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ALIM Convention 2009

The Islamic Information Center is proud to announce its first annual three day convention, entitled the American Leadership Initiative for Muslims (ALIM) to take place from July 17th – July 19th, 2009 at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, Washington DC. The registration fee is $55 and will all the meals for the weekend, transportation and a special IIC Briefing Packet. The registration fee can be paid after successful application to the conference The hotel accommodations are available at a special convention rate $79 per night and can be reserved by calling the Hyatt at 1-800-233-1234 and requesting the Islamic Information Center.


Islam and DNA

The debate on destiny (Taqdeer) and the ability of a person to change it has been going on for ever. We, as Muslims, believe that our fate or destiny has been written by Almighty Allah, but how much God has empowered us to define our own destiny is always debatable. Religious leaders, philosophers and poets all have touched this subject from all sorts of angles but, for some, a clear and convincible picture is not there.

In the last half a century science has progressed tremendously and has come up with knowledge on a molecular level on how things work in the world and more interestingly in our body.  Science is coming up with details on the primary force which has been controlling our lives, how individual traits are transferred from one generation to the other and if we have any control on some of these aspects. Can we look at the subject of destiny based on the wealth of knowledge that we have today. It has been established beyond any doubt that DNA is the building block of every living thing in this world. Some scientists describe it as the “language of God”. With this unique language He designs, manages and controls every living thing. Since DNA determines our characteristics and traits, it should also have a significant role in our destiny, the destiny that we believe is pre-determined by Allah.

The Holy Qur’an describes the destiny in different places.
“Of what substance God created him. From a drop of semen. He create him and then established his Taqdeer.” (Sura 80-Abasa, 18-19)
At another place it is stated;
“We have indeed created all things by Qadar. And our command is but one (word), swift as the winking of an eye.” (Sura 54-Al-Qamar, 50-51)
“Who created everything and then determined its exact Taqdeer (Destiny, measure, makeup) (25-Al-Furqan, 2)
It is not only writing the Taqdeer but also writing in full details:
“There is nothing that We have left out from recording (the Taqdeer).
(Sura 6-Al-Anaam, 39)
Let us look at the establishment or writing of the Taqdeer with the DNA point of view.
The DNA designing is God’s most marvelous creation. The details started revealing when Watson and Crick first revealed the structure of DNA in 1953. A double helix with its intricate ladder like structure consisting of only four bases (chemicals) A, C, G, T. All these are part of the genes in chromosomes which is part of a cell. The genes are made of hundreds to thousands of the coding letters. It is like a computer language but far more complex. Each coding letter, called “Genetic code and the arrangement of these letters determines particular characteristics, not only for a person but for a plant or for any other living being.
When a child is born we always compare the features with his parents and relatives—oh, he looks like his father, no his features are more close to his mother. Oh, the forehead has some resemblance of his grand father; no it is more like his uncle. This is all the work of DNA. The arrangements of all the coding letters are attributed to millions of different possible characteristics. To make it more interesting and complex God has made things in pairs, male and females:
“All glory to Him. He created pairs of every thing that grows from the Earth, and out of themselves, and other things they do not know”. (Sura 30-Yaseen, 36).
When the DNA and the genetic codes of male and female combine during reproduction, a new individual is created, bearing characteristics of both the parents. Since this process is going on since ever, codes are transferred not only from the immediate parents but from their grand parents, great-great grand parents and so on and on. Not only it determines individual’s specific characters, but also determines if it is a smiling human baby or a sweet smelling rose plant or a snake full of venom. These DNA codes determine millions of characteristic of an individual, his color, his height, his body structure, his face features, and the way he acts and behaves.
To make it more organized and diversified, the genes transferring the traits are two types, the dominant ones and the recessive ones. The dominant genes transfer the main characters while the recessive genes are active sometime and dormant other time. Thus, some of traits or characteristics could skip a generation of offspring but show up in the next on or the next one. A monk scientist Mendel in early nineteenth century experimented with peas and came up with a methmatical model of how these two types of characteristics (genes) are transferred from one generation to the other.
Thus, God’s plans of propagation of a species are not haphazard but precisely calculated and planned to make everything interesting as well as  diversified. Ay several place in Qur’an it is described “similar (in kind) yet different (in variety) (Surah Al-Anam, 99, 141). How intelligent is this Divine design working through a complex system of chromosomes, genes and ultimately DNA.
In human each person is so unique that no other individual can have the same DNA make up or DNA language. One person’s structure of eye, finger prints, face or body features are so individualized that no one ever in the history of the universe have had the same features and would not have the same features in the future generations to come. Isn’t that amazing?  The DNA also determines individual’s behaviors, the way he or she thinks, the way that person reacts, struggles in his or her life, mind set and moods. This is the destiny or Taqdeer that is written as an exact DNA language so very précised and specific for that person.
“We have indeed created all things by Qadar (measure). And Our command is but one word, swift as the winking of an Eye” (Sura 54-Al-Qamar, 50-51).
“When He wills a thing He says “Be’ and it happens” (Sura 30-Yaseen, 82)
More recently scientists have started deciphering the DNA language and looking into the codes and their functions in genes. They had to sequence the DNA in a genome of a specific species (decoding the language) and then look into functions of different codes.
The Human genome was successively sequenced in the year 2000 and as Francis Collins, director of this project writes “The language of God was revealed” (The Language of God, F. Collins, Simon & Schuster, 2007). It is interesting to know that the basic gene functions of humankind and many rudimentary creatures like earthworms and flies are almost similar. Moreover, our genome language, which consists of 3.1 billion letters of DNA, is 99.9 % similar to that of Chimpanzee.
This shows that God’s language is so precise that a slight change in the language or the sequence of words ends up in a huge difference in the outcome. Interestingly this precision of the language is maintained in the reproduction and multiplication of cells and is passed on to the next generation cells. Even a minute change of one word in the sequence, if it occurs in the propagation of a cell, may cause serious problems. God has designed a built-in system of repair by destroying such transcription errors during the cell division and multiplication. In case if this transcription error skips the repair system, it causes serious diseases like cancer or many genetic diseases.
The whole language, its sequence, its attributes, its functionalities, and the millions of micro machines running in the body by this system are so complex and so enormous that if one wants to write these there would not be enough paper in the world to accommodate the information. And this is only one small aspect of the complex system of the whole Universe. This has been beautifully mentioned in the Holy Qur’an:
“Say, if the ocean turned to ink for writing down the colloquy of my Lord, the ocean itself would be exhausted before the words of my Lord come to end, Even if we brought another like it for replenishment”(Sura 18-Al-Kahf, 109)
Now comes the second part that is a person’s own capabilities to make his or her ultimate destiny. Though some of our actions come from our dictating DNA, God has left a scope of change and improvement based on the individual’s efforts. Darwin’s “survival of the fittest” theory comes from this scope of improvement. We are not only capable of improving ourselves but also can transfer these improvements onto our generations to come. One can inherit bad temper and frown like his father but at the same time has capabilities to control the temper, develop a polite attitude, and smile more often.
One can get laziness from one of the parents but has capability to strive harder and become an active person and a great achiever. Scientists have studied some of the features in a chromosome and their association with a genetic trait. The association is found roughly 50%. Just to give some examples, general cognitive ability (50%), extroversion (54%), openness (57%), aggressiveness (38%), traditionalism (54%) (Bouchard and McGue. J. Neurobiology, 2003, 54:4). As Collins in his book “The Language of God” writes “half of our population carries a specific genetic variant that makes them sixteen times more likely to end up in jail”. The Socio economic, environmental factors and personal efforts influence significantly in making the person to go to jail or live a decent life.
Similarly Collins writes “heritable factors play a role in male homosexuality. However, the likelihood that the identical twin of a homosexual male will also be a gay is about 20%…..indicating that sexual orientation is genetically influenced but not hardwired by DNA, and that whatever genes are involved represent predisposition and not predetermination”
These facts indicate that God has given the power to change our inherited abilities. He wants an ongoing process of progress and improvement. He has given traits but has also given instinct as well as intellect to struggle and improve ourselves, excel in our life, and to be a better person. He has empowered us to differentiate between good and bad, right and wrong and chose the right path as given in codes of conducts established by a society as well as given in the religious guidelines.

Environmental, social, economical as well as religious influences play a very significant role in choosing a path, both the right one and the wrong one. As the famous scientist Galileo once wrote “I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use”

American Leadership Initiative for Muslims Convention 2011

The Islamic Information Center is proud to announce its second annual convention, the American Leadership Initiative for Muslims, to take place on September 2 – 4, 2011 in Bethesda, MD. We are seeking the best and brightest from each community, professionals, students, community activists, and anyone who wants to make a difference to attend this action-oriented convention. This convention is different than any other type of Muslim convention in a few ways.

The American Leadership Initiative for Muslims Convention is dedicated to brainstorming actionable ideas, plans, and initiatives to elevate the status of our community in the United States. At the conclusion of the convention, attendees will return to their home communities with specific plans of action to effectuate these goals, and the Islamic Information Center will help to coordinate these nationwide initiatives throughout the year.

  • This is an action oriented convention, dedicated to creating new and realistic solutions – nothing at this convention is “hypothetical
  • All attendees participate in discussions on the future of our community in this country
  • This event features organizations that have succeeded in different ways in helping Muslims and other innocents around the world, including Bahrain Center for Human Rights, Amnesty International, the United Nations, the NAACP, and more!
  • The convention will also feature various government agencies and elected officials responsible for policies that affect us all, such as the Department of State, the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Treasury and more!
  • Attendees will have the opportunity to exengage in working simulations of political activism – getting on the job experience .
  • Upon sufficient interest, there may be the opportunity for a Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credit for licensed attorneys.
  • This is not a “large scale” convention with innumerable attendees, but a convention that seeks to involve community members who want to make a difference.

Who Else Wants Commendable Auto Insurance?

 

If you take the chance to consult with auto insurance brokers Red Deer or others that are available in your place of residence, it may seem to be one of the best opportunities for you to find the kind of car plan that will ensure you into the future and make you feel less worried. It is of course a very daunting task to look for an insurance policy that will give you exactly what you expect but it is not impossible to accomplish, just take a look at these simple tips and tricks below to help you find the best deal on your auto insurance.

 

Efficient and Trustworthy

It takes enough years in the industry for an insurance provider to be called effective and worthy of trust by a big percentage of its clients and ensuring that you get to have the same for your auto insurance will grant you enough peace of mind as a vehicle owner. Making sure to get to a well known provider that gives you a commendable deal in terms of car plans should be one of your priorities before even getting that purchase.

 

Addresses Specific Coverage Needs

Another important detail that you should be able to get to when you look for the right auto insurance for your vehicle is that it gets straight to the point and gives you the benefits and advantages that you truly need from a car plan. Knowing that you have your own ideals and expectations and a provider being able to give you that offer and present you with the best deal containing all of your car needs is a positive indication that you are doing business with a commendable company with commendable plans as well.

 

Convenient and Worry Free

When the unfortunate time comes that you need to access all the aid and assistance from your coverage plan, nothing is more comforting than to know that you will not need to worry and have the ease and convenience given by your chosen insurance company. This is another important factor that you should consider as you get to your selected policy provider and as you choose a specific car plan because in the long run the convenience that they provide when you need it and the more worry free you get is what matters especially when you are in your time of coverage need.

 

Satisfactory and Empathic

Additionally you should also find a provider that is able to understand how to deal with their clients in their moment of need and at the same time one that knows how to satisfactorily address any kind of issue regarding client relations. Looking at this factor can seem a bit shallow but in order for you to recognize that a provider will be ready and willing to help you at any time you need it is actually one of the many ideals that you should find important as this identifies with you to what extent they will be ready to aid you when necessary.

 

Adaptable to Financial Status

Of course when it comes to money matters, you should also have a say about it even if it means that having insurance is an investment that needs to be paid for on a regular basis. Most companies these days do have the leeway of giving clients consideration especially when finances are openly discussed, so as a client be certain to go about your current financial status with your provider so that you can get to maximize any discounts or payment adjustments available.

Policy Positions

Ashura is the annual commemoration of the heroic struggle of Imam Husain, Prophet Muhammad’s grandson. Imam Husain gave his life to oppose a ruthless ruler who tried to change Islam from a religion of moderation to one of extremism. In giving his life, Husain stands as a source of inspiration to hundreds of millions of Muslims worldwide, exemplifying the ideals of justice and good will. Notable civil rights leaders around the world, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mohatma Gandhi, used Imam Husain as a source of inspiration in their struggles for equal rights and human values. IIC believes Congress should pass a resolution honoring Ashura as a time of remembrance.