Wednesday, June 10, 2009

e and the Muslims

Perceptive readers have noticed that I like Islam. Before explaining why, do the following: Forget about current events. Go back around eight hundred years, when the Christians were butchering heretics and the Muslims were inventing algebra. Also, keep in mind that my liking Islam does not mean I think it's true. I'm talking about an aesthetic appeal.

1. Islam is focused on the main point.
Muslim's are fanatically anti-idolatry. No icons, no pictures of Muhammad, no nothing. That's why Muslim art is mostly calligraphy and flowers, not Jesus getting crucified (gross) or grotesque Where-the-Wild-Things-Are-type godlets (think Hinduism).

When Muslim's pray, they face the Kabbah in Mecca. It's just a big black square rock, which they claim Daddy Abraham erected. Unfortunately, they idolatrous pre-Muhammad Arabs later put idols around the Kabbah, but Muhammad got rid of idols and reminded everyone that the Kabbah is where it's at.

This is kind of like what the Rebbe says in "B'yom Ashtei Asar": forget the BS. Remember the ikkar.

2. There's less of a "yeah right" reaction
Face it. There's some stuff in Judaism, to which the natural response is "yeah right." I like to minimize the public kefira, so I won't go into examples. Christianity also has lots of "yeah right" doctrines (virgin birth, infallibility of the Pope, "No man cometh unto the Father except through Me," to name a few). With Islam, you have much fewer. The Koran was written recently, so it's not hard to believe that it was actually dictated by Muhammad. The Koran doesn't include a hard-to-believe-ancient history. So believing Muslims don't need to argue with mainstream scientists and historians.

3. There's less "crazy stuff."
Judaism has lots of crazy stuff, eruv tavshillin, kappores, sha'atnez, wacky holidays, etc. And we also get really OCD. Open up a Shulchan Aruch and you'll be amazed at what the rabbis think up. Muslims have "normal" rituals (relatively). No crazy long prayers that are impossible to pay attention to. No writing scrolls that nobody's gonna read (think tefillin and mezuza). No refraining from electricity to help you "rest."

I don't know if this really does justice to issue. I think there's a more underlying and more essential property of Islam that appeals to me, but this is the best I can come up with.

60 comments:

  1. ok first of all b4 the numbers, im not positive that muslims were sitting around doing algebra untill recent history, there was also moslem butchery. ok.
    1 in this respect islam can only be considered at best an equall. the truth is that jewdeism has a much more concrete idea of ein od.
    2 wats wrong with yeah right stuff? alot of stuff that happens today i say yeah right to.
    3 no alchahol, what more can i say?

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  2. The muslims were definatly much more benevolent to Jews but that is in relation to the christians. I.e. plentry of bad stuff from them as well. the religion though focused is much less compassionate than Judaism as well, not to mention less universalistic (people don't have to be Jewish).

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  3. (the rest of humanity): that was a joke.

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  4. BTW-As I've said before, I'm all for polygamy.

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  5. You want to be the first wife or the second wife?

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  6. If I was given a choice, probably the first. Though they both have their advantages...

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  7. Care to elaborate? As I'll never be either...

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  8. There are advantages to both: Sharing the burden (emotional, physical, verbal, etc.), having another woman around who can relate you you well.

    1st-known him longer which can lead to a certain closeness and trust.

    2nd-newer, more exciting.

    It's the difference of love of water or fire. The beginning is passionate and exciting, but very unstable. Eventually, as love grows, it becomes more comfortable, deeper, and quieter but stronger.

    I'm rambling... but that's the gist.

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  9. Ah makes sense why you would like it e.

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  10. poligamy vs alchohol...
    but then they have to wear a hajab...
    honesly though i never understood how someone could have more than one wife, i mean what about all the two halfs of a soul thing..it just doesnt seem normal.

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  11. As much as I like polygamy, I don't think I could do it without alcohol :).

    Plus, what kind of life is an alcohol-free existence?

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  12. if i didnt have alchohol id probly blow myself up.
    wait a sec...

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  13. Many frie Muslims have alcohol, I really don't see why that should be an impediment here.

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  14. what and they still blow themselves up?

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  15. No, moderates don't blow themselves up. They pay others to do it for them.

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  16. Just thought i'd mention....

    There are quite a few sources in Rishonim (referencing to a kaaba mentioned in the gemara) that the kaaba in Mecca was actually the idol used for markolis. Still today, after the advent of Islam, the muslims have the custom, albeit for a different reason, to throw rocks at the kaaba. There are those that hold that as this continues in the style of the original service of the kaaba, muslims are actually idol worshipers. (Check sefer hamafteach under "Islam" for a list of Tshuvos dealing with the topic).

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  17. beauty and the beast

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  18. OK!! Lots of stuff to respond to.

    Dowy: True. There's butchery on all sides. But we got to go back in time so that people won't immediately yell, "HOW CAN YOU LIKE MUSLIMS? THEY'RE KILLING OUR BROTHERS!!!"

    1. I don't know the intricacies of Islamic Ein Od philosophy, so I can't compare it to Chassidus. But if you compare the external aspects of Islam and Judaism, i.e. what's permitted and what's forbidden, Islam is certainly much more ein-od-infused.

    2. If you like believing stuff that sounds made up, perhaps you should try pastafarianism (http://www.venganza.org/)

    3. Good point. I should have mentioned the alcohol or lack thereof in the post. In Islam there's none of this I'm-getting-piss-drunk-but-it's-all-for-the-sake-of-god attitude like we have in Judaism. A servant of God has to keep himself composed at all times.

    Sebastion: without a doubt, islam is less compassionate that other religions. Its lack of compassion is part of its appeal. There's none of the Chrisitian lovey-dovey love-your-enemy-and-turn-the-other-cheek bullshit. They say, "This is how it is. Plain and simple." The word Islam means submission. Submission is not necessarily compassionate. (Some claim that Islam means peace.)

    People often claim that Judaism is more universal that other religions. I think that's a myth. I'll write a post about it, and we can discuss it then.

    trs: convert to sephardiism.

    c + Dewey: There a Russian joke
    Doctor: If you don't smoke, don't drink, and don't fool around with women, you can live until 90.
    Patient: That's called living?

    Anon: they don't throw stones at the Kabbah. The kabbah is inside a huge mosque. They throw stones elsewhere. see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stoning_of_the_devil

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  19. ok i'll take on point one. first of all, nothing can compare to jewdeisms view of ein od - see my post entitled one world - this is the ultimate. secondly from what i understand, you are saying that islam has a purer vision of ein od since they dont have rituals to get in the way - is that the general gist? we'll go from there if it is...
    btw...joke well put :)

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  20. 1. How can you say that nothing can compare to Judaism's ein od, if you never learned any non-Jewish theology?

    2. It's the rituals that get in the way. It's attaching importance to "stuff." For example, for us the center of the world is the Beis Hamikdash, with gold, fancy buildings, singing, burning animals etc. For them, the center of the world is a plain black rock.

    Islam is a very clean religion.

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  21. Some Anonymous SticklerJune 11, 2009 at 1:16 PM

    Please! It's Judaism, not Jewdeism.

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  22. There are advantages to both: Sharing the burden (emotional, physical, verbal, etc.), having another woman around who can relate you you well.

    Meaning, sometimes the husband beats up one wife, sometimes another?

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  23. a big thanks to stickler cos every time i typed it i knew something was wrong but was too lazy to look it up :)
    1 paganism - we know
    cristianity - we know
    hinduism - im not sure if youre allowed to, but i just looked this up, and it seems they may have a monotheistic branch, which i never knew, so..
    buhdism - does not believe in g-d as such, (and btw in a way is the closest thing to chasidus, b/c they have this concept of the entire creation being one, but anyway its not the same)
    and islam.
    anyway wat i wrote in my post as well...

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  24. e-I like the Russian joke :D

    CA-Well, I'm not pro-abuse. I thought it went without saying that I'm for polygamy when the relationships between husband and wife/wives is a healthy one.

    Guys have needs... emotional, physical, and yeah... some need to be spoken to a lot, or have a lot to say. It's easier when there are two or more people to take care of his needs then if the entire burden falls on the shoulders of one woman.

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  25. anonymous mentioned Markulis: The (ancient) Israelites also performed once-Pagan rituals in a commanded-by-G-d context (sheesh, maybe I'm reading too much of that Reform Chumash!).

    dowy: "..more than one wife..it just doesn't seem normal."- You're saying that because you've become accustomed to modern standards. As you know, (authentic) Judaism has no issue with polygamy.

    ...Ha, "Jew-Deism"! That's what it is to most Jews!

    e: "Islam is a very clean religion."- What about Eid 'l-H'uli?

    Some points that weren't mentioned:

    The English and the Saudis were two peoples to conquer great territories in modern times. In the lands that the Muslims conquered they brought innovation and learning, to some places a new golden age (that might be due to the fact that most of the conquered peoples actually wanted them to come, ..but there were great wars as well).

    The English have conquered not only the British isles, but also north America, South Africa Australia and New Zealand (as well as India and other colonies) and have in many places killed all it's inhabitants and colonized these countries with their barbarous ways.

    The Arab, not the Muslim, has a long history of refinement and culture, even in their more nomadic days. The Western-European on the other hand is just someone who took advantage of technologies they did not invent to emerge from Viking-ism, yet to a large extent he is still Viking. It's very evident in their differences in culture and music. How many times did you hear about school shootings in Saudi-Arabia? Or rape? Or any of the vices of European man?

    But in regards to religion: Yeah. They're A LOT more like us in belief and practice than Christians. Islam is an "ortho-praxy" (action oriented) like Judaism, unlike the "ortho-dox" (belief oriented) Christianity. And I definitely believe the Muslim "story" is a lot more believable than the Christian "story". The Rambam himself says that in a way Muhammad was a prophet, he brought Monotheism to the world. ..Christianity tailored to Paganism, Islam was much more hard-like towards it.

    ...in general Arabs were much nicer to Jews. ..in general..

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  26. Re colonization: The former british colonies are for the most part successful countries while the former Arab Colonies turned to shit quite rapidly.
    Now for the religion:
    1- Ein od. Pfui! No pictures of Mohammed but plenty 40ft statues of imams.
    2- Their theology is a lot more monotheistic than chassidus but nowhere near as much as the rest of Judaism
    3- As far as getting piss drunk l'shem shamayim goes, not everyone does that you know.

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  27. modeh - are you suggesting chasidus is not montheistic?

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  28. e - why is Der Erlkönig your fav song?

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  29. Dowy:

    1. You don't know what you're talking about. The idea that everything is God and God is everything is a common belief. If I had more patience, I would dig up a bunch of occult sources. But I don't, so I guess we'll just agree to disagree.

    Shriki: Yeah, you are reading too much of the Reform Chumash. Where do you find that the Israelites threw stones for God?

    re Eid 'l-H'uli: Google turns up nothing. Maybe you can provide a more conventional spelling?

    re Islam vs. Christianity and Europe vs. Africa/Arabia: Hear hear!

    Modeh:
    1. What 40 ft. statues? Are you talking about the Sufis? They're bloody pantheists, like that chassidim.
    2. Ouch!
    3. Good point. But those who prefer Judaism to Islam because Judaism permits drinking do get piss drunk ostensibly l'shem shamaim.

    Dowy: Immanuel Shochet says that Chassidus is pantheistic. Live with it.

    Listen to the Erlkonig, and you'll see why I like it.

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  30. There is a difference between everything being G-dly and everything being G-d.

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  31. And which does chassidus hold?

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  32. that everything is G-dly. Tzimtzum (that word looks really cool in English!) is that everything is a manifestation of G-dliness, but not G-d Himself.

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  33. You're over simplifying it. Somewhere in Sefer Ma'amarim Yiddish (I think it's towards the beginning) the Frierdiker Rebbe says concerning God, "Altz is Er, un Er is altz." (He is everything, and everything is he.)

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  34. Everything is a manifestation of G-d. But no single item can express the entirety of G-d. That's basic chassidus... Or Ein Sof is unlimited.

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  35. Chassidus tries to be monotheistic and pantheistic at the same time. Islam doesn't try to be pantheistic (I think), so it's able to be more solidly monotheistic.

    Of course the chassidim here will claim that straight monotheism is less "ein od" then chassidic mono-pantheism: if the world is not God, then "yesh od." This may be true. I don't really care. My point is that Islamic monotheism is "cleaner." Like it or not, Chassidic mon-pantheism is very messy. Try to explain it, and you'll end up contradicting yourself and running into paradoxes.

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  36. Now, THAT'S more likely :).

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  37. Indeed. Don't you wish you were a Muslim, and your theology actually made sense?

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  38. Not at all.

    And definitely not.

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  39. not at all=you don't want to be a muslim.

    Definitely not=you definitely don't want your theology to make sense?

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  40. Maybe I put that wrongly.

    I don't want my religion to make complete sense to me.

    I definitely do not want to be Muslim.

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  41. im fine with agreeing to disagree.
    anyway i listned to Erlkonig, and looked it up on wiki...wats the rave?

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  42. Again with the bearded men.
    But the comments are interesting, so alright.

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  43. c: yeah, i guess there's an appeal to nonsensical stuff. makes the whole thing more mysterious and grand-sounding

    dowy: do you know what the lyrics mean?

    Sarabonne: ideed

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  44. Exactly!

    If Torah was really Divine, there has to be things in there that man would not come up with on his own. If the entire Torah made sense to us, and the religion simple, it could have been established by human. I don't know about you, but I don't want to trust some random human who doesn't know more than you (cuz you're one of the smarter ones) to decide how I live my life. But G-d, him I trust.

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  45. Right. You're looking for a religion with Truth. I'm just looking for aesthetic appeal.

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  46. Whatever floats your boat.

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  47. Obviously I'm not gonna get heavily involved in Islam. I just like liking it.

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  48. Because Islam has lots of issues. Like killing random people, for example. Like treating women like sh*t. Hello! People get trampled every year when they throw stones at the pillar during the haj. Does that sound like a civilized pilgrimage?

    they freaking fast for a month. A muslim cyber-friend of mine told me that--surprise, surprise--Muslims are just like us. When they fast, they don't get spiritual. they just think about food all day.

    Appreciating a religion's beauty is not the same thing as accepting it as one's own.

    I thought that was obvious.

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  49. :D

    You're cute.

    Glad you're sane.

    And yes, I understand respecting another's way of life without making it your own.

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  50. Good. now I can go to sleep.

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  51. It rains in Morristown and I miss out on all the fun? Dang.

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  52. That’s not the reason not to get involved with Islam. If G-d gave Torah that treated women like shit and told us to kill everyone who is not Jewish, would this not be right thing to do? The only reason not to be a muslim is that their religion is sheker. Aesthetic appeal — nu, like a ring in a pig’s snout.

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  53. Modeh B'Miktsas: "The former british colonies are for the most part successful countries while the former Arab Colonies turned to shit quite rapidly."- That's because the Western Europeans took all the most firtile and unused lands in the world (North America, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand) and populated them with themselves. That is the only reason White people are 'on top of the game' right now. The Arab colonies did quite well their first few centuries; there's no question that the White colonies (America more than others) will fare quite worse when they're in the same historical stage that the Arab countries are today (rever see 'Mad Max'?).

    e: "you are reading too much of the Reform Chumash. Where do you find that the Israelites threw stones for God?"- No, not that. It's just that early Judaism is catered around a culture that early Semites found comfortable.

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  54. CA: Spoken like a true fundi.

    Shriki: I still don't get it. How do you know that Israelites threw stones to make god happy?

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Forth shall ye all hold.