Archive for 2011

Some Islamic scholarly views about the Arab Spring

December 19, 2011

Bismillah.  This to share some important views from religious scholars over the last 6 months, but still relevant due to the ongoing Arab spring.

My father attended an international conference of Islamic scholars in Mecca before Ramadan, in the summer of this year.  The Arab spring was obviously discussed.  Some people of knowledge, who unfortunately can become trapped too close to corrupt governments, were trying to make out that the Arab spring was prohibited (haram), un-Islamic rebellion and revolt.  As is well-known, at the height of the Egyptian revolution earlier this year, very senior religious authorities in both Egypt and Saudi Arabia condemned the protesters as “rebels against legitimate Muslim rule,” and lost credibility in the eyes of many as a result.

So, at the conference, up stepped Sheikh Muhammad Hassan Dadu of Mauritania, a highly-respected Hadith scholar, to give his view.  He said that the rulers of Arab and Muslim countries, in the past, have generally held power on the basis of one or more of the following three factors:

1. By the direct allegiance (bay’ah) of their people. [This is the ideal manifestation of the Islamic principle of Shura (mutual consultation in social and public matters), which has given an entire chapter of the Qur’an its name.  The theory of Shura has much in common with that of democracy: of course, both have had many different interpretations and manifestations throughout history.  Muhammad Asad saw in the Prophet’s Medina and the rule of the Rightly-Guided Caliphs a very early form of the “social contract” discussed centuries later by Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau. The anti-democracy rhetoric of some extreme Islamist groups is therefore extremely problematic from an Islamic viewpoint, not least since some of them enjoy freely expressing this rhetoric in Western democracies. – U.H.]

2. By the support of the powerful elite (ahl al-hall wa l-‘aqd).  [These are ideally supposed to represent the will of the people.  Elected representatives in democracies can therefore be seen as a type of this classical Islamic formulation. – U.H.]

3. By force. [Traditional Sunni Islam tended to reluctantly accept the rule of the mighty, fearing greater harms from unsuccessful attempts to change the status quo. – U.H.]

Sheikh Dadu then observed that current rulers of Arab and Muslim countries tend to rule by no. 3, i.e. force.  He added that therefore their only legitimacy was their strength, and thus that if a more powerful counter-force was to arise, such as popular protest or a more powerful army, whether internal or external, they would have no legitimate basis for holding on to power.  He was of course describing accurately the course of much of Islamic political history: numerous caliphs and sultans seized power by force, and lost it by force.  If dictators are unable to hold on to power by force, they simply cannot complain about it.  (The dream-like picture of 14 centuries of perfect caliphate that can somehow be restored overnight by elitist military coups or terrorism is entirely false, not to mention fanciful.)

Update: on 16th December 2011, I attended the Friday Prayers at the Muslim World League in Goodge St., London.  These happened to be led by Sheikh Sa’d al-Burayk of Saudi Arabia. (Two decades ago, I had often listened to his recorded recitation of Surah al-A’raf to help consolidate my memorisation of it: he had a strikingly strong voice and recitation style.)  Al-Burayk’s topic was the Oneness and Majesty of God, and he kept repeating the Qur’anic phrase: ar-Rahmanu ‘ala l-arsh-istawa (The Most Merciful Settled Above The Throne).  He mentioned some of the planets of the solar system by name, our galaxy, the seven heavens, and the lesser and greater thrones: God is beyond all of that, so His Majesty is far greater than even the majesty of the universe.

He condemned those who mix their monotheistic prayers with prayers to ‘Ali, Husain, ‘Abdul Qadir al-Jilani etc. for help.  Although (thankfully) he did not use sectarian labels, this is well-known to be a classic salafi way of referring to shi’as and sufis.  He asked twice, “How did shirk (polytheism/idolatry) enter the Muslim nation?”  This raises the question as to whether or not he regards those “others” as Muslims.  He seemed to be softer than some of the really hard-line salafis who openly excommunicate all shi’as and sufis, and perhaps closer to someone like the late Sheikh Muhammad al-Ghazali (rahimahullah) who famously argued passionately that if people are indeed falling into polytheism/idolatry, they should be advised, educated and enlightened: not condemned to Hell, cursed and excommunicated.

At the end of the sermon, Sheikh Burayk prayed, and urged the congregation of thousands to pray, for the people of Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen.  He also prayed specifically for “the oppressed people of Syria” and described emotively how they were pure monotheists, relying only on Allah to lift their oppression.  This was a bit strange in the context of his earlier words since, of course, Shi’ism and Sufism are fairly strong in Syria. He also prayed twice to God to “protect the land of the Haramayn,” i.e. Saudi Arabia.

Thus, here we had a fairly senior Saudi sheikh supporting most of the Arab spring in his prayers in London, although a glaring omission was Bahrain: I fear that this is partly due to political and/or sectarian reasons.

We should hope and pray that Muslim nations, including their political and religious leaders, are guided closer to truth and justice.  On top of hoping and praying, of course, we must try to (continue to) help that process and participate in it as much as possible.

On Trade Union Jihad

December 19, 2011

Bismillah.  As a member of the UCU trade union, I took part in the UK public-sector strike on 30th November 2011.  Some thoughts from a faith-based perspective:

Sheikh Abdal Hakim Murad (Tim Winter) once observed that the formation of trade unions was consistent with the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) about justice, including fair treatment of workers, e.g. the hadith, “Pay the wages of the labourer before his/her sweat dries.”    The right to form trade unions is explicitly mentioned in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, most if not all of which is consistent with Islamic principles.

There is also the long, wonderful story in the Islamic hadith texts (Bukhari & Muslim, cf. Riyad al-Salihin) about the three men stuck in a cave who pray to God on the basis of previous excellent actions.  One of the three men invested a worker’s uncollected wages and when the latter returned to collect these months or years later, his ex-employer pointed to a large amount of precious livestock, since the investment had been blessed with success.  The ex-employee refused to accept this at first, thinking that his ex-employer was mocking him!

On the other hand, one might argue that strike action is a breach of contract, and therefore un-Islamic.  Some employers and Tories might agree with this.

In a world of ideal workplace relations, there would be no need for trade unions and strike action, just as in an ideal world where all people behaved angelically, there would be no need for law or its enforcement.  But since workers are often treated unjustly, a fair means of protecting their rights is an Islamic imperative, and a trade union is a good place to start.

I had a long chat with John Redwood MP, one of Maggie Thatcher’s influential advisors, around end-2007 or early 2008, when he gave a lecture at our university as a Visiting Professor.  (His lecture praised Lord Nelson as  a great British hero, and highlighted Tesco as a great British trading company.  Whether one agrees with him or not, he was thoroughly reasonable to talk to.)  I asked him about Maggie’s war on the trade unions, that I’d followed as a child via the daily BBC 9 O’Clock News during the miners’ strike.  He replied that he wasn’t opposed to trade unions, but that he believed in freedom and was therefore opposed to “closed shop” unions, where all workers in a particular situation are obliged to join the union and do not have the choice to opt out.

This sounds logical enough, but I’ve come across a problem through experience: union members at our workplace took strike action a couple of times in the noughties, risking our jobs and careers, but each time the employers gave in and agreed higher pay rises with the unions.  Thus, all our colleagues, including non-union members, benefited financially from the strike action without the associated risk.  (I asked a union rep about this at the time: he said that the union would be writing to non-union colleagues, inviting them to donate the entire pay rise to charity.  A worthy sentiment, but somehow I can’t see that happening across the board – it appears to be an impractical suggestion in real life.)

So, a closed-shop would appear to go against the principle of freedom (which Sheikh Gamal al-Banna, brother of the famous Hasan al-Banna, describes as one of the universal objectives or maqasid of Islamic law).  But a closed-shop would also appear to be the only way in many situations of having a trade union at all.  Note that UDHR 23(4) guarantees the right to join trade unions, whilst 20(2) prevents compulsory joining of any association.  The Wikipedia entry on Trade Unions, at the time of writing this, has a useful section on closed shops, union shops, etc.

Whatever the situation, Muslims should be able to debate these issues based on real fiqh (understanding of faith in context), recognising that there are often competing factors on many sides of an argument, all involving benefits (masalih) and harms (mafasid).  There is often no simple answer, no clear-cut sacred text (nass), no single political position that all Muslims are obliged to adopt, when it comes to life’s complicated issues.  Any serious study of the classical Islamic jurisprudence of human relations (mu’amalat) proves this.

Trade-unionists in Muslim countries have been struggling for decades to defend workers’ rights, and have been particularly active in the Arab Spring.  Many workers and trade-unionists have been unjustly sacked, harassed, imprisoned, tortured and even killed in the course of their struggles for justice.  It is no exaggeration to say that such people fighting injustice are engaged in a sacred Jihad, and those who lose their lives in the process are martyrs (shuhada’).

There are a number of excellent campaigning groups and tools that help in this kind of Jihad.  Amnesty International and similar organisations do great work, although of course people are free to disagree with aspects of their work or specific cases.  LabourStart is another good place, and is also on Facebook.  The IUF is more sector-specific, and at the time of writing, its top story is related to a Muslim country:

“Urgent Action: Nestlé Pakistan attempts to blackmail workers challenging precarious jobs regime into renouncing their rights

Supporting such work is pre-eminently from the Way of the Prophet (Sunnah): far, far more important than endless, hair-splitting about obscure issues of theology, jurisprudence and dress.

Thus, all these organisations try to work on behalf of those whom they see as oppressed, of whatever faith.  Some Muslims wish to create “Islamic” groups to deal with such issues.  Although well-intentioned, it may often be unwise and less effective in practice, especially in an increasingly-globalised world.  It may well be better to pool resources and co-operate across faith divides in practical struggles for justice.  The Prophet (peace be upon him) famously praised the Hilf al-Fudul, a treaty to help the oppressed that was agreed in pagan, pre-Islamic Arabia.  This has also been the approach, to their credit, of groups like YM/ISB (from the 80’s) and, more recently, the City Circle.

It should also be remembered that perservering with negotiation, compromise and reconciliation should also be seen as a type of Jihad (Surah al-Anfal, the pro-Jihad 8th chapter of the Qur’an, mentions spoils of war as well as reconciliation in its opening verse.)

Please support such moral Jihads whenever possible: may Allah bless our endeavours!

New research on UK converts to Islam

December 18, 2011

Bismillah

PRESS RELEASE: INCREASING NUMBER OF BRITONS CONVERTING TO ISLAM FACE HOSTILITY

17th December 2011

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE. PLEASE DISTRIBUTE.

CONTACT: DR. LEON MOOSAVI, LANCASTER UNIVERSITY
A four year study has just been completed that has examined the experiences of the growing number of Britons who are choosing to convert to Islam. Estimations suggest that as many as 100,000 Britons have converted to Islam in recent years. Some of the key findings of the study which was conducted by Dr. Leon Moosavi in the Sociology Department of Lancaster University are as follows:

• Britons from all backgrounds are choosing to follow Islam. There appears to be a tendency for younger people and women to convert to Islam. Some of these Muslim converts retain an Islamic identity for many years whereas others abandon the faith after a brief period.
• People are converting to Islam for a host of reasons, including because of a decreasing relevance of Christianity in Britain and in order to find a sense of community in a lonely ‘broken Britain’. 9/11 and 7/7 has also had an impact in triggering more questions about Islam for many non-Muslims, some of whom decide to convert to Islam after investigating Islam. Many of those who convert to Islam claim it is because Islam offers a suitable alternative to Western capitalism, the need for which is more pronounced during the current worldwide economic crisis. Some of those who convert to Islam do so after being targeted by Islamic preachers who seek to convert them. Others convert to Islam for the sake of legitimising their intimate relationship with a lifelong Muslim.

• Muslim converts can find it difficult to attain acceptance in the Muslim community. Many lifelong Muslims are suspicious of Muslim converts and exclude them from mosques, events and other events. Black Muslim converts in particular face rejection in the Muslim community indicating some racist attitudes in the Muslim community. Muslim converts often have to go to great lengths to prove their sincerity and worth to lifelong Muslims. The War on Terror climate has generated increased suspicion towards Muslim converts who are often suspected as government spies.

• Muslim converts are often disowned by their family and friends after converting to Islam. Their conversion to Islam is often ridiculed and treated with contempt by non-Muslims. This is indicative of a widespread attitude of Islamophobia towards Muslims in Britain. However, unlike previous studies which describe Islamophobia as blatant and rampant, this study has found that Islamophobia often operates more subtly and discreetly.

• Muslim converts often have to contend with stereotypes that their conversion to Islam is related to their sympathy with Al Qaeda or extremist views. While some Muslim converts do chose an extremist path, the majority are comfortable in identifying as British Muslims, and are often fiercely patriotic. They often describe themselves as ‘bridge builders’ who seek to act as ambassadors in bringing harmony between Muslims and non-Muslims.

Dr. Leon Moosavi, who conducted the four year study, said: “In a time when numerous questions are being asked about the role of religion in 21st century Britain and the place of Islam in the Western world, the growing number of non-Muslim Britons who are opting for Islam reminds us of the permanent status of Islam in Europe. The challenges faced by these converts also demonstrate persistent Islamophobia and racism in British society amongst both non-Muslims and Muslims”.

For more information, please contact Dr. Leon Moosavi on l(dot)moosavi(at)lancaster(dot)ac(dot)uk

Dr. Syed Aziz Pasha, rahimahullah

November 24, 2011

Bismillah. Dr. Aziz Pasha departed this world yesterday, aged 81. His funeral prayer will be held at RPM after Friday prayers. Burial at the Gardens of Peace. I owe him for sending me to the Qur’an Festival/Competition in Mecca, 1984, where we got to pray inside the Ka’bah.

The following is from the MCB:

Mourning the passing of community pioneer Dr Syed Pasha ‬‪

23 November 2011‬‪

The Muslim Council of Britain notes with sadness the passing of Dr Syed Aziz Pasha, a pioneering and distinguished leader of the British Muslim community. Inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi raajioon – to God we belong and to Him we return.‬‪

Dr Pasha, who was 81 years old, dedicated his life to public service following a promising career as an international lawyer. He led the Union of Muslim Organisations (UMO), an umbrella association of many Muslim organisations, and was active in many other prominent Muslim bodies.‬‪ ‬‪Dr Pasha founded the UMO in 1970, after serving as President of the Indian Muslim Federation (from 1967) and leading the Knightsbridge Mosque (1967). As leader of the UMO he fought for common cause between Britain’s diverse Muslim communities and promoted public policy issues that helped Muslims play a fuller role in British society. Dr Pasha had an indomitable character and his uncompromising stance for the interest of the Muslim community drew widespread respect from the community and wider society.‬‪

Celebrating his contribution, Farooq Murad, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain, said: “Dr Pasha paved the way for a vibrant British Muslim civil society and was an inspiration to us all. He was determined that Muslims should play their full part in mainstream life, identifying policy issues that affected British Muslims as a faith community and championing issues such as state funding for Muslim schools.”‬‪

For his dedication to the community, he was honoured OBE in 2005 and was a recipient of many awards including MCB’s first ever ‘Lifelong Service to the Muslim Community’ award in 2006.

On the Channel 4 Dispatches programme about violence and hate-preaching in some UK mosques

October 31, 2011

Bismillah. This programme was aired in February, but the Daily Mail has been citing it again regularly this month.

The violence and hate-preaching exposed in some UK mosques was, of course, deplorable. But the programme also targeted Deobandism, just as similar programmes had previously targeted Salafism/Wahhabism.

It was good that Mufti Barkatullah and Rashad Ali pointed out that the extremist views and behaviour were not mainstream Deobandism at all.

The programme failed to mention that the mosque where the worst violence was filmed, appeared to be Barelwi-Sufi, judging by the “Prophet’s birthday” celebratory items on view. Exploring this would help undermine the superficial and unhelpful “Sufism=good, Salafism/Deobandism=bad” discourse that has become popular since 9/11.

As Prof. Philip Lewis observes in his book “Young, British and Muslim” (2008), UK Deobandism has a progressive as well as a regressive wing. It is hoped that the two strands have a fruitful debate, such that the net effect is a positive future for Islam and for Britain. A similar situation surely holds for UK Salafism-Wahhabism and Barelwism-Sufism as well as for UK Shi’ism, and in fact for UK religious and anti-religions in general!

The Seven Heavens, The Ring, The Desert, Genesis, Quran and Hadith: How The Universe Really Works

October 28, 2011

Bismillah.  Received yesterday from Dr. Sabbir Rahman.  Edited slightly.

Assalamu `alaikum,

Please find attached a (slightly tongue in cheek) article I have  submitted to
sci.physics.relativity newsgroup. I hope you find it  interesting, particularly
the comments regarding the “seven heavens”.

Wassalam,

Sabbir.

———————————————————-

My distinguished Physics chums,

It is time that you were told a little secret: This is how the universe *really*
works – so listen very carefully!

As some of you will know, Thanu Padmanabhan has recently shown that the
Einstein field equations are a direct consequence of the thermodynamic
equations of state for a spacetime with microstructure, and that this  holds
irrespective of the specific nature of the microstructure degrees  of freedom.
This is an extraordinarily powerful and important result.

Hagen Kleinert has also independently proposed a very specific model for  the
microstructure of spacetime as a “floppy” world crystal with  defects, where the
defect interactions also give rise to the Einstein  field equations. This is a
specific case of Padmanabhan’s general result  and one that also happens to be
very appealing. If this picture is  correct, then the floppy geometry of the
world crystal can be identified  with the metric of spacetime.

Let us suppose initially  that there is a single spacetime sheet  containing
many defects randomly distributed throughout. Now the  defects, which act as
tiny elements of curvature (i.e. small elements of  mass), will interact with
each other (without loss of generality, let  us assume initially that the
defects are mutually attractive, i.e have  positive mass**), and inhomogeneities
in the defect density will become  magnified, resulting eventually in localised
regions of high curvature  which will eventually evolve to become rotating (i.e
Kerr) black holes  with a ring singularity* that rotates at the speed of light.
[*Note that  once the singularity has formed, it becomes topologically separated
from the rest of the universe, and these rotating black holes are  therefore
stable, neither increasing or decreasing in mass, except  possibly via
interaction with other black holes]

[**I will explain below  the reason for there being an excess of matter over
antimatter a bit  later on when I discuss ultra-large scale structure].

Now, as explained by Hawking & Ellis in “The Large Scale Structure  of
Spacetime”, Kerr black holes are actually double-sheeted objects –  any lump of
matter (or in this case, defect) “falling” through the  centre of the annular
singularity will emerge in another spacetime sheet  which is time- and
mass-reversed relative to the original sheet. What  this means is that while
these “primordial” black holes will have net  positive mass due to the mass
associated with the ring singularity, the  fact that vast quantities of matter
elements will be falling through the  ring with positive mass and emerging on
the other side in the second  spacetime sheet with an apparently negative mass*
means that these mini  black holes will also have a strong gravitational dipole.

[*This is  because positive mass/curvature particles/defects travelling
backwards  in time on the second sheet interact like negative mass/curvature
antiparticles/antidefects travelling forwards in time from the  perspective of
particles/defects on the first sheet]

The other important consequence of the formation of these Kerr black  holes is
that the initial assumption that there is only a single  spacetime sheet was
wrong. In fact spacetime must have been  double-sheeted all along, and if it
helps, you can think of these as two  parallel sheets (actually superimposed in
reality) with the primordial  black holes being little wormholes connecting the
two sheets. Now with  the formation of more and more black holes there will be a
multitude of  negative mass defects spewing out onto the second sheet – these
themselves will be distributed fairly randomly throughout that sheet and  will
naturally form negative mass black holes in exactly the same way –  this time
negative mass defects will fall through these black holes and  re-emerge as
positive mass defects on the first sheet. Obviously, the  regions where the
negative mass black holes are formed will be  physically separated from the
regions of positive mass concentration due  to their mutual repulsion.

[*Note that there are topological  constraints which require that positive and
negative mass black holes be  formed in pairs. Note also that Trayling & Baylis
have shown that  the standard model gauge group emerges naturally from an
8-dimensional  spacetime]

Thus, with time, many such primordial black holes will form – some with
positive mass, and others with negative mass – but all with strong
gravitational dipoles. Furthermore, as explained by Arcos & Pereira  and others,
these rotating black holes are spinorial, and the fact that  they fill spacetime
strongly suggest that they are none other than  neutrinos and antineutrinos. So,
the vacuum of our universe is,  according to this picture, a strongly
gravitationally polarisable fluid  of neutrinos and antineutrinos – and as
explained by Luc Blanchet, this  polarisability is sufficient to explain the
modified Newtonian dynamics  observed in the anomalous rotation of the spiral
arms of galaxies.

Anyway let us continue with our little tale at the microscopic level …

Just as the positive mass defects will naturally tend to clump together  in
spatially separated regions from the negative mass defects, so will  the
positive mass neutrinos tend to clump together in regions spatially  separated
from the negative mass neutrinos. And just as the defect  concentration
eventually became  high enough to form black holes, so too  will eventually the
neutrino and antineutrino concentrations become  high enough to form even more
massive rotating black holes. Once again,  once the ring singularities at the
centre of these higher mass rotating  black holes have formed, they are quite
stable. It turns out in this  case that the flow of neutrinos and antineutrinos
towards the  singularities makes these latter black holes look like charges. Due
to  an unfortunate (but forgivable) choice of sign convention for charge, it
turns out that the neutrinos gravitationally collapse to form electrons  with
negative charge (it would probably have been better to associate  matter with
positive charge), and antineutrinos to collapse to form  positrons with negative
charge. Note however that  neutrinos(antineutrinos) falling through the ring
singularity at the  centre of the electron(positron) from the first sheet
re-emerge as  antineutrinos(neutrinos) in the second sheet. Because of
antineutrinos(neutrinos) falling through the electrons'(positrons’) ring
singularity from the second sheet*, electrons(positrons) can appear to  either
be absorbing or ejecting neutrinos(antineutrinos). As shown by  Rahman (that’s
me!) it turns out that the apparent charge of the  electron/positron depends
only on whether the particles have positive or  negative mass (i.e. whether they
are matter or antimatter) and not on  whether they are being absorbed or
ejected.

Now Rahman (that’s me!) has also shown that ripples in the spacetime
neutrino/antineutrino fluid look just like (i.e they *are*)  electromagnetic
waves. Also, because electrons are continuosly spewing  out positive mass
particles (i.e. neutrinos), they will repel other  electrons through simple
momentum transfer, and with the usual inverse  square law decay with distance.
Similarly, they will attract positrons  because if you throw a particle with
positive momentum at an object with  negative mass, it will acquire a negative
velocity and be attracted  towards you. Needless to say, all of the standard
laws and equations of  electrodynamics follow naturally from this picture. In
fact, the picture  is particularly nice – when a source electron(positron)
throws out a  neutrino(antineutrino) and it falls through the ring singularity
of the  target electron or neutrino, it travels backwards in time (i.e. looks
like an antineutrino(neutrino) going forwards in time) and returns to  the
source electron(positron). So the interaction of charged particles  looks like
the ejection of a neutrino-antineutrino pair from the source  charge followed by
the absorption of the pair of particles by the target  charge. Because of the
strong gravitational dipole associated with the  neutrino and antineutrino
(which in fact drowns out their opposing  mass), they will actually align
themselves accordingly, and dance a  helical dance around each other as they
travel from source to target.  Thus, photons turn out to be standing waves in
time of twisted  neutrino-antineutrinos pairs (actually a single neutrino going
round a  closed-timelike curve), with their polarisation determined and
frequency  determined by their helical dance.

[A number of researchers (including Arcos & Pereira mentioned above)  have
already attempted to model the electron as charged, rotating,  Kerr-Newman black
holes, assuming that charge is an independent,  intrinsic property of the
electron, noting in particular that these  solutions have the correct
gyromagnetic ratio for an electron. However  this view is incorrect in light of
the above analysis – in fact the  motion of the infalling/ejected neutrinos and
antineutrinos is  sufficient to explain the apparent charge, which is emergent
rather than  intrinsic, and the uncharged fast Kerr solution, rather than the
Kerr-Newman solution, is sufficient to describe them].

The matter-antimatter symmetric universe I describe above is essentially  the
same as the one recently proposed by Gabriel Chardin & Aurelien  Benoit-Levy.

Let us now digress briefly onto the subject of the origins of quantum theory.

The abundance of Kerr black holes and the accompanying closed timelike  curves
(which are exploited heavily by charged particles interacting  with each other
via exchange of neutrinos) also explains why the world  happens to be quantum
mechanical. Particles passing through the ring  singularity are effectively
taking part in a time-reversing scattering  process, and can therefore travel
both into the past and the future.  Because the universe is filled with such
black holes, every particle in  the universe is essentially aware of every other
particle both in its  past and future (and indeed spacelike separated), and this
explains why  the quantum mechanical wavefunction seems somehow to be
“omniscient” of  sorts. The ability of each particles to communicate with
entirety of the  rest of the universe does not however give rise to any
inconsistencies.  The apparent consistencies are merely due to the fact that we,
as  humans, are constrained to live within the universe and can only observe  it
according to our own forward-pointing arrow of time.

To understand this, consider a toy model universe consisting of a very  large
close loop of wool which is tossed into the air, and then lands on  the floor in
a large tangled mess. A direction of time is then  assigned, and one-dimensional
slices across the woolly configuration  will correspond to spatial time slices.
Even in this example we can  observe a “big bang” of sorts (actually with no
particles) with multiple  spontaneous particle pair creations (and
annihilations), with an  expanding universe, all followed by a big crunch at the
end of time. One  can easily add interactions (and even free will to observers
travelling  along the positive time direction along the wool) without
drastically  changing the underlying picture. The point is, the space of all
possible  universes corresponds to the space of all possible final
configurations  of the tangled woolly mess on the floor. Only one set of events
(i.e  one universe) actually occurs out of the space of all possible events
(universes).

As observers passing along our own worldlines (i.e. our own piece of  wool) in
the forward time direction, we are able to extract rules from  our past
experience of how our universe seems to work, and this allows  us to build up a
probabilistic view as to what might happen in the  future. Of course, as the
chap who threw the string up in the air in the  first place already knows, the
future is already set in stone (or  carpet) as it were, and so what actually is
measured is already known to  him, if not to us. Our past acts as a constraint –
even though  particles we know that particles can apparently move backwards and
forwards in time (just as the piece of wool rotates all over the place  and
backwards and forwards in time), they cannot change the past that  has already
been observed by us (or indeed the future that is known only  to the Great
Thrower of the Woolly String). Basically, the Novikov  self-consistency
conditions apply, mainly because that everything that  will happen, has in
reality already happened according to any observer  that transcends spacetime.

It should now be clear that quantum theory is a direct consequence of  classical
gravity and *not* the other way around – and in particular the  world is quantum
mechanical because of the closed timelike curves that  arise from the existence
of Kerr black holes which give rise to time  reversing scattering processes.
Rather amusingly, everyone who is busily  engaged in trying to find a quantum
theory of gravity, and yes, that  includes you(!), has gotten it all the wrong
way around! (Oh dear, how  terribly embarrassing!)

By the way, our description of quantum electrodynamics is effectively  the sames
as the action-at-a-distance picture of Hoyle & Narlikar,  based upon the
absorber theory of Wheeler and Feynman, and the response  of the universe needs
to be taken in to account. The exchange of  neutrinos and antineutrinos
backwards and forwards in time are just the  advanced and retarded waves of John
Cramer’s “transactional”  interpretation of quantum mechanics (which, as a
corollary is the  correct interpretation of quantum mechanics, so I would
suggest that you  simply drop the Copenhagen or “many worlds” interpretations as
they are  incorrect, and with the benefit of hindsight, a little embarrassing).

This ends our little digression into the origins and interpretation of quantum
theory.

The above picture of the electron with its spinning ring singularity  (indeed
spinning at the speed of light) is strongly supported by David  Hestenes’
inspired analysis of the Dirac equation in the language of  geometrical algebra.
However, he came across an additional troublesome  rotational parameter for
which he could not find an interpretation. The  reason for this extra term can
be understood when one realises that not  all the neutrinos travelling through
the ring singularity escape –  rather many of them are trapped around the
electron’s ring singularity  in a bounded closed orbit. In fact, because of the
spinorial Kerr  structure, each neutrino has to wrap around the electron twice
(once  rotation with its clock going forwards, and one rotation with its clock
going backwards) before returning to its original state with no net time  having
elapsed for it! It is this winding of these bounded neutrinos  about the
electron’s ring singularity that gives rise to the additional  angular term in
Hestenes’ analysis, and what he assumes is the helical  motion of the electron
itself, is actually the helical motion of the  bounded neutrinos helplessly
wrapped around them.

But this is not the end of Hestenes’ genius, as he was able to go one  huge step
further, and extend the same analysis of the Dirac equation to  derive
electroweak theory (see his paper entitled “Gauge Gravity and  Electroweak
Theory”).

But quarks are still conspicuously missing from the above picture. How  can our
picture of the universe be complete without the quarks? Well,  once again the
neutrinos come to the rescue. The electrons are just  ground state black holes
where neutrinos wrap around the Kerr  singularity just twice in two rotations.
Unlike electrons that live  happily in a double-sheeted spacetime, quarks
naturally live in a  triple-sheeted spacetime (each sheet corresponding to one
of the three  quark “colours” red, green and blue) and as such cannot exist in
an  isolated state but only in colour singlets as quark-antiquark pairs or
quark triplets.

At the next excited state, the neutrinos would have to wrap around the
singularity in such a way that it falls through the ring every  two-thirds of a
revolution (i.e. every 240 degrees), so that it has to  perform four revolutions
before returning to its original state. This  excited state corresponds to the
up quark and it is this 120 degree  defect angle that gives the up quark its
apparent 2/3 charge. Similarly,  the down quark corresponds to a state in which
the neutrino wraps  around the ring singularity once every 120 degrees (it has
to perform  two rotations before returning to its initial state), and the 240
degree  defect angle gives rise to the apparent 1/3 charge of the down quark.
There is energy associated with the winding of the neutrinos around the
singularities, and the fact that the neutrinos have to wrap around the
singularity twice as quickly in the down quark as in the up quark is why  the
down quark has around twice the mass of the up quark. [The  existence of such
excited “clover leaf” type orbits around Kerr black  holes has already been
hinted at in the recent paper by Grossman, Levin  and Perez-Giz]. I expect that
there is a connection between this picture  of the fundamental particles and the
braid picture of Bilson-Thompson  et al. and this is certainly worth
investigating. On the other hand, I  still do not know for sure where the three
fermion families come from  and this remains an open problem.

** Now, coming back to the (ultra)large-scale structure of spacetime, I  wanted
to explain why there appears to be more matter than antimatter in  the universe.
It needs to be understood that there was no Big Bang. Not  even a small one.
This may also turn out to be a great source of  embarrassment for those who have
dedicated a large chunk of their life  towards trying to understanding what
happened in the first few moments  after it took place (which it didn’t). The
whole Big Bang idea was a  stupid one right from the start.

Anyway, this is what really happened. The universe was this vast ocean  (i.e. a
spacetime filled with defects giving rise to primordial  neutrinos etc etc) –
actually it was two oceans – a double-sheeted ocean  of you like. In fact, let
me put it like this:

1. In the beginning, God created the heaven (first spacetime sheet) and the
earth (second sheet)

2. And the earth was without form, and void, and darkness was upon the  face of
the deep (there were initially no defects in the microscopic

structure). And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters  (defects
and anti-defects are introduced, and the resulting fluid is

set in motion).
3. And God said, Let there be Light (matter): and there was light.
4. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the
darkness (matter-antimatter repulsion)

5. And God called light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the  evening
and the morning were the first day. (an excellent day’s work!)

6. And God said, Let there be a firmament (ring singularity) in the  midst of
the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.  (neutrino formation)

7. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under  the
firmanent, from the waters which were above the firmament: and it  was so (the
singularity separates each heaven from the one below – see  below)

8. And God called the firmament [a] Heaven. And the evening and the morning were
the second day. (another great day’s work!)

9. And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together  unto one
place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. (formation  of electrons and
other elementary particles)

10. And God called the dry land Earth: and the gathering together of the  waters
called He Seas: and God saw that it was good. (and the rest, of  course, is
history…)

Now while this is something of a curiosity, the real point I want to  make is
that when those first primordial rotating black holes were  formed, the matter
in each ring singularity (and there was a lot of it!)  became trapped and
topologically disconnected from the rest of the  universe – indeed it became an
independent separated closed  “sub-universe” (if you like) in its own right,
with the geometry of the  Kerr ring singularity (described nicely by Arcos &
Pereira). Now,  what is considered matter and what is considered antimatter is
of course  a matter purely of convention (no pun intended), but anyway, let’s
just  say that this was a positive mass (i.e. matter) black hole – then most  of
the stuff which became trapped in the singularity will naturally  consistent of
matter (i.e. defects, rather than anti-defects), and so  the sub-universe will
naturally consist of an excess of matter over  antimatter. Of course this
universe will also contain defects, as well  as neutrinos etc, and these will
also form rotating black holes, which  themselves will have sub-universes
trapped in their own little  sub-universes – and in this way, a hierarchy of
universes will be  formed, one inside another. In fact, we are told in the
Qur’an that  there is a hierarchy of seven such “heavens” (see also for example
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven_Heavens ):

“Blessed is He in Whose Hand is the dominion; and He is able to do all  things.
Who has created death and life that He may test you which of you  is best in
deed. And He is the Almighty, the Oft-Forgiving; Who has  created the seven
heavens one above another; you can see no fault in the  creation of the Most
Gracious.” [Qur’an 67:1-3]

“It is He Who hath created for you all things that are on earth;  Moreover His
design comprehended the heavens, for He gave order and  perfection to the seven
firmaments; and of all things He hath perfect  knowledge.” [Qur’an, 2:29]

“So He completed them as seven firmaments in two Days, and He assigned  to each
heaven its duty and command. And He adorned the lower heaven  with lights, and
(provided it) with guard. Such is the Decree of (Him)  the Exalted in Might,
Full of Knowledge.” [Qur’an, 41:12]

The ring structure of each sub-universe is also indicated explicitly in  the
hadith literature. Indeed in his sayings and traditions, the Prophet  Muhammad
(pbuh) described the size of the heavens; the first heaven, as  compared to the
second, is similar to a small _ring_ in the desert, and  he continued this
narrative until he described the sixth heaven as being  the size of a ring in
the desert compared to the seventh heaven. Also,  the Prophet (pbuh) said, “The
seven heavens are in relation to the  Kursiyy [Footstool or Minor Throne] like a
ring thrown into a waterless desert. And the superiority  of the `Arsh [(Major)
Throne] over the Kursiyy is like the superiority of the desert over  that ring.”

***

One of the main things to look out for in the near future are the  results of
the AEGIS experiment – does antimatter have have negative  gravitational mass as
predicted above?

Um … I hope I haven’t missed out anything here that I wanted to say.

Best wishes,

Sabbir.

On the date of Eid al-Adha 1423 / 2011

October 27, 2011

Bismillah. Saudi has announced today that tomorrow (Friday 28th October) is 1st Dhul Hijjah, so Eid al-Adha will be on Sunday 6th November 2011, God-willing.

This fits the astronomical data, if one accepts a “global” approach to crescent-sighting since it was visible in S. Africa tonight. Any Saudi claims of naked-eye crescent-sighting tonight are highly-dubious, as usual, although telescopic sightings were possible (see http://www.crescentmoonwatch.org).

May the Month of Pilgrimage be a blessed one for all!

Rainbow over Leyton 11 Sept 2011

September 11, 2011

Bismillah. A rainbow over Leyton, after our 9/11 event at Tawhid Mosque. Another sign, I hope!

Updated speaker list for 9/11 event tomorrow

September 10, 2011

Bismillah. Here are the updated details. See also http://www.masjidtawhid.co, the new mosque website.

AL-TAWHID MOSQUE PRESENTS:

10 YEARS ON FROM 9/11 AND THE WAR ON TERROR: THE TASK FACING UK MUSLIMS

SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 11, 2011
2-5PM GOD WILLING
MASJID TAWHID, 80 High Road, Leyton, London E15 2BP

SPEAKERS:

SHEIKH SUHAIB HASAN (Al-Tawhid Mosque)

SHEIKH ABU MUNTASIR (UK Muslim community leader & founder of JIMAS)

LAUREN BOOTH (Journalist and broadcaster who converted to Islam recently. She is an outspoken critic of Britain’s military offensives in many countries.)

MEKAEEL MAKNOON (UK/Jamaica, Imam, author of books on Islam, former pastor)

JULIE SIDDIQUI (Director, Islamic Society of Britain)

CHRIS ROBBINS (Leader, London Borough of Waltham Forest Council, tbc)

Other speakers to be confirmed.

CHAIRED BY DR. USAMA HASAN (Al-Tawhid Mosque)

ALL WELCOME

Public meeting at Al-Tawhid Mosque: A Decade Since 9/11 & the “War on Terror” – Challenges for UK Muslims

September 10, 2011

Bismillah.

AL-TAWHID MOSQUE (as represented by its real trustees) PRESENTS:

10 YEARS ON FROM 9/11 AND THE WAR ON TERROR: CHALLENGES FOR UK MUSLIMS

SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 11, 2011
2-5PM GOD WILLING
MASJID TAWHID, 80 High Road, Leyton, London E15 2BP

PANELLISTS:

SHEIKH ABU MUNTASIR (UK Muslim community leader & founder of JIMAS)

LAUREN BOOTH (Journalist and broadcaster who converted to Islam recently. She is an outspoken critic of Britain’s military offensives in many countries.)

MIKAEEL MAKNOON (Imam, author of books about Islam & former pastor)

Other speakers to be confirmed

CHAIRED BY DR. USAMA HASAN (Imam & Academic)

ALL WELCOME