “Allah” to refer to its personal high god.  “Allah” was being worshipped at the Kaa’ba in Mecca by Arabs prior to the time of Mohammed. It was formerly the name of the chief god among the numerous idols (360) in the Kaaba in Mecca before Mohammed made them into monotheists. Historians have shown that the moon god called “Hubal” was the god to whom Arabs prayed at the Kaa’ba and they used the name “Allah” when they prayed.

Today a Muslim is one who submits to the God Allah.

Islam means submission to (Allah), but originally it meant that strength which characterized a desert warrior who, even when faced with impossible odds, would fight to the death for his tribe. (Dr. M. Baravmann, The Spiritual Background of Early Islam, E. J. Brill, Leiden, 1972)

Many believe the word “Allah” was derived from the mid- eastern word “el” which in Ugaritic, Caananite and Hebrew can mean a true or false God. This is not the case, “The source of this (Allah) goes back to pre-Muslim times. Allah is not a common name meaning “God” (or a “god”), and the Muslim must use another word or form if he wishes to indicate any other than his own peculiar deity.” (Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics (ed. Hastings), I:326.)

According to the Encyclopedia of Religion, Allah corresponded to the Babylonian god Baal, and Arabs knew of him long before Mohammed worshipped him as the supreme God. Before Islam the Arabs recognized many gods and goddesses, each tribe had their own deity. There were also nature deities. Allah was the god of the local Quarish tribe, which was Mohammed's tribe before he invented Islam to lead his people out of their polytheism. Allah was then known as the Moon God, who had 3 daughters who were viewed as intercessors for the people into Allah. Their names were Al-at, Al-uzza, and Al-Manat, which were three goddesses; the first two daughters of Allah had names which were feminine forms of Allah. Hubal was the chief God of the Kaaba among the other 360 deities. Hubal was the chief God of the Kaaba among the other 360 deities. Hubal was a statue likeness of a man whose body was made of red precious stones whose arms were made of gold. (Reference Islam George Braswell Jr.)

“Historians like Vaqqidi have said Allah was actually the chief of the 360 gods being worshipped in Arabia at the time Mohammed rose to prominence. Ibn Al-Kalbi gave 27 names of pre-Islamic deities...Interestingly, not many Muslims want to accept that Allah was already being worshipped at the Ka'ba in Mecca by Arab pagans before Mohammed came. Some Muslims become angry when they are confronted with this fact. But history is not on their side. Pre-Islamic literature has proved this.” (G. J. O. Moshay, Who Is This Allah? (Dorchester House, Bucks, UK, 1994), pg. 138).

History has shown Mecca and the holy stone al-Kaaba were holy sites for pre-Islamic pagan Arabs. The Kaaba in Mecca was formerly named Beit-Allah meaning House of Allah. We are told it was first built in heaven. This is in contradistinction to what Moses was instructed to build, something overlooked by the Muslims in their reading of the Bible.

The Koran tells us that Mohammed drove the other idols away; he made one God now the only god and he was its messenger. He kept the Kaaba as a holy, sacred place and confirmed that the black stone had the power to take away man's sins. He obligated every believer to make a pilgrimage to the stone at least once in his lifetime. (Sura 22:26-37) No Old Testament saint ever had a pilgrimage to the Kaaba and kissed its black stone despite stories that Abraham and Ishmael restored it.

Mohammed used the name Allah which was formerly the name of a specific idol without ever distinguishing it from the idol the Meccan’s were already worshipping. This was a modification of their former worship but never a complete break. He never did say for the people to stop their worship of the wrong Allah, for the right one. It can still be monotheism and not be the God of the Bible

Al-Lat which is a T at the end of the name of Allah, was represented by a square stone whose major sanctuary was in the city of Taif. In the sanctuary was a black stone in the town of Qudayd between Mecca and Medina. She was the goddess of fate, a female counterpart of Allah. Al-uzza was the goddess of east Mecca. It has been said there were human sacrifices made to her and Islamic tradition tells of a story of Mohammed’s grandfather almost sacrificing his son the father of Mohammed to her. What prevented this was his seeking counsel from a fortune teller which told him to ransom his son with one hundred camels. Muslims look to this as the will of Allah to bring Mohammed into existence. (Reference Muhammad husain haykal, Hayat mohammed)

“The name Allah, as the Qur'an itself is witness, was well known in pre-Islamic Arabia. Indeed, both it and its feminine form, Allat, are found not infrequently among the theophorous names in inscriptions from North Africa.” (Arthur Jeffrey, ed., Islam: Muhammad and His Religion (1958), p. 85.)

The literal name of Mohammed's father in Arabic is Abd Allah. His uncle's name Obred Allah. These names show the devotion of Mohammed's families pagan roots, and also prove that Allah was part of a polytheistic system of worship before Allah was made the supreme and only god from the other God's. This should be proof to the pre- Islamic root of the name of Allah to the Muslim. Remember they were pagans who used this name. He kept his family name above all the other names. Mohammad had good intentions in removing the people from their polytheistic worship however he did not go far enough in his reform.

Mecca was the place where the idol Allah was located, so the people would face in that direction when they prayed. Prior to Islam the people would pray 5 times a day facing Mecca (The Encyclopedia of Islam p.303) Prior to Islam's beginning each Arab tribe used Allah to refer to its own particular high god. This is why Hubal, the Moon god, (known by other names) was the central focus of prayer at the Kaabah and people prayed to Hubal and they used the name Allah. The crescent moon was the symbol of the moon God Allah (Hubal) and is still used as a symbol of Islam today (although they have changed the meaning to be -from Mecca to the moon Islam will spread). Today there is hardly a Muslim that knows its ancient origin. History records it as an ancient pagan fertility symbol that is found throughout the Middle East. Mohammed smashed all the idols that led the people into idolatry but the black stone was kept which Muslims continue to kiss today. This was another practice that preceded Mohammad.

Mohammed made Allah into a single being who, unlike the Bible's God who is called Father, has no Son. Because of this portrayal, there is no fellowship or love among the godhead before God created man. Creation and man therefore become a necessity for God to express His attributes or characteristic's. This God has never revealed Himself to man but revealed only His will. This God is so removed from man that it is impossible to know him in a personal way, he relates to man only through his will and law. It is a religion of obedience no different than any other.

To the Muslim God is strictly singular, all seeing, all hearing, almighty, He is the first and the last. But what differs is that he has no Son and he cannot be called Father who relates to His son in a unique way (Son and Father does not mean offspring in historic Christianity).

Of the 99 names of God in Islam, not one is “Father” or has a personal connotation. The difference is not to be overlooked. The God of the Bible is personal and wants an ongoing friendship with each of us. Islam portrays God as one who expects us to do our religious duty or He angers. There are rules to be obeyed and one can only please him but not know him personally. No Muslim would ever consider being able to have a personal relationship with him, by talking to him, and loving him. Jesus instead taught Christians to pray “our Father in heaven” (Matthew 6:9). Throughout the Old Testament God was real to the prophets who had him personally speak to them and they to him. “Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us? Why do we deal treacherously with one another by profaning the covenant of the fathers?” (Mal 2:10)

In Islam some state that if one memorizes the 99 names of Allah and repeats them he will get into paradise because they give the believer power, making them conscious of God. Neither the Koran nor the Hadith speak of these names in such a way. The Suras in the Koran begin with “In the name of Allah, most gracious, most merciful. Yet in practice Islam's god is portrayed as stern, harsh, having compassion on those who do right and deals severely with those who do not.

To a Muslim the God of the Bible who is described as triune is offensive and pagan, reminding them of what Mohammed destroyed. This is recorded in their Qu'ran. They interpret this as 3 separate Gods and not a unified one. “ They are unbelievers who say God is a third of three. No God is there but one God.” While Muslims affirm Jesus' virgin conception, they deny He had any pre-existence that would imply He is God. To call a prophet God is the ultimate in blasphemy to them. “ Verily God will not forgive the union of other gods with himself.” This is a true statement; however if Jesus is who He said He is, the true God, then it is they who are in union with another than the true God.

Muslims claim that the name Allah can be found in the Bible. This is no different than what the Jehovah's Witnesses do for the name Jehovah. Allah is not called Yahweh once in the Koran but neither is Yahweh called Allah in the Bible. So they can't be the same God. Neither is the word Elohim which is applied to Yahweh over 2,500 times in the Bible used in the Koran. Neither is he called I Am, which He said to Moses would be His name forever.

The God of the Bible identifies himself as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Jacobs name is later changed to the name Israel, being the father of the 12 tribes of Israel. The God of the Bible calls Jerusalem the city of David and that the Messiah would descend from his lineage. Neither does the God of the Bible does not mention Mecca or Medina but instead Jerusalem 800 times. Yet Jerusalem is not mentioned in the Koran, which the Muslim claims as there own.

The God in the Bible is called the God of the Jews, an impossibility with Allah. They are called his chosen people, but they are not Allah's chosen. Allah commands the Muslim to not take the Jews or Christians as friends, Sura.5:51 disdains the Jews. Mohammed said, “The last hour will not come before the Muslims fight the Jews, and the Muslims kill them.” (Mishkat Al Masabih Sh.M. Ashraf pp.147, 721, 810-11, 1130). So how could Israel inherit the land or any of God's promises from Allah, if he is their God. Clearly he is not the same God of the Bible.

Muslims trying to prove their position from the Bible point to the Old Testament with the word alleluyah, interpreting the first portion of the word alle as Allah. The word [H]alleluyah is not a compound Hebrew word. It is not two words but a singular word meaning praise to Yahweh. (alle- praise, lu-to, yah-Yaweh). The beginning of the word is Hallel meaning praise. This has nothing to do with an Allah, and the last syllable of the word is a reference to Yahweh the God of the Bible, this is hardly any evidence for their assertions. They are also confusing Aramaic with Arabic. This is not unusual, as Muslims will often take words and meanings set in another language and culture and adopt them for proof of their own book or religion.

This word play only gets more ludicrous as they try to have Jesus saying the name of their God. When Jesus was on the cross they claim when he cried out Eli, Eli it was really is Allah, Allah. The New Testament was written in Greek, however it points us to him speaking the Aramaic language, not Arabic. Jesus was quoting Psalm 22:1 which read in full says, Eli, Eli Sabbathani “My God, My God why have you forsaken me.” What makes even less sense for this position is the fact that they don't believe that it was Jesus on the cross in the first place, but that another took His place. Some think it was Judas; so it was Judas crying out Allah, Allah?
The first Arabic translation of the Bible was made about the 9th century. Nowhere is the name of Allah found in the Old or New Testament. When Islam became the dominant political force people were coerced to use the name Allah for God or suffer the consequences from the hands of militant Muslims. Because of Islam's dominance Allah became the common name of God. The translators of the Bible gave in to the religious pressures and substituted Allah for Yahweh in the Arabic Bibles, but this is not the name of the God of the Hebrews, nor of the creator who made heaven and earth because of its source in paganism. His nature and attributes have only a few basic similarities and many more differences. And the most important point is that all through the Qu'ran it says Allah has no son.

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Physicists at an underground laboratory have caught an ultra-rare particle in the act of reappearing.

For only the third time, scientists have detected elementary particles called neutrinos in the act of changing from one type, called muon, to another, called tau, on the several-hundred-mile trip between two laboratories.

"It proves that the muon neutrinos are some kind of Superman-type particle: They get into a phone booth somewhere in between and change into something else," said Pauline Gagnon, a particle physicist at Indiana University, who was not involved in the experiment.

The new discovery bolsters the theory that the sneaky neutrinos oscillate from one type to another, which is why physicists detect fewer coming from the sun than predicted.

Sun particles

The nuclear reaction that powers the sun also produces massive numbers of solar neutrinos, tiny, uncharged particles that reach Earth and pass virtually undetected through ordinary matter, said researcher Antonio Ereditato, a physicist at the University of Bern in Switzerland and a member of the team that conducted the experiment, called OPERA (Oscillation Project with Emulsion-tRacking Apparatus).

"Each square centimeter of your body is touched every second by 60 billion neutrinos from the sun," Ereditato told LiveScience.

But for the last two decades, scientists have detected fewer neutrinos from the sun than they expected.

The dominant explanation for this neutrino shortage, proposed in 1957 by Italian physicist Bruno Pontecorvo, argued that neutrinos oscillate between three flavors, or types: electron, muon and tau.

As a result, neutrinos seem to disappear, because detectors try to measure them in one flavor when they have oscillated to another one.

Scientists have caught many neutrinos in the act of disappearing. But catching neutrinos as they appear has been far more elusive — since 2010, only two other tau neutrinos have been discovered.

Reappearing particles

To find these rare events, physicists with the OPERA project shot a beam of muon neutrinos from the physics lab CERN in Switzerland 454 miles (730 kilometers) through the Earth's crust to Gran Sasso Laboratory, buried underneath a mountain in Italy.

During the travel, a very small fraction of the neutrinos naturally changed flavor, and when they reached the laboratory some tiny fraction of them were detected by a 4,000-ton "camera," transforming into a similar flavored particle and then decaying after a short distance. These fleeting events produce a faint blip of light recorded by one of 9 million photographic plates, Gagnon told LiveScience.

Because neutrinos have no charge, they only interact with matter through the weak force, which doesn't happen very often, Gagnon said.

Tau neutrinos morph into tau particles that travel for such just a few millimeters before decaying into hadrons, so they are even harder to detect.

The newly discovered tau neutrino bolsters the notion that the discovery of two others, in 2010 and 2012, were real.

This detection is statistically quite strong: The chance that the researchers are mistaken is about one in a million, Ereditato said.

The findings could provide other insights into tau neutrinos.

"Neutrinos have a mass and measuring this mass is quite difficult, because it's extremely small," Gagnon said.

But because neutrinos' mass determines how quickly they oscillate, and in turn how frequently they should be detected, finding tau neutrinos could help physicists nail down these elusive particles' mass, she said.

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Muara dari perjalanan spiritual para penghayat spiritualitas Jawa, tidak lain untuk kebahagiaan hakiki – sebuah kehidupan yang mulia, melalui proses manunggaling kawula kalawan Gusti, atau tumbuhnya kesadaran akan sifat roroning atunggil (dwi tunggal) di dalam diri, yang ditunukkan oleh konsep Aku ing sajroning Ingsun, Ingsun ing sajroning Aku . Ajaran spiritual Jawa membimbing para penghayatnya untuk memasuki kondisi hening, sehingga bisa bertemu dengan alam sunya ruri. Mereka yang telah mencapai titik ini, akan mendapatkan ketenangan batin sekalipun menghadapai situasi dan kondisi yang sangat gawat. Karena antara manusia sebagai mahluk dengan Tuhan sebagai Sang Pencipta terjadi titik temu yang harmonis.

Batin manusia selalu tersambung dengan getaran energi Tuhan: kehendak Tuhan menjadi dasar atas segala tindakan yang dilakukannya. Atau disitilahkan sebagai sesotya manjing embanan, ing batin amengku lair. Sesotya adalah ungkapan yang mengandaikan Tuhan bagaikan permata yang indah tiada taranya. “Permata” yang menyatu ke dalam embanan. Embanan sebagai ungkapan dari jasad manusia. Penghayat ajaran Jawa yang telah sampai pada tujuan perjalanan, adalah sosok sebagaimana dilukiskan dalam The Book of Mirdad karya Mikhail Naimy, pujangga keturunan LebaNon sahabat Kahlil Gibran:Ia yang berpikir, berbicara,bertindak,bersikap, dan berkehendak selaras dengan Kebenaran (karena Kebenaran, Tuhan, telah bersemayam di dalam dirinya!).

Untuk mencapai kondisi di atas, penghayat spiritualis Jawa perlu menumbuhkan kesadaran hakiki lapis demi lapis, melalui kegiatan semedi dan rangkaian laku prihatin. Semedi adalah meditasi ala Jawa: seseorang menarik diri dari kesibukan raga dan pikiran, berkonsentrasi pada helaan nafas, dan perlahan-lahan memasuki alam hening. Pada titik tertentu, pelaku semedi diharapkan bisa bertemu dengan Sukma Sejati atau Guru Sejati, cermin keberadaan Gusti Allah di dalam diri. Lebih jauh lagi, pelaku semedi juga diharapkan bisa mengalami persentuhan dengan Kekosongan Sejati (alam sunyaruri). Melaluisemedi, mata batin kita menjadi terasah.

Cakrawala pandang kita, dunia yang kita sentuh, akan melampaui apa yang selama ini begitu terbatas karena sekadar mengandalkan pencerapan oleh panca indera. Sementara itu, laku prihatin adalah pelengkap dari kegiatan semedi: di sini, berbagai kegiatan pengendalian hawa nafsu sekaligus ekspresi kewelasasihan kepada sesama dalam rangka hamemayu hayuning bawono dikondisikan menjadi bagian tak terpisahkan dari hidup seorang penghayat spiritualitas Jawa. Melalui peningkatan intensitas dan kualitas semedi maupun laku prihatin, diasumsikan seorang penghayat spiritualitas Jawabisa makin dekat dengan jatidirinya, makin tak berjarak dengan Sang Esensi, Hyang Yaktining Hurip. (Gusti ingkang papanipun ing bagusing ati), yang pada titik idealnya disebut dengan keadaan manunggaling kawulo kalawan gusti.

Seorang penghayat spiritualitas Jawa yang konsisten, akan mengalami peningkatan kesadaran secara terus menerus, dari kesadaran ragawi, kesadaran rasional, hingga kesadaran sukma dan rasa sejati. Makin lama, doktrin yang beku, rumusan kebenaran yang bersifat eksternal yang dikondisikan atau dijejalkan dari luar, makin ditinggalkan, seiring dengan meningkatnya kesadaran bahwa sumber kebenaran itu sebenarnya ada di dalam diri. Saat yang sama, keselarasan dengan alam semesta makin meningkat: diri ini makin terasah untuk membaca tanda-tanda alam, alam telah menjadi buku suci yang menginformasikan keagungan Sang Pencipta sekaligus hukum-hukum-Nya yang kekal.

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Is Allah the Name of God? - Allah is the name of the only God in Islam. Allah is a pre-Islamic name coming from the compound Arabic word Al-ilah which means the God, which is derived from al (the) ilah (deity).

The Arabic name for “God” is the word “Al-ilah.” It is a generic title for whatever god was considered the highest god. Different Arab tribes used “Allah” to refer to its personal high god.  “Allah” was being worshipped at the Kaa’ba in Mecca by Arabs prior to the time of Mohammed. It was formerly the name of the chief god among the numerous idols (360) in the Kaaba in Mecca before Mohammed made them into monotheists. Historians have shown that the moon god called “Hubal” was the god to whom Arabs prayed at the Kaa’ba and they used the name “Allah” when they prayed.

Today a Muslim is one who submits to the God Allah.

Islam means submission to (Allah), but originally it meant that strength which characterized a desert warrior who, even when faced with impossible odds, would fight to the death for his tribe. (Dr. M. Baravmann, The Spiritual Background of Early Islam, E. J. Brill, Leiden, 1972)

Many believe the word “Allah” was derived from the mid- eastern word “el” which in Ugaritic, Caananite and Hebrew can mean a true or false God. This is not the case, “The source of this (Allah) goes back to pre-Muslim times. Allah is not a common name meaning “God” (or a “god”), and the Muslim must use another word or form if he wishes to indicate any other than his own peculiar deity.” (Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics (ed. Hastings), I:326.)

According to the Encyclopedia of Religion, Allah corresponded to the Babylonian god Baal, and Arabs knew of him long before Mohammed worshipped him as the supreme God. Before Islam the Arabs recognized many gods and goddesses, each tribe had their own deity. There were also nature deities. Allah was the god of the local Quarish tribe, which was Mohammed's tribe before he invented Islam to lead his people out of their polytheism. Allah was then known as the Moon God, who had 3 daughters who were viewed as intercessors for the people into Allah. Their names were Al-at, Al-uzza, and Al-Manat, which were three goddesses; the first two daughters of Allah had names which were feminine forms of Allah. Hubal was the chief God of the Kaaba among the other 360 deities. Hubal was the chief God of the Kaaba among the other 360 deities. Hubal was a statue likeness of a man whose body was made of red precious stones whose arms were made of gold. (Reference Islam George Braswell Jr.)

“Historians like Vaqqidi have said Allah was actually the chief of the 360 gods being worshipped in Arabia at the time Mohammed rose to prominence. Ibn Al-Kalbi gave 27 names of pre-Islamic deities...Interestingly, not many Muslims want to accept that Allah was already being worshipped at the Ka'ba in Mecca by Arab pagans before Mohammed came. Some Muslims become angry when they are confronted with this fact. But history is not on their side. Pre-Islamic literature has proved this.” (G. J. O. Moshay, Who Is This Allah? (Dorchester House, Bucks, UK, 1994), pg. 138).

History has shown Mecca and the holy stone al-Kaaba were holy sites for pre-Islamic pagan Arabs. The Kaaba in Mecca was formerly named Beit-Allah meaning House of Allah. We are told it was first built in heaven. This is in contradistinction to what Moses was instructed to build, something overlooked by the Muslims in their reading of the Bible.

The Koran tells us that Mohammed drove the other idols away; he made one God now the only god and he was its messenger. He kept the Kaaba as a holy, sacred place and confirmed that the black stone had the power to take away man's sins. He obligated every believer to make a pilgrimage to the stone at least once in his lifetime. (Sura 22:26-37) No Old Testament saint ever had a pilgrimage to the Kaaba and kissed its black stone despite stories that Abraham and Ishmael restored it.

Mohammed used the name Allah which was formerly the name of a specific idol without ever distinguishing it from the idol the Meccan’s were already worshipping. This was a modification of their former worship but never a complete break. He never did say for the people to stop their worship of the wrong Allah, for the right one. It can still be monotheism and not be the God of the Bible

Al-Lat which is a T at the end of the name of Allah, was represented by a square stone whose major sanctuary was in the city of Taif. In the sanctuary was a black stone in the town of Qudayd between Mecca and Medina. She was the goddess of fate, a female counterpart of Allah. Al-uzza was the goddess of east Mecca. It has been said there were human sacrifices made to her and Islamic tradition tells of a story of Mohammed’s grandfather almost sacrificing his son the father of Mohammed to her. What prevented this was his seeking counsel from a fortune teller which told him to ransom his son with one hundred camels. Muslims look to this as the will of Allah to bring Mohammed into existence. (Reference Muhammad husain haykal, Hayat mohammed)

“The name Allah, as the Qur'an itself is witness, was well known in pre-Islamic Arabia. Indeed, both it and its feminine form, Allat, are found not infrequently among the theophorous names in inscriptions from North Africa.” (Arthur Jeffrey, ed., Islam: Muhammad and His Religion (1958), p. 85.)

The literal name of Mohammed's father in Arabic is Abd Allah. His uncle's name Obred Allah. These names show the devotion of Mohammed's families pagan roots, and also prove that Allah was part of a polytheistic system of worship before Allah was made the supreme and only god from the other God's. This should be proof to the pre- Islamic root of the name of Allah to the Muslim. Remember they were pagans who used this name. He kept his family name above all the other names. Mohammad had good intentions in removing the people from their polytheistic worship however he did not go far enough in his reform.

Mecca was the place where the idol Allah was located, so the people would face in that direction when they prayed. Prior to Islam the people would pray 5 times a day facing Mecca (The Encyclopedia of Islam p.303) Prior to Islam's beginning each Arab tribe used Allah to refer to its own particular high god. This is why Hubal, the Moon god, (known by other names) was the central focus of prayer at the Kaabah and people prayed to Hubal and they used the name Allah. The crescent moon was the symbol of the moon God Allah (Hubal) and is still used as a symbol of Islam today (although they have changed the meaning to be -from Mecca to the moon Islam will spread). Today there is hardly a Muslim that knows its ancient origin. History records it as an ancient pagan fertility symbol that is found throughout the Middle East. Mohammed smashed all the idols that led the people into idolatry but the black stone was kept which Muslims continue to kiss today. This was another practice that preceded Mohammad.

Mohammed made Allah into a single being who, unlike the Bible's God who is called Father, has no Son. Because of this portrayal, there is no fellowship or love among the godhead before God created man. Creation and man therefore become a necessity for God to express His attributes or characteristic's. This God has never revealed Himself to man but revealed only His will. This God is so removed from man that it is impossible to know him in a personal way, he relates to man only through his will and law. It is a religion of obedience no different than any other.

To the Muslim God is strictly singular, all seeing, all hearing, almighty, He is the first and the last. But what differs is that he has no Son and he cannot be called Father who relates to His son in a unique way (Son and Father does not mean offspring in historic Christianity).

Of the 99 names of God in Islam, not one is “Father” or has a personal connotation. The difference is not to be overlooked. The God of the Bible is personal and wants an ongoing friendship with each of us. Islam portrays God as one who expects us to do our religious duty or He angers. There are rules to be obeyed and one can only please him but not know him personally. No Muslim would ever consider being able to have a personal relationship with him, by talking to him, and loving him. Jesus instead taught Christians to pray “our Father in heaven” (Matthew 6:9). Throughout the Old Testament God was real to the prophets who had him personally speak to them and they to him. “Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us? Why do we deal treacherously with one another by profaning the covenant of the fathers?” (Mal 2:10)

In Islam some state that if one memorizes the 99 names of Allah and repeats them he will get into paradise because they give the believer power, making them conscious of God. Neither the Koran nor the Hadith speak of these names in such a way. The Suras in the Koran begin with “In the name of Allah, most gracious, most merciful. Yet in practice Islam's god is portrayed as stern, harsh, having compassion on those who do right and deals severely with those who do not.

To a Muslim the God of the Bible who is described as triune is offensive and pagan, reminding them of what Mohammed destroyed. This is recorded in their Qu'ran. They interpret this as 3 separate Gods and not a unified one. “ They are unbelievers who say God is a third of three. No God is there but one God.” While Muslims affirm Jesus' virgin conception, they deny He had any pre-existence that would imply He is God. To call a prophet God is the ultimate in blasphemy to them. “ Verily God will not forgive the union of other gods with himself.” This is a true statement; however if Jesus is who He said He is, the true God, then it is they who are in union with another than the true God.

Muslims claim that the name Allah can be found in the Bible. This is no different than what the Jehovah's Witnesses do for the name Jehovah. Allah is not called Yahweh once in the Koran but neither is Yahweh called Allah in the Bible. So they can't be the same God. Neither is the word Elohim which is applied to Yahweh over 2,500 times in the Bible used in the Koran. Neither is he called I Am, which He said to Moses would be His name forever.

The God of the Bible identifies himself as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Jacobs name is later changed to the name Israel, being the father of the 12 tribes of Israel. The God of the Bible calls Jerusalem the city of David and that the Messiah would descend from his lineage. Neither does the God of the Bible does not mention Mecca or Medina but instead Jerusalem 800 times. Yet Jerusalem is not mentioned in the Koran, which the Muslim claims as there own.

The God in the Bible is called the God of the Jews, an impossibility with Allah. They are called his chosen people, but they are not Allah's chosen. Allah commands the Muslim to not take the Jews or Christians as friends, Sura.5:51 disdains the Jews. Mohammed said, “The last hour will not come before the Muslims fight the Jews, and the Muslims kill them.” (Mishkat Al Masabih Sh.M. Ashraf pp.147, 721, 810-11, 1130). So how could Israel inherit the land or any of God's promises from Allah, if he is their God. Clearly he is not the same God of the Bible.

Muslims trying to prove their position from the Bible point to the Old Testament with the word alleluyah, interpreting the first portion of the word alle as Allah. The word [H]alleluyah is not a compound Hebrew word. It is not two words but a singular word meaning praise to Yahweh. (alle- praise, lu-to, yah-Yaweh). The beginning of the word is Hallel meaning praise. This has nothing to do with an Allah, and the last syllable of the word is a reference to Yahweh the God of the Bible, this is hardly any evidence for their assertions. They are also confusing Aramaic with Arabic. This is not unusual, as Muslims will often take words and meanings set in another language and culture and adopt them for proof of their own book or religion.

This word play only gets more ludicrous as they try to have Jesus saying the name of their God. When Jesus was on the cross they claim when he cried out Eli, Eli it was really is Allah, Allah. The New Testament was written in Greek, however it points us to him speaking the Aramaic language, not Arabic. Jesus was quoting Psalm 22:1 which read in full says, Eli, Eli Sabbathani “My God, My God why have you forsaken me.” What makes even less sense for this position is the fact that they don't believe that it was Jesus on the cross in the first place, but that another took His place. Some think it was Judas; so it was Judas crying out Allah, Allah?

The first Arabic translation of the Bible was made about the 9th century. Nowhere is the name of Allah found in the Old or New Testament. When Islam became the dominant political force people were coerced to use the name Allah for God or suffer the consequences from the hands of militant Muslims. Because of Islam's dominance Allah became the common name of God. The translators of the Bible gave in to the religious pressures and substituted Allah for Yahweh in the Arabic Bibles, but this is not the name of the God of the Hebrews, nor of the creator who made heaven and earth because of its source in paganism. His nature and attributes have only a few basic similarities and many more differences. And the most important point is that all through the Qu'ran it says Allah has no son. ( letusreason.org )

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Islam menjadikan "amar makruf nahi munkar" sebagai kewajiban dasar yang harus dilaksanakan oleh setiap Muslim sesuai dengan kadar kemampuannya masing-masing. Bahkan kedua spirit tersebut menjadi asas keutamaan, sumber kebaikan dan ciri khusus umat Islam yang membedakannya dari umat manusia lainnya.

Allah SWT berfirman, "Kalian adalah umat terbaik yang dilahirkan untuk manusia, yang menyuruh kepada yang makruf dan mencegah dari yang munkar dan beriman kepada Allah." (QS. Ali Imran: 110).

Dalam kaitannya dengan amar makruf (menyuruh kepada kebaikan), hampir semua kalangan mengetahui strategi dan prinsip yang harus diterapkan. Diantaranya metode penyampaian yang baik, tidak menyakiti pihak lain, menjauhkan diri dari isu SARA, dan melakukan perdebatan dengan kepala dingin (QS. An-Nahl: 125).

Namun, dalam kaitannya dengan nahi munkar (mencegah kemunkaran) tidak semua kalangan memahami syarat-syarat yang harus dipenuhi sebelum melakukan tindakan. Padahal, pemenuhan syarat-syarat tersebut berkaitan erat dengan hasil yang akan di dapat, khususnya agar tindakan mencegah kemunkaran tidak melahirkan kemunkaran baru yang lebih besar, tidak menimbulkan tindakan balas dendam, dan tidak dikecam pihak lain karena dipandang sebagai tindakan yang tidak memiliki dasar kuat (illegal).

Dr Yusuf Al-Qardhawi mensyaratkan beberapa hal dalam pelaksanaan nahi munkar sebagaimana tersebut dalam hadis shahih riwayat Abu Said Al-Khudri bahwa Rasulullah SAW bersabda, "Barang siapa di antara kalian melihat suatu kemunkaran, maka hendaklah merubahnya dengan tangan (kekuasaan)nya. Barang siapa tidak mampu melakukannya, maka hendaklah merubahnya dengan lisannya. Barang siapa yang tidak mampu melaksanakannya, maka hendaklah merubahnya dengan hatinya. Yang terakhir itu adalah iman yang paling lemah."

Pertama, hendaknya kemunkaran tersebut disepakati kemunkarannya. Artinya kemunkaran yang diperangi masuk dalam kategori perbuatan haram, bukan makruh atau meninggalkan yang sunah/mustahab.

Kedua, hendaknya kemunkaran tersebut nyata dan kasat mata. Adapun seandainya kemunkaran tersebut tersembunyi dari pandangan manusia, maka dilarang memata-matainya dengan berbagai alat dan perangkat apa pun, karena Islam hanya membolehkan pemberian sanksi terhadap munculnya kemunkaran yang nyata dan kasat mata, bukan yang tersembunyi.

Ketiga, memiliki kemampuan (kekuatan) yang diyakini dapat membasmi (memerangi) kemunkaran dengan mudah dan elegan. Kekuatan di sini berarti fisik dan nonfisik serta berwenang atau memiliki otoritas dalam melakukan tindakan memerangi kemunkaran.

Keempat, tidak ada kekhawatiran bahwa kemunkaran yang diperangi akan melahirkan kemunkaran baru yang lebih besar sehingga menyebabkan fitnah, pertumpahan darah, merugikan pihak lain, makin tersebarnya kemunkaran, menimbulkan kekacauan dan kerusakan di bumi.

Ibnu Qayyim meriwayatkan bahwa suatu hari Ibnu Taimiyah RA berkata, "Pada masa pendudukan pasukan Tartar (Mongolia), aku bersama para sahabatku berjalan melewati kumpulan masyarakat yang meneguk minuman keras dengan nyata. Sebagian sahabatku mencela tindakan tersebut dan hendak melarangnya, namun aku mecegahnya kukatakan kepada mereka, ‘Sungguh, Allah SWT mengharamkan minuman keras karena ia dapat membuat orang lupa kepada Allah dan lupa shalat. Adapun pasukan Tartar itu dengan meminum khamr justru membuat mereka lupa dari membunuh manusia, menawan orang dan merampas harta. Maka biarkanlah mereka’."

Demikian penting landasan ilmu pengetahuan dalam "amar makruf nahi munkar" sehingga tindakan mulia tersebut tidak semata-mata bertumpu pada hasil, melainkan juga bertumpu pada kemaslahatan yang lebih besar dan tidak munculnya kemunkaran baru yang lebih dahsyat. ( republika.co.id )

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