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In a couple of weeks we will be starting our fall sharathon. We will be sharing more information with you on this over in the weeks to come. As you know, this is a listener supported ministry. Without your support we would not be able to do what we do. As I have said many times, the success of this ministry is not me, it is you, the listeners.
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You may have seen the girl, Malala, who was shot by the Taliban for defending the right of girls to be educated in Pakistan. She has come to the U.S. for some meetings and she spoke at the UN in New York City.
It is a miracle that she survived this shooting. There was a British doctor nearby and they flew her to Birmingham, England to a hospital about 15 miles from where I used to live when I was a missionary in England.
She and her family are still practicing Muslims. Malala has said it is her desire to become the prime minister of Pakistan. With this remarkable I believe this is a real possibility.
It is my hope that their exposure to Christianity in England will cause them to convert. Pray that we will be able to get the Gospel message to this young lady.
I am going to be in England next year and I hope to get a chance to interview Malala while I am there. I will also be going to Turkey and Israel the Lord willing.
This week is the week of the Hajj, the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca that is required for every Muslim at least once in a lifetime. It is reported that about 2,000,000 make this pilgrimage each year, but those who live their say it is closer to 3 to 4 million.
One Muslim that I talked to said that when he made his pilgrimage he was amazed that one couple brought their little infant. He asked them why and they said that when they left home the wife was not pregnant. This illustrates the amount of time some Muslims take to fulfill this obligation. In the West we can just hop on a plane and fly to Saudi Arabia for a few days, but in some countries the people are so poor they have to walk most of the way and it can take many months.
CAIR reports that 14,000 American Muslims left for the Hajj this year. It will end this Tuesday, October the 15th. In many communities across America, Muslims that did not go will be celebrating īd al-aḍḥā, the Festival of the Sacrifice. They will be celebrating Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice is son, whom they believe to be Ishmael instead of Isaac.
Here is a description of the traditions and practices of this feast:
Men, women and children are expected to dress in their finest clothing to perform Eid prayer in a large congregation is an open waqf (“stopping”) field called Eidgah or mosque. Affluent Muslims who can afford, i.e Malik-e-Nisaab; sacrifice their best halal domestic animals (usually a cow, but can also be a camel, goat, sheep or ram depending on the region) as a symbol of Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his only son. The sacrificed animals, called aḍḥiya (Arabic: أضحية, also known by its Persian term, Qurbāni), have to meet certain age and quality standards or else the animal is considered an unacceptable sacrifice. This tradition accounts for more than 100 million slaughtering of animals in only two days of Eid. In Pakistan alone nearly 10 million animals are slaughtered on Eid days costing over US$ 3 billion.
The meat from the sacrificed animal is divided into three parts. The family retains one third of the share; another third is given to relatives, friends and neighbors; and the other third is given to the poor and needy. The regular charitable practices of the Muslim community are demonstrated during Eid al-Adha by concerted efforts to see that no impoverished person is left without an opportunity to partake in the sacrificial meal during these days.
During Eid al-Adha, distributing meat amongst the people, chanting the Takbir out loud before the Eid prayers on the first day and after prayers throughout the four days of Eid, are considered essential parts of this important Islamic festival. In some countries, families that do not own livestock can make a contribution to a charity that will provide meat to those who are in need.
They are encouraging Muslims to wear colorful cloths and congregate in neat rows as they go out to say their prayers because they know that the media will be watching.
I am going to be in Seattle on that day and I will try to engage Muslims while they are out in the parks for this celebration. I will be trying to share the Gospel with them so keep me in your prayers.
For those who make the Hajj, the first thing they will do is go in to a state which is called “self-control” in which the pilgrims are forbidden to harm any living creature, including plants, insects, animals, or humans. They are not allowed to raise their voice in anger, they are to be in a somber, prayerful mood. The men change their cloths. They will wear two pieces of unsewn white cloth to signify the equality of all before God.
They will then march around the Kabba, the cube shaped building they believe was built by Abraham and Ishmael, seven times. They will then go into the wilderness and walk quickly between two hills. This is called the hastening. This commemorates Hagar’s search for water when she was banished to the wilderness by Abraham. The story is found in the Bible also. It tells how Hagar had put her son aside, thinking they were going to die, and an angel came and revealed to her a well. They call this the Zamzam well and the water is supposed to have healing properties similar to the Catholic holy water. Not only will they drink this water, they will take containers of this back home for their families to drink.
They will then make their way to the mountains of Arafa and spend the the night. This is the climax of the Hajj. This is where they get their cleansing from Allah.
As they make their way back to Mecca they will pick up stones to cast at Satan. Their are three pillars at which they cast their stones. You can imagine the pile of stones from millions of people throwing them at the pillars. I guess they must take truck loads of these stones back into the wilderness or else the pillars would be completely covered by stones.
At the end they will cut their hair to symbolize the completion of the Hajj.
The last thing they will do is the sacrifice of sheep and goats representing Allah sparing Ishmael by providing a ram in the thicket. The will share the meat from the sacrifices with those in need.
This the Hajj, which is one of the five pillars of Islam.
Let me share something with you that I got from one of CAIR’s newsletters. The article said that many American Latinos are converting to Islam.
The article referenced by CAIR says:
Just as the U.S. Latino population is on the rise – Hispanics are now the nation’s largest minority – so is the number of Latino Muslims. And it’s not just a result of Arab Latin Americans emigrating to the United States.
According to organizations like WhyIslam.org, Latinos are one of the fastest growing segments of the Muslim community. About six percent of U.S. Muslims are now Latino – and as many as a fifth of new converts to Islam nationwide are Latino.
I have not seen many Hispanic Muslims and I find in interesting that 6% of American Muslims are
Hispanic, and 20% of the Muslim converts in America are Hispanic.
The article goes on to say:
Not that conversion to Islam is easy in Latino society, as Marina Gonzalez knows. A Nicaraguan-American nurse in Miami, Gonzalez converted five years ago and wears the hijab, the Muslim women’s head garb. At first her family stopped talking to her.
“They [were] calling me Talibana,” Gonzalez recalls. “My mother, she didn’t like to go [out] with me because I wear the hijab.”
I can understand them having that kind of reaction.
The article continues:
If it’s a surprise that many Latinos are moving from a predominantly Roman Catholic culture to an originally Arab faith, perhaps it shouldn’t be. For one thing, like African-Americans in the 1960s, Latinos are discovering their own historical and cultural ties to Islam and the Arab world. And that starts with what most defines Latinos: Spanish.
“Our language is nurtured by more than 4,000 words that come from Arabic,” says Wilfredo Ruiz, a Puerto Rican-born Muslim who converted a decade ago and is a lawyer for the South Florida chapter of the Council of American-Islamic Relations. “Every word in Spanish that starts with ‘al,’ for example, like alcalde, alcantarilla, almohada.”
The most shocking part of this article says that more of the Latino women are converting to Islam than the Latino men. This is also what we saw in the United Kingdom. The reason this happens in the UK is because the women are charmed by the Muslim men for the purpose of obtaining citizenship. They have children with these women and grow Islam from within. This may be the same reason this is happening with Hispanic women here.