The Abyssinian Paradigm

Discussion in 'Islam' started by Ahanu, Sep 3, 2008.

  1. Ahanu

    Ahanu Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2007
    Messages:
    1,493
    Likes Received:
    231
    Hello, I was reading late last night from Farid Esak's interview inside a book called Taking Back Islam. Farid Esak said:
    "Shortly after the bombing happened, as I was teaching a class and talking about Muhammad's life in Mecca and Medina, it ocurred to me that it is a problem for us Muslims that we have only two theological paradigms and precedents on which to base our lives, and that that limitation is in part responsible for the mess that we are in. The one is the paradigm of a community of oppressed people in Mecca, and the other is of a Muslim community that is in control of Medina. What we don't have is a model for existing with other people in equality.

    But there is a third way, what I call the Abyssinian paradigm, which refers to the time when the Prophet sent a group of his followers from Mecca to go and live in Abyssinia. They lived there peacefully for many years, and some of them did not return, even after Muslims were in power in Mecca. They did not make any attempts to turn Abyssinia into an Islamic state. They sent good reports back about the king under whom they were living and how happy they were living there.

    This is the third paradigm that Muslims today more than ever need to revive because it is crucial for the sake of human survival and coexistence. Until recently, the notion of coexistence and cultural tolerance was pretty controversial for mainstream Islamic thinkers, but I was surprised at a recent Muslim conference to hear more and more people talking about the need to revive the Abyssinian paradigm. Mainstream Islam is beginning to listen to what we are saying."

    Currently, I have been on my own personal investigation of what Jihad is. Is it the meaning that the terroist give to Jihad, or is it the meaning that progressive Muslim scholars and moderate Muslims give to Jihad? This is just what I was thinking, so it is a discussion question that I really am not posting to discuss right now. At the same time, I have been reading from a book called Jihad on us all: the roots and branches of militant Islam. I am hoping that I will learn more about how terroists use the passages of the Koran to justify their acts. I learned that leaders like Siyyid Qutb, Osama bin Laden, and Muhammad bin Wahhab all have the same thing in common. They do not have that mentality of "my religion for me and your religion for you" mentality that that Prophet's followers who were sent to Abyssinia had, for instance. I do have to ask something: Where can I find the Abyssinian paradigm in the Koran? Quotes from some passages in the Koran would be great.
     
  2. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Messages:
    22,475
    Likes Received:
    2,368
    Namaste Ahanu,

    Definitely a discussion whose time has come. I look forward to reading.
     
  3. dailogue is the best

    dailogue is the best New member

    Joined:
    May 11, 2005
    Messages:
    527
    Likes Received:
    1
    Salam to everybody,

    What you have stated, Ahanu, is very interesting. The Abyssinian Paradigm offers a new way of dealing with "the other", who is different from "the ego" at many levels; religion, culture, tradition,etc.

    It is very nice to be open to new insights that may find solution to the West/ Islam clash. However, in my opinion, we should analyze any presented insight.

    I noticed that Farid Esak has a very clear shortcomings in his knowledge about Islam. How can he neglect that Medina was full of Jews,and non-Muslims. look at some of what The Treaty between Muslims, non-Muslim Arabs and Jews of Medina stated:

    “The Jews shall maintain their own religion and the Muslims theirs. Loyalty is a protection against treachery.

    “The Jews shall be responsible for their expenses and the Believers for theirs. Each, if attacked, shall come to the assistance of the other.

    “No Believer shall oppose the client of another Believer. Whosoever is rebellious, or seeks to spread injustice, enmity or sedition among the Believers, the hand of every man shall be against him, even if he be a son of one of them.

    From this, we know that the Prophet gave a model of co-existence even in Medinna. A committed Muslim is a model of co-existence because it is the Quran who asks him/her to co-exist with others.
     
  4. Abdillah

    Abdillah Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2008
    Messages:
    55
    Likes Received:
    0
    I never understood why people have such a big problem with Jihad. If America can invade countries pre-emptively and fight "just wars", why are Muslims given a double standard?
     
  5. Ahanu

    Ahanu Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2007
    Messages:
    1,493
    Likes Received:
    231
    Hey DB, you said: "How can he [Farid Esak] neglect that Medina was full of Jews, and non-Muslims." I would like to inquire if you are fimiliar with Farid Esak's work, or are you specifically responding to him saying, "What we [Muslims] don't have is a model for coexisting with other people in equality?" The only thing I have read from Farid Esak is this interview here with Catholic magazine. From your point of view, I clearly see what you are saying, but I want you to take a peek at my point of view too. As for the paradigm "of a Muslim community that is in control of Medina" in which you highlight the Prophet's model of co-existence with "the other," I need to quote another moderate scholar so that we can see what I believe to be Farid Esak's point when he said, "What we [Muslims] don't have is a model for coexisting with other people in equality."

    Now I was looking for a moderate Muslim scholar that is as radical as the extremist, but on the opposite pole. Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na'im, who describes himself as a "superfundamentalist" (lol), and you will see why, believes Islam may be having a reformation. Will the vision of Islam from militant Islam or moderate Islam win?
    "He [An-Na'im] points out that in the first thirteen years of Muhammad's religious career, he 'established the moral and ethical foundation of the Muslim community,' but that this 'message was not suitable for that stage of human development. Thus, the Prophet's migration to Medina not only signified a tactical move to seek a more receptive environment, but also a shift in the context of the message itself.' . . .'The rest of the Koran--the Medina message--which later became codified in shari'a as the model for an Islamic state by the majority of Muslims, was a step backward.' He points out that the verse that commands that there should be no compulsion in religion came from the initial spiritual Meccan phase, while 'in the Medina message, there are verses that say one should go out and fight infidels wherever one finds them and kill them. There are verses which say one should go fight Christian and Jewish believers, making them submit to Muslim rule or be subjugated by force.' He then points out that according to Islamic belief, each message, including Judaism and Chrisitianity, is valid only to the extent that it is relevant and applicable to changing people's lives. . .But the Medina message is not the fundamenta, universal, eternal message of Islam. That founding message is from Mecca" (Chambers 276).

    After reading this, it made me want to consider discussing The Abyssinian Paradigm, because "they did not make any attempts to turn Abyssinia into an Islamic state," says Farid Esak. For example, consider that the slogan of Hamas is, "Allah is its goal, the Prophet its model, the Qur'an its constitution, Jihad its path and death for the case of Allah its most sublime belief."
    "It echoes the injunction that People of the Book must submit to Muslim rule, saying, 'Under the shadow of Islam it is possible for the members of the three religions: Islam, Christianity, and Judaism to coexist in safety and security. Safety and security can only prevail under the shadow of Islam" (Chambers 151).

    DB, peep how this terroist group, for example, is interpreting the Prophet's message as "a model for co-existence," especially think of how they would follow the paradigm "of a Muslim community that is in control of Medina." I can't imaging putting radical groups, such as Hamas or the Taliban, into the role that Muhammad gave his followers in The Abyssinian Paradigm.
    "Islam found support among Chrisitans very early, when Muhammad sent a remnant of his persecuted party to Abyssinia for protection. There, a Christian king took them under his wing and ensured their freedom" (Wolfe 151).

    In this story I see the principle "You shall have your religion and I shall have mine," which is the right to religious freedom, being shown in such a way that I am curious as to how a extremist could twist the message Muhammad gave to "his persecuted party" that was sent to Abyssinia.


    Source:

    Amazon.com: Jihad On Us All: Steve Chambers: Books

    Amazon.com: Taking Back Islam: American Muslims Reclaim Their Faith: Producers of Beliefnet, Michael Wolfe: Books
     
  6. dailogue is the best

    dailogue is the best New member

    Joined:
    May 11, 2005
    Messages:
    527
    Likes Received:
    1
    Salam Ahanu,
    Actually, it is the first time I know about Farid Esak. My reply was just as a response to the passage you quoted

    Muslims also lived in Mecca for 13 years, and they were terribly suffering from the attacks of those who were worshiping idols. Eventhough, Muslims kept stick to their beliefs, and they didnt even reply to Meccans attacks. Muslims didnt attack Meccans. They co-existed with them, but Meccans didnt.

    An-naim is a secular. That is he belives in the abondment of religion from social and political life. unfortunately, and not accepted from a scholar, An-naim gives inaccurate historical and religious statements to support his idea. I presented to you in the previous post some of the treaty between Muslims, Jwes and non-Muslims. Does it reflect what an-naim said, Ahanu? Does it declare that Muslims should kill all infedels. Even, the Holy Quran doesnt say that. It is only in one state that we should attack others: in case we attacked first. An-naim satetement that "the Medina message--which later became codified in shari'a as the model for an Islamic state by the majority of Muslims, was a step backward" reflects his secular attitude. Islam isnt just a system of worship. It is a rather a philosophy of life, and a way of living. It includes teachings about ALL aspects of life. And that what REALLY bothers some politicians, economists, and socialists.

     
  7. Ahanu

    Ahanu Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2007
    Messages:
    1,493
    Likes Received:
    231
    I forgot to include where the Medina passages come from. They include Surahs 2-5, and 8 and 9, and most of the last 47 Surahs come from Muhammad's earlier life in Mecca, for instance. Still, I can't find where Muhammad sends his followers to Abyssinia in the Koran. I thought it would be in the chapter entitled exile, but it never refers to Abyssinia. As you can see, I am not very familiar with the Koran.

    Yes, it sounds good, however, the goal of all terroist groups is "the establishment of a caliphate and, eventually, the worldwide triumph of Islam," so what I was trying to say is that the treaty to them is useless unless Islam has taken control. That is why Farid Esak said what he said.

    Of course, the treaty does not.
     
  8. dailogue is the best

    dailogue is the best New member

    Joined:
    May 11, 2005
    Messages:
    527
    Likes Received:
    1
    "they did not make any attempts to turn Abyssinia into an Islamic state": does Farid Esak means to turn Abyssinia into Islamic state by force? Who said that Muslims are asked to do that? can you give me any religious text which asks Muslims to do so?
    The Abyssinian paradigm reflects the kindness and justice of the Negus, Abyssinia king. Since, Muslims were respected and not attacked, they lived peacefully in Abyssinia.

    Hamas isnt a terrorist group, Ahanu. It is a resistance group. They have the right to resist those who want to occupy their land. Dont forget that Hamas is elected by the Palestinan people. Do you want to say ALL the Palestinians are terrorists?! unfortunately, the media turns the oppressors into oppressed, and vice versa. Hamas, and Taliban have nothing to do with the Abyssinian Paradigm. And I m sure that Farid Esak didnt mean by his Paradigm what you meant. Resistance is the right for every attacked nation. Hamas and Taliban arent living in Abyssinia.

    In my opinion, Farid Esak addressed by the Abyssinian paradigm those who live in non-Islamic countries. I agree with him in that sense. and be sure that Muslims arent asked to turn non-Islamic countries into Islamic ones by force and terrorrism. And that was the intention of Farid Esak as he begins his statements with bombing. He didnt mean Hamas or Taliban which are in defense state.
     
  9. dailogue is the best

    dailogue is the best New member

    Joined:
    May 11, 2005
    Messages:
    527
    Likes Received:
    1
  10. quakeyjase

    quakeyjase Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2008
    Messages:
    55
    Likes Received:
    0
    America is not a Christian country.
    :)
     
  11. 17th Angel

    17th Angel לבעוט את התחת ולקחת שמות

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2005
    Messages:
    9,437
    Likes Received:
    3
    Jihad to me is an inner thing with ones self not with others.
     
  12. bananabrain

    bananabrain awkward squadnik

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2003
    Messages:
    2,749
    Likes Received:
    4
    i actually used to know farid quite well a few years back. he is quite definitely *not* someone you could accuse of ignorance or lack of commitment to islam. he's a very savvy bloke and extremely passionate about both moderation and tradition, as you might expect from someone who was a leading member of the ANC in south africa and a past commissioner for gender equality. he is exactly the sort of person that shows how islam can be a force for both moderation and positive change and there are few enough people like this about. i would totally recommend his recent work "the Qur'an: a user's guide" which is an excellent introduction to islamic thought.

    this is the problem with the medina model - it is not anything to do with 'perfidious' jews; the issue is that religious domination along the model of the dhimma is not something i as a jew would accept, nor would most people i know. i'm not about to pay a tax so i can live as a second-class citizen, thank you very much. this is the reason farid is suggesting this "abyssinian paradigm", which i've never heard of before, but it certainly shows us a *traditional* paradigm that muslims should be able to use as a model.

    not sure this is right - i believe that there are many that are not that interested in a caliphate.

    yes, DB, but unfortunately there appear to be quite a lot of muslims who think that anyone who gainsays what they want or contradicts them or "offends" them deserves to be treated as if they were "attacking muslims" - and that just isn't the case. in western society, free speech and democracy include the right to offend. muslims are going to need far thicker skins than they currently have. i can hardly see that in a situation such as the UK, where muslims have the vote, have functioning community institutions and a large amount of legal protection *not as a minority, but as citizens* they can be said to be suffering "attacks". disrespect, perhaps, but unfortunately lack of respect is part of life. you cannot ask the whole of society to live by your standards of "respect".

    let's not get into *this* - hamas is a "resistance" group that uses "terror" as a political tool. how about that? or perhaps you think that their tactics are somehow legitimate? perhaps you think that when they were throwing members of fatah and the PLO off roofs that was somehow "resisting the occupation"? perhaps kidnapping gilad shalit from the other side of the border (!!!!) was "resisting the occupation"?

    and what are they "resisting", exactly? the israelis have left gaza. hamas are in no position to say what they know that the israelis "want" to occupy gaza when they are the ones who say in their charter that they want to destroy israel and go after jews worldwide. i think you're on a really sticky wicket here. and if you say that they're resisting the occupation of the west bank, well, they aren't the democratically elected government of the west bank - they're the government of gaza. so let's perhaps drop the whitewashing of what is a very nasty group which does very little to help the palestinian cause and much to harm the image of the palestinian people around the world.

    good, because i do too. however, i'd be interested to hear whether you thought it applied to spain or not - because according to some, that is still "islamic" land.

    b'shalom

    bananabrain
     
  13. Ahanu

    Ahanu Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2007
    Messages:
    1,493
    Likes Received:
    231
    No, I can only give you the literalists religious interpretations of texts from terroists, such as bin Laden, that are consistent with their militant interpretation of the Koran, but you have a point since Abyssinia is not being attacked.

    Yes, I agree. Not only do you not agree with the "dhimma," but Hindus and other non-muslims disagreed with it very much. Check out the section on Akbar the Great entitled taxation on Hindus; he dropped the hated tax on non-muslims. I think this is a great example. However, I remember reading that the next ruler brought it back.

    OK :))).

    Thankyou, I'll check it out.
     
  14. dailogue is the best

    dailogue is the best New member

    Joined:
    May 11, 2005
    Messages:
    527
    Likes Received:
    1
    Actually, a lot of people misunderstand the wisdom behind the dhimma. What is the meaning of dhimma in Arabic? and what is for?

    dhimma in Arabic means responsibility and protection. In other words, it means that non-Muslims who pay dhimma are under the protection of Allah, and his Prophet Muhammed (pbuh). The Prophet said:" whoever harms a dhimmi (the one whon pays dhimma) will be my enemy, and whoever is my enemy in this life, he/ she would be my enemy in the day of judgement". Also, he said:" whoever kills a dhimmi, he/she wont smell the smell of paradise, eventhough its smell is smelled from the distance of forty years.

    And as a historical fact which reflects the Muslims committment of these hadiths, we have Ibn Taymiya's stand when he negotiated "almaghoul" about some captives whom almaghoul took when they attacked some cities in Syria. The maghoul tried to submit just Muslim captives, witouht the non-Muslims ones whom the maghoul thought of slavering them. Yet, the negotiator refused, insisting:" ahl dhimma (people of dhimma) before of ahl almilla (Muslims)"

    What is jizya that people of dhimma pay?
    As Muslims pay Zakat each year, non-Muslims pay jizya. Do non-Muslims pay Zakat? No, they dont. So, here Muslims and non-Muslims are equal concerning the payment to the country to the welfare of its citizens. Both Zakat and jizya go for feeding the poor, building the country, and supporting the soldiers. Hence, Muslims and non-Muslims co-existed in atmosphere of peace, and stability. Non-Muslims enjoyed religious freedom, protection, and peace. History is a big witness of that. Can you tell me how was the situation of Jews in the Islamic Spain, and how it turned to be under the rule of Christians when Muslims and non-Muslims suffered from terrible persecution wherein they had only 2 choices: eitheir to give up their religion, or to flee the land?
     
  15. dailogue is the best

    dailogue is the best New member

    Joined:
    May 11, 2005
    Messages:
    527
    Likes Received:
    1
    Who established Israel? that's the first question we should ask. Who was the first to attack? What s the "terror" Hamas used in comparaison to that of Israel? how many Palestinians does Israel kidnapp in comparaison to those Israelis that Hamas kidnapp?

    Hamas is elected government by all the Palestinians, bb. But since USA and Isreal arent pleased with Hamas,which is considered as a "terrorist" group, Hamas was pushed to withdraw to Gaza strip. and it is still facing a lot of pressure to withdraw totally from the poltical Palestinain life.

    You shouldnt follow all what the media states.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1on1ia3riE&feature=related

    Who said that?! :eek::confused: of course, it isnt.
     
  16. bananabrain

    bananabrain awkward squadnik

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2003
    Messages:
    2,749
    Likes Received:
    4
    i don't misunderstand it a bit. i also understand the difference between jizya and zakat. BUT... the dhimma is still *clearly* a relationship of less than equality. if you look at the history, you will see that there was a very clear pecking order with the muslims on top. i do not accept the dhimma as a form of equality, because it patently isn't. haven't you heard of the "pact of umar"?

    actually, if you read the history, you'll find that the dhimma (both jews and christians) were only allowed to gain some measure of respect when the provisions of the pact of umar were not followed and when islamic law was generally being applied in a lax fashion. moreover, when more strict groups took over, for example the almoravids and almohads, the inferiority of the dhimma was ruthlessly enforced. OK, fair enough, it wasn't "convert or die", so in that respect it was often preferable to christian rule, but jews (and christians) were certainly held in contempt rather than respected. so your picture is somewhat less than complete.

    ok, this discussion *really* isn't the place for this. why does it matter who established israel? what's that got to do with anything? the "terror" is everything from suicide bombs to pointless rocket fire. these people are the worst possible advertisement for palestinian self-determination and you do the palestinians no favours at all by allowing these murderous fools to masquerade as a government. they need to grow up and stop yelping about "resistance" and actually do something productive for the people that elected them, not throwing their opponents off the top of buildings and firing jerry-built rockets over the border. i'm not going to continue along this particular line of discussion as it is hijacking the thread.

    b'shalom

    bananabrain
     
  17. dailogue is the best

    dailogue is the best New member

    Joined:
    May 11, 2005
    Messages:
    527
    Likes Received:
    1
    Look, bananabrain, you are in fact comparing past with present. and we all know that even within Islam there is what is called ijtihad wherein Muslims scholars may find new solutions based on Islamic sources to new findings.

    What I want to say that you should compare the past with the past. In other words, you should compare how Christianity dealt with Muslims and Jews in the past, and how Islam did deal with Christians and Jews. Of course, you will find striking differences, and that Islam was the best in that matter. You seem to be a good historian, and you can easily depict that.


    You know what, bananabrain?! you remind me of George Gallowey when he was invited to the Sky News Channel. During the conversation wherein George was in defense of Palestine and Hizbo Allah, the presenter said in contempting way: "George Gallowey is Palestinian families adovacate." Mr. Gallowey replied: " and what you know about the Palestinian families. Can you tell me one of the names of the family of that girl, who were all killed in Gaza beach by the Isrealites in front of her eyes. But, on the other hand, you know the name of Shalit. Simply because you think that the Israeli blood is more valuebale and precious than the Palestinian blood"

    Dont try to tell me that you care for Palestine if you satnd with Isreal, for Israel's agenda are free from any peace with Palestinians. Now, there are rising sounds from Isreal itself which reveals of the colonial project of Isreal in the middle east.

    I know that Hamas has made mistakes, and who dont?!! Yet, we all know the pressure that Hamas is facing either from inside Palestine or outside it in order to push it to reside. In his latest dialogue with Harits, Abu Mazine revealed that he has succeeded in destroying the infra-structure of Hamas and Jihad Islami. (how national this guy is!!!)

    Anyway, bananabrain, i dont want too to disccuss this topic here because this isnt its place as you said.

    May God support All those who seek His satisfaction, justice, peace and righteousness.
     

Share This Page