Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Top 10 Misconceptions About Islam

In the words of Swiss journalist and author, Roger Du Pasquier "The West, whether Christian or dechristianised, has never really known Islam. Ever since they watched it appear on the world stage, Christians never ceased to insult and slander it in order to find justification for waging war on it. It has been subjected to grotesque distortions the traces of which still endure in the European mind. Even today there are many Westerners for whom Islam can be reduced to three ideas: fanaticism, fatalism and polygamy. Of course, there does exist a more cultivated public whose ideas about Islam are less deformed; there are still precious few who know that the word islam signifies nothing other than ‘submission to God’. One symptom of this ignorance is the fact that in the imagination of most Europeans, Allah refers to the divinity of the Muslims, not the God of the Christians and Jews; they are all surprised to hear, when one takes the trouble to explain things to them, that ‘Allah’ means ‘God’, and that even Arab Christians know him by no other name."

10. Muslims are Arabs


Misconception: All Muslims are Arabs

The common image of a Muslim is a turbaned dark Arab man with a long beard. However this image is part of the minority of Muslims. Arabs make only 15% of the world’s Muslim population. As a matter of fact the Middle East comes in third with East Asia coming in at first (69%) and Africa (27%) coming in at second. Another common misconception is that all Arabs are Muslims. While the vast majority of Arabs are Muslims (75%), there are many other religions that Arabs practice including Christianity and Judaism.

9. Muslims and Jesus


Misconception: Muslims Hate Jesus

There are many similarities between the historical references of Christianity and Islam. Many people are amazed to find out that according to Muslim belief, Jesus is one of the greatest messengers of God. One cannot be a Muslim without believing in the virgin birth and the many miracles of Jesus Christ. Jesus is also mentioned in many verses of the Quran and is often used as an example of good virtue and character. However, the main difference between Christianity and Islam is that Muslims do not believe that Jesus was God. Pictured above is Jesus in an Islamic portrayal of the last judgement.


8. Children’s Rights


Misconception: Children have no rights

Children, according to Islamic law, have various rights. One of these is the right to be properly brought up, raised, and educated. Islam encourages children to be brought up well because it is the responsibility of an adult to raise his child to become a moral and ethical adult. Children must also be treated equally. When giving financial gifts they should all be the same amount and there should be no preference among them. Children are even permitted to take moderately from their parent’s wealth to sustain themselves if the parent declines to give them proper funds for living. A child is also not allowed to get hit in the face or hit by anything larger than a pencil.


7. Religious Intolerance


Misconception: Islam is intolerable to other religions

‘Kill the infidel’ is the phrase many people believe is the ideology that Muslims have towards the non Muslims. This, though, is not a correct portrayal of Islamic law. Islam has always given respect and freedom of religion to all faiths. In the Quran it says “God does not forbid you, with regards to those who fight you not for religion nor drive you away out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them, for god loves those who are just.” There are many historical examples of Muslim tolerance towards other faith. One such example was when the caliph Umar was ruler of Jerusalem from 634 to 644 AD. He granted freedom to all religious communities and said that the inhabitants of his city were safe and that their places of worship would never be taken away from them. He also set up courts that were designated to the non Muslim minorities. Whenever he would visit holy areas he would ask for the Christian patriarch Sophronius (pictured above) to accompany him.


6. Islamic Jihad


Misconception: Jihad means to fight for the sake of god

The true Arabic meaning of the word jihad is struggle. However in Islam it is often used to describe the striving in the way of god. There are many forms of jihad but the most important ones are Jihad al-nafs (jihad against ones self), jihad bil-lisan (jihad by being vocal), jihad bil yad (jihad by using action), and Jihad bis saif (jihad by using the sword). Each jihad is ranked differently and it was reported that Muhammad returned from a battle and said “We have returned from the lesser jihad (going into battle) to the greater jihad (the struggle of the soul).” This means that a Muslim struggling against himself and his soul is more important than the jihad of going into war. Another misconception is that only when a person dies in war does that person becomes a martyr. This is, however, false and it is believed that anyone doing anything for the sake of god and is killed becomes a martyr. A person who dies while performing pilgrimage in Mecca, a woman who dies while giving birth, or even someone who dies in a car crash while he was on his way to the mosque are all considered martyrs.


5. Child Bride


Misconception: The Prophet Muhammad was a pedophile

While it is true that he married a girl that was at the age of nine that does not constitute pedophilia. Historically, the age at which a girl was considered ready to be married has been puberty. This was the case in Biblical times, and is still used today to determine the age of marriage in many parts of the world. This was part of the norm and is not something that Islam invented. The girl he got married to had reached puberty 3 years before marriage. It is upon reaching the age of puberty that a person, man or woman, becomes legally responsible for their actions under Islamic law. At this point, they are allowed to make their own decisions and are held accountable for their actions. It should also be mentioned that in Islam, it is unlawful to force someone to marry someone that they do not want to marry. There is no indication that the society at that time criticized this marriage due to the girl’s young age. On the contrary, the marriage was encouraged by the girl’s family and was welcomed by the community at large.


4. Muslim Savages


Misconception: Muslims are savages and barbaric during war

Quite the contrary, when it comes to the conduct of war there are ten rules that every Muslim army must obey:

1. Do not commit treachery

2. Do not deviate from the right path

3. Do not mutilate dead bodies

4. Do not kill children

5. Do not kill women

6. Do not kill aged men

7. Do not harm or burn trees

8. Do not destroy buildings

9. Do not destroy an enemy’s flock, unless you use it for your food

10. When you pass people who have devoted their lives to monastic services leave them alone

During the crusades when Saladin defeated the franks he honored the defeated Frankish army and supplied them with food and during the third crusade when Saladin’s enemy king Richard fell sick, Saladin sent him a gift of fruits and horses.


3. Women’s Rights


Misconception: Women have no rights

The image of a woman wearing a veil from head to toe, a woman who gets unfair justice or a woman who is not allowed to drive is an all too familiar notion when it comes to women treatment in Islam. And while there are Muslim countries in the world that do implement many harsh rulings against women, this should not be portrayed as Islamic law. Many of these countries have cultural differences that go against the teachings of Islam. It should be noted that during pre-Islam Arabia women were used for fornication only and had no independence. The birth of a daughter in a family was considered humiliating and the practice of female infanticide was uncontrolled. When Islam came to being, verses in the Quran condemned the practice of female infanticide. Islam gave back many human rights to the woman and Muhammad(s) was even reported saying that “women are the twin halves of men.” A Muslim woman is allowed to reject and accept any suitor for marriage and has the right to seek divorce. There is nothing in Islam that forbids a Muslim woman from exiting her house and is allowed to drive. Also in regards to education, a woman is obligated to seek knowledge and it is considered a sin if she refuses.


2.
Spread By the Sword


Misconception: Islam was spread by the sword

Historian De lacey O’Leary states “History makes it clear however, that the legend of fanatical Muslims sweeping through the world and forcing Islam at the point of the sword upon conquered races is one of the most fantastically absurd myths that historians have ever repeated.” There is no record in history that shows people being forced by sword point to convert to Islam. When Islam spread through countries they would set up private churches and synagogues for the non Muslims they were governing and because of the good treatment they had received they themselves would convert. If one considers the small number of Muslims who initially spread Islam to the west all the way from Spain and Morocco and into east from India and China one would realize that such a small group of people could not force others to be members of a religion against their will. It is also interesting to note that when the Mongols invaded and conquered large portions of the Islamic empire, instead of destroying the religion they adopted it!


1. Islamic Terrorism


Misconception: Muslims are terrorists

This is by far the biggest misconception of Islam, given unfairly by stereotyping and the public image that the media gives. Has anyone else noticed how when a specific group of people attack another group of people it is labeled as a ‘hate crime’, but when a Muslim opens fire on anybody it is quickly regarded as ‘terrorism’. Many political dictators and officials or extremist groups use the name of Islam as a strategy to garner followers and attention when many of their practices go against the true basis of Islam. The media has also portrayed Islam as a cult or a club where if you join you become a terrorist and that is now part of your agenda. However all over the world people practice Islam in the true form and use it as a way of life. There are many verses in the Quran that go against the idea of terrorism. Some of these verses include “fight in the way of Allah those that fight you but do not transgress limits for god does not love transgressors.” This basically means do not fight except in self defense and even in doing so do not go beyond defense. Another verse states “if they seek peace, then you seek peace,” which means do not attack people for no reason or kill innocent people. There is nowhere in Islam, whether it be in the Quran or the teachings of Muhammad, that promotes the killing of innocent people. Pictured above is a conference of Muslims against Terrorism.



Outstanding Word Art From Spanish Artist Juan Osborne

They say a picture is worth a thousand words but according to Juan Osborne the picture is itself is made of words. Each and ever images in his gallery is made of up up to 200,000 words of varying lengths, heights and colours. Amateur Spanish artist Juan Osborne scours speeches, lyrics and books for the words associated with his subjects.

For instance, this picture of Kate Middleton and Prince William is made of words from their engagement announcement

Each picture is painstakingly pieced together on his netbook using software he designed himself. He says: "People are surprised when I tell them that my work is created using a standard netbook and software that I built myself - which is very basic. There are no limits to creativity - if I need something or think of a new way to make something I just create a new application to do it. I feel free without the need for commercial software."

A portrait of Sir Winston Churchill made of the phrase "Never, never, never, never give up" - a quote from a speech he made on October 29, 1941 at Harrow School

Juan says: "Words are powerful, they go straight into the human mind and really add something to my pictures that you can't get from a regular picture taken with a camera. Mine have stories behind them that can be read, which is pretty unique. I've made so many now that I've got the process down to a tee and can churn out a lot in a short space of time - maybe just a few days each."

A portrait of US President Barack Obama made from the transcriptions of more than one hundred of his speeches.

The Beatles made from lyrics of 290 of their songs.

Jesus and his words

A portrait of Charles Darwin with the most frequent words in the book "On the Origin of Species."

A portrait of John Lennon made using words from the song Imagine.

A portrait of Kurt Cobain made using words from Nirvana lyrics.

The famous picture of a man standing in front of a column of tanks on Tiananmen Square made using the word 'Freedom' in about 50 different languages.

Vincent van Gogh's painting Starry Night made with the words of his quote: "I often think that the night is more alive and more richly coloured than the day"

A portrait of Pablo Picasso made up with words from titles of his paintings.

Juan Osborne working with his design

15 Weird Diseases that You Hardly Know...

A disease is an abnormal condition affecting the body of an organism. It is often construed to be a medical condition associated with specific symptoms and signs. But there are some disease which are very rare that you may hardly know. Such disease not only affect the human in health but makes the appearance of the infected person really worst. Not let's have a look at some of such deadly disease... ( Not for weak-hearted people )

1. PROGERIA


2. TREE BARK SKIN DISORDER


3. LION FACE SYNDROME


4. PORPHYRIA-THE VAMPIRE DISEASE


5. WEREWOLF SYNDROME


6. PROTEUS SYNDROME


7. NEUROFIBROMATOSIS


8. POLYDACTYLISM


9. LAMREY DISEASE


10. ELEPHANTIASIS


11. ARGYRIA


12. TRICHOTILLOMANIA


13. CUSHING SYNDROME


14. NECROTISING FASCILITIS


15. FIBRODISPLASIA OSSIFICANNS PROGRESSIVA


13 Most Powerful Super Foods

Ask five nutritionists to rate the 13 most powerful foods and you'll get five different lists, but many of the selections will overlap. Why? Because every food provides something different: Some are a rich source of protein or fiber but void of many vitamins and minerals, while others contain disease-fighting phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals, but no protein. The trick, claim experts, is to get a variety of the best foods. The following 13 power foods are a good place to start.


1. Avocados


Sure they're high in fat, but avocados contain healthful monounsaturated fat, which has been linked to a reduced risk of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. "Avocados aid in blood and tissue regeneration, stabilize blood sugar, and are excellent for heart disorders," says Ed Bauman, Ph.D., director of Bauman College . They're loaded with fiber (11 to 17 grams per fruit) and are a good source of lutein, an antioxidant linked to eye and skin health.

2. Apples


"An apple a day really does keep the doctor away," says Jonny Bowden, Ph.D., C.N.S., author of The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth. Apples are loaded with the powerful antioxidants quercetin and catechin, which protect cells from damage - that means a reduced risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease, especially if you eat the skin. Research shows that the apple peel contains five times more polyphenols than the flesh. Apples and their skins pack a lot of fiber too (about twice that of other common fruits, including peaches, grapes, and grapefruit), which may help fight the battle of the bulge.

3. Blueberries


Antiaging superstars, blueberries are loaded with antioxidants, especially anthocyanins, which have been shown to improve vision and brain function. Studies show that eating blueberries slows impairments in motor coordination and memory that accompany aging. These little berries also reduce inflammation, which is inextricably linked with virtually every chronic disease from Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, to diabetes and heart disease. Other studies show that blueberries have much greater anticancer activity than other fruits.

4. Cabbage


In the vegetable world, the Brassica genus reigns supreme, and the cabbage is the most impressive of the lot. Brassica vegetables (including broccoli, bok choy) contain compounds called indoles, which have been shown to reduce the risk of cancer dramatically. "Eating cabbage more than once a week cut men's colon cancer odds by 66 percent," says Bauman. "Cabbage also stimulates the immune system, kills bacteria and viruses, and is a good blood purifier." If you go for the red variety, you'll also get a healthy dose of anthocyanins (the same pigment molecules that make blueberries blue), another powerful antioxidant with an anticancer punch.

5. Fish and Fish Oil


Eating fish helps cut the risk of heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer's, stroke, diabetes, and arthritis. The fatty varieties may also help alleviate depression. The American Heart Association recommends that adults eat at least two fish meals per week, especially wild salmon, herring, and sardines, because those varieties provide the most heart-healthy omega 3s. Avoid mercury-containing varieties like shark, swordfish, king mackerel, tilefish, and albacore tuna, says Roberta Anding, M.S., R.D., national spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.


6. Garlic


Research shows that garlic lowers total cholesterol and triglyceride (blood fat) levels, helping prevent clogged arteries. "Two to three cloves a day cut the odds of subsequent heart attacks in half for heart disease patients," says Bauman. "Garlic also tops the National Cancer Institute's list of potential cancer-preventive foods." Whole baked garlic helps detoxify the body of heavy metals like mercury (from fish) and cadmium. Garlic also acts as an antibacterial and antiviral, boosting resistance to stress-induced colds and infections. Can't stand garlic breath? Chew on a sprig of parsley.

7. Mushrooms


Used for centuries in Eastern medicine, mushrooms have powerful effects on the immune system - especially the maitake, shiitake, and reishi varieties. "Mushrooms such as maitake help prevent and treat cancer, viral diseases, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure," says Bauman. In fact, mushrooms are used as an adjunctive cancer treatment throughout Asia because of their ability to counteract the toxic effects of chemotherapy and radiation while simultaneously shrinking tumors. What's more, Japanese researchers have found that regularly eating shiitake mushrooms lowers blood cholesterol levels up to 45 percent.

8. Almonds


Almonds are loaded with fiber and monounsaturated fat, both of which have been shown to lower cholesterol. According to the Food and Drug Administration, eating 1.5 ounces of most nuts, including almonds, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease. And even though almonds are relatively high in fat and calories, studies show that eating almonds can actually help with weight loss (their protein, fiber, and monounsaturated fats provide the feeling of fullness, preventing overeating).

9. Eggs


The best protein source on the planet, eggs consistently outrank milk, beef, whey, and soy in the quality of protein they provide. In addition to containing all nine essential amino acids, eggs are loaded with nutrients. "And for God's sake, eat the yolks," says Bowden. People avoid the yolks because they fear cholesterol, but egg yolks contain choline, which helps protect heart and brain function and prevents cholesterol and fat from accumulating in the liver.

10. Flax seeds


Loaded with alpha-linolenic acid, an essential fatty acid that helps reduce inflammation, flaxseed has been used for centuries for medicinal and health reasons. Gandhi himself proclaimed, "Wherever flaxseed becomes a regular food item among the people, there will be better health." Bauman adds, "The seed itself has terrific nutritional value, very usable protein, tremendous fatty acids, and minerals like magnesium, potassium, and zinc." Additionally, they're a great source of fiber.

11. Pomegranates


Pomegranates have up to three times the antioxidants of red wine and green tea - and the juice has been shown to reduce artery-clogging plaque, which in turn prevents heart disease and stroke. Research shows that long-term consumption of pomegranate juice may also help slow aging and protect against cancer.

12. Red Wine


A small amount of any kind of alcohol each day does your heart good by increasing HDL cholesterol and reducing the risk of blood clots. "Red wine also contains powerful antioxidants, reservatrol and saponins, which may provide additional cardiovascular benefits," says Anding. Resist a refill, however: More than one drink daily has been linked to high blood pressure.

13. Dark Chocolate


When it comes to chocolate, bitter is better - at least in terms of health. The benefits of chocolate come from flavonols and antioxidants (the same disease-fighting chemicals found in cranberries, apples, strawberries, and red wine). The caveat: Only real cacao contains flavonols, so look for chocolate that boasts a high percentage of cacao (60 percent or more). Dark chocolate also has fewer calories than other varieties, and when eaten in moderation, it lowers unhealthy LDL cholesterol and prevents plaque from building up in your arteries.