Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Islamic Charity is NOT Christian Charity

Zakat is not about charity, but jihad.
By Andrew C. McCarthy

‘In the United States, rules on charitable giving have made it harder for Muslims to fulfill their religious obligation,” President Obama claimed during his 2009 Cairo speech. “That is why I am committed to working with American Muslims to ensure that they can fulfill zakat.”

This statement contained two falsehoods. One, as I’ve previously detailed, was obvious: There are, in fact, no American laws or rules that make it harder for Muslims to give to charity. What we have are laws against material support of terrorism — against using devices like charitable fronts to channel money to jihadists. Those laws are not directed at Muslims. They apply to everyone but are applied most often to Muslims, because Muslims carry out most anti-American terrorism.

The other falsehood was more subtle: the president’s suggestion that the religious obligation of zakat — one of the “five pillars of Islam” — is the equivalent of “charitable giving.” It is not. Zakat is every Muslim’s obligation to contribute to the fortification of the ummah, the notional worldwide Islamic nation. And that very much includes the funding of violent jihad against non-Muslims.

When an earthquake devastated Haiti last year, the West, led as always by the Great Satan, instantly opened its heart and pocketbook. Within days, as the Foundation for Defense of Democracy’s Claudia Rosett reported, the U.S. government had pledged $90 million in public funds, 44 percent of the total anted up by governments worldwide. That was just a fraction of the true American contribution. Despite a deep recession and widespread unemployment, private citizens contributed tens of millions of dollars to the relief efforts. In addition, our armed forces mobilized to provide food, medical treatment, and other humanitarian aid. Untold additional millions in American aid backed relief efforts by the United Nations, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and the World Bank. The economic downturn was global, but still European, Canadian, Japanese, and South American governments and citizens also donated millions.

What of the world’s Muslims? Over the same period of time, they accounted for a whopping 0.1 percent of the total donations committed by governments — basically, a rounding error for a Saudi sheikh’s weekend in Vegas. Drawing a telling contrast, Ms. Rosett noted that the House of Saud’s annual contribution to ICRC operations in 2008 came to a grand total of $216,460 — less than a penny per Saudi, though quite generous compared with the $50,000 kicked in by Iran, whose population is three times larger. By contrast, the United States gave $237.8 million.

How could it be that the oil-drenched realm of zakat – of what we are to believe is obligatory benevolence — lags so embarrassingly behind Dar al-Greed? Very simple: Zakat is not “charity” as we understand that term.

Muslims are taught that charity means Muslims aiding Muslims, for the purpose of fortifying and extending the ummah until all the world is Islam’s domain. “Of their wealth, take alms,” instructs Allah in the Koran (9:103), “that so thou mightest purify and sanctify them.” Thus, zakat may be given only to Muslims.

Reliance of the Traveller: The Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law(Umdat al-Salik) was compiled by the renowned Muslim jurisprudent Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri in the 14th century. It is the most authoritative source on the subject of sharia (Islamic law), having been certified by al-Azhar University in Cairo — the font of Sunni learning — as conforming “to the practice and faith of the orthodox Sunni community.” In fact, when an English edition of Reliance (now available through Amazon.com) was published in 1994, it won gushing praise from the government of Saudi Arabia (where sharia is the only law), as well as the governments of Egypt, Jordan, and Syria, all of which incorporate sharia in their legal systems.Reliance is quite blunt on the matter: “It is not permissible to give zakat to a non-Muslim.”

That is mainstream Islam, as the Haiti earthquake-relief effort reaffirms. In Social Justice in Islam, the late but still highly influential Muslim Brotherhood theorist Sayyid Qutb explained that zakat is the “share taken by the [Islamic] state and spent on the welfare of Muslims to supply their bodily needs, to preserve their dignity, and to protect their power of conscience.” More recently, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani at Sunni Path, the “Islamic Academy” that has become popular among Muslim web-surfers, observed that in all major schools of Islamic jurisprudence “there is consensus . . . that a non-Muslim (dhimmi) cannot be given any zakat.” We grubby capitalists may see Haitians as suffering beyond calculation, but for Muslims there is a calculation: The Haitians are infidels. The families of Palestinian suicide bombers and imprisoned al-Qaeda terrorists rate a brotherly helping hand, and the Haitians don’t.

In fact an essential purpose of zakat is to underwrite jihad. Americans see it as a dangerous fraud when Islamic charities are used as fronts for terrorist organizations. In mainstream Islam, however, there is no fraud at all — not if your understanding of “charity” is zakat.

“It is obligatory,” according to Reliance of the Traveller, “to distribute one’s zakat among eight categories of recipients, one-eighth of the zakat to each category.” The manual goes on to describe these categories, the seventh of which is “those fighting for Allah, meaning people engaged in Islamic military operations for whom no salary has been allotted in the army roster.”

Al-Misri, the 14th-century scholar, did not dream that one up — and there was no al-Qaeda around to “hijack” Islam from him. He pulled it right out of the Koran. Sura 9:60, the verse most often associated with zakat, directs that “alms are for the poor and the needy, and those employed to administer the funds; for those whose hearts have recently reconciled to Truth [i.e., to Islam]; for those in bondage [like those imprisoned terrorists] and in debt; in the cause of Allah; and for the wayfarer. Thus is it ordained by Allah.” Echoing Reliance, the official Saudi version of the Koran annotates this verse with the clarification that “in the cause of Allah” refers to “those who are struggling and striving in Allah’s cause by teaching or fighting . . . [and] who are thus unable to earn their ordinary living.”

The stark fact is that the Islamic conception of alms unabashedly embraces what the brilliant scholar of Islam Raymond Ibrahim describes as “the money jihad” (jihad al-mal). A canonical hadith quotes Mohammed’s sentiments: “He who equips a raider so he can wage jihad in Allah’s path . . . is himself a raider.” That is, he achieves the same status as those Mohammed said would be most richly rewarded in the afterlife for having done the greatest service to Allah. Indeed, the Koran actually prioritizes the need to fund violent jihad over the need to fight it. Sura 9:41 declares: “Go forth, light-armed and heavy-armed, and strive with your wealth and your lives in the way of Allah! That is best for you if you but knew.” As Ibrahim elaborates, several other verses “make the same assertion and, more importantly, in the same order: striving with one’s wealth almost always precedes striving with one’s life, thereby prioritizing the former over the latter.”

Ibrahim is quite right when he says the West’s tireless portrayal of Islamic charities as akin to “the Salvation Army, a Christian charity organization whose ‘ministry extends to all, regardless of age, sex, color, or creed,’” is flatly false. In Islam, it’s all about Islam. Zakat, like all Islamic tenets, serves the overarching cause of elevating Islam, to the exclusion and at the expense of nonbelievers. When President Obama proclaims his determination to ensure that Muslims “can fulfill zakat,” and when his Justice Department follows up that proclamation by relaxing the enforcement of federal laws against material support of terrorism, this is the system they are abetting.

— Andrew C. McCarthy, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, is the author, most recently, of The Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America.

We are all human being created by God and deserving of the same fullness of love and charity. However this charity and love doesn't support a new and current thought that all people and all religions are alike. There are people who want to do you harm for their personal gain. Muhammadanism does not seek support of humanity for all and for God. It seeks the conquering of all peoples with the support of the passions (pride, lust, hate, etc.).

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Truth of our Desires

By John Zmirak

The ugly little secret of life, one I hesitate to share with students, is how disappointing all of it is. Indeed, if the reader is under 30, I'm tempted to tell him to click on some other column -- lest I drain from him the sparks of life and energy that are meant to keep him racing forward like a hound, jumping over the hedges and through the flaming hoops, in fervent pursuit of a tasty rabbit that's always just out of reach . . . Why tell the unhappy truth: that if he finally catches the thing, it will turn out to be mechanical, an inedible motorized toy.

This truth of life emerges with fullest force in the fleshly appetites, but it isn't, alas, restricted to them. How easily we move from fervent hunger to bloated fullness, and end up regretting or even resenting the meal that gleamed so irresistible on the menu. How quickly the flame of eros consumes its material, and the flesh that once obsessed or even possessed us turns into a burdensome, nattering mannequin with an irritating accent. The torrent of even righteous anger congeals into a slimy, stagnant pool once we've thrown the punch and felled our enemy. The objects we have scrimped (or recklessly borrowed) to buy quickly lose that "new car" smell and transubstantiate into white elephants, or else into dull necessities we simply take for granted. Those rare and hard-won vacations from work: Why do they dissolve in dull expanses of sloth and finally boredom, till at length we cannot wait to crawl back down into the mines? The genuine achievements for which we accept the proper credit . . . how long before the gold plate on our Oscar begins to tarnish, and we pick the thing up to shake it, wondering why it is hollow?

In case you haven't noticed, I've just run through six of the Seven Deadly Sins -- omitting only Envy, since it alone of all the seven has no legitimate outlet: It's evil from top to toe. But each of the others corrupts a real satisfaction we are meant in some sense to pursue. It's in our programming, and since the Fall, we are programmed, it seems, to fail. By this I don't mean "to sin." Even when they are pursued in the proper way, along the Golden Mean between the deadly sin and its opposite neurosis, we will never quite find what we're seeking, and we'll always feel just a twinge of disappointment. I know the standard apologetical answer at this point: "You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you" (Augustine, Confessions). And that is certainly true. But what about when we feel ourselves disappointed with God?

Not that we're resting in Him, so it isn't quite God we really weigh and find wanting. No one's suggesting the saints in glory are kicking tires on the Trinity, undergoing buyer's remorse.

But our earthly relationship to God is subject to the same grim alteration of hunger and disappointment as any other experience. If you view God's people, the Jews, as the archetype of humanity, their sacred history shows those dreary ups and downs. No sooner would they achieve -- after earth-shattering miracles, scattered manna, and vanquished pharaohs -- some measure of peace and plenty than they would start to get a little jaded. Those tedious dietary laws and elaborate sin sacrifices began to seem kind of silly, like a third-century B.C. version of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Why exactly was it so important to shun the reverent fertility cults of every people around them? Compared to those glittering, sexy idols and their sacred prostitutes, how dry and abstract was this invisible God, how shrill were all His prophets . . .

We Christians aren't off the hook. If there's one thing Our Lord did all through His public life, it was to disappoint and confuse the people who followed Him. I'm sure it began at the Wedding of Cana, when the last cask of Château Miraculeux ran dry and the now-blotto wedding crashers started schnorring Mary for more. But Christ, like a wise and responsible bartender, cut them off and took their car keys. They probably stumbled out of there cursing His name.

Things only got worse after that. Christ would no sooner perform a miraculous cure and gather a friendly crowd than He'd slip off into the desert by Himself. It must have seemed autistic. How frustrating for the burgeoning activists among the apostles -- who'd probably started counting heads and comparing their total to John the Baptist's. The rich young man who'd strutted up to Jesus to explain his rectitude was slapped in the face with the call to a vow of poverty. The Pharisees (like good traditionalists) had expected this fiery rabbi to stand with them against the sell-out liberal Sadducees. They scoffed instead to find He was eating with penitent tramps and Roman collaborators.

Of course, the real bait-and-switch kicked in when we realized
what Christ was up to -- that He was overturning all the Messianic promises that had kept the Jews going for centuries. There would be no earthly kingdom of peace and plenty, from which the Jews would radiate order and justice to a grateful gentile world. Indeed, there would be no peace, but the treachery in the Garden and the horror of the Cross. Only on the other side of death would come Resurrection, and only after an unpredictable stretch of persecution and chaos would come the New Jerusalem, which couldn't rise until the first one had been leveled, stone torn from stone.

But we don't want some heavenly city on the other side of death. We are still those faded, smudgy Xerox copies of Adam whose hearts pine after restful times spent under Eden's trees heavy with fruit. We use our bulky brains to figure out back doors and forgotten tunnels back into the Garden, or technological means to disable the flaming sword. We prefer the disappointments to which we're resigned to the terrifying transformation that is demanded, and when He gently explains to us that simple innocence no longer is an option, we look deep in His eyes -- and like the rich young man, we go away sad.
Inside Catholic

Friday, April 15, 2011

Psalm 50 (51)

An important prayer for all of us sinners, of whom I am the greatest.

In Latin:
3 Miserere mei, Deus, secundum magnam misericordiam tuam; et secundum multitudinem miserationum tuarum, dele iniquitatem meam. 4 Amplius lava me ab iniquitate mea, et a peccato meo munda me. 5 Quoniam iniquitatem meam ego cognosco, et peccatum meum contra me est semper. 6 Tibi soli peccavi, et malum coram te feci; ut justificeris in sermonibus tuis, et vincas cum judicaris.7 Ecce enim in iniquitatibus conceptus sum, et in peccatis concepit me mater mea.8 Ecce enim veritatem dilexisti; incerta et occulta sapientiæ tuæ manifestasti mihi.9 Asperges me hyssopo, et mundabor; lavabis me, et super nivem dealbabor.10 Auditui meo dabis gaudium et lætitiam, et exsultabunt ossa humiliata. 11 Averte faciem tuam a peccatis meis, et omnes iniquitates meas dele. 12 Cor mundum crea in me, Deus, et spiritum rectum innova in visceribus meis. 13 Ne projicias me a facie tua, et spiritum sanctum tuum ne auferas a me. 14 Redde mihi lætitiam salutaris tui, et spiritu principali confirma me. 15 Docebo iniquos vias tuas, et impii ad te convertentur. 16 Libera me de sanguinibus, Deus, Deus salutis meæ, et exsultabit lingua mea justitiam tuam. 17 Domine, labia mea aperies, et os meum annuntiabit laudem tuam. 18 Quoniam si voluisses sacrificium, dedissem utique; holocaustis non delectaberis. 19 Sacrificium Deo spiritus contribulatus; cor contritum et humiliatum, Deus, non despicies. 20 Benigne fac, Domine, in bona voluntate tua Sion, ut ædificentur muri Jerusalem. 21 Tunc acceptabis sacrificium justitiæ, oblationes et holocausta; tunc imponent super altare tuum vitulos.

In English:
3 Have mercy on me, O God, according to your great mercy. And according to the multitude of your tender mercies blot out my iniquity. 4 Wash me yet more from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. 5 For I know my iniquity, and my sin is always before me. 6 To you only have I sinned, and have done evil before you: that you may be justified in your words, and may overcome when you are judged. 7 For behold I was conceived in iniquities; and in sins did my mother conceive me. 8 For behold you have loved truth: the uncertain and hidden things of your wisdom you have made manifest to me. 9 You shall sprinkle me with hyssop, and I shall be cleansed: you shall wash me, and I shall be made whiter than snow. 10 To my hearing you shall give joy and gladness: and the bones that have been humbled shall rejoice. 11 Turn away your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.12 Create a clean heart in me, O God: and renew a right spirit within my bowels. 13 Cast me not away from your face; and take not your holy spirit from me. 14 Restore unto me the joy of your salvation, and strengthen me with a perfect spirit. 15 I will teach the unjust your ways: and the wicked shall be converted to you. 16 Deliver me from blood, O God, you God of my salvation: and my tongue shall extol your justice. 17 O Lord, you will open my lips: and my mouth shall declare your praise. 18 For if you had desired sacrifice, I would indeed have given it: with burnt offerings you will not be delighted. 19 A sacrifice to God is an afflicted spirit: a contrite and humbled heart, O God, you will not despise. 20 Deal favourably, O Lord, in your good will with Sion; that the walls of Jerusalem may be built up. 21 Then shall you accept the sacrifice of justice, oblations and whole burnt offerings: then shall they lay calves upon your altar.

Who is our ideal?

     Who is our ideal? A player of a percussion instrument, a .398 batter, a soldier, a patriot, a saint? The higher the love, the more demands will be made on us to conform to that ideal. To a great extent the level of any civilization is the level of its womanhood. When a man loves a woman, he has to become worthy of her. The higher her virtue, the more noble her character, the more devoted she is to truth, justice, goodness, the more a man has to aspire to be worthy of her. The history of civilization could actually be written in terms of the level of its women.

"Life is Worth Living" by Fulton Sheen