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RE: Secular Holiday Humor [Way Off Topic]

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Dear John:
 
Frankly, I was expecting some unfriendly bombardments in response to my honest/conscious observation which I couldn't just hold it with me. However, I am glad to receive a friendly-American response from you.
 
Before I begin to respond to your query per se, I need to make a claification here; which I already did once when we were engaged in a heated discourse right after the unfortunate incident of 9/11.
 
I am not a Saudi, though I live & work in Saudi Arabia. I was born & raised in Pakistan and am here in Saudi Arabia since April-1997 only.
 
I am happy to note an affirmation from you that most folks in America today still feel the same way (as expressed in that 5-line part poetry copy-pasted by me in my mail earlier) though it is hard for me to believe looking at the polls (polls after polls) with over 75% of the Americans still supporting war mongering policies of the government. I may have sounded a bit harsh here but this is what it is for I don't believe in mincing words and double-speak. Having said that, I still regard Americans as a great Nation who I also admire for their achievements, services to mank-kind, inventions/discoveries and above all a Nation of diversity and a melting pot in real sense. They surely are not racist (like most Europeans are), have respect for human rights, have respect for freedom of religion & its practice; it doesn't ban wearing of scarf/scull caps in schools and offices, so far at least, like France has; so on and so forth.
 
About Christmas/Hanukah/Ramadan issue: I don't know about Hanukah but I do understand Christmas is marked as a celebration for the birth of Prophet Jesus Christ (peace be upon him) and in this analogy Ramadan is different for it is a blessed month (9th month of the Islamic Calender) in which all adult Muslim (men/women) are supposed to be fasting for the entire month. At the end of this blessed month marks what is called Eid-ul-Fitr and we have celebrations like you do in Christmas. However, Ramadan is nothing to do with the birth anniversary of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon in him) for he was in fact born  on the 12th of RABI AWWAL (the 3rd month of the Islamic Calender). We have another celebration which is EID-UL-ADHA and this comes after the HUJJ that is on the 10th of ZUUL HUJJ, the 12th month (end of the year) of the Islamic Calender. The 12 Islamic months (from the 1st to the 12th) are as follows: 1. MUHARRAM 2. SAFAR 3. RABI AWWAL 4. RABI THANI 5. JUMADI AWWAL 6. JUMADI THANI 7. RAJAB 8. SHA"ABAN 9. RAMADAN 10. SHAWWAL (1st of this month is Eid-ul-Fitr) 11. ZUUL QADA  and 12. ZUUL HUJJ (9th of this month is HUJJ day and 10th is Eid-ul-Adha, this month marks the sacrifice that Prophet Abraham made by slaughtering his son ISMAIL, peace be upon him, though Allah replaced Ismail, peace be upon him, by a Goat.This day is marked as a Sacrifice Day and all Muslim is supposed to sacrifice an animal on this day).
 
I had to list these Islamic months to clarify about Ramadan, which is a blessed month for fasting. Since Islamic months are set by Lunar Calender so there is no fixed Solar month (as per Gregorian Calender) for Ramadan. For example, this year Ramadan moon was sighted here in Saudi Arabia on the 25th of October, so 26th October was 1st of Ramadan. It was more or less the same (a day after or a day later) day across the globe. So, I hope this confusion of correlation of Christmas v/s Ramadan is now clear in your mind. For your information, there is a difference of about 11 to 12 days between Lunar year and Solar year, so the Islamic months push backward by 11 to 12 days each year in comparison  to the Solar year. So, from this analogy the 1st of Ramadan (in 2004) shall fall here in Saudi Arabia either on the 14th or 15th of October.
 
Before I come to Christmas & Prophet Jesus Christ (peace be upon him) and the Muslim point of view on this, I would like to first enlighten you about the 5 PILLARS of the Islamic faith, they are: 1. faith in UNITY/ONENESS of Allah (God), faith in Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) as the final Prophet, and faith in ALL other Prophets that were chosen before him. 2. SALAT (daily 5 times prayer). 3. ZAKAT (charity about 2% of all income set aside for the poor). 4. SOUM (fasting for full month in Ramadan) and 5. HUJJ (pilgrimage to the holy city of Makkah and other related rituals be perfomed by all able bodied men/women once in his/her life time).
 
If you notice, the 1st PILLAR of Islam includes faith/belief in ALL OTHER Prophets that were chosen by Allah (God) before prophet Muhammad. This is fundamental to our faiths as Muslims. So, in this account we also believe in and have faith in Prophet Jesus Christ (peace be upon him) and revere him equally like we do for Prophet Muhammad. The only difference is as a Muslim we believe he was a Prophet before Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and a human being like Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was. He was not killed or crucified by the jews but he was taken up alive by Allah (God) and that he is alive with Allah. We also believe (as mentioned in Holy Quran) that before the dooms day (end of the world) Prophet Jesus will come back to this world all over again, as a torch bearer of Islam (as a follower of Islam & not as a Prophet) and fight & defeat all evils of that time. Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) shall come again as a torch bearer of Islam because Islam, as per our belief, is an eternal religion. Islam is not MUAHAMMADENISM. Islam means total submission before Allah (God)  and who ever submits before Allah (God/Bhagwan/or any other God) is basically following Islam and, by definition of our faith is a Muslim. In fact Islam was the religion of Prophet Abraham also, so was the religion of Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) and/or Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) and all before him.
 
Christianity on the other hand centers around Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) and as a Christian you believe him to be son of Allah (God) like the jews believed Prophet Uzair (peace be upon him) to be son of Allah (God). As per our faith this is SHIRK, that is associating some body with Allah (God) which is the highest SIN which Allah (God) has said in Holy Quran will not FORGIVE. Allah (God) has no son/daughter/wife/father/mother or any other associate. He has not produced any sibbling nor any body has produced him. He is the CREATOR of all the worlds and heavens etc. Unity (oneness) of Allah is CENTRAL to our faith as a Muslim. We revere virgin Mary (Marrium) as the most noble/sacred lady of all and she was chosen to give birth to Prophet Jesus Christ through the power of Allah (God) to demonstrate to this world that Allah (God) is the creator of this world and that he can create a life from nothing. Thats all.
 
I am sorry for this lecture which I realize got extra ordinarily elongated. But this was necessary to respond to your interesting query. I apologize to those who thought it to be boring and uninteresting.
 
Best regards to all & sundries. Merry Christmas (Happy Holidays) and a very happy returns for the New Year-2004.May Allah bless you all with his choicest blessings/bounties, amen!!

Syed Faiz Ahmad; MEngg, M.ASCE
Senior Structural Engineer
Saudi Oger Ltd
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

P.S: In passing please allow me to submit here that All Muslims are  NOT plane-fliers & bombers. A Muslim (IF he is a Muslim) is a peace-loving, God-fearing and a Caring human being. These plane-fliers & bombers were misguided lot, breeded, trained & armed by your own government of one time to defeat the Soviets.  These misguided lot were taught hatred and made a genie for selfish reasons mentioned above. And, once a genie is out of the bottle, it becomes a bit difficult task to put it back. America should make in roads into the hearts & minds of the silent majority who all abhor all these terrorism. America was reverred before and shall be reverred again by the young & old of the Muslim world. But for this, efforts have to be made by America. And, this effort has to exclude war and should include venture for peace. May Allah (God) bless America & the Americans, amen!!

-----Original Message-----
From: John C. Jones [mailto:john(--nospam--at)struct-engr.com]
Sent: Tuesday, December 23, 2003 4:31 PM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
Subject: RE: Secular Holiday Humor [Way Off Topic]

I'm happy to say that I believe most folks still feel that way.  You have your reactionaries and your bubba's (Southern term) but most folks do feel that way.  It might be a bit hard to tell with the Christmas cheer around here.
 
As you are from Saudi Arabia I'll ask...does Islam celebrate a winter holiday?  I know about Ramadan in January.  Is that your version (I hesitate to use that term since it sounds disrespectful)?  What I mean is that Christianity has Christmas and Judaism has Hanukah.  Is Ramadan the Islamic version?  All three sprang from Abraham regardless of whether through Ishmael or Isaac and so I'm just curious.
 
I'm not trying to start a religious debate.  That's not appropriate for this board.  Just general curiosity about other belief systems.  Isn't that what we question here everyday, different belief systems? 
 

John C. Jones, PE
Barnett Associates
Pell City, AL
205-884-5334
205-884-0099 (fax)

-----Original Message-----
From: Syed Faiz [mailto:sfaiz(--nospam--at)saudioger.com]
Sent: Tuesday, December 23, 2003 12:38 AM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
Subject: RE: Secular Holiday Humor [Way Off Topic]

[Each group of people, every religion;

Every ethnicity, every hue.

Everyone everywhere ... even you.

So here is that gift, it's price beyond worth:

"May you and your loved ones enjoy peace on earth."]
 
A good one indeed!
 
I think this one reflects the true sentiments & thoughts of THE AMERICANS that we once knew about.
 
Merry Christmas (happy holidays) & many happy returns for the new year-2004. May Allah bless you all, amen!!
 

Syed Faiz Ahmad; MEngg, M.ASCE
Senior Structural Engineer
Saudi Oger Ltd
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

-----Original Message-----
From: Caldwell, Stan [mailto:scaldwell(--nospam--at)halff.com]
Sent: Tuesday, December 23, 2003 1:51 AM
To: SEAINT Listserv
Subject: Secular Holiday Humor [Way Off Topic]

Twas the Night Before Christmas and Santa's a wreck ...

How to live in a world that's politically correct?

His workers no longer would answer to Elves,

"Vertically Challenged" they now were calling themselves.

And labor conditions at the north pole

Were alleged by the union to stifle the soul.

Four reindeer had vanished, without much propriety,

Released to the wilds by the Humane Society.

And equal employment had made it quite clear

That Santa had better not use just reindeer.

So Dancer and Donner, Comet and Cupid,

Were replaced by four pigs, and you know that looked stupid!

The runners had been removed from the sleigh;

The ruts had been termed dangerous by the E.P.A.

And people had started to call for the cops

When they heard sleigh noises on their rooftops.

Second hand smoke from his pipe had his workers quite frightened.

His fur trimmed red suit was called "Unenlightened".

And to show you the strangeness of life's ebbs and flows,

Rudolph was suing over unauthorized use of his nose

And had gone on Geraldo, in front of the nation,

Demanding millions in overdue compensation.

So half of the reindeer were gone, and his wife

Who suddenly said she'd had enough of this life,

Joined a self-help group, packed, and left in a whiz,

Demanding from now on her title was Ms.

And as for the gifts, why he'd ne'er had a notion

That making a choice would cause so much commotion

Nothing of leather, nothing of fur,

Which meant nothing for him, and nothing for her.

Nothing that might be construed to pollute,

Nothing to aim. Nothing to shoot.

Nothing that was glamorous or made any noise.

Nothing just for the girls. Or just for the boys.

Nothing that claimed to be gender specific.

Nothing that's warlike or non-pacific.

No candy or sweets, they were bad for the tooth

Nothing that seemed to embellish a truth.

And fairy tales, while not yet forbidden,

Were like Ken and Barbie, better off hidden.

For they raised the hackles of those psychological

Who claimed the only good gift was one ecological

No baseball, no football, someone could get hurt

Besides, playing sports exposes kids to dirt.

Dolls were said to be sexist and should be passé

And Nintendo could rot your poor brain away.

So Santa just stood there, disheveled, perplexed

He just could not figure out what to do next

He tried to be merry, tried to be gay,

But you've got to be careful with that word today.

His sack was quite empty, limp to the ground

Nothing fully acceptable was to be found.

Something special was needed, a gift that he might

Give to all without angering the left or the right.

A gift that would satisfy, with no indecision,

Each group of people, every religion;

Every ethnicity, every hue.

Everyone everywhere ... even you.

So here is that gift, it's price beyond worth:

"May you and your loved ones enjoy peace on earth."