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Monday, March 25, 2019

MY SPEECH ON THE "SPLIT" IN AHMADIYYAT

For "Musleh Ma'ud" [Promised Son] Day Event in Feb. I gave a speech on the Split in the Ahmadiyya Jama'at, usually marked from 1914 upon the demise of the 1st Khalifa and the election of the 2nd Khalifa, Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad (ra). But the true series of events is more interesting by far. . .
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y3K1o9fv1cA&feature=youtu.be

Sunday, November 25, 2018

THE "GREEN BOOK" IN THE LAND OF RED, WHITE, BLACK AND BLUE


On Thanksgiving Day the wife and I went to see the film "Green Book" – a biopic about the relationship between Black world-class pianist Dr. Don Shirley (in a wonderfully nuanced performance by Mahershala Ali) and his Italian driver and bodyguard Tony Vallelonga (in a hilariously in-your-face portrayal by Viggo Mortensen). They first meet when Dr. Shirley hires Tony to accompany him on a concert tour that will take them through the Deep South in pre-civil rights 1962 America. The title of the film comes from the travel guide called a Green Book that African-Americans relied on to find Black-friendly restaurants, gas stations, entertainment and lodgings in an America where knowing where it was safe to go for food, gas, fun and sleep could mean the difference between a pleasant vacation and a racist nightmare ordeal that could end up costing you your life.

The wife and I both enjoyed the film – very impacting on so many levels because there were so many levels to the film. I encourage everyone to go see it. But I have to say I am dismayed at some of the comments and reviews that basically "talk trash" about certain aspects of the film, like saying it's “White people making a movie about racism for White people,” or complaining that Don Shirley wasn't portrayed correctly or in enough depth.

Firstly, on the racism charge, if you want to reach White audiences with a message they need to hear, the modus operandi of using White people to do that is actually a good thing. Look at Spike Lee's "Black kKklansman" as an example. While undoubtedly an important film that should be widely seen and one masterfully executed by Spike (as usual), how many White people were lining up to see it? Same problem Michael Moore has: their reputations precede them. Point being, you can't get a good message into a person's head if they don't want to listen to the messenger.

As for complaining about the depth (or lack thereof) with regard to historical accuracy or details, I only got one comment for all those nit-pickers and nay-sayers out there: show me what YOU have done to bring America to an awareness of Dr. Don Shirley and his music, and the Green Book that (literally) could mean life or death for African-Americans traveling in pre-civil rights America, especially in the South. Yeah, I thought so. Nada. Zip. At least now there's a movie out there that's going to reach millions of Americans – many of them African-Americans who have never heard of Don Shirley or the Green Book – and I am hoping that whoever sees this engaging film will be enlightened and moved emotionally by what they see in "Green Book."

Medicine is more easily imbibed with a little honey, and "Green Book" is the kind of medicine that a LOT of people need to imbibe, especially in today's Trumpian world where racism is being dog-whistled left and right by the man currently in the White House. Before Trump came on the stage, the Green Book that saved the lives of countless African-Americans was just a historical remnant of a much more intolerant and racist time. What's truly scary is that if things race-wise keep deteriorating, the Green Book may, by necessity, have to make a comeback. We can't allow that to happen. It's bad enough that some people don't understand why "Black Lives Matter" or why Colin Kaepernick and other Black athletes want to take a knee to protest racial injustices. It's even worse when some people don't think there's a problem with racism in America at all.

That's why "Green Book" comes to the fore at a time when the need to face America's past, vis-a-vis race relations, is even more vital to the survival of America as a country and as an ideal. We are not all White. We have never been all White. We are a mixture of people from all over the globe in search of a better life and a chance to live free.

True, many of the people who came here did not do so of their own volition but rather in chains or through the harsh winds of war, famine or economic hardship, but regardless of the misfortune or dire circumstances that brought them to America, some of them and many more of their descendants were first empowered and eventually granted more freedoms and better opportunities by the promise inherent in seven simple words that truly gave birth to America: "Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

We owe it to our children – White, Black, Brown or whatever shade of skin tone they may be – to ensure that the America our past generations hoped for continues to shine, not just as an ideal, but as an attainable reality of freedom, hope and opportunity. America must fight and strive to be the place where the oppressed can escape religious, political, racial, economic and other forms of persecution. Trump and his minions are herding us down the road to a fascist, authoritarian, apartheid police state that will spell the death of America as we know it.

Think I'm being overly reactionary? Remember: Germany was one of Europe's most highly cultured and civilized nation-states, boasting strong democratic and humanitarian mores and institutions. . . before Hitler came to power. In less than a decade, Hitler and the Nazis destroyed everything good in their country and tried to do the same in the rest of the world. And all along the way, the Nazis had willing enablers and sycophants to oil the wheels of their racist, antisemitic, eugenics-driven machineries of death.

So call me reactionary – it's what happens when you know even a little bit of American and world history and are not feeling at ease or encouraged by current trends. OK, the rant is over. Here's the link to an article on "Green Book." Go see the movie and support the ideal of what America needs to be and, God-willing (and people-willing), can be.

https://www.latimes.com/entertainment/movies/la-et-mn-mahershala-ali-green-book-20181121-story.html


Sunday, June 18, 2017

AUDIO-VIDEO LINKS + GHAFFAR'S BLOG POSTS


=========================================================
    Jonathan M.A.Ghaffar   -   Email: JonathanMAG@Gmail.com
    Cell: 1-909-525-5299    -   Work Ph. (Chino Mosque): 909-627-2252
    Mailing Address: 11941 Ramona Ave. – Chino, CA 91710-1661 USA
    1-866-WHY-ISLAM (rings at Baitul Hameed Mosque in Chino, CA)
=========================================================
   
Link to my online 8-Gig folder of Tabligh & Da'een Education Materials (includes 5-vol. Eng. + 1-vol. Eng. commentary Qurans + Sher Ali Quran + many books by PM & others in PDF form):
   

=================================================
How I became an Ahmadi Muslim (20-min. version)
YouTube LINK: 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7iVhlzmJrGY&t=990s

Salat -- the Muslim 5x daily prayer audio files in English and Arabic + Surah Fatiha (ch.1) + Surah Baqara (ch.2) v1-8 + Surahs 87-114 [WAV & MP3s] 

Link to MP3 of KCAA 1050-AM radio show interview on The Kathleen Wells Show 29-min. excerpt with Imam Zafarullah and Jonathan M.A.Ghaffar from Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Chino, California. Interview Wed. Oct. 22nd, 2014. Topics: response to Bill Maher's anti-Islam comments, ISIS, true teachings of Islam and Ahmadiyyat. 

Jonathan M.A.Ghaffar’s Oct. 11th 2012 1-hour radio interview: 
“How I became Ahmadi Muslim”

Jonathan M.A.Ghaffar’s Oct. 11th 2012 1-hour 22-min. ver. radio interview:               “How I became Ahmadi Muslim”

“Ground Zero Mosque” radio interview with Jonathan M.A.Ghaffar Aug.2010

“Introduction to the Holy Quran” audio CD files [originally recorded by M.A.Ghaffar in 2011 at the Baitul Hameed Mosque; sound quality re-engineered in 2014 for 2nd pressing of CD with new disc & jacket design.]

Prof. Bart Ehrman vs. Evangelical Craig Evans debate on NT reliability:

“Understanding Islam” KCAA 1050-AM Radio Show 32-kbs MP3 audio files (Sept.2009-Feb.2012: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/cbgcj3oz8ud9i74/kFzeftqJoh

“Understanding Islam” KCAA 1050-AM radio show scripts

Introduction to Ahmadiyyat (Video link)

“Voice of Islam” radio shows (1-15 from 2002)

Holy Quran Arabic recitation by M. Rashid Alafasy

Quran CD in English and Arabic (AMC Portland Jama’at production)

Abdur Raheem Hubbs’ short video on “Muhammad in the Bible”:


GHAFFAR’S BLOG POSTS. . .

06-03-17:   SEEING THE FOREST FOR THE TREES                                                                  IN THE FIGHT AGAINST ISIS                        
BLOG LINK:
jonathanmaghaffar.blogspot.com/2017/06/seeing-forest-for-trees-in-fight.html 

12-02-16:   LOVE IS WHAT GIVES US POWER OVER EVIL             
BLOG LINK: 
jonathanmaghaffar.blogspot.com/2016/12/rebuilding-our-way-to-better-america.html 

10-15-16:   MY ANSWER TO "A GERMAN'S VIEW ON ISLAM"                           
BLOG LINK: 
jonathanmaghaffar.blogspot.com/2016/10/my-answer-to-germans-view-on-islam.html 

08-17-16:   MY COMMENTS ON AN ANTI-MUHAMMAD VIDEO             
BLOG LINK: 
jonathanmaghaffar.blogspot.com/2016/08/my-comments-on-anti-muhammad-video_17.html 

06-09-16:   MUFTI MUHAMMAD SADIQ AWARD COMMENTS: How I became an Ahmadi Muslim                                          
YouTube LINK: 
www.youtube.com/watch?v=7iVhlzmJrGY&t=990s

12-01-15:   POLICE IN THE BLACK AND WHITE SPOTLIGHT
BLOG LINK: 
jonathanmaghaffar.blogspot.com/2015/12/police-in-black-and-white-spotlight.html

05-04-15:   5,000 WORDS OF THANKS TO MR. BRADBURY






04-19-14:   ONLY LOVE CAN HEAL HATE


04-03-14:   SAYING “NO” TO THE CANCER OF WAR





11-08-13:   PAKISTAN’S DEADLY BLASPHEMY LAWS (footnoted)

10-19-13:   LIVING THE LESSONS OF ABRAHAM

10-04-13:   THE HEALING PROPERTIES OF MYRRH wrt: JESUS

09-21-13:   MUHAMMAD: THE BEST MESSENGER OF ISLAM

08-18-13:   PAKISTAN’S BLASPHEMY LAWS (OP-ED VERSION)

08-17-13:   ARE MOSQUES HOTBEDS OF TERRORISM?

08-08-13:   BLASPHEMY LAWS ARE THE REAL BLASPHEMY

07-20-13:   RAMADHAN A TIME FOR RE-DEDICATION TO GOD

04-17-13:   TERRORISM WILL NEVER SUCCEED

03-16-13:   PEACE AND SALVATION THROUGH THE MESSIAH

03-15-13:   PEACE STARTS WITH JUSTICE AND RESPECT

03-14-13:   WHO ARE THE REAL BLASPHEMERS IN PAKISTAN?

01-26-13:   GOD’S LAWS ARE A BLESSING NOT A CURSE

01-05-13:   CHAI WITH IMAM SHAMSHAD

12-15-12:   CHRISTMAS – A REMINDER TO FOLLOW CHRIST

12-15-12:   WHY JESUS DID NOT DIE ON THE CROSS

12-6-12:      SAVING MALALA TO SAVE ISLAM

8-22-12:      RESPONSE TO REQUEST FOR INFO ON AHMADIYYAT

7-2-12:        DEFENDING THE QUR'AN [Reply to 2003 Newsweek article]

7-2-12:        FREEDOM WITHOUT JUSTICE ISN'T FREEDOM

7-2-12:        9-11: AFFECTS AND EFFECTS 10 YEARS LATER

7-2-12:        WHY THE MURDER OF AHMADIS IN PAKISTAN
SHOULD CONCERN AMERICANS

7-2-12:        WHEN THE POLICE ARE THE CRIMINALS

6-30-12:      WE ARE HERE TO LOVE GOD AND EACH OTHER

6-30-12:      SAUDI GRAND MUFTI'S EDICT GOES AGAINST ISLAM

6-30-12:      OSAMA BIN LADEN -- AN ICON NO MORE

6-30-12:      NOAH'S ARK FOR THE MUSLIMS


6-30-12:      IF JESUS VISITED PAKISTAN

6-30-12:      FEAR IS THE STONEMASON

6-26-12:      REFLECTIONS OF THE PROPHET (saw)

6-23-12:      WHY PEOPLE DON'T ACCEPT ISLAM
EVEN WHEN THEY BELIEVE IT'S TRUE

5-16-12:      A HEART ALIGHT ON THE WINGS OF JOY
SUNG FORTH IN THE CALL TO PRAYER
      
5-16-12:      IS WAR THE ONLY WAY TO PEACE?

4-4-12:        THE ABRAHAMIC FAITHS: GOD'S TIMELINE TO ISLAM

4-4-12:        DEFINING ISLAM WITH LOVE OR HATE
BLOG LINK: 
jonathanmaghaffar.blogspot.com/2012/04/defining-islam-with-love-or-hate.html

Saturday, June 3, 2017

SEEING THE FOREST FOR THE TREES IN THE FIGHT AGAINST ISIS

Pres. Trump has returned home from his first tour of the Middle-East and Europe, evoking praise and vitriol here and abroad, depending on whether you view the world and its myriad, interconnected complexities through Trump's myopic green-colored glasses or not. What is painfully obvious is that Trump is woefully ignorant of, and thus completely unprepared to handle, the realities of statecraft on today's world stage with its many volatile players.

Just look at his visit with the Saudis. With one hand he gestures for peace across the Middle-East while calling for a crackdown on Sunni Jihadist extremism, yet with his other hand, he shields his eyes from five decades of Saudi-funded and exported Sunni Jihadist extremism while selling the Saudis $110-billion in US-made weapons. (This is like hiring a known pedophile to run your daycare center!) And these weapons will inevitably be used against Shia (read: Iran-friendly) factions in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen -- which means some of that $110-billion in bombs and bullets will end up in the hands of ISIS.

This will result in even more death and destruction and even more refugees seeking escape to anywhere safe. So it understandably angers and amazes me how some people can raise the alarm over an influx of Muslim refugees -- created by the instability of their war-torn countries -- and signal the doom and downfall of their own countries while doing nothing to help prevent the death and destruction in Muslim countries which produce these unwanted refugees in the first place.

Go back a decade or so before Syria, Tunisia, Egypt, Iraq, Libya, and Yemen were embroiled in their political and military upheavals and you'll see tens of millions of Muslims living relatively peacefully in relatively stable societies. True, most were ruled by iron-fisted dictators, but the reality is that America and other Western nations, as well as Russia, were often instrumental in putting those dictators in power and were more than happy to turn a blind eye to these dictators' evils and repression of their respective populations.

So it's hardly a surprise when these same populations rise up and demand their freedoms the first chance they get. Sadly, power vacuums are rarely, if ever, filled by altruistic, kind-hearted, benevolent statesmen who love their countries, but usually by murderous tyrants and despots who only crave self-enrichment and power.

The answer to this whole debacle is simple: the US and all those who seek to end the problem of radical Islam need to empower the reformist and moderate forms of Islam such as the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community (visit Alislam.org, MuslimsForPeace.org, KhalifaofIslam.com) and also work to re-educate the Muslim world that, for the past half-century, has been fed a steady diet of hate and ignorance from the Saudi-funded madrasas (Islamic schools) teaching their radical Wahhabi-Salafi doctrines and intolerant, violent Jihadist version of Islam. (I know, easier said than done, but that’s the real solution in a nutshell.)

Then, at the same time, the US and her allies must stop supporting -- with their dollars, guns, and silence -- the root sponsors of this self-destructive interpretation of Islam. Then, after a generation of Muslims has been raised without this Saudi-financed Wahhabi-Salafi doctrinal cancer in Islam, you will see the Islam that existed for at least a millennia after the birth of Islam in the 7th century AD.

History is the best barometer of what is actually true -- be it in a culture, a philosophy, a religion or a civilization. Barbarism never produces civilization. Even a cursory review of Islamic history demonstrates a worldview and reality where education, literacy, science, freedom of religion and interfaith tolerance, freedom to dissent, and technological advancements were all in evidence for well over a thousand years. This was not the result of the absence of true Islamic thinking and government in the world, but the presence of true Islamic thinking and government in the world.

Of course, Islamic history is not pristine, let alone perfect. As I often remark, “Religion would be great if there were no people in it.” But because people are often driven by fear, greed, insecurity and hate, it is no surprise that you have in a religion’s Holy Book all the good things it commands its followers to do and live by, and then you have the lives they often choose to live according to their own lower, animalistic natures instead of their own higher, moral and spiritual selves. It’s a wonder God puts up with us at all, given our frequent disobedience, arrogance, and outright disbelief in Him and His prophets and His Teachings. But all that is on us, not God.

All Holy Scriptures give the same core of ethical and moral tenets so we can freely choose to strive to better ourselves instead of butcher each other. Thank God I believe in a God Who is Patient and Forgiving or we would all be doomed and in deep spiritual trouble. The liability and responsibility, of course, are still firmly and entirely laid upon our shoulders. And this goes for the believers in any Faith, or for atheists who believe in no god but subscribe nonetheless to an ethical code and the sense of having an innate moral compass to be adhered to and not ignored.

For those who do believe in a Higher Power, God never forces us to do or be good. If He did, we would be little more than meat puppets. God gives us the freedom of choice and also the responsibility for the consequences of our choices. It is the key moral and spiritual arrangement between God and mankind that validates our purpose in this life.

The downside of this is that it does not remove evil from the world. But that, in fact, is also the upside as well and the main point of our existence. In whatever form evil takes and in whatever religious garb evil people seek to cloak themselves in, combating and defeating evil is our job, not God’s. That is why Islam clearly states that it is a Muslim’s duty to stand up to and fight against tyranny and evil – especially when it hides behind the name of Islam.

It would be nice to believe that Muslims can and will do this by and for themselves, but the reality, like the reality of Hitler and Nazi Germany, forebodes otherwise. When someone is dying from cancer – one they may vociferously deny is afflicting them in the first place – it becomes incumbent on others to do whatever they can to help affect a cure. The silent majority on every side of the issue needs to step up and speak out and be proactive and not just reactive. As the famous adage goes, “All that is required for the triumph of evil is for the good to do nothing.”

So decrying a “problem” is good in that you call attention to it, but unless you understand the problem and how it came to be and what you can actually do about it, you will find yourself woefully ill-equipped to solve it. This is the case with almost all the articles and essays and blogs and videos out there calling Islam a “terrorist religion” out to destroy the West.

The “solutions” presented are usually knee-jerk, reactionary, emotionally or religiously biased, and they invariably suffer from faulty and misinformed perspectives mired in fear and ignorance that only exacerbate the situation, making real, substantive and effective responses nearly impossible to achieve. The danger of this is obvious and often lost in the din of alarm bell rhetoric and the stampede of the frightened herd.

And it is this danger of rushing headlong into a hasty and flawed reaction to the very real problem of ”Islamist” terrorism that will doom the fight against it from the very start. As in any battle with an unpredictable opponent, the secret to winning depends on understanding your adversary, knowing the geography and pitfalls of the battlefield, and having the knowledge and resources to thoroughly defeat your enemy.

In this battle, the weaponry is overwhelmingly ideological and not military. The physical fight is always the “Lesser Jihad” – while the “Greater Jihad” is the much more difficult challenge to heal the hearts and minds of those infected with the deadly myopia of extremist, radical Islam. But that battle can be won. It must be won. The consequences are too dire to contemplate if we – Muslims and our religious and secular allies – fail to act. There is no room anymore for a “silent majority” on either side. It is high time for Muslims especially to step up and deal with this cancer of deadly extremism in the body of Islam.

[ This essay is an excerpt from my post titled: My Answer to 'A German's View on Islam' at: http://jonathanmaghaffar.blogspot.com/2016/10/my-answer-to-germans-view-on-islam.html ]


Friday, December 2, 2016

LOVE IS WHAT GIVES US POWER OVER EVIL


On the one-year anniversary of the Dec. 2nd mass shooting in San Bernardino, we gathered in our places of worship and civic venues to honor those taken from us by two people who called themselves Muslims, but who violated God’s sacred laws in the Quran and chose instead the path of hate -- choosing the evil of murder over the sanctity of life.
There are some who think the two people who perpetrated the heinous and unspeakable atrocities one year ago today were, in fact, true followers of the religion and teachings of Islam. But this is not true.
In chapter 5, verse 32 of the Quran, God relates the powerful truth He first gave to the Children of Israel when He said: “Whosoever unjustly kills a person. . . . it shall be as though he had killed all mankind. And whosoever saves a life, it shall be as though he had saved all mankind.”
The foundation on which the sanctity of life is based comes from God’s requirement that we, as His highest creation, strive to be just in all matters. God states this clearly in chapter 16, verse 90 of the Quran:
“Verily, God enjoins justice, and the doing of good to others; and giving in charity as though to one’s own family; and He forbids indecency and manifest evil, and wrongful transgression.”
From just these two verses, it should be clear what Islam commands and condemns, and what it upholds as being right and wrong.
         On the anniversary of a tragedy, it is natural to grieve and to weep for those we have lost, and to seek help and solace in prayer for those who are thankfully still with us, but who rightfully suffer in the pain and sorrow of their wounds, both mortal and of the heart.
Our reflections in these difficult times naturally bring back the immediacy of what we all experienced on that awful day one year ago. . . The shock, the horror, the overwhelming sadness and grief. . . And yes, the anger and the hunger for vengeance that is normal in the aftermath of evil.
What is vital in this time of reflection is to understand the past and its participants, and to use that wisdom to maintain vigilance in the present to prevent future tragedies. This requires our sincere and sustained engagement – we must come together in unity of purpose to combat hatred and its causes with love and all its power and purity.
Most of us have heard the quote by the philosopher Sir Edmund Burke: “All that is required for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”
To update Mr. Burke to the modern age, let us all then, as good men and good women, join together so that good may triumph over evil. We can do this by standing for what is right and against what is based in fear and hatred and the demonization and exclusion of the “other.”
Let us always remember that love is God’s ultimate power over evil. He blesses us with this capacity within our hearts so we may love and seek understanding and connection with each other. It is this love that can remove our fears and animosities.
It is this love that can tear down the walls of stone and belief which we so often fashion to keep ourselves isolated and alone.
Let us strengthen our bodies, minds and spirits with this love, so that together we may prevail against the forces that seek to keep us in darkness and distrust.

It is only with this God-given power of love that we can be empowered and enabled to truly honor, reflect and rebuild our way to a better America.