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To brother Michael D.

In the name of God, compassionate & merciful بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ | Peace be with you السلام عليكم

I could not reply to your message regarding "Western" Muslims, an Arabic Quran and the reference to Waleed ibn Mugheera in ch. 68: Al-Qalam, of the Quran. I've therefore exploited this quick post for that purpose.

As'salamalaikum! Peace be with you.

1) Do I have a nickname? Not particularly, but for the sake of typing less you may use Z, Zed, Zau or Shan. =) [my name is in Arabic/Persian, cutting it up spoils the meaning]

2) Thank you kindly for considering the public reaction; as this is not publicly embarrassing feel free to talk, question, prod and poke, with your good character and conduct.

3) Yes I know who Waleed & his 'son' are and how this relates to my faith: Islam = The 68th Quran chapter called Al-Qalam, or 'The Pen' in English, is mostly a retort towards the then Makkan people - aka Qureysh tribe - who used their 'media' to increase allegations towards Muhammad and 'his holy book'.

They called him a madman, possessed, a poet etc and tried to bribe him to drop his monotheistic invitation, tried to scar his reputation, boycotted him and other unjustices. One person in particular who was very much like a member of parliament or governor, called Waleed, the son of Mugheera (ibn = Arabic for 'son of'), gathered huge opposition to overpower this 'new islamic invention'. Islam was a threat to them economically (the Arab monopoly was in 'selling their gods' at markets, all the prophets however & Muhammad eliminated that concept of 'travel size gods' and guided them towards One God that didn't need paying or feeding, as well as reminding people about accountability and so forth).

Anywho, Allah (the author) lists in the Quran here the accusations Waleed had and basically crushes them; if you read this in ch.68 from verse 12+ they are direct verses about Waleed.

"A preventer of good, transgressing and sinful, Cruel, moreover, and an illegitimate pretender."

His son, Khaleed/Khalid "ibn" Waleed turned out to be a greater and kinder person, believing in Allah with no associates, believing in Judgement day and accountability. Khaleed was a Muslim leader of his time too (during the life of Prophet Muhammad); he's like an Iconic Muslim we look up to - those that know of him! And as this was narrated for that contemporary society, those people have passed on.

4) Can a Westerner be Muslim or follow its teaching without being Muslim?
Kindly allow me to rectify those terms; Westerner - a person who lives in the 'west' of the earth (Europe/N.America), or as is more socially known: a person from a more affluent country. Muslim - any human being who worships and believes in Allah as One independent all loving/controlling/forgiving Creator, believes in angels, Divine scriptures revealed from the beginning of creation, in judgement for our actions - accountability and therefore does GOOD, believes in heaven/hell and in the Quran as the final and most complete source of guidance.

Anyone can be a Muslim since God made everyone and gave everyone the freewill to believe in him or not. This 'difference' between "westerners" and "muslims" is a recent concept; before it used to be about "muslims" vs. "all others", or "muslims" vs. "non-Arabs". These segregation games are usually created by those in power; leaders, the racist, the wealthiest/in influential roles, and the media - another fast growing religion (!)

5) To merge into any faith without following its teachings is one level of ignorance; yet to follow the teachings *without* wholly accepting it is a development towards accepting it - some will test the 'Muslim' waters, like it, convert to it, others won't. To be Muslim I've listed the criteria above.

6) Nope, Arabic is not my mother tongue, that's not my fault, God made me that way! CAIR the American Muslim Council gave you a Quran? Yes, if I can't speak a language I cannot grasp the meanings, converse with it or 'talk back'. With God however there is a lot more flexibility in Islam -putting the Quran on the back shelf for a moment- no matter what language, or place a person is at, calling out God's name, asking him etc gets a direct response from Him. It may not be immediate, but this universal 'dua' - (arabic) = supplication- is always heard by God. God is aware of everything anyway, that is what makes God, God.

Back to the Quran - as its language is in Arabic because its first audience were Arabic speakers, God cleverly chose a superior language that is richer, wealthier in meanings and more eloquent than its predecessors, no contemporary language compares to its 'purer' state either. I wrote about this {Arabic Quran earlier}. Regardless, to appreciate/study the Quran, we as Muslims try to learn Arabic. Learning never ends. If we cannot learn Arabic, we get a translation, albeit many of the translations muss up the original messages.

You do not have to speak Arabic to be Muslim. Again, the criteria is above. Speaking Arabic is a beautiful 'side effect' to studying the Quran. I have many friends, atheist, agnostic, Christian, Jews, whom are fluent Arabic speakers - both colloquial and in understanding the Quran.

The ideas above are not 'mine' per se, I can bring forward my opinions on issues that affect me but when it comes to who can be Muslim, what does it take, who is God - the eschatological questions in life - they are answered in full-colour in the Quran.

My humble advice to you would be to scrutinise and read and learn the Quran copy you have; you'll learn yourself insha'Allah (with God's permission/help) what Islam brings that other faith groups may not have. =] I have a Bible course I need to finish *eek*, it's about the structure and chapters of the New/Old Testament first, then I go into Paul's letters, creation and so on. Wish me success!

Wa alay kum as'salam Michael. And upon you be peace! again.

Zaufishan's Muslimness

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