in Boulder CO?
ISLAM NEWSROOM - June 12, 2006 "Yusuf Estes in Boulder, Colorado"
University of Colorado - at Boulder, CO
Several Muslim groups cooperated in bringing us out to the Mile High City (Denver is over 5,000 feet above sea level) for our series: Presenting Islam to the non-Muslims.
Our first stop was Wednesday at the University of Colorado in Boulder. The MSA (Muslim Student Association) had planned, organized and conducted a program on campus in conjunction with the annual "Islamic Awareness Week" activities there.
Great turn out in Boulder.
Many in attendance were not Muslims and all had braved the cold and extremely windy elements in order to participate in what started out to be one of ourmost successful and productive programs ever. Originally, the Muslim Student Association on campus had planned for a talk on "Jesus in Islam." But rather than cause unnecessary hard feelings with our Christian brothers and sisters, we a more beneficial topic for all might be "Basics of Islam".
We presented the meaning of Arabic words, like: "Allah", "Islam", "Muslim" and "Quran." Everyone enjoyed our program and our humorous way of presenting it all, in a one hour special.
Most enjoyable for all was about Islam and its relationship to Christianity, Judaism and the Books of all three religions. You coudl feel the keen sense of positive reaction and participation between all present. Everyone was smiling and happy- right up to the QA (question and answer) portion of the program.
Christian Chaos in the "Q & A"?
Usually we have everyone to write their questions, comments and suggestions for easier handling of different ideas and concepts and keep the focus on the topic of the evening, rather than getting off into debates.
No paper nor pens were avaible it seems, so our moderator came back on stage and opened up the QA from the floor, but without microphones.
Our first question was an excellent example of a well thought out topic. Our audience had been taking notes and was indeed quite intelligent. I must say, I was quite impressed with the level of brilliance and comprehension of those first few questions. This gave me the opportunity to make even more clarification about the basics and principles of Islam. The topic of "Jesus" was introduced, thereby giving me an opening to explain who exactly, the "Jesus of Islam" really is, according to the Quran and sunnah of Muhammad, peace be upon him.
Several members of the audience had been patiently holding up their hands and trying to get my attention, so I decided to allow one more before quitting for the night. Amazing, isn't it? The statement, "Quit while you are ahead." (I can only look back now and see my mistakes)
A tall man with his head shaved clean standing at the top of the steps said he had a statement, but no question.
His "statement" was to put me down, saying the "audience has listened to you long enough. Now it is time for me to seak".
He then offered opposition to almost everything we had discussed, especially regarding revelation of the Quran and its unique qualities. The man would not stop talking and even walked up on the stage and facing the audience, he began his own program to put down any positive idea someone had concerning the Quran, how it was revealed, memorized and preserved, even its miracles.
- He began right away talking over my voice and for a few minutes I remained silent to see if there was a way to peacefully gain control back of our program. That did not happen.
- His first statements were about Quran and the Bible in the English language and how it should be mentioned these both have different versions. So, it is wrong for us to claim Quran is superior to Bible (although I didn't said that).
- His next claim was the original manuscripts of the Bible were still in existence (he never said where).
- He said he was from Libya and could read some Arabic. His next claim was about visiting a museum in England and a Quran on display there, seemed not like other Qurans he had seen. According to him, there are many different variations of the Quran throughout history.
- He said it did not have the vowel markings or diacritical marks as some others do. And before I could say anything regarding development of these markings not coming into existence until the 8th century, he took off on another tangent, making similar remarks toward preservation of Quran.
- Finally, I asked him to tell the people what those marks really mean. He pretended to know about "other things" in the Quran, but again without mentioning anything. He said I was only talking in circles and did not answer questions the way he would. (pretty good for a guy who is not even asking a question - and only making a "statement" - huh?)
- Audience members began to show contempt his bad behavior and I tired to settle things down, get back control and go on to close out the program. But he was not about to let that happen.
- He came forward toward me and just kept smiling and raising his voice over mine saying I wasn't doing anything except talking in circles. I asked him to tell the audience if he knew why there were no "diacritical marks" in the book he saw. He again laughed at me and went on making his "statements" trying to put down the well established historical references to preservation of the Quran.
- I raised my voice higher and asked him to tell the audience, "Why are there no markings in the book you saw?" He only side-stepped the issue and continued his rhetoric. I then announced to the people the reason there are no markings in the book on display in England is because at the time it was written (along with several others at the time, which are also preserved and on display in other museums, such as in Tashkent, Uzbekistan and Istanbul, Turkey) - the diacritical and vowel markings - had not yet been invented. These were not introduced until the second century after Muhammad, peace be upon him. I further noted the Maserati Text of the Jewish Torah (Old Testament) did not include vowel markings for their captures until the ninth century, long after Muslims had come up with the idea for the Quran.
- The man still continued as if he had made some kind of point in his favor, instead of the other way around. He took over the stage and started moving around while he was shouting at the audience.
- I asked the man several times to stop and to leave the stage. He had upset our entire audience and me included. This only seemed to inspire him more and cause him to raise his voice higher while continuing his rampage of insults and false statements about the Quran.
- By now, several brothers had come up to try to quiet him down and they quickly found this big, bald, bad boy was not going anywhere. He resisted their statements and with body language, let everyone know right away, he was not going anywhere, regardless of what we said or did.
- One of the Muslim students joined with the man saying he had the right to speak and to let him continue insulting and lying against the Quran. This only furthered the animosity amongst those present. Some were trying to have him leave, others just wanted him to sit down and then there were some Muslims who thought we should let him just carry on, as this would give people the idea that we are tolerant and peace loving people. Others knew this was not right and they began arguing with each other about whether the man should be allowed to make his "statements" or not.
- The frustration and anger grew from both those on stage and those still remaining in their seats. All the while the bald man just kept right on talking in a booming voice, drowning out the voices and sounds around him.
- Our program had disintegrated down to nothing, with Muslims arguing with Muslims and non-Muslims staring on in confusion as the sound grew louder and louder. Finally, someone stood up and shouted it was all over and for people to just stop and leave the building.
- The smile on the face of the bald man gave it all away. He was happy, he had achieved what he had set out to do. He destroyed our presentation - and worse, brought about disharmony amongst our brothers and sisters right there in front of the very people we had invited to learn the beauty of Islam.
NOTE: This man said he was an Arab and knew how to read Arabic. He had some limited knowledge of the existance of the ancient Qurans at the time of 'Uthman (although he didn't know when or where they had been written). He seemed to represent only himself and not any of the others present. Indeed, after the program an Arab Christian from Lebnon came up to me and thanked me and said we had a wonderful program and told me not to worry about people like this man. Other Christians also came up to me thanking me and one young man hugged me and asked me if I thought it were possible for someone to be a "Christian-Muslim." I told him I had been a Christian and then became a Muslim - so if he meant by succession then, yes, it would be possible.
COMMENT: From now on our hosts must provide security to avoid such outbursts and displays of improper behavior.
THOUGHT: If a Muslim will not speak up when someone is lying about the Quran - or worse, if he encourages the person to continue, even if his claim is to demonstrate Muslim tolerance (tolerance or ignorance?), then how can there be any committment to the propagation and preservation of truth?
Chatroom Shahadahs - LIVE online in our chatroom
Amazingly enough, Allah has been using our chatroom to bring people to His Deen (way of Islam). A man named Thomas was asking me some questions in our chatroom the other day and while we talked he decided to accept Islam and made his shahadah live - using his own camera and microphone and we were able to tape the whole thing, Al Hamdulillah.
- Please encourage everyone to visit our special"shahadah chatroom": http://chatislam.com
NEW - "Muhammad: A to Z"
While traveling around giving dawah we are also working on a new video and audio program called, "Muhammad: A to Z"
Check it out and let me know what you think, inshallah: http://islamalways.com/muhammad/
We humbly request that you pass along our sincere thanks to all who are working and supporting the effort of sharing Islam in plain English and ask them to continue their dua for us and for the dawah for Islam, inshallah.
And we ask Allah to Bless you and your family and we send you big "salam alaykum" ya'all,
PS please include this link at the bottom of all your emails, inshallah and ask everyone to do the same: