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Q.  I’m simply curious as to why a Greek would choose a religion that is so antithetical to his or her own culture. Beyond that, there are more general questions about Islam and its treatment of non-believers that I, as a non-believer, would like answered. Perhaps you can help.

A.  Thank you for asking about our religion and coming forth with your question.  I will answer the question based on my own experience as a Greek convert.  I know this is a really long post, but please bear with me.

(Special note to the questioner: Before we start, I have a special request, actually two.  First, I need you to forget about your culture for just a few minutes and think openmindely and objectively.  Second, I would like you to make a prayer.  I know you wouldn’t normally agree to this since you are an agnostic, but please, just try it.  It’s not going to hurt.  Turn to the one who created the heavens and the earth (whoever you think that is and even if it’s ‘unknown’) and say, ‘The one who created the heavens and the earth, if you have the power, strength and knowledge to create these, then you surely have the power to show me the truth. If you are out there, guide me to the truth, whatever that may be’  I know this might sound insane to you, but please trust me on this one. )

I’m serious, just try it.

For me, it all started when I was very young (about 7 years old, actually!) when I first started to contemplate on what the purpose of life is.  I’ve never really understood it but growing up, it would sometimes become a burning question that I did not have an answer to.  Without an answer, I would then often drift into “go with the flow” mode, where the purpose of life is the ol’ get a good education, get a good paying job, get married, by a house and a nice car…. and then, well, die.

I first met Muslims in my university classes.  Before that, they were always around me but I just never noticed.  I honestly naively thought that the entire world was full of Christians only! Can you believe it?  I thought it was a really strange thing that anyone would believe in some wierd god, oppress their women and speak some wierd language but I was still respectful to them because I felt sorry for them.

Later our discussions transformed into full-fledge debates at the student cafeteria.  I was their staunch opponent.  I started becoming more and more practising as a Greek Orthodox and going back to the church, perhaps because I felt that I had to defend my religion – everything that I was raised with. 

Without that much knowledge about Islam, it was harder to convince them that they were dead wrong, so when no one was looking, I would sneak into the library and try to find some books about Islam.  What I found were some books that looked like they were published 1000 years ago – they were so ancient, it seemed!  So, then I started to search online as well.  I needed some substantial evidence to prove that they were wrong.

Then everything changed.  I made a prayer that God show me the truth.   I wanted to know and I was so sincere in that prayer. 

I was absolutely sure that the truth would be Christianity and that the Muslims will soon find out but God had another plan for me. 

When no one was looking, I started to step back from my preconceived notions and started to think objectively for the first time in my life.  Why are Muslims so strict about not associating Jesus (peace be upon him) as God?  Don’t they know that we need Jesus to be a salvation for our sins?

I went to visit our local priest and asked him a lot of questions, especially about the trinity.  I finally had the guts to nonchalantly bring up the word ‘Islam’ (for all those Greeks out there, you know how hard that would be!) but as soon as I uttered that word, his eyes immediately bulged out of his head and he strongly suggested that I stay away from those bad people.  However, the problem was that he didn’t answer my questions with proper answers.  It was all a big run-around.

That just left me on my own to find out.  Slowly, with more and more research and evidence, my heart was realizing the truth of one God without partners but my mind was opposing it with all its might.  I just couldn’t even dream of leaving everything known to me – my religion, my culture, my family, my rituals and celebrations- behind.

Then it happened in my bedroom.  I was finishing up some more reading on the subject and contemplating heavily if Jesus is really God or not.  All of a sudden, within a few seconds, I felt something go through me very quickly, as if it was some fresh air or spirit washing out my heart and then BOOM (!), automatically, I felt this massive, I mean massive, sense of tranquility and almost said outoud, ‘Jesus is not God!’. 

Then immediately after that, I thought, ‘How in the world am I going to tell my parents that I am Muslim?’

I know what I am writing is going to be extremely difficult for some to believe.  No, I was not possessed by some devil or spirit.  Actually, I found when speaking to other converts that some of them related the same thing to me (before I even mentioned my story to them).  Now, after knowing more about Islam, I do believe that it was God answering my initial prayer and it was, perhaps, an angel, under the instruction of God, who cleansed my soul of the prior disbelief.

So, this is a super long post – sorry for that- so to conclude, I would like to answer your question, why would a Greek choose a religion so antithetical to his or her own culture?  Well, for a few reasons. 

First, it wasn’t my intention to do so.  In fact, it was the complete opposite but in my search for the truth, I found that it was that God is one without any partners.  I later found the answer to my question of what the purpose of life is explicitly mentioned beautifully in the Qur’an.

Second, after seeing all this truth, my priorties in life changed drastically.  I no longer was going with the flow for worldly success only.  I now had (and have) a primary goal of reaching paradise so whatever I can do to take me there, I will do.  If that is to leave some of my cultural aspects that contradict worshipping one God without associating partners, then I will do so. 

Third, becoming a Muslim does not mean I forfeit my culture.  In fact, Islam embraces diversity of all cultures.  For example, I have lots of friends who are Pakistani, Somalian, Arab, Greek, Bosnian, Canadian, British, Chinese, Indian, Italian, Spanish, etc who are Muslim.  Islam embraces culture and actually Islamic law is very dynamic in the sense that it changes with the people, culture, customs, generations, technology etc.

This is why we say we are Greek Muslim.  I hope that I have answered your question fully and that it has given you greater understanding of us.  I pray that the creator of the heavens and the earth show you the truth. 

I hope that we can create a discussion based on sincerity, honesty and respect.  I look forward to receiving your top 3-5 questions about the other aspects of Islam you have.

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 *Αχμαντ Ελντιν

 

 

Πόσες και πόσες φορές έχουμε μιλήσει με φίλους, συγγενείς, γνωστούς για την Ιστορία μας και πόσες άλλες ακόμα φορές έχουμε αναφερθεί για την Οθωμανική Αυτοκρατορία οπού την γεύτηκε και η Ελλάδα μας; Αμέτρητες φορές.

 

Καθένας που το κουβεντιάζει το κοιτάζει από την δικιά του σκοπιά. Για παράδειγμα, αλλιώς θα το δει ο Εθνικιστής, αλλιώς ο πιστός Χριστιανός και αλλιώς ένας αντικειμενικός.

 

Είναι εύστοχο να αποκαλούμε έναν Μουσουλμάνο στην χώρα μας Τούρκο η ακόμα και Άραβα μόνο και μόνο επειδή είναι Μουσουλμάνος; Είναι σωστό το σκεπτικό ότι επειδή πλειοψηφικά οι Τούρκοι και οι Άραβες είναι Μουσουλμάνοι άρα κάθε Μουσουλμάνος είναι Τούρκος η Άραβας;

 

 

Όχι! Δεν είναι καθόλου σωστό. Το Ισλάμ δεν ανήκει σε καμία Χώρα δεν ανήκει σε καμία σημαία, οργάνωση, φυλή, κουλτούρα. Το Ισλάμ είναι για όλους και για όλα.

 

Ισλάμ σημαίνει αυτός/η η αυτό που υποτάσσεται στο θέλημα του Δημιουργού Θεού. Είναι Αυτός ο οποίος έπλασε τους πάντες και τα πάντα με σοφία. Μια σοφία που άλλοτε την κατανοούμε και άλλοτε όχι.

 

Μουσουλμάνος μπορεί να είναι ο καθένας ανεξάρτητα από που κατάγεται, ποια γλώσσα μιλάει, κλτπ. Το Ισλάμ είναι ένας κώδικας ζωής που κανένας δεν έχει το δικαίωμα να του κρεμάσει την ταμπέλα του Έθνους, της κουλτούρας, ακόμα και την ταμπέλα της θρησκείας.

 

Ο Τούρκος είναι Μουσουλμάνος όχι ο Μουσουλμάνος είναι Τούρκος. Το ίδιο ισχύει και για τον Άραβα και για κάθε έναν που είναι Μουσουλμάνος η ασπάζεται το Ισλάμ.

 

 

Το Κοράνι λέει:

 

Ω! Εσείς οι άνθρωποι! Σας έχουμε
πλάσει από έναν (μόνο) άνδρα και μια
(μόνο) γυναίκα, και σας κάναμε σε λαούς
– Έθνη και Φυλές για ν’ αναγνωρίζει ο
ένας τον άλλο (κι όχι να καταφρονεί ο
ένας τον άλλο). Βέβαια ο πιο τιμημένος
από σας – στα μάτια του ΑΛΛΑΧ -,
είναι ο πιο ενάρετος (υπάκουος) (ανάμεσα
σας). Και ο ΑΛΛΑΧ είναι Παντογνώστης
και καλά πληροφορημένος (για όλα τα
πράγματα). ( Κοράνι 49:13)

 

 

 

Το εδάφιο του Κορανίου παραπάνω ξεκάθαρα τονίζει ότι στο Ισλάμ δεν χωράνε οι φυλετικές διακρίσεις, ρατσισμοί κτλπ. Ο Θεός αναφέρει ότι έπλασε τον άνθρωπο σε Έθνη και Φυλές όχι για διακρίσεις και καταφρονήσεις αλλά για αναγνώριση. Ο πιο τιμημένος δεν είναι αυτός που είναι ο πιο πλούσιος η δυνατός, αλλά αυτός ο οποίος υπακούει τον Δημιουργό του. Ο Τούρκος η ο Έλληνας είναι Ίσα και όμοια απέναντι στο Θεό. Ο Άραβας και ο Αμερικάνος είναι ίσα και όμοια απέναντι στο Θεό και η διαφορά τους είναι μόνο στο ποιος υπακούει περισσότερο η λιγότερο τον Θεό. Αυτός πραγματικά είναι ένας όμορφος ανταγωνισμός.

 

 

*(Tikaras.wordpress.comIslamic Informative and Apologetic – Ισλαμική ενημερωτική και Απολογητική)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Surprise, surprise.  Another heavily distorted article on Islam and Muslims but this time it’s about Muslims living in the Balkans.  Sometimes, a feeling of disgust sweeps over me as I read these articles, but at least this one gave us some facts. 

 

Here’s a summary:

Kosovo:

A Muslim majority but the author said it was very rare to see people wearing hijab.  According to the author, it is secular there.

Macedonia:

A good number of hijabis and people wearing abayas even.  About 1/3 of Macedonia are Muslims, mostly of Albanian origin.  According to the author’s interviewee, they are becoming more secular as well and “modern” and the minority is becoming more “radical”.  ( <– what a distorted viewpoint)

(If anyone has anymore facts about these countries, please post in the comment section.)

What was so distorted about the article was the misuse of labels he threw in like Sufis, Ismailis, Wahabi, etc.  Subhan Allah, just because a sister wears an abayah like this one in the photo or someone talks against saint worship and saints’ graves, people are labeled wahabis? 

What I don’t like is that the author tries to show that there are two different kinds of Islam: regular/secular and Arab import Islam.  Actually, some Muslims also seem to have this viewpoint.  I remember meeting some older Pakistani Muslims who were trying to say there is “Arab Islam” and “Pakistani Islam”.  I also remember talking to a black lady before I converted to Islam and she told me there is “Arab Islam” and “Black Islam”.

Subhan Allah, this is all truly because of lack of knowledge in Islam.  Just a few days ago, our teacher was telling us of many major scholars in Islam were not only Arabic, but Abysinian or from other areas.  After becoming prisoners of war, because of the excellent treatment they were given, many of them converted to Islam and their descendents became scholars.  Did you know that Imam Al-Bukhari, the Ameer Al-Mumineen of hadith, was from the city of Bukhara located in Uzbekistan? 

When people start learning the deen, all of these misconceptions will go away.   The only Islam there is, is the Qur’an and Sunnah.

“O you who believe! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger, and those charged with authority among you. If ye differ in anything amongst yourselves refer it to Allah and the Messenger, if you believe in Allah and the Last Day.” (Qur’an: An-Nisaa’ 4:59)

 

Note: Ameer Al-Mumineen = the leader of the believers

 

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I see more and more European news outlets and blogs such as this one talking about Islamophobia*.  If I was not a Muslim, I guess I would be concerned too, being constantly bombarded by heavily distorted and false propaganda, but really if you understand Islam and how an Islamic state treats and protects dhimmis with high respect and honor, there’s nothing to be afraid of.  And I’ll go even further to say that it’s a much better system than how democracy treats its minorities.

 

          Will Muslims be the majority in Europe in 20 years?  Maybe.

          Could Christianity die out in a century?  Allah knows.

          Is Europe afraid?  Definitely.

          Is there a need to be afraid.  I don’t think so.

 

This blogger seems to think so with her ‘see saw’ theory that when Europe is up, Islam is down and vice versa.  She has a point. 

The tides are turning and no one can deny that.  Br. Amr Khaled has stated it publicly as well as Shaykh Yusuf Qaradawi here:

 

 

Someone might view this video and be afraid but there’s nothing to be afraid of.  The truth of God stands clear and everyone is given a choice to accept or decline.

 

*Note:  Just had to throw this definition in here to show our “Greekness” 🙂 

A phobia (from Greek: φόβος, phobos, “fear”), is an irrational, intense, persistent fear of certain situations, activities, things, or persons.

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Question:

Hello everybody, I’m a Greek Orthodox Christian, and I wanna ask you, why do you think you’re different? I think we all are the same we are all humans and Greeks, and we’re not supposed to count each other different, I was shocked to see Greek Muslims think they are not Greeks or make their own websites as if they were different, I’ll tell ya, we’re all Greeks, athiests, Jews, Musilms or Christians, the most important thing to believe in Allah only! I speak Arabic very fluently, for Muslims who want help in this language, and I know a lot about Islam, so anyone needs help, I’m here : mesow@hotmail.com.

Answer:

Mesow, welcome to the group and thank you for asking us this important question.  Yes, we have some similarities, but we are different. 

  • human beings  (same)
  • Greek culture (same)
  • beliefs (different)

If you watch our video or browse through our blog posts, you will find undoubtedly that our posts are very different than what another Greek blogger would publish because we share different beliefs and therefore live different lifestyles.  Hence, the need for our unique website.

Mesow, let me ask you this, if you believe in Allah (one true God) only, then why are you not a Muslim?

 

Note: others are free to comment as well.

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This is a very odd video (to say the least) but it has a good message about the truth on the Greece vs. Turkey issue.  Interesting perspective, especially, when Turkey is trying so hard to be a secular society.

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I find that many times when people ask me about Islam, they cannot fathom why we do the things we do.  They think it is absurd, backwards or strict.   That is because they are trying to imagine themselves doing the act.

They take a piece of Islam out of context and try to inject it into their system of life.  It’s like taking one piece of a puzzle from Islam and inserting it to their life own life puzzle, expecting it to fit.   

But of course, it’s not going to fit. 

Many people live secular lives, even if they practice a religion.  Their religion doesn’t outline the fine details of all aspects of life so practically, they have to make up their own system and unfortunately, religion takes a back seat to minimal tasks like praying and doing good in general. 

But when I practice a certain principle in Islam, whether it be social, economical, legal, political or personal, it fits perfectly in total harmony into my way of life (or puzzle).  Why?  Because we have all the fine details laid out by our Creator on how we should live so we do not need to create our own secular system.

The quicker I can explain my puzzle theory to people, the quicker things start falling into place.  Let’s take the popular misconception of “Muslim women are oppressed by their husbands/fathers.” (First of all, what a joke!!  Anyone who has every personally talked with Muslim women know that this is a fallacy.)

So, why do people assume that they are oppressed? Partially, the media (ok, mostly) and partially because THEY cannot picture themselves dressing modestly, covering their heads and letting their husbands protect and take care of them (or any man for that matter!).

But for Muslim women, this is an honor!  Yeah, I said …. honor!

By doing all of those things, I feel liberated.  Liberated knowing I am doing those things to follow the commandments of God, and not following the “norms” of what people say.  What is “normal” in 2008 wasn’t quite “normal” in 1920 so who gets to decide what’s “normal”?

We don’t follow man-made laws and we don’t follow your way of living, well, simply because it has massive flaws (and if you don’t agree, just check out the increasing rates of murder, violence, rape, children born out of wedlock, theft and on and on.)

We follow the perfect way of life for both religion and state and that is God’s way of life detailed in the Quran and the recorded authentic traditions of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).  Can you match that?

 

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