Why Most Terrorists are Muslim: An Introduction to the Origins of Modern Islamic Terrorism

Were the Soviet Union to sink tomorrow under the waters of the ocean, the American military-industrial establishment would have to go on, substantially unchanged, until some other adversary could be invented. Anything else would be an unacceptable shock to the American economy. —George F Kennan, American Cold War diplomat and father of “Containment Theory”

Introduction

Islamic terrorists serve as useful tools for carrying out the slaughter and butchery that the CIA and other intelligence agencies perform as their day jobs. A terrorist attack can kill “only” 100 people but entirely change the course of an election or precipitate a country into war, and this can be extremely useful for achieving certain geopolitical goals. Israel funds Islamic terrorists in Syria today and treats them in its own hospitals because it wants them to succeed in ending the non-Israel-friendly Syrian government. The fact that these Islamists slaughter innocent women and children means nothing to Israel’s admirable people, because what matters is that they achieve their geopolitical goals, no matter the moral costs.

Iran has been funding Sunni Kurdish and Shiite Arab Islamists in Iraq for decades to weaken the country. In return, Iraq used to fund and host the communist terrorist organization Mujahiden-e-Khalq, who were responsible for killing hundreds of people in bombings in Tehran and elsewhere.

Today, Islamism is the most easily exploitable ideology for attacking one’s enemies while keeping one’s hand’s clean, as the CIA and Israeli support for Islamic terrorists shows. Tomorrow it might be communism that serves the same purpose. For an intelligence agency wanting to destroy an enemy, the ideology does not matter, what matters is that mass slaughter of people is carried out in a way that affects an entire country’s morale, politics and economy.

A Short History

The United States invented modern Islamic terrorism (the al-Qaeda/ISIS flavor) in 1979 as part of its efforts to fight the Soviet Union’s influence in Central Asia, that all-important part of the world, control of which is necessary for any would-be world hegemon.

The groundwork had been laid by the Muslim Brotherhood, an organization that started out as a welfare and education society but grew too powerful for its own good. Its major political work was their helping in the war against an army of Jews eager to repeat the Hebrew Bible’s conquest of Canaan by systematically killing Palestinian men, women and infants in a poetic reenactment of the Book of Joshua; see the Deir Yassin Remembered website, run by a Jewish man who lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Since it was Jews carrying out terrorism and genocide, rather than whites, those who carried out these atrocities are celebrated as heroes, rather than being universally condemned for the Jewish replicas of the Nazis that they are.1 David Ben-Gurion, who commanded the ethnic cleansing of 700,000 Palestinians, has an Israeli international airport and a major Israeli university named after him. Moshe Sharett, one of the terrorists who carried out the King David Hotel Bombing, in which Israelis dressed as Arabs bombed the offices of the British Mandate in Palestine, killing 96 people, would later go on to become foreign minister and then prime minister of Israel. The Israeli war hero Ariel Sharon, 11th Prime Minister of Israel from March 2001 until April 2006, oversaw the execution of the Sabra and Shatila massacre, killing 3000 innocent men, women and children.2

From the perspective of Quranic law, the Muslim Brotherhood’s involvement in the war against these terrorists was justifiable, as the Brotherhood wasn’t acting independently, unlike today’s Islamic terrorists. It was helping in a conflict that involved existing sovereign states (Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, members of the Arab League). The Muslim Brotherhood’s war was exactly the opposite of conflicts launched by modern Islamic terrorists, it was an anti-terrorist force in the conflict, helping governments fight terrorists that were carrying out bombings and massacres, intent on terrorizing all Palestinians into leaving the territories that these Jews had decided belonged to them as God’s Chosen People.

The Brotherhood’s power grew to the point that it developed its own intelligence and covert operations arm, known as al-Jihaaz al-Sirri (The Covert Apparatus), which was involved in assassinations and bombings, such as the assassination of Ahmed El-Khazindar Bey, President of Egypt’s Court of Appeal, and Mahmoud El Nokrashy Pasha, Prime Minister of Egypt, both in 1948. Hassan al-Banna, the founder of the Brotherhood, condemned both of these assassinations, but he had practically lost control over his organization, since powerful factions within it wanted violence, and they had the power to bypass al-Banna’s wishes.

The Egyptian intellectual Sayyid Qutb, well-known among Egypt’s intelligentsia and student of the famous Egyptian journalist Abbās Mahmūd al-Aqqād, reverted to Islam after a life of secularism and adopted the Brotherhood, while also, perhaps without realizing its true consequences, building the intellectual foundations necessary for the Brotherhood’s violent arm to carry out its insurgencies. If Sayyid Qutb’s highly partisan biographer is to be trusted3, his house was used as a meeting place for Gamal Abdel Nasser and his friends as they planned the 1952 July 23 Revolution in Egypt against the British occupation.

Once president of Egypt, Nasser wanted Qutb on his side, offering him high government positions, which Qutb always refused.4 Once he despaired of Qutb joining him, he started persecuting him and his associates, imprisoning him for a decade. Nasser ordered Qutb’s hanging on the 24th of August, 1966, after a show trial. These events turned Qutb into the perfect martyr, a secular convert to Islam, a literary critic, a warrior for social justice, and a revolutionary who was stabbed in the back by Western-friendly seculars that he had supported into power.

The Brotherhood distanced itself from Qutb, going back to its early position of advocating peaceful activism (at least openly), but extremists around the world wishing for a resurgence of Islam continued to follow him as their primary source for both knowledge and inspiration.5

Brzezinski’s Genius

By the 1970’s, the time was ripe for any would-be terrorist to launch his own holy war against whoever he disliked. The CIA jumped right into the action, training, arming and encouraging these terrorists as tools for protecting US interests abroad and fighting its major enemy, the Soviet Union. Operation Cyclone, conceived by the Jewish US foreign policy strategist Zbigniew Brzezinski, armed and financed jihadi warriors in Afghanistan to use them as a buffer against Soviet influence from 1979 until after 1992, to the tune of $630 million per year by 1987.

What judgment to render on all this is a matter of perspective. Asked in 1998 if he had any regrets about having helped instigate Soviet intervention in Afghanistan6, Zbigniew Brzezinski, in many respects the god-father of Operation Cyclone, reacted with astonishment. “Regret what?” he replied. “That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it?”

The interviewer pressed the point. Hadn’t subsequent rise of radical Islamism tarnished that victory? Not in Brzezinski’s view. “What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?”7

Check out Edmonds’ interview with Pat Buchanan’s American Conservative magazine: Who’s Afraid of Sibel Edmonds?

This brilliant program to manufacture Islamic jihadists to fight America’s enemies resulted in the creation of Operation Gladio B, the United States program to train al-Qaeda terrorists and their affiliates, exposed by the FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds.

In her interview, Edmonds  insisted that after its initial exposé, the Times’ investigation had gone beyond such previous revelations, and was preparing to disclose her most startling accusations. Among these, Edmonds described how the CIA and the Pentagon had been running a series of covert operations supporting Islamist militant networks linked to Osama bin Laden right up to 9/11, in Central Asia, the Balkans and the Caucasus.

While it is widely recognised that the CIA sponsored bin Laden’s networks in Afghanistan during the Cold War, U.S. government officials deny any such ties existed. Others claim these ties were real, but were severed after the Soviet Union collapsed in 1989.

But according to Edmonds, this narrative is false. “Not just bin Laden, but several senior ‘bin Ladens’ were transported by U.S. intelligence back and forth to the region in the late 1990s through to 2001”, she told this author, “including Ayman al-Zawahiri” – Osama bin Laden’s right-hand-man who has taken over as al-Qaeda’s top leader.

“In the late 1990s, all the way up to 9/11, al-Zawahiri and other mujahideen operatives were meeting regularly with senior U.S. officials in the U.S. embassy in Baku to plan the Pentagon’s Balkan operations with the mujahideen,” said Edmonds. “We had support for these operations from Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, but the U.S. oversaw and directed them. They were being run from a secret section of the Pentagon with its own office”.

Edmonds clarified, “the FBI counterintelligence investigation which was tracking these targets, along with their links to U.S. officials, was known as ‘Gladio B’, and was kickstarted in 1997. It so happens that Major Douglas Dickerson” – the husband of her FBI co-worker Melek whom she accused of espionage – “specifically directed the Pentagon’s ‘Gladio’ operations in Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan at this time.”

In testimony under oath, Edmonds has previously confirmed that Major Doug Dickerson worked for the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) under the weapons procurement logistics division on Turkey and Central Asia, and with the Office of Special Plans (OSP) overseeing policy in Central Asia.

[…]

Edmonds said that the Pentagon operations with Islamists were an “extension” of an original ‘Gladio’ programme uncovered in the 1970s in Italy, part of an EU-wide NATO covert operation that began as early as the 1940s. As Swiss historian Dr. Daniele Ganser records in his seminal book, NATO’s Secret Armies, an official Italian parliamentary inquiry confirmed that British MI6 and the CIA had established a network of secret “stay-behind” paramilitary armies, staffed by fascist and Nazi collaborators. The covert armies carried out terrorist attacks throughout Western Europe, officially blamed on Communists in what Italian military intelligence called the ‘strategy of tension’.

“You had to attack civilians, the people, women, children, innocent people, unknown people far removed from any political game” explained Gladio operative Vincenzo Vinciguerra during his  trial in 1984. “The reason was quite simple. They were supposed to force these people… to turn to the State to ask for greater security.”

While the reality of Gladio’s existence in Europe is a matter of historical record, Edmonds contended the same strategy was adopted by the Pentagon in the 1990s in a new theatre of operations, namely, Asia. “Instead of using neo-Nazis, they used mujahideen working under various bin Ladens, as well as al-Zawahiri”, she said.8

The US tradition of spreading the American ideals of peace and liberty in the Middle East by funding and training Islamic terrorist groups continues to ISIS, also known as ISIL, Daesh or the Islamic State.

James Shea, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Emerging Threats at NATO – now that’s a lovely title – recently gave a talk at a private club in London on the Islamic State/Daesh. Shea, as many will remember, made his name as NATO’s spokesman during the NATO war on Yugoslavia in 1999.

After his talk Shea engaged in a debate with a source I very much treasure. The source later gave me the lowdown.

According to Saudi intelligence, Daesh was invented by the US government – in Camp Bacca, near the Kuwait border, as many will remember — to essentially finish off the Shiite-majority Nouri al-Maliki government in Baghdad.

It didn’t happen this way, of course. Then, years later, in the summer of 2014, Daesh routed the Iraqi Army on its way to conquer Mosul. The Iraqi Army fled. Daesh operatives then annexed ultra-modern weapons that took US instructors from six to twelve months to train the Iraqis in and…surprise! Daesh incorporated the weapons in their arsenals in 24 hours.

In the end, Shea frankly admitted to the source that Gen David Petraeus, conductor of the much-lauded 2007 surge, had trained these Sunnis now part of Daesh in Anbar province in Iraq.

Saudi intelligence still maintains that these Iraqi Sunnis were not US-trained – as Shea confirmed – because the Shiites in power in Baghdad didn’t allow it. Not true. The fact is the Daesh core – most of them former commanders and soldiers in Saddam Hussein’s army — is indeed a US-trained militia.

True to form, at the end of the debate, Shea went on to blame Russia for absolutely everything that’s happening today – including Daesh terror.9

Then there are reports like this, of US troops feeling completely safe in the presence of ISIS:

For years, Iraqi politicians, including members of parliament, have accused the US of airdropping supplies for ISIS. Since what they say goes against the US narrative, these accusations are given no airtime in the West.

The Psychological Stress of Terrorism on the Muslim Mind

Terrorism is an extremely stressful phenomenon for Muslims. It uses Islamic rhetoric to justify acts that disgust and horrify most Muslims. For Muslims, the problem with terrorism, and the reason they still haven’t figured out what to do about it, is that it is something entirely new. We Muslims are like the American Indians who were exposed for the first to time to European germs they had never faced before when Columbus discovered the Americas. Most of these native Americans had no defenses against these germs, and so they succumbed to them by the millions. Our societies, too, have no defenses against terrorism-supporting extremist ideologies because terrorism was never a threat before.

Terrorism, this new European-incubated germ (if we think of Americans as Europeans, for their European genes and culture), forces two choices on the average Muslim just trying to get on with their life. The first choice is to renew their allegiance to Islam, to convince themselves that these terrorists aren’t acting according to the true version of Islam. This argument feels weak, but they don’t know anything better, so that they try not to think about it too much and instead direct their hatred at terrorist groups like ISIS and find solace in theories that blame Western powers and Israel for the raise of these terrorist organizations, to absolve themselves of the guilt they feel. Some of the kindest and most admirable people they know are fellow devout Muslims, so while they cannot consciously tell what the fundamental difference is between Muslim terrorists and peaceful, devout Muslims, they know in their hearts that the difference exists.

The second choice is to entirely abandon Islam as something evil, outdated and barbaric. Every major terrorist attack renews the pressure on Muslims to take this choice, and many do. And from their newfound post-Islam position, they attack Islam as the embodiment of all that is evil in this world.

We are caught between a fundamentalist interpretation of Islam that claims to be the only true version of Islam, and that provides the fuel that provides the ideological justification for these terrorists, and a secularism that entirely abandons Islam. Every new terrorist attack creates intense cognitive dissonance where we have to continually repeat to ourselves that this is not true Islam, hoping to preserve our faith until we can forget about the massacre and go on with our lives.

Terrorism is nothing but an intense genetic-cultural evolutionary pressure10. We are faced with two ways forward:

  • We remain in our present state of weakness, continuing to provide fertile ground for the FBI and the CIA to recruit terrorists among us and use them for their own purposes, becoming nothing but dehumanized tools of war among empires. More and more of us would feel pressured to abandon Islam, and in this way Islam fails and becomes extinct, as our children, deciding to be more enlightened than us, abandon Islam in favor of a secularism that feels much more sensible and civilized.
  • We evolve into a new type of Muslim population whose very foundations reject and cripple the terrorist ideology that has been so perfected by the peaceful and freedom-loving geniuses at the CIA.

If we are to evolve, this evolution has to happen at the level of our intellectuals, scholars and preachers, who are the midwives responsible for birthing Islam into the 21st century.

Ending Terrorism

A previous incarnation of this essay blamed the root causes of Islamic terrorism on hadith-primacism, the Islamic establishment’s focus on inherently unreliable narrations regarding the Prophet, peace be upon him, at the cost of the Quran’s teachings and principles. I have come to question this thesis, however. I continue to research this topic to find out an answer. It is obvious that the Islamic establishment is not very capable of handling this new threat, what it must do to evolve remains an open question.

I do not know if anything can be done when the world’s most powerful countries are willing to spend billions of dollars recruiting and arming ignorant youth from around the world to do their dirty work for them in the name of God and Islam.

Islam and Christianity have both been exploited by vicious and blood-thirsty rulers for most of their respective histories. Islamic terrorism might simply be another incarnation of this trend.

The Coming Multipolar World

The final solution to terrorism would be for the United States not to be the world’s hegemon, the big bully that can get away with anything it wants. As Russia and China’s power and influence grows, just as the United States continues its decades of decline, Russia and China will be increasingly capable of throwing wrenches into America’s terror-exporting business.

This is already evident in Syria, where Russia has been a big thorn in the side of the CIA’s various al-Qaeda spin-offs. What is crucially needed is for Chinese businesses to become heavily invested in Iraq, Afghanistan and the rest of America and Israel’s playgrounds. Once this happens, Chinese intelligence and its military will start doing what Russia is doing in Syria, protecting their investments and regional interests, not letting America/Israel get away with being the only geopolitical manipulator on the scene.

As I discuss in my essay Forecasting the World’s Top 50 Most Powerful Countries in 2035 Using the HQI, China is on track to become two and a half times as powerful economically, technologically and militarily than the United States within the next few decades, and when that happens, we will be living in a very different world indeed.

Below is a beautiful illustration of the coming times:

Those people in Israel are sad that there are new players in the field getting in the way of themselves being the only people in the Middle East with the right to kill and bomb anyone they want. The presence of these new players means that Israel has to, for once, stop acting like a mafia of Stone Age thugs and more like a civilized nation, worrying about the consequences of its actions, instead of acting the way it has always acted, like a god over the gentiles, deciding who lives and who dies, what country survives and what is turned into a war zone, with idiotic Christians doing their dirty work for them and paying them for the privilege.

How to increase iman (piety and mindfulness of God)

Can a Muslim woman have male friends? The Islamic view of having friends of the opposite sex

Salam. I have a question over boy friends? Is it okay to have friends who are boys and you know that they won’t do anything with you or take your guys friendship over the line? Or should we Muslim girls have no friends who are boys?

What is permissible for a Muslim woman to wear in front of her husband, and what are they allowed to do in private?

I have a question over husbands. What can you wear or do with your husband in private? What is allowed in Islam?

The rule regarding both clothing and sexual enjoyment is that everything is allowed unless it is specifically forbidden.

She can wear anything and nothing. Spouses are permitted to see each other naked.

Women are strongly discouraged from wearing male clothing, that’s the only important limitation I can think of regarding what she can wear in front of her husband.

As for what they can do, they can do all that’s customarily done between a husband and wife throughout the world, except for three things: Anal sex, sex when the woman is menstruating, and anything that causes harm to either person.

Sources: Dr. Khalid Abdul Mun`im al-Rifa`i (Azhar-educated scholar), UAE Fatwa Authority, Dr. Muhammad Sa`eed Ramadan al-Buti (Syrian Islamic studies professor).

What is permissible for a Muslim woman to wear in front of her father, other close male relatives, and other women?

Using PUT to RESTfully upload an image to a server with jQuery AJAX and PHP

When uploading a single image to a known location, for example a user uploading an image to use as their profile image, using a PUT request for the upload makes more sense than POST if you are trying to follow REST principles.

I couldn’t find a complete solution online, so the following is what I came up with. Due to the complexities of real life, the request also has to send the file name and mime type to the server with the image, which is not something a PUT request can do. For this reason the file name and mime type are attached to the request URL, in this way making use of GET parameters and the PUT body to send data. I cannot say if this will be considered an abuse of REST principles or a good use of them, but this is simpler than doing two requests, the first one to tell the server what to expect, perhaps a PUT request that fills out the expected image’s attributes, and the second one to send the actual binary data.

Below is an everyday event listener that fires when the user chooses a file in the file upload input:

$("input:file").change(function (){
sendImageToServer();
});

And here is sendImageToServer():

function sendImageToServer() {
if ($('input:file').val().length > 0) {
                var file = $('input:file')[0].files[0];

                $.ajax({
                    url: '/profiles/' + user.id
                    + '/image?filename=' + file.name
                    + '&mimetype=' + file.type,
                    type: 'PUT',
                    data: file,
                    contentType: false,
                    processData: false,
                    cache: false,
                    error: function (data) { /*alert(data);*/
                    },
                    success: function (response) {
                        // do stuff
                    }
                });
            }
        },
}

And below is the back-end code, which uses Silex. If you are not using Silex, you’d use a typical AJAX handler and use $_GET and fopen("php://input", "r") to get the needed data.

Here is the Silex route:

$app->put('/profiles/{user_id}/image', 'Controller\ProfileController::profileImage');

And here is the controller. It writes the PUT data to a temporary file, then moves it to a permanent place. There might be a more elegant way of doing this.

public class ProfileController {
	public function profileImage(Application $app, Request $request, $user_id) {
		// permission and validity checks

		if ($request->getMethod() == Request::METHOD_PUT) { // if this is a PUT request
			$temp_file = '/some/path/temp_profile_image' . $user_id;
			touch($temp_file); // create file
			$fp = fopen($temp_file, 'w'); // open file handler
			/* in a non-Silex environment, instead of using $request->getContent(), 
			   you'd probably use fopen("php://input", "r") */
			fwrite($fp, $request->getContent());

			$profile_images_dir = '/some/path/profile_images/';
			$file_type = $request->query->get('mimetype');
			if (!$file_type) {
				$file_type = Util::getMimeBasedOnExtension($request->query->get('filename'));
			}

			if ($file_type == 'image/png' || $file_type == 'image/jpg'
				|| $file_type == 'image/gif' || $file_type == 'image/jpeg'
			) {
				$filename = $user_id . '.jpg';
				$full_file_save_path = $dir . $filename;

				$image = new \SimpleImage();
				$image->load($temp_file);
				$image->save($full_file_save_path, 'image/jpg');
			}
			unlink($temp_file);

			return new JsonResponse(['Successfully updated.', 'success']);
		}
	}
}

God, Evolution and Abiogenesis: The Topological Theory for the Origin of Life and Species

Introduction

As a lover of science and rationalism, and a very religious person, the issue of God and evolution has been on the back of my mind for years. I grew up hearing many refutations of the theory of evolution from everyone around me; scientifically-minded relatives, Islamic preachers and science teachers, all of whom considered evolution a challenge to religion that had to be defeated to protect our faith.

While I eventually came to consider the evolution of non-human creatures plausible, the evolution of humans continued to be a challenge. In 2010 I read Darwinian Fairytales by the Australian atheist philosopher David Stove and considered it a good a challenge to the theory of evolution.

Since then I have read many more books on the topic. Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species is one of my favorite scientific books, in which he shows an unusual level of intelligence and intellectual humility in pointing out the deficiencies he saw in his own thinking.

What I have sought all of these years is something that perfectly satisfies both science and religion, because if a religion is entirely true, it wouldn’t conflict with science. One of the things I’ve said in the past is this:

A religion must make as much sense as mathematics, and if it doesn’t, it is not worth believing in.

If something in our religion is proven false beyond doubt, then that proves the entire religion false. The Quran claims to contain the unadulterated words of God, and claims to contain no errors. It logically follows that the presence of a single error proves the entire book false, because it either means that God isn’t so great as all that after all, since He made a mistake, or that He was incapable of protecting His book from adulteration, which is an equally fatal flaw in an all-powerful God.

It is a common misconception that all religions require their followers to curtail their skepticism when it comes to some matters, that they would have to believe certain things even if these things clearly contradict reality. The great science fiction writer Frank Herbert writes in his 1985 novel Chapterhouse: Dune:

Religion (emulation of adults by the child) encysts past mythologies: guesses, hidden assumptions of trust in the universe, pronouncements made in search of personal power, all mingled with shreds of enlightenment. And always an unspoken commandment: Thou shalt not question!

The novel Chapterhouse: Dune is one of Western civilization’s great achievements.

In multiple places he repeats his principle that an essential commandment of religion is “Thou shalt not question!” This is a common mistake made by both the religious and atheists, and if it were true, then the existence of a conflict between evolution and Islam would not be a special thing, it would be yet another conflict between rationalistic, atheistic science and backward and superstitious religion.

While the above might be true of some religions, and of some misguided versions of Islam, it is not true of the Quran. The religion of the Quran is founded upon the commandment “Thou shalt question!” The Quran constantly refers to evidence and proof, mocks various sections of humanity for not thinking clearly or for believing in superstition, and constantly calls its readers to think, to reason, to observe, to analyze, to question.

It is from two directions, both as a lover of rationalism and a lover of the Quran, that I have approached the theory of evolution. After years of coming up with various approximate solutions then discarding them, in 2014 I reached the “mold” theory of evolution, which I later renamed to the “topological theory”, that has stood the test of time and that fully satisfies both the Quran and everything we know about evolution.

While I could have waited on publishing this theory until I could turn it into a book (with detailed references), the theory is simple and straightforward enough to be shared in its present form, and I believe this will best serve the interests of both Muslim and non-Muslim seekers of knowledge.

Explaining the Winds and Rain

Muslims who have a problem with Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection due to the fact that it takes God out of the picture have a greater problem to solve, one that usually goes neglected, and solving that problem opens the way to solving the problem of evolution.

The problem is that in the Quran, God takes credit for various natural phenomena which all have scientific explanations. Among such instances are:

God is He who sends the winds. They stir up clouds. Then He spreads them in the sky as He wills. And He breaks them apart. Then you see rain drops issuing from their midst. Then, when He makes it fall upon whom He wills of His servants, behold, they rejoice. 1

It is He who sends the wind ahead of His mercy. Then, when they have gathered up heavy clouds, We drive them to a dead land, where We make water come down, and with it We bring out all kinds of fruits. Thus We bring out the dead—perhaps you will reflect.2

Have you not seen how God propels the clouds, then brings them together, then piles them into a heap, and you see rain drops emerging from its midst? How He brings down loads of hail from the sky, striking with it whomever He wills, and diverting it from whomever He wills? The flash of its lightning almost snatches the sight away.3

We, as rational human beings, are supposed to believe that God is responsible for the things described above, even though we never see God taking care of these things. This leads one to think that perhaps the universe would go on functioning like normal even if there was no God. What is the point of saying that God is responsible for making it rain when, from observation, it appears that it would probably rain anyway even if no God existed? We can carry out physics experiments inside sealed chambers where we can make it rain or snow, what does God have to do with any of this?

Imagine a king giving a speech in a newly conquered city, telling the listeners “I bring you food and water, so be thankful!” A skeptical person may go to the gates of the city early in the morning to see who actually brings food and water. Since he never sees the king himself carrying sacks of flour into the city, he concludes that the king lied, it is not the king who brings food and water to the city, it is people who do that.

His mistake is that he fails to realize that it is by the king’s order that people are bringing food and water to his city, so when the king says he is doing it, he is right. If it wasn’t for the king, it wouldn’t be happening.

When God claims to make it rain, the fact the His hand can’t be detected in the process doesn’t necessarily mean He is lying.

If the pharaoh of Egypt claims he makes the sun rise, I would be skeptical and ask him to provide some pretty convincing evidence before I take him seriously. In all likelihood the sun would rise regardless of the pharaoh. So what is so special about a 14-century-old book out of the deserts of Arabia that I should take it seriously when it says its writer makes it rain?

Atheists demand hard evidence before they believe in scripture like the Quran. But such evidence is not forthcoming. The Quran itself promises that it will not be forthcoming, because it says that once the existence of God has been proven by hard evidence, that would be the end of the world:

Are they waiting for anything but for the angels to come to them, or for your Lord to arrive, or for some of your Lord’s signs to come? On the Day when some of your Lord’s signs come (i.e. hard evidence for God’s existence), no soul will benefit from its faith unless it had believed previously, or had earned goodness through its faith. Say, “Wait, we too are waiting.”4

The above concept is repeated in multiple places in the Quran; that once a person has seen irrefutable evidence of God’s existence, their faith will no longer be of any worth, since faith will no longer be necessary.

The purpose of this universe is to create free-willed creatures who have the option of rejecting God’s existence, so that an act of will and a submission of the heart is needed for them to become believers in Him, and for this act of will, which they have to repeat every day of their faithful lives, they will be rewarded with Paradise5.

This situation leads to the conclusion that if God’s existence is ever proven, and the world doesn’t end, then this would prove the Quran false, since the Quran claims that hard evidence of God’s existence will only be shown to humanity when the world ends.

Are they waiting for God Himself to come to them in the shadows of the clouds, together with the angels, when the matter has been settled? All things are returned to God.6

As a Muslim, I obviously take God’s claim seriously when He says that He makes it rain. As a lover of science, a rationalist and an empiricist, I reject everything that’s not backed by evidence as superstition and ideology. And yet, although there is never any hard evidence, I am capable of believing the Quran when its Writer claims responsibility for various natural phenomena. How?

A verse of the Quran is called an ayah in Arabic, which literally means “sign”, something on the road that points toward a direction. As for its figurative meaning, the scholar al-Faraahhi says in his definition of ayah:

ما تستدِلُّ به على أمر. وليست هي تمام الدليل، بل يُنَبِّهُك على الدليلِ.

That which is used as evidence toward (proving) some matter. It is not the whole of the proof, but it directs you toward the proof.7

While a single verse or even chapter of the Quran cannot be used as “proof” of God’s existence, the book in its totality and its historical context is a powerful piece of evidence that cannot be discarded out of hand in good faith, and it is for this reason that a person like me can believe in it.

The reason I believe in the Quran is the same reason I believe in Darwin’s theory of evolution. They both get too many things right, which makes it impossible for me to dismiss them in good conscience. For the Quran, among such things are:

  • Its zero-tolerance policy toward usury. The evils of usury are long-term and requires deep and lengthy analysis to bring them to the surface, so much so that one among a thousand economists today cannot be found who appreciate how it creates immense wealth inequality, creating a form of legalized stealing that constantly causes wealth to “trickle up” into the coffers of the upper class.
  • The zakat system, in which the poor charge an annual 2.5% interest on the uninvested and speculatively invested wealth of the rich. This system would be completely useless without banning usury, it takes a genius to plug that loophole, and the Quran does it.
  • The fact that in 600 pages written in the 7th century CE, it doesn’t contain a single statement that’s provably false, or that contradicts another part of itself.
  • The moral philosophy of the Quran, where moral integrity and justice are always paramount. Killing a single innocent human is similar to killing all of humanity, which means that there can never be such a thing as a utilitarian murder, the type of murder that’s practiced on a daily basis by the CIA and probably every other intelligence organization in the world, where innocent people can be murdered if there is a great enough prize to be gained by it.
  • The concept of the Straight Path, where humanity’s long-term survival is ensured while humanity’s short-term moral integrity is also ensured. The Quran never asks you to do evil for the sake of the greater good. The end never justifies the means. The Quran teaches that God ensures a good end, so that our job is to stay on the Straight Path, serving His interests while behaving in the best manner possible, being kind and forgiving to all, and never, ever doing any evil toward anyone even if it ensures great good. That’s the only type of moral philosophy I can believe in.
  • The beauty of the Quran. The Quran is the only book that I can read over and over again and continue to be surprised by how intelligent, beautiful and sensitive the mind of its writer is. The writer is always superior to me. I’ve never had a similar experience with any other writer. I used to think Terry Pratchett was incredible, and I continue to enjoy his books, having read some of his books 20 or more times, but every reading brings up further flaws in his thinking, to the point that I can no longer stand some of his books that I used to think were so clever and intelligent in the past.
  • The Quran’s non-Arabian character and the unusual restraint of the writer in not engaging in the typical rhetoric of the time. This is perhaps the greatest clue to its truth. Anyone who studies Arabic poetry from that period, and the fabricated words of revelation of Musailamah and other false prophets, will see that while all of the literary speech from that era has a distinctly Arabian character, full of hyperbole, self-aggrandizement and bad logic, the Quran does not. The Quran was brought to us by an Arab from the heart of Arabia, yet it does not have an Arabian character. It feels like it was written by an alien civilization who were far more intelligent than any human of the time, and who translated their thinking into Arabic and used some Arabic idioms to make it easier for Arabs to understand. It does not feel like a book written by an Arab for Arabs. It feels like a book written by an unbelievably intelligent being who made use of Arabic. Something else we can compare the Quran to is hadith (narrations from or regarding the Prophet, peace be upon him). These narrations are clearly by an Arab and for an Arab audience, because the words are by the Prophet himself, peace be upon him, and clearly show the same character as the rest of the Arabic literature of the time.
    A fair-minded comparison between the Quran the rest of the Arabic literature of the time will conclude that the Quran is more unusual, extraordinary and miraculous than a 1500-year-old laptop computer buried under a rock in Arabia. Once examined deeply, one concludes that it does not belong to Arabian civilization, then one concludes that it couldn’t have been made by any human civilization of the time. And unlike the 1500-year-old laptop, for the Quran, one concludes that it couldn’t be made by any human civilization of the present either.

That is just a short illustration of what makes the Quran the best guide in life that I have found. I continue to read the Quran with skepticism, assuming Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) wrote it himself, as a way of ensuring that I’m being honest to myself, that I am not following it merely out of habit, but out of recognition for its virtue, and all it takes is 3 to 4 pages before the sheer amount of beauty, intelligence and sensitivity dispels any doubt I have that it could have been written by a human.

Re-examining Rain

How could God claim credit for making it rain when we cannot detect His hand in the process? In three ways:

  1. Purposeful invention. God invented rain. He designed and built a universe in which rain happens, for the very purpose of having it be a help toward the evolution and sustenance of the creatures that would one day come about on Earth.
  2. Operating the universe. This universe would be a big blob of inert, unmoving matter without God’s involvement. An atom has no power or will to move. It is God who has to move every single thing that moves in this world. That means God has to cause steam to raise, He has to make it go where it is supposed to go in the sky, He has to bring it together into clouds, and then He has to take it to where it will eventually become rain, where He condenses the water atoms into droplets of water, and where He causes these drops to fall using gravity, a energy field that He has to maintain. He does all of these things so reliably for us that we start to think of them as simply phenomena, saying “things just happen”, refusing to admit that there could be a power doing all of these things for us.
    This entire universe is like an image shown on a TV screen. Turn off the TV, and the image would disappear like it never existed. In the same way, this universe, if God decided to “let it go”, would disappear as if it had never existed: “God upholds the heavens and the earth, lest they cease (to exist). And were they to cease, there is none to uphold them except He. He is Most Clement, Most Forgiving.” (The Quran, verse 35:41) If God decided to stop moving the frames of this universe, the universe would be like a frozen video on a TV screen, not moving. It is God who has to move everything, and in this way He animates the universe, and claims responsibility for doing so. (Related essay: Islam’s theory of free will versus physical determinism: Why humans are responsible for their actions even though God operates the universe.)
  3. Intervention. While the above two ways admit for the possibility of God being responsible for the phenomenon of rain in general, we need something more. God seems to claim that He purposefully sends rain here and there (especially in verse 24:43 quoted above), in directions He wants at this moment, meaning not directions that only obey the laws of nature that He sustains. God seems to claim that His agency goes into deciding when and where rain happens, that it is not mere chance caused by the laws of nature. The way that God could make this happen is by making it happen regardless of the laws of nature, because He has the power to do that. This, of course, would be impossible to detect, according to His plan, since God does not want His existence known by hard evidence. Even if we could build a machine that perfectly predicted rain around the world, so that any aberrations caused by God’s decisions could be seen, God could change what the machine shows. While this explanation is not scientifically satisfactory, since it requires undetectable supernatural agency (which sounds like any other old superstition), the reason it can be taken seriously is that the Quran says it. Once you believe in an all-powerful God, it doesn’t require any stretch of imagination to think that He can do whatever He wants.
    Saying that God intentionally makes it rain here and there is to claim a miracle happens, since you are saying this rain is happening due to a supernatural phenomenon (God’s decision), not due to a natural phenomenon. To prove a miracle, an equally miraculous piece of evidence is needed, and the Quran is that miracle.
    Personally I’m disinclined to believe that God would change the readings of a machine just so that His hand would be hidden. It seems more likely that in the things where He intervenes, He will do it so gracefully that no further intervention would be needed to hide Himself. For example, when it comes to weather, His interventions are so subtle that they are all easily explained as “randomness” by scientists. A Muslim scientist can study the weather as a purely natural system, while also believing in God’s power to direct it as He wills, so that they can thank God when a tornado avoids their neighborhood.

Some Muslims and Christians try to re-interpret the relevant verses regarding weather and other phenomena to say that God is merely explaining how the laws of nature work. But I cannot support such interpretations in good conscience, because verse 24:43 in particular seems to claim direct agency. While a Muslim scientist may feel ashamed to admit that rain could ever happen for supernatural reasons, we Muslims aren’t actually asking non-Muslims to believe in it. We fully support scientific explanations, and we will not bother non-Muslims with anything supernatural, since that requires that they believe in God and the Quran in the first place, since they don’t, there is no point in telling them about God’s potential role in undetectably making it rain in certain times and places.

In other words, we fully believe in science. But we also believe that God is its inventor, that science is nothing more than the human effort to find out how God designed the universe, and we believe that God has the power to bypass it when He wants, in a fully undetectable way, because His own laws require that His existence should be undetectable.

An atheist could say this is like saying invisible magical fairies make it rain, and the reply is that yes, it is exactly like saying that. But in our case, we have extraordinary evidence to support our thinking; the Quran, while a person who claims that invisible magical fairies make it rain has no evidence.

Atheists will go on to say that the only reason highly intelligent and educated people believe in the Quran is cultural conditioning, that if we were reallytruly intelligent and open-minded, we couldn’t possibly believe in it, that there is some invisible, magical force that is preventing people like me from opening my eyes even after years of exposure to scientific books and enjoying books by atheists. There is no evidence for this, it is an atheist superstition that helps them feel smugly snug in their comfort zones.

Another phenomenon for which God claims direct agency is the forming of the genetic makeup of humans during conception:

It is He who forms you in the wombs as He wills. There is no god except He, the Almighty, the Wise.8

When a father and a mother’s genes unite, there are 64 trillion different possible combinations that could be created. God claims to have a hand in choosing which combination ends up actually taking place. Again, God can claim responsibility for forming our genes in the womb through the three methods mentioned above: Purposeful invention, operating the universe and intervening when He wants. Similar to weather events, the process of genetic recombination is so immensely complex and affected by randomness that God does not need to do anything to hide His hand in the matter, His interventions would be easily explainable as merely randomness, which is as it should be.

Yet another place where God claims direct responsibility for physical phenomena is in His providing sustenance for humans:

Or, who originates the creation and then repeats it, and who gives you livelihood from the sky and the earth? Is there another god with God? Say, “Produce your evidence, if you are truthful.”9

And whosoever fears God, He will create for him a way out. And He will provide him with sustenance from where he does not expect.10

The second verse implies that God has a direct hand in providing sustenance, because He says that if we fear Him, then He will provide. This is a central concept of the God-human relationship, repeated often in the Bible and the Quran,

[Moses said,] “And [remember] when your Lord proclaimed: ‘If you give thanks, I will grant you increase; but if you are ungrateful, My punishment is severe.'”11

If God did not intervene directly in the affairs of humans, there would be no way for this contractual relationship to be maintained. If we fear God, God will provide for us. We act, God reacts. For God to react, He has to intervene directly in our universe.12

God, Evolution and Topology

The problem that many of the religious have with evolution is that it seems to claim that the creatures on Earth could have come about regardless of whether God exists or not. They mistakenly think it is a God versus nature problem, and this mistake is also made by atheist scientists on the other end, who think that finding a scientific explanation for natural phenomena disproves God’s role. They do not see that God’s agency and the existence of perfectly explainable natural phenomena are not mutually exclusive.

Topology refers to the physical design of the universe; the physical constants that govern the universe (such as the speed of light), the placement of the galaxies, stars and planets, and the placement of mountains, rivers and oceans on Earth.

Topology is critical to evolution. Very minor differences in the universe’s topology would have made life impossible to exist. And very minor differences in the topology of Earth would have lead to the evolution of extremely different creatures than the ones we have now, and could have made the existence of humans impossible.

This is a fact of evolution that rarely goes examined even by scientists (I say this as someone who has enjoyed numerous books on evolution). Imagine if Earth was entirely an ocean planet, with the bottom of the sea a flat, featureless plain of sand. What type of creatures would evolve on such an Earth?

Ones that would be very different from the ones that we currently have. To begin with, there would be no way for land animals to evolve. The only types of bird that could evolve would be ones that could survive by sleeping on water without being eaten by the fish underneath, if such a thing is possible.

Since the bottom of this imaginary sea is flat and featureless, the type of aquatic life would be far less diverse, because diversity requires differences in conditions, the presence of unique evolutionary niches where an organism can find food and shelter and reproduce. Having an Earth that is exactly the same all the way round would lead to far less biodiversity. Perhaps the number of all species that would evolve on such an Earth would be less than a few thousand, instead of the 8.7 million species we have on Earth.

It might even be impossible for such an earth to support any type of organism beyond microscopic ones.

What this is meant to show is that the design of a planet is crucial to the type of creatures that evolve on it. And if you could design a planet with the right topology, you could create any type of creature you want.

It follows that you can create any living thing you want just by designing the right topology for it to exist.

And perhaps it is for this reason that God says:

Certainly the creation of the heavens and the earth is greater than the creation of humanity, but most people do not know.13

27. Are you more difficult to create, or the sky? He constructed it. 28. He raised its masses, and proportioned it. 29. And He dimmed its night, and brought out its daylight. 30. And the earth after that He spread. 31. And from it, He produced its water and its pasture. 32. And the mountains, He anchored. 33. A source of enjoyment for you and for your animals.14

God is saying that the fact the He designed our universe’s topology is a greater accomplishment than the fact that He created humans. This would make a lot of sense if the existence of humanity was nothing more than a byproduct of the universe’s topology. When God created the universe, He didn’t merely create a lifeless system of stars and planets. He created a universe in whose topology was embedded the program that would ultimately lead to the existence of 8.7 million species, including humans.

Imagine if Earth lacked mountains and rivers. Could humans or human-like creatures have evolved on such a planet? It is unlikely, perhaps impossible. The design of the planet and the universe in which it exists decides what type of creature can evolve on that planet, meaning that the designer of the universe can be fully credited with the creation of all the creatures that exist inside that universe, if the designer had the creation of those creatures in mind to begin with.

Through the Quran’s consistent references to mountains, rivers, seas and the design of the earth and the sky, God acts as a topological designer explaining His methods. God explains the topological design of the universe in detail, and says that this is of greater importance than the creation of humans, because He is in effect describing the template, the code, that led to the existence of humans.

This universe can be thought of as nothing more or less than a factory for creating and sustaining humans. When God describes the various design elements of the universe, He is explaining His greatness as the designer of such an immensely complex factory that led to the existence of not just one species, but millions, and all done in a way that hides Him from our view.

Reversing Entropy for a Time

How can non-living matter lead to the complex biological machines that exist in all kinds of creatures? Doesn’t this go against the idea of entropy, that the universe continues to break down and become simpler over time?

It is possible if you provide 1. energy sources and 2. complexity-inducing topologies.

Both of these conditions come true on Earth, where energy is available in the form of sunlight, geothermal energy and tides, and where the topology of Earth and the universe in which it is contained create an environment in which life can not only originate, but diversify by finding niche after niche in which it can survive.

The origination of life requires that dead matter somehow join together and increase in complexity. This is somewhat like expecting a bunch of rocks to join together and walk up a hill. The difference is that in the world of atoms and molecules, things join together and increase in complexity all the time. All that’s needed is the right mixture, and usually a source of energy, and from this, extremely complex molecules can evolve. This is a fact of chemistry. The question is just how complex can these natural structures become? Someone who denies abiogenesis (the origination of life from non-living matter) would say that there is no way that the complexity can increase to the degree seen in living things, meaning that life could never evolve from non-living matter.

While someone with sufficient imagination would see that it might be possible given a large enough test chamber, ample building blocks of life, water, energy and hundreds of millions of years, and most importantly, a Designer who put all of these together in just the right way to create life.

Topological Programming

Physicists say that if the Big Bang (the explosion of the blob of matter that lead to the creation of our universe) had happened the merest fraction of a second slower or faster, the galaxies couldn’t have formed, and humanity wouldn’t have existed.

To create humanity, what God had to do was get the conditions of the Big Bang right, and 13.8 billion years later human-like creatures came into existence on one of the planets inside the universe created by the Big Bang.

The timescales involved in this, and the amount of intelligent design necessary, make it very difficult for people to imagine this actually taking place, that is, imagining God creating humans in such a complex and roundabout way.

But if you imagine the whole process taking just one second, it becomes easier to believe. Imagine a god who is holding a blob of matter in his hands. He parts his hands, the blob expands with it, and in just that second, you see a planet inside that blob of matter on which certain creatures live. Shouldn’t a god have such power? And can’t such a god claim responsibility for the existence of those creatures, if the nature of the blob of matter and the way he expanded it is all that lead to the existence of those creatures, and if the way he did was perfectly intentional, with the aim of creating those creatures?

Do the disbelievers not see that the heavens and the earth were one mass, and We tore them apart? And We made from water every living thing. Will they not believe?15

We constructed the universe with [our] capability, and We are expanding it.16

The Islamic version of intelligent design (the phrase Christians use to refer to God designing humans and other creatures) can therefore be also called topological programming. When you want to create a creature or group of creatures, all that you need to do is design a universe with the right topology. In this topology is programmed the existence of those creatures you want to create, and after millions or billions of years, which, if you are God, could be no length of time at all, those creatures will evolve on the planet or planets of your choice, according to the design you put into the topology you created.

Think of a computer program that lets you design creatures, but instead of letting you design the creatures directly, it asks you to design a universe that would lead to the type of creature you want. On the screen it shows you a box where a picture of the creature would be, but currently it is blank. And it gives you various boxes where you can input various numbers. It asks you for the size of the universe, the speed of its expansion, the external shape of it, and the various physical constants that go into that universe, such as the speed of light. By making the tiniest changes to any of these variables which the program lets you change, the creatures it shows you on the screen change immensely. Get the numbers just right, and you will get humans, among the trillions upon trillions of other possible creatures you could create.

This is what topological programming means;  designing universes with the specific aim of seeing creatures originate and evolve upon it after billions of years. A topological programmer is a designer of universes, and that is what the Creator is.

If you think about it, there is no difference between God creating all the creatures on earth by a single command that turns a large puff of smoke into all of them, which is the way our ancestors used to think how creation should work, and creating them by designing and sustaining a universe that would lead to their existence after billions of years. The end result is exactly the same, it is just that the second method is harder for the human brain to understand and appreciate.

In this way there is no clash between Darwin’s theory of evolution and intelligent design (except when it comes to humans, which will be dealt with below). The theory of evolution is merely telling us God’s means of designing creatures, which is far cleverer than anything one would usually imagine.

To design an elephant, God doesn’t need to create an elephant from a puff of smoke. He instead brings a blob of matter and expands it, and billions of years later elephants will exist on a planet or many planets inside that blob of matter. God has the power to create a new universe full of millions of planets all of which are inhabited by elephants, merely by designing a universe with the right topology to lead to such planets and creatures.

Topological programming doesn’t only explain evolution, but the origin of life as well. The same way that God can program evolution into the universe’s topology, He can also program the origination of life into it, and take credit for it.

Muslims mustn’t challenge atheists to create life from scratch, saying that if they do that we will stop believing in God. There is no suggestion in the Quran that artificial life cannot be created, and creating artificial life does not take away from God’s greatness. We are merely copying Him, from inside a universe that He designed and that He sustains.

The following verse seems to suggest that humans cannot create artificial life:

O people! A parable is presented, so listen to it: Those you invoke besides God will never create a fly, even if they banded together for that purpose. And if the fly steals anything from them, they cannot recover it from it. Weak are the pursuer and the pursued. 17

However, this verse can actually be used as an argument for the possibility of humans creating artificial life. The second part of the verse says, “And if the fly steals anything from them, they cannot recover it from it.”

Is it impossible to recover things stolen by flies? As a general rule, it is not impossible to catch flies and take back whatever they have stolen. What the verse is actually saying, which is a point repeated many times throughout the Quran, is that we have no inherent power of our own, that we have zero power over this universe, and that it is ultimately God who operates it. This means that we have no power to recover something a fly steals except when God enables us, by moving the relevant atoms, photons and energy fields for us so that we can carry out our intention of recovering something the fly stole.

By the same reasoning, we have no power to create artificial life, except when God enables us, by maintaining and operating the universe. Both of these things might be possible for us to do, if God makes them possible, and both would be impossible, if God makes them impossible.

In this way, creating artificial life might be as possible as recovering something stolen by a fly.

It is possible that humans will never be able to manufacture life. Perhaps there really is something special about life, and perhaps at some point God had to breathe life into Earth to jump start the process of evolution that would eventually lead to the rest of all of the creatures we see on Earth. We do not know, and it is best that we do not issue definitive statements on matters we know little about.

Personally I lean towards abiogenesis, I believe God is great enough to program the origination of life into the universe’s topology, meaning that He can create a universe that leads to the origination of life without Him having to intervene afterwards to plant life on it. Questioning the possibility of this happening is questioning God’s greatness and creativity. Just because we cannot imagine how we ourselves would accomplish this does not mean that it is impossible for God.

The Rarest Species

Why would God create life in such a roundabout way instead of creating it directly? Because this allows for the creation of the rarest species of all. No, not humans.

Atheists.

God wants His existence to be impossible to prove. He wants there to be the possibility of disbelieving in Him, and that requires that His own hand should be invisible from direct measurement. If you think about it, evolution is just the right way of achieving this. It provides a perfectly scientific explanation for the evolution of all the creatures we see, which makes God unnecessary, which makes it possible to disbelieve in God if we want to.

God wants us to have a choice, and creating life in a way that makes scientific sense is what God wants to do, so that we will not have any knowledge of the Unseen except through His scriptures.

Making it possible for atheists to exist might perhaps be God’s greatest accomplishment in this universe. Who else is there who can create such an immensely complex, well-functioning and logical universe that can lead to the existence of creatures who can doubt the Creator’s existence?

Human Evolution

God describes the creation of humans in detail, which causes many Muslims to automatically reject evolution, thinking that evolution goes against the Quran, or that the Quran goes against evolution:

26. We created the human being from clay, from molded mud.

27. And the jinn We created before, from piercing fire.

28. Your Lord said to the angels, “I am creating a human being from clay, from molded mud.”

29. “When I have formed him, and breathed into him of My spirit, fall down prostrating before him.”

30. So the angels prostrated themselves, all together.18

We know that humans share many of their genes with chimpanzees, rats, yeast and even some viruses. So are the above verses false, or is evolution false?

The answer is in the Quran, in this verse:

The likeness of Jesus in God’s sight is that of Adam: He created him from dust, then said to him, “Be,” and he was.19

We know that Jesus, peace be upon him, was a human. Yet the Quran says his creation was similar to that of Adam.

How did God create Jesus? He used some clay to create a human whose genetic code was like any other human, and at a time when other humans were around.

In the same way, God could have created Adam at a time when humans or human-like creatures already existed on earth (and existing, of course, by God’s design, who designed the topology that lead to the existence of such creatures). God took genetic code from these humans, or more likely, God already had the genetic code before the creation of the universe. He embedded that code into the universe’s topology. For example, a minimum number of rivers may be necessary on a planet for humans to exist on it. For humans to evolve on a particular planet, their genetic code has to be translated into topological features of that planet and the universe in which it is contained.

The evolution of humans or human-like creatures on earth, and the creation of Adam from scratch (rather than from another human), are not mutually exclusive. God created Adam from dust, and He created Jesus from dust, and in the first instance, humanoids may have already existed on earth, similar to the second instance.

What, then, was special about Adam? He had free will, while the human-like creatures that had evolved on Earth lacked it, they were merely animals, like Richard Dawkins thinks he is. The fact of God breathing “His spirit” into Adam may have been the critical differentiator that turned Adam into something more than yet another animal, perhaps it is this spirit which gives us free will.

Before Adam, the earth lacked any creature that could be held responsible for its actions. Adam’s introduction into Earth was the start of the existence of responsibility. It is for this reason that the angels complained about Adam being placed on Earth:

“Will You place in it (i.e. on Earth) someone who will cause corruption in it and shed blood, while we declare Your praises and sanctify You?”20

The angels do not like the idea of ruining the fact that Earth was free from all evil, since everything on it (including the humanoids) acted according to instincts placed inside them by God’s topological programming, meaning that everything on it perfectly obeyed God’s design as accurately as the planets do in their orbits.

Bears probably still ate deer, but that was according to God’s design, so it wasn’t an evil thing. Placing Adam on Earth, on the other hand, meant that there would be a creature on Earth who could defy God’s design, in this way creating evil.

The reason humans could do evil on Earth, when no other creature could do it, is that by having free will, they could do “artificial” things, things that did not directly follow from the rules and the wisdom that went into the creation of the universe. They could defy the program embedded in the universe’s topology, in this way bringing about corruption.

Some atheist writers make a great deal of the simple line of reasoning that if the universe is entirely ruled by physical laws, then there would be no place for free will or responsibility, because every action on it would be a derivation of the system itself. In a sealed chamber, if an atom moves faster than another, we do not say it decided to move fast. It moved fast because of the way it interacted with the rest of the atoms (and other forces) present in the sealed chamber. If we think of the whole universe as one big sealed chamber, then naturally, there would be no responsibility or free will, every action and reaction on it would be nothing more than particles and forces interacting. When someone decides to steal something, it is because all the different factors in the universe led them to make that decision at that time, similar to the different factors inside a sealed chamber causing a particular atom to move faster.

They do not realize that there is a big “if” at the beginning of that whole train of thought. The Quran says that humans have free will, therefore there is some special ingredient in humans that makes them an exception to the physical laws, and therefore none of the above actually applies to humans. Based on what evidence? The Quran. Therefore the above line of reasoning is irrelevant and does not prove anything, since it relies on an unproven premise. The question is whether we accept the Quran’s evidence or reject it, if we accept it, then we believe human actions are free-willed, and there is no scientific opposition to this, since there is no scientific proof that free will does not exist. All that atheists have is a line of reasoning that starts with an unproven premise, they believe in the superstition that there is no free will without having any evidence, while we believe in the Quran-and-conscience-backed, but scientifically unproven, fact that there is free will.

The Quran refers to the atheist desire to believe in unproven superstitions that help them disbelieve in God:

That is because when God alone was called upon, you disbelieved; but when others were associated with Him, you believed. Judgment rests with God the Sublime, the Majestic.21

Many irreligious people somewhat admit the truth of free will by acting as if human creations are artificial, while saying animal creations are not. They say that it is a bad thing if a city expands and destroys the uninhabited ecology in which various animals exist. But if we are simply yet another species, our destruction of the habitat of other creatures is as natural as the destruction of habitats that has gone on for millions of years as one species acquired mutations that enabled it to destroy other species, and as natural processes turned forests into deserts.

Why should our actions be artificial and the actions of animals natural? Why should humans not act greedily and destructively when animals can do it?

The reason why human creations are artificial, rather than natural, is because our free spirit is not controlled by the universe’s topological programming (by the laws God laid down for the universe), rather, we can defy it and do as we please. This makes us responsible for our actions, and it makes our creations artificial. Human creations are artificial because we are from outside this universe. We are only here for a short time. Once humanoids were given free will, from then on they stopped being partakers in nature, equal to other animals, and became something more, something that could sidestep nature, sidestep their own genetic programming, to do new things, sometimes good, sometimes evil.

Some will use the evidence-free theory of emergence to say that a piece of biological tissue (the brain) can acquire self-awareness and responsibility, and in this way do things that are artificial, that are not mere derivations of the system’s design and function. There is no proof for this, therefore it cannot be used to prove any point.

There is much debate on what consciousness is, what this thing is behind our eyes that enables us to think about thinking, to philosophize, to choose and be responsible for our choices. Consciousness is probably nothing more or less than our God-given spirit experiencing life inside a human body. This means that even if we manage to create life, it will probably be impossible to create a free-willed creature from scratch, since unlike God, we cannot breath a spirit into something to make it self-aware. This seems like a power that only God has.

We do not know the exact moment in the history of Earth that Adam was placed on it. It is possible that it was in the past 10,000 years, or it could have been 100,000 years ago. We do not know how Adam interacted with the existing humanoids, whether there was any interbreeding.

Even if Adam and his children (humanity) share genes with various humanoid creatures that have existed, that doesn’t mean we are directly descended from them, just that God used some of their genetic code to create Adam, the same way He used the genetic code of existing humans to create Jesus from dust.

God probably already had the full genetic code of humans before the creation of the universe, and it is for this reason that He can take full credit for the creation of humans (and all other creatures) despite the fact that they evolved naturally. This universe is simply a seemingly automated factory that follows a program placed inside it (embedded in its topological features) by God that is designed to lead to the origination of life and ultimately humanoids. Therefore it is not that God “took” genetic code from other humanoids to place them in Adam. He already had all of the genetic code to begin with, even before the universe was created. He placed some of the code in those humanoids indirectly (using evolution), and some in Adam directly. The code in both cases comes from God’s “library”, so to speak, one travels indirectly, hiding in the universe’s topology until, after billions of years, it is brought to life through evolution, and one travels directly, with God creating Adam from dust based on that code.

It is a case of starting with the recipe and building a massive universe in which the recipe can come into existence, without leaving any trace of one’s direct involvement in the process. God did not have to come look on Earth 10,000 or however many years ago to find genetic code to use for Adam. The code was already in His library.

The Self-Destructive Fight Against Science

Religious people, both Christian and Muslim, have done a great deal of work to discredit religion in their short-sighted and badly advised defense of it. The Christian speaker Bill O’Reilly has been the laughing stock of the internet multiple times in his ridiculous statements in support of religion.

O’Reilly makes the same mistake that many Muslims make. He supports atheists by making the exact same mistake they make; he thinks that once a natural phenomenon has been explained by science, it automatically proves God’s involvement false.

You can’t come up with a better weapon to hand to atheists to help them win their war on religion. By buying into their way of thinking, religious people enter an arena where they are guaranteed to be crushed over and over again by scientific findings.

The scientific functioning of our universe is a principle of the Quran. God’s existence must be impossible to prove, therefore there must always be scientific reasons that explain things without a need for God.

The world of the Unseen, the supernatural, is by God’s design beyond human knowledge or measurement. Everything we see around us must have a logical explanation, or seem to, or there should be the hope of finding a logical explanation for it one day. There should never be anything provably supernatural.

Provable miracles must never happen, because a miracle, by definition, is a sign of God’s direct involvement in our universe, which means it is a direct measurement of God, which means it is hard evidence for God’s existence. God, as He repeats over and over again in the Quran, intends to hide Himself from us until the end of the world, when clear signs of His existence will be shown to us:

Do they mean to wait until the angels come to them, or for your Lord to arrive, or for some of your Lord’s signs to come? On the Day when some of your Lord’s signs come, no soul will benefit from its faith unless it had believed previously, or had earned goodness through its faith. Say, “Wait, we too are waiting.” 22

Atheists say they want to wait for hard evidence for God’s existence before they believe in the fairy tales present in scripture. The Quran tells religious people to say the same thing, that we too are waiting. The above verse can be considered a pointer to the proper religious mindset toward science. We too acknowledge, with atheists, that there is no hard evidence for God’s existence. They say they will wait for hard evidence before believing, we say we believe in scripture and wait for hard evidence, and for this humble submission and patient waiting for proof, we will be rewarded.

The mistake they make is that they reject the possibility that scripture might be true, that what their consciences tell them might be true, that there is a God and that there is a purpose built into this universe, while we do not neglect our consciences and read scripture with an open heart, until the soft evidence of it proves to us that faith is better than disbelief, while acknowledging that we would never have direct proof for our beliefs until the Day of Judgment.

There is no shame in admitting that God’s existence is impossible to prove. That is what the Quran teaches. If God’s existence was possible to prove (with hard evidence), that would make faith unnecessary, and that would turn this world into a farce.

There is certainly ample proof in this universe and in the Quran for any fair-minded person to be guided to God, as the Quran says:

In the creation of the heavens and the earth; in the alternation of night and day; in the ships that sail the oceans for the benefit of mankind; in the water that God sends down from the sky, and revives the earth with it after it had died, and scatters in it all kinds of creatures; in the changing of the winds, and the clouds disposed between the sky and the earth; are signs for people who understand.23

But these signs are not hard evidence, in that it is always necessary for the conscience to be involved before the evidence is accepted. Rational thought is not sufficient by itself.

One can argue that there is nothing besides rational thought to think with. Religion says that there is also the conscience, a power that probably comes with the unproven spirit of God that’s inside all of us, and which was given to us through Adam. This is the part of a human that is involved in faith, involved in making the final judgment to believe in God and obey His commandments without having direct proof of His existence. The recognition of the soft evidence in scripture and the universe’s design is sufficient to prove the existence of God, even if our rational brains continue to recognize that there is room for doubt and disbelief.

A Clarification on Kufr (Disbelief / Infidelity) and God’s Justice

In Islam, merely not believing in God doesn’t necessarily mean one will go into the Hellfire. The Quran’s word for someone who deserves eternal punishment is kafir. Misinterpretation and misunderstanding of this word among Muslims and non-Muslims has led to a great deal of confusion, and has turned many away from religion.

Kafir comes from kufr, which literally means “one who conceals”. For this reason kafir is actually also used to mean “farmer”, because a farmer covers up seeds with soil. A kafir is the evil mirror image of a faithful person; one who has seen the soft evidence for God’s existence and has accepted it in their heart, but who intentionally rejects this faith out of arrogance and desire. A kafir is someone who acquires faith and then disbelieves:

On the Day when some faces will be whitened, and some faces will be blackened. As for those whose faces are blackened: “Did you disbelieve after your belief?” Then taste the punishment for having disbelieved. 24

That’s what a kafir, a disbeliever, is. Someone who acquires faith but intentionally rejects it. In Islam, people who do not believe in God, or who believe in the wrong god because they do not know any better, are not automatically disbelievers. The Quran says:

God does not hold a soul responsible except for what is in its power.25

God does not hold a soul responsible except for that which He has already given it. 26

Therefore a person who never has a chance to believe in God, for example because they have only seen negative things about religion and have never had it clearly explained to them, will not be held responsible for not believing in God.

There is some disagreement among theologians on this matter. Some say that humans are endowed with sufficient capacity to believe in God even without scripture. While we cannot rule this out, I find it questionable, although I cannot think of any definite proof either way. It seems possible that perfectly good and kind people can be driven away from religion due to particular circumstances, or simply because they never learn enough about God to believe in Him, but again, we cannot make any definitive statements about what goes in inside people’s hearts throughout their long lifetimes.

Ultimately, what matters is that God is just. Many irreligious folk say that it is unjust for someone to be punished if they truly do not have sufficient knowledge to believe in God, and use this to say that religion is unjust. But religion says the same thing these people say. God is just and He will not needlessly punish anyone. God will not do anything unjust, therefore if we ever think or imagine that something He does is unjust, then we have thought wrongly about Him, and have not appreciated His kindness, generosity and justice. It is utter madness to think that the One who created humans, with all of their complexity and sensitivity, should be less just and sensitive than humans.

The God of the Old Testament is certainly that way, because of the corruptions that the rabbis introduced into the book. The God of the Quran is not. I have not found a single unjust thing in the Quran despite all of the times I have read it.

Conclusion: Time to Join in Origin of Life Research

It is time for Muslim individuals, organizations and nations to proudly adopt the theories of evolution and abiogenesis as nothing more than new fields of the sciences. The same way that we do not fight the atmospheric sciences even if they explain how rain happens, we must not fight the science of evolution just because it explains how creatures are made.

We must abandon the centuries-old superstition that discovering rational explanations for natural phenomena proves that God is not involved with them. We must eagerly endorse the effort to find out explanations for all phenomena, explanations that completely take God out of the picture, because we and the atheists have the same beliefs when it comes to this. We both believe that there can never be anything supernatural that can be measured, meaning that when doing science, we and atheists have everything in common, seeking to find rational and logical explanations for everything around us.

It is foolishness to attack a scientist for explaining how it rains, and similarly, it is foolishness to attack a scientist for explaining how creatures come into existence. In both cases, scientists try to find out how God designs and operates the universe.

When affirmative action benefits (white) men, it has to be scrapped

From a Swedish publication:

The proposed change comes following criticism that men received priority admission to programmes where their gender was underrepresented and where there were a higher number of applicants with top marks than available spots, such as programmes in veterinary medicine, dentistry, medicine, and psychology.

“The education system should open doors – not shut them in the face of young women who are motivated to study,” Krantz wrote in an article published in the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper.

It’s all about equality, until equality starts to benefit men, at which point they start to call it discrimination.

Feminist logic: It’s progress to shut doors at colleges on talented young men so that less talented women can get admission. But shutting doors on talented young women in a similar scenario, so that less talented men can get admission is discrimination.

In feminist thinking, men are so worthless, so contemptible, so unnecessary, that it never crosses their minds that they too might be subject to various forms of discrimination that could justify affirmative action (though I’m against all forms of affirmative action), and even if it crosses their minds, they will enjoy the thought of taking away men’s “privileges”, because they deserve it! They must pay women back for the past 3 million years of evolution in which natural selection made them the dominant sex!

But why not take this further? Why stop at humans? Let’s find ways of establishing justice and equality by finding clever ways of discriminating against the males of the other primate species!

Male gorillas, for one thing, are too privileged in my opinion.

Jews are a race and a religion

Can you please tell me the meaning of “Children of Israel” in the Quran?

Israel is another name for Prophet Ya`qoub, grandson of Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham). Ya`qoub is known as Jacob in the Bible. The Children of Israel are Jacob’s descendants. He had twelve sons, and the descendants of his sons make up the Twelve Tribes of Israel.

Israel/Jacob is the father of all Jews, meaning that the Children of Israel means “genetic Jews”, people who are Jewish by birth. The Quran also uses yahood to refer to Jews, which means “genetic-cultural Jews”, Jews who are Jews by genetics, and who consider themselves part of the world’s Jewry and act as a specific culture and interest group.

In Islam, a person can be Muslim and belong to the Children of Israel (i.e. be a genetic Jew), since belonging to the Children of Israel is a matter of genetics, similar to being Arab or Indo-European.

But a person cannot be Muslim and yahood, because being yahood means that one accepts to be part of Judaism to a greater or lesser degree.

These distinctions are lost on many Muslims and many people in the West, especially since some Jews act as if they are “just a faith” like Islam and Christianity, when they are not just a faith. If they were just a faith, how could Israel use genetics to decide who to give Israeli citizenship to (since only a Jew can get citizenship)? According to the racist thinking that rules in Israel, an Arab’s genes are not good enough to make them citizens, while a Jew’s genes are. It is all about race, similar to the apartheid government of South Africa treating whites as first class citizens and blacks as subhuman.

The Children of Israel refers to Jews-the-genetic-group (i.e. the Jewish race), yahood refers to Jews-the-genetic-and-cultural group, those of the Jewish race who are part of Jewish culture (even if they are not religious). The word Jew in English, among those who understand history, has the same meaning as yahood.

What “Jew” means is similar to what “WASP” means (White Anglo-Saxon Protestant). WASP refers to people of European and Protestant heritage, which includes many of the white people who live in the West. WASPs are both a genetic group and a cultural/religious group (even though they are not very religious in general). Jews, instead of having white genes, have Jewish genes, and instead of belonging to Protestant culture, belong to Jewish culture (even if they aren’t very religious).

Some people can be found in the West who think that one stops being a Jew if one stops “practicing”. This is like saying one stops being a WASP if one stops “practicing”. Being a Jew, and being a WASP, is not something you practice, it is something you are.

For Jews and WASPs, there is a religious tradition that originally defined their culture, but to most Jews and WASPs, religion is something that’s only useful during weddings and funerals, although both groups retain some of the teachings of their religions. Thus many Jews, even the atheists among them, continue to maintain the Hebrew Bible idea of considering themselves a superior species of humans, separate from all other humans, and continue to view the world in terms of Jews vs. non-Jews. WASPs, too, continue to value Christian ideals to some degree, and their culture of respecting fairness, equality and hard work was originally inspired by Biblical ideas.

Question from a reader

Asalaamualaykum. who founded Judaism?, was it the children of Israel? (Yacoub) did they become jews after Moses? before the coming of Jesus? Would be grateful for any info into the history of Judaism and children of Yocoub.

Judaism as we know it today was established by Moses (Prophet Musa peace be upon him). The same way that Islam is based on the teachings of the Quran, Judaism is based on the teachings of the Torah, the revelation that was given to Moses.

The Torah makes up the first five books of the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Old Testament; Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. These five books contain the message and the laws of the original Judaism that was founded by Moses (with some corruptions).

The Jewish race (people of Jewish genes) existed before Moses, since their existence starts with Israel/Jacob, about 400 years before Moses according to Biblical chronologists. Before Moses, they followed the religion of Abraham and Israel.

The Jews before Moses are known as Hebrews, since in current usage Jew means a person of Jewish genes who is a follower of Moses’ religion/culture. But genetically and culturally the Hebrews and and the Jews are the same people. Once the Hebrews acquired Moses’ religion, they reformed into Jews.

Today’s Judaism is very different from the original Judaism because it follows the Talmud (writings of rabbis), which creates a new religion on top of the old religion and legalizes things like usury.

In Islamic thinking, Jesus was the Jewish messiah that was sent to correct and reform Judaism and ban the evils that the rabbis had legalized, such as usury. The rabbis tolerated for a while, until he started to threaten their profits by attacking the Temple (which was the Jewish Wall Street of that time where usury was practiced). Within one week Jesus was to be crucified for this unforgivable sin. In Islam, we believe that God saved Jesus, as is narrated in the chapter 3 of the Quran:

54. They planned, and God planned; but God is the Best of planners.

55. God said, “O Jesus, I am terminating your life, and raising you to Me, and clearing you of those who disbelieve. And I will make those who follow you superior to those who disbelieve until the Day of Resurrection. Then to Me is your return; then I will judge between you regarding what you were disputing.

In verse 55, God promises Jesus that He will ensure that the Jews and non-Jews who followed Jesus (the Christians) will be forever superior to the Jews who disbelieved in Jesus (Jews who continued to follow Judaism). This prophecy has continued to remain true to this day. Despite all Jewish efforts to stamp out Christianity, it went on to become the official religion of the Roman Empire, and since then Christian powers have always been orders of magnitude more powerful than Jewish powers.

Why do different Muslims (such as Hanafis) follow different prayer timings?

I have a confusion brother ! Please clear my mind of it. Im born in a hanafi family. Living in dubai, i see different kind of muslims praying differently, which gets me so confused that i think iam on the wrong way . Just wanna ask u why these hanafi shaifee hanbali and all others firqa’s were not in the time of Prophet (pbuh) and the sahabas?? Why do we even have these

A hundred years after the Prophet’s death (peace be upon him), the number of narrations claiming to be from him multiplied, going from a few thousand to close to a hundred thousand. At this time, Imam Malik started the process of verifying the authenticity of narrations claiming to be from the Prophet and created his collection al-Muwatta’. The Persian scholars Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawood, Tirmidhi, Nasa’i and Ibn Majah continued this work.

What we are left with are tens of thousands of narrations. Unlike the Quran, these narrations always contain an element of doubt, they are not guaranteed to be true, especially since we have “authentic” narrations the clearly contradict one another.

The times of the prayers is one of those matters where authentic narrations exist supporting different opinions, that is, different timings for the asr and isha’ prayers. Which timings one goes with depends on which narrations they prefer over the rest.

We believe that God could have made all matters, like prayer times, perfectly clear to us, but He didn’t out of His wisdom, as tests and lessons. The most important matters in Islam are all clarified in the Quran and well-established narrations. What remains are technical details that do not deserve fussing over. Staying united as a community is a Quranic principle, while the differences in prayer timings are matters of technical detail within hadith narrations, so the Quranic principle takes precedence. It is best to pray with the rest of the community instead of separating oneself, as long as the community is not doing something entirely unsupported by evidence.

When living in a cosmopolitan place like Dubai with many different Islamic groups living there, at home you could continue praying according to the Hanafi school. The Hanafi timings are compatible with mainstream timings, so anyone can pray at the Hanafi times without issue.

The difference is that Hanafis reject the mainstream timings, saying they are too early for asr and isha’, so that they refuse to pray at a mosque that performs these two prayers too early in their opinion. This means that you would only have an issue if you wanted to pray asr or isha’ at the mosque and the mosque holds these prayers too early.

Large mosques sometimes hold the same prayer multiple times as different groups of people arrive, so if the first time it is too early, you could pray with a second group. And sometimes while the athan is early, the iqama time is late, so that the prayer is actually held at a time that fits Hanafi opinions.

How to make up multiple missed prayers (salah)

Can you please explain Qaza Namaz? And when it can be read. For example today I missed asr, magrib and Isha so when would I be able to make them up?

You should make them up as soon as you are able, and perform them in the order they would have been performed normally (asr, then maghrib, then isha). The majority opinion is that it is obligatory to pray missed prayers in order, while Imam al-Shafi`ee considers it recommended.

Imam Malik and Abu Hanifah are of the opinion that if more than five prayers are missed, then it is not necessary to pray them in order.

Origin of Darood Sharif

/ No Comments on Origin of Darood Sharif

Is Darood Sharief the word of Allah (swt) or words of Propphet Mohammed (saw) or someone else?

On Islam, Homosexuality and Homosexual Muslims

You don’t have to answer this because its a very complex question but do you think you can be Muslim and gay? And how should we as Muslims feel about gays? How shall we treat them? How do you reconcile Islam (in the sense it is a religion that discourages/disagrees with homosexuality) with homosexuality? Is there even anything to reconcile? How should Islam (or I guess Muslims) move about in this world that supports homosexuality? Is there a compromise that can be made in such a pluralistic world?

There is nothing wrong with having homosexual feelings, the same way there is nothing wrong with a man having sexual desire toward another man’s wife. The desire exists, what Islam forbids is acting upon it.

We can speculate about the reason why God forbids these things, for example it appears that any society that approves of sex outside of marriage and homosexuality quickly dies out due to low fertility rates. There isn’t a single civilization on Earth today that has tolerated homosexuality for centuries on end and survived.

I don’t doubt that some people can have highly fulfilling homosexual relationships, the same way that people can have highly fulfilling relationships outside of marriage. What matters is that God considers these harmful, and so He forbids them.

We do not need to be convinced of the harms of these things to avoid them. God forbids that we eat bacon, although by all accounts it is an extremely tasty thing to eat. We do not need to be convinced that bacon is bad for our health, God forbids it, therefore we avoid it. God forbids that we eat during the daytime in Ramadan, even though the food and water in the Ramadan daytime are just as nourishing as they are at night. The food and drink don’t turn into poison during the day, yet God forbids that we consume them.

The Quran gives a certain structure to our lives that we have to implement, even if we do not fully appreciate the wisdom behind it. The matter all boils down to the Quran, one reads it, becomes convinced that it is truly from the Creator, and decides of their own free will to follow it, which means they will follow all of it, including the parts of it that they do not fully understand, because, since they are convinced that it is from the Creator, they trust Him to know what is best for them.

Part of the structure that the Quran gives to our lives is to not have sex outside of marriage, and to not engage in homosexual relationships, despite whatever fulfillment that exists in these things. As God’s lowly servants, we can only say “We hear and we obey.” (The Quran, verse 24:51).

Reconciling Islam with homosexuality is similar to reconciling Islam with the desires of a man who is not satisfied with having sex within marriage only but constantly desires other women. While there might be scientific reasons for their desires, and while carrying out their desires might give them extreme fulfillment, Islam requires that they do not act on their desires for the greater good, therefore there can be no reconciliation.

A person who has homosexual desires might wonder, “What is so wrong with desiring a person of the same sex? We don’t mean harm to anyone, and our relationship is consensual.” What’s wrong with it is that it goes against the structure that God wants to give to our lives. It is similar to eating in the daytime during Ramadan. You can do it without meaning harm to anyone, and it can give you pleasure, but it goes against the rules that God has placed.

If one thinks God’s rules are silly and not worth following, then this is not about homosexuality, it is about their not believing in the Quran. And if they believe in the Quran but feel that it is unjustly discriminating against them, this is similar to a person feeling it is unjustly discriminating against their desire for alcohol, or for sex outside of marriage. It might feel unjust and oppressive, but it is for the greater good.

If a person feels that giving up the fulfillment of a homosexual relationship for the greater good is not worth it, then they are choosing the present life at the expense of the hereafter. Millions of people have taken this choice in various ways, choosing fulfillment in the present life instead of being content with God’s commandments, to their ultimate loss.

Homosexuality is just another condition that prevents a Muslim from having satisfactory intimate relationships. There are thousands of such conditions, and there is nothing special about homosexuality that makes one deserve to break God’s laws so that one can attain fulfillment.

A Muslim engaging in homosexual sex saying there is no other way for them to receive fulfillment is like a poor Muslim man of 60 who really desires women but who has never had sex saying that he deserves to sleep with a prostitute in order to receive fulfillment, since God has prevented him from getting fulfillment the acceptable way, or like a crippled Muslim woman who thinks she can never get married saying that she is allowed to get sex outside of marriage since there is no other way for her.

There are many people living with horrible conditions that prevent them from enjoying life and cause them great suffering, or that prevent them from ever having intimate relationships. Being homosexual and not being able to enjoy heterosexual relationships is just one of those thousands of conditions. Many Muslims patiently suffer through such conditions, and they do not justify breaking God’s laws in order to attain fulfillment.

Millions of Muslim men and women desire marriage but live their lives without enjoying an intimate relationship even once because they are too poor or too unattractive to marry, or they are attractive but there is no one they can marry, and in this way they get old and die without marrying.

For a homosexual Muslim, the matter is entirely between themselves and God. They should read the Quran and use their conscience to decide the best course of action, and they should reject the 24/7 propaganda in the West that constantly tells them they should act on their desires.

As for dealing with a Muslim who has homosexual desires but who does not act on them, then they should be treated like any other Muslim, since they haven’t broken any Islamic laws.

And as for dealing with Muslims who do engage in homosexual acts, they should be dealt with like other sinners, for example those who engage in heterosexual sex outside of marriage, or those who drink alcohol. We should treat them in public with politeness like we treat all people. If we have a close friend who is a sinner, we can admonish them with kind words if they are close enough to not be offended by our words. As for distant friends and acquaintances; we will not cause a Muslim alcoholic to suddenly come back to the Straight Path by calling them sinners or sending them articles about how people like them will go to hell. In such cases, it is best to avoid them, or if we have to interact with them, to be as polite and generous as we always are.

If such a person seeks our friendship or help, we should not reject them automatically. The Prophet, peace be upon him, says: “For God to guide another person through you is greater in worth than red camels.” Red camels were considered the most valuable commodity in Arabia at that time. (Bukhari and Muslim)

But he also says: “The similitude of good company and that of bad company is that of the owner of musk and of the one blowing the bellows. The owner of musk would either offer you some free of charge, or you would buy it from him, or you smell its pleasant fragrance; and as for the one who blows the bellows (i.e., the blacksmith), he either burns your clothes or you smell a repugnant smell.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

Associating with any type of sinner can be good for both of you; they may be encouraged to become better people, and you could earn the rewards of being a cause for them to come back to the Straight Path. But it could also be harmful for both of you, in that you could become involved with their sin, and in this way both of you could earn punishment, you for falling into sin, and they for being a cause for it. What one should do is not a clear matter, it is a conscience call, and one should decide on a case-by-case basis. There is no single rule that fits all cases.

To reiterate regarding your main question (whether there is something to reconcile), there isn’t. Homosexual sex is like sex outside of marriage, drinking alcohol or engaging in usury. There is nothing to reconcile. Regardless of how common it is, or the billions of dollars that leftist billionaires spend promoting it, we must judge things according to how God judges them, even if this makes us unfashionable. Fashions come and go, but God’s words remain the same. Today it is fashionable to legally steal money from the poor through usury, and every rich celebrity engages in it by “investing” their money into various financial institutions that lend money at usury. Just because fashionable people do this does not mean we should follow their example or approve of it or try to reconcile Islam with their desires. They may all have a mental condition that makes them really like stealing money from the poor. Islam, however, asks them to not carry out their desires for the greater good even if what they do is perfectly acceptable according to today’s fashions.

200 years ago in the West usurers were treated like the most disgusting wretches of society by Christians. Today almost every single Christian engages in usury through mortgages and various investments, and even the Vatican lends money at usury through the Vatican Bank. Have they gained anything by this other than God’s wrath and the hollowing out and demise of their culture and civilization?

Question:

I’m not Muslim but I’ve been looking into the religion lately. I’m just wondering why don’t Muslims stand up for the ways LGBT are treated in Muslim countries? I understand that the Koran is against homosexual acts but I don’t understand why they are OK with gays and lesbians being alienated, beaten and killed in Muslim countries. It scares me that Muslims have so much hatred for them. If I can understand this part then maybe I can understand the rest of the religion.

It first be noted that Islam is not forced upon people. People are free to embrace it or leave it as they see fit. Classical Islam ignores this right and considers leaving Islam a punishable offense, which is against the Quran. I deal with this issue in my essay Quran-Focused Islam: A Rationalist, Always-Modern and Orthodox Alternative to Salafism.

Ideally, Islamic law is enacted by democratic choose. If the majority of the people in a state are Muslim, they can elect to have Islamic law as the basis of their legal system. While if Muslims are a minority and are not in charge of the country, as in the West, then they do not have the right to use force to make others follow Islam, therefore they must either tolerate what the law allows or leave the country. They can take part in the democratic process, like the various different religious and political groups in the United States do, in order to affect the legal system.

In Islamic law, engaging in homosexual acts is a punishable crime, meaning that a Muslim majority country can use the democratic process to enact a law that punishes homosexual acts.

Punishing sexual acts is something that is done throughout the world, but different countries have different ideas about what is acceptable. In the United States, for example, pedophilia is punishable by law and the police is allowed to use extreme violence against people wanting to engage in it, or to even watch videos of people engaging in it. The reason for this is that the people of the United States agree that pedophilia is harmful to the child involved and to the rest of society. Regardless of how much fulfillment pedophilia brings to a pedophile, they are required to keep themselves in check and to neither engage in it, or even watch videos of others engaging in it. They are required to stay put and act as if they are not pedophiles, for the sake of society’s greater good.

Homosexual acts are of course not like the acts of pedophiles, since it involves consenting adults. So why would a society punish consenting adults for doing what brings them fulfillment and which seemingly harms no one?

The reason is that, according to the Islamic view, tolerating homosexuality has long-term harms to society. Even if in the short-term it brings great fulfillment to the people involved, in the long-term, thinking in terms of generations and centuries, it brings great harm. A plague is still a plague whether it takes one year to cause a civilization to go extinct, or whether it takes two centuries.

There isn’t a single civilization existing today that has tolerated homosexuality for multiple centuries and survived. The civilization always experiences declining fertility rates and either collapses, is conquered, or its entire population is slowly replaced by a section of its population that does not tolerate homosexuality.

The harms of homosexuality are similar to the harms of usury (the charging of interest). You can get a credit card, a mortgage and invest in bonds without seemingly doing any harm to anyone, and without suffering harm. But on a macro level (looking at the entire economy), usury always leads to exponentially increasing wealth inequality, a soulless corporate economy that is controlled by the banks, a corrupt corporate media that is fully in bed with the banks and the political elite, and a defense-military-intelligence complex that constantly seeks to get into new wars, because new wars require the issuance of bonds, and the super-rich earn hundreds of billions of dollars every single year on their bond investments, so the more bonds, the better, and if they get the country into a war that costs trillions, that means tens of billions of extra annual interest income for them.

Islam, since it is a religion from God, takes society’s long-term interest into account, its interest over generations and centuries, and for this reason it requires them to avoid short-term fulfillment (sex outside of marriage, credit cards, cars bought on loan) for the sake of the long-term good of themselves and their civilization.

You can argue that since homosexuality is between consenting adults, it is unlikely to do any short-term or long-term harm to society. But you do not know that. Every society on earth that tolerates homosexuality has a below-replacement fertility rate as far as I know, and this means that the society is slowly, but surely, going extinct. Since this process takes many generations, most people couldn’t care less about it. But Islam cares, because Islam has a very-long-term view, it is a religion that thinks in terms of generations and centuries.

For these same reasons, Islam forbids sex outside of marriage, even though it is perfectly natural for people to have sexual desire toward each other and want to be intimate.

The central mission of Islam is to follow the Straight Path, and the Straight Path is made up of two things:

  • Ensuring humanity’s long-term survival
  • Preserving humanity’s short-term moral integrity (never justifying evil for utilitarian purposes)

So a society of intelligent and devout Muslims living on an isolated planet have both of these things assured. Their civilization will not die out like so many other civilizations do. And their civilization never justifies evil (such as killing innocent people when there is something to be gained by it, like the CIA and every intelligence organization in the world does) for the sake of some gain. Even if doing an evil act will ensure great gain for the civilization (such as the US funding various terrorist groups because it advances its geopolitical goals), the civilization instead chooses to lose out on that opportunity, because to it, its mortal integrity is more important than material gain.

Islam’s punishment for all sex outside of marriage is flogging, and this includes homosexual acts. Homosexual acts are just a subcategory of “sex outside of marriage”.

As for killing homosexuals, it is similar to killing adulterers, both of which are against Quranic law, although most classical Islamic scholars support both of them, because they ignore the Quran in favor of less reliable historical texts (hadith). For a discussion of this see my essay Quran-Focused Islam: A Rationalist, Always-Modern and Orthodox Alternative to Salafism.

Any punishment homosexuals receive should be after due process. There is no such thing in Islam as individuals taking the law into their own hands. This is similar to honor killings, which in Islam would be considered murder, but which is carried out in the Middle East and Southeast Asia by many cultures, Muslim and non-Muslim. Classical Islamic scholars have been party to this crime (of killing people without due process) by being silent about it, and by accepting the corruption of the Quran’s place as Islam’s central authority, preferring less reliable hadith narrations over its principles and teachings.

As I mentioned in the earlier part of this essay, a homosexual who doesn’t engage in homosexual acts is not a sinner and Islamic law has nothing against them they are similar to anyone else wanting to have sex outside of marriage but not doing it.

The reason that in Muslim countries few people stand up for the “rights” of homosexuals is the same reason that few people in the United States stand up for the “rights” of pedophiles. Homosexuality is taboo and practicing it is forbidden and considered harmful in Muslim countries. Pedophilia is taboo and practicing it is forbidden and considered harmful in the United States.

Very few people in the United States stand up for the “rights” of pedophiles, even if it is a pedophile who has a genetic preference for children and who promises to never touch a child, because standing up for their rights causes one to be associated with them, and very few people want that. In the same, in Muslim countries standing up for the “rights” of homosexuals is similarly taboo and few people want to be associated with them.

As the world progresses, Muslim countries will hopefully adopt the Quranic attitude toward homosexuality, which is that there is nothing wrong with it as long as it is not acted upon, and that if acted upon and proven after due process, the punishment is not execution but the Quranic punishment of 100 lashes.

As for what “hope” there might be for homosexual rights in Muslim-majority countries, it is similar to what “hope” there is for pedophiles in the United States. They are required to stay put and not to engage in their desires for the greater good.

Again, I am aware that homosexuality and pedophilia are extremely different, but it is useful to compare them since both of them involve sexual acts that are violently suppressed by society. While the Western view of “sexual acts that must be violently suppressed” only includes pedophilia and rape, the Islamic view expands this definition to also include sex outside of marriage, which automatically includes all homosexual acts.

A homosexual is treated with hatred in Muslim countries for the same reason that a pedophile is treated with hatred in the United States. Both of them threaten to do harm to society, it is just that the Islamic view takes very-long-term harm into account, while the Western view is short-sighted and only cares about immediate or short-term (single-generation) harm.

What happened to Islamic civilization? Why did Muslims fall behind in science and technology?

I wanted your in depth opinion on a particular observation. Muslims, historically speaking, have been responsible for hundreds and thousands of scientific discoveries. What happened to us? Why are we in the stage we are?

Only 100 years ago, which is just a little more than one human lifetime, the Ottoman Empire was a sovereign Muslim nation that could stand up to any Western power. No Jewish colonizer would have dared to terrorize and massacre Palestinians when the Ottoman Empire was there to protect its citizens.

While many Muslims, including scholars, think that Muslims were always powerful, capable and thriving throughout history until modern times, this is mostly a romantic fairy tale told to console and encourage.

The Crusaders were able to take Jerusalem and other parts of the Levant from Muslims in 1099 CE and ruled it for nearly 100 years. Where were the great Muslim powers in this time that they couldn’t take it back? The Middle East was a mix of weak and fractured “Muslim” powers, who were only Muslim in name but in general acted like any modern power, killing and destroying while using religion to justify their actions, and while being under the influence and sometimes control of foreign non-Muslim powers.

The current weakness and powerlessness of Muslims is similar to their state during the Mongol invasions. Some Muslims thought the end of the world had arrived, thinking the Mongols were the promised Ya’jooj and Ma’jooj (Gog and Magog) mentioned in the Quran. The Mongols utterly destroyed the Sunni Muslim Khwarezmian Empire which controlled nearly all of Modern Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and parts of Afghanistan and Kazakhstan, and which had existed for 150 years, through the wholesale slaughter of men, women and children. After that, they went on to destroy Baghdad and Damascus, although the Abbasid Empire had been in decline for centuries before the Mongols arrived.

On the other side of the Medieval world, Muslims ruled nearly half of Spain for nearly 800 years, until 1492 CE (which is also the year the Americas were discovered). Just as they threw Muslims out of Spain, Christians went on to conquer two continents, spread Christian rule all over them, and eventually built the world’s most powerful nation there.

The Myth of Continuous Power Increase

There is a myth among Muslims that since they belong to God’s chosen religion, they should have been able to establish a globally dominant power that ruled the world forever. But God doesn’t promise us that. He promises that we will be tested:

You will be tested through your possessions and your persons; and you will hear from those who received the Scripture before you, and from the idol worshipers, much abuse. But if you persevere and lead a righteous life—that indeed is a mark of great determination.1

God also threatens us with His ability to remove us from power and replace us with others if we do not follow His guidance:

131. To God belongs everything in the heavens and everything on earth. We have instructed those who were given the Book before you, and you, to be conscious of God. But if you refuse—to God belongs everything in the heavens and everything on earth. God is in no need, Praiseworthy.

132. To God belongs everything in the heavens and everything on earth. God suffices as Manager.

133. If He wills, He can do away with you, O people, and bring others. God is Able to do that. 2

Verse 131 above mention’s God’s warning to the People of the Book. The Old Testament contains many promises by God that if His people disobey, He will abandon them to whatever that may happen to them, and that He will make others dominant over them. In the Book of Deuteronomy (part of the Old Testament, and part of the Torah), prophet Musa (Moses) says:

25 When thou shalt beget children, and children’s children, and ye shall have remained long in the land, and shall corrupt yourselves, and make a graven image, or the likeness of any thing, and shall do evil in the sight of the Lord thy God, to provoke him to anger:

26 I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that ye shall soon utterly perish from off the land whereunto ye go over Jordan to possess it; ye shall not prolong your days upon it, but shall utterly be destroyed.

27 And the Lord shall scatter you among the nations, and ye shall be left few in number among the heathen, whither the Lord shall lead you.3

The Quran, too, mentions prophet Musa saying similar things:

6. Moses said to his people, “Remember God’s blessings upon you, as He delivered you from the people of Pharaoh, who inflicted on you terrible suffering, slaughtering your sons while sparing your daughters. In that was a serious trial from your Lord.”

7. And when your Lord proclaimed: “If you give thanks, I will grant you increase; but if you are ungrateful, My punishment is severe.”

8. And Moses said, “Even if you are ungrateful, together with everyone on earth—God is in no need, Worthy of Praise.” 4

Our relationship with God is not one where He constantly supports us just because we say we are His nation, unlike some Muslims and many Jews think. Here is the Jewish feminist author Naomi Wolf expressing her surprise at finding out (by reading the Hebrew Bible) that unlike what many Jews think, God does not promise them never-ending support just because they are “His chosen people”:

He never says: “I will give you, ethnic Israelites, the land of Israel.” Rather He says something far more radical – far more subversive — far more Godlike in my view. He says: IF you visit those imprisoned…act mercifully to the widow and the orphan…welcome the stranger in your midst…tend the sick…do justice and love mercy ….and perform various other tasks…THEN YOU WILL BE MY PEOPLE AND THIS LAND WILL BE YOUR LAND. So “my people” is not ethnic — it is transactional. We are God’s people not by birth but by a way of behaving, that is ethical, kind and just. And we STOP being “God’s people” when we are not ethical, kind and just.5

She is not quite correct when she says “my people” is not ethnic. Jews are God’s chosen, what they don’t generally realize is that being chosen doesn’t necessarily mean one is chosen for a good thing. Jews are God’s chosen in that He gave them many scriptures and throughout the centuries continuously sent them new prophets to guide them back to the Straight Path. He chose them for a specific test. Their being chosen is not just a privilege, it is both a privilege and a heavy burden. If they reject God despite being chosen, God sends the most terrible punishment on them, like He has done many times throughout history. Many Jews forget the burden and choose to enjoy the privilege of thinking of themselves as God’s chosen elite.

Our relationship with God is contractual. If we obey, He supports us. If we disobey, He stops supporting us and subjects us to unfriendly powers.

The story of the Jews is a good lesson for us. Many times in their history they were extremely powerful. After they left Egypt, they entered Canaan around 1446 BCE. They disobeyed God when they were about to overtake a city and live in it, so God punished them by having them wander in the desert for 40 years. They finally entered Canaan in 1406 BCE and completely conquered it by 1399 BCE. Once they become a sovereign power, they soon start to do evil, abandoning God, worshiping Baal or the Calf, practicing usury or allying themselves with irreligious foreign powers. For this reason, as they rejected and sometimes even killed their prophets, every few generations God would send a powerful foreign power to destroy many of their cities and slaughter many of their people.

When they continued to reject God, He sent Babylon to conquer their lands and sent them into exile for 70 years. After that the Persian emperor, whose empire had conquered Babylon, allowed the Jews to return to their lands and reestablish themselves there. Their story continued the same as before, with them doing evil and being punished for it. In 70 AD, a few decades after they rejected Jesus and tried to kill him, they tried to escape the rule of the Roman empire. In return they had their city of Jerusalem utterly destroyed and hundreds of thousands of Jews killed.

The Arch of Titus, which commemorates the Roman victory over the Jews, among other things, still stands in Rome.

Titus, the Roman commander who was in charge of the Roman victory over the Jews, is supposed to have refused to wear a wreath after the victory, saying that he was only acting as a tool of God’s wrath over the Jews. Perhaps this was God’s punishment on them for their rejecting God’s prophet.

Another recent example from Jewish history is Germany in the first few decades of the 20th century. In 1920, Jews owned most of Germany’s media, banks and large corporations and controlled Germany’s academia. They continually promoted homosexuality and sex outside of marriage in books, plays and films in the name of progress. In short, they acted exactly the way they act today in the United States and Europe.

That ended abruptly with the rise of Hitler, who utterly destroyed everything the Jews had worked for.

In Jewish history there is an important historical lesson; that just because a nation associates itself with God and claims to be His people does not mean they will always have God’s support.

Muslim nations have had a history similar to that of the Jews. Many powerful Muslim states have risen and fallen throughout history, and this process is not going to end. If we establish a caliphate like some Muslims dream about, and even if it rules the world for 1000 years, if most of the population abandons Islamic values and Islam becomes largely culture and tradition and not faith, then that caliphate too will fail. God will enable another Mongol invasion, or another invasion by the British and the French, to come and divide their caliphate and do with it as they please.

Christianity’s Place in Islamic History

Just as Islam faded in the Middle East and became little more than cultural tradition and ceremony, Christianity rose in the West. The Christians who conquered the Americas thought they were doing it for God’s sake. They read the Bible daily, they established Biblical law in their colonies, and they braved many dangers in order to establish families, villages and cities in empty and hostile lands.

God’s promise in the Quran came true for them for their deeds:

65. Had the People of the Scripture believed and been righteous, We would have remitted their sins, and admitted them into the Gardens of Bliss.

66. Had they observed/enforced the Torah, and the Gospel, and what was revealed to them from their Lord, they would have consumed amply from above them, and from beneath their feet. Among them is a moderate community, but evil is what many of them are doing.6

While it is common for many Muslims to think of Christians as nothing but heathens who should magically disappear now that Islam has come, Christians are as much God’s people as Muslims are, that is, they too have a contract with God, and if they uphold their contract with God, God will uphold His contract with them. If a Christian nation is more faithful, more eager to serve God, and more observant of God’s laws, then we shouldn’t be surprised if God gives them His full support.

This was the case in the Americas and much of Western Europe until 1900 CE. With all of the corruption present, the average person’s actions and thinking were still largely controlled by Christian ideals.

Today, things are different. The West has finally abandoned the religion that made it great. The only reason the West is great today is the momentum of the past. A Muslim may lose hope when they look at the United States and see its immense capacity to dominate and do evil throughout the world. But the United States is already past its prime. It is desperately trying to hold onto its past power, constantly threatening Russia, China and Iran, but incapable of doing anything about them as they continue to rise.

The United States has had a below-replacement fertility rate since the 1970’s. If it wasn’t for their continuous importation of immigrants, their population would have been shrinking by now. A decades-long below-replacement fertility rate is all that is needed to illustrate that a nation is failing.

It is a country’s population that gives a nation its economic, technological and military power, and once the population starts to shrink, its power will decrease, because there will be fewer people to innovate, and fewer people to consume the fruits of these innovations and in this way pay for further innovations. Today the United States can afford to spend hundreds of billions of dollars on military spending every year, and it is this spending that enables various military companies to continue innovating. But as the American tax base and economy both shrink, with it its power to spend will shrink. America is on a trajectory to become the next Portugal, once a global superpower, now a complete non-entity.

One illustration of the continuing fall of the United States is that of the world’s top 15 skyscrapers (those higher than 350 meters) finished in the past 3 years, 10 are in China, and only one in the United States. China continues to rise, the United States continues to stagnate and fall. America’s failing economy has no need for new office buildings, hotels and restaurants, since it already has more than its shrinking economy needs.

The answer to the question of why Muslims are so powerless compared to the West these days is that Islamic history ran into Christian history. Christian power was still rising went it clashed with an Ottoman Empire that was already past its prime, so the Ottomans didn’t stand a chance.

Today, Christian powers too are past their prime, and great change is coming.

The United States is unlikely to become a Portugal any time soon, and if Islam continues to spread, it might change into a new type of superpower without becoming irrelevant.

It should be noted that while China’s rise will probably be a good thing in the short-term, as its rise to power will probably prevent further significant US excesses for the next few decades, once it is firmly established as the world’s most powerful country, it could start acting like the US, forcing every other country to either become a de facto client state or get turned into a war zone.

Islam in the West

There already are tens of millions of Muslims living in the United States and Western Europe. Just as the native populations of these countries continue to shrink, the Muslim population continues to increase.

At the moment, of course, Muslims are extremely poor and powerless in the West. But demographics decides the destiny of a nation. It is this fact that is terrifying Zionist career Islam-haters like Robert Spencer, Geert Wilders, Daniel Pipes and Pamella Geller and the billionaire Jews supporting them.

They know that it is only a matter of time before Muslims have the political power to affect the foreign policy of these nations, and that means they will have the power to affect the policy of these nations toward their beloved Israel.

Ten years ago, in 2007, every terrorist attack and every crime that could potentially be blamed on Muslims would be plastered all over the Jewish-owned or operated Western media (which is nearly all of the West’s media) for weeks on end. It appears that some time between 2014 and 2016 the Jews decided that it was more in their self-interest to protect Muslims and promote unfettered Muslim immigration to the West, to prevent white Christians from ever gaining total control of a Western country and in this way having the power to dictate Jew-unfriendly laws, as happened in Nazi Germany. Their media today does its best to hide the identities of terrorists, and whenever a terrorist attack occurs, Jewish-operated companies like Google can be seen promoting articles (in this case, in search results and on Google News) that blame these attacks on white people rather than on Muslims.

The Jewish-owned and operated Salon Magazine, a leftist publication, is a big defender of Muslims at the moment. This is a magazine that hasn’t made a profit in the past 20 years, it is entirely a tool of propaganda for leftist Jews. If they pretend to care about us, if they defend us, should we celebrate and join forces with them?

In ten years, when winds change again and the Jews7 decide, like they did in the first decade of the 21st century, that it is in their best interest to promote a negative image of Islam in the West, then they will do that all over again. We in the West are on a collision course with Jews. As our population, and thus our political power, increases, so will our power to sway Western governments against Israel. And when that happens, when we become a threat to Jewry’s beloved Israel, they will turn around overnight, attacking us left and right and portraying us as evil barbarians intent on destroying Western civilization, like they were doing 24/7 a few years ago, and like so many Jewish Islam-haters and “conservative” Jewish media outlets like Breitbart continue to do today.

We must learn to develop long memories, and our best help in this regard is the study of history. We must never ally ourselves with an evil force that has decided at the moment it is in its self-interest to defend us, because tomorrow it can decide that it is in its self-interest to attack us. We must never justify evil for the greater good, and we must never lose our moral integrity for the achievement of political goals.

Islam might go on to become the dominant religion of the West in 100 years, as non-Muslim white people continue to die out, and as white people who convert to Islam continue to increase and have higher fertility than non-Muslim whites. And of course, there are the millions of Muslim immigrants currently residing in the West.

While Muslims continue to be strangers in the West at the moment, this is going to change soon. Today it is still common for us to be viewed as barbarians and outsiders. But a point will be reached when everyone will know a few Muslims and accept them as ordinary citizens, and when that happens, the number of conversions to Islam could multiply very fast, because these people will finally see that Islam is nothing but an updated and improved version of Christianity.

The Long View of History

Even if Muslims establish a new global superpower that lasts for hundreds of years, it too can eventually fail and get conquered by non-Muslim powers. Imagine if this world continues to exist for the next 100,000 years. The story of Muslims being powerful then weak then powerful again might play out fifty or a hundred times more.

We humans wants safety and security. We want to establish Paradise on Earth once and for all and then go on living in it. But that is not the purpose of this world, and dreams of establishing a Paradise on Earth are naive and futile.

We are taught over and over again in the Quran that this world is worthless, that it will soon be over, that none of our deeds done in this world will last. The Quranic character Dhul Qarnain shows his appreciation for God’s message when he says the following right after completing building a structure for God’s sake:

He said, “This is a mercy from my Lord. But when the promise of my Lord comes true, He will turn it into rubble, and the promise of my Lord is always true.”8

For us Muslims, it is always about the journey, not the destination. It doesn’t matter what we accomplish in this world. What matters is the record of our deeds. No matter what we build, no matter how much power we have, we could see it all destroyed tomorrow. This has happened over and over again in history, though sadly we continue to fail to learn the lesson.

Why did God let the Mongols destroy Baghdad and Damascus if our purpose was to continue to gain power, wealth and fame in this world? Why did He let the Ottoman Empire, the last truly sovereign Muslim power, be invaded and destroyed? Why did He not allow the Arab powers to defeat Israel during their multiple wars?

Because this world is a test. It is not our purpose to build Paradise on Earth. Our purpose is khilafah, literally “to be stewards”. We are stewards of the earth. Our purpose is to take care of it by enjoining good and admonishing against evil, so that humanity continues, and so that the the earth does not become entirely corrupted.

A steward takes care of a farm until the owner returns, continuing the running of the farm as best they can. It is the owner’s business what they do with the farm. In the same way, our job in this world is to continue be God’s stewards, God’s agents for good in this world, but it is His business what He does with this world, and whether He gives us power or takes it away from us. All that we can say is, “We hear and we obey.”

We are not seekers after power. The Prophet (peace be upon him) did not seek power, it was given to him. Neither did any of the righteous Rashidun caliphs. We do not seek to establish global dominance, or to carry out global war. Our job is to be God’s stewards, to walk on the Straight Path.

Being on the Straight Path does not require gaining power, and in fact the seeking of power is directly opposed to it, for the seeking of power always requires that one abandon one’s moral integrity “for the greater good”. This is the story of every political party that starts out with high moral ideals only to become a nest of corruption and evil.

It is God who gives us power if we deserve it, and if the time is right, for His own purposes, and as long as it pleases Him, until He can take it away from us. As for us, we must be thankful and content throughout all of this:

No, but worship God, and be among the thankful ones.9

It is God who manages history for us. We are not in charge, God is.

No calamity strikes except by God’s permission. Whoever believes in God, He guides his heart. God is Aware of everything.10

No calamity occurs on earth, or in your souls, but it is in a Book, even before We make it happen. That is easy for God. That you may not sorrow over what eludes you, nor exult over what He has given you. God does not love the proud snob.11

God does not change the condition of a people until they change what is within themselves. And if God wills any hardship for a people, there is no turning it back; and apart from Him they have no protector.12

God has promised those of you who believe and do righteous deeds, that He will make them successors on earth, as He made those before them successors, and He will establish for them their religion—which He has approved for them—and He will substitute security in place of their fear. They worship Me, never associating anything with Me. But whoever disbelieves after that—these are the sinners. 13

Our job is to do good wherever we find ourselves, to worship God, to be kind and just, to follow His commandments as best as we can, and it is God who will establish us on Earth when He pleases:

God has promised those of you who believe and do righteous deeds, that He will make them stewards on Earth, as He made those before them stewards, and He will establish for them their religion—which He has approved for them—and He will substitute security in place of their fear. They worship Me, never associating anything with Me. But whoever disbelieves after that—these are the sinners.14

We can, of course, be political activists and critics. We can constantly work toward social justice and the lifting of poverty. But instead of doing these by seeking power first, we do them without seeking power. We do what is right and just and kind toward everyone, and God, if He wishes, can give us power any time He wants.

Ibn al-Jawzi says in his Sayd al-Khaatir (“Quarry of the Mind”):

I reflected upon the envy that exists among scholars, and saw that its source is the love of the worldly life, because the scholars of the afterlife engage in love and do not envy others. What separates the two groups is that the scholars of the worldly life seek power and leadership in it, and they love to accumulate wealth and praise, while the scholars of the afterlife live in seclusion from these things, they fear them and have mercy toward those who are being tested by them.

Truly good and kind people, who fear God and take the afterlife seriously, do not seek power in my experience. Sometimes the right situation arises for a good person to rise and become powerful, as it happened with Saladin. Saladin wasn’t a revolutionary who grabbed power, or a politician. He became powerful as part of his job as a military commander, and one thing led to another until he became a powerful ruler.

The writer Frank Herbert says the following in Chapterhouse: Dune, and I find them true from all that I have seen:

All governments suffer a recurring problem: Power attracts pathological
personalities. It is not that power corrupts but that it is magnetic to the
corruptible.

Power attracts the corruptible. Suspect all who seek it.

Scientific vs. Divine Explanations for Islam’s Decline: Islam, Christianity and Indo-European Genes

Islam’s great revolution in science and scholarship came from Sunni Persians. Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawood, Tirmidhi, al-Nasaa’i, and Ibn Majah were all Persian. The first formal grammarian of the Arabic language was Sibawayh, a Persian. Some of the greatest names in Islamic history, such as al-Khawarazmi, al-Ghazali, Abu Sinaa, al-Biruni and Ibn Hayyan were Persian.

Persians are an Indo-European race, and to this day have continued their superiority in learning and scholarship over Arabs. In Iran over 70,000 books are published per year, compared to less than 20,000 per year in the entire Arab world.

It appears that historical events like the Mongol destruction of the Khwarezmian Empire, Shiite rule over Iran, and the centuries of conflict between the Persians and the Ottomans, caused Persian populations to shrink and become isolated, and in this way they fell out of the mainstream history of Islam. This might be the single most important historical reason for the decline of Islamic science.

Just as Islam lost its main source of Indo-European genes, Christianity acquired a tremendous new source in northwestern Europe. Christianity went through a similar process to that of Islam’s scientific rise, inspired by Greek philosophy and carried forward by religious thinkers like Thomas Aquinas. Christianity had far better access to Indo-European genes for many centuries compared to Islam, therefore the scientific revolution happened in Christendom. Christianity continued to ensure above-replacement fertility rates, Christian ideals continued to inspire and motivate people, and Indo-European genes supplied the high IQ needed for scientific progress.

This might be the scientific explanation for why Christianity overtook Islam after the Middle Ages.

A mistake many people make, both religious and irreligious, is that when they discover a scientific explanation for something, they start to think that it means that thing is not from God. But it is a principle of God that He will never allow us to have direct evidence of His existence, therefore when God does something, it is always through scientific means, or He makes it appear to be that way. God will not carry out miracles that can be recorded and published on YouTube. The only time that we will have direct proof of the existence of God and the rest of the Unseen is at the end of the world. When the pagans requested that they see an angel before they believe in God, God’s reply was this:

Had We sent down an angel, the matter would have been settled, and they would not have been reprieved.15

If we ever had direct evidence of God’s existence, then there would be no need for faith in God. God does not want that to happen, therefore everything that happens to us must have logical scientific explanations. We can examine Islamic history to find out where things went wrong. But even if we discover every single cause and try to cure it, our success is not guaranteed.

The divine reason for the fall of Muslims is that they abandoned Islam in their hearts, while the scientific reason is the above. The divine reasons precede the scientific reasons. If we disobey God, God will bring about logical and scientifically-explainable reasons for our destruction. And if we obey God, and carry out our stewardship in the best manner possible, God will inspire us toward whatever will give us success and power in this world.

Today, mainstream Islam is again acquiring Indo-European genes in the form of European converts to Islam. As these people increase in number, just as the number of seculars and Christians dwindles, among them will come great scholars and scientists, and soon (within a lifetime or two) Muslims could be responsible for half or more of the West’s scientific output.16

Conclusion

As Muslims, our goal in life is not to acquire power, glory or supremacy in this world. Our goal is not to establish Paradise on Earth. We can appreciate technological and scientific accomplishments, and we can work toward them as part of our stewardship on Earth, but we must never lose sight of the fact that ultimately, everything we do is meant to serve God, and that a day will come when all of our worldly works will be destroyed as if they never existed.

In this world, we are stewards of a temporary farm, a farm whose Owner has promised to destroy in the end. We must never get attached to this farm, or seek its improvement or power over it as a goal in itself. We must never get attached to the idea of establishing a global power. Even if we establish one, it too can come and go like every other Muslim power in history. History will continue going in cycles, Muslims will rise to power, fall, and rise again. The only people who achieve success are those who fear God and serve Him in the best way possible. It is only the record of our deeds which lasts forever, everything else is temporary.

If Muslims are weak today, look again in 500 years, and they may be the strongest and most technologically advanced power on Earth. Look again in 1500 years, and they may again be weak,  oppressed and backward. It is God who gives and God who takes. If we are thankful and obedient, He will increase us and improve our station in life, and if we are ungrateful, He can always take it all away from us and subjugate us to others, like He did to the Andalusian Muslims.

Book recommendations for a beginner to Islam

I was wondering if you could please recommend some Islamic books?

Listening to Music is Permissible in Islam

Is music really haram? I’m not talking about the Rihannas “Wild Thoughts” kind of music, more of peaceful piano, flute, violin, ancient music. The kind of music that doesn’t give off sexual vibe and stuff, but the music that adheres peace, you know?

[Below is a quick survey of opinions on this matter gleaned from Arabic-language sources. I may eventually write out a full essay on this, although it is not one of my topics of interest, since the permissibility of music is such an obvious thing that it is almost not worth talking about.]

Many Islamic scholars reject the idea that music is prohibited. The scholar Ibn Hazm (d. 1064 CE, creator of the “fifth” school of Islamic jurisprudence) considers every hadith that has been used to make music haram fabricated, and considers listening to music the same as taking joy from a nature walk.

The scholar al-Shashi (d. 976 CE) says that Imam Malik permitted music. Imam al-Shafi`i says that there is no clear evidence to prohibit music.

The scholar al-Mawardi (d. 1058 CE) says that Abu Hanifah, Imam Malik and al-Shafi`i did not prohibit music.

The respected theologians Abu Hamid al-Ghazali, Ibn Daqeeq, Izz al-Din ibn Abd al-Salam (famous Shafi`ite scholar, known as the Sultan of Scholars in his time, d. 1262 CE), Abdul Ghani al-Nablusi, Ibn Qutaybah, al-Maqdisi, al-Dhahabi, Abu Talib al-Makki, Ibn al-Arabi al-Maliki and Imam al-Shawkani consider music permissible.

Among modern scholars who reject the prohibition on music are the Azhar scholars Muhammad al-Ghazali and Yusuf al-Qaradhawi, Hasan al-Attar, Muhammad Shaltoot, Ali al-Tantawi and Muhammad Rashid Radha.

The main issue here is the centuries-long feud between the scholars of fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence, i.e. Islamic law) and the scholars of hadith. Scholars of hadith often ignore rationalism if they can find a collection of hadith to support their opinions, which is why you have Saudi scholars defending their ridiculous prohibition on women driving. The scholars of fiqh, on the other hand, are well aware of the unreliability of hadith, the duty of skepticism toward all hadith narrations, and the necessity of judging hadith by the Quran, which is why their thinking is far more moderate and easier to accept.

The fiqh scholar Ibn al-Jawzi says: “If you ever hear a hadith narration that goes against common sense and (well-known theological) principles, do not consider yourself bound to obey it.”

I will add to that and say: In general, whenever you hear people say something supposedly Islamic that insults your intelligence, if you do a little research you will find that 1. that thing is not in the Quran and 2. there are many highly respected scholars who reject it.

Whenever hadith narrations try to attach new things to Islam that are non-existent in the Quran, we have to be extremely skeptical toward them. The Quran is the criterion (a word the Quran uses to refer to itself) by which we judge everything else in Islam.

The Prophet himself, peace be upon him, says in two authentic narrations:

“What God makes permissible in His book (the Quran), then that is permissible, and what He makes prohibited, that is prohibited, and what He is silent about, that is out of His mercy, so accept His mercy, for God does not forget anything.”

“God has made certain things obligatory, so do not neglect those, and He has set certain bounds, so do not overstep those bounds, and He has remained silent on certain matters out of His mercy on you, not out of forgetfulness, so do not seek out those matters (i.e. do not argue about them and make a big deal of them).”

A prohibition on music is not in the Quran, which makes it one of the matters that God left out of the Quran intentionally, out of His mercy. Whenever something is not in the Quran, that’s a clear indication that it is not an important matter in God’s religion, and that people should make up their own minds about it, the same way they are allowed to make up their own minds about whether a PC or a Mac is a better computer.

Before people start replying with their arguments in favor of prohibiting music, please know that I am already aware of your arguments, and please see the following (Arabic) essay that has a detailed discussion of the relevant evidence on both sides of the debate:

https://archive.islamonline.net/?p=25

Certain types of music can be considered forbidden due to things associated with the music, but that is a different matter.

The purpose of bismillah

/ No Comments on The purpose of bismillah

The Arabs before Islam used to begin their works by naming their gods, saying “By the name of al-Laat” or “By the name of al-Uzzaa”. Other nations used to do the same. If one of them wanted to do something to please a king or ruler, they would say it is done “by the name of” that person, meaning that this deed would not be if it wasn’t for that king or ruler.

For this reason, when you say “I begin my deed with bismillah al-rahman al-raheem” (in the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful), it means “I am doing it by God’s command and for His sake, and not for the sake of my ego and its pleasures.

Shaykh Ahmad Mustafa al-Maraghi, Tafseer al-Maraghi.

How to stop wasting time on social media

I recently made an attempt to stop wasting my time on social media and things like netflix. Issue is, even though i read often, i find that i’m unable to replace that which i gave up with useful substitutes. Do you have any suggestions?

The ability to intentionally choose to do something useful with your time, instead of doing what is pleasurable, is called executive function. One thing that greatly diminishes our executive function is loneliness. This is why someone who cannot be motivated to study by themselves can be highly motivated if there is a friend around they can study with.

To be more motivated to do useful things with your time, find ways of doing beneficial things socially, with other people, or around other people. If you cannot be motivated to read a book at home alone, go to a coffee shop, or to a friend or relative’s house, and try to read there. Having people around you, even strangers, can greatly help increase motivation. Instead of reading Quran at home, going to the mosque to do it can be far more satisfying and motivating.

Another way of achieving the same is to find good friends with whom you speak multiple times daily. Having meaningful social interactions with people on a daily basis is a great way of increasing motivation.

Once you have this taken care of, the usual common sense advice of writing down goals and making to-do lists can be helpful.

And if one’s executive function is diminished, either through loneliness, depression, iron overload, diabetes, or damage to the prefrontal cortex of the brain, common sense advice will rarely have a benefit.

Why must women pray behind men at the mosque?

Why must women pray behind men? Why is it that in Pakistan women have the worst place to pray when we need to pray in public and/or in the masjid? And also, why must men and women be separate in public? Isn’t that inconvenient? What is the wisdom behind all of this?

The wisdom in women praying behind men, which is the same as the wisdom in women wearing non-revealing clothes, is to take sexuality out of public interactions, so that people can get on with their lives and do what needs to be done without male-female sexual dynamics becoming a factor.

Men are designed to find women far more physically interesting than women are designed to find men. What this means is that having the women in front of the men at the mosque will cause more distraction, on the whole, than having the men in front of the women. Since the goal is to focus on God at the mosque, the logical thing to do is to not have the women in men’s sight. Since women do not find men particularly physically interesting, in general it doesn’t do any harm to have the men within the women’s sight.

Some will say it is men’s duty not to look at women lustfully, women shouldn’t have to dress a certain way or sit in a certain place just so that men wouldn’t be distracted by them. Islam deals with the issue on both ends, it asks both sexes not to look at one another lustfully, and it asks women to dress modestly so that if men do look, they do not see much to look at

At the mosque, it adds an extra degree of conscientiousness to have the women pray behind the men, to make lustful glances even less likely, so that proper respect for God is shown at His house.

We are all God’s servants and it behooves us to organize our public spaces in the way that is most likely to please Him. If having the women pray behind the men is more conducive to proper respect for God, and less distracting on the whole, than having the men pray behind the women, then it logically follows that it is best for the women to pray behind the men. The goal is not some power play or show of authority by the men, the goal is to show God proper respect, with both sexes being His lowly servants wanting to please Him.

As for why men and women can’t pray mixed like at church services, it is again because it adds an unnecessary gender dynamic to the act of praying at the mosque, which is unnecessary and not something God wants to be present in His house. Most of us are capable of praying alongside the opposite sex without any issue. But it is better not to mix, and since we want to please God, we do what is better. Amish Christians do the same, with the men and women sitting separately at church.

About separation in other public places, the point again is for public interactions to be civilized and free from lust. Islam has no issue with men and women interacting in public, it only wants to give the best shape to these interactions by removing potentially harmful dynamics. Each Islamic culture has its own way of trying to achieve this. Some cultures take the separation of men and women too far, and others have sensible policies that do not lead to inconvenience. Much of it is cultural tradition, there are no rules regarding separation of men and women in public in the Quran, for example.

I am sorry to hear that women do not have good places to pray in public in Pakistan. This could be a carryover from the past, where women venturing outside was far less common than now, so that there wasn’t much demand for better accommodations for women. Hopefully this will get better with time. In the United Arab Emirates, for example, the malls have large and well-maintained spaces for women to pray.

Patriarchy in the Quran

/ 2 Comments on Patriarchy in the Quran

Stick to posting Islamic art and quotes. Otherwise, go learn about the patriarchy and power imbalances before flaunting your misogyny everywhere. May Allah guide you.

Islam is a patriarchal religion, where men get a degree of authority over their women in their households, and with that authority comes the burden of having to provide financially for all of their female relatives, so that in a devout Muslim society no woman will ever have to work, though they can if they want to.

That authority is balanced by the fact that a woman can get a divorce any time she wants, and she is protected by all of her male relatives against any abuses by her husband, so that if her husband abuses his authority in any way, she can always leave him to find a better man. The Quran calls on men to fear God, to be kind, to be just, and to defend the weak (which includes the women and children among them) but it also gives them authority in their households.

So while in Islam we believe in the equal worth of men and women, and in equal opportunities for both, the fact that God has given men a rank over women in their households is in the Quran, and ignoring this and pretending it doesn’t exist is throwing part of the Quran away because it disagrees with your preconceived notions, because you think your inane feminist-inspired moralizing is better than God’s guidance.

The Quran, 2:85: “Is it that you believe in part of the Scripture, and disbelieve in part? What is the reward for those among you who do that but humiliation in this life? And on the Day of Resurrection, they will be assigned to the most severe torment. God is not unaware of what you do.”

The Quran, 2:228: “And women have rights similar to their obligations, according to what is fair. But men have a degree [of authority] over them. “

The Quran, 4:34: “Men are the protectors and maintainers of women [qawwamoon, literally “people of authority who watch over and maintain standards…”], as God has given some of them an advantage [in rank] over others, and because they spend out of their wealth.”

If you have a problem with a patriarchal society, you are in the wrong religion.

I encourage you to learn Arabic and read the Quran to discover the wonders of a society where men are not considered worthless and disposable like in the West, but where they are respected as figures of authority, and where a woman enjoys the peace of mind that comes with having multiple God-fearing men dedicated to her welfare, knowing that she could never, ever be homeless or wanting of food and income while a devout Muslim male relative remains to her, knowing that she can marry and divorce whoever she wants, start a business, or do whatever she wants with her life as long as it doesn’t go against God’s commandments, enjoying a peaceful life among men who like her and respect her and will not let anyone abuse her.

You are free to leave patriarchy, which means all sustainable civilized societies (all societies that have an above-replacement fertility rate, i.e. that are not on the path to extinction like Japan and Western Europe), to enjoy life among some Stone Age tribe where matriarchy is the order of the day, or in the ghettos and trailer parks of America where men belong to their mothers and do not know their fathers, where non-existent fathers make a patriarchy a practical impossibility, since patriarchy means rule of the fathers.

 

Feelings, censorship and gender in science: Is it unfair to say that women backbite more than men?

This is a follow-up discussion in regards to what I wrote in Dealing with a porn addiction.

Brother I understand that you answered that question as best you could, no one should be shaming you because you are offering advice that you could have easily ignored. However I would just say that to just mention how women may backbite was insensitive and unnecessary. Imagine all the stigma us sisters face on a daily basis, everyday we have certain brothers telling us what we should and should not be doing whilst they engage in haram activities. (1)

So imagine when someone asks you about porn addiction that has nothing to do with women backbiting, and even then we are bought into it, I’m sure as an understanding brother you can see. Tomorrow if someone has a problem yet I say “Don’t worry it’s less of a sin as millions of Muslims especially men, don’t grow their beards to the proper length, you are no worse than them”, look how insensitive that seems. I hope I have not offended you brother, it is our duty to guide with kindness and openess

Thank you for your kindly phrased message. I understand what you are saying, and I’m sure you are right when you say you have suffered unjust criticism.

I have never considered women a class, like feminists imagine, separate from men. I consider them humans, my equals, and hold them to the same standards. I don’t walk on eggshells when I discuss men’s problems, and I will not start walking on eggshells when discussing women’s problem’s.

I consider you my equal, and that means we both should be free to speak our minds. You shouldn’t be silenced if you have a truth to speak just because it may hurt some men’s feelings, and I shouldn’t be silenced if I have a truth to speak just because it may hurt some women’s feelings.

It is certainly good manners to not bring up negative facts about someone in ordinary daily interactions. You do not call an overweight person fat even if it is true.

But if I’m trying to solve a technical problem, I expect people to put their feelings aside, to sit down like adults and to discuss the problem rationally, and that is what I was doing in my answer.

If I’m doing a scientific study on finding ways to reduce backbiting among women, would you call it insensitive? I’m sure many would, that it is somehow oppressive and unjust to focus on females, that if I discover a method that works well in preventing females from backbiting, I should shove it under the carpet in case some woman’s feelings is hurt, even if it will do them good in the long-term.

We cannot have progress if we are not allowed to speak our minds freely, if we have random no-go zones where we are not allowed to analyse things in case it hurts this group’s feelings, or that group’s, or that group’s. That’s censorship and regression, that’s not progress.

It is like saying I should not talk about the unhealthy effects of being obese because it will hurt obese people’s feelings. Should we just throw out all obesity-related research in case some obese person comes across it and has their feelings hurt?

I was helping put a mostly-male problem into perspective using a mostly-female problem, as an intellectual exercise. I consider women equals, not superiors and not inferiors, but equals, humans to be treated with the same standards, not to be treated like children, but treated equally, like I would treat any man, and I certainly never worry about hurting men’s feelings when I bring up facts that reflect negatively on them.

If men are unjustly criticizing you, I fully support your right to fire back at them and put them in their place. I defend your right to speak your mind. And I defend my right to speak my mind. We are not enemies, and we are not different species. We are both humans, and we can treat each other as such.

We do not achieve equality by enforcing double-standards where a male speaker is not allowed to say certain things in case it hurts women’s feelings. We achieve equality when no one thinks about their own sexual parts but can consider the problem and its solution rationally, like adults. The speaker says men have a problem with ignoring their wives? Fine, I will try to be a better husband. The speaker says that women have a problem with ignoring their husbands? Instead of getting offended that a person of the opposite sex is pointing out a fault, women can choose to benefit from it, “Fine, I will try to be a better wife.”

This is equality, where I am not forced to treat you like a “woman”, but like a human, and where I do not patronize and belittle you by censoring my speech in case it hurts your fragile feelings, but where I can treat you like I treat any man, expecting you to be intelligent and confident enough to accept it and roll with it.

These are my standards when it comes to public speech. In private one-to-one interactions, it is good manners to hide people’s faults, to not criticize, and to make them feel good about themselves. But in public, for example if I’m doing a scientific paper studying women’s psychology, I will not sugarcoat my findings just because it may hurt women’s feelings, in this case telling the truth takes precedence over being nice.

And as a nice person, I will never mock an obese person by calling them fat, and I will not let others do it if I can stop them. But I will happily continue researching the eugenics of obesity (how genes affect obesity, and how obesity affects future genes) like I currently do no matter how many obese people are offended by it.

In the same way, I will continue to be frank and straightforward when writing about women, since in my research writing, truth always takes precedence over being nice. But when dealing with women in my personal life, I will always be as kind, gracious and uncritical as is required by good manners, civility and Islam.

A reply from a reader

I feel you were wrong in saying that women do more backbiting. Not saying it is in itself true or false ( I really dont think they are any reliable studies) but I think it was completely unnecessary to say it the way you did. You could have said simply that many Muslim backbite it would have been enough. No need to drag women into it. Im not attacking you or anything just saying there might have been a better way to go at it.

If I were a woman and jokingly mentioned that fact, I don’t think anyone would be bothered. The only reason that it is “wrong” is that a male said it. And if I had mentioned a fact that reflected negatively on men, not women, I don’t think anyone would be bothered.

I have never bought into the Western nonsense of treating women like children to be pampered to. I like to treat them like my equals, which means that I speak my mind without bothering what type of sexual organs my listeners have. I consider you all the same, we are all humans.

So no, I don’t think I did anything wrong. Having a porn-watching problem is a mainly male problem, and having a backbiting problem is a mainly female problem. I have heard many women agree with both of these facts. Mentioning both problems together is a very useful intellectual exercise to help put the problem of porn-watching into context.

If I had mentioned a positive fact about women, you wouldn’t be upset. You are thinking like a politician, “he said something negative about my interest group without belonging to said group, which makes it automatically wrong.”

What you really want to enforce is that all men should be able to talk about women, as long as they stick to mentioning positive facts, as long as they maintain a parallel-reality of cotton candy and fluffy bunnies where no woman’s feelings can ever get hurt.

I prefer to speak my mind freely, and I prefer to treat women like adults. I never worry about hurting men’s feelings in my research writing / answers, and I will not start worrying about hurting women’s feelings.

If you disagree with this, that’s your right. I, however, will continue to be as I am, focusing on serving God, and having my allegiance only to truth. If people’s feelings get hurt when I mention a fact like how unhealthy obesity is or how Indians can never compete with the Chinese in innovation, at least not for the next 500 years or so, I’m sorry. I will never mock someone or say any truth that may hurt their feelings in private interactions. But on my blog, where I want to teach and guide people, I will speak the truth, and I will not self-censor my speech like a politician.

If this is unacceptable for you, if you’d like me to hire someone to review everything I say in case it may be considered discriminatory to one of a dozen interest groups, then you are in the wrong place. I have always been a free-speech and anti-Political Correctness activist.

You are right that I didn’t have to bring women into the discussion. It was a perfectly voluntary act on my part.

My mother and sister have a sense of humor and the last thing they would do would be to get upset over what I wrote. I think they have got things right. I treat all women like them, intelligent and confident in their femininity. And if I ever say something stupid or unjust, they will not let me get away with it but will correct my mistake, the way a man would do.

Of course, I won’t go around speaking negative things about women saying that they have to deal with it. That’s like calling overweight people fat, it is rude even if it is true. As I said, in private interactions, I do what good manners, civility and Islam require of me. And in my research writing or answers, I write frankly without bothering who gets offended.

I encourage you to open your heart, to see how an innocently made remark done in good faith and with the intention of helping someone should not be criticized just because a person of the wrong sex said it. Stop thinking like a Western politician and more like a fair-minded Muslim with a sense of humor.

You could say that context matters, that in that particular context it was wrong for me to mention women since I have many female followers whose feelings could get hurt. I disagree. It is my personality to be frank in my writing and to treat women the way I treat men, considering them really my equals instead of patronizing them by treating them like a protected minority.

Dealing with a porn addiction

Tumblr question:

How can I deal with porn addiction?

The short answer is that if you do sufficient worship and Quran-reading so that the afterlife feels more important than the present life, or as important, then giving up any sin becomes the easiest thing in the world. Your problem is not porn, but the fact that your heart is not sufficiently soft, humble and submissive to God. This is the problem that needs to be fixed, and the fixing of it is through dedicating at least an hour of every day to voluntary worship, whether it is through reading the Quran, or praying extra prayers, or sitting after every obligatory prayer in supplication.

Once you continue on this path for a few days, your heart will soften and become submissive, and your awareness of God’s nearness will increase, and your eagerness to seek to serve Him through good deeds will increase as well, so that you enter a state where sins become unthinkable.

Always ask yourself how important the afterlife feels to you. If it feels faraway and unimportant, you have failed at keeping God’s remembrance alive in your heart, and this is what you must work to fix. You know you have reached the necessary state of piety when your record of deeds feels like a real object to you. You think about adding good deeds to it, and worry about the sins recorded on it, so that you continuously ask for forgiveness, since you can never be sure if God has forgiven all of your sins.

Once the afterlife feels so real that it is not just an intellectual idea, but something that causes emotions in you (thinking of Paradise makes you feel excited with joy and longing, and thinking of the Hellfire causes you fear), then you know that you have finally managed to balance the present life with the afterlife.

Being addicted to any sin can only come about when one is attached to the present life, when the afterlife is nothing but a faraway idea, rather than a real, living and breathing thing that is only a heartbeat away. This is the disease that needs to be cured, and curing it will cure all sins, not just a particular sin.

Therefore do everything you can to cause the afterlife to feel real in your heart. Read the Quran, supplicate to God, and continue praying, until your heart submits.

And repeat that every day. This is nothing something that you can accomplish and leave its trophy on your shelf. Faith is something that needs to be continuously recharged, every day of your life. You must work every single day to keep the afterlife real in your heart. Every morning will be a new day in which the afterlife will fade from your heart, and you must exert daily effort to recreate its reality. Without this, no matter what short-term success you achieve in avoiding sins, you will always fall back into it.


God will not burden you with more than you can bear. If you cannot stop it, then make up for it by asking for forgiveness, reading Quran, and praying tahajjud.

Always remember this verse of the Quran: “We have not placed any hardship for you in (this) religion.” (22:78).

There are no clear texts (Quran or hadith) that deal directly with watching porn. This is a matter of conscience between you and God. God is a kind and understanding master, and He knows you better than yourself. If you cannot stop, then continue returning to Him in repentance, He will see your sincerity and your efforts, and that is what matters.

Watching porn is less of a sin than backbiting (gossiping about people), yet hundreds of millions of Muslims, especially women, engage in backbiting all the time. So know that you aren’t any worse than them.

In ten years, when your hormones have calmed down, you will find it much easier to resist this sin.

People’s reactions to my answer, and my counter reactions

I literally am unfollowing you just for the way you answered this ask. “Especially women. Know that you’re no worse than them” wow……. 

I’ve lived 27 years in this world and know that backbiting is ten times worse among women than men. I imagine if I said a porn addiction is much more of a problem among men than women you wouldn’t complain :), but both of these are statistics. “No worse than them” meant no worse than all the Muslims who engage in backbiting, including men and women.

I know in the modern culture of what I call fashionable nonsense, calling attention to statistics that reflect negatively on a protected minority (women, racial minorities, etc.) is a big no-no. Personally, I think the truth is preferable to lies, and if there is a statistic that reflects negatively on women, and another statistic that reflects negatively on men, I have no qualms about admitting both.

As a Muslim, I will never, ever deny a truth just to keep up with fashions and political correctness. My allegiance is to the truth, not fashion.

What the?? It completely sounds like you’re belittling the sin and desensitising people to how horrendous it is! It’s like you’re saying “don’t worry about murdering people, did you know that killing someone is less of a sin than taking out bank loans with interest? One day you’ll learn to control your rage and it won’t be an issue for you.” I’m sorry but that’s definitely not the advice to give to someone who sincerely desires to stop. It’s almost like you’re encouraging it.

I disagree. I encourage people to deal with these matters as a matter of conscience, between themselves and God, to read the Quran, and to seek a solution instead of wallowing in guilt and despair. It is a fact that controlling one’s sex drive becomes much easier after the age of 30, there is no shame in admitting this.

One more thing you’re assuming that the person sending you that p*rn ask is a man?? I’m a woman who used to suffer from that anon’s same problem btw! Let’s see how you respond to this 🙂

You are right, I shouldn’t have assumed they are male.

Then doesn’t that mean that your whole argument about men’s sex drive is invalid??

No, it just shifts the time bracket. For men, the most challenging time is their teens and early twenties. For women, it is their mid-thirties. However, female libido is quite lower than male libido, so the most challenging time point for women is actually the same point on the graph when libido becomes manageable for males, meaning that the majority of women will never experience the immense pull that porn has on men:

From: http://geniusbeauty.com

To the anon suffering from p*rn addiction : use a website blocker extension from google&block the websites (or search words) to stop yourself from accessing it(set a long password that you’re not likely to remember then delete the document with that password or ask someone to set it for u)also avoid spending time on your own+stop using earphones&try to find a hobby to keep yourself busy+ make lots of duaa&Thikr whenever you get the urge to watch- it’s hard but making duaa for you- Hang in there

I have been receiving questions about porn addiction for the past 10 years. I have read the opinions of many respected scholars, I have read stories of many people suffering from the problem, I have even gone so far as to read a book on curing it: The Porn Trap.

And what I’ve learned is that that type of common sense advice rarely, if ever, does sufferers any good. It doesn’t matter that it makes sense, what matters is that once it is applied by a real-life sufferer, it doesn’t work.

The solution is to keep one’s faith as best as one can, continue seeking a solution until God gives them one (which could be very different for different people), instead of despairing. And all the while acknowledging that biology plays a key role in this issue. There are almost no 60-year-old Muslim men suffering from a porn addiction, because the sex drive becomes easily manageable for most men after the age of 30. This is a very important fact and it must be integrated into any solution idea we come up with.

Same anon as before this time Im addressing op : I think you handled the ask very badly, it’s a good thing to remind someone of Allah’s mercy and that it’s never too late to repent but you shouldn’t belittle watching p*rn- it’s a HUGE sin not to mention how harmful the p*rn culture& industry and supporting it is, also you’re not the one who decides which sin is worse than other and you’re in no position to judge or compare genders’ sinning in that matter. I must say I’m disappointed, man.

Shaykh Yasir Qadhi says watching porn is a minor sin, and I agree with him. Saying watching porn is less of a sin than backbiting is not belittling it, it is putting it in proper perspective.

Making a huge deal of porn will neither solve the problem nor help sufferers who are doing everything they can to avoid it.

To a Muslim, all sins are great, because they are all betrayals of God’s trust and respect for us. Knowing this is sufficient to make any fair-minded, open-hearted Muslim seek to avoid porn as best as they can.

I have every right to speak my opinion on this matter, and if you know better, you are free to present your evidence.

Islam is not a bureaucratic religion like many people think, where scholars form a priesthood that decides and thinks for everyone else. I can read the texts myself and make up my own mind. That’s Islam for me.

I will never, ever let another person do my thinking for me if I can help it. All authorities, scholars and texts must be questioned to ensure that logic, fairness and truth are respected and that no one gets more power than they need to do their job in serving the community.

 

Managing stress and loneliness

Salam alaykum how may I manage stress and focus on myself, sometimes I feel lonely-no one contacts me I’m ok with it I really need to put myself first

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

There are hundreds of books dedicated to those topics, everyone is different so no one solution that works for everyone.

You say you feel lonely. That might be the root issue. According to Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection by the renowned scientist John T. Cacioppo, loneliness is a disease. It increases inflammation in the body, slowly blocks arteries, causes diabetes, and leads to depression, and there is no cure for it other than to stop being lonely.

Being lonely means to lack meaningful social connection with others. You don’t have to be alone to be lonely. You can have many people around you and still feel lonely.

An easy way to start solving this problem is to use your tumblr to find people to interact with on a daily basis. To cure loneliness, we need to feel that we matter, that people care about what we do and say. And on tumblr, if you have many followers, as you interact with them, as they read your posts and reply to them, that can give you some of that feeling and in this way reduce your loneliness.

Doing anything that makes you feel cared about, that makes you feel like you matter to someone, will reduce your loneliness. You can do it online, or do it in real life by finding ways of connecting with people.

As for managing stress, one thing that helps is to read the Quran. If you dedicate an hour a day to reading the Quran, slowly the afterlife will start to appear more important to you than the life of this world, and this will make all of your worldly problems appear small and unimportant, which will take the stress out of daily life.

What to do if you have intentionally missed many days of prayers

Asalam alaykum I have not competed two days worth of prayers how do I seek forgiveness/ good deeds and rewards I’m fearful of the punishment I felt lazy them two days that I was staying at a friends house Am I able to make up for it 🙁 May Allah reward you

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

Ask for forgiveness and redo as much of the prayers as you can as soon as you can.

Think of God as a kind teacher who wants you to do what is best for yourself. He will not abandon you just because you’ve made a mistake or did wrong toward yourself. He is always ready to forgive you, as long as you do not rebel against Him, as long as you do not make sinning and disobedience a habit that encircles your life.

You will sin many more times throughout your life. What matters is to always return to God, instead of living in sin perpetually, risking the possibility that you may die without repenting.

53. Say, “O My servants who have transgressed against themselves: do not despair of God’s mercy, for God forgives all sins. He is indeed the Forgiver, the Clement.”

54. And turn to your Lord, and submit to Him, before the retribution comes upon you. Then you will not be helped.

55. And follow the best of what was revealed to you from your Lord, before the punishment comes upon you suddenly, while you are unaware.

56. So that a soul may not say, “How sorry I am, for having neglected my duty to God, and for having been of the scoffers.”

57. Or say, “Had God guided me; I would have been of the pious.”

58. Or say, when it sees the penalty, “If only I had another chance, I would be of the virtuous.”

59. Yes indeed! My Verses did come to you, but you called them lies, turned arrogant, and were of the faithless.

[The Quran, verses 39:53-59]

Back to the question of not completing the 2 days worth of prayers am I able to pray now If so do I start with fajr and end at isha or start at isha then finish at fajr? May Allah reward you

There is difference among scholars on what is best to do in your case, since you intentionally stopped praying. As far as I know, there is no clear text (Quran or hadith) that deals with your specific case. Many scholars say the prayers should be redone, with the important exception of Ibn Taymiyyah, Ibn Hazm and some of Imam al-Shafi`i’s followers, who say that when the prayer is abandoned intentionally, there is no need to redo them, that one should only repent and start praying again from that point on.

Personally I would redo the prayers, since it is only 2 days worth of prayers, just to be on the safe side. I would start from the earliest missed prayer to the latest.

If it had been many months worth of prayers, I wouldn’t redo them, I would do the sunnah prayers and pray tahajjud every night for months to make up for it.

The point of the Islamic acts of worship

A question received on tumblr:

What are the importances of acts of worship Prayer, zakat and fasting etc

At the most basic level these acts reaffirm God’s important in our lives. We Muslims cannot ignore God, saying “we have faith” and then go for days without thinking about God. The prayers interrupt our lives five times a day. Fasting interrupts a whole month of the year.

As for zakat, it provides basic income to the poor. If the people of the United States paid zakat, it could amount to $100 to $500 billion dollars a year, meaning that within a few years there wouldn’t be a single homeless or poor person in the country, and every poor person (belonging to the bottom 50% of society) would get a monthly income of $1000 or more from zakat.

As far as I know no Muslim country properly applies the zakat system, which is why there is so much widespread poverty in countries like Egypt. Zakat has to be taken, it is not a voluntary act. Most rich people are not generous and would rather not pay 2.5% of their uninvested wealth to the poor every year, they would rather do as the Jews and Christians of America do, lending their wealth to the poor and charging them 5% or more interest.

In the zakat system, the poor charge interest on rich people’s uninvested wealth, the money they hoard in their bank accounts. In America’s usurious system, the rich charge interest on the poor, to the tune of more than a trillion dollars per year. American taxpayers paid upwards of $200 billion on money borrowed from usurers to pay for government expenditures, which is why the rich and powerful of America constantly want to increase the size of the military and to instigate new wars, such as with Iran and Russia. War requires spending, and the money for it has to be borrowed from the rich, and the interest on that money has to be paid by the average taxpayer.

For the rich, war always means money. Islam breaks this cycle of evil and destruction by prohibiting usury (all charging of interest) and enforcing zakat.

As for other acts of worship, they all have some wisdom if you look into them.

What to do when your spouse is less religious than you

A question I received recently:

I am in my early twenties and have married a woman who comes from a Muslim family. After marrying her, I have found that religion is not very important to her. I had wished to marry a woman who was my equal in faith, so that we could create a faithful family together. I feel like I have made a mistake in marrying her, and I don’t know where to go from here. Why did God allow me to marry her?

My answer:

It is normal to start having doubts after marriage when you have no previous experience with it. Many ideas and assumptions about the other sex will be proven false or inaccurate once you are living the reality of marriage.

Women are generally more liberal than men and laxer when it comes to religion. I come from a conservative Muslim family but I’ve had trouble convincing close female relatives to stop engaging in negative gossip about people (i.e. backbiting, ghaibah). I know a woman who is a civil engineer (so she is educated and intelligent enough to know better), and even though she went to an Islamic boarding school where they recited Quran every night and sometimes stayed up all night for prayer, she continues to think it is her every right to gossip about people.

When dealing with women, always remember Imam al-Shafi`i’s saying: “Be harsh on yourself, easy on others.” You shouldn’t hold your wife to the same standards as yourself, and if she does the minimum that is requested of her by religion, you should be thankful for that.

I grew up knowing many great men in my extended family, highly religious, kind and observant men. But almost none of these men had wives who could match them in faith, and some had wives who only did the minimum and didn’t care about religion at all. This hasn’t stopped them from bringing up good religious families.

In a household, men and women are not equal when it comes to authority. The Quran gives men a degree of authority over women (Quran 2:228, 4:34), and perhaps part of the reason for that is that men are, in general, more observant and more conservative, though a minority of women can be found who are like this too. It is a man’s duty to keep standards high in his household, preventing lax behaviors like not praying, not fasting or eating what is not halal, though he must do this with love and kindness, not with authoritarianism:

“Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and good advice, and debate with them in the best possible manner.”1

If your wife does the obligatory deeds (praying, fasting, etc.) and avoids haram (alcohol, interest, etc.), then this is the most you can expect of her, and leave it to her as a free-willed human being to make up her mind to do more if she wants. If she doesn’t do the obligatory deeds or engages in haram, then you have a clear right to give her an ultimatum, for her to come back to the Straight Path and do the minimum of what’s requested of her in Islam. If she doesn’t, then in effect she is refusing to do what the Quran asks of her, meaning that she is denying its truth, and in a way she is a non-believer. There is no obligation for you to stay married to her in such a case.

If she does the minimum required of her, then the Quran encourages you to be patient and to rely on God to steer your destiny for you. The Quran says in 4:128 that when a (devoutly Muslim) husband and wife are in disagreement, making peace is always the best option, and warns them to be wary of their ego’s greedy desire for better things.

One of the companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him) didn’t like his wife. The Prophet told him to fear God and keep her, this advice of the Prophet to him is recorded in the Quran in verse 33:37. The companion (Zayd, the only companion mentioned by name in the Quran) ultimately decided to divorce her. So, while Islam teaches that a man should hold onto his wife, a man’s right of freedom of choice is respected.

A man’s role in life is to acquire worth, marry a woman, have children, take care of his family, and in this way continue Islamic civilization. For this to be successfully done, it is not necessary for the woman to be as religious as the man. Ideally, of course, that’s what we want, but in reality, the nature of men and the nature of women is different, and you will have a very hard time finding women who cares about religion as much as you do.

It is better to be practical. To be thankful for what God has given you and to try to make the best of it. Do your best to be kind, generous, patient and forgiving, rather than judgmental and demanding. Some men mistakenly try to force their women to become what they want, only to give up after years of futile effort. You must learn to trust God and leave it to Him to steer your destiny. If you do separate in the end, you should be able to say “I did my best to make things work, but it didn’t work out.”

I am not saying to be like a feather in the wind, going wherever life throws you. You must rather always face God, working to please Him. You must not face your wife constantly trying to change her. She is only a small part of the big picture. You are a servant of God and you were made to serve Him. He recommends that you try to make your marriage work even if you are not pleased with your wife. Since you are facing God and aiming to please Him, you will be kind, generous and non-judgmental toward your wife as long as she does the minimum that Islam asks of her. Whether you think she deserves this lenient treatment or not, you are not doing it for her, but for God, and you expect your reward from God.

Having an unsatisfactory wife is a difficult test since you might be thinking that maybe this is how things will be for the rest of your life. You do not want to be stuck with someone who doesn’t live up to your standards. You probably wish to get in charge of your destiny, get rid of her and get a far better woman in her place.

The problem with this is that 1. It is not your job to manage your destiny and 2. No matter how good the imaginary new woman is, assuming you can find her and marry her, you could run into new and unexpected problems that could make your life with her miserable, she may develop an illness, she may suffer an accident and go blind, she may have a bad family who constantly interfere with your life.

As a Muslim, you believe that God is the King of the universe, and that He has the power to do anything He wills. He had the power to prevent your marriage from taking place. He had the power to make you marry the perfect woman. But He didn’t. And today He has the power to swiftly end your marriage with little effort on your part, and He has the power to give you the type of woman you desire. But He doesn’t.

It is God who manages your destiny, taking you from one stage of life to another, testing you, helping you learn, helping you grow in wisdom, understanding and kindness. Your focus should be on God, He can take your life anywhere He wants, and He has the power to do it this instant if He wanted to. Since He is not doing it, that should tell you something. You must do your best in the current test you are in, you must follow His advice that trying to make your marriage work is better than separation, and the Prophet’s advice to fear God and hold onto your wife, and leave it to God to change your situation if and when He wants. You must expect only from God and ask only of Him.

You could of course ask, “What if this test is not intended for me? What if I will needlessly suffer for nothing?” If you put your focus on God, since you know that He has the power to take you out of any unwanted situation, then you will know that there is no such thing as needlessly suffering. If you keep your wife for the sake of God, God will reward you for it, both in this life and the next. And if He doesn’t want you to keep her, He will make it easy to separate.

If your marriage somehow naturally falls apart, with both of you, or at least you, trying your best to keep it together through non-judgmentalism, forgiveness and generosity, and you reach an agreement to separate without any negative emotions, without guilt and without fearing that you might be doing the wrong thing, then you can take that as a sign that God approves of the separation.

But if things go along normally, if things are good enough, if the thought of separation contains tremendous amounts of uncertainty, guilt and fear, then that is your sign that it is not time to separate, that if you were to work toward separation, you’d be going against the flow of the destiny God has chosen for you. You can do it, like Zayd did, since God respects your freedom. But it is better for you to accept it and do your best, constantly asking God for forgiveness and betterment. If you reject this test, God will give you an equally demanding test, because God will never stop testing you.

Until the day you die, if God loves you, He will constantly give you new opportunities to prove your patience, your generosity, your worth. If He gave you the perfect life, you’d have no opportunity to prove these things.

What I would do in your situation is this: I would do my best to improve myself as a Muslim, reading as much Quran as I can, praying tahajjud and constantly asking for God’s forgiveness. I would do my best to be kind and forgiving toward my wife no matter how distasteful I find her behavior. I would do more than what is strictly necessary to make the marriage work, for God’s sake, even if it displeases me to do this. I would always try to be the bigger person. I would put my focus on God, recognizing His power to change my wife and my life in any way He wishes, recognizing that all good things come from Him, not from my own efforts.

And if after all of this, I receive a clear sign that my marriage should end (she decides she wants divorce and is intent upon it), then I would do what is necessary in that situation. Maybe you will stay married to her for the next ten years, and after that separate to enjoy the type of life you desire. Or maybe in some years she will change into someone with as much faith as yourself, and then you may be glad that you stayed with her.

So my advice is the Prophet’s advice, peace be upon him: Fear God and keep her.

And leave it to God to take care of your destiny. Trying to steer your destiny is a heavy and exhausting burden. Free yourself from that burden. Enjoy the life that God has given you, do your best, constantly ask for God’s forgiveness, and know that God can put you in a better place anytime He decides. If you want to speed this process up, you can do it through worship, asking for forgiveness, and avoidance of sin.

To improve your situation in life, raise your status in God’s eye, and He will do it for you better than you ever could. Trying to improve your situation in life through your own efforts, rather than through God, will always lead to new situations that are as equally difficult as the one you left.

Patience means to go against your desire for the sake of God. If you patiently keep your wife despite your wishes, you will be rewarded for your patience. Patience might possibly the greatest virtue of a believer. The angels commend the believers on their patience when they are about to enter Paradise, as the Quran describes in Surat al-Ra`d:

22. And those who patiently seek the presence of their Lord, and pray regularly, and spend from Our provisions to them, secretly and openly, and repel evil with good. These will have the Ultimate Home.

23. Everlasting Gardens, which they will enter, along with the righteous among their parents, and their spouses, and their descendants. And the angels will enter upon them from every gate.

24. “Peace be upon you, because you endured patiently. How excellent is the Final Home.”

And do not try to push your wife to change for the better, or to buy her Islamic books, forward her Islamic articles or make her go to lectures hoping she will be better guided. Calling people to Islam should never be inflicted on people. They must seek Islam themselves.

It is God Who guides people, it is not people who guide people. Therefore no matter how hard we try or wish that someone was guided, our efforts and wishes may never come true.

You cannot guide whom you love, but God guides whom He wills, and He knows best those who are guided.2

God will not leave all the tests to you and neglect your wife. He will continue testing her too to help her grow and to guide her, but the stage she is in could be very different than yours, and the types of lessons she needs could be nothing like you imagine.

Leave it to God to guide her, He will do it in the best way possible.

Temporarily Curing ADHD / Chronic Fatigue With a Dopamine-Sensitizing 5-Hour Fast Followed by a Jolt of Dopamine

I was almost entirely unproductive for the first two weeks of Ramadan due to having to fast from 4 AM to 7:30 PM, which, for the non-Muslims reading this, means no food, no water, no caffeine and no supplements between these hours, which where I live means 15.5 hours of fasting.

As a contractor, if I can’t work, I cannot make money, so I urgently needed a way to get my productivity back. Regardless of how much caffeine I had after breaking my fast in the evenings, I felt unmotivated and unable to focus on my programming work.

After much experimentation, I discovered the solution. This solution enabled me to be extremely productive for the last two weeks of Ramadan, making up for all of the lost hours of work in the first two weeks.

Below is the solution I discovered, generalized to a non-Ramadan context so that anyone can use it. This is not a great long-term solution, but if you are desperate to feel productive, it is worth a try until you find something better.

1. Fasting for 5-8 hours after wake up

Do not eat or drink anything, especially no caffeine and no other supplements. This pleasure deprivation causes changes in the brain that make it possible to cause it extreme stimulation afterwards. Water might be OK, though in my case I didn’t have any water, feel free to experiment and comment below.

I rearranged my sleep schedule so that I started waking up somewhere between 12:30 PM and 2:30 PM, going to bed after 4 AM. If you are not doing an Islamic fast, rearranging the sleep schedule is not necessary.

I cannot say exactly how many hours are needed, but starting with a 5 hour fast would be a good idea.

The fast is really uncomfortable, naturally. You are depriving your brain of what it desires, making it feel bad so it can feel good later on.

2. Having a very small carb-heavy meal upon breaking the fast, another small meal 4 hours later

Upon breaking the fast, I would have half a slice of bread (45 calories) with jam and butter, and a cup of strong black tea with honey in it. The whole meal was probably about 200 calories.

Due to my pre-diabetes, I had to have 1000 mg of berberine, 300 mg banaba extract and 600 mg olive leaf extract. I also discovered 230 mg ALA made me far more energetic and prevented my usual post-meal dry eye.

About 4 hours after my first meal, I would have another similar meal, that would help me continue working for 2-3 more hours.

After that you can have your final meal of the day, which if too large would affect your sleep quality and your ability to be productive the next day. These days I’m trying a 600-calorie diet to cure my pre-diabetes, my goal is to love every last pound of unneeded fat that I have (perhaps 7 more pounds to go), so my last meal of the day, having it an hour or so before bed, was quite small, and carb-free.

3. Zinc and copper

I had 12.5 mg of elemental zinc from sulfate and 2.5 mg copper from copper glycinate. Both of these trace elements encourage neuronal excitation, making you feel more motivated. Too much causes excitotoxicity, therefore I do not recommend ever going above the above doses.

Zinc improves energy production and does something to the brain that makes it more receptive to dopamine, or at least it feels like that.

4. 120 mg L-Dopa with green tea

L-Dopa a supplement that increases dopamine in the brain. This is a dangerous supplement to use in the long-term, because it desensitizes your dopamine receptors by overfeeding them with dopamine. The green tea is needed to prevent L-Dopa’s negative side effects. I took half a teaspoon of matcha for this. This might be broscience, but there are a lot of people saying the green tea or green tea extract is necessary.

It is possible that the L-Dopa is not necessary. I took it because I thought it wouldn’t hurt to try it for two weeks until Ramadan ended. Now that Ramadan is over I have stopped taking L-Dopa and I seem to be going through withdrawal, confounded with also stopping tianeptine.

5. My usual stack from before Ramadan

I continued to take smaller doses of my supplements from before Ramadan. That meant 300 mg piracetam, 2 Perika, 1 carotenall on some evenings (not sure if I need this supplement), 25 mg tianeptine sulfate, 2 nettle root extract.

I have stopped taking tianeptine because I ran out of it, and I have felt very down for the past two days because of this, and perhaps also because of stopping L-Dopa. Tianeptine is a real thing and many people have reported it. I still love tianeptine and will probably order some more to use it occasionally. It is really good at making me productive after a night of bad sleep.

6. Protecting the liver

Earlier in the year I had some liver damage from high doses of vitamin A and from spirulina. I have continued to have very mild liver tenderness and sometimes pain after taking supplements. Tianeptine, piracetam and nettle root extract seem to be the biggest culprits.

For the above reasons, I started taking NAC regularly, and more recently stated milk thistle. These days I always take 1000 mg NAC and 1200 mg milk thistle every time I take supplements, and this has made liver pain a rare occurrence.

7. Caffeine

I would have many cups of coffee from breaking the fast until 4 hours later when I had my second meal. Normally I would stop taking caffeine 8 hours before bed, but on this program 4 hours before bed seemed to be good enough, perhaps due to the fact that I was taking tianeptine, which makes up for the effects of sub-par sleep.

8. Exercise

Exercising during the fast seemed to lead to better results afterwards. But I stopped exercising a few days into the program because it wasn’t strictly necessary, and because my low-calorie diet was making me feel really de-energized during the fasting hours.

Discussion

The goal of this program, as the article title says, is to deprive the brain of stimulation for a number of hours, then to give it a shock of dopamine-increasing substances, including a carb-containing meal with a sweetened drink. The contrast in dopamine between the fasted state and the fed state is sufficient to cause your (well, at least my) motivation skyrocket. In fact a few times I felt too stimulated, unable to focus on a single task because I kept wanting to write down an idea or a few paragraphs for one of the books I’m working on. Olive leaf extract seemed to help with focus.

Another thing that seemed to help with focus was working with all of the lights off (while wearing blue-light filtering glasses to protect the eyes). Working in the dark is an old focus trick I discovered years ago, but doesn’t always work, perhaps dopamine has to be high to begin with.

Long-Term Concerns

L-Dopa is used to treat Parkinson’s disease and has serious long-term side-effects. For this reason you must never rely on it. Too much of it causes dangerous recklessness and impulsiveness. If you feel a “buzz” from it, you’ve probably had too much.

Tianeptine has amazing effects, but the fact that it gives me liver pain, and the fact that it causes withdrawal, makes me hesitant about using it in the long-term.

Now that Ramadan is over, I’m working on developing a new program where I can do without most of the supplements I take. I’ve discovered that 2-minute bouts of intense weightlifting (deadlifting a 160 pound weight) bring back my motivation and ability to focus, work and write when nothing else can. What I plan to do is start doing these 2-minute bouts throughout the day and see what happens.

On the evolution of language

Languages evolve or devolve until they reach the state of minimum energy consumption necessary for its speakers to conduct their affairs.

Low IQ descendants of speakers of English will quickly lose most of their vocabulary and complex grammatical structures if they end up on an isolated island for generations. While the complexity of the language will increase if there is a general rise in IQ as the population of speakers is held steady or increases.

The way of speaking of the upper class seems unnecessarily complicated and pretentious to the average person. Some of the upper class do make their speech more complex to show off and differentiate themselves from those below them, but since the upper class has a higher IQ than the lower classes, their speech will always be more complex.

Some people who are desperate to enter the upper class, or who are already there and have nothing better to do with their sad lives, go out of their way to use rare and unnecessarily complex words and structures to impress others with similarly sad lives, because it is apparently a mark of intelligence to use ten words when five would do.

An actually good and intelligent speaker (like George Orwell) will use the minimum number of words necessary, and the simplest available, to express their ideas. The writing’s complexity only increases when the ideas demand it. Complexity is never used when simplicity would do just as well. While a pretentious speaker, like so many philosophy professors, will use a thousand words when a single sentence would do.

A guide to adding Google Drive (and OneDrive) upload functionality to Froala

Froala is a great JavaScript editor until you try to extend its functionality. Its documentation is horrible and there is little extra functionality you can add without having to do a lot of reverse-engineering and reading of GitHub comments.

Below is a guide to my solution for adding a Google Drive button to the Froala editor.

Here is the custom black and white icon I use for Google Drive to match the style of the rest of the Froala icons. The icon is from a free icons website and doesn’t require attribution.

Setting Up the Froala Google Drive Plugin

Place the following code inside a file that is included on the page along with the rest of the plugins you use (such as the file upload plugin). You can call it froala_google_drive_plugin.js:

$.FroalaEditor.DefineIcon('googleDriveIcon', {
    SRC: '/some/path/google_drive_bw.png',
    ALT: 'Google Drive', template: 'image'
});


$.FroalaEditor.RegisterCommand('googleDriveUpload', {
    title: 'Insert File From Google Drive',
    icon: 'googleDriveIcon',
    focus: false,
    undo: false,
    refreshAfterCallback: false,
    callback: function () {
        util.saveFroalaUserPlace(); // will be covered down below
    }
});

The above code registers an icon, then registers a Froala button that uses the icon. The callback function does nothing besides storing the user’s place in the editor (or the user’s selection, if they have selected any text right before clicking the Google Drive icon), otherwise their place will be lost once we insert the file, and the file would end up at the bottom of the editor. The user’s place in the editor is saved as a Range object. This will be covered down below.

Getting the Google Drive icon to show up

On the page where you have the Froala editor, your Froala initialization code may look something like this:

var froala_buttons = ['bold', 'italic', ...];
var froala_options = {
...
toolbarButtons: froala_buttons
};

$('#froala_editor_container').froalaEditor(froala_options);

To get the Google Drive icon to show up, add its command name to the buttons array. The command name is whatever name you used as the first argument to the RegisterCommand() function above.

var froala_buttons = ['bold', 'italic', ... , 'googleDriveUpload', ...];

A new way to initialize Froala

Above, I showed the usual way of initializing Froala:

$('#froala_editor_container').froalaEditor(froala_options);

That will have to be changed to this:

$('#froala_editor_container').on('froalaEditor.initialized', function (e, editor) {
    util.initFroalaGoogleDriveUpload(editor);
}).froalaEditor(froala_options);

Here we attach an event listener to the Froala container that is called as soon as Froala is done initializing. The event listener calls a custom function util.initFroalaGoogleDriveUpload(editor) that will set up the Google Drive buttons functionality. We pass the function the editor object. This is the Froala object, giving us access to the editor and its options, which we will use for various purposes. By using the editor object, we are able to handle having multiple Froala editors on the same page without issue, being able to insert files and images into the correct editor.

The Google Drive initialization function

Below is the function that is called when Froala loads, it binds a bunch of functionality to the Google Drive button.

window.util = {
    initFroalaGoogleDriveUpload: function (editor) {
        // get the icon object from the editor using jQuery find()
        var icon_el = editor.$box.find('[id^=googleDrive]')[0];

        // add a class to the button, to use for styling
        $(icon_el).addClass('google-drive-icon');

        // get the URL to use to handle the upload, here we use the same URL
        // as the one used by the file upload plugin
        var upload_handler_url = editor.opts.fileUploadURL;

        // The function that is called right after a user selects a file in the Google Drive picker
        var pick_callback = function (file) {
            util.storeGoogleDriveFileOnServer(file, upload_handler_url, util.froalaAjaxCallback, editor); // covered down below
        };


        util.initGoogleDrivePicker(icon_el, pick_callback); // covered down below
    },
    ...
}

Handling the Google Client

Please see my blog post A guide to using PHP to download Google Drive files selected by users in the Google Drive Picker for an overview of how the Google Drive picker works. Here I will use the same methods with some changes.

Since the binding of the Google Drive icon to the Google library has to be done after the library has loaded, the library is included in this way:

<script>
function googleClientHasLoaded() {
    util.google_client_loaded = true;
}

<script src="https://apis.google.com/js/client.js?onload=googleClientHasLoaded">

The util.initGoogleDrivePicker() function

This function is called once, soon after page load, to bind the Google Drive picker library to the Froala icon. It uses a timeout to detect if the Google library has loaded. If not, it waits 500 milliseconds and tries again.

The callback is the pick_callback() function that was defined in util.initFroalaGoogleDriveUpload() above. When a user selects a file in the Google Drive picker, the onSelect() function is called, which extracts information from the file object, creates a new object from it, and passes that object to pick_callback().

window.util = {
...,
google_client_loaded = false,

// I use the library at https://gist.github.com/Daniel15/5994054
// to interface with the Google Drive Picker.
initGoogleDrivePicker: function (button_el, callback) {
        if (!util.google_client_loaded) {
            setTimeout(function () {
                util.initGoogleDrivePicker(button_el, callback);
            }, 500);
            return;
        }
        var picker = new FilePicker({
            apiKey: api_key,
            clientId: client_id,
            buttonEl: button_el,
            onSelect: function (file) {
                    callback({
                        id: file.id,
                        name: file.title,
                        extension: file.fileExtension,
                        mime_type: file.mimeType,
                        access_token: gapi.auth.getToken().access_token,
                    });
            }
        });
    },

Storing the file on the server

As you remember, or perhaps don’t, the pick_callback() function is as below:

var pick_callback = function (file) {
    util.storeGoogleDriveFileOnServer(file, upload_handler_url, util.froalaAjaxCallback, editor); 
};

The util.storeGoogleDriveFileOnServer() function is as below. It sends the file’s information to the server, the server stores the file (see the blog post I linked above for the details of storing the file). The server echoes out the download URL of the file, the link that users can go to to download the file. That download url, along with the file object and the editor, are passed to the callback. The callback is util.froalaAjaxCallback(), mentioned above in the pick_callback() function and covered down below.

    storeGoogleDriveFileOnServer: function (file, handler_url, callback, editor) {
        var data = {
            file: file,
            command: 'store-google-drive-file',
        }

        $.ajax({
            url: handler_url,
            type: 'post',
            data: data,
            error: function (data) {
            },
            success: function (download_url) {
                    callback(file, download_url, editor);
            }
        });
    },

Inserting the image or link into Froala with util.froalaAjaxCallback()

At this point, the Google Drive file is stored on our local server and we have a link to it that users can go to download the file. Now we need to insert that link into the editor.

    ...,
    froalaAjaxCallback: function (file, path, editor) {
        // restore the user's place in the editor, covered down below
        util.restoreFroalaUserPlace();


        // if the user has selected some text in the editor, insert a link to the file
        // and make the selected text the link text
        if (editor.selection.text().length) {
            var link_text = editor.selection.text();
        }
        else {
            var link_text = file.name;
        }

        // if the file has an image extension in its link, insert the file as an image
        if (/[.](png|jpg|gif|jpeg|svg)/.test(path)) {
            // if user has selected text in the editor, preserve the text, otherwise it will be
            // overwritten by the image
            if (editor.selection.text().length) {
                editor.html.insert(editor.selection.text() + '<img id="fr-inserted-file" class="fr-image" src="' + path + '" />');
            }
            else {
                editor.html.insert('<img id="fr-inserted-file" class="fr-image" src="' + path + '" />');
            }
        }
        else { // if not an image, insert a link to the file
            editor.html.insert('<a id="fr-inserted-file" class="fr-file" href="' + path + '">' + link_text + '</a>');
        }

        // Get the file.
        var $file = editor.$el.find('#fr-inserted-file');

        $file.removeAttr('id');

        editor.undo.saveStep();
    },

On saving and restoring the user’s place in the editor

Below is the code used to save and restore a user’s place in the editor, and any text they may have selected, as the Google Drive picker will make them lose their place/selection. The getSelection() and restoreSelection() functions are from a StackOverflow answer.

window.util {
        ...,
        froala_user_place = false;
        saveFroalaUserPlace() {
            util.froala_user_place = util.getSelection();
        },

        restoreFroalaUserPlace() {
            util.restoreSelection(util.froala_user_place);
        },

        getSelection: function () {
            if (window.getSelection) {
                sel = window.getSelection();
                if (sel.getRangeAt && sel.rangeCount) {
                    return sel.getRangeAt(0);
                }
            } else if (document.selection && document.selection.createRange) {
                return document.selection.createRange();
            }
            return null;
        },

        restoreSelection: function (range) {
            if (range) {
                if (window.getSelection) {
                    sel = window.getSelection();
                    sel.removeAllRanges();
                    sel.addRange(range);
                } else if (document.selection && range.select) {
                    range.select();
                }
            }
        },
}

OneDrive

The above solution should be easy to extend to support OneDrive as well. See these two guides of mine if you need help with the OneDrive picker: How to get a demo of the OneDrive File Picker JavaScript SDK to work on a local development server, A guide to using PHP to download OneDrive files selected by users in the OneDrive Picker.

Conclusion

I think that’s it. Some of the code above is from memory, so it may not compile. I throw everything into the util object for demo purposes, in my actual setup things are separated out into different objects and files.

The Point

/ No Comments on The Point

The point is that there is no point.
The stars will burn out.
Our deeds will turn to dust.
Our names will be forgotten.
And the names of our children.
And the names of their children.
And the names of all humans that ever lived.

And Earth will join the Sun.
Joined in the dark, in a darkening galaxy.

All will be darkness.
There will be no sound. 
No movement. No light.
Darkness everywhere.
Darkness all around.

The point is that there is no point.
There is no need to worry about success.
There is no need to worry about where your life is going.
It is not going anywhere.

Soon, there will be no “where” for it to go to.

The point is that there is no point.
Empty are our words,
Empty are our deeds.
Our lives are going nowhere.


This is what life feels like to me without God—if there is no God to preserve our genes and deeds and resurrect us at some point in the future. Written on May 27, 2016. Also a reminder of the emptiness of all deeds and accomplishments other than those that benefit the afterlife.

A guide to using PHP to download OneDrive files selected by users in the OneDrive Picker

In my previous blog post  I described how to get the OneDrive picker to work on a local development server. In this post I will describe the second piece of the puzzle, downloading the file to a local server using PHP after the user selects it:

First, below is the JavaScript/jQuery used to open the file picker:

$(function() {
    $('.onedrive-button').click(function() {
        openOneDrivePicker();
    });
});

function openOneDrivePicker() {
    var odOptions = {
        clientId: client_id,
        action: "download",
        advanced: {
            redirectUri: redirect_uri,
        },
        multiSelect: true,
        openInNewWindow: true,
        success: function (files) { /* success handler */
            var files_array = files.value;
            for(var i in files_array) {
                window.processOneDriveFile(files_array[i]);
            }
        },
        cancel: function () { /* cancel handler */
        },
        error: function (e) { /* error handler */
        }
    }
    OneDrive.open(odOptions);
}

The success method goes through the file or files selected and calls a function called processOneDriveFile() on each one of the file objects.

Below is the code to the processOneDriveFile() function, which submits the file to a PHP handler file called file_handler.php:

// this function automatically submits the file to the server as soon
// as the user picks a file from the OneDrive picker. You may
// instead want to store the files in a variable and only submit when
// the user clicks some "Submit" button somewhere in your app.
function processOneDriveFile(file) {
    var file_name = file.name;
    var file_size = file.size;
    var download_url = file['@microsoft.graph.downloadUrl'];

    var data = {
        file_name : file_name,
        file_size : file_size,
        download_url : download_url,
        command : 'handle-onedrive-file',
    };
    
    $.ajax({
        url: '/path/to/file_handler.php',
        type: 'post',
        data: data,
        error: function (data) {
            console.debug(data);
        },
        success: function (data) {
            // success message
        }
    });
}

And here is the code for file_handler.php:

<?php
// bootstrap code

$command = $_POST['command'];

if('handle-onedrive-file' === $command) {
 $file_name = $_POST['file_name'];
 $file_size = $_POST['file_size'];
 $download_url = $_POST['download_url'];

 $ch = curl_init($download_url);
 curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_HEADER, 0);
 curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_RETURNTRANSFER, 1);
 curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_BINARYTRANSFER, 1);
 curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_FOLLOWLOCATION, true);
 curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_SSL_VERIFYPEER, false);
 curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_SSL_VERIFYHOST, false);
 curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_CONNECTTIMEOUT, 20);

 $data = curl_exec($ch);
 $code = curl_getinfo($ch, CURLINFO_HTTP_CODE);
 $content_type = curl_getinfo($ch, CURLINFO_CONTENT_TYPE);
 $error = curl_errno($ch);
 curl_close($ch);
 
 // A file with the same name may exist, that must be handled.
 $file_save_path = '/some/path/' . $file_name;

 file_put_contents($file_save_path, $data);
 
 echo 'File successfully retrieved and stored!';
}

That’s all. Make sure that the curl PHP library is installed and enabled (it is not sufficient to have the Linux curl utility, the code above uses the PHP library for it).

A guide to using PHP to download Google Drive files selected by users in the Google Drive Picker

Let’s say you’ve managed to get the Google Drive JavaScript Picker API to work, and have also managed to coerce your users into logging into the Picker and selecting one of their files:

And you have verified that the onSelect function works properly:

function initGoogleDrivePicker() {
    var picker = new FilePicker({
        apiKey: api_key,
        clientId: client_id,
        buttonEl: document.getElementsByClassName('google-drive-button')[0],
        onSelect: function (file) {
            console.debug(file);
        }
    });
}

Where to go from here to send the file to the server and have it saved there?

First, we’ll create a function called processGoogleDriveFile(file), which will be added to the onSelect function of the picker:

function initGoogleDrivePicker() {
    var picker = new FilePicker({
        apiKey: api_key,
        clientId: client_id,
        buttonEl: document.getElementsByClassName('google-drive-button')[0],
        onSelect: function (file) {
            processGoogleDriveFile(file);
        }
    });
}

The function will be as follows. It will extract the file’s information, then use a jQuery AJAX request to send it to a PHP file called file_handler.php:

// this function automatically submits the file to the server as soon
// as the user picks a file from the Google Drive picker. You may
// instead want to store the files in a variable and only submit when
// the user clicks some "Submit" button somewhere in your app.
function processGoogleDriveFile(file) {
    var data = {
        file_id : file.id,
        file_name : file.title,
        extension: file.fileExtension,
        mime_type : file.mimeType,
        // the function below is provided by the library
        // from https://gist.github.com/Daniel15/5994054
        access_token : gapi.auth.getToken().access_token,
        command : 'handle-google-drive-file',
    };
    
    $.ajax({
        url: '/path/to/file_handler.php',
        type: 'post',
        data: data,
        error: function (data) {
            console.debug(data);
        },
        success: function (data) {
            // success message
        }
    });
}

On the back-end side, in file_handler.php, we have the following code:

<?php
// bootstrap code

$command = $_POST['command'];

if('handle-google-drive-file' === $command) {
    $file_id = $_POST['file_id'];
    $file_name = $_POST['file_name'];
    $extension = $_POST['extension'];
    $mime_type = $_POST['mime_type'];
    $access_token = $_POST['access_token'];
    
    // if this is a Google Docs file type (Google Docs, 
    // Spreadsheets, Presentations, etc.) we convert it
    // to a PDF using the export function of the API before saving it.
    // we could convert it to other file types that are also supported
    // by the API.
    if (stripos($mime_type, 'google')) {
        $getUrl = 'https://www.googleapis.com/drive/v2/files/' . $file_id .
        '/export?mimeType=application/pdf';
        $authHeader = 'Authorization: Bearer ' . $access_token;
        $file_name = $file_name . " (converted)";
        $extension = 'pdf';
        $file_mime_type = 'application/pdf';
    }
    else { // otherwise we download it the normal way
        $getUrl = 'https://www.googleapis.com/drive/v2/files/' . $file_id . 
        '?alt=media';
        $authHeader = 'Authorization: Bearer ' . $access_token;
    }

    $ch = curl_init($getUrl);
    curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_HEADER, 0);
    curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_RETURNTRANSFER, 1);
    curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_BINARYTRANSFER, 1);
    curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_FOLLOWLOCATION, true);
    curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_SSL_VERIFYPEER, false);
    curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_SSL_VERIFYHOST, false);
    curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_CONNECTTIMEOUT, 20);
    curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_HTTPHEADER, [$authHeader]);


    $data = curl_exec($ch);
    $code = curl_getinfo($ch, CURLINFO_HTTP_CODE);
    $error = curl_errno($ch);
    curl_close($ch);

    // 1. the file name could already have an extension in some cases,
    // that must be handled if needed.
    // 2. A file with the same name may exist, that must be handled.
    $file_save_path = '/some/path/' . $file_name . '.' . $extension;

    file_put_contents($file_save_path, $data);
    
    echo 'File successfully retrieved and stored!';
}

That’s all that is needed. Not all of Google’s proprietary MIME types can be converted to PDF. You must add a check to the onSelect or processGoogleDriveFile() JavaScript functions to check whether this is a MIME type you want to support. If it not, you can alert the user to choose another file.

Make sure that the curl PHP library is installed and enabled (it is not sufficient to have the Linux curl utility, the code above uses the PHP library for it).

How to get a demo of the OneDrive File Picker JavaScript SDK to work on a local development server

After getting the Google Drive file picker working on the page of a project I’m working on within just a few hours, I was faced with the task of getting the OneDrive JavaScript Picker to work, which I almost abandoned because of Microsoft’s brain-dead documentation. After hours of watching Microsoft videos and piecing together documentation, I finally got it to work.

Through it all, I was often reminded of this good old joke:

A helicopter was flying around above Seattle when an electrical malfunction disabled all of the aircraft’s electronic navigation and communications qquipment. Due to the clouds and haze, the pilot could not determine the helicopter’s position and course to fly to the airport. The pilot saw a tall building, flew toward it, circled, drew a handwritten sign, and held it in the helicopter’s window. The pilot’s sign said “WHERE AM I?” in large letters. People in the tall building quickly responded to the aircraft, drew a large sign and held it in a building window. Their sign read: “YOU ARE IN A HELICOPTER.” The pilot smiled, waved, looked at her map, determined the course to steer to SEATAC airport, and landed safely. After they were on the ground, the co-pilot asked the pilot how the “YOU ARE IN A HELICOPTER” sign helped determine their position. The pilot responded “I knew that had to be the Microsoft building because, like their technical support, online help and product documentation, the response they gave me was technically correct, but completely useless.”

So here is how to actually get their amazing picker to work. I will assume you’ve already created your app in the App Portal.

1. Enabling SSL

You must first enable SSL on your demo server if you don’t have it. To do that quickly and for free, create a self-signed certificate and install it. Here is a guide on creating a self-signed SSL certificate.

When creating the certificate, don’t forget to use the Fully Qualified Domain Name for your local server. I use the fake domain myproject.dev as the domain name for my project, and put www.myproject.dev as the FQDN.

After you have generated your .key and .crt files, put them in /etc/ssl/crt/ or some such similar place.

With that done, create an SSL virtual host that uses the files you created, as follows (this is for a PHP website). The following code will have to be added wherever you have your VirtualHosts, it could be apache2.conf, or in a new file (such as ssl_vhost.conf) placed inside the sites-available directory (/etc/apache2/sites-available). If you put it in sites-available, you will have to run the command a2endsite /etc/apache2/sites-available/the_file_name_I_used.conf to enable the vhost.

<VirtualHost *:443>
ServerName default

## Vhost docroot
DocumentRoot "/var/www/html"
SSLEngine on
SSLCertificateFile /etc/ssl/crt/myproject.crt
SSLCertificateKeyFile /etc/ssl/crt/myproject.key

## Directories, there should at least be a declaration for /var/www/html
<Directory "/var/www/html">
Options Indexes FollowSymlinks MultiViews
AllowOverride All
Require all granted

<FilesMatch "\.php$">
Require all granted
SetHandler proxy:fcgi://127.0.0.1:9000
## Logging
ErrorLog "/var/log/apache2/default_vhost_error.log"
ServerSignature Off
CustomLog "/var/log/apache2/default_vhost_access.log" combined

## Custom fragment
</VirtualHost>

2. Creating the URI Redirect File

Somewhere in your file structure, for example in /var/www/html, create a file called onedrive_picker_redirect.html (or any other name you choose). The file has to load the OneDrive JavaScript SDK, it doesn’t have to do anything else. Here is the contents of the file (note that I’m using version 7.0 of the SDK, use whichever one you want to use for your project):

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang="en">
<script type="text/javascript" src="https://js.live.net/v7.0/OneDrive.js"></script>
</html>

3. Add a link to the redirect file in the Microsoft App Portal

Put the full SSL link to the redirect file (such as https://www.myproject.dev/onedrive_picker_redirect.html) in the App portal, as shown in the screenshot below. You can keep the Logout URL blank.

4. Add the redirect file to the OneDrive picker launcher using the “advanced” parameter

We now get to the easy part. On the file from which you want to launch the picker, add the following code to launch the picker, or modify your existing code to match below. Notice the redirectUri parameter, which has to exactly match the one you used in step 3.

<button class="onedrive-launcher">Pick a File from OneDrive</button>


<script>
    $('button.onedrive-launcher').click(function() {
        launchOneDrivePicker();
    });

    function launchOneDrivePicker() {
        var odOptions = {
            clientId: "YOUR CLIENT ID HERE",
            action: "download",
            advanced: {
                redirectUri: "https://www.myproject.dev/onedrive_picker_redirect.html"
            },
            multiSelect: true,
            openInNewWindow: true,
            success: function(files) { /* success handler */
                console.debug(files);
            },
            cancel: function() { /* cancel handler */ },
            error: function(e) { /* error handler */ }
        }
        OneDrive.open(odOptions);
    }
</script>
<script type="text/javascript" src="https://js.live.net/v7.0/OneDrive.js"></script

5. Go to your demo page using the HTTPS URL

The picker will not work if you try to launch it from a non-https page. If you were doing your development on a non-https URL earlier, you will now have to go to the same page under https. If earlier the page was at www.myproject.dev/onedrive_picker_demo.php, now go to https://www.myproject.dev/onedrive_picker_demo.php.

6. Now try it out

Now click the button to launch the picker. You will get a login prompt. After logging in, you will get the picker. Click on any file you want and click “Open”.

7. Look at the console

To verify that everything is working properly, open the console, and if you used the picker code above that I used, you should see an object that contains the information for the file you picked:

8. Go back to square one

Now that we have gotten Microsoft’s limitless supply of self-absorbed ineptitude out of the way, we can get to do some actual coding to interface with their horrible products and discover entirely new and never-before-experienced ways of suffering.

If you want to send the file info to a server to store it there, see my blog post on using PHP to download OneDrive files picked from the picker.

Chronic fatigue update: Naps and the failure of vitamin D3 and zinc

This is an update that applies to my chronic fatigue treatment program.

A week ago I started having 2000 IU vitamin D3 and 25 mg zinc sulfate with my 3 PM meals. This helped my mind feel active and willing to learn in the evenings. I was finally able to finish Plato’s Republic and read through half of The Canterbury Tales.

Unfortunately, I experienced worsening fatigue during the day, which culminated in my not being able to get any work done at all for the past three days. Yesterday I realized that the new addition of the vitamin D3 / zinc supplements might be culprit, so I didn’t have any yesterday.

Today I feel like I’m recovering. I’m able to work again, but I have headache-like feeling in my head, like I’m recovering from brain damage, probably due to toxicity from high levels of calcium (caused by D3) and zinc sulfate.

Therefore I’m going back to my old solution for having a functioning brain in the evenings: To lie down for 45 minutes before I eat. Therefore I will be lying down from 3:00 PM to 3:45 PM, listening to an old audiobook (as new audiobooks require too much attention and will prevent proper rest).

This can be called a nap, but it is not necessary to fall asleep. I don’t like doing it since I don’t enjoy it, and I don’t feel good at the end of it, but it works. I am able to listen to new audiobooks in the evenings after doing this.

Napping after the meal doesn’t work for whatever reason.

Napping for less than 45 minutes doesn’t work. I have tried 30 minutes and didn’t get anything like the benefits of napping for 45 minutes.

Vitamin K2

It is possible that taking high doses of MK4 (a type of vitamin K2) will prevent the damaging effects of vitamin D3. 25 mg zinc is still too high and lower doses should be tried. I have run out of MK4, maybe I will try this out in a month or two.

My Chronic Fatigue Treatment Program

[August 28, 2017 Update: I have unpublished this book as the program, which seemed to work well for many months, has stopped working reliably. As I’m not certain of the value of the information presented in it, for now I will keep the book unpublished.]

In this essay I will summarize the treatment program I have developed over the past 9 years to treat my chronic fatigue, which used to completely overshadow my life for months at a time, preventing me from getting anything done or taking any joy in life.

This is not a cure but a treatment, as the fatigue comes back if the treatment is stopped. I will categorize my treatments into “essential” and “optional” treatments. The essential ones are necessary for the treatment to work and cannot be dispensed with. The optional ones improve the effectiveness of the treatment program but can probably be skipped.

Essentials

1. Meal Time Management

The foundation of my program is to take in zero carbohydrate or protein calories until 3 PM (8 hours after my wakeup time). I spend the day drinking unsweetened black coffee with matcha (green tea powder) added to it as a creamer and as a source for l-theanine, the amino acid that prevents coffee jitters.

I only use organic coffee that I grind right before I make the cup of coffee. I cannot stand pre-ground store-bought coffees.

Oils are an exception. I drink tablespoons of MCT oil and walnut oil in the morning (and some people put coconut oil in their coffee), this will not affect the program.

2. The Feeding Window

I only eat between 3 PM and 5 PM, a two-hour feeding window. If I eat later than that, it affects my sleep quality and brings back my fatigue the next day.

3. Avoiding Sugar, Fruit Juice, Grains and other Simple Carbohydrates

I do not eat bread, anything made with wheat flour, rice or potatoes, fruit juice, sweet fruits or sugary things. In short, I avoid eating/drinking large amounts of high-glycemic foods. These foods keep my blood sugar high throughout the night, reducing my sleep quality and giving me fatigue the next day.

I do not avoid them religiously. I still have small amounts of fruit (such as an occasional apple). But I make sure to never have significant amounts of simple carbohydrates except on special occasions.

3. Carotenall

Carotenall is a source of carotenoid anti-oxidants (vitamin A-like substances). I have one upon wake-up. Without this, nothing else works.

Beta-carotene (which is commonly called “plant-based vitamin a” doesn’t work. Retinol (animal-based vitamin A) works, but I need extremely high doses of it (100,000 iu the night before to feel the benefits the next day), which is toxic to the liver.

Spirulina (a tiny sea creature high in vitamin A) also works, but it is toxic to the liver because it is always contaminated with other creatures that produce liver toxins. I received severe liver pain from spirulina, even though the brand I tried was a highly-rated organic one from Amazon.com. I tried a different brand (the Health Ranger) which prides itself on having clean and high-quality supplements, but even that gave me liver pain.

4. Nettle Root Extract

I have one capsule of Now brand nettle root extract (250 mg) in the morning upon wake-up. Nettle root extract is a powerful anti-inflammatory supplement. I do not know the specific reasons why it works, but it does, and my chronic fatigue treatment cannot work without it.

Do not confuse with nettle leaf extract. Do not use non-extracts, the supplement should say “extract”. I have tried multiple brands, only Now brand and Solaray brand have worked for me.

5. Perika

I take 3 Perika tablets upon wakeup. Perika is a high-quality extract of St. John’s Wort, it is what St. John’s Wort should be. I have taken St. John’s Wort but it doesn’t work for me, Perika does.

Perika is necessary to create a form of mild optimism / happiness that is conducive toward feeling motivated.

6. Caffeine With Proper Timing (Probably Essential)

I stop drinking caffeine 15 minutes before my meal time (i.e. at 2:45 PM). If I have caffeine with my meal or after it, this brings back some of my fatigue the next day.

Caffeine is an important part of my day. It might be possible to use the rest of the treatments mentioned while being caffeine-free. I haven’t tried it, so I cannot say whether it will work.

7. Berberine and Banaba (not Banana) Extract (Essential for Me)

These two herbal extracts together are essential for managing my insulin resistance, and without doing that, the worst of my chronic fatigue comes back. If you sweat an hour or two after eating and the sweat smells somewhat sweet, or you carry amount significant amounts of belly fat or cellulite, or your eyes get very dry after eating, you probably have insulin resistance (or some other insulin-related condition).

I spent four months of zero motivation and productivity from March 2014 to July 2014 until I discovered this combination. I take a supplement called GlycoX which contains 500 mg berberine and 25 mg banaba extract  per capsule. I take 2 with my 3 PM meal, and 2 more at 5 PM. Different people will need different amounts.

8. Copper and Magnesium (Possibly Essential)

I take 2.5 mg copper glycinate and 130 mg elemental magnesium (from magnesium citrate) in the mornings. Copper helps with will power (the ability to focus on whatever one wants to focus on at will), while magnesium helps promote calmness and reduce eye dryness.

Copper is pro-excitatory for neurons (makes them more likely to fire), meaning that if it is missing, one feels fatigue in the brain, while if there is too much, neurons fire too often (known as excitotoxicity), causing a feeling of being scatterbrained and unable to focus. I recommend being careful with dosages of copper, more is not necessarily better.

9. Vitamin D3, Zinc Sulfate and Vitamin K (Essential for Evening Productivity)

I take 2000 IU vitamin D3, 25 mg zinc sulfate and 5-15 mg MK4 (a form of vitamin K) with my 3 PM meal. In this way my mind feels active and desirous of learning throughout the night, enabling me to listen to new audiobooks (my eyes are too dry at night to use them to read). If I don’t take these, I lack the motivation and the ability to focus necessary for being interested in learning.

Zinc, like copper, helps with the ability for neurons to fire. Zinc also reduces oxidative damage and inflammation. 25 mg might be too much, I plan to test lower amounts. Too much zinc, like copper, causes excitotoxicity.

The MK4 is not essential for these benefits, but it is necessary to prevent organ damage that is caused by vitamin D3, due to the fact that it increases calcium levels in the blood. MK4 also has the additional benefit of reducing inflammation and helping with insulin sensitivity, in this way improving sleep quality.

There is a fad where people take very high doses of vitamin D3. Taking 5000 IU gives me kidney pain, therefore I recommend not taking more than 2000 IU. I took 5000 IU vitamin D3 for years seemingly without issue, perhaps the reason my kidneys hurt now if I have this much is kidney damage caused by it.

Optionals

1. Piracetam (Possibly Essential, Possibly Not)

Piracetam helps reduce inflammation in the brain and improves memory and processing speed. I take 290 mg upon wakeup and 290mg around 11 AM. This is a relatively low dose, as some people take many grams of it per day, but it seems sufficient.

After the liver damage I got form spirulina, piracetam would bring back some liver pain, therefore I reduced the dosage to 290 mg.

2. Tianeptine Sulfate

Tianeptine sulfate is an anti-depressant and brain enhancer. It has amazing powers of reducing feelings of stress, promoting calmness and reducing social anxiety. It gives me a sort of calmness that makes it easy for me to spend hours on a single task without getting bored. I take 25 mg in the morning and 25 mg around 11 AM.

3. Oils

I take a tablespoon of walnut oil (which is high in the Omega 3 oil alpha-linolenic acid) in the mornings, which helps with motivation and brain function, and also helps with my eye dryness. I also take MCT oil, avocado oil, hazelnut oil and grape seed oil occasionally to experiment with them.

4. Melatonin

I take 250 mcg (0.25 mg) melatonin at bedtime, it helps improve sleep quality and reduce fatigue the next day. More is not better, taking 1 gram or 5 gram makes me wake up many times during the night and makes it difficult for me to fall back asleep.

The Social Factor in Chronic Fatigue

As I explain in detail in my book, I have discovered that social settings matter in chronic fatigue. If I don’t feel motivated, going to a coffee shop to work often brings back my motivation. Being surrounded by loved ones also reduces fatigue and increases motivation

There is a new theory of depression known as the Immune-Cytokine Model, which says that loneliness causes inflammation, designed to make us feel bad, to motivate us to go back to our loved ones, in this way ensuring that we do not spend time away from the safety of our families and tribes.

Ways of benefiting from these observations is to move in with your parents or another loved one if you can, to join meet ups and clubs (such as a martial arts club), to work outside (for this to work, you must be somewhere where you feel watched, if you feel entirely ignored by everyone, it doesn’t help, this is just how the brain works). Even getting a pet may help.

Things to Avoid

ALCAR

ALCAR (acetyl-L-carnitine) is a great supplement for managing blood sugar. Unfortunately, it causes a (pleasurable) feeling of laziness, where lying down and doing nothing is all I want to do. Taking any ALCAR today also seems to reduce my motivation the next day.

ALA

Alpha-lipoic acid (not to be confused with the omega 3 oil alpha-linolenic acid) is an anti-oxidant supplement that helps with blood sugar. It gives me neuropathy (pain in my fingers and toes), probably due to the fact that it removes minerals from the body, and it also gives me extreme depression and fatigue if I have too much of it, or if I have it on an empty stomach.

A bash script for automatically restarting an unresponsive Apache server only when needed

One of my servers responds to about 100,000 requests per day. Apache would randomly hang a few times a day, taking all of the websites down. I tried every solution I could find online to prevent Apache from hanging, but nothing helped, so I decided to stop wasting time on it and simply develop a good bandage for the problem.

At first I used a script to automatically restart Apache once every two hours. This wasn’t good enough because sometimes Apache would hang multiple times within one hour, other times it would keep running for 12 hours without issue (probably having to do with traffic spikes and waves of spider bots).

Eventually I developed the following script, which restarts Apache only when needed. The script tries to download a page from the website, and if the server fails to respond within 15 seconds, the script assumes Apache is down and restarts it. The script should be run once every minute for eternity.

The script

#!/bin/bash

now="$(date)"

# prevent multiple instances of this script from running
# at the same time. Note that the script's file name is
# auto_restart_unresponsive_apache, update it to match
# whatever file name you use for this script
for pid in $(pidof -x auto_restart_unresponsive_apache); do
    if [ $pid != $$ ]; then
        #Process is already running with PID $pid"
        exit 1
    fi
done

# try to download a webpage from one of the sites on the server.
# we use --head to only download its header, we don't need the page's contents
# we pass a ?t=some_number parameter to the web page, this allows the script
# to bypass web caches like varnish, otherwise Apache could be down but a caching
# mechanism could still return a functional web page for hours

if curl -s --max-time 15 --head http://example.com/?t=`date +%s` | grep "200 OK" > /dev/null
    then
        echo "$now:The HTTP server is up!" > /dev/null
    else
        service apache2 restart
        echo "$now: Restarting apache" >> /var/log/apache_restart_log
fi

The cron job

Below is the cron job I use to run the script once every minute. The output is sent to /dev/null, and any errors are also sent there. Otherwise you could receive emails on the server every time the script runs.

* * * * *  /some_path/auto_restart_unresponsive_apache >/dev/null 2>&1

“The Footsteps of Water” by Sohrab Sepehri (1964)

Sohrab Sepehri

I am a native of Kashan1
My days are not so bad.
I own a loaf of bread, a bit of intelligence, a tiny bit of taste.
I possess a mother better than the leaves of trees.
Friends, better than the water of a running brook.

And a God who is this near:
Within these gillyflowers, beneath that tall pine tree,
Hovering above the awareness of water, above the Law of Foliage.

I am Muslim.
My qiblah2 is a red rose.
My praying spot is a spring, my prayer stone is light.
Plains are my praying mat.
I make ablution with the heartbeat of windows.
In my prayer flows the Moon, flow the colors of the spectrum.
Stones are visible from behind my prayer:
Crystallized are all the particles of my prayer.
I do my prayer when,
Its athan3 wind, from a cypress tree’s minaret, has sung.
I do my prayer to grass’s saying “God is the Greatest”
To the iqama4 of waves.

My Kabaa5 is by the lip of the brook,
My Kabaa is under the acacias.
My Kabaa like the breeze, blows from garden to garden, from town to town.

My Black Stone6 is the brilliance of the garden.

I’m a native of Kashan.
My craft is painting:
Now and then I build a cage with paint, sell it to you
So that with the song of poppies that is imprisoned in it
The heart of your loneliness may cheer up.
What a dream, what a dream…I know
My canvas is lifeless.
I know well, my painting basin contains no fishes.

I’m a native of Kashan.
My descent perhaps goes back
To a plant in India, to an earthen vase from the soil of Sialk7
My descent perhaps goes back to a prostitute in the city of Bukhara8.

My father behind two migrations of swallows, behind two snowfalls,
My father behind twice sleeping in the veranda,
My father behind eras has died.
My father died when the sky was blue,
My mother jumped from sleep unaware, my sister became beautiful.
My father died when the policemen were all poets.
The grocer asked me, “How many melons do you want?”
I asked him, “How much is a happy heart?”

My father used to paint.
He used to make tars9, played the tar too.
He also had a nice handwriting.

Our garden stood on the side of the shadow of wisdom.
Our garden was the interweaving place of feeling and plants,
Our garden was the meeting point of a glance, a cage and a mirror .
Our garden was perhaps, an arc of the green circle of happiness.
The unripe fruit of God on that day, I used to chew in sleep.
Water I used to drink without philosophy
Berries, I used to pick without knowledge.
As soon as a pomegranate used to crack, hands turned to fountains of desire.
As soon as a cello used to sing, the chest burnt from a longing to hear.
Sometimes loneliness used to stick its face to the windowpane.
Passion used to come, and put its arms around the neck of sense.
The mind, used to play.
Life was something, like a rainfall during Eid, like a plane tree full of starlings.
Life at that time, was a line up of light and dolls,
It was an armful of liberty.
Life at that time, was a music basin.

The child, slowly, walked away along the alley of dragonflies.
I packed my things, went out of the city of carefree fancies
With my heart filled with homesickness for dragonflies.

I went to the party thrown by the world:
I, to the field of grief,
I, to the garden of mysticism,
I, to the illuminated veranda of knowledge, went.
I climbed up the stairs of religion.
To the end of the alleyway of doubt,
To the cool air of self-sufficiency,
To the wet night of love and affection.
I went to see someone who was at the other side of love.
I went, I went until women,
Until the lantern of pleasure,
Until the silence of desire,
Until the flapping sound of the wings of loneliness.

I saw things on the face of the Earth:
I saw a child who was smelling the Moon.
I saw a door-less cage in which brilliance was flapping its wings.
I saw a ladder on which love ascended to the roof of heaven.
I saw a woman who was pounding light in a mortar.
Lunch on their table was bread, was vegetables, was the distance of dew, was the hot bowl of affection.

I saw a beggar who was walking door to door begging for the song of a lark
And a sweeper who was praying to the rind of a melon.

I saw a lamb that was eating a kite.
I saw a donkey who understood hay.
In the meadow of Advice I saw a cow, satiated.

I saw a poet who, when he talked, he addressed a lily as “Your Highness.”

I saw a book, its words all of the make of crystal.
I saw a sheet of paper, of the make of spring,
I saw a museum far away from grass,
A mosque far away from water.
Above the bed of a hopeless scholar, I saw a vase, overflowing with questions.

I saw a mule whose burden was Essays.
I saw a camel whose burden was the empty basket of Proverbs.
I saw a mystic whose burden was tanana ha ya hoo10

I saw a train that was carrying brilliance.
I saw a train that was carrying knowledge and so torrentially it went.
I saw a train that was carrying politics (and so emptily it went.)
I saw a train that was carrying seeds of lotus and the song of canaries.
And an airplane, which on that height of thousands of feet,
through its windows the soil was visible:
the topknot of hoopoes,
The spots of a butterfly’s wings,
A frog’s reflection in a pond,
And the passage of a fly from the alleyway of loneliness.
The clear desire of a sparrow, when from a plane tree it comes toward the ground.
And the maturation of the Sun.
And the beautiful love making of a doll with the morning.

Stairs that ascended to the greenhouse of lust.
Stairs that descended to the cellar of alcohol.
Stairs that ran to the Law of Corruption of Red Roses
And toward the understanding of Mathematics of Life,
Stairs that ran to the roof of enlightenment,
Stairs that ran to the platform of manifestation.

My mother down there,
Was washing the cups in the stream’s memory.

The city was visible:
The geometrical growth of cement, steel, stones.
The pigeonless roofs of hundreds of buses.
A florist was putting up his flowers for sale.
Between two jasmine trees a poet was hanging a swing.
A boy was throwing stones at the wall of School.
A child was spitting plum stones upon dad’s faded praying mat.
And a goat was drinking water from the Caspian Sea of a map.

A laundry-line was visible, a restless brassiere.

The wheel of a cart longing for the horse to become weary,
The horse longing for the carter to sleep,
The carter longing for death.

Love was visible, waves were visible,
Snow was visible, friendship was visible.
Words were visible.
Water was visible, and the reflection of things in water.
The cool shade of cells in the heat of blood.
The moist side of life,
The east of sorrow in the human heart.
The season of drifting in the alley of women.
The scent of solitude in the alley of seasons.

A fan was visible in the hand of summer.

The seed’s journey to flowering.
The ivy’s journey from this house to that house.
The moon’s journey into the pond.
The eruption of flowers of regret from the soil.
The falling of young vine from the wall.
The raining of dewdrops on the bridge of sleep.
The leaping of joy from the ditch of death.
The passing of events behind words.

The battle of a pit with the light’s desire.
The battle of a stair with the long leg of the Sun.
The battle of solitude with a melody.
The beautiful battle of pears with the emptiness of a basket.
The bloody battle of pomegranates with the jaws.
The battle of Nazis with branches of delicacy.
The battle of a parrot and eloquence.
The battle of the forehead with the coldness of prayer-stones.

The attack of the mosque tiles on prostration.
The attack of wind on the ascension of soap bubbles.
The attack of the army of butterflies on the program of Pest Control.
The attack of dragonflies on the class of pipelayers.
The attack of reed pens on leaden letters.
The attack of a word on a poet’s jaw.

The opening of a century by a poem.
The opening of a garden by a starling.
The opening of an alley by an exchange of greetings.
The opening of a town on the hands of three or four wooden horsemen.
The opening of a New Year by two dolls, one ball.

The murder of a ratchet on the mattress in the afternoon.
The murder of a story at the entrance of the alley of sleep.
The murder of a worry by the instruction of songs.
The murder of moonlight by the command of neon lights.
The murder of an oak tree by the hands of government.
The murder of a depressed poet by a chimonanthus11.

All was visible on the surface of the earth:
Order was walking in the alley of Greece.
An owl was howling in the Hanging Gardens12.
The wind was blowing a sheaf of history’s straws on Khyber Pass13 towards the east
On the serene lake of Neghin, a boat was carrying flowers.
In Banares14, at the entrance of each alley an eternal lamp was burning.

Peoples I saw.
Towns I saw.
Plains, mountains I saw.
Water I saw, soil I saw.
Light and darkness I saw.
And plants in light and plants in darkness I saw.
Creatures in light, creatures in darkness I saw.
And humans in light, and humans in darkness I saw.

I’m a native of Kashan, but
My city is not Kashan.
My city is lost.
I, with endurance. I, with fever,
Have built a house on the other side of nighttime.
In this home I am close to the humid anonymity of grass.
I hear the sound of the breathing of the garden.
And the sound of darkness, when it drops from a leaf.
And the sound of brightness, coughing from behind a tree,
The sneezing of water from every crack of rock,
The dripping of swallows from the ceiling of spring.
And the clear sound of opening and closing of the window of loneliness.
And the pure sound of the mysterious moulting of love,
The concentration of the passion for soaring in wings
And the cracking of the soul’s self-restraint.
I hear the footsteps of longing,
And the methodical footsteps of blood in the veins,
The pulsing of the dawn of the pigeons’ well,
The beating of the heart of Friday night,

The flowing of carnations through thoughts,
The pure neighing of truth from afar.
I can hear the sound of the blowing of matter,
And the sound of the shoe of faith in the alley of excitement.
And the sound of rainfall on the wet eyelids of love,
On the sad music of adolescence,
On the song of pomegranate orchards.
And the sound of the shattering of the bottle of joy at night,
The tearing of the paper of beauty,
And the wind filling and emptying the cup of nostalgia.

I am near to the start of the Earth.
I take the pulse of flowers.
I am familiar with the wet fate of water, the green habit of trees.

My soul is flowing in the new direction of things.
My soul is young.
My soul sometimes, from excitement, gets a cough.
My soul is jobless:
Raindrops, the cracks in bricks, it counts.
My soul sometimes is as real as a stone on the road.

I didn’t see two poplars in enmity.
I didn’t see a willow selling its shade to the ground.
For free it offers, the willow its branch to the crow.
My passion blossoms wherever a leaf exists.
A poppy bush has bathed me in the surge of being.

Like the wings of insects I know the weight of dawn.
Like a vase, I listen to the music of growth.
Like a basketful of fruit, I have strong fever for ripening.
Like a tavern, I stand on the border of languor.
Like a building at the lip of the sea I am anxious about the high eternal waves.

Sunshine as much as you want, union as much as you want, increase as much as you want.

I am content with an apple
And with smelling a chamomile bush.
I with a mirror—a pure connection—am content.
I will not laugh if a balloon bursts,
And I will not laugh if a philosophy halves the Moon.
I know the sound of the flapping of a quail’s wings,
The colors of a bustard’s belly, the footprints of a mountain goat.
I know well where rhubarbs grow,
When starlings come, when partridges sing, when falcons die,
What the Moon is in the dream of a desert,
Death in the stem of desire,
And the raspberries of pleasure, in the jaws of love-making.

Life is a lovely ritual.
Life has wings as vast as death,
It has a leap the size of love.
Life is not something that, on the windowsill of habit, to be left forgotten by you and me.
Life is the rapture of a hand that reaps.
Life is the first black fig in the acrid mouth of summer.
Life is the dimensions of a tree from the eyes of an insect.
Life is the experience that a bat has in the dark.
Life is the homesickness that a migrating bird feels.
Life is the whistle of a train that turns through the dream of a bridge.
Life is observing a garden from the obstructed windows of an airplane.
It is the news of the launch of a rocket into space,
Touching the loneliness of the Moon,
The notion of smelling a flower on another planet.

Life is the washing of a plate.

Life is finding a penny in the brook of the street.
Life is the square root of a mirror.
Life is a flower to the power of eternity.
Life is the Earth multiplied by our heartbeats.
Life is the simple and monotonous geometry of breaths.

Wherever I am, so let me be,
The sky is mine.
The window, thinking, air, love, the Earth are mine.
What importance does it have then,
Sometimes if they grow,
Mushrooms of nostalgia?

I, don’t know,
Why some say, “Horses are noble animals, pigeons are beautiful.”
And why there is no vulture in any person’s birdcage.
What do clovers lack that red tulips have?
Eyes should be washed, in another way we should see.
Words should be washed.
A word in itself should be the wind, a word in itself should be the rain.

Umbrellas we should shut.
In the rain we should walk.
Thoughts, and recollections, should be carried in the rain.
With all the people of the town, in the rain we should walk.
A friend, in the rain we should call on.
Love, we should seek in the rain.
In the rain we should sleep with women.
In the rain we should play.
In the rain we should write things, speak, plant lotuses.
Getting drenched from time to time,
Swimming in the pond of right now, is what life is.

Let us undress:
Water is one foot away.

Let us taste brilliance.
Weigh the night of a village, the sleep of a deer.
Let us feel the warmth of a stork’s nest,
Tread not on the Law of Lawn,
Loosen the knot of tasting in the vineyard.
And open our mouthes if the Moon emerges.
And not say that night is a bad thing.
And not say that the shining moon is unaware of a garden’s eyesight.

And Let us bring baskets.
Take all this red, all this green.

Let us have bread and cheese in the mornings.
And plant a sapling at every turn of a sentence.
And pour the seed of silence between two syllables.
Let us not read a book in which the wind doesn’t blow,
And a book in which the surface of dew is not wet,
And a book in which cells don’t have dimensions.
Let us not wish the mosquito would fly off the fingertip of nature.
And not wish that the leopard would go out of the door of creation.
And let us understand that if worms didn’t exist, life would have lacked something.
And if caterpillars didn’t exist, the Law of Trees would have suffered a blow.
And if death didn’t exist, our hands would have sought something.
And let us know if light didn’t exist, the living logic of flying would have gone astray.
And let us know that before corals, a void was being felt in the thoughts of the seas.

And let us not ask where we are,
Let us smell the fresh petunias of the hospital.

And let us not ask where the fountain of luck is.
And let us not ask why the heart of truth is blue.
And let us not ask what breezes, what nights the fathers of our fathers enjoyed.

Behind our backs there isn’t a thriving space.
Behind our backs no bird sings.
Behind our backs no wind blows.
Behind our backs the green window of poplars is closed.
Behind our backs dust has settled over the whirligigs.
Behind our backs what there is is the weariness of history.
Behind our backs the memory of waves throws cold shells of silence on the coast.

Let us go to the lip of the sea,
Cast nets,
And catch freshness from the water.

Let us pick up a pebble from the ground,
And feel the weight of existence.

Let us curse not the Moonlight if we have fever,
(Sometimes I have seen in fever, the moon descends,
The hand can touch the ceiling of heaven.
I have noticed that the goldfinch sings better.
Sometimes a wound that I have had under my food,
Has taught me the ups and downs of the ground.
Sometimes in my sickbed the size of a flower has multiplied,
And increased it has, the diameter of an orange, the radius of a lantern.)
And let us not fear death.
(Death is not the end of the pigeon.
Death is not a cricket’s inversion.
Death flows in the soul of acacias.
Death has a seat in the pleasant climate of thinking.
Death in the spirit of the village’s night speaks of morning.
Death with a bunch of grapes comes into the mouth.
Death sings in the red larynx of the throat.
Death is responsible for the beauty of a butterfly’s wings.
Death sometimes picks basil.
Death sometimes drinks vodka.
Sometimes it is in the shade watching us.
And we all know,
The lungs of pleasure, are full of the oxygen of death.)

Let us not shut the door on the alive speech of appreciation which we hear from behind the wattled twigs of sound.

Let us remove the curtain:
Let us allow feeling to get some fresh air.
Let us allow adolescence to dwell under any bush it wishes.
Let us allow instinct to play.
To take off its shoes and following the seasons, leap on the flowers.
Let us allow solitude to sing.
To write things.
To go to the street.

Let us be simple.
Let us be simple whether at a teller’s window or under a tree.

It is not our job, discovering the secret of the red rose,
Our job maybe is
To, in the charm of the red rose, become swimmers.
To camp behind wisdom.
To wash hands in the rapture of a tree leaf before sitting at the dining table.
In the mornings when the sun, rises let us get born again.
Let us let our excitements fly.
Let us upon the perception of space, color, sound and the window sprinkle water .
Let the sky settle between two syllables of existence.
Let us fill and empty our lungs with eternity.
Take the load of knowledge off the shoulders of the swallow.
Let us reclaim the name from clouds,
From plane trees, from mosquitos, from summer.
On the wet feet of rain let us climb to the heights of compassion.
Let us open the door on mankind, light, plants and insects.

Our job maybe is
Between the lotus flower and the century
To run after the song of truth.

Kashan, village of Chenar (plane tree), summer of 1343 (1964)
Translated from Persian by Ikram Hawramani, Slêmanî, Iraq, 2008.

“So Intoxicated I Am” by Jalal al-Deen Rumi

So intoxicated I am, so intoxicated I am today,
That out of my hoop I have leapt today!

Such a thing that cannot be imagined,
That’s how I am, that’s how I am today!

In spirit out to the Heaven of Love I went,
Though in body still in this world I am today!

I took reason by the ear and said, “Out!
Get out of here! Free of you I am today!

“O reason, wash your hands of me!
For one with the Madness of Love I am today!”

That beautiful Yusuf has given me an orange,
For both of my hands I have cut today!

To such a state it has brought me that cup of wine,
That so many vats of wine I have smashed today!

I know not where I am, but surely,
In a station of blessedness I am today!

Good fortune came coyly to my door and I,
Out of intoxication closed my door on him today!

When he returned, after him I ran,
Not for one minute did I sit down today!

Now that my “We Are Nearer” has concluded,
No more will I worship myself today!

Do not tie up that tress, Shams al-Din-e-Tabriz,
For like a fish in that net of yours I am today!

Translated from Persian by Ikram Hawramani, March 2017.

Below is this poem as sung by Shajarian. The word “today” has been replaced with “tonight” in the song, and some of the verses are omitted:

87 to Socrates

/ No Comments on 87 to Socrates

If you had a list of your ancestors and went back through them to your 87th ancestor, you will reach a man and woman who lived around the time Socrates was born.1

This chart below shows how unimportant we are. In 1000 years we will be just another number on someone else’s timeline. It also shows how important we are. If any of these men and women had failed to reproduce, the chain would have been broken and we wouldn’t exist today.

A theory for why pupil size is associated with intelligence

People of higher intelligence have wider pupils than people of lower intelligence. A possible reason for this is that a wider pupil allows more photons to enter the retina. A person of higher cognitive capacity will be able to make good use of these photons, as they have the hardware to analyze the added photons, meaning the increase in the amount of photons entering the retina provides a selective advantage for these people.

In other words, when high intelligence is paired with wider pupils, human vision becomes more powerful, as there is more visual data received, and there is the power to process these data. By taking in more photons, these people are able to have better distant vision (as their pupils offer a wider surface area for distant photos to be captured) and better peripheral vision, giving them an advantage in hunting and warfare.

The theory, therefore, is that higher intelligence and wider pupils together enable humans to have higher visual fidelity compared to other humans. Add this to the much faster reaction times of a high IQ person and you have a hunter-killer that is far superior to others.

This means that as if high IQ privilege wasn’t bad enough, high IQ people also have the privilege of seeing the world better. I am sure a clever cultural Marxist can be found to support a law to force high IQ people to wear glasses that filter out the added photons, so that equality can be achieved.

Failing empire barks

/ No Comments on Failing empire barks

How dare a sovereign state develop weapons technology that could prevent the American Empire from subjugating them and turning them into a client state?

For China the cat is out of the bag, so the US has to bark at North Korea and Iran and ask for China’s help in intimidating these countries.

And of course, something has to be done about the Iranian threat. Look how close to our military bases they have put their country:

Why God Allows Evil to Exist, and Why Bad Things Happen to Good People

Introduction

There is a surprising amount of confusion among the religious, even among clerics and scholars, when it comes to understanding why evil exists and why God stands aside when so much suffering happens throughout the world. I’ve heard nothing but lame excuses and naive, illogical reasoning from them when they try to justify the existence of evil.

Most of us express wonder when we see some horrible catastrophe happen, or when we see evil individuals, companies and institutions wield so much power. Some people even go so far as to blame God for the evil things that exist in this world, since if God had desired, He could have prevented such things from existing or happening in the first place. Others take this even further, using the existence of evil as proof of God’s non-existence. How can a good and supposedly all-powerful God stand by while so much evil happens? Where is our God?

I cannot follow a self-contradictory, unpredictable and illogical God, which is what God is as taught by many teachers of religion. Since I do not fit the criteria for becoming an atheist (being intelligent enough to reject the incoherent religion taught by my parents and teachers, but not intelligent enough to fix these incoherences and find my own path to God), what I have done throughout my life is to go back to Scripture and re-invent God based on its teachings, getting rid of all the cultural baggage that has entered into common religious belief to go back to the focus of all religion: The understanding and worship of God.1

There are good, perfectly logical explanations for these things, deep explanations that elucidate the purpose of this universe, our place in it, and our relationship with God, and through this give us perfectly good reasons for the existence of evil.

Why Evil Exists

What is the point of the existence of this world anyway? Many mistakenly think that the purpose of this world is to be a permanent residence where people judge whether God exists or not. They think that they can gauge God’s “level” of existence by the things that happen around them, so that given the right set of events, they will decide He is alive and active, and given others, they will decide He doesn’t exist, because if He existed, the world wouldn’t be the way it is.

A friend said that he once went on a trip abroad, and before he left, he asked God to protect three things that were most important to him in his life. During his trip, he lost all three, which included the dying of loved ones, and this made him decide that God doesn’t exist. He is a Buddhist now.

The above case is an example of earth-centric thinking, that considers this world a goal in itself. This is the core mistake that leads to millions of people misunderstanding, even disliking, God. That is a mistake because this world is nothing besides a testing hall where humans can freely choose to do as they like, to prove their worthiness of God’s approval or wrath. This world is not meant to be a permanent residence.

Most religions teach that an end of the world is coming. Regardless of religion, the universe is on track to become a dark, lifeless mass as the stars and galaxies die out. Everything is going to end, and what remains is the record of our deeds, kept by God. Even if we manage to create the greatest empire on earth, or write the most wonderful novel, none of our accomplishments will last.

One day the universe will shut down as if it never existed, and on that day what significance can our achievements have? This world is not meant as a permanent home of peace, but as a test. And a test requires that the possibility of failure should exist. If all humans acted according to God’s wishes, evil would not exist. But since God has given humans the freedom to disobey Him, they have the ability to do evil.

God is good, and evil is the absence of goodness, the same way that darkness is the absence of light. If God is Light, we cannot blame Him for the darkness we encounter when we turn away from Him, distance ourselves from Him, and act against His wishes.

Why didn’t God make the universe a place of wholesome goodness lacking in the possibility for evil? Because if evil could not exist, humans wouldn’t truly be free beings.

To be free, humans require the freedom to act against God along with the freedom to act for His sake. God wants to give humans perfect freedom to act and grow, so that they can be the best or the worst they want to be. Since humans have the freedom to act against God, and since to act against God is to create evil, humans have been given the freedom to create evil.

God did not make this world a perfect place because that is not its purpose. Imagine if you were a maker of creatures. If the creatures you made were controlled by their nature to do exactly what you put in them to do, they could never be truly your friends. They would be subservient robot-like machines that cannot help doing whatever you put in them to do.

But imagine if one day you wanted something more. You wanted to make creatures that could truly be your friends. The only way to have a true friend is to create a creature that can choose whether to be your friend or not. And so, you make creatures with free will, who can act according to whatever they wish, rather than according to your programming. Some of these creatures will choose to be your friends, others will ignore you, others will choose to be your enemies. They may fight among themselves, doing much evil to one another, and blaming you, their creator, for the evil they do, when in truth they should blame themselves, for they are the ones choosing to act the way they do. They have the freedom to be good, and many of them choose to be good, but some of them  choose to be evil instead.

The only thing we can blame God for is His creating us and giving us the freedom to be evil. This is a pointless blame. This is our reality and our fate, we cannot escape it. We have been thrown into this game regardless of our wishes, a game that forces us to choose to be either good or evil. We can debate the ethics of forcing people to choose between good and evil. But at the end of the day, we are forced to play this game. There is no dropping out.

Our Creator has done this to us, possibly against our will2, but we cannot get hung up over this fact, because our future holds something very important: Either eternal reward, or eternal punishment. Blaming God will not help our future. It may make us feel better now to hate God as so many do, but by making us think badly of God, this will reduce our chances of future success. The future is coming whether we want it to or not, and we have the power to make it a good or a bad future.3

Not all evil is done by humans. Droughts, floods and other natural disasters can cause much evil and suffering, and we can lose loved ones through car accidents and illnesses. Why doesn’t God prevent these things from happening if He loves us? Because, in order for the testing hall that is this world to be a true and consistent place of testing, God shouldn’t interfere with the functioning of nature4. The laws of nature should behave in such a way that makes sense even without reference to God. If we were as intelligent as we are, and yet we saw that nothing bad ever happened on earth, no car accidents, to illnesses, nothing, that everyone died in old age of natural causes, then this would be undeniable evidence of the existence of a higher power that protects humans.

God wants us to have the possibility of being atheists. It is one of God’s self-imposed rules that it should be impossible to directly detect His existence. And that requires that the functioning of this world should make perfect sense according to predictable scientific laws.

God wants us to believe in Him without seeing Him or knowing that He truly exists, because if it were possible to prove His existence, it would reduce our freedom to act against Him. God wants our universe to seem to make perfect sense without any necessity for His existence. This way we are given the freedom to discover Him and His Scriptures, and through our knowledge and conscience, we gain the ability to either follow His way or disbelieve in Him. Once we are given this knowledge, there is no turning away from the choice between good and evil.5

God wants our test to be a perfect test, in which we have perfect freedom to be good or evil. This would allow us to take credit for our actions. If God’s existence were proven, we’d be turned into slaves who cannot help but do as He says. We’d become merchants who act in our best interests by following God’s commandments. This is not what God wants. God wants us to be honored creatures who befriend Him not because we are forced to, but because we choose to. This is what gives worth to our friendship.

There is little honor in an employee acting according to his or her boss’s wishes, this is the expected behavior. While even this amount of obedience to a boss justifies reward, so that even if we had proof of God’s existence, we could still be rewarded for obeying Him6, God wants to take us beyond this boss-employee relationship. He wants to raise us to the status of honored friends, who act out of love and friendship, and out of our own efforts toward remembrance of God, rather than acting out of practical compulsion.

God wants us to be the servant who continues to love and serve his master, even though the master goes away for years, decades. What incredible honor and reward can await such a servant who faithfully loves and serves his absent master for 50 or 60 years, until he dies, even though the master never returns?7

God, by creating the possibility for the existence of true friendship between Himself and the humans He created, had to also create the possibility for the existence of true enmity between Himself and them. He wanted friends, but He knew that they couldn’t truly be called friends unless they had the option to be His enemies.

The evil done by humans on Earth is a doing of humans when they act against God, it is not a doing of God, therefore humans should be blamed, not God. And the evil done by nature is nature’s own doing, caused by the rules of physics, and God does not want to interfere with it because constant interference with nature would cause His existence to become apparent. It is necessary for disasters and accidents to be possible, as these prove to us the validity of nature’s rules, and allows the atheist the freedom to use these to prove that God doesn’t exist.

God and Nature shall always be apart, or seem to be apart, so that each one appears to function without the other. This is necessary, as this is what enables humans the freedom to choose between faith and disbelief, between good and evil. The world needs to make perfect, logical sense without having to refer to God in our thinking. It should be possible for us to believe that the world functions on its own without anything supernatural existing, this is what gives us the freedom to believe and disbelieve in God.

We need to be able to believe that the Master is absent. This is when the true nature of the servant comes through. Bad servants start to misbehave as soon as the Master looks away, and if the Master is away long enough, they entirely give up serving Him. They will start to loot His property and defile His name. But the good and honorable servant, even as he sees all of this happen, continues to have love and loyalty toward his Master. It makes no difference to him even if the Master never comes back. He keeps the remembrance of his Master in his heart, and he admonishes and encourages himself to continue to be the best servant he can be.

The world, the way it is, gives us the perfect opportunity to be this honorable and admirable servant. If evil did not exist, and if bad things did not happen, then there would have been no way for such servants of God to exist. We’d instead all be lowly and menial servants who never had a chance to disobey, and thus never had a chance to prove our loyalty toward God.

A world without evil and disaster would be a dysfunctional testing hall that cannot differentiate between the best and the worst of us. Without evil and disaster, God’s existence would be so clearly visible to us that most of us would cower in front of Him. A few people might be found who are daring enough to disobey God even in such circumstances, but the majority of people would kneel before God as they would before a great emperor, regardless of whether they had any loyalty toward Him.

A world that seems to be ruled by the cold, harsh laws of nature, and that completely hides the existence of God from our eyes, gives us the perfect opportunity to prove our loyalty to God. This world, with all of its problems, is the perfect testing hall, because of the problems it has.

Why Bad Things Happen to Good People

I will get around the metaphysical complexity of defining good and bad people by saying that a good person is anyone the reader thinks does not deserve to suffer, while a bad person is someone who does not deserve God’s protection.

Why good people suffer has already been mostly answered. If bad things never happened to good people, this would act as a proof of God’s existence and the invalidity of nature’s laws. If all good people lived to old age and died of natural causes, this would be easily detectable by even the simplest analysis.

There are religious people who wrongly think that if you are truly faithful, you will never suffer anything bad. When they see bad things happen to people, they try to find the reasons why the sufferers themselves are responsible for the suffering that has come upon them.

But disasters are a natural part of life, and it should affect good and bad people equally, or at least it should seem to do so. God does not want to be seen, so it should be impossible to detect miracles happening to save good people.

The suffering of good people proves that nature’s laws are real. If nothing bad ever happened to good people, but only happened to bad people, the fact would act as a proof of God’s existence, and this is what God does not want in this world. God wants us to follow Him and serve Him of our own free will, without any compulsion or strong inducement.

There would be millions, maybe billions, more believers if avoiding suffering was as simple as believing in God and serving Him. But these believers would be tantamount to fair-weather friends, who are on the bandwagon of faith only for their own immediate, short-term interest. They wouldn’t be loyal friends of God.

The world should occasionally give the faithful the impression that God has abandoned them. This is the true test of faith. Once all blessing seems to have gone from our lives, that’s when we look inside our hearts to find God again. If we weren’t true believers, if we only believed in God to ensure our own worldly good, then there would be no God in our hearts. We’d lose faith and abandon religion once we had the impression that God has abandoned us, like millions do.

But as for the truly faithful, when life gives us the impression that God has abandoned us, we continue to believe in God and to do our best to protect our faith. If our Master seems absent, it does not mean He has gone away forever. Only a dishonorable servant would start to act as if the Master is dead once He is gone away for a month or two. Those of us who truly believe in God, who love Him and want His friendship, and who have accepted to be His servants for eternity, will not abandon serving Him, regardless of what hardship and loneliness comes our way.

By the morning brightness

And [by] the night when it covers with darkness,

Your Lord has not taken leave of you, nor has He detested [you].

And the Hereafter is better for you than the first [life].

And your Lord is going to give to you, and you will be satisfied.

Did He not find you an orphan and give [you] refuge?

And He found you lost and guided [you],

And He found you poor and made [you] self-sufficient.
[Quran 93:1-8]

The possibility of good people suffering something horrible is nothing but an extension of these facts of life; the need for a proof of nature’s laws, the necessity for some suffering to prove one’s faith and virtue. God can inflict the greatest suffering on His most beloved servants, as He did with Abraham when He asked him to slaughter his beloved son, and as He did was Jacob in allowing him to believe, for years on end, that his most beloved son was dead, as this is how the greatest friends of God are raised to the highest ranks.

There can never be virtue without suffering. A virtuous act is one where we overcome our natural tendencies for the sake of God, and attaining virtue always has an element of suffering in it, small or great. A rich person who, out of love for God, refuses to practice usury to further enrich himself or herself, is doing a virtuous thing. Their suffering is that they watch their fellow rich men and women practice usury and see their wealth increase exponentially, while their own wealth increases slowly and is subject to far more risk.

And someone who attains virtue by working for a charitable cause, or by giving money to the poor, is also subject to a mild form of suffering (what economists would call “opportunity cost”), as they lose time and money that could have been used for something pleasurable.8

The possibility of good people suffering does not mean that blessedness in this world does not exist. As in the story of Joseph, God will allow suffering to happen, followed by periods of ease and enjoyment, followed by more suffering, until His servant is raised to the highest possible status. God will not leave his faithful servants abandoned alone to be entirely subject to the cold, harsh laws of nature, though it is necessary that it should appear so, so that God’s existence will not become apparent. The Quran says:

Whoever does righteousness, whether male or female, and who is a believer – We will surely cause him to live a good life, and We will surely give them their reward [in the Hereafter] according to the best of what they used to do.
[Quran 16:97]

Besides reward in the afterlife, the verse promises a good worldly life. The word used in the verse to mean “good” is tayyib, which can also be translated as “wholesome”. God will have a hand in the lives of good people, ensuring that despite the disasters they suffer, they will end up having wholesome, blessed lives. This, of course, cannot be proven, in accordance with God’s plan. But it can be seen in little things for those of us who have faith. The lives of believers seem to have more purpose. Their life stories seem better arranged and guided. This of course cannot be proven to an atheist, and it doesn’t have to be.

On the other hand, for disbelievers, people who knowingly rebel against God even though they believe in Him in their hearts, the Quran has this to say:

But whosoever turns away from My Remembrance, verily for him is a life narrowed down, and We shall raise him up blind on the Day of Judgment. He will say: “My Lord, why have you summoned me as a blind person when I was sighted?” He will say: “Thus did Our signs come to you, and you forgot them; that is why you have been forgotten this Day.”
[Quran 20:124-126]

This verse, similar to the previous one, implies that there are worldly consequences for having (and in this case, not having) faith. Those who knowingly reject God will have a “narrowed down” life, also translated as “straitened” and “constricted”. Similar to how the lives of good people are blessed despite their hardships, the lives of evil people are constricted despite their joys and pleasures.

To put it another way, the general theme of a believer’s life is blessedness, while the general theme of a disbeliever’s life is constrictedness, a feeling of being oppressed by life. Both will enjoy periods of joy and periods of suffering, but through submitting to God, believers are blessed by God and are freed from many of the constraints of life, while disbelievers are, in general, and not very detectably, made to submit to the harshness and coldness of nature.

There will be a hidden hand of God that shields and guides the believer, while there is no such shield and guide for the disbeliever, and the world, itself a servant of God, treats them the way they like to be treated, as if God does not exist.

God could inspire us to always make the right choices in order to avoid all that is bad and to always gain what is good. But, besides making God’s existence apparent, this would reduce the value of our friendship with Him. A true friend of God is the one who keeps his faith in Him during difficulties, while a fair-weather friend of God is the one who only loves and worships God during times of peace and plenty, and whose faith is shaken whenever something bad happens to them (and plenty of such believers do exist).

The matter of ranks of God’s chosen friends in the afterlife is important, because it decides a person’s status in the afterlife for all of eternity. God does not want most of us to leave this world without having proven how good of a friend of God we are. That, in fact, is the main purpose of this world: To distinguish our ranks, from the very best of us to the very worst.

Some people die before they can prove themselves to God, for example infants. God allows this to happen because infant deaths are required by the laws of nature. And as for the poor infant, while their death is a tragedy in this life, in the afterlife God can choose to give them great reward without them having worked for it, since God’s generosity is not limited. He may also give them a higher status in the ranks of His friends than their parents as a reward for the parents, while also raising the status of the parents who kept their faith during the ordeal. A truly just God will not let an infant’s death go to waste.9

There are a thousand ways in which God can preserve eternal justice while allowing tragedies like infant deaths to happen, since this life is no more than a mere flicker compared to the eternity of the afterlife, and everything that happens here will one day be nothing more than a pale memory when a person has spent millions of years enjoying the rewards of the afterlife, close to family and friends and close to God.

Suffering is a natural part of a believer’s life. God does not ask us to stoically control our emotions, never letting any suffering show, to prove that we are faithful. Jacob was a prophet of God, and yet he cried so much after his son was believed dead that his eyes turned blind. There is no shame in sadness. God does not ask us to be super-human, but to keep faith alive in our hearts as we are subjected to life’s joys and sorrows.

Isn’t it Unkind for God to Punish His Creatures?

Think of God as Light. By staying close to Him, by following His commandments, we ensure our eternal good. No one is perfectly close to Him, each person is at some degree of distance. Eternal punishment is only for those who knowingly stray so far away from the Light that they knowingly wallow in complete darkness. Anyone who stays within the merest flicker of Light may gain God’s forgiveness and eternal reward.

Eternal punishment is necessary because that is the only way of ensuring that evil-doers don’t get away with their evil deeds. Many Jews (and Christians too) have become corrupted by the idea that they are God’s chosen children and that no matter what they do, they will eventually be forgiven. This is a highly dangerous thing to believe, because once you believe that you will never be punished eternally, then you can get away with anything. If you are an Israeli settler, who cares if you take over other people’s lands with violence. You are God’s Chosen, and you will be forgiven.

Once the idea of eternal justice is corrupted, then from that all evil follows. Even if people believe in an afterlife, if they think that there will be a limit on their punishment term, that they will burn for a thousand years and then will be freed to enjoy life for the rest of eternity, then many of them will not find it so bad to devolve utterly into sin, since they will eventually get away with it.

To preserve justice, people should not be able to get away with their crimes. During their lifetimes God gives them thousands of opportunities to repent and become better people. God believes that a human lifetime is sufficient to distinguish good people from bad, that it contains enough opportunities for humans to prove whether they deserve eternal good or eternal punishment. Every hour of every day contains opportunities for us to change, for better or for worse, and these small changes mount. There is a Light in this world and we can choose to either walk toward it or away from it every hour of every day. Every time we take a step away from it, we do it in the full knowledge that we have the chance to take a step toward it instead.

If we spend all of our lifetimes walking away from the Light by knowingly doing evil, we shouldn’t be surprised when one day we find ourselves in total darkness, hopeless of ever finding the Light again. It was our own choices that brought us here. For years and decades we had the option to turn back and walk toward the Light again, our consciences kept reminding us that we still had a chance to return to God, that God’s door was wide open to us, but instead we decided to keep walking away, chasing our shadow instead of chasing the Light.

Once a person falls into total darkness through their own choices, there will no longer be a point to extending their lives to let them come back. This is what Scripture claims, that once a person is totally surrounded by their evil deeds, they will never come back toward the Light. There is a point of no return, meaning that a person who crosses this point, even if given a lifetime of a hundred thousand years, it will not make a difference in their fate.

In fact, the Quran claims that such evil people, even if taken to the afterlife and shown all of the signs of God’s greatness, then brought back to earth, they will continue to be evil. Among some Christians there is the belief that people, no matter how bad, can be made to become good through education and reformation. The Quran, always unabashedly realistic, has a more satisfactory view, that guidance can only be had with God’s blessing, that even if someone fully understands God and believes in Him, they can still choose to be evil. The Quran goes beyond this, saying that once a person fully devolves into evil, not only will they become unreformable, but that God will actively prevent any reform, because they’ve done sufficient evil to seal their fate (as in the case of the Pharaoh of Egypt in the story of Moses).

If you could but see when they are made to stand before the Fire and will say, “Oh, would that we could be returned [to life on earth] and not deny the signs of our Lord and be among the believers.”

But what they concealed before has [now] appeared to them. And even if they were returned, they would return to that which they were forbidden; and indeed, they are liars.

And they say, “There is none but our worldly life, and we will not be resurrected.”

If you could but see when they will be made to stand before their Lord. He will say, “Is this not the truth?” They will say, “Yes, by our Lord.” He will [then] say, “So taste the punishment because you used to disbelieve.”

Truly, they have lost, those who deny the meeting with God , until when the Hour [of resurrection] comes upon them unexpectedly, they will say, “Oh, [how great is] our regret over what we neglected concerning it,” while they bear their burdens on their backs. Unquestionably, evil is that which they bear.

And the worldly life is nothing but amusement and diversion; but the home of the Hereafter is best for those who fear God, so will you not reason?
[Quran 6:27-32]

The average person might be a sinner, but they do not fight against God every chance they get, and at the time of death they will likely possess enough light to be eligible for God’s forgiveness.

What are some examples of people who deserve eternal punishment? Usurers and their central bankers, who knowingly enslave millions to an evil, unnatural type of debt to enrich themselves, who orchestrate economic bubbles and bursts to reap trillions of dollars in profit while destroying the livelihoods of millions of families, and who plunge countries like the US into war after war, knowing that hundreds of thousands of innocent people will be killed, just so that they can earn their trillions financing these wars. A just God will not let these people go unpunished, and their punishment will not be something they can laugh at, it will not be a slap on the wrist like the US government gives to the usurers at Goldman Sachs every year when they are caught manipulating markets and destroying parts of the economy to enrich themselves. It will be something that will make them cry every single day for eternity.

I will not believe in a God who lets these people get away with the immense evil they do.

Conclusion

People make the mistake of considering this world their permanent home. They become attached to its blessings and disasters, and they think they can judge God based on what happens in their lives. But this world is nothing more than a tool for distinguishing God’s true friends from His fair-weather friends, and distinguishing these from His true enemies.

This world is nothing more than a preparation for the eternity of the afterlife. We would be wise not to become attached to its ups and downs, and to know that these are the days given to us by God in which we can prove ourselves to Him.

***

I originally published this essay as a short ebook on Amazon in 2015. I’ve decided to publish it for free here on my website, after thoroughly rewriting it, so that more people may (hopefully) benefit from it.

Why you should ditch Intel if you want a competitive PC market

Intel is famous for its various efforts to destroy AMD over the past 20 years, and it is so powerful and too-big-to-fail that legal action against it has never amounted to more than slaps on the wrist.

If you believe in the importance of ethics and morality in corporate actions, avoid Intel as a matter of principle. They don’t deserve your money. They deserve to die and to be forgotten. If you keep buying their stuff, you are telling them it is OK to keep on their evil and malicious practices, because they are being rewarded by you for it rather than being punished.

Here is the latest example of Intel being an example to us all:

Why the Banks are So Powerful and Why the Bible and the Quran Forbid Usury: Charting How Interest Creates Obscene Wealth Inequality

Imagine if in 1913 the real economy of the US had $100 billion in capital, while the banks and money-lenders had only $1 billion. Given everyday economic circumstances, by 2017, the wealth of the real economy would have grown to $2163 billion (with a 3% economic growth rate). Meanwhile, the wealth of the banks and money-lenders during the same period would have grown from $1 billion to $3806 billion. Starting at only 1% of the wealth of the real economy, within just over 100 years, the financial sector grows to 175% the size of the real economy.

This is the heart and soul of usury; the reason why banks are so powerful, and the reason why usurers have been hated with visceral hatred throughout history. The usury sector uses the law to enforce an alternate reality where their profits grow faster than the real economy. If they were honest investors, their money would be directly invested into the economy, so that their wealth would grow (and shrink) with the real economy. But through the hateful invention of usury, they create an alternate reality where their wealth always grows faster than the real economy.

The chart assumes a relatively low business loan interest rate of 5%, and a high delinquency rate of 6.75% (the highest recorded by the St. Louis Fed between 1987 and 2016), and a high (usurer-unfriendly) reserve ratio of 33% (the lower the reserve ratio, the faster the wealth money-lenders grows, as they earn more interest on their capital).

Wherever the usurers take control of an economic system, within a short span of time their wealth grows so that they own most of the economy; its largest companies, its real estate market, its mainstream media, its academia. In the United States, through neo-liberal usurer economics, they have entirely shut down any honest examination of the evils of usury. Through their control of the media, interest and usury are taken for granted, and the mostly-Christian peasant class of the West is made to think of mortgages as an “investment”, rather than a tremendous risk that enslaves them to debt.

Usury is evil because, on a macro scale, it passes off most risks to the borrower, and most profits to the lender. When a usurer lends money at 5% interest to a town’s businesses, some of these businesses will make a profit, and some will make a loss. If the town’s economy grows at 3% during the year, it means some businesses made a profit on the money they borrowed, and some made a loss, so that on average there was a profit of 3% and a loss of 2%. To the usurer, none of this matters. He gets to charge 5%, pretending that the economy grew at 5%, so that after the year passes, he ends up with close to a 5% profit, while the town ends up with a profit of 3%. This gives him an annual profit advantage of 2%. Within just a few years his profits grow so fast that he will afford to buy up more and more of the town’s land, housing and businesses, until he gains near-total control of the town’s economy, and manages to extract rent and profit from every nook and cranny of it. Below is a chart of this process over 20 years, assuming both the money-lender and the townsfolk have $10 million at the beginning.

The chart only shows the money-lender’s wealth growth from his interest income. But as his wealth grows, he will invest the surplus wealth into buying up land, houses and business, so that his real wealth growth would be quite larger after 20 years.

The usurers at the Federal Reserve, Wall Street and the Chicago School of Economics would have you believe that the above situation is unavoidable, that it is just a fact of life, and that if you dislike money-lenders for their profiteering and rent-seeking, you are just hating them for their wealth.

What is never mentioned is that there is a way for the wealthy to invest their wealth without creating wealth inequality and giving themselves such an obscene advantage over the population, and that method is simply honest investment, what I call Socratic Finance, as Socrates mentions it in Plato’s Republic. It is to make the lender and the borrower share in their fair portion of risk and gain.

How is this magic performed? By prohibiting the charging of interest, as it used to be the law of England (look up the 1552 AD Act Against Usury of King Edward VI). According to the 1599 Geneva Bible Notes (written by John Calvin and other Puritans),

To the bankers and money changers. Usury or loaning money at interest is strictly forbidden by the Bible, (Exo 22:25-27; Deu 23:19-20). Even a rate as low as one per cent interest was disallowed, (Neh 5:11)1

When the charging of interest is prohibited, money-lenders are prevented from increasing their wealth exponentially, without regard to the actual economy. They are made to invest in the real economy, and to share in its profits and losses. If the town’s money-lender cannot practice usury, and has $10 million in wealth compared to the town’s $10 million, he would be forced to spend his money investing in the real economy by buying businesses or starting new businesses, creating jobs in the process, and raising wages, as he has to compete with other business for available talent. Some of these endeavors would make a profit, and others would make a loss. If the town’s economy grows at 3%, and if his investments are spread throughout the town’s economy, then he would make a 3% profit along with the town, so that after a year, he wouldn’t be any more richer or poorer than the rest of the town as a whole. Everyone’s wealth would increase equally, so no income inequality is created.

If he wants to invest his money to finance housing, instead of using the corrupt practice of mortgaging, he would offer up houses on a rent-to-own basis.

In a normal mortgage, a person is made to carry the burden of a $300,000 loan while the money-lender continues to own the house. In the case of default, the money-lender gets the house back, sells it, and if it sells for less than the outstanding loan amount, he goes after the borrower for the rest of the principal. Most mortgage defaults happen during times of financial crises, when people lose jobs, and when houses lose value. If the home was mortgaged at $300,000, during a crisis it would sell for only $200,000. If the buyer had paid $20,000 of the principal off, they would lose the house, and still owe $80,000 to the usurer.

But Socratic home financing is a world apart from this. If a person gets a Socratically-financed home, and then is unable to make payments, the investor gets the house back and sells it, and the home-buyer gets his principal share of the house back. If he had paid off 20% of the principal, he would get 20% of the house’s sale price. In a Socratically-financed home, the buyer always gets some money back in the case of default, as there is no loan involved, it is real ownership transfer of the house. In the previously mentioned case of the $300,000 house, the buyer would get $40,000 back after foreclosure, instead owing $80,000.

Over the past 400 years, most Christians have continued the tradition of being utter disgraces to the name of Christ, so that today even the Vatican funds its operations through usurious lending. Even the Amish practice usury.

If but a probable suspicion arose
of a man to occupy that filthy trade
He was taken for a devil in the likeness of a man.
But good Lord, how is the world changed?

That which infidels2 cannot abide, Gospellers allow,
That which Jews take only of strangers
and will not take of their countrymen for shame,
That do Christians take of their dear friends
and think for so doing they deserve great thanks.

Thomas Rogers (Anglican theologian, ca. 1555-1616)

Today’s usurers try to absolve themselves from their sins, and whitewash their actions, through the practice of philanthropy. Almost every wealthy usurer is described as a “philanthropist” on Wikipedia. They gain billions of dollars by squeezing the life out of the economies that play host to them, using usury to drive a wedge into the economy and extract rent from it, then spend a few hundred million dollars funding hospitals, museums and universities, and lo and behold! They are philanthropists. It is to this usurer trick of philanthropy that Rabbi Hermann Adler, Chief Rabbi of the British Empire from 1891 to 1911, refers when he says:

No amount of money given in charity, nothing but the abandonment of this hateful trade, can atone for this great sin against God, Israel and Humanity.

Forecasting the World’s Top 50 Most Powerful Countries in 2035 Using the HQI

The following table is a list of 50 countries that are predicted to have the most economic, technological and military power in the world by the year 2035, according to HQI theory. The projected power of the United States is set to 100 to make it easy to compare other countries with it. China’s projected power is 251.6, meaning it will be more than double as powerful as the United States in 2035.

The 2035 populations are projected based on the average of a linear regression of population growth rates between 1995 and 2015. If a country’s population growth rate was 3% in 1995 and 2% 2015, it is assumed that in 2035 the population growth rate will be 1%. The average of the 2015 and 2035 growth rate is taken (1.5%), and this is recursively applied 20 times to arrive at the 2035 population. This is somewhat crude but good enough for our purposes.

The HQI is the Human Genetic-Cultural Quality Index, a measure of a population’s capacity for intellectual achievement and technological innovation, by taking into account a country’s scientific output and real (Smithian) economic growth. China’s HQI is 856 while the HQI of the United States is 1372, meaning each Chinese citizen adds a relative value of 856 to China’s economy, while each American citizen adds a value of 1372. The HQI indicates the “quality” (as opposed to quantity) of the human capital of a country.

By multiplying a population’s count by its HQI, we arrive at a number that indicates the total power for innovation in the population as a whole. In 2035, India will have more people than China (1.52 billion versus 1.46 billion), but since China’s HQI is higher (i.e. since its population is of higher genetic-cultural quality), its power and might will be consequently larger. In fact, China will be five times more powerful than India in 2035, and 2.5 times more powerful than the United States. It will be the most powerful country in the world by a wide margin.

Iran gets an advantage over Russia due to its higher economic growth, fast growing population, and its higher scientific output per capita (25% higher than that of Russia). However, many of Russia’s recent troubles have been due to economic warfare from Wall Street, therefore it is highly unlikely that it will ever be less powerful than Iran. As the HQI is updated over the next few years, Russia’s numbers should improve significantly.

Qatar and Saudi’s high HQI numbers are largely due to their importation of foreign scientists to carry out research in their universities and are not indicative of native capabilities.

It is unlikely that Germany will be less powerful than the United Kingdom in 2035. The HQI of the UK is inflated by the UK’s higher output in the “soft” sciences. Germany actually outdoes the UK in many important scientific fields, such as energy, engineering, physics, astronomy, mathematics and chemical engineering. The UK is superior in medical research.

South Korea produces far more science per capita than Japan, and its economy is growing fast. Both of these factors go toward its much higher HQI compared to Japan (1627 vs. 605). South Korea’s actual advantage may be smaller, and it seems unlikely that it will actually be more powerful than Japan.

How it Works

A country’s HQI shows its potential for growth. It says that after decades of infrastructure-building, urbanization and everything else that goes into producing a developed economy, that country can reach the level of output and innovation that another, fully developed nation of similar HQI has. What this means is that multiplying a non-fully-developed nation’s HQI will give us a number that reflects its power in a few decades, when it has finished developing.

The Chinese population’s HQI of 856 is close to that of Italy’s (945). What this means is that 20 years from now, once China has fully developed, it will have the same economic, military and technological power of an imaginary Italy that has 1.46 billion people. This thought alone should be sufficient to keep those Americans awake at night who think they will forever be the world’s and perpetual biggest bully. Can an America with 364 million people stand up to an Italy with 1.46 billion people? Italy’s 60 million people published 106000 scientific papers in 2015. If that population grows to 1.46 billion, an increase by a factor 24, that means they would likely be able to publish 2.5 million scientific papers per year, dwarfing America’s scientific output of 600,000 papers per year, and with that, dwarfing America’s ability at innovation and technological progress, and its economic and ultimately military power.

That imaginary Italy is very much what China is going to be in 20 years. The HQI of Italy and China are similar. All that remains for China to do to become an Italy with 1.46 billion people is to finish building its economic and scientific infrastructure, and this will probably be done in the 20 years, as the example of South Korea’s development shows.

As for already developed nations, their HQI can be multiplied by the present population to get its present level of power, and it can be multiplied by its projected future population to get its future power. This only makes sense for developed nations. For developing nations like China (and South Korea until recently), the population is high quality, but everything else isn’t, therefore the population is being held back by various factors from achieving what their HQI suggests. For this reason we give these fast-developing nations 20 years to reach their full potential.

Country Projected 2035 Population HQI Relative Economic, Technological and Military Power in 2035
1 China 1,464,562,493 856 250.46
2 United States 364,631,940 1372 100.00
3 India 1,520,438,646 162 49.24
4 United Kingdom 79,223,389 1818 28.79
5 Germany 93,984,408 1218 22.88
6 Australia 31,623,131 3561 22.51
7 France 72,157,368 1165 16.80
8 South Korea 50,400,996 1627 16.39
9 Canada 42,699,016 1859 15.87
10 Brazil 225,917,248 332 14.99
11 Japan 117,049,007 605 14.15
12 Iran 100,194,389 626 12.53
13 Italy 61,510,122 945 11.62
14 Spain 44,357,325 1277 11.33
15 Turkey 101,374,566 479 9.70
16 Russian Federation 149,971,486 312 9.35
17 Switzerland 10,987,401 3910 8.59
18 Poland 37,352,026 1120 8.37
19 Netherlands 18,189,750 2238 8.14
20 Taiwan 22,039,541 1717 7.56
21 Sweden 12,588,464 2775 6.98
22 Saudi Arabia 43,095,570 768 6.61
23 Nigeria 312,375,890 97 6.05
24 Singapore 5,924,284 4823 5.71
25 Malaysia 36,376,961 756 5.50
26 Israel 10,953,808 2410 5.28
27 Egypt 132,313,330 198 5.23
28 Belgium 12,642,382 2058 5.20
29 South Africa 70,569,040 292 4.12
30 Iraq 68,203,001 295 4.03
31 Norway 6,858,738 2925 4.01
32 Austria 10,735,422 1859 3.99
33 Czech Republic 11,684,419 1569 3.66
34 Pakistan 272,264,022 66 3.59
35 Denmark 6,374,946 2812 3.58
36 Mexico 152,508,904 110 3.37
37 New Zealand 6,972,004 2352 3.28
38 Hong Kong 7,811,688 1997 3.12
39 Qatar 4,879,996 2815 2.75
40 Argentina 50,278,252 253 2.54
41 Finland 5,873,345 2034 2.39
42 Portugal 8,783,800 1359 2.39
43 Thailand 68,077,965 174 2.37
44 Chile 21,146,173 535 2.26
45 Ireland 5,233,086 1959 2.05
46 Indonesia 314,805,429 29 1.84
47 Romania 19,228,586 475 1.83
48 Colombia 55,052,245 163 1.80
49 Greece 8,774,644 934 1.64
50 Algeria 58,570,388 129 1.51

Please see my essays on the HQI and the 12-Year Min-Max Average for the fine print regarding how the above numbers were calculated. Most of the data is from the World Bank. Taiwan’s population growth rate was taken from Worldometers.com as it is missing from the World Bank data.

Below is the same table with the nitty-gritty details exposed, and with seven bonus countries at the end.

Country 2015 Citable Scientific Documents 2015 Population 1995 Population Growth Rate 2015 Population Growth Rate 2035 Projected Population Growth Rate Projected Annual Population Growth Rate (Mean of 2015 & 2035 Rates) Projected 2035 Population Average Real Annual Economic Growth (2004-2015) [12-Year Min-Max Method] HQI Relative Power in 2035
1 China 416,409 1,401,586,609 1.1 0.5 -0.1 0.2 1,464,562,493 10.5 856 250.46
2 United States 567,007 325,127,634 1.2 0.8 0.4 0.6 364,631,940 0.5 1372 100.00
3 India 123,206 1,282,390,303 1.9 1.2 0.5 0.9 1,520,438,646 7.1 162 49.24
4 United Kingdom 169,483 63,843,856 0.3 0.8 1.4 1.1 79,223,389 -0.6 1818 28.79
5 Germany 149,773 82,562,004 0.3 0.5 0.8 0.7 93,984,408 -0.8 1218 22.88
6 Australia 82,567 23,923,101 1.2 1.3 1.5 1.4 31,623,131 3.0 3561 22.51
7 France 103,733 64,982,894 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.5 72,157,368 -0.1 1165 16.80
8 South Korea 73,433 49,750,234 1.0 0.4 -0.3 0.1 50,400,996 3.6 1627 16.39
9 Canada 89,312 35,871,283 0.8 0.9 0.9 0.9 42,699,016 0.1 1859 15.87
10 Brazil 61,122 203,657,210 1.5 0.9 0.2 0.5 225,917,248 3.7 332 14.99
11 Japan 109,305 126,818,019 0.4 -0.1 -0.7 -0.4 117,049,007 -0.4 605 14.15
12 Iran 39,727 79,476,308 1.4 1.2 1.1 1.2 100,194,389 5.0 626 12.53
13 Italy 95,836 61,142,221 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 61,510,122 -1.7 945 11.62
14 Spain 79,209 47,199,069 0.2 -0.1 -0.5 -0.3 44,357,325 0.3 1277 11.33
15 Turkey 39,275 76,690,509 1.6 1.5 1.4 1.4 101,374,566 2.3 479 9.70
16 Russian Federation 57,881 142,098,141 0.0 0.2 0.4 0.3 149,971,486 0.4 312 9.35
17 Switzerland 39,358 8,238,610 0.7 1.2 1.7 1.5 10,987,401 1.0 3910 8.59
18 Poland 37,285 38,221,584 0.1 0.0 -0.2 -0.1 37,352,026 4.2 1120 8.37
19 Netherlands 51,434 16,844,195 0.5 0.4 0.4 0.4 18,189,750 0.0 2238 8.14
20 Taiwan 34,011 23,381,038 0.8 0.1 -0.7 -0.3 22,039,541 4.5 1717 7.56
21 Sweden 35,039 9,693,883 0.5 1.1 1.6 1.3 12,588,464 0.4 2775 6.98
22 Saudi Arabia 17,529 29,897,741 2.6 2.1 1.6 1.8 43,095,570 5.9 768 6.61
23 Nigeria 5,112 183,523,432 2.5 2.6 2.8 2.7 312,375,890 18.2 97 6.05
24 Singapore 17,976 5,618,866 3.0 1.2 -0.7 0.3 5,924,284 7.3 4823 5.71
25 Malaysia 23,414 30,651,176 2.5 1.4 0.3 0.9 36,376,961 3.0 756 5.50
26 Israel 18,040 7,919,528 2.7 2.0 1.3 1.6 10,953,808 3.7 2410 5.28
27 Egypt 14,800 84,705,681 1.9 2.1 2.4 2.3 132,313,330 4.5 198 5.23
28 Belgium 29,180 11,183,411 0.2 0.5 0.8 0.6 12,642,382 0.7 2058 5.20
29 South Africa 17,409 53,491,333 2.2 1.7 1.1 1.4 70,569,040 2.0 292 4.12
30 Iraq 1,793 35,766,702 3.1 3.2 3.4 3.3 68,203,001 27.8 295 4.03
31 Norway 18,228 5,142,842 0.5 1.1 1.8 1.5 6,858,738 1.2 2925 4.01
32 Austria 21,818 8,557,761 0.2 0.8 1.5 1.1 10,735,422 -0.1 1859 3.99
33 Czech Republic 20,759 10,777,060 -0.1 0.3 0.6 0.4 11,684,419 1.0 1569 3.66
34 Pakistan 10,962 188,144,040 2.5 2.1 1.7 1.9 272,264,022 4.6 66 3.59
35 Denmark 23,081 5,661,723 0.5 0.6 0.6 0.6 6,374,946 -0.6 2812 3.58
36 Mexico 18,417 125,235,587 1.9 1.3 0.7 1.0 152,508,904 0.2 110 3.37
37 New Zealand 13,052 4,596,396 1.5 1.9 2.3 2.1 6,972,004 1.3 2352 3.28
38 Hong Kong 14,710 7,313,557 2.0 0.9 -0.2 0.3 7,811,688 3.1 1997 3.12
39 Qatar 2,766 2,350,549 1.2 2.9 4.6 3.7 4,879,996 14.9 2815 2.75
40 Argentina 11,815 42,154,914 1.3 1.0 0.8 0.9 50,278,252 2.2 253 2.54
41 Finland 17,551 5,460,592 0.4 0.4 0.4 0.4 5,873,345 -1.5 2034 2.39
42 Portugal 21,159 10,610,014 0.4 -0.5 -1.4 -0.9 8,783,800 -0.8 1359 2.39
43 Thailand 11,632 67,400,746 0.9 0.3 -0.2 0.1 68,077,965 3.4 174 2.37
44 Chile 10,347 17,924,062 1.5 1.0 0.6 0.8 21,146,173 2.5 535 2.26
45 Ireland 11,370 4,726,856 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 5,233,086 1.1 1959 2.05
46 Indonesia 6,280 255,708,785 1.5 1.2 0.9 1.0 314,805,429 5.5 29 1.84
47 Romania 13,053 21,579,201 0.0 -0.4 -0.8 -0.6 19,228,586 0.7 475 1.83
48 Colombia 7,500 49,529,208 1.7 0.9 0.2 0.5 55,052,245 4.3 163 1.80
49 Greece 16,616 11,125,833 0.5 -0.6 -1.7 -1.2 8,774,644 -1.7 934 1.64
50 Algeria 5,171 40,633,464 1.9 1.9 1.8 1.8 58,570,388 3.8 129 1.51
51 Serbia 6,540 9,424,030 -1.4 -0.5 0.5 0.0 9,490,218 3.0 663 1.26
52 Tunisia 6,228 11,235,248 1.9 1.0 0.1 0.5 12,525,418 2.2 493 1.23
53 Hungary 9,478 9,911,396 -0.1 -0.2 -0.3 -0.3 9,408,537 -0.8 653 1.23
54 Viet Nam 4,092 93,386,630 1.6 1.1 0.5 0.8 109,194,988 6.4 55 1.20
55 Slovakia 6,271 5,457,889 0.3 0.1 -0.1 0.0 5,463,349 2.7 1068 1.17
56 Morocco 4,079 33,955,157 1.5 1.3 1.1 1.2 43,445,867 5.0 134 1.16
57 Ukraine 8,868 44,646,131 -0.8 -0.4 0.1 -0.1 43,369,074 -1.4 129 1.12

 

Measuring Economic and Military Potentials of World Nations with the Human Genetic-Cultural Quality Index (HQI)

Introduction

What is the biggest predictor of a country’s scientific output, industrial capacity and military prowess? It is not geographic size. For instance, Kazakhstan and Mongolia are huge compared to Israel and Switzerland, yet Israel and Switzerland far outdistance them in all measures of intellectual, technological and military attainment.

It is not population. India’s 1.28 billion people are close in number to China’s 1.4 billion. And India has been a West-connected capitalist country since its independence in 1947, while China only started in the 1980’s. Yet China far outstrips India in all measures of technological and military power.

It is not natural resources. Russia has vastly more natural resources than Germany. Yet Germany’s economy is many times that of Russia, and its scientific output is double that of Russia, even though Russia’s population is close to double that of Germany.

The most important predictor of a country’s power and accomplishment is the nature of its population. A country’s most precious natural resource is its citizens. It is the genetic makeup of a population, enabled by supportive cultures, institutions and infrastructure, that predicts the country’s military-industrial power and capacity for innovation.

The book IQ and the Wealth of Nations by the professors Richard Lynn and Tatu Vanhanen makes a powerful argument for the importance of IQ in predicting a country’s power and prosperity, with IQ being a highly heritable (genetically-mediated) trait. While some of the data they use is not reliable, the general force of their argument is undeniable. The data used by Adam Smith and Charles Darwin were none too reliable either, but that didn’t stop their theories from being world-class accomplishments.

IQ is not everything. Japan’s IQ is in the same league as Germany and Sweden. Yet Swedes produce four times more science per citizen than the Japanese (measured in scientific papers published in peer-reviewed journals). Germans produce double the amount of science per citizen than the Japanese. An argument can be made that Japan’s infrastructure has yet to catch up with that of Western Europe. But Japan has had more than enough time (seven decades, in fact) to catch up. And a look at Japan’s infrastructure shows that they might even be ahead of Western Europe when it comes to infrastructure.

The factors that lead to Japan’s low accomplishment relative to Western Europe could be other genetic factors not widely studied. One factor could be Japan’s low testosterone levels compared to Europe, with testosterone being a significant contributor toward the drive for accomplishment1. Another factor could be aging. An aging population is going to be less productive than a younger one. Another factor could be non-genetic; for example cultural practices and ideals, although these factors are not independent of genetics and should be considered together with genetics2.

The Human Genetic-Cultural Quality Index

The HQI, short for the Human Genetic-Cultural Quality Index, takes account of both genetic and cultural factors to accurately predict a country’s real scientific, economic and military potential. It is a measure of the quality of human capital, a nation’s most important natural resource, and provides a single number that can be used to compare the quality of the human capital of different nations.

The math of the HQI will be explained below. For now, I will offer certain examples from it to illustrate the concept. Ukraine has an HQI of 129, while Russia’s HQI is 311. This means that a Russian citizen adds 2.6 times more value to Russia’s economy and scientific output than a Ukrainian citizen adds to Ukraine’s economy and scientific output. The quality of Russia’s human capital is 2.4 times that of Ukraine’s human capital. Even if Russia and Ukraine had exactly the same population (let’s say each had a population of 150 million), Russia would still be 2.4 times as powerful as Ukraine. Today, Russia’s population is 3.15 times as large as Ukraine’s (143.5 million vs. 45.49 million). Multiplying this by the 2.4 times HQI advantage, we arrive at a factor of 7.59. Russia is, or will be, 7.59 times as powerful as Ukraine when both countries reach their near-full development potential, perhaps in the next 30 years.

China’s HQI is 855. India’s is 162. Even if both countries had the same population, China would still be 5.2 times as powerful as India once both countries reach their near-full development potential.

The HQI uses two data points as predicting variables:

  1. Scientific papers per capita, which refers to the number of scientific papers published in a year by the nation, divided by its population. This measures the intellectual capacity of the nation’s population.
  2. Real economic growth rate. When a nation’s economy is growing fast (such as that of China), it shows that the nation’s institutions and infrastructure haven’t reached their full potential. The economic growth rate is used to correct for this fact. For instance, China’s papers per capita is only three times that of India’s. But China’s real 12-year average annual economic growth rate is 10.5%, while India’s is 7%. This means that the economic and scientific potential of China’s human capital has significantly more room to grow than India’s, as will be further illustrated down below.

The (real) economic growth rate of a nation expresses elasticity of human potential for a given nation. If growth is faster, improvements in infrastructure and institutions lead to big gains in the human potential of the nation, i.e. that the human potential of the nation is being held back by infrastructure and institutions, and that as these improve, so will the output of the nation’s human capital.

A slow economic growth rate indicates one of two things:

  1. The nation has reached close to its full potential, so that its human capital is already working at its full capacity. This is the case with slow-growing developed nations like Japan and the Netherlands.
  2. The quality of the nation’s human capital is so low that while theoretically there is much room for growth given the nation’s circumstances, that growth is being held back by human capital that’s not capable of achieving it. This is true in the case of various African and Latin American countries that have everything they could possibly need for growth, except a population that’s actually capable of said growth.

The history of colonization shows the importance of the genetic and cultural factors that go into the HQI. Any nation that becomes colonized by a high HQI population will quickly grow to reflect the home population’s intellectual prowess rather than the native population’s destitution. This has been true in the United States, Australia, Argentina, New Zealand and South Africa.

The most recent example comes from Israel. When Israel was colonized by Ashkenazi Jews that had been selected for high IQ in Europe during their 2000 year stay there3, Israel’s economy quickly grew to reflect a developed European nation, rather than a typical Middle Eastern one. It grew even above Eastern European nations, though it doesn’t seem likely it can surpass Germanic nations, as it has already had all the time and help it needs to achieve this.

The Mathematical Model

For any given nation and year, this is how the HQI basis number is calculated:
With a being the number of peer-reviewed scientific journal articles published in the year, b being the 12-year min-max average of economic growth4 for that year and the preceding 11 years, and c being the population of the nation in that year.

China published 416,409 peer-reviewed scientific journal papers in 2015. Its annual economic growth rate was 10.545 for the period 2004-2015 inclusive. And its population in 2015 was 1,401,586,609 (1.4 billion). The equation to calculate the HQI basis number thus becomes:

This results in a number of 0.001162729158. Since this is not a user-friendly number, the numbers for all nations are all multiplied by the arbitrary value of 735853.761, which gives an HQI of 1 to the lowest HQI country. This provides an easy-to-follow ground to which other countries can be compared. China’s HQI thus becomes 855.59. This means that a Chinese citizen adds a value to China’s economy that is 855.59 times greater than the value added by a citizen of the lowest HQI country to their respective economy (which happens to be the Democratic Republic of the Congo).

Raising the number of a country’s scientific papers to a power of (1 + its economic growth rate) is a mathematical trick that models both of these scenarios:

  1. Scientific output growth that continues at the rate of the country’s past 12-year economic growth rate for the next 11 years.
  2. Scientific output growth that starts off at the country’s average past 12-year economic growth, and then slows down by 6.95% every year over the next 30 years.

The assumption here is that a country’s scientific output will continue growing at the rate of the country’s economic growth over its past 12 years. This may seem a strange assumption, since a country’s future growth cannot be assumed to follow at the same rate as its past growth.

In fact, the correct assumption is that its economic growth will be quite lower. But what we are modeling here is not economic growth, it is growth in scientific output, whose future growth follows along the lines of a country’s past economic growth.

An example will make this clear. South Korea’s GDP grew from $771 billion USD in 2004 to $1.14 trillion in 2015 (all in 2000 dollars), a growth of about 48%. During the same period, its scientific output rose from 31182 papers in 2004 to 69469 papers in 2015, a growth of 122%, more than double its economic growth.

The growth in South Korea’s scientific output from 2004 to 2015 is actually similar to its GDP growth from 1989 to 2003 ($332 billion to $735 billion, a growth of 122%).

In short, scientific output is a lagging indicator of a country’s development, due to the amount of past investment necessary for its growth. No matter how much a country invests into increasing its scientific output, the tangible fruits of said investment will be over a decade in the future. The exception being countries like Saudi Arabia who rapidly increased their scientific output by importing foreign scientists.

India’s scientific output grew from 33031 papers in 2004 to 113144 papers in 2015, a growth of 242%. During the same period, its inflation-adjusted GDP grew from $0.971 trillion to $2.03 trillion, a growth of 109%. The growth in its scientific output was more than double the growth in its economic output.

Its growth, in fact, was similar to its GDP growth from 1981 to 2003. The reason for its slow economic growth over this period may have been its low-effectiveness gene-culture (low IQ, etc.), and its low urbanization rate accompanied by its vast size, that meant it took far longer than South Korea to build the infrastructure and institutions necessary to support effective scientific research.

This phenomenon of scientific growth growing far faster than economic growth can be seen throughout the world. Needless to say, a more rigorous study of the relationship between scientific output and past economic growth can be done. But we can take it as a general rule that past economic growth predicts future scientific output growth.

China’s Coming Supremacy

Raising China’s 2015 scientific paper count of 416409 to a power of 1.105 (1 + its annual economic output growth over 2004-2015) results in 1620204, or 1.62 million. What this means is that once China reaches close to its full economic potential (perhaps after 2030), it will be producing about 1.62 million scientific papers every year. Compare this to the 567000 scientific papers published by the United States in 2015, which, according to the same HQI calculation, will grow to 606000 during the same period. In other words, in the next 20 or more years, China’s scientific output will be 2.67 times as large as that of the United States.

While this may sound controversial to someone who has been wooed by the nascent racism of neocons, globalists and central bank usurer economists in their propagandizing the idea that the US can somehow maintain a permanent technological edge over China, that despite China’s enormous growth and a scientific output that is closely approaching that of the United States, that there is something wrong with the Chinese that will forever keep them as second-class citizens on the world stage, to someone who understands the history of Japan and South Korea’s growth, and who understands the realities of the gene-culture, this conclusion of China’s approaching supremacy is merely stating the obvious.

Using the HQI for Comparative Study of Gene-Cultures and National Potentials

Below is a list of the world’s highest HQI nations (the full list is at the end), for the reader’s viewing pleasure, and to help you follow along the rest of the essay.

Rank Country 2015 Citable Scientific Documents 2015 Population Average Real Annual Economic Growth (2004-2015) [12-Year Min-Max Method] HQI Predicted Scientific Output at Near-Full Potential (2035 and After)
1 Singapore 17,976 5,618,866 7.32 4823 36,824
2 Switzerland 39,358 8,238,610 1.01 3910 43,774
3 Australia 82,567 23,923,101 2.99 3561 115,764
4 Iceland 1,365 336,728 2.41 3549 1,624
5 Norway 18,228 5,142,842 1.17 2925 20,445
6 Qatar 2,766 2,350,549 14.88 2815 8,991
7 Denmark 23,081 5,661,723 -0.65 2812 21,633
8 Sweden 35,039 9,693,883 0.41 2775 36,556
9 Monaco 129 38,320 1.64 2683 140
10 Luxembourg 1,692 543,261 1.51 2564 1,893
11 Israel 18,040 7,919,528 3.71 2410 25,938
12 New Zealand 13,052 4,596,396 1.25 2352 14,693
13 Netherlands 51,434 16,844,195 -0.03 2238 51,239

While the Qatari population have a higher IQ, and are more liberal, than most other Arab populations (perhaps with the exception of Lebanese Christians), their high HQI is strongly a result of their importation of foreign scientists on the one hand, and their fast growing oil revenue on the other, the latter funding the former.

Germanic nations have the highest HQI in the world. Switzerland and Iceland, with their relatively low immigration rates, show the high productivity of Germanic genes and cultures. Australia, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, New Zealand and the Netherlands, with their Germanic roots, follow along the same lines.

The table shows how the HQI can be used to compare the genetic-cultural quality of any two countries. Iceland’s HQI of 3548, divided by the 2238 HQI of the Netherlands, results in a 58% advantage for the Icelandic people. Icelandic people are 58% more capable and productive than Netherlanders, and if the two countries had the same population, Iceland would be 58% more powerful militarily, technologically and economically.

Israel’s high HQI is influenced by its high economic growth, a large portion of which comes from its cozy relationship with the United States (US intelligence agencies, for example, are reliant on many Israeli technology companies). It’s highly unlikely that its population is more capable than that of the Netherlands or New Zealand. This shows that the HQI is not immune to aberrations, similar to all other methods, as reality is full of aberrations caused by disasters, sanctions, wars and political changes.

But regarding Israel, the HQI shows one very important result: Israel is already close to its full scientific potential. Over the next 30 years or so, its scientific output can grow from 18040 papers to 21631. No great improvement can be expected from Israel, and given its precarious political situation, even this much growth may not be possible, though stranger things have happened.

Changes in HQI Reflect Fundamental Genetic-Cultural Changes in a Nation

Far more interesting than a country’s economic growth is HQI growth. The HQI itself is a measure of growth potential, HQI growth means growth in the growth potential. When a nation climbs toward a peak in achievement, economic growth refers to this climb. HQI growth refers to an increase in the height of the peak, a removal of constraints that prevent a nation from reaching the heights reached by other nations.

China’s 2015 HQI was 6.4% lower than its 2010 HQI. This means that between 2010 and 2015, there were some forces in effect that reduced China’s genetic-cultural fitness, or economic fitness, so that while it continued to grow fast, its predicted near-full potential decreased. This was mostly caused by a large drop in the number of scientific papers published by China in 2015. I have contacted SCImago to find out whether this change was due to changes in their paper counting methodologies or whether it was due to a real drop in China’s output. If it was a real drop, maybe it was due to China’s best and brightest aging and retiring, or due to growing practice of usury creating a Western European-style of stagnation faster than expected, or due to some unknown dysgenic effect.

From 2010 to 2015, Ethiopia’s HQI increased by 173%. This is a very, very good sign. It means that there are genetic-cultural changes that are improving the nation’s future potential, or that there are bottlenecks that are being overcome. Not only is the nation climbing toward the peak, the peak itself is growing. Perhaps it is due to improvements in nutrition and health care, or beneficial cultural changes, or both. The actual beneficial change is probably smaller.

Poland has been Europe’s favorite backwater since at least Adam Smith’s time. What does the HQI tell us about what is going on in there? From 2010 to 2015, Poland’s HQI increased by 21.9%. There are forces at work in Poland that are increasing its population’s genetic-cultural fitness, so that whatever we believed Poland’s maximum growth potential to have been in 2010, in 2015 that maximum growth potential was 21.9% higher.

The HQI of the United States decreased by 12.3% from 2010 to 2015. This means that there are forces at work reducing the genetic-cultural fitness of America’s average citizen. One simple explanation could be the increase in immigration from lower HQI nations, who increase the population of the US without significantly increasing its economic and scientific output. Keeping population constant, the HQI still decreased by 8.9%, therefore immigration might be only causing a 3.4 percentage points of this dysgenesis.

Germany’s HQI increased by 0.2% from 2010 to 2015, meaning that no interesting structural change happened. These numbers are from before the recent migrant crisis, whose presence is sure to bring down Germany’s HQI.

Japan’s HQI fell 15.7% from 2010 to 2015. Not only is the nation coming down the peak (through its negative economic growth), the nation’s peak is also decaying.

Russia’s HQI increased by 31.1% from 2010 to 2015. Even though its economic growth was low (0.36%), its scientific output greatly increased during this period, from 38878 papers to 55500. Russia’s seeming low GDP growth is largely due to economic warfare from Wall Street. Its scientific growth shows its true economic fitness.

Why Scientific Output is Important

The HQI uses scientific output as the most important indicator of a nation’s genetic-cultural fitness. There are many good reasons for this, the two most important being:

  1. Producing science requires that a nation be prosperous enough to afford having a class of society who dedicate most of their time to research. And that prosperity can only come from high genetic-cultural fitness for most countries, excepting a few oil states that can afford to import scientists.
  2. Producing science requires very high intellectual capacity and drive for accomplishment (perhaps most importantly IQ and testosterone). If a nation’s population is incapable of producing science, they will be equally incapable of producing high-tech military equipment and industrial innovation, necessary for a nation to increase its power.

A nation’s scientific output is a very good indicator of its fitness. If a nation’s economy is growing fast, by raising the scientific output to the power of its real economic growth, the HQI gives the nation a fair chance at proving itself. China’s scientific output per capita is quite low compared to that of the United States. But its real economic growth is much higher. We can safely assume that China’s per capita scientific output is going to grow at a rate similar to its past economic growth.

The Bottleneck Effect in the Growth of Scientific Output

India’s example shows that there might be a bottleneck effect in the growth of scientific output in large and highly undeveloped nations. As mentioned, India’s scientific output grew by 242% from 2004 to 2015, similar to its economic growth from 1981 to 2003. 12 years of scientific output growth were equal to 23 years of past economic growth. While in the case of South Korea, its 2004 to 2015 scientific growth was roughly similar to its economic growth of the 12 years preceding that.

India may have already overcome the bottleneck. Indonesia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nigeria, the Philippines and Vietnam probably haven’t yet, and this probably partly accounts for their low HQI’s.

For a large, undeveloped and already low-HQI nation (low IQ, bad law enforcement, etc.), building the prosperity and infrastructure necessary for doing science takes far longer than it takes a smaller and higher HQI nation. Decades of education, infrastructure building and perhaps most importantly, urbanization, are needed before a country’s scientific output momentum gets going.

List of 203 Sovereign States by Human Potential

Below is a table of 203 sovereign states sorted by HQI, from highest HQI to lowest. Note that the HQI number shows the genetic-cultural quality of each individual citizen within that nation, not the nation’s power. While each additional Singaporean citizen adds a value of 4822 to the economy of Singapore, each additional US citizen adds a value of 1372. Since the genetic-cultural quality of Singaporeans is so much higher than the genetic-cultural quality of US citizens, what the HQI shows is that if Singapore had the same number of citizens as the United States, it would 3.5 times as powerful as the United States, as each individual citizen adds so much more to its power and productivity. Singapore’s real superiority is probably lower, as it is mostly its fast economic growth, aided by its geo-political situation, that’s contributing to its high HQI.

The HQI for certain nations, such as Indonesia and North Korea, are clearly inaccurate due to their exclusion from the world’s scientific community. The HQI of Indonesia and many former Central Asian Soviet states should increase considerably as they start to adopt Western scientific practices.

Please see below the table for the fine print regarding the numbers.

Rank Country 2015 Citable Scientific Documents 2015 Population Average Real Annual Economic Growth (2004-2015) [12-Year Min-Max Method] HQI
1 Singapore 17,976 5,618,866 7.32 4823
2 Switzerland 39,358 8,238,610 1.01 3910
3 Australia 82,567 23,923,101 2.99 3561
4 Iceland 1,365 336,728 2.41 3549
5 Norway 18,228 5,142,842 1.17 2925
6 Qatar 2,766 2,350,549 14.88 2815
7 Denmark 23,081 5,661,723 -0.65 2812
8 Sweden 35,039 9,693,883 0.41 2775
9 Monaco 129 38,320 1.64 2683
10 Luxembourg 1,692 543,261 1.51 2564
11 Israel 18,040 7,919,528 3.71 2410
12 New Zealand 13,052 4,596,396 1.25 2352
13 Netherlands 51,434 16,844,195 -0.03 2238
14 Belgium 29,180 11,183,411 0.68 2058
15 Finland 17,551 5,460,592 -1.55 2034
16 Hong Kong 14,710 7,313,557 3.12 1997
17 Liechtenstein 102 37,461 -0.40 1967
18 Ireland 11,370 4,726,856 1.09 1959
19 Canada 89,312 35,871,283 0.13 1859
20 Austria 21,818 8,557,761 -0.09 1859
21 Slovenia 5,428 2,079,085 -0.43 1851
22 United Kingdom 169,483 63,843,856 -0.60 1818
23 Taiwan 34,011 23,381,038 4.53 1717
24 South Korea 73,433 49,750,234 3.61 1627
25 Greenland 125 57,275 0.05 1610
26 Czech Republic 20,759 10,777,060 1.02 1569
27 United States 567,007 325,127,634 0.51 1372
28 Portugal 21,159 10,610,014 -0.77 1359
29 Macao 819 584,420 3.20 1278
30 Spain 79,209 47,199,069 0.30 1277
31 Estonia 2,620 1,280,227 -2.23 1264
32 Germany 149,773 82,562,004 -0.77 1218
33 France 103,733 64,982,894 -0.08 1165
34 Grenada 140 106,694 3.33 1138
35 Poland 37,285 38,221,584 4.23 1120
36 Cyprus 1,789 1,164,695 -0.51 1088
37 Slovakia 6,271 5,457,889 2.67 1068
38 Malta 559 431,239 0.75 1000
39 Italy 95,836 61,142,221 -1.74 945
40 Greece 16,616 11,125,833 -1.67 934
41 Saint Kitts and Nevis 62 55,376 1.83 889
42 Croatia 5,533 4,255,374 -1.12 869
43 China 416,409 1,401,586,609 10.55 856
44 Saudi Arabia 17,529 29,897,741 5.90 768
45 Malaysia 23,414 30,651,176 2.95 756
46 Brunei Darussalam 366 428,539 1.03 668
47 Serbia 6,540 9,424,030 2.97 663
48 Hungary 9,478 9,911,396 -0.81 653
49 Lithuania 2,973 2,998,969 -1.86 629
50 Iran 39,727 79,476,308 5.02 626
51 Japan 109,305 126,818,019 -0.41 605
52 New Caledonia 171 263,147 3.75 580
53 San Marino 22 31,802 3.26 563
54 Seychelles 59 93,754 3.79 540
55 Chile 10,347 17,924,062 2.50 535
56 Latvia 1,503 2,031,361 -1.23 498
57 Tunisia 6,228 11,235,248 2.17 493
58 Bermuda 43 65,578 0.13 485
59 Palau 14 21,291 -0.22 481
60 Turkey 39,275 76,690,509 2.27 479
61 Romania 13,053 21,579,201 0.70 475
62 Lebanon 2,076 5,053,624 5.60 464
63 Montenegro 316 621,556 2.50 432
64 Dominica 37 72,680 2.90 416
65 Bulgaria 3,441 7,112,641 1.73 410
66 United Arab Emirates 3,858 9,577,128 2.30 358
67 Uruguay 1,208 3,429,997 4.39 354
68 Macedonia 814 2,109,251 3.01 347
69 Barbados 128 287,482 0.83 341
70 Russian Federation 57,881 142,098,141 0.36 312
71 Jordan 2,313 7,689,760 5.45 338
72 Oman 1,461 4,157,783 3.56 335
73 Brazil 61,122 203,657,210 3.70 332
74 French Polynesia 122 282,764 0.11 319
75 Kuwait 1,327 3,583,399 1.84 311
76 Iraq 1,793 35,766,702 27.77 295
77 South Africa 17,409 53,491,333 2.03 292
78 Argentina 11,815 42,154,914 2.17 253
79 Bahrain 344 1,359,726 5.20 252
80 Georgia 1,067 4,304,540 4.28 246
81 Armenia 953 2,989,467 -0.14 232
82 Andorra 24 80,950 -0.26 216
83 Fiji 231 892,727 1.95 212
84 Trinidad and Tobago 285 1,346,697 5.03 207
85 Egypt 14,800 84,705,681 4.49 198
86 Cuba 1,760 11,248,783 6.76 191
87 Bosnia and Herzegovina 756 3,819,684 2.95 177
88 Thailand 11,632 67,400,746 3.39 174
89 Guam 36 169,885 3.00 174
90 Colombia 7,500 49,529,208 4.28 163
91 Belarus 1,554 9,259,666 3.78 163
92 India 123,206 1,282,390,303 7.08 162
93 Azerbaijan 676 9,612,580 17.29 160
94 Botswana 410 2,056,370 1.11 157
95 Panama 485 3,987,866 8.46 151
96 Tuvalu 2 9,916 2.01 150
97 Mauritius 208 1,253,581 3.57 148
98 Kazakhstan 2,062 16,770,447 5.95 142
99 Libya 352 6,317,080 21.21 142
100 Costa Rica 720 5,001,657 3.88 137
101 Cayman Islands 11 59,967 -0.20 134
102 Morocco 4,079 33,955,157 5.00 134
103 Ukraine 8,868 44,646,131 -1.35 129
104 Algeria 5,171 40,633,464 3.75 129
105 Puerto Rico 660 3,680,058 -0.79 125
106 Namibia 286 2,392,370 6.15 125
107 Albania 406 3,196,981 4.32 121
108 Bhutan 82 776,461 10.04 121
109 Mongolia 298 2,923,050 8.01 118
110 Vanuatu 34 263,888 4.84 112
111 Palestine (West Bank & Gaza) 475 4,548,815 6.18 112
112 Mexico 18,417 125,235,587 0.21 110
113 Marshall Islands 7 52,993 0.88 99
114 Nigeria 5,112 183,523,432 18.20 97
115 Ecuador 1,418 16,225,691 4.25 88
116 Bahamas 46 387,549 -0.39 86
117 Federated States of Micronesia 12 104,460 -0.51 83
118 Moldova 348 3,436,828 1.71 82
119 Antigua and Barbuda 10 91,822 0.67 81
120 Ghana 1,531 26,984,328 8.97 81
121 Aruba 12 103,889 -2.26 80
122 Gabon 174 1,751,199 1.72 80
123 Jamaica 305 2,813,276 -0.77 76
124 Congo 388 4,671,142 3.59 76
125 Belize 32 347,598 2.69 74
126 Swaziland 106 1,285,519 2.38 68
127 Sri Lanka 1,255 21,611,842 6.27 67
128 Pakistan 10,962 188,144,040 4.64 66
129 Cape Verde 35 508,315 6.95 65
130 Solomon Islands 43 584,482 4.10 63
131 Gambia 157 1,970,081 1.36 63
132 Peru 1,813 31,161,167 5.10 63
133 Suriname 38 548,456 5.38 62
134 Venezuela 1,473 31,292,702 7.55 60
135 Maldives 22 357,981 7.57 57
136 Viet Nam 4,092 93,386,630 6.40 55
137 Samoa 13 193,228 0.76 50
138 Kenya 2,215 46,748,617 4.32 49
139 Tonga 7 106,379 -0.20 48
140 Saint Lucia 11 184,937 3.25 47
141 Cameroon 1,116 23,393,129 4.09 47
142 Senegal 691 14,967,446 4.22 45
143 Uganda 1,270 40,141,262 7.03 38
144 Laos 226 7,019,652 7.81 36
145 Benin 409 10,879,828 4.30 36
146 Kiribati 5 105,555 1.51 36
147 Guyana 34 807,611 2.53 34
148 Nepal 922 28,440,629 4.73 33
149 Malawi 519 17,308,685 5.75 32
150 Zambia 432 15,519,604 6.76 31
151 Burkina Faso 508 17,914,625 5.81 30
152 Indonesia 6,280 255,708,785 5.49 29
153 Ethiopia 1,691 98,942,102 11.11 29
154 Tanzania 1,261 52,290,796 6.56 28
155 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 4 109,374 2.15 28
156 Bolivia 290 11,024,522 5.08 26
157 Rwanda 278 12,428,005 7.92 26
158 Paraguay 182 7,032,942 5.04 25
159 Kyrgyzstan 142 5,707,529 5.23 24
160 Syrian Arab Republic 502 22,264,996 5.07 23
161 Equatorial Guinea 17 799,372 12.91 23
162 Zimbabwe 552 15,046,102 -2.88 23
163 Bangladesh 3,011 160,411,249 6.06 22
164 Cambodia 317 15,677,059 6.67 22
165 Philippines 2,091 101,802,706 4.39 21
166 Papua New Guinea 156 7,631,819 6.48 21
167 Togo 156 7,170,797 3.56 19
168 Lesotho 43 2,120,116 5.09 18
169 Uzbekistan 426 29,709,932 8.46 18
170 Sierra Leone 112 6,318,575 6.20 17
171 Guinea-Bissau 37 1,787,793 3.77 17
172 Timor-Leste 23 1,172,668 4.25 16
173 Niger 169 19,268,380 18.20 16
174 Côte d’Ivoire 386 21,295,284 3.16 16
175 El Salvador 135 6,426,002 0.39 16
176 Sudan 597 39,613,217 4.66 15
177 Guatemala 243 16,255,094 3.42 13
178 Mali 239 16,258,587 3.18 13
179 Mozambique 299 27,121,827 8.06 13
180 Nicaragua 100 6,256,510 1.74 13
181 Tajikistan 107 8,610,384 7.05 13
182 Liberia 63 4,503,439 4.92 13
183 Djibouti 13 899,658 4.59 12
184 Yemen 297 25,535,086 4.38 11
185 Dominican Republic 116 10,652,135 5.81 11
186 Madagascar 278 24,235,390 1.56 9
187 Honduras 92 8,423,917 2.07 9
188 Mauritania 35 4,080,224 8.92 9
189 Comoros 8 770,058 1.95 8
190 Haïti 112 10,603,731 0.01 8
191 Sao Tome and Principe 2 202,781 6.19 8
192 Central African Republic 41 4,803,082 3.45 7
193 Guinea 106 12,347,766 2.35 7
194 Angola 83 22,819,926 12.50 5
195 Myanmar 181 54,164,262 10.42 4
196 Chad 38 13,605,625 16.86 4
197 Eritrea 29 6,737,634 3.86 4
198 Burundi 42 10,812,619 1.42 3
199 Afghanistan 74 32,006,788 11.27 3
200 North Korea 52 25,155,326 1.85 2
201 Turkmenistan 9 5,373,487 9.85 2
202 Democratic Republic of the Congo 75 71,246,355 5.92 1

The economic growth rate data comes from my essay The 12-Year Min-Max Average. Please see this essay for technical details on how the numbers were calculated.

Only “citable” scientific documents are counted, citable documents are generally higher in quality and more important than non-citable ones. However, citable and no-citable documents tend to rise and fall together, so that including non-citable documents shouldn’t have a significant effect on the HQI numbers.

Population data comes the United Nations and the World Bank. Scientific output data from SCIMago. Economic growth data from the World Bank and Trading Economics.

* A country’s GDP growth rate could be said to somewhat take into account its population growth, since when all other things are equal, growth in population results in economic growth. However, this will only apply to a stagnant economy whose only increase or decrease is a result of population change rather than

President Trump is already more than twice as famous as President Obama on the Internet

Google returns 174 million results for the search term “barack obama”, while returning 462 million results for “donald trump”. Donald Trump’s beats him by a factor of 2.65. This means that, if Google is telling the truth, Donald Trump already has more than twice as many mentions on the Internet than Barack Obama. Interesting for someone who has only been in office a little more than a month, versus eight years of media coverage for Obama’s presidency terms.

The 12-Year Min-Max Average: A Simple Method for Calculating Real, Legitimate Economic Growth and Canceling Out Central Bank Manipulations and other Noise

Introduction

Through continually expanding the money supply with money-printing and fractional reserve banking, central bankers and their commercial banker buddies are able to create the impression that an economy is growing when no actual growth takes place. No, even when an economy is tangibly falling apart, they can continue to publish numbers showing that the economy is “growing”.

The sophism of the modern neoliberal usurer economists has made the word “growth” lose most of its meaning. I will hereby define growth in the unfashionable Smithian way, as an increase in the amount of goods and services afforded by a population. In other words, economic growth equals an increase in prosperity.

Economic growth has nothing to do with an increase in GDP that comes from monetary expansion. That is merely a recalculation of the size of an economy, as necessitated by a currency that continually loses its value.

Basics

A method for calculating real, Smithian economic growth that cancels out the effects of inflation, derivatives and possibly the majority of the rest of a central banker’s card tricks is to take a two-point 12-year min-max average of a country’s GDP growth rate. While this sounds insanely complicated, it’s actually pretty simple:

To find out China’s real economic growth from 2004 to 2015 (inclusive), find the year with the highest economic growth and the year with the lowest economic growth over the 12 year period, then average the two numbers. Over the 2004-2015 period, China’s highest economic growth was 14.7%, in 2007. Her lowest economic growth was 6.9%, in 2015. To find her real economic growth:

14.7 + 6.9
__________ = 10.8
    2

China’s GDP in 2004 was $1.9417 trillion. According to the above calculation, her economy grew at an annual rate of 10.8%, meaning that in 2015, her true GDP would be $5.999 trillion.

According to the above, China’s real economy in 2015 was three times as large as its 2004 economy. This finding is remarkably close to the 3.3 times growth of GDP from 2004 to 2015 predicted by PPP calculations ($5.7 trillion to 19.4 trillion).

Since the dollar is not a reliable store of value (due to the Fed’s money-printing and the pervasive and universal practice of usury which creates an artificial limit on the money supply by concentrating it in the hands of the wealthiest), the $5.999 trillion number for 2015 doesn’t mean much of anything, unless we compare it to the 2004 number of $1.94. The result, as mentioned, is that the 2015 number is three times larger, meaning the 2015 economy was three times as large as it used to be in 2004.

Another way of thinking of the above graph is to draw a rectangle with the country’s highest and lowest economic growth rates at opposing corners, then taking the midpoint of the height of the rectangle:

Extending the calculation to other countries, I will start with India:

Over the 2004-2015 period, India’s lowest growth rate was in 2008 at 3.89%. Its highest growth was in 2010 at 10.26%. Averaging the two results in 7.075%.

In 2004, India’s GDP was $0.7215 trillion. An annual growth rate of 7.075% results in a 2015 real GDP of $1.53 trillion, meaning its economy grew by a factor of 2.12. Both nominal and PPP calculations say its economy grew by a factor of 2.7. The 2.12 is quite believable to me, the truth probably lies somewhere in between.

Moving on to the United States, the Federal Reserve, America’s central bank, is great at cooking up growth numbers. The 12-Year Min-Max method cuts through their nonsense like a hot knife through room-temperature butter:

America’s highest GDP growth was in 2004, at 3.79%. Its lowest growth was in 2009, at -2.78%. Averaging the two, the result is a miserable annual growth rate of half of a percent. America’s GDP in 2004 was $12.27 trillion. According to this calculation, its real 2015 GDP was $12.97 trillion, which fits the feelings of America’s population and its honest economists, excepting the usurer class and its sophistonomists. America’s 2015 economy was only 5% larger than its 2004 economy from an honest, Smithian point of view. During the same period, its population grew 9.77% larger, meaning the wealth or income of America’s average citizen actually fell during the period. The pie grew by 5%, the pie eaters grew by 9.77%.

Predictably, Japan is even more of a trainwreck than the United States.

Over the 2004-2015 period, Japan’s high point of growth was in 2010 at 4.71%. Its low point was in 2009, at -5.53%. Averaging the two, the result is an annual growth rate of -0.41%, meaning its economy actually shrunk by that amount every year. This is well in keeping with a stagnant economy and an aging and shrinking population count. Japan’s GDP in 2004 was $4.65 trillion. According to this economic shrink rate, Japan’s GDP in 2015 was $4.45 trillion, 4.3% smaller than in 2004.

Why 12 Years

The average length of a central-bank induced asset bubble cycle is 8 years (think the late 2000 and 2008 crashes). 12 years is a cycle and a half. The 2004 to 2015 window, as an example, captures the recovery from the last crash, and our current “recovery”, providing a rich picture of what brought us here. If we look at two cycles (2000-2015 inclusive), the data will be skewed by the previous cycle’s peak, which is quite irrelevant today. If we look at only one cycle (2008-2015), we will lose historical context that is still relevant today (the period that lead to the 2008 crash).

A market cycle and a half makes for a relevant and informative picture of most periods of a country’s economic history. The idea of using a market cycle and a half comes from John P. Hussman, manager of the billion-dollar Hussman Funds mutual fund.

Why It Works

The 12-year min-max average takes a realistic look at the nonsense factor within an economy and takes it out. It shows how much of an economy is a house of cards, and how much of it is real.

The basic idea is that it measures the psychology of an economy’s participants. Crashes happen when a very large number of investors wake up and realize they’ve all made big fools of themselves by outbidding one another in buying highly overpriced assets, thinking that they would be able to sell them for even higher. This moment of realization happened in 1929, 2000 and 2008, and will probably happen in late 2017.

After a crash, central banks use monetary easing to motivate investors to bid up the prices of assets. This creates a growing atmosphere of euphoria that increases spending in the economy and creates years of apparent growth. When the next crash inevitably comes, the atmosphere changes from one of euphoria to one of fear and panic. The market sobers up like a drunkard out of drink. In this year of sobriety, investors often underestimate the market’s worth. This acts as an antidote to the overestimation of the market during euphoric years. This is what happened in March 2009.

The momentum of an economy that’s truly expanding cannot be reversed by a financial crisis. It can slow a little, but it will continue growing, as China, India and Bangladesh’s numbers show. When we average out the years of most euphoria and least euphoria in a fast-growing economy, we still get a high rate of growth, because the growth is real, it is not entirely based on the feelings of investors.

But how does investor feeling affect GDP? The blaze of euphoria caused by monetary easing and fanned by complicit mass media makes it easier, and more likely, for businesses to borrow and expand their activities, regardless of supply-and-demand considerations. Overvalued corporations find it easy to convince lenders to give them large loans. The wealthy from around the country open their wallets and outbid each other in investing their wealth in all kinds of business activities in fear of being left behind.

In stagnant economies like the those of the US, Japan and Western Europe, it is by and large the feelings of investors that drive economic expansion and recession.

Measuring Crashiness

One obvious difficulty with choosing only two points on a 12-year growth graph is that growth is cumulative. A 3% growth at the beginning of the period could mean a trillion dollars increase, while at the end of the period it could mean two or three trillions.

Regardless of where the low point is on the graph, it shows that it is possible, within that economy, to lose this much value. It shows that a great amount of volatility exists within the economy, so that even if in recent years the growth numbers have all been good, if there is one big crash year on the 12-year graph, it tells us that a similar crash is in the future.

The cumulative effect doesn’t take away from the idea, the idea contains it within itself. No matter how much growth we’ve had in recent years, a crash can take most of it away, as it is farther in the future, so that its percentage effect is going to be larger than the effect of the growth of the previous years.

The PPP GDP per capita of the United States over the 12-year period  (denominated in 2005 international dollars) illustrates this. In 2004 it was $48,597. Five years of “growth” later, it was $48,557 in the 2009 crash. The crash easily outweighed all the previous years of growth. In 2015, the number had grown to $52,549, and the coming crash can easily take it back close to square one again.

The 12-year min-max average shows the “crashiness” of an economy. And since there is always a bigger crash in the future, measuring a country’s greatest year of growth against its worst year of growth makes a lot sense.

Honesty requires that I admit I came up with these reasonings for why the 12-year min-max average works after I had discovered it. I needed a reliable way of comparing the true economic momentums of different countries for the HQI, the Human Genetic-Cultural Quality Index that I will announce later, and among the methods I tried out, this one brilliantly fit the true states of many economies I have studied.

List of Countries by Real 12-Year Annual GDP Growth

Below is a list of 203 sovereign states along with their real economic growth from 2004 to 2015 according to the 12-year min-max average. The countries are sorted by population.

The number I’m most skeptical of is Germany’s. Germany has appeared to grow fast in recent years. The 12-year min-max average says its growth has actually been negative 0.77% (i.e. that the next crash will wipe out all of its recent growth). This is possible, and only history will tell.

Russia gets a 0.36% growth rate. I expect its rate will be shown to be quite higher after the next crash, as it puts the 2008 crash behind, and what remains will be its recent real economic growth rate that cannot be wiped out by a crash.

Please see the fine print at the end of the table regarding certain corrections I’ve made.

Country Population Real 12-Year Annual GDP Growth Rate (2004-2015)
China 1,401,586,609 10.545
India 1,282,390,303 7.075
United States 325,127,634 0.505
Indonesia 255,708,785 5.49
Brazil 203,657,210 3.7
Pakistan 188,144,040 4.64
Nigeria 183,523,432 18.195
Bangladesh 160,411,249 6.055
Russian Federation 142,098,141 0.36
Japan 126,818,019 -0.41
Mexico 125,235,587 0.205
Philippines 101,802,706 4.39
Ethiopia 98,942,102 11.11
Viet Nam 93,386,630 6.4
Egypt 84,705,681 4.485
Germany 82,562,004 -0.77
Iran 79,476,308 5.02
Turkey 76,690,509 2.265
Democratic Republic of the Congo 71,246,355 5.915
Thailand 67,400,746 3.385
France 64,982,894 -0.075
United Kingdom 63,843,856 -0.595
Italy 61,142,221 -1.735
Myanmar 54,164,262 10.415
South Africa 53,491,333 2.025
Tanzania 52,290,796 6.56
South Korea 49,750,234 3.605
Colombia 49,529,208 4.275
Spain 47,199,069 0.3
Kenya 46,748,617 4.315
Ukraine 44,646,131 -1.35
Argentina 42,154,914 2.17
Algeria 40,633,464 3.75
Uganda 40,141,262 7.025
Sudan 39,613,217 4.655
Poland 38,221,584 4.23
Canada 35,871,283 0.13
Iraq 35,766,702 27.77
Morocco 33,955,157 4.995
Afghanistan 32,006,788 11.27
Venezuela 31,292,702 7.545
Peru 31,161,167 5.095
Malaysia 30,651,176 2.95
Saudi Arabia 29,897,741 5.895
Uzbekistan 29,709,932 8.46
Nepal 28,440,629 4.73
Mozambique 27,121,827 8.06
Ghana 26,984,328 8.965
Yemen 25,535,086 4.38
North Korea 25,155,326 1.85
Madagascar 24,235,390 1.56
Australia 23,923,101 2.985
Cameroon 23,393,129 4.085
Taiwan 23,381,038 4.53
Angola 22,819,926 12.5
Syrian Arab Republic 22,264,996 5.065
Sri Lanka 21,611,842 6.27
Romania 21,579,201 0.695
Côte d’Ivoire 21,295,284 3.16
Niger 19,268,380 18.195
Chile 17,924,062 2.5
Burkina Faso 17,914,625 5.81
Malawi 17,308,685 5.745
Netherlands 16,844,195 -0.035
Kazakhstan 16,770,447 5.95
Mali 16,258,587 3.18
Guatemala 16,255,094 3.415
Ecuador 16,225,691 4.25
Cambodia 15,677,059 6.67
Zambia 15,519,604 6.76
Zimbabwe 15,046,102 -2.88
Senegal 14,967,446 4.22
Chad 13,605,625 16.855
Rwanda 12,428,005 7.92
Guinea 12,347,766 2.35
Cuba 11,248,783 6.76
Tunisia 11,235,248 2.165
Belgium 11,183,411 0.675
Greece 11,125,833 -1.67
Bolivia 11,024,522 5.08
Benin 10,879,828 4.295
Burundi 10,812,619 1.42
Czech Republic 10,777,060 1.02
Dominican Republic 10,652,135 5.805
Portugal 10,610,014 -0.77
Haïti 10,603,731 0.01
Hungary 9,911,396 -0.81
Sweden 9,693,883 0.405
Azerbaijan 9,612,580 17.285
United Arab Emirates 9,577,128 2.3
Serbia 9,424,030 2.965
Belarus 9,259,666 3.78
Tajikistan 8,610,384 7.05
Austria 8,557,761 -0.09
Honduras 8,423,917 2.07
Switzerland 8,238,610 1.005
Israel 7,919,528 3.705
Jordan 7,689,760 5.45
Papua New Guinea 7,631,819 6.48
Hong Kong 7,313,557 3.12
Togo 7,170,797 3.56
Bulgaria 7,112,641 1.73
Paraguay 7,032,942 5.035
Laos 7,019,652 7.81
Eritrea 6,737,634 3.855
El Salvador 6,426,002 0.39
Sierra Leone 6,318,575 6.195
Libya 6,317,080 21.205
Nicaragua 6,256,510 1.735
Kyrgyzstan 5,707,529 5.225
Denmark 5,661,723 -0.645
Singapore 5,618,866 7.32
Finland 5,460,592 -1.545
Slovakia 5,457,889 2.67
Turkmenistan 5,373,487 9.85
Norway 5,142,842 1.17
Lebanon 5,053,624 5.6
Costa Rica 5,001,657 3.88
Central African Republic 4,803,082 3.45
Ireland 4,726,856 1.085
Congo 4,671,142 3.585
New Zealand 4,596,396 1.25
Palestine (West Bank & Gaza) 4,548,815 6.175
Liberia 4,503,439 4.915
Georgia 4,304,540 4.28
Croatia 4,255,374 -1.115
Oman 4,157,783 3.555
Mauritania 4,080,224 8.915
Panama 3,987,866 8.46
Bosnia and Herzegovina 3,819,684 2.945
Puerto Rico 3,680,058 -0.785
Kuwait 3,583,399 1.84
Moldova 3,436,828 1.705
Uruguay 3,429,997 4.39
Albania 3,196,981 4.32
Lithuania 2,998,969 -1.86
Armenia 2,989,467 -0.14
Mongolia 2,923,050 8.01
Jamaica 2,813,276 -0.765
Namibia 2,392,370 6.15
Qatar 2,350,549 14.875
Lesotho 2,120,116 5.09
Macedonia 2,109,251 3.005
Slovenia 2,079,085 -0.43
Botswana 2,056,370 1.105
Latvia 2,031,361 -1.225
Gambia 1,970,081 1.36
Guinea-Bissau 1,787,793 3.765
Gabon 1,751,199 1.715
Bahrain 1,359,726 5.195
Trinidad and Tobago 1,346,697 5.025
Swaziland 1,285,519 2.375
Estonia 1,280,227 -2.225
Mauritius 1,253,581 3.565
Timor-Leste 1,172,668 4.245
Cyprus 1,164,695 -0.505
Djibouti 899,658 4.585
Fiji 892,727 1.945
Guyana 807,611 2.53
Equatorial Guinea 799,372 12.905
Bhutan 776,461 10.035
Comoros 770,058 1.95
Montenegro 621,556 2.5
Solomon Islands 584,482 4.1
Macao 584,420 3.2
Suriname 548,456 5.38
Luxembourg 543,261 1.51
Cape Verde 508,315 6.95
Malta 431,239 0.75
Brunei Darussalam 428,539 1.03
Bahamas 387,549 -0.39
Maldives 357,981 7.57
Belize 347,598 2.69
Iceland 336,728 2.405
Barbados 287,482 0.825
French Polynesia 282,764 0.11
Vanuatu 263,888 4.84
New Caledonia 263,147 3.75
Sao Tome and Principe 202,781 6.185
Samoa 193,228 0.755
Saint Lucia 184,937 3.25
Guam 169,885 3
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 109,374 2.145
Grenada 106,694 3.33
Tonga 106,379 -0.2
Kiribati 105,555 1.505
Federated States of Micronesia 104,460 -0.505
Aruba 103,889 -2.26
Seychelles 93,754 3.785
Antigua and Barbuda 91,822 0.67
Andorra 80,950 -0.26
Dominica 72,680 2.895
Bermuda 65,578 0.13
Cayman Islands 59,967 -0.2
Greenland 57,275 0.05
Saint Kitts and Nevis 55,376 1.83
Marshall Islands 52,993 0.875
Monaco 38,320 1.64
Liechtenstein 37,461 -0.4
San Marino 31,802 3.255
Palau 21,291 -0.22
Tuvalu 9,916 2.01

For Iran, ignored the 2012 crash, as it was a political event. Used the 2008 crash instead, as it was a shared world event. For Brazil too due to 2015. For Iraq 2014 due to CIA-ISIS. For Venezuela, 2009 was used due to recent mismanagement. For Syria, 3.23 lowest growth from 2010 was used, due to start of the Syria v. CIA war in 2011. For Yemen, ignored numbers from 2011 due to the crisis, used lowest number from 2006.

Data for New Caledonia taken from Trading Economics (World Bank data missing).

Monaco’s highest growth rate taken from World Bank (14.58 for 2007). Lowest number (-11.3 for 2009) missing from World Bank, taken from Trading Economics.

Data for Greenland after 2009 is missing. Used 2009 number as lowest growth rate (-5.41), and 2007 number as highest growth rate (5.51).

No reliable annual growth data for French Polynesia. Assumed a top growth of 4.42 and a bottom growth of -4.2, as hinted at by the CIA World Factbook.

For Sierra Leone, ignored 2013 and 2015 numbers, as they were aberrations caused by the mining sector’s boom and collapse.

For Liechtenstein, top and bottom growth numbers were taken from Trading Economics as World Bank seemed inaccurate and missed the years after 2009.

Guadelope, Cook Islands, Montserrat, Netherlands Antilles, Anguilla, Martinique, Réunion, Gibraltar, American Samoa, US and British Virgin Islands, Northern Mariana Islands and French Guiana not included as GDP growth rate is not. It is possible that the World Bank counts them toward their parent states, couldn’t verify this.

Faroe Islands not included as GDP growth rate data is unavailable.

Data for North Korea, Guam and Cayman Islands’ GDP growth rate taken from Trading Economics as World Bank doesn’t provide them.

For the Central African Republic, numbers after 2012 are ignored due to the civil war there. Used 2004’s GDP growth rate as the top number (5.99) and 2005 as the bottom (0.91).

For Eritrea, ignored 2008 GDP growth low as it was caused by US sanctions. Used 2006 low instead (-0.97).

Somalia is not included in the World Bank data, and other available data is none too reliable due to the fact that the country is a war zone. Decided not to include the country as no useful conclusions can be drawn from the data.

No reliable data found for Turks and Caicos Islands, Wallis and Futuna, Nauru, Mayotte, and Western Sahara, so omitted them.

Page 4 of 6
1 2 3 4 5 6