Posts Tagged ‘attitude’

“Teach thy tongue to say ‘I do not know’ and thou shalt progress.”

~ Maimonides

The eighth-century prophet Amos calls those who violate God’s laws as “cows” [Amos 4:1] prophet Jeremiah calls such people “scoundrels” [Jeremiah 5:26]. Jesus calls evil people “You brood of vipers!” [Matthew 12:34], in another place he calls them “a wicked and adulterous generation.” [Mathew 16:4] If you happen to be among those violating many of God’s commands, God’s chosen people in the Bible may label you “cows”, “scoundrels”, “brood of vipers”, “wicked and adulterous”. I am not the one labeling the culprits such names, it’s the Bible.

Is ignorance a dangerous crime? Henry Ward Beecher (1813 –1887) was a clergyman and social reformer. He was, in fact, America’s most famous preacher. Henry is quoted to have said that “the most dangerous people are the ignorant” and I agree with him because “if one is ignorant of a matter one easily becomes opposed to it” as concluded by Ali bin Abi Twalib, the scholar from the Arabian Peninsula.

And how sad when people are purposefully oblivious to a matter which is actually important for themselves. People who “knoweth not what” will always make loud gibberish accusations against those who may be walking in the straight path. Just like the foolish woman in proverbs 9:13-15, “The foolish woman is loud; she is ignorant and knows nothing. She sits at the door of her house, on a seat at the high places of the town, calling to those who pass by, who are going straight on their way.” An illustration of how people are unaware of their own beliefs let alone of others is when George Gallup, a leading Evangelical and a premier pollster describe America as “a nation of biblical illiterates.” One Gallup survey found that less than half of Americans can name the first book of the Bible (i.e. Genesis), sixty percent cannot name half of the Ten Commandments and half think Noah was married to Joan of Arc.[1] And you may also want to hear a parallel example from Dr. Bart Ehrman who is the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and who is also a leading authority on the Bible and the life of Jesus. Every year Dr. Ehrman would ask his undergraduate classes about their views of the Bible, and he would amazingly get the same response. He says:

The first day of class, with over three hundred students present, I ask: “How many of you would agree with the proposition that the Bible is the inspired Word of God?” Whoosh! Virtually everyone in the auditorium raises their hand. I then ask, “How many of you have read one or more of the Harry Potter books?” Whoosh! The whole auditorium. Then I ask, “And how many of you have read the entire Bible.” Scattered hands, a few students here and there. [2]

If that is the trend, how sure are we that we aren’t ignorant of Islamic Faith?

Someone once said, “self-cure starts with self realization and confession” and hence if you are ignorant of something, please admit that you are ignorant. And obviously, learned men will nod in vigorous agreement with Richard Cecil’s statement: “The first step towards knowledge is to know that we are ignorant.” If you are ashamed of admitting your ignorance, then the chances are that you may not learn anything. Why don’t you heed the advice of Benjamin Franklin, who quipped: “Being ignorant is not so much a shame as being unwilling to learn.”

Let there be a club in the footsteps of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) which should be designed to help the ignorant become smart. And it should be called Ignorant Anonymous (IA). Just like the first meeting at AA, you have to stand up and say “My name is so and so and I’m an alcoholic” similarly those people suffering from the agonies of ignorance should unflinchingly stand up and admit, “My name is Atti Tude and I’m ignorant of the religion of Islam. The only knowledge I know about Islam is from these biased media and antagonists of Islam.” Others should clap at his courage of admitting the reality so that another person is encouraged to say “my name is Sahara Fried-man and I am ignorant of existence of the word of God. I regret for not having read the entire Qur’an/Bible and as a consequence, I found myself accompanied with confusion, distress and misery.” After other members burst into a “Hello Sahara!”, Mr Poppin should proceed with, “I’m Poppin Sparkle and I am unaware of Muhammad’s Prophethood. However, I am recovering from naivety and I am now reading the biography of Prophet Muhammad.” Before the meeting ends, the last person at IA would stand up with his sobering confession: “my name is Pilot Inspektor and  I’m ignorant of the authenticity of Qur’an. I have to admit that my busy life has distracted me from verifying the genuineness of Qur’an as a word of God.”

The following is an excerpt from the Book “They are Either Extremely Smart or Extremely Ignorant”, containing statements of brave men who got the courage to admit that they are ignorant of Islam. Read the excerpt:

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Confirmed Ignorance

“I’m ashamed to admit it, but before September 11, I didn’t pay much attention to Islam… when it comes to Islamic culture and history and its long engagement with the west, I was virtually ignorant.” [3]

~ Jeremy Rifkin

He is the well-known American economist. He is the author of The Age of Access and president of the Foundation on Economic Trends in Washington

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People are ignorant about the religion of Islam. People don’t understand that Islam today is a European religion . . .” [4]

~ Ingmar Karlsson

Ingmar Karlsson was Sweden’s consul general in İstanbul since September 2001. He had previously served as ambassador in Prague and Bratislava. Karlsson is a Doctor of Divinity honoris causa at Lund University and a Doctor of Philosophy at the University of Växjö. He also studied business administration, political science and the history of ideas and learning at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden. He has authored more than 10 books on the subjects of Europe’s relationship with faith, terrorism, Islam and minorities. Some of his books, include: Islam and Europe – confrontation or coexistence? (1994), The Stepchildren of Europe – minorities without a mother-nation (2003), Faith, terror and tolerance – essays on religion and politics  (2004), and A Europe of the regions (2006)

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One third of Australians are completely ignorant of the Islamic faith . . . .” [5]

According to the 2006 survey conducted by Roy Morgan research in Australia.

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Americans Ignorant of Islam . . .” [6]

A title from Islamonline reflecting the poll by Pew Research Center

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Most Americans have never read a verse from the Qur’an, nor met a person they knew to be Muslim. Their distorted images of Islam come from snippets of television news and headlines that falsely link Islam with terrorism and the degradation of women. They have no awareness of Islamic principles and beliefs—monotheism, peace, charity, compassion, interfaith tolerance, women’s rights—common principles that should bind Muslims, Christians, and Jews together.” [7]

~ Paul Findley.

He represented Illinois in the U.S. House of Representatives for 22 years. He is the author of the bestselling book, They Dare to Speak Out: People and Institutions Confront the Israel Lobby.

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People with power and influence in the U.S. have been saying some very stupid things about Islam and about Muslims since September 11. Some of it is rooted in conscious malice, and ethnic prejudice that spills over into religious bigotry. But some is rooted in sheer historical and geographical ignorance . . . . As an educator, in Asian Studies, at a fairly elite university, I am painfully aware of this ignorance.” [8]

~ Gary Leupp

Gary Leupp is an an associate professor, Department of History, Tufts University and coordinator, Asian Studies Program. In his article he clarified his identity saying, “Oh, and by the way, I’m not a Muslim, but what those on the Christian right revile as a “secular humanist.”

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“The totally erroneous statements made about Islam in the West are sometimes the result of ignorance, and sometimes of systematic denigration.”[9]

~ Maurice Bucaille

He was a member of the French Society of Egyptology, a medical doctor, and chief of the surgical clinic at the University of Paris.  Apart from being a specialist in gastroenterology, Dr. Bucaille is also the author of various scholarly works. He was once a family physician to King Faisal of Saudi Arabia and also some of his patients were relatives of President Anwar Sadat of Egypt. At the age of 50, he devoted his time to learn the Arabic language. He had also embarked on a deep study of Islam and Qur’an. Dr. Maurice Bucaille is associated with two medical eponyms.

For More Confirmed Ignorance [Updated in 2015]:

“Almost two-thirds of Americans don’t know a Muslim. What they know is ISIS, al Qaeda, and Charlie Hebdo” [10]

~Todd Green, a religion professor at Luther College in Iowa.

 

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{Excerpted from Salim Boss’ book “They are either Extremely Smart or Extremely Ignorant”. Buy the eBook  for $1.9 and the paperback for $9. Just click here to buy the book}


Buy Ebook Smart

 

Footnotes

[1] . “The Bible v the Koran, the battle of books.” The Economist 22 Dec. 2007: p.60.

[2] . Ehrman, Bart D. Jesus, Interrupted. Kindle Edition. HarperCollins e-books, 2009.p.226.

[3]. Rifkin, Jeremy. “Dialogue is a Necessity.” The Guardian 13 Nov. 2001.

[4]. “Islam is and will be a European religion.” Today’s Zaman 12 March 2007.

[5]. “Third of Aussies ignorant about Islam: survey.” The Age 20 March 2006.

[6]. IOL Staff. “Americans Ignorant of Islam: Poll.” islamonline.net 26 Sep. 2007. <http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/Satellite?c=Article_C&cid=1189959448918&pagename=Zone-English-News/NWELayout&gt;

[7]. Findley, Paul. Silent No More: Confronting America’s False Images of Islam. Maryland: Amana Publications, 2001.

[8]. Leupp, Gary. “Challenging Ignorance on Islam: a Ten-Point Primer for Americans.” Counterpunch 24 July 2002. <http://www.counterpunch.org/leupp0724.html&gt;

[9]. Bucaille, Maurice, M.D. The Bible, the Qur’an and Science. Lahore: Kazi publications, 1977 . pp. 110-111.

[10] Ingram, Paul. “Phoenix Mosque Sees Anti-Islam Protesters Parading ‘Muhammad Cartoon Contest”  Huffington Post 29 May 2015. <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/05/29/phoenix-mosque-islam_n_7473592.html?ncid=txtlnkusaolp00000592&gt;

“Teach thy tongue to say ‘I do not know’ and thou shalt progress.”

~ Maimonides

Because it is commonly known, even by the journalist Abdulrahman al-Rashed, that “self-cure starts with self realization and confession”, we are confident that there is always hope for change but as long as you are conscious that you are ignorant rather than pretending you are smart. Let there be a club in the footsteps of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) which should be designed to help the ignorant become smart. And it should be called Ignorant Anonymous (IA). Just like the first meeting at AA, you have to stand up and say “My name is so and so and I’m an alcoholic” similarly those people suffering from the agonies of ignorance should unflinchingly stand up and admit, “My name is Atti Tude and I’m ignorant of the religion of Islam. The only knowledge I know about Islam is from these biased media and antagonists of Islam.” Others should clap at his courage of admitting the reality so that another person is encouraged to say “my name is Sahara Fried-man and I am ignorant of existence of the word of God. I regret for not having read the entire Qur’an/Bible and as a consequence, I found myself accompanied with confusion, distress and misery.” After other members burst into a “Hello Sahara!”, Mr Poppin should proceed with, “I’m Poppin Sparkle and I am unaware of Muhammad’s Prophethood. However, I am recovering from naivety and I am now reading the biography of Prophet Muhammad.” Before the meeting ends, the last person at IA would stand up with his sobering confession: “my name is Pilot Inspektor and  I’m ignorant of the authenticity of Qur’an. I have to admit that my busy life has distracted me from verifying the genuineness of Qur’an as a word of God.”

People who have a chance of becoming successful are those with the courage of saying “maybe you’re right” or the flipside of it, “maybe I’m wrong”. And if you believe that prejudice never shows much reason then we may want to ask, have you ever let the following statement cross your mind: “Maybe Muslims are right and we are wrong?” We should have the audacity to say like Marcus Tullius Cicero: “I am not ashamed to confess I am ignorant of what I do not know.” Or like the determination of Saul: “. . . I have been a fool, and have made a great mistake.” [1 Samuel 26:21] And obviously, learned men will nod in vigorous agreement with Richard Cecil’s statement: “The first step towards knowledge is to know that we are ignorant.” However, after recognizing who we really are, we should then dispel the curse of ignorance through studying about God and end up submitting to Him. It is those who are infinitely ignorant who are denied access to the kingdom of God. As a matter of fact, all of us were born ignorant of many things but it was through study and examination that stupidity vaporized. And if you treasure the advice of Benjamin Franklin, then heed his precious words: “Being ignorant is not so much a shame as being unwilling to learn.” You can always be smart unless you proudly chose to be a bastion of ignorance. “How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple? How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing and fools hate knowledge?” [Proverbs 1:22]

Reason and seeking knowledge about God can wrestle and overthrow ignorance. And whenever the know-nothing criticizes you for becoming a serious questor after the Truth of religions, always remember to “. . . turn away from the ignorant” [Q 7:199] Be humble and emulate the model of righteous people who walk on the surface of the earth in humility and sedateness, “. . . and when the ignorant address them, they say, “Peace!” [Q25:63] and keep on doing good because “. . . by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men.” [1 Peter 2:15]

The yes-we-can philosophy can help you jump from the planet of ignorance to safe landing in the Empire of Smart people. We believe that by becoming a member of smart people you will reap a great deal of benefits for “He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will be destroyed.” [Proverbs 13:20] Whether sin is ignorance or ignorance is sin, what is worth-celebrating is that there is always a way out. The Qur’an has this message to the ignorant:

Allâh accepts only the repentance of those who do evil in ignorance and foolishness and repent soon afterwards; it is they to whom Allâh will forgive and Allâh is Ever All­Knower, All­Wise. And of no effect is the repentance of those who continue to do evil deeds until death faces one of them and he says: “Now I repent;” nor of those who die while they are disbelievers. For them We have prepared a painful torment. [Q 4:17-18]

{Excerpted from Salim Boss’ book “They are either Extremely Smart or Extremely Ignorant”. Buy the eBook  for $1.9 and the paperback for $9. Just click here to buy the book}

 

Buy Ebook Smart

When life is preoccupied with American Idol, African Idol, Asian Idol, Indian Idol, Australian Idol, Eskimo Idol . . . ; when precious moments are spent watching talk shows, from Tyra, to Oprah Winfrey Show to Late Night with Conan O’Brien  to Jerry Springer  . . .  ; when alarms are set to remind the beginning of ‘Apprentice’, ‘the Big Brother’ and ‘So You Think You Can Dance’; When Premier leagues, World cup, Olympics and village tournaments become our priorities – with loyal fans curious to know the lifestyle of  their soccer stars, yet thoroughly ignorant  of  Jesus favorite  hairstyle; when people decide to commit suicide because their team has lost; when movie series are seriously followed – some if not many have watched ‘Prison Break’, with multiple seasons that seems to end when the world ends; and the soap operas, aired on TV for our life’s span duration – ‘The Bold and the Beautiful’, ‘The Young and the restless’, ‘Days of our Lives’, ‘One Life to Live’, ‘As the World Turns’, ‘Passions’ and there are other widely watched telecasts such as  ‘Lost’, ‘OC’, ‘To Be or Not to Be’, ‘Desperate Housewives’ and ‘Men Behaving Badly’; when human beings voluntarily contest in extremely degrading stunts like eating cockroaches while others at home entertainingly watch the fear factor; as if that is not sufficient, people resort to laughter’s through comedies and they watch things like ‘White Chicks’, ‘The Man Who Knew Too Little’, ‘The Girl Next Door’, ‘Get Smart’, ‘King of Comedy’, ‘Steve Harvey’ ‘Just For Laughs’ not forgetting ‘Mr. Bean.’ After all, they claim, life is a sea of gut-busting, cheeks-hurting, pants-peeing fun. When real people become a nuisance they watch Walt Disney. And when theaters are full while Hollywood/Bollywood release more record-holding, top-grossing box-office blockbusters . . . . and after watching the movie, they become compelled to write a review about it, reveal the goofs for the movie or to atleast discuss it with friends and relatives!

When tranquility doesn’t descend until we know the world’s most expensive bra; when we are curious to know the person who spent the longest time keeping the eyeballs protruded; when we find the latest Guinness World Records to see if Pingping, the shortest living man (74.61 cm) who was measured in Hohhot, China still holds the record; when people search for the person who would spend the fastest time to pop 1, 000 balloons; and when people compete in making the tallest stack of doughnuts while industries compete in making the largest toilet roll.

When “The mutual rivalry for piling up (the good things of this world) diverts you (from the more serious things). Until ye visit the graves.” [Q 102:1-2], I mean when you are preoccupied with accumulating wealth with no signs of being fatigued by too much wealth. And because “. . .violent is he (man) in his love of wealth” [Q 100: 8] you will frequently hear middle-class millionaire dreaming to reach billionaire status while the billionaires aspiring to be ‘crazy wealthy.’ This reminds me of Roberts Frost’s saying: “By working faithfully 8 hours a day, you may get to be a boss and work 12 hours a day.” ; So burning is the desire of wealth so much that singers like Travie McCoy and Bruno Mars  emerge with “Billionaire” lyrics that goes like: “I wanna be a billionaire so freaking bad, Buy all of the things I never had, Uh I wanna be on the cover of Forbes magazine, Smiling next to Oprah and the Queen”!; when people’s important life goal is to be rich and famous yet they are unaware of how they jeopardize their lives for they don’t seem to know that “. . . it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” [Matthew 19: 24]; when spare time is not spent on Words of God but on Think and Grow Rich, Rich Dad Poor Dad, How to Make Money, 365 Habits of Romantic Persons, Million Dollar Habit, How To Win Friends and Influence People, The Secret, Cooking Made Easy, Act Like a Lady Think Like a Man, Guess How Much I Love You, Sex for Dummies and What to Expect When You’re Expecting. . . . ; and when the short time we have for reading God’s scriptures we don’t do study-reading (i.e. reading for the purpose of understanding, learning and remembering). One wonders: is reading the Bible/Qur’an without reflecting synonymous to eating without digesting?; when “The post-industrial world produces virtually everything except answers to the most essential questions about life and existence: Where did we come from? Why are we here? Where are we going?”[1]Indeed, “They know what is apparent of the worldly life, but they, of the Hereafter, are unaware.” [Q 30:7]

When people ardently search for a Step-by-Step Tutorial on how to French-kiss. And others go to Google to type “I’m bored” while rejoicing that they are not alone for they have already been preceded with others who typed “I’m so bored!” This phenomenon is likely to invite brilliant sociologists to initiate a study titled, “bored people are actually stupid because they seem not to know the purpose of life.” Many will encounter a jaw hanging experience when they hear that there are some people who still think that we are created to get bored! When music is used to ease boredom with geniuses inventing holidays – Mother’s Day, Anniversaries, Get-Together Party, Birth-Day (BD) while condemning Death-Day (DD), and religious holidays celebrated irreligiously; when we voluntarily enter into cookie-baking contest and eating competitions; and when the neighborhood organize a water gargling contest; when we spend  too much time playing mindless phone and computer games; when one decides to become depressed, bored with life or just because they have nothing to love than to sleep, and decide to waste lots of precious time on excessive sleeping. How I wish they knew that multiple studies have found that people who sleep nine or more hours a night have significantly higher death rates than people sleeping seven to eight hours a night; when Research Institutes research on how to eat as much as we can without getting fat; when we are amassed in knowing whos-dated-who and when burgeoning populations join the International Association of Gossipers while others cross the boundary of reason claiming that the function of language is gossip; when the ‘lets-go-shopping’ culture becomes predominant; when our minds become fictitious because of reading too many fictions – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, The Cat in the Hat, Romance . . . .

When people run out of ideas and decide to do the following: Blow up a paper bag and burst it behind a friend; make facial expressions in a mirror; check their waist measurement; peel an orange; convince someone that an African elephant has smaller ears than an Asian elephant; imagine coming to work by elephant; try to figure out if the “black box” flight recorder is never damaged during a plane crash, why isn’t the whole airplane made out of that stuff!; jump on their chair and shout “cockroach” to frighten their colleagues; photocopy your hand; run around the office as though someone were chasing you or march around the office like a Roman soldier; imagine how sorry everyone will be when you are dead; make a list of the ten people you would arrest immediately if you became a dictator; practice rubbing your tummy and rubbing your head at the same time (and am sure some are just practicing it now); rehearse your excuses for when you are caught in an embarrassing situation; pretend you’re a robot or pretend to be a car; wondering whether a fly without wings should be called a walk; try to figure out what will happen if an ambulance on its way to save someone runs over someone else, does it stop to help him or proceed to the next victim; try hard to explain why people point to their wrist when asking for the time, but they don’t point to their crotch when they ask for the bathroom; check your answers for yesterday’s crossword puzzle; ask your grandpa what grandma was like when she was young; email your boss the message: I know what you did last vacation; boil ice cream; honk and wave to strangers; imagine how you would interview your boss for your job; imagine what you will do when you see an endangered animal eating an endangered plant! . . . .

When fashion industry and cosmetic companies receive unprecedented queue of customers. Have they really reflected on the proverb: “Many complain of their looks, but none of their brains?”; when a person wears a T-shirt imprinted: “I want fun. Now”, who is bypassed by another with a “Whatever you see I owe to Spaghetti” T-shirt imprint. Then as you wonder why would God create such people, behold you encounter a dare-not-look-at-me type of a lady walking towards your direction, her shirt inscribed: “WARNING: I have an attitude. . .” while struggling to peep at the remaining text, you realize it’s written “. . . and I know how to use it!” And before the sun sets, you encounter another fellow wearing a T-shirt bearing the words: “Whatever the question is, Liquor is the Answer.” Maybe such a heedless person would have been endowed with a much more meaningful descent life “. . . but he (man) clung to the earth and followed his own vain desire.” [Q 7:176]

When we get glued to our computer screens surfing pornographic material and sending emails to females while males receive torrents of emails from females; when people enter into yahoo groups to seek visitors with similar tastes and hobbies such as collecting stamps, blackjack, underwater modeling, chasing one’s shadow, washing fish, bull fighting, dog-sledding and chicken wrestling; when we embark on an extensive  search in facebook so as to find that primary school classmate who peed in class; when funny and weird videos are the most watched clips in YouTube; when people post totally shocking, wacky, incredibly ignorant questions on community-driven question-and-answer websites. Bizarre questions such as: Where does jam come from; is it possible to cook a potato in a washing machine; do fish get thirsty; who killed the Dead Sea; how much milk is there in the Milky Way; what is the speed of dark; why is a carrot more orange than an orange; what happens when you swallow your pride; if the president were gay, would his husband be the first man; if swimming is good for your shape, then why do the whales look like the way they do; if a picture is worth a thousand words, what is a picture of a thousand words worth; if a shop opens 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, why are there locks on the doors; why do we call them restrooms when no one goes there to rest; if someone with multiple personalities threatens to kill himself, is it considered a hostage situation? And crazy enough, the sites give members the chance to earn points as a way to encourage them to answer the silly questions? when life is spent aimlessly is when we become fully ignorant. Ignorant of our purpose of life. An extremely smart guy would ask, “Is this really what we were created for? “Do you thus repay the LORD, O foolish and senseless people? Is not he your father, who created you, who made you and established you?” [Deuteronomy 32:6]. And if the Bible is not a source of inspiration to you, then reflect on the words of Henry David Thoreau: “It is not enough to be busy, so are the ants. The question is, ‘What are we busy about?” I know that according to article 24 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights “Everyone has the right to rest and leisure . . .” but if per article one of the Declaration, human beings are “endowed with reason and conscience” then we would expect a smart creature to ask: what is the ratio between entertainment industry and worship industry? The Intelligent seeks to compute the ratio between wealth accumulating rituals and rituals for attaining the Kingdom of Heaven. “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” [Mathew 6:33]

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{Excerpted from Salim Boss’ book “They are either Extremely Smart or Extremely Ignorant”. Buy the eBook  for $1.9 and the paperback for $9. Just click here to buy the book}

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Buy Ebook Smart

REFERRENCES:


[1]. Hofmann, Murad Wilfried. Religion on The Rise: Islam in the Third Millennium. Maryland: Amana Publications, 2001.p. 89.