This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Practising Calligraphy

Practising Calligraphy

لا إله إلا الله محمد رسول الله
lā ʾilāha ʾillā-llāh, muḥammadur-rasūlu-llāh
There is no god but God. Muhammad is the messenger of God.
That little phrase is a loaded one. It is called the Shahada. Repeat after me: There is no god but God. Muhammad is the messenger of God. This is a gotcha! phrase. It is the official induction into Islam. It is a conversion phrase for the non-Muslim. It is the initiation into Islam. It is surrender. And it is to be taken seriously, certainly not in vain, for to Muslims it represents one of the pillars of Islam.

Among the basic tenets in Islam; one is the obligation for the faithful to recognize and to embrace the urgency of jihad, for all those who worship Islam must dedicate themselves to jihad in furthering Islam's promise to humankind courtesy of the Prophet that Islam will one day conquer all of mankind. Aside from jihad, which in this context is the engagement in the 'armed struggle' against the House of War, which is any country which is not Muslim, by the House of Peace representing any nation that is Muslim, there is another obligation; to proselytize.

The teacher in Augusta Country in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley either deliberately or innocently led her pupils at Riverheads High School to engaging with Islam by contemplating the Shahada. Whether she explained to her class what the phrase meant is not divulged. She did, however, assign them a class project to practise calligraphy and Arabic with the use of the phrase "There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah".

Only scholars can judge whether the students have been automatically inducted into Islam, even without their consciously being aware of that happening, by quoting the Shahada and by writing that phrase whose meaning and purpose is unequivocal.

Whether much is known by the public about the meaning and purpose of the phrase is debatable, but when parents discovered the class project it is said to have occasioned a backlash of such an extent that school officials were sufficiently alarmed to cancel operations and police were stationed at schools in the country.

According to school officials the purpose of the Arabic calligraphic lesson was to illustrate the complexity of the written Arabic language. There was no intention whatever to promote the religion, they stated categorically. In future, however, they would ensure a different phrase in Arabic would be utilized for such lessons.
Recitation of the shahādah is the most common statement of faith for Muslims. In Sunni Islam, it is counted as the first of the Five Pillars of Islam,[9] while the Twelver and Ismaili Shi'a also contain the shahada as among their pillars of faith.[16] It is whispered by the father into the ear of a newborn child,[9] and it is whispered into the ear of a dying person.[17] The five canonical daily prayers each include a recitation of the shahada.[13] Recitation of the shahada in front of witnesses is also the first and only formal step in conversion to Islam.[9] This occasion often attracts more than the two required witnesses and sometimes includes a party-like celebration to welcome the convert into their new faith.[11] In accordance with the central importance played by the notion of intention (Arabic: نیّة‎, niyya) in Islamic doctrine, the recitation of the shahada must reflect understanding of its import and heartfelt sincerity.[18][19] Intention is what differentiates acts of devotion from mundane acts and a simple reading of the shahada from invoking it as a ritual activity. Wikipedia

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