The Pope that worked to stop the Crusade

Category: Life & Society Topics: Crusades, Pope Values: Peace Views: 7733

Pope John Paul II's death will be mourned not just by the tens of millions of Roman Catholics around the world but also by other Christian denominations and followers of all other faiths. Muslims in the Middle East will feel the loss particularly deeply. 

John Paul's 26-year pontificate will go down as one of the more remarkable in the church's history because he was not afraid to be strongly critical when he believed world leaders were behaving wrongly or dishonestly. From the very beginning of his reign, he announced his absolute support for peace and justice, not least for the Palestinians.

Remembering the man who had so often voiced sadness at the cycle of violence blighting the Holy Land, Palestinians gathered in the square in front of Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity and kept up vigils for him. Nabil Abu Rudeina, spokesman for Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, voiced the feelings of many: "He shared the sufferings of the Palestinian people ... We will miss him." Palestinian Foreign Minister Nasser Al-Qidwa spoke for the world when he said that the pope "had contributed to building bridges between religions and civilizations and to consolidating the roots of peace and friendship between the peoples." 

John Paul was equally strident in his condemnation of George W. Bush's plans to invade Iraq which he described as "a crime against peace and a defeat for humanity." Until the very last minute, papal envoys were doing all they could to head off what he saw as not a solution but a bloody escalation of the challenge posed by Saddam.

John Paul meant what he said and millions of people, not only in the Middle East but around the world, were deeply grateful for his strong moral stands. It may yet prove that he was instrumental in stopping the Americans from turning the Afghanistan and Iraq invasions into a new crusade against Islam. Despite President Bush's typically unfortunate use of the word "crusade" after 9/11, American policy became notably more sensitive toward Islam. The pope meanwhile made a point of apologizing to the Muslim world for the original Crusades. Shortly after 9/11, John Paul called a day of prayer for peace at the shrine of St. Francis of Assisi which was attended by Muslim and Jewish religious leaders as well as representatives from Christian groups. His simple, somber message was that war and violence solved nothing and that nations would only advance through peace and brotherhood. 

He was not prepared to compromise his clear moral view for anyone. His simplicity and abundantly clear good faith carried the Roman Catholic Church through the immense upheavals of post-Communist Europe and into the dangerous new world of aggressive American diplomacy.

Right after his election, John Paul said the Roman Church should "make known... our intention to really devote ourselves to the continual and special cause of peace, of development and justice among nations." And he never wavered from that view. He will be greatly missed.

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  57 Comments   Comment

  1. Akbar Khan from Canada

    I'm glad you understand Urdu and you got my message to you, The biggest problem here, is unjustifiably accusing people of shirk, by saying they have no choice but to commit shirk - that is the most revolting thing I have heard. I ask myself over and over again, how do people get so high on themselves, calling your own Muslim bros and sis's with such disrespect? I think if you want to talk adab, that is where you should start your halaqa training.

    I've shown you the hadiths, through at-Tabarani, at-Tirmidhi, both hadiths are rigorously authenticated as Sahih by 18 hadith MASTERS. And now you can see what the Salaf as-Saliheen (Tabi'een wa Tabi'e Tabi'een) said about these hadiths too.

  2. Asif Zaidi from USA

    Now,now Akbar simmer down - no need to get personal by changing my name or don't they teach you adab in sufi conferences.

    I do understand urdu (and speak it fluently)

    I will get back to you on weak isnad about AbuLahab and the other hadiths you have pointed out.

    I will look into Bukhari and more importantly ask scholars.

    As for pope, you are right you asked for mercy. But without getting to pedantic, asking for mercy implies forgiveness. I cannot get to much into philosophical arguments as it is not my strong point. I prefer to concentrate on basics.


  3. Akbar Khan from Canada

    Tirmidhi relates, through his chain of narrators from 'Uthman ibn Hunayf, that a blind man came to the Prophet (sawaws) and said, "I've been afflicted in my eyesight, so please pray to Allah for me." The Prophet (sawaws) said: "Go make ablution (wudu), perform two rak'as of prayer, and then say:

    "Oh Allah, I ask You and turn to You through my Prophet Muhammad, the Prophet of mercy; O Muhammad (Ya Muhammad), I seek your intercession with my Lord for the return of my eyesight [and in another version: "for my need, that it may be fulfilled. O Allah, grant him intercession for me"]."

    The Prophet (sawaws) added, "And if there is some need, do the same."

    Tabarani, in his "al-Mu'jam al saghir," reports a hadith from 'Uthman ibn Hunayf that a man repeatedly visited Uthman ibn Affan (ra) concerning something he needed, but Uthman paid no attention to him or his need. The man met Ibn Hunayf and complained to him about the matter - this being after the death (wisal) of the Prophet (sawaws) and after the caliphates of Abu Bakr and Umar - so Uthman ibn Hunayf, who was one of the Companions who collected hadiths and was learned in the religion of Allah, said: "Go to the place of ablution and perform ablution (wudu), then come to the mosque, perform two rak'as of prayer therein, and say:

    'O Allah, I ask You and turn to You through our Nabi Muhammad, the Prophet of mercy; O Muhammad (Ya Muhammad), I turn through you to my Lord, that He may fulfill my need,' and mention your need. Then come so that I can go with you [to the caliph Uthman]." So the man left and did as he had been told, then went to the door of Uthman ibn Affan (ra), and the doorman came, took him by the hand, brought him to Uthman ibn Affan, and seated him next to him on a cushion. 'Uthman asked, "What do you need?" and the man mentioned what he wanted, and Uthman accomplished it for him..."

    Hadith PROVES tawassul through the dead.

    SAHIH by Baiyhaqi, Mundhiri, Haythami.

  4. Akbar Khan from Canada

    Asif Ziddi: When will you get it? I never asked for forgiveness for the Pope, or else I would have said it??? Can you read? I said Allah have mercy on him, for what he did in making peace with Muslims, not to forgive him for his sins.

    Your comments about the hadith of Abu Lahab is WRONG and false. It is not weak, it's isnaad is good and in fact has been reported in Sahih Muslim. How can you say, of all people that it's isnad is questionable? Stop lying man.

    You're not disputing the scholars? Yes you are, first let me start by what Siraaj said: "The proof is always in the evidences, not in the scholars." Buddy, if you say something different than the scholars, then you are going against the scholar. You think you know more than the scholars, and what they have said abou the status of Rasool-Allah (Sawaws).

    How did you determine what is weak and what is strong? Are you a master of hadith? Have you memorized hundreds of thousands of hadiths? This is what I am trying to get through your thick skull. You guys are NOT muhaddiths, you are not Islamic scholars, so stop pretending to be.

    Show me proof to show which of the Salaf as-Saliheen said that the hadith of Abu Lahab is weak???? SHOW ME if you are such a great scholar?

    I suggest you the editors of Islamcity, post the hadiths I put up about the Blind Man and the Man in Need, and then all of you will be quiet about seeking the intercession of hte prophet (sawaws) after he has passed away. I haev posted it three time, and you, the editors refuse to post it, yet you post the comments of others so easily while you do not give me the opportunity to provide the honest truth? I mean this man Asif Ziddi is lying through his teeth saying the hadith of Abu Lahab is weak. It is found in Sahih Bukhari Ziddi. Live with it.

  5. Akbar Khan from Canada

    In Al-Mu^jam Al-Kabir and Al-Mu^jam AsSaghir, Imam at-Tabaraniyy related the hadith about the Prophet from the route of ^Uthman Ibn Hunayf who was in a circle with the Prophet when a blind man came to address Prophet Muhammad, sallallahu alayhi wa sallam:

    The blind man addressed the Prophet by saying, "O Prophet of Allah, ask Allah for me to cure my blindness." The Prophet replied by saying, "If you wish, you would be patient with your calamity, and if you wish, I will ask Allah to cure your blindness."

    However, the blind man told the Prophet: "The loss of my sight is a great hardship for me, and there is no one near to guide me around."

    At this moment, the Prophet ordered the man to go to the place where al-wudu' would be performed, perform alwudu', pray two rak^ah, end his salat by saying as-salamu ^alaykum, and then say the following words:

    O Allah, I ask You, and I direct myself to You in supplication by our Prophet Muhammad, the Prophet of Mercy. O Muhammad, I direct myself to Allah by you, so my need [here the specific need is mentioned] would be fulfilled.>> The blind man went and did as the Prophet ordered. Shortly thereafter, he returned to the Prophet's session with his blindness cured.

    after the death of the Prophet, and during the time of the caliphate of ^Uthman Ibn ^Affan, a man came to ^Uthman Ibn Hunayf. This man complained to ^Uthman Ibn Hunayf about a matter which he needed to be fulfilled through the caliph, but which was not being fulfilled. ^Uthman Ibn Hunayf ordered the man to go to the place where al-wudu' would be performed, perform al-wudu', perform two rak^ah, and after saying assalam to say the following words: 'O Allah, I ask You and I direct myself to You in supplication by our Prophet Muhammad, the Prophet of Mercy. O Muhammad, I direct myself to Allah by you, so my need [specify need] would be fulfilled.


  6. Asif Zaidi from USA


    No one is disputing the knowledge of the great scholars. Both Siraj and I are disputing YOUR understanding of what the scholars have said.

    1) Wrt going to graves, it is clearly shirk. As siraj said, the evidence you gave is against you. Umar (ra) went to Abbas (ra) while Abbas was ALIVE - not dead. You (incorrectly) extrapolate this to mean we can go to graves of dead people.

    2) Wrt asking for asking for popes forgiveness. It is clear that it is wrong. The evidence is abundant. I can repost my post to Peter if you want.

    The evidence you gave of AbuLahab has two main flaws a) it has weak isnad (lets be clear on this) and this is more than sufficient to discredit any derived opinions and b) prophet gave it for 1 specific person like I said earlier.

    It is your understanding which is wrong.

    This whole thread started because you were asking for popes forgivness.


    The evidence which I have given is from Quran, sunnah. Read up on the proper aqeedah, fundamentals of Islam instead of going to Sufi conferences where they don't even concentrate on basics.


  7. Akbar Khan from Canada


    The scholars of Ahl' as-Sunnah wa'l Jam'aah understood the evidences a million times better than you or I. They memorized hundreds of thousands of hadiths and spent their lifetimes dedicated to teaching us what these hadiths mean and furthermore, they preserved these very hadiths you adn I are reading, so I would ask you to start respecting what they have to say about these hadiths and what they mean.

    To the editors, I would appreciate it if you would post the hadiths/evidences I posted about the blind man and the man in need, that is supported by al-azhar university, as it is written in the book reliance of hte traveler, and furthermore found in the books of Imam at-Tabarani, and Imam at-Tirmidhi. Jazak-Allah.

  8. Siraaj from USA

    Akbar Khan,

    The proof is always in the evidences, not in the scholars. You can point to all the great scholars you like, and I acknowledge many of those you have mentioned are great.

    The lithmus test is in the evidences. Tell me with the authenticity of the evidences you used are? Most are weak.

    The only strong ones you've used are regarding the Prophet's uncle, and that is an evidence against you, not for you. You'll note that the Prophet's uncle was ALIVE at the time of the famine and when Umar was asking for his uncle to make du'a.

    There is nothing wrong with asking someone to make du'a for you, and no one has said such, so long as they are ALIVE. When they are dead, then the one who makes du'a can either be committing a bid'ah, minor shirk, or major shirk depending on how they ask for what they ask, and what is in their mind regarding the status and powers the one they are asking.

    Returning back to the original discussion, you have failed to provide any evidence regarding making du'a for those who have died as a nonMuslim. There is no doubt that we can make du'a for those who are alive, even if nonMuslim, but you've been provided ample evidence for why Allah (SWT) has forbidden such actions, and you've offered no evidences in return.


  9. Akbar Khan from Canada

    Hafidh ibn Kathir mentions this following hadith in his "Tarikh" that Hadhrat Bilal ibn Harith (ra) made tawassul through the prophet (sawaws) at his grave, and asked the prophet (sawaws) to ask Allah for rain, because of the prophet's closeness to Allah Subhanahu wa ta' ala.

    Hafidh ibn Kathir records this hadith said by Sahabi Hadhrat Bilal ibn Harith (ra) at the grave of Nabi Muhammad(sawaws):

    "Ya Rasul-Allah (Oh messenger of Allah), ask Allah to give rain to your Ummah; they are close to perish..."

    Can you accuse one of the prophet's companions, of shirk? La hawla wa la quwutta illah billah, I really hope you do not make such a statement. It is clear that Sahabi Bilal (ra) first and foremost, talked to the prophet (sawaws) at his grave, and secondly, sought his means unto Allah, in asking for rain. Do you understand now that all power lies with Allah, we have no disagreement there brother, but to say that Allah does not grant miracles and wishes to people who seek the means of the prophet (sawaws) or Awliya-Allah shows me that neither of you have never read one book by an orthodox scholar from Ahl' as-Sunnah, such as Imam as-Suyuti, Imam al-Ghazzali, Imam Nawawi, Imam at-Tahawi, Imam Ahmed bin Hanbal, Imam Shafi'e...have you even read what they say about Tawassul? You say you know arabic better than me gloating like you are some supreme master. Unlike you, I can openly say that I am nothing close to being a scholar or one who reads arabic with any such understanding as Ahl' as-Sunnah 'Ulema throughout the ages. Can you say that you are smarter than them or a better scholar than them or better versed in arabic than these 'Ulema? Whether you go to Ahmed ibn Taymiyya, ibn al-Qayyim or ibn Kathir, they all believed in Tawassul too.

    After reading the above hadith, are you going to say that Hafidh ibn Kathir made a mistake now or that he did shirk too?? Please just think about what you say before you say it. As Salaamu 'Alaiykum.

  10. Akbar Khan from Canada

    To respond to both comments, I will say this about Tawassul, since you asked if any of the companions performed Tawassul. Read Qur'an first:

    "O ye who believe, fear Allah and seek ye the means to Him" (Sura al-ma'ida, verse 34)

    Tawassul of Ibn Abbas (RA) to Imam Ali (AS). And note that Ibn Abbas spoke the following

    words after the martyrdom of Imam Ali. Thus he did ask for intermediary of what you would call a deceased person:

    "When the death time of Abdullah Ibn Abbas (RA) approached, he said: 'O Allah! I seek to approach toward you by means of Wilayah of Ali Ibn Abi Talib.'"


    Fada'il al-Sahaba, by Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, volume 2, page 662, Tradition #1129


    al-Riyadh al-Nadhirah, by Muhibbuddin al-Tabari, volume 3, page 167

    Now look at what it says in Sahih al-Bukhari:

    Volume 2, Book 17, Number 123:

    Narrated Anas:

    Whenever drought threatened them, 'Umar bin Al-Khattab, used to ask Al-Abbas bin 'Abdul Muttalib to invoke Allah for rain. He used to say, "O Allah! We used to ask our Prophet to invoke You for rain, and You would bless us with rain, and now we ask his uncle to invoke You for rain. O Allah ! Bless us with rain." And so it would rain.

    Volume 5, Book 57, Number 59:

    Narrated Anas:

    Whenever there was drought, 'Umar bin Al-Khattab used to ask Allah for rain through Al'Abbas bin 'Abdul Muttalib, saying, "O Allah! We used to request our Prophet to ask You for rain, and You would give us. Now we request the uncle of our Prophet to ask You for rain, so give us rain." And they would be given rain."

    --Now you see, tawassul has NOTHING to do with shirk.

    On mercy, I clarified myself already. It's your narrow mindedness which leads you to manipulate whatever you feel like. I have already shown that you cannot say it is un-Islamic for mercy to come upon a non-Muslim, especially for one who showed kindness and love and honour for the Ummah of Nabi Muhammad (sawaws).

    No one said he died

  11. Siraaj from USA

    Akbar Khan - Why didn't the Companions go to the Prophet's grave and seek waseelah in this manner?

    Furthermore, why did Allah forbid the asking of forgiveness of certain people in the ayah that Asif Zaidi quoted? You're dodging questions and changing topics.


  12. Asif Zaidi from USA

    And you need to learn Arabic before telling me the meanings of taswassul, adab, adl and ihsaan. Thats what I mean about people like you - can't make a conversation with a 4yr old and then telling me to understand these terms.

    Lets clarify - you know the Eng translation of these terms not the Arabic meaning. And thats why you play with semantics (have to vs had to) because you don't even know what you are talking about. What gall!!

    Last time really - no more responses from me.



    "As you are now leaving Asif, ask yourself, why do people "have to" do shirk? They are not having to do shirk out of necessity as you are saying, the truth is they are not doing shirk at all. You must learn about tawassul bro. You have to learn about adab and adl and ihsaan."

  13. Akbar Khan from Canada

    As you are now leaving Asif, ask yourself, why do people "have to" do shirk? They are not having to do shirk out of necessity as you are saying, the truth is they are not doing shirk at all. You must learn about tawassul bro. You have to learn about adab and adl and ihsaan.

  14. Akbar Khan from Canada

    As Salaamu 'Alaiykum Asif,

    The people of Maner are not succumbing to making shirk - it is called tawassul brother. Once again please go and read the book, Reliance of the Traveler by Shaykh Nuh Ha Mim Keller, and hte section on seeking itnercession. It clearly states that seeking the intercession of the prophets, the awliya, whether alive or in barzakh, is completely permissible and allowed in islam. That it has NOTHING to do with shirk. First and foremost, this is the stance of Ahl' as-Sunnah.

    One thing I will tell you, Kuwait does not speak on behalf of the entire Arab consensus. Have you ever visited the scholars of Dubai, or Al-Azhar University, the oldest university in the world, the stronghold of sunni islam in the world? Well, that book I am telling you about, Reliance of the Traveler, will explain many things to you which you think you know about, but you really don't. The Kingdom of Kuwait is very much like the Kingdom in Saudia. They have their ways of doing things, but the fact of hte matter is, most arabs are not Saudi and they are not Kuwaiti. Whether u go to Jordan or Syria or Egypt or Morocco of Algeria or Yemen, you will find that the vast majority of people understand Ahl' as-Sunnah Aqeedah, in the same manner as is written in Reliance of hte Traveler. They ask for madad from Awliya-Allah and Rasool-Allah (sawaws) and his blessed family (radi-Allahu anhum). this is not shirk, and has nothing to do with shirk. If it did, Al-Azhar would say that it is shirk. Tawassul means seeking a means unto Allah, and it is completely and whole heartidly allowed in Islam. If you would like to argue, first go and read what Reliance of the Traveler says about Tawassul, and then u can ask me.

    Yes Asif, you told me clear cut, stop reading urdu Qur'an. That shows me that you have very little trust in the urdu language. That is what disappointed me. Learn about your heritage my man.

  15. Asif Zaidi from USA

    Alrght Akbar: last time I respond on this thread.

    You have clearly said that you want to beseech Allah to show mercy to pope. Well that is Islamically wrong.

    You accuse me of being on a high horse - it is you accuse me of being worse than a racist, not understanding the unseen realm of spirituality. pray tell how do you claim to have more insight than me into the unseen. You don't - just because you wish that pope be shown mercy does not mean he will be shown mercy. especially when the evidence is clearly against it. Who is on the high horse?

    I have not told (or tell) people to read the urdu /eng translation of Quran. It is when people form wrong conclusions on various topics that it starts to bother me. FYI, I grew up in Kuwait and there may be problems with Arab people, but let me tell you one thing - they have no problem with aqeedah which many people in subcontinent and even in US have.

    As for Abu Lahab: first, this was done by the prophet and was for a very specific person. For general cases, the evidence in Quran and sunnah is clearly against asking for mercy for non-believers (look at Prophets Nuh, Ibrahim and even in Surah tawbah)

    As for the poor people of Maner and elsewhere - I have very clearly said (and I do not beat around the bush) that Allah is just and he will deal with humanity justly esp if they had to do shirk because of poverty. I do not have answer for this.

    My point from beginning: asking for forgiveness for a non-Muslim is wrong.

    Good day and salaam-alaikum (as you are a Muslim)


  16. Akbar Khan from Canada

    Why don't you talk about how for 3 days in Maner around February, people all over Bihar come to Maner to honour the great Wali-Allah Hazrat Makhdum Maneri, and seek his Wasilah? But wait, they are all committing shirk right Asif? All those people who live in extremely poor living conditions, are they are "shirkers" now? Do you even know that shirk has absolutely NOTHING to do with Tawassul? Since you are from the South Asian subcontinent, you follow Hanafi Fiqh like most of us. Please go and read Imam Abu Hanifah's - Fiqh al-Akbar - and read about Awliya Allah. I also suggest you read - Reliance of the Traveler - by Shaykh Nuh Ha Mim Keller and the section on Tawassul. Then come back to me and tell me if you think making tawassul is shirk. According to Shaykh Nuh, who has studied under the greatest Arabic scholars of Jordan and Syria, has clearly stated that even in the Qur'an, seeking a means unto Allah is encouraged, and has absolutely NOTHING to do with associating partners with Allah. You have been pre-conditioned by certain minority sect of people who reject following a madhab.

    The reason why I brought all of this up is to open up your eyes. You have not addressed my questions properly and have beat around the bush. You are openly telling everyone not to read Urdu Qur'an, and not saying why. That is not right because then you are saying all the Muslims in India and Pakistan who read Urdu Qur'an are doing wrong. Who are you to judge? Get over yourself. Abdullah Yusuf Ali, Maududi, and Ahmed Raza Khan and many other translations of the Qur'an into Urdu should not be read now, according to you. By you telling people not to read urdu Qur'an, is like saying that all the Muslims of India and Pakistan are doing wrong. When did you become so holy? Please, tell me more how you dislike the urdu language. Please share it I really want to read what you have to say now....

  17. Akbar Khan from Canada

    Asif Zaidi - Again you have missed my point. The prophet Sal' Allahu 'Alaiyhi wa aalihi wa sallam, even said that Abu Lahab (the father of flame) who was one of hte prophet's uncles and died as a kaffir, used to curse the prophet (sawaws), and so did his wife, they used to throw garbage and rocks at him. When the prophet (sawaws) was born, Abu Lahab was informed by his handmaid of his (sawaws) birth. Upon hearing this Abu Lahab freed his hand-maid. Now keep in mind that Abu Lahab is the father of flame, Allah (swt) says perish his hands in the Qur'an. The prophet (Sawaws) said in hadith very clearly, that because Abu Lahab freed his hand maid on the day that he was born, (a monday), then for every monday until the day of judgement, Abu Lahab is freed from the punishments of his grave just because he freed his handmaid on the day the prophet (sawaws) was born.

    It is YOU from the very beginning, who is pre judging me and continuosly attempts to associate statements with me that are not mine, but yours. I never said that the Pope didn't die in a state of shirk, YOU are trying to say that I said he didn't. When that is not what I said at all. Just like how Abu Lahab is freed from punishment on mondays, I am sure that the Pope, for showing mercy to the ummah of Muhammad, would be rewarded by Allah for doing so. The problem lies in your narrow minded understanding of the unseen realm of spirituality. I have not dodged the question, I have given you a straight up answer about 3 times already. There is nothing wrong in beseeching Allah to show mercy to the pope for his acts of kindness and peace towards Muslims - so the problem lies in you trying to say that I said the Pope could enter Jannat. But you know very well that I never said that. Get off your high horse brother. The poor people of Bihar who go to the mazhar of Hazrat Makhdum Maneri are seeking his Wasilah. Do you think they're doing shirk?

  18. Asif Zaidi from USA

    Akbar: call me what you will but my point (and which you are not answering) is that you cannot ask for the popes forgiveness.

    As for hesham hasballas article, that does not contradict my point. The prophet had said to respect the deceased and stand up for him. In no way does this hadith instruct us to ask for mercy for the deceased. Furthermore, there are numerous other hadiths which indicate that you shoudl not ask for mercy.

    As for the poor of Bihar and in general the people who live in poverty - this is my opinion (for what its worth). Allah swt is just and he will deal with humanity justly. What I can do is to help the poor in Bihar and elsewhere in terms of finance, educational institution etc..

    Akbar, don't give me this rubbish about not being proud. BTW, like you have read inbetween the lines and jumped to conclusions about me not being proud, you have jumped to conclusions to about hadiths on dealing with non-Muslims.

    Lastly, I will simply repeat what I have said earlier: one cannot ask for mercy for one who does shirk. And pope (as far as humans know) died in shirk.


  19. Akbar Khan from Canada

    Furthmore, since you're from Bihar, I'd like to ask you a few questions.

    Have you ever heard of Hazrat Makhdum Maneri? The city of Maner, Bihar is named after him. The city is East of Patna. And remember, it was Awliya like him, who converted the Buddhists of Bihar first to Islam. That's right, your SUFI ancestors are the ones who brought the message of Islam first to Bihar in the 13th century. Islam was spread by Sufism in Bihar. If it were not for Sufism, Islam would not have reached Bihar in the 13th century, and Islam would not have brought the truth of Islam there, and Bihar would still be completely Buddhist.

    Can you accuse your Sufi Muslim ancestors, and the many poor people living in Bihar today, of shirk? Can you even go and accuse your fellow Bihari citizens, many of whom live in poverty and lack decent education, or shirk? I would just like to know what you think about that?

    Please feel free to answer my questions. Hopefully my comment will get posted, Insha'Allah.

  20. Akbar Khan from Canada

    I guess my post didn't get approved.

    Well anyway, I'll say it again. Asif Zaidi, since you say you are from Bihar, it's even more of a shame that you are discouraging people from reading Urdu translation of the Qur'an. It shows me that you dislike your heritage and background. I agree, you're not a racist, you're worse than a racist. You're prejudiced against your own language. What a shame. Saddens me to know there are people like you out there.

  21. Asif Zaidi from USA

    Ahem.... Akbar:

    I am Indian (from Bihar)

    I can't be racist - I am a bit on the brown side :))

    1) You still didn't answer my original point: the evidence against asking mercy for non-Muslims is forbidden. You may not like it but it is against Quran and sunnah.

    Allahs mercy extends to Muslims only on day of judgment.

    2) My quote about people like you reading a lot in Urdu/Eng and then passing judgements against Q&S on these basic issues still remains and it galls me no end.


  22. Akbar Khan from Canada

    Respected brother Hesham Hassaballa, whose articles are commonly posted at Islamicity, says about Pope John Paul II:

    "During the lifetime of the Prophet (pbuh), a funeral procession for a Jewish person had passed by where he and his companions were sitting. The Prophet (pbuh) stood up in respect, and when asked why by his companions, he replied, "Was not that a human soul?" Pope John Paul II was not just any human soul; he was a great human being, worthy of praise, admiration, and respect. Therefore, let this column - following the tradition of my beloved Messenger (pbuh) - be my "standing up" for Pope John Paul II as he passes from the life of this world to the next. The world has lost a truly outstanding man."


  23. Akbar Khan from Canada

    Asif Zaidi says on April 13th, post # 31146:

    "Besides, Akbar, you know what I think of you - remeber what I said earlier. Learn Arabic instead of relying upon Urdu translations for quoting or understanding Islam."

    A person like you, with such a racist view on people who are urdu speaking, doesn't deserve to be listened to at all. A person with such hatred against people who read Qur'an in other languages, is the problem with individuals like yourself. As I have already clarified, I read Arabic and English only - but that is besides the point. Your assumption of me has exposed the racist in you very clearly. Regardless of whether or not you say I am changing my story, I am not. By saying, "Allah have mercy on him," was because of him being a hand of peace to Muslims during a time when Muslims are in a state of seen upon with hostility and suspicion. So whether you like it or not, as Allah Subhanahu wa ta 'ala showers all his creation with mercy and blessings, what I said does not mean that I am asking Allah to save anyone from the hellfire or grant them paradise. That is YOUR PROBLEM for once again assuming what I meant because of your radical approach towards talking with people. So once again I am being forced to say, DO NOT PUT WORDS IN MY MOUTH. Allah is ar-Rahman, and there is nothing that does not feel his mercy. So now disprove to me that not everything receives Allah's mercy. You know at this rate, the more you keep up the assumptions about me, the worse off your case becomes. Have a nice day.

  24. Hudd from Canada

    Peter, I'm sorry to butt in, but I have a recommandation for you if you'd accept it. There is a book on Muhammad's life that I recommend it to everybody, new, old, because I find it fascinating. The book is:"The Life of Muhammad" by Muhammad Husayn Haykal. The book is more of history than of religion, but of course, there are religious explanations as well in order that the reader should understand the contxt of events. The book is available in any Islamic store, at least here in Canada. I re-read it several times, it's one of the best relations on the prophet's life, in my opinion.

    Peace and keep up your search for answers. May Allah guide you to the right ones, insha'allah.

  25. Asif Zaidi from USA

    Akbar: In your post YOU said "...Allah have mercy on him..." Please remember that I had said **very clearly** that this is the point which is wrong.

    In your last post you changed your story and I quote you below:

    "All I said was that I wanted to give all praise to Allah Subhanahu wa ta 'ala for making a leader of the Catholic faith for Muslims to dialogue with." Certainly different than asking for forgiveness for him !!

    I am not making an exagerration as to your posts.

    In your reply, you still did not address this issue, and I repeat that your statement about asking mercy/forgivess for pope is blatantly unIslamic (that is my point)

    You can thank the pope fo his kindness to Muslims but not ask Allah for his forgiveness (also please note that the pope did not apologize to Muslims for crusades. He apologized to Jews. Please read the news. Yes I know he did go and talk to imams but did not apologizefor atrocities against our ancestors)

    As for being friends and being kind to non-Muslims: it is our duty to be kind and mericful toward them and exemplify the best behavior as practiced by our Prophet. But that is

    all - no more, no less.


  26. Asif Zaidi from USA


    One more thing: for your relatives who are non-believers (or any non-believer), WHILE they are alive you can ask Allah (swt) that they be guided to straight path (Islam)

    That is only while they are alive. Once they are dead, the case is closed.

    One more daleel:

    1) When Abu Talib was dying, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) desperately tried to make him say the shahadah (and I do mean deperately from all accounts). The prophet said just say it and I will intercede on your behalf on day of judgment.

    In majority of traditions, Abu Talib didn't. (Allah knows best).


  27. Asif Zaidi from USA

    As-salaam alaikum Peter:

    I am saying the following: you cannot ask for forgiveness for people who have died as non-believers in Islam (even if they are your own relatives). You can ask for forgiveness for any Muslim.

    Following are the daleel:

    1) "It is not for the Prophet nor for those believe that they should seek forgiveness for the idolaters, even though they may be their kinsmen, after it has become clear to them that are the people of Hell-Fire."-At- Tawbah 9:113

    2) The prophet was asked by a man if he could visit his mothers grave (who had died as a disbeliever). He said yes but did not give him permission to ask for magfirah.

    3) After the flood had subsided, Prophet Nuh (Noah in English - pbuh) had asked for forgivness for his son who had drowned. He was reprimanded by Allah (swt) and told that his son was not of his family. Prophet Nuh (pnuh) asked for forgivness for his error.

    4) Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham in Eng - pbuh) could not ask for forgiveness for his father (in addition to worshipping idols, there is some speculation he may have been the idol maker).

    When Prophet Ibrahim (pbuh) left Harran (Turkey), he told his father that because of his idolatory, he will not ask for magfirah.

    These things are very difficult and I can understand this. But the Quran and sunnah are very clear. Maybe we cannot understand them but this is the way we have been taught in Quran and it is the way that Prophet Muhammad(pbuh) and all previous prophets (pbut) practicesd Islam.

    As usual, you should ask a proper alim for full interpration of above ayat and prophetic traditions. I am not an alim (but an engr)

    ( All good in above info is from Allah and all bad in above info is from me.

    If you want more info feel free to email me @ [email protected])


  28. Akbar Khan from Canada

    Jazakum Allah Khairun Asif Zaidi for returning back from your exaggeration of what I said. But, what about the animals that roam the Earth? Do they receive Allah's mercy? No one is declaring that Pope John Paul II was a Muslim, and no one is declaring that he died in a state of Islam. JPII did not die in a state of Islam of La ilaha il Allah Muhammad ar-Rasool-lillah. No one can succeed by denying Allah. But Asif Zaidi, are you telling everyone that Muslims are forbidden from asking for mercy upon those who were kind to Muslims, in a time of hostility towards us? If so then stop smiling, talking, greeting, or shaking hands with anyone who is not a Muslim, because if you do, you're showing mercy to that non-Muslims. Rasool-Allah, Sal' Allahu 'Alaiyhi wa aalhi wa sallam is what, he is described by Allah Subhanahu wa ta 'ala as Rahmatul-lil-Alameen (A Mercy to the Worlds)Surah al-Anbiya (21) Ayat 107. Our beloved Nabi Muhammad Sal' Allahu 'Alaiyhi wa aalihi wa sallam IS a mercy to all the worlds, and continues to be so until the Day of Reckoning. He was a Prophet that came as a mercy to all of Allah's creation, let alone all of mankind. Please I request you to stop making blatant exagerations out of my posts to suit your desire to debate with me, just over me asking for Allah's mercy to descend upon one of His creations. I'm sorry we don't see eye to eye, but it doesn't matter to me if you disagree, I thank the Pope for his hand in peace with Muslims in a time of hostility towards us.

    Islam is the only way, no doubt Asif Zaidi. All I said was that I wanted to give all praise to Allah Subhanahu wa ta 'ala for making a leader of the Catholic faith for Muslims to dialogue with. I thank Allah for that, and I thank Allah for His mercy through his most beloved one Rahmatul-lil-Aalameen Muhammad Sal' Allahu 'Alaiyhi wa aalihi wa sallam. Does Islam forbid us from showing love for a fellow human being? Ya Allah... I hope you say no.

  29. Peter from USA

    Asif: I am new to Islam and do not know it nearly as well as you; so I ask this in all seriousness: are you saying that we cannot pray to God for the forgiveness of others? I realize that the Mercy of the Lord is His alone to dispense (or not dispense, as the case may be); but are you saying that we cannot and should not make duah to Allah that he will show Mercy on others? In the context of this topic, I must ask what does "Bismalahir Rahmanir Rahim" (correct me if I'm wrong, the first lines of the Quran, yes?) mean? I am curious about what you have to say.

  30. Asif Zaidi from USA

    Akbar Khan (Can): OK maybe I should have quoted your text below from April 5, 2005 on this thread.

    "Pope John Paul II did something that no one else dared to do in his position before. It was to use his status as a Uniter - to encourage inter-faith dialogue. Allah have mercy on him."

    It is your last line which irked me - and that too from someone who has read so many books on Islam.

    If that for not that line, I would not have written.

    Akbar, it is YOU who is asking for mercy from Allah for a person who advocated the sin of trinity. Not me. I do not ask for mercy for him (nor do I ask for hell-fire for him. That is up to Allah).

    What YOU are asking for is clearly against Qur'an and sunnah.

    I am no alim or mujtahid or muntasir. I can't stand people like you who say they can go on internet and research and come up with an opinion.

    As for my daleel, these evidences are clear in Quran and sunnah and alhumdulillah I can accept it. Like I said, it is YOU who is asking for mercy. That is patently flase from an Islamic perpective.


  31. Akbar Khan from Canada

    Akbar Hussein and Asif Zaidi, ..??? .. Honestly all I said was that he was the first Pope to reach out the Muslim community. I never said he was a Muslim or that he declared Shahaadah. You are both .. causing fitnah and controversy. All I said was that the Pope paid his respects at the tomb of Hazrat Yahya alaiyhis-salaam, a NABI. Okay so now it's wrong to make du'a at graves? It doesn't mean the Pope is Muslim. You two have nothing better to do than put words in my mouth. ... Do you have anything better to do? All I wrote was that the Pope reached out to Muslims with a hand of peace. ... And remember Asid Zaidi my response to you, I do not read Arabic Qur'an by myself like you do, and automatically think I know what I'm talking about. ANd if anyone challenges what my opinion is, I go on internet road rage agaisnt them. ... Again more prejudicial statements by you show exactly that you are insecure and threatened by other cultures and ethnicities. Besides unlike your self-proclaimed Mujtahid status, I rather read Tafsir al-Qur'an by Imam ibn Kathir, Imam Suyuti, Imam Alusi, Imam Qurtubi...and I'd rather read Hadith's by Muhaddith's like Abu Hanifah and his best student Imam Abu Yusuf, and Imam Nawawi, Imam Ghazali, Imam Tirmidhi,Imam Shafi'e, Imam Malik's Muwatta, Imam Ahmed bin Hanbal's Musnad.

    Asif Zaidi, Be careful when you speak, because the more you lie against me, the more it will only harm you and not I. I am not a Mujtahid, and I am not a Mufassir. You (CAN) CLAIM to be, but I am nothing in the sight of giants of our 'Ulema from the past. And for your information and for everyone else to know, All the great Mufassirs and Muhaddiths I just mentioned are not "URDU SPEAKING," rather they were the the greatest Arab Muslim scholars ever known. ..

  32. Peter from USA

    Waleed: It's not for you to say who is in Hellfire and who isn't. The decision is Allah's alone.

  33. Asif Zaidi from USA

    TO anyone asking for popes forgiveness:

    The criterion for mercy from Allah (swt) is to belive in tawheed and in the last prophet.

    Believing in one part (tawhid) is not enough as saeed murtaza would like.

    It s true that we cannot penetrate into someone's hearts and see their beliefs. But then what would be the purpose of the Quran (surah tawbah -9:113) which states clearly that asking for an unbelievers forgivess is not permitted. The pope (as far as we know) advocated the sin of trinity and died with it.

    People like Akbar Khan (Can) will always use the hadith that the prophet questioned the sahaba who killed a man even when he said the shahada. Remember this Akbar - the man said shahada. The pope didn't.

    Besides, Akbar, you know what I think of you - remeber what I said earlier. Learn Arabic instead of relying upon Urdu translations for quoting or understanding Islam.

    There is as much precedence (in sunnah) for asking forgiveness for an unbeliver (like pope) as there is for a woman to give khutbah and lead jumuah.


  34. Peter from USA

    Duvel: I'm sorry you took offense to my words, none was meant. I have the utmost respect for Pope John Paul II. However, I must say that I wrote my comments for a Muslim audience at a Muslim website, and I think that it is fair if I express my views (as long as it is done respectfully) on the conversion of Christians to Islam. I mean, what do you expect to find here, really? My real point was/is that Catholics and Muslims share many of the same beliefs and values (the Pope felt this way as well). I have re-read my post and I personally feel that the language I used was in keeping with decorum. You may or may not agree with it, but you needn't be offended by it.

    Also, since you go there with reference to Spain, North Africa etc. I will reply that Islam has a much better record of tolerance and acceptance of other faiths than Christianity (Catholic or otherwise). There is no compulsion in Islam. There were no Inquisitions in these lands, non-Muslims simply paid a poll tax. I think the real phenomenon is that these lands that were traditionally Christian (Egypt, Syria, Anatolia) strongholds became Muslim in the span of a few generations. There is a reason for that, I think. Duvel, my friend, I suggest you study Islam. You may like what you find. But in either case, you are my brother in humanity, and I wish nothing but good for the Christians and Jews, who are, as the Prophet (pbuh) says, dhimmi...

  35. Asif Zaidi from USA


    As you are a recent convert, let me tell you very clearly that you cannot pray for a kaafir.

    A man asked the prophet (pbuh) if he could pray for his mother who died as a kaafir. The prophet said no. He asked if he could visit her grave - he said yes (but this only applied to relatives).

    Tell me where did the prophet say he could pray for his mother.

    People like Akbar Khan (Can) who ask for Allahs forgiveness for pope are severly misled. Akbar, mind you will not hesitate to condemn Arabs (who at least beleive in tawheed) but will instead for forgiveness for a man who advocated the sin of trinity.

    I hope it is clear to you.

    (And don't give me this excuse we live in modern times and need to do ijtihad. Ijtihad need not be done in matters which are clear)


  36. Hudd from Canada

    Duval, I have a question for you, what was the religion of the Americas before becoming,"The Americas"! How did the bloody conquistadors convey their message of Christ to the Aztecs and Incas? You Catholics have the most blood on your hands, innocent blood, remember God is just and your day of reckoning is nigh! You can hide behind silly images of European looking Jesuses, behind the popes you had, behind Bush. In the end it will come to this,"Guilty of the most hideous crimes against humanity"! Read more Mr Duvel, enlightment is a godly gift that is granted to those that seek it!

    Peace and let God be with you, my Christian brother!

  37. Duvel from USA

    Peter, not sure which offends me more, that you called the Pope a "good dhimmi," or your stated wishes that more Catholics switch to your newfound faith. As a Catholic, I find both statements quite offensive, especially made within days of JPII's death. It's also offensive to me that Islamicity featured Peter's comment on their main page. What a revealing selection.

    The Pope did not apologize for the Crusades.

    He apologized for the the atrocities committed against Jews during the Crusades. Neither the next pope not the Vatican should apologize either, unless Muslim leaders apologize for the military conquests and occupation of Syria, Egypt, Turkey, North Africa and Spain (all formerly Christian lands). Oh, and if Muslims cease the widespread persecution of Christians going on now in Syria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, etc. etc. Respect for the People of the Book? It doesn't look that way at all.

  38. H.A. from Yathrib

    .I am very sad POPE has passed away...

    Peace be On Pope for Eternity.

  39. Stu from Australia

    As a non catholic christian, I really respected him and he had some really good principals.

  40. Murtaza Saeed from Pakistan

    The effects and promotion of Nationality, Color and Language in the current world are the 3 factors that in addition to the effect of making religion a secular choice - as the secularists would have the world think - all make a majority of people biased - encouraging surface differences ((all inevitable manifestations of non-muslim thought). The Pope was undoubtedly a man of peace. And his actions were so. And it is our actions for which we will be called to account. Not the surface differences. I hope he died believing more in the Mercy of His Lord, than in the mercy of the Lord's prophet. God Knows Best. For a man who is so close to God, it is hard not to submit only to the Lord. We must praise Allah and send Blessings on the Holy Prophet (May God Grant Him Peace and Blessings) for we, the believers in One God, would not be so rightly guided had not the Lord chosen to send His Mercy on us. We are always in Loss. Time is against us. It is our duty to spread the correct message.

  41. Waleed ibn Willie al-Trappier from United States

    Asalaamu 'Alaikum,

    Allah, the Most High, says in his holy book

    "It is not for the Prophet nor for those believe that they should seek forgiveness for the idolaters, even though they may be their kinsmen, after it has become clear to them that are the people of Hell-Fire."-At- Tawbah 9:113

    Allah has made it evident in the Qur'an that the Jews and the Christians will reside in the hellfire forever due to the shirk that they committ.

    That being stated how can we sit here as Muslims and praise and ask forgiveness for a mushrik (polytheist), idol-worshipping Kaafir.

    This is why we need tazkiyah (purification) and tarbiyah (education) because so many foreign deviant beliefs have mixed with this beautiful religion and is the reason why so much humiliation

    has come down on the Muslim from Allah, The Mighty and the Majestic.

    Islam isn't a religion of desires, unless you're a Sufi or a Shiite or some other deviant who claims they're upon the Sunnah, but that's another issue. We should practice Islam the those who came before us practiced it and then InshaAllah we will be victorious.

    With the fitnah (trial) of Amina Wadud and her da'wah to the hellfire, refraining from praising and seeking for a Kaafir (PoPe) is the least we can do.

    Barakallahu Feekum

  42. H.A. from Yathrib

    Pope was obviously smarter than all the people in the Amercan RED STATES + the cowboy, who does not speak his own native tongue....but Pope spoke 7 langauges...

  43. Akbar Hussein from Canada

    Here we go again. Akbar Khan, are we worshipping people again? Akbar Khan the 'prophet', has just conferred prophethood on the Pope. The Pope was a good man. Thank God he was not a Sufi or Akbar Khan would be bowing before him.

  44. Akbar Khan from Canada

    Pope John Paul II did something that no one else dared to do in his position before. It was to use his status as a Uniter - to encourage inter-faith dialogue. Allah have mercy on him.

    The Pope has not only kissed the Qur'an when a delegation from Iraq and Syria went to Rome and presented him with the Qur'an, but when the Pope visited the Umayyad Masjid in Dimisqh, he went and paid his respects to Hadhrat Nabi Yahya (John the Baptist) Alaiyhis-Salaam, at his grave.

    Allah Knows Best.

  45. Peter from USA

    Thank you very much for this article. Alhumdulilah. I am a recent convert to Islam from Roman Catholicism; the reasons for my conversion (or reversion, rather) were never due to a negative view of the Pope nor his religion. Pope John Paul II spoke highly of Muslims, and praised us for our piety and devotion (he used those words specifically, in fact). He kissed the Quran, and was the first Pope to visit a masjid. He spoke out against the American wars in Iraq (both times) and Afghanistan, spoke out against the Wall in Israel and the oppression that the Palestinians suffer. He avoided the perils of moral relativism and held strong to values that we as Muslims would agree with.

    For my own part, I remember when a Catholic priest I knew found out I took shahada; he didn't condemn it, but instead said that Catholicism and Islam were, in fact, very similar. I agree with him, and for this very reason I believe that it is imperative that we maintain an open and inclusive dialogue with the Roman Catholics. I believe that before the Last Day, many of them will, in fact join us, especially when they see just how similar we are and understand our differences (given an option, more than you might think would revert, in my opinion)for what they are.

    My brothers and sisters, let us pray for the Pope, though not a Muslim, he was a dhimmi, a person of the book and a very good one indeed. Let us pray that, Inshallah, the new Pope will carry on in his predecessor's footsteps, let us pray, Inshallah, that Allah Subhana Wa Ta Ala will lift the veil from the eyes of the Catholics and they will join us in worship of the one true God.

  46. H.A. from Yathrib

    It's kind of stupid that most people be overcyring and overemotional over the pope's passing, BUT HOW MANY OF THESE OVERCRYING PEOPLE do what the pope says?

    Just look around...How many of your offsprings try to stay abstinence(trying to hard to avoid losing virginity)? (most out there going drinking and having sex at age 15)

    ...How many dress like Mother Mary? (none, most dress up like _____)

    ...How many in the U.S. against the WAR and oppression? (10% against it, 90% supported)

    So, it is kind of stupid that people crying and _ _ _ _

    _ _ _ _ ing?

  47. Tisha Saccarelli from United States

    Irrespective of religious preferences, I believe that all of humankind who had a chance to witness the greatness of this individual will agree he served mankind as oppose to his own political agenda. It is my prayer that the people of the Catholic faith are blessed with another leader with such integrity and love for humanity.

  48. Tisha Saccarelli from United States

    I do agree that we as Muslims should be more active in educating all whom we can about true al-Islam. It is both our right and our obligation as Believers.

  49. Scott from United States

    Lovely statement and I wish to pass this article on to as many as possible who do not understand Islam as an example of how a peaceful worldview can be.

  50. Rashad Abdul-Azeeem from USA

    Pope John Paul II worked intensely for the cause of peace throughout the world. We ask Allah's mercy upon his soul and that his successor will continue in his footsteps working for peace.

  51. nazifi from nigeria

    assalamu alaikum

    the Pop 's death is indeed a great lost to every one be he a christian or not and it will thjreat theb world peace 5therefore i hope any one that will; replace him should fallow his lagacies

  52. Jama from Indonesia

    I am saddened with the news of Pope John Paul II death. He was a truly great man and great religious leader who stick to his principle till the end. So many of our so called religious leader or intelectuals try so hard to 'modernize' their religion and follow what the secular world has to offer. But The pope stand still on some issue that he feel uncompromizeable such as abortion right and some woman issue, immorality of war in Iraq and Occupation of Palestine. He was an inspiration to all of us, not just catholics but other affiliation as well.

  53. Amin21 from USA

    Pope John Paul II patched years of bad relations between Islam and Catholics, as well as doing the same with many Protestants who were open to it. Under him the Catechism began finally saying that Muslims were brothers with catholics in the faith of Abraham. the article is incorrect in stating 10s of millions of Catholics and should state 100s of millions. Catholics make up the more than 50% of all christians internationally which number nearly one and a half billion. He stood up for Palestinian rights while being careful to avoid the antisemitism that has plagued the church for centuries, in contrast to and putting to shame many of the Atheist Arab State proponants of the Palestinians... and even some of the so-called "Islamic" governements like Saudi Arabia. In some ways he was more Muslim than many Muslims in his attitude and outreach to other faiths, and we as Muslims would do well to better follow his example in at least that. (as long as we don't emulate the other things that ARE against our faith)

  54. Studer from switzerland

    The Pope by his just and brave actions established one fact quite clearly, both Christians and Muslims have a common enemy. This enemy who slaughters poor innocent children, their parents, rapes, loots and burns, demolishes and disposses poor people of their property and land is the same monster who crucified Christ, and even then murdered and raped innocent Christians and looted and pillaged their lands. This monster that this enemy is, stands protected by the sole super power, because the moster controls the money that empowers this super power. Lets honour the good Pope's memory and all Christians and Muslims unite against this common enemy.

  55. Nura from USA

    As muslims, even though our beliefs may conflict

    with those of Catholics', there is still a mutual

    respect (or at least there should be) for all

    "people of the book". All due respect and

    admiration for a man who tried his best to do as

    he saw fit do change the world the best he could,

    and may the mercy and graciousness of Allah


  56. David from USA

    Why do we not see the hypocrisy of Bush. He laments the death of the Pope but except for the traditional theological issues he stands for everything against what the Pope stood for.