Sunday, January 16, 2022

A Sufi’s Vision of Himself and His Relation to Humanity

By Mohammad Ali, New Age Islam January 15, 2022 Sufis View Diversity In Thoughts, Culture, Race, And Even In Faiths, As Part Of The Divine Plan Main Points: 1. This essay discusses how a Sufi defines himself today. 2. It discusses the characteristics of Sufi ideas that help Sufi relate himself to other human beings on a humanitarian level. 3. It also discusses that the Sufi ideas of religious tolerance and equality are inspired by the Quran. ----- In the modern world, the term Sufi refers to numerous connotations. For some people, it could mean a person donned in rags, covered in dirt, indifferent to the world, and free from any religious obligation. And for some Muslims, Sufi practices are an utter innovation and heresy. These all understandings that have been attached to the word, Sufi, may have some sorts of anchoring points in real-life experiences. However, these meanings and representations of the word Sufi are misleading. Because this word is not about maintaining appearances and not subjecting oneself to a moral and religious code. It is about purifying one’s inner self from all types of negative feelings like anger, greed, enmity, jealousy, etc. that encourage a person to inflict harm to others. And a person can attain such purification only by abiding by certain moral principles which are provided by God Himself. By this understanding, a Sufi has a religion and follows a prescribed course of actions to purify himself/herself. Similarly, he can also not be indifferent to the world around him. For a Sufi, the creation is the manifestation of God’s attributes, meaning, the creation is a tangible display of God’s actions which one can experience and through it can attain the realization of God’s presence in the world. Every move a Sufi makes, every desire he wishes, he does so very cautiously, lest it may not be in violation of God’s command. His belief system is like that of the other Muslims in the world. However, the sole purpose of his exercises is to bring out the best of humanity from the inside of himself, which, he thinks, is the purpose of Islam as well. The purification of self is a difficult skill that can be excelled only under the supervision of a master. Throughout Islamic history, these Sufi masters took it upon themselves to teach these skills that they had honed for several years. They built Sufi hospices, and under their supervision trained novices, passing on their tradition and skills to later generations. Therefore, thinking about Sufis as those who are dismissive and unconcern about the world is deceiving. Through their hospices and Khanqahs, they have influenced the world, and their contributions to human society are significant. Sufis gave us a unique perspective about humanity. A Sufi envisions his relationship with other human beings of love and compassion. He tries to win people’s hearts, not through fear but kindness. Sufis draw inspiration for this idea from the Quranic conceptions about God and His Prophet Muhammad as a mercy for all creation in the universe. The Quranic idea that God and the Prophet are merciful for the entire humanity invites Sufis to imitate the attributes of God at their full capacity in order to get close to Him and His Prophet. Unlike Muslim jurists who divided humanity in legal terminologies, Sufis regarded all humans as the creation of God. Al-Khalqu ‘Ayāl Allāh (the whole creation is the family of Allah), is one of the formulas their lives are guided by. Sufis view diversity in thoughts, culture, race, and even in faiths, as part of the divine plan. The Quran says, Had Allah willed, He would have made you one nation (united in religion). (Maidah, 48) But God did not do so, instead, He allowed people to follow their conscience. In this divine scheme, a Sufi imagines his role as a guide, who help people find the right course to lead their lives. There is a famous anecdote that relates that once in the morning, Khwaja Nizamuddin, a celebrated Chishti Sufi of Delhi, was strolling on the roof of his Jamat Khana (khanqah). He, then, saw some Hindus bathing and observing religious rituals at the banks of the Jamuna river. At the sight of the people of a different faith immersed in their religious practices, Nizamuddin uttered, everyone has his own religion and a distinct way of following it. This statement of Nizamuddin was a reflection of his sincere belief in the diversity and freedom of religion, meaning everyone is free to believe in the religion his/her conscience leads to. This also means that Sufis not only believe in diversity in faith, but they also do not believe in coercion in the name of religion. These views of Sufis are not the products of heresy. In fact, Sufis claim that the source of such ideas is the Quran itself. In many places, the Quran has declared that God does not allow coercion in religion. Faith should be a product of sincerity and purity of thoughts, which can only be attained if people are allowed to follow their conscience freely. This is the Quranic concept of freedom in religion, and this is what Sufis believe in as well. Another important characteristic of Sufi practices is establishing and maintaining peace with every individual in this world. The underpinning idea behind this practice is that a Sufi must always rely on God’s providence and live without the fear of others. Since a Sufi does not seek or desire anything from people, he does not have any reason to quarrel with them. It is noteworthy that by seeking peace with fellow human beings, irrespective of their religion, a Sufi actually contributes significantly to the spreading of peace in the world. Sufi’s emphasis on establishing peace with the people of other religions is also inspired by the instances that they find in the practices of the Prophet Muhammad and his companions. In the early days of Islam, the Prophet established brotherhood among the people of Mecca and Medina and made treaties with the Jews of Medina and other non-Muslim tribes of the Arabian Peninsula. He also forgave the polytheists of Mecca after the conquest of the city. After this brief discussion, it can be said that a Sufi is someone who is highly committed to the noble ideals that he has learned from the Quran and the life of the Prophet Muhammad, and he devotes his entire life to the propagation of those ideals in the society. A Sufi is not someone who is illiterate, rather a Sufi is a person who is highly trained in Islamic ethics and other sciences whom he acquires either through formal education in a madrasa or through the companionship of a Sufi master in a khanqah. In the modern period, the status of khanqahs deteriorated due to the lack of serious and excellent Sufi masters. However, there is still some reminiscence of the previous glory of this Islamic institution which can be found in some Indian khanqahs. And there are some Sufis who are trying to revive this age-old tradition. Note: this essay draws on the address of Sheikh Abu Saeed Shah Ehsanullah Mohammadi Safawi, which he delivered at Jamia Millia Islamia in 2018. This address was later published in Khizr-e-Rāh Monthly, July 2018. Sheikh Abu Saeed is a Sufi master and rector of Khanqah-e-Arifia, Saiyid Sarawan, Allahabad. ---- Mohammad Ali has been a madrasa student. He has also participated in a three years program of the "Madrasa Discourses,” a program for madrasa graduates initiated by the University of Notre Dame, USA. Currently, he is a PhD Scholar at the Department of Islamic Studies, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi. His areas of interest include Muslim intellectual history, Muslim philosophy, Ilm-al-Kalam, Muslim sectarian conflicts, madrasa discourses. URL: https://www.newageislam.com/islamic-society/sufi-vision-humanity-diversity-faith/d/126166 New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Friday, January 14, 2022

Meditating On Life and Death from an Islamic Perspective

By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi, New Age Islam 14 January 2022 The Concept That Life and Death Are Trials Is An Opportunity For The Believers To Be The Best in Conduct Striking Points: 1. Muslims' perspective of death and the hereafter is based on the holy Qur'an. 2. God Almighty Created Life and Death To Test Who is a Good Human Being. 3. Islam prefers the quality of deeds to the quantity of deeds. 4. Remembering that we will be held accountable to our Lord after death Must Enable Us to Do Good acts and speak good words. 5. Fulfilling human rights should be founded on honesty and sincere faith rather than guile and deception, as has been the case with many so-called devotees of God Almighty. … The entire life for the faith of a Muslim is a trial and test, which determines his ultimate fate. For him, death represents the soul's return to its Creator, God. His views about death and the Afterlife are never far from his mind. This seeks to help him put his life and deeds into balance as he strives to live in expectation of what is to come, as a result of good deeds. Muslims' perspective of death and the hereafter is based on the holy Qur'an. Our search for the meaning of life and death will be inadequate unless we examine divine revelations. Why did Allah Almighty create death as well as life? Life is full of ups and downs, with people being either happy or miserable at times. Despite the fact that they like life, they find it difficult to contemplate death. Death is unavoidable; it comes to everyone, without exception, in an unexpected way. But what is the purpose of life and death? Is there a specific reason for death and life? The Holy Qur'an provides a clear answer to this question: “He Who has created death and life (so that) He may test you as to who of you is best in conduct. And He is Almighty, Most Forgiving” (67:2) From the foregoing, it is apparent that Allah Almighty created both life and death solely to test the believers to see who the best in conduct is. According to the Qur'an, life is a test, and we will get the results of our actions after death. The experiences of life teach us that this test is not to be taken lightly. It's impossible to conceive a test without difficulties. To achieve the position of being the finest in conduct, we are bound to face challenges such as grief, worry, starvation, devastation, oppression, corruption, loss of possessions and life, and so on. People who are constantly considering their mortality have a proclivity to do more and more good things. Without a doubt, every step of one's existence reminds him of his own weakness and helplessness in comparison to Allah's absolute strength, instilling in him the desire to live righteously. On the other side, the fear of death is the most effective technique of reforming one's behaviour, only when he believes that he will have to be accountable to his God on the Day of Judgment and that it would be a bad idea to observe the displeasure of his God on that Day. Death is an unavoidable reality of existence. When a person considers death, he must worry about his acts, for which he will be held accountable before God. If his actions are sinful, standing before God in the afterlife will be a humiliating experience for him. If his faith is sincere and his behaviour is pious, then the notion of death will not bother him. It's also critical to avoid pride, which is forbidden in Islam even for great accomplishments and pious deeds because God's reward for good deeds is fundamentally God's kindness. That we have been given the opportunity to do good deeds in this worldly life is definitely one of the blessings of God Almighty. According to a Prophetic Hadith, “death is adequate as a preacher, and assurance is sufficient as a cause of being free from needs.” [Tabarani] This hadith suggests that visiting the death moment or event of friends and family is adequate preaching. If that doesn’t work, then nothing else will. Witnessing the death, he must realize that everything will pass by his journey of life one day and that now is the moment for him to begin doing good deeds in order to create a pure relationship of love with God Alone. It's worth noting that Allah didn't say in the verse mentioned above, “Who of you commits more deeds,” but rather, “who of you is best in conduct”. This shows that it is the quality of deeds, not the quantity that counts. That is why, on the Day of Judgment, man's activities will be weighed rather than counted. In some cases, the weight of a single action is more than the weight of a thousand actions. What Is A Good Action? The Holy Prophet once recited this verse, and when he got to the words “best in conduct,” he stopped and clarified that this refers to the individual who abstains the most from the things Allah forbids and is always ready to obey Him, according to Hazrat Umar. [Qurtubi] What are the things that Islam wants us to refrain from is a topic on which we will not go into detail here. In short, we can better comprehend the division of rights in Islam between the rights of God and the rights of human beings. Along with fulfilling God's rights, we must also fulfil human rights with complete honesty. From an Islamic perspective, fulfilling human rights should be founded on honesty and sincere faith, rather than the cunning and dishonest attitude that has characterised many so-called devotees of God Almighty. So-called rights of justice, benevolence, peace, equal treatment and all other human rights must take their actual form. The reason for this is that Allah Almighty has forbidden humans from deceiving human beings by concealing hypocrisy in faith, love, peace, human rights, or anything else. So we can pass our exam and trial by abstaining from the prohibited deeds [Haram and Najayez]. The Quran reveals how Allah Almighty puts us to the test in the following way: “And We will most certainly test you somewhat by means of fear and hunger and a certain loss of wealth and lives and fruits. And, (O Beloved,) give glad tidings to those who observe patience” (2:155) Glad tidings are only given to those who exercise patience in all kinds of problems, such as those briefly outlined in the verse above. Those who prepare to conduct all possible bad activities, such as killing innocent people, bombing, destructing, stealing, and oppressing the helpless and minority, and so on; in order to satisfy selfish goals fail the test. In the two divine passages that follow, it is mentioned how individuals who are given good tidings exercise patience: “(They are the ones) who, when afflicted with some distress, say: ‘Indeed, to Allah we belong and to Him we shall return” (2:156) “It is they upon whom are bestowed successive blessings and mercy from their Lord. And it is they who are the guided ones” (2:157) Individuals who do not show patience in the face of adversity and engage in wicked actions will not obtain blessings or mercy from their Lord after they die, according to the previous paragraphs. They're the ones who've fallen from grace. There are two types of consequences. One can either succeed or fail during one's probationary period. Both types of consequences are well-mentioned by Allah Almighty in the Holy Qur'an: “Indeed, We have created man in the best constitution” (95:4) “Then We returned him to the lowest state of the low (95:5)” “Except for those who believe and do good works. For them is an unending (i.e., everlasting) reward (95:6). First Allah Almighty created all human beings in the best constitution [Ahsane Taqweem], and then He gave their self (Nafs) insight between good and evil (91:8). Following that, a person who believes in Allah Almighty, His Prophets, Angels, Messengers, and Books, and behaves in accordance with the Quran and Sunnah, has retained natural virtue and the best constitution and has passed the test. And if someone acts in a way that contradicts all of these characteristics, he will degrade his natural position and fall from the ranks of mankind, going from the best constitution to the lowest state of the low. Allah Almighty also says, “Indeed, the one who purifies his (ill-commanding) self (from all vain and vicious desires and cultivates in it virtue and piousness) succeeds” (91:9) “But the one who corrupts himself (in sins and suppresses virtue) is doomed indeed” (91:10) It is now apparent that Allah Almighty created life and death in order to put a man to the test. This entire world is a test in which we encounter both good and bad deeds; but, when we perform good deeds, our Lord will be happy, whereas when we do wicked deeds, our Lord will be displeased. Many people today are unable to control their inner demons. The reason for this could be that they are negligent of God, forgetting that they will have to answer to Him on the Day of Judgment. Take for an example; many people over the world are frightened to conduct numerous criminal acts because they are afraid of breaking international or national law. Crime will rise if there is no legislation. Similarly, many people would not have abstained from doing good deeds in this world if God had not established the law of punishment in the Hereafter. There are many things to think about and understand, but in order to do so, we as Muslims or believers must remember that we will be held accountable to our Lord after we die, so we must consider our acts and words so as not to commit any violation. ... A regular Columnist with NewAgeIslam.com, Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi Dehlvi is an Alim and Fazil (Classical Islamic scholar) with a Sufi background and English-Arabic-Urdu Translator. URL: https://www.newageislam.com/islam-spiritualism/meditating-life-death-islamic-perspective/d/126157 New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Was Muslim India Not A Secular State?

By Dr. Mohammad Ghitreef, New Age Islam 13 January 2022 Islam Reached India In Two Ways: Through Conquests And Through Merchants And Sufis Main Points: 1. Indo-Muslim age is generally seen as an unsecular era, while historian Mubarak Ali insists on this era being a secular age in spirit. 2. Some religious or semi-religious portfolios, such as Shaikh ul Islam, Qazis, and others, cannot make it unsecular and theocratic. 3. In South India, during Daulat Asif Jahi (Asafjahi rule), Maharaja Sir Kishan Pershad was the state's Madaar-ul-Maham, 4. Really in every brand of art or intellectual study, you will find Hindu and Muslim activists, artists, and scholars working side by side ------ The Indo-Muslim age is generally seen as an unsecular era, while historian Mubarak Ali insists on this era being a secular age in spirit. I use the term "secular" here for a polity not interfering in people’s religious creeds, customs, and rituals, not in the modern European philosophical sense. One may differ from this viewpoint, yet I found Mr. Ali’s theory accentuated on many counts. First of all, the state was not a theocracy. Some religious or semi-religious portfolios, such as Shaikh ul Islam, Qazis, and others, cannot make it unsecular and theocratic. Once, some Ulema insisted on Alauddin Khilji for imposing sharia law on his subject. He retorted that you people may be experts in your field, but politics is not your domain, so it would be better if you keep yourself out of that. I would better know what suitable policy is for my subject. (1) Yes, I concede, there were some exceptions too, like Aurangzeb Alamgeer, Ferozshah Tughlaq et al. Islam reached India in two ways: through conquests and through merchants and Sufis. In the conquests, there were wars with Hindus, bloodshed, and unhappy events, which are natural in the atmosphere of war. The amicability and cultural richness of Islam were manifested by the merchants and Sufis, and the local people were more impressed by it. Since then, Hindus and Muslims have been living together in this country for centuries with occasional clashes, confrontations, and conflicts between the two communities, but the proportion of exchanges of clashes has been less than that of exchanges of knowledge, respect for religion, reconciliation, tolerance, and humane behaviour. Now Muslims are being declared traitors of the country, guilty of dividing the motherland by hard-line Hindutva elements. This is apparently a matter of concern for every patriotic citizen. The question is that the animosity, hatred, and resentment between the two nations is now being seen to the extent that people belonging to a particular ideology want to change the names of the cities, historic buildings, mosques, etc. everything that reminds one of the Muslim past of the country. This tense situation between the two communities demands that its causes be assessed in depth and that the happy facts of the past of our mutual life be brought to the notice of the people again, when the Khwaja Dill Mohammad of Lahore, wrote Dill ki Gita, a commentary on Gita. When this exponential treatise was presented to a great Hindu seer of the time, he was not only impressed to read it and praise the work, but he also went to the Khwaja's house to meet him.(2). On the other hand, many Pandits and Hindu sages and scholars wrote on the biography of the prophet of Islam, and some did translations of the Holy Qur'an too. This rich contribution is still going on. Here are some misconceptions and misinformation about the whole Muslim rule needing an explanation. Among the Muslim rulers of India, most of the antagonistic propaganda has been directed against Aurangzeb Alamgir. Yes, he was in a religious frenzy and did misbehave with some dissident Hindus, but the fact of the matter is that he did not side-line the Hindu nation as a whole due to his strict policies. In his book "Aurangzeb Alamgir at a Glance," Shibli has listed the names of those Hindus who held important positions, especially military posts and positions of trust. In the reign of Akbar, in the Mughal court, we see that Raja Todar Mal was the minister of finance. And Raja Man Singh was the army chief. He won many forts for the Mughals.Raja Mansingh had built a prominent temple in Mathura, Bridaban (See Richard Eaten: (3) Mahmud of Ghazna was an invader who concurred and, of course, plundered many cities in India. Nonetheless, there are some prominent Hindu figures in his court. Tilak Rai, who took part in many campaigns of the Ghaznavids and was always considered loyal, also acted as an interpreter in their court. And according to the well-known historian Romela Thapar, the incident of Somnath was also a common occurrence like other incidents and did not affect Hindus much, yet it has now been widely propagated un-proportionately. She has written a whole book on it. (4) As far as Hindu religion and Hindu culture are concerned, Muslims, despite being victorious, did not ignore them. Apart from rendering famous Indian Sanskrit works in mathematics, philosophy, astronomy, political science, and Aurvada, produced by great Indian minds like Arya Bhatta, and Barhumgupta, the Sanskrit literature book Lailavati, and the Sanskrit verse collection Nal Waman, into Arabic and Persian, Among the works translated into Arabic and Persian were Bhagwat Purana, Mahabharata, and Panjtantra. Dara Shikoh, the Mughal scion who had many different interests, translated the Upanishads into Persian. He was a prolific calligrapher too. He wrote a book on Islam and Indian thought, Majma 'al-Bahrain. Its Hindi translation is available under the name Samadrasangam. In addition, he has been visiting or visited by many Hindu Pandits and Jogis. (5) formalised paraphrase regarding his conflict between the two brothers, Dara Shikoh and Alamgir, some religious zealots, untowardly adding salt and pepper to it, have made it a war of disbelief and Islam. Similarly, rulers, princes, and nawabs also used to participate in Hindu festivals and fairs like Holi, Diwali, Dussehra, Basant, and Shivaratri, which were celebrated with all the fanfare. Jahangeer, for example, used to celebrate Diwali and dance in it. He mentioned these things in his Tozak. Humayun also celebrated this festival. Apart from the royal court, if we come to the Indian masses, Hindus, Muslims, and others, the folk Urdu poet Nazir Akbarabadi’s poems on Hindu festivals are very popular. From the declining Mughal Empire in the 17th century, new states rose in Bengal, Awadh, Mysore, and the Deccan, in which the Asif Jahi Empire of the Deccan and the Kingdom of Mysore were the two most powerful states. Wherein Hindu loyalists and office bearers were many, the most visible name that comes to the fore is that of Pandit Purnia in Sultan Tipu’s court. In South India, during Daulat Asif Jahi (Asafjahi rule), Maharaja Sir Kishan Pershad was the state's Madaar-ul-Maham, or Prime Minister, and his name is well-known for his patronage of knowledge and literature. In Awadh, there were a large number of Hindus among the ministers, army generals, and courtiers. These nawabs and feudal satraps were equally popular and dear to the Muslim and Hindu masses. Unfortunately, a distorted version of history is now being used to create animosity between both communities. Keeping in mind this highly harmonious and rich cultural Indo-Persian tradition developed in pre-British India, the prominent European scholar Sir John Marshal observed: Seldom in the history of mankind has the spectacle been witnessed of two civilizations, so vast and so strongly developed, yet so radically dissimilar as Mohammadan and the Hindus, meeting and mingling together. The very contrast that existed between them, the wide divergence in their culture and their religions, makes the history of their impact peculiarly instructive. (6,) Muslim scholars and intellectuals also understood the dire need for reconciliation between the Muslims and Hindus of the country. For example, a prominent Alim from the Deoband school of thought, Husain Ahmad Madani, unlike other Ulama and Muslim scholars, advocated bonhomie among all Indians. He also endorsed events that are generally strongly opposed. For example, the actions of Akbar the Great can be He wrote: But the Mughal emperors paid special attention to this (interfaith understanding), especially Akbar, who wanted to uproot this idea and belief (ie Muslims are enemies of Hindus). Had his trick been successful and had the propaganda that Muslims are enemies of Hindus been buried, then the situation of the country would have been wholly changed and the well-wishers of Islam would be in the majority in India today.".(7) In terms of Hindus, men like Munshi Nawal Kishore of Lucknow were instrumental in publishing Arabic, Urdu, and Persian literature, as well as printing the Qur'an with diligence after the mutiny of 1857, when Muslims of North India were on the receiving end and felt all the burnt of that failed freedom movement. Iqbal, the philosopher poet, called Ramchandraji the Imam of Hind (the great leader of India). In praise of India, he wrote, "Sare Jahan se acha Hindustan hamara" (Our India is the best place in the whole world). Hasrat Mohani, a graduate of Aligarh, Sufi, king of a rare kind of genre called "ghazals" and relentless freedom fighter, performed Hajj several times, and each time he visited Mathura, the city of Shri Krishnji, as he felt soulful peace of mind there. At the end of British rule, the distance between the two nations began to widen for various reasons. Some English historians were also among the first to spread negative propaganda about the Mughal era, and now Hindutva historians are painting a bleak picture of it for the public. I would like to end this article with the noble words of Nobel Lauriat Professor Amartya Sen: ’I think it is important to emphasise that we cannot talk about the history of this period as if it could be split into Muslim activities and Hindu activities. Really in every brand of art or intellectual study, you will find Hindu and Muslim activists, artists, and scholars working side by side and interacting with each other. (8) Notes And References: 1-Mubarak Ali, Ulema, and Siasat Fiction House, 18 Musing Road, Lahore, p. 49. At least seven Urdu translations of the Bhagwad Gita are now available. For the details, see: Rafiq Zakariya, Indian Muslims Where have they gone wrong? P:38 3-Rechard Eaton, The Desecration of Temples in Muslim India. He said that the demolition of temples was purely for political reasons and not for religious purposes. He also said that many temples were built under the supervision and patronage of Mughal emperors. The Govinddevka Temple of Brandaban was built in 1550 at Mathura, a famous Hindu shrine by Man Singh. 4-Romila Thapar: Somnath: The Many Voices of a History Verso Books, 2005 5-Supria Gandhi, Dara Shikoh, the Emperor who Never Was, Apart from the book, you can also see her lecture on YouTube on the same subject, hosted by Carwan India. Rafiq Zakariya is an Indian Muslim. Where have they gone wrong? Bharatiya Vidya Bhawan, p. 9. 7-Najmuddin Islahi, Maktoobat ShaikhulIslam Moulana Madni, published by Maarif Azamgarh in 1952. 8-Rafiq Zakaria Rafiq Zakaria is an Indian Muslim. Where have they gone wrong.12th: ------ Dr. Mohammad Ghitreef is a Research Associate with the Centre for Promotion of Educational and Cultural Advancement of Muslims of India, AMU Aligarh. URL: https://www.newageislam.com/islam-politics/muslim-india-secular-state/d/126148 New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Why Ordinary Hindus Should Worry About the Radicalization of their Religion

By Arshad Alam, New Age Islam 13 January 2022 Like Radical Islam, Radical Hinduism Will Ultimately Devour Its Own Adherents Main Points: 1. Genocidal calls against Muslims were made at ‘Dharm Sansads’. 2. Muslim women were auctioned online reminiscent of ISIS’ trade in slaves. 3. Such anti-Muslim violence may not be new but the state’s response to it is novel. 4. The price of this Hindu radicalization will ultimately be paid by ordinary Hindus. ----- Recent events in India should put a serious spotlight on the nature of metamorphosis that Hinduism is undergoing. Anyone concerned with this hallowed philosophical tradition should take notice as to what is happening in their name. What we are witnessing is perhaps unprecedented in the nation’s history. Open call to arms and annihilation of Muslims is being advocated by so called Hindu seers, in full public view and people and clapping at such murderous appeals. The Dharm Sansads being held at various places like Haridwar and Raipur, all have one thing in common: the call to eliminate Muslims or make them into second class citizens. In this country, where someone can be arrested for a joke that he did not make, the organizers of Dharm Sansad roam around freely, spreading their poison to even larger audiences. Close on the heels of such genocidal meeting, came the news of Muslim women being auctioned through an online site. Much like the ISIS would deal and trade in slaves in the real world, we have a group of young Hindus who want to be part of the same fantasy. The Hindu right wing obsession with Muslim women’s bodies has been on display during various anti-Muslim riots which have periodically occurred within the country. Whether it was Surat, Mumbai or Ahmedabad, Muslim women’s bodies became the site on and through which Hindu male virility had to be proven. Centuries of being called effeminate, first by the Muslims and then by the British, meant that the Hindu male interiorized a deep feeling of insecurity vis a vis the Muslim male. The only way to prove that they were masculine enough was to teach a lesson to Muslim women, often in very macabre fashion. Feminists have often sought to portray women as somehow very different from men when it comes to perpetrating violence. This romantic notion now needs to be debunked. The online auction of Muslim women was not just the handiwork of men but we know that at least one Hindu woman was also an equal participant. Among those not allowing Muslims to pray in Gurgaon is a huge contingent of Hindu women who act as willing accomplices in this ideological cause. For every Babu Bajrangi, we always had a Maya Kodnani. It will be facile to understand this anti-Muslim bigotry as the product of the current political dispensation. Its roots lie deep into our polity. There is a tendency to understand this anti-Muslim hatred through what Muslims have done in the political and religious sphere. But Hindu violence should not be reduced every time to some other extraneous factor. This kind of analysis is nothing but a Hindu right-wing narrative which assumes that Hindus are inherently peaceful and tolerant as a community. And hence, if they are indulging in violence and diatribe, it must be the fault of others or they would have been provided into doing so. This ahistorical understanding fails to appreciate Hindu violence against certain castes as well as religions such as Buddhism which became almost obliterated in the land of its birth. Just as Muslim violence needs to be understood on its own ground; Hindu violence also needs to be explained as emanating from its politics and traditions. While it is important to underline that Hindu violence is not new, it is also important to point out that the state’s response to it is remarkably novel. Muslim victims of violence have hardly got justice whether it was Bhagalpur or the Nellie massacre. But the political culture of the state ensured that such incidents were at least condemned from the highest offices of the state; that there was a semblance of statist ritual through which remorse was communicated. Today, we have entered a phase in our political history where even such niceties have been dispensed with. Not only are the highest political offices of the country silent, even neutral constitutional functionaries appear to be partisan. After the genocidal calls against Muslims in the Dharma Sansad, it fell upon members of the civil society to point out that the police had the powers to take suo motto notice and take disciplinary action against the offenders. Till now, we have not seen the kind of state action which should have followed what some have rightly termed as the Adharm Sansad. One is sure that there is political pressure working on the case, but then one should also be sure that the sole casualty of such a partisan attitude is only going to be the perception of the state as a neutral agency. Ultimately, it will be the Hindu majority who will suffer if the state continues to run on the whims and fancies of few individuals instead of the rule of law. It is one of the deepest fantasies of the Hindu right to become like orthodox Muslims. Through what is called strategic emulation, they seek to make Hinduism a carbon copy of semitic religion. The inherent diversity of Hinduism is disliked for this very reason; that it inhibits the creation of a unified political community. Although it is early to say, but it appears that Hindu right is succeeding in its mission. From the wide diversity, in terms of caste, region and religious practices, a certain brand of Hinduism is arising which is levelling all such markers. The increasing participation of lower castes and women seeks to weld this version of Hinduism into a homogenous whole; through the sole strategy of otherising and demonizing Muslims. We have come to a situation where perhaps the Hindu society has reached the cusp of radicalization and only Hindus who think differently can put a stop to it. The Hindu society must not forget that the prize of Muslim radicalization was paid by Muslims themselves. In the short run, Hindu right wing might otherise Muslims. But in the long run it will be the ordinary Hindus who would pay the prize of this radicalization. ---- A regular columnist with NewAgeIslam.com, Arshad Alam is a writer and researcher on Islam and Muslims in South Asia. URL: https://www.newageislam.com/islam-politics/hindus-radicalization-religion/d/126149 New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Adjusting To Modernity: Sultan Shahin Tells An American Audience What Can Be Done To Reverse The Trend Of Muslims Accepting Radical Ideologies

By Sultan Shahin, Founding Editor, New Age Islam 12 January 2022 ---------------------------------------------------------------- What can be done to reverse the trend of Muslims accepting radical ideologies? By recognizing that while the Quan’s text is eternal, its interpretation has constantly changed, and this has direct implications for the Sharia (Islamic law). The reigning theology contradicts modern pluralism and so needs to be adjusted. What efforts toward such an adjustment are Muslims taking? What has been accomplished? ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Full Text Of Mr. Sultan Shahin's Talk Followed By A Transcription Of The Question And Answer Session Radical ideology is far more powerful and well-entrenched today than it was on 9/11. So-called Islamic State may have lost territory, but radicals have gained new territory in Afghanistan, and Africa. ISIS and al-Qaeda continue to preach their venomous ideology and attract educated Muslim youth. One of their main targets now is Indian Muslims, whom they are trying to incite for Jihad against their own government through their new propaganda organ Voice of Hind. Many blame US foreign policy mistakes post 9/11 as part of the reason behind their increased strength. But I don’t buy that. There is a reason why. I was based in London as a journalist in the 1980s. I had a chance encounter with a radicalised Muslim youth in Nottingham in the winter of 1986-87. He was trying to convert the children of a friend to Ahl-e-Hadeesim, a Salafi sect supported by the then Saudi regime. According to him, Ahle-Hadeesis were the only true Muslims. I asked him what he thought of other Muslims. He said they are the first and foremost enemies of Islam. But they constitute 99 per cent of the Muslim community, how will you deal with them, I asked him. “Kill them,” was his unhesitating response. This set me thinking. After all, this was only a young student. Something is going on in my community of which I am not aware, I thought. I had never associated Islam with extremism and violence. I started investigating this phenomenon and discovered that already 60 to 70 per cent of Muslim students in most UK universities had acquired an extremist medieval mindset under the influence of a charismatic Salafi Omar Bakri who later became spokesman for Osama bin Laden. This was early 1987, so I can’t accept that what is happening today is merely because of post 9/11 mistakes. Islam has now become almost synonymous with terrorism. Does this bother Muslims? Some Muslims, yes, they are bothered. But not the traditional Muslim Ulema. They may not say this publicly but seem to agree with the radical narrative in principle. As Maulana Abul Ala Maudoodi had said in 1940s, "Islam needs to conquer the whole world, not a part of it." According to radical theologians while Islam can allow non-Muslims to live and practice their religion, it cannot allow them to be in positions of power, much less to perpetrate atrocities against Muslims; it cannot allow them to dominate the Muslim powers as they are doing now. What is the secret of radical Islamism's success? Its strength lies in the fact that it is based on unquestionable early Islamic history, and not just Islamic scriptures. Scriptures many do not understand. But history everyone can relate to. Scriptures may lend themselves to various interpretations. But established history remains the same. Wars against Kafirs, Mushriks, Apostates. All these actually happened in the seventh century C.E and Muslims were victorious, at a time when they were very weak. Muslims destroyed the two reigning superpowers. The then world order was overturned. Within a century after its advent Islam started ruling from Spain to borders of China. An atheist like India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru called it a miracle. Now radicals claim they have again defeated two superpowers. This is another miracle, they claim, and only establishes the power of their faith once again. They feel vastly empowered with the turn of events post 9/11. What, if anything, are the moderate Muslims doing to reverse the trend, to prevent further radicalisation. As a global community, Muslims have encouraged their religious scholars, the Ulema, to issue fatwas against terrorism. Practically every Muslim religious institution has issued such a fatwa. Some of these fatwas in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh have been signed by hundreds of thousands of clerics. They all passionately declare Islam a religion of peace and denounce terrorism. But these fatwas have not worked. And they will not work. There are very clear reasons why. One, these fatwas are mostly rhetorical statements and do not question the foundations of the radical narrative. The Jihadi theology is a theology of consensus. It has evolved out of opinions of scores of revered Ulema of all sects of Islam over the last 1400 years. It cannot be countered merely by rhetorical statements like Islam is a religion of peace. All that most fatwas do by way of refutation of terrorism is present a popular quotation from Quran (5:32) saying killing even one innocent person amounts to killing humanity and saving one person amounts to saving humanity. Two, the Jihadi narrative cannot be countered by a fatwa that itself seems to agree with the fundamentals on which that narrative is based. Let me give you a concrete example. As many as 126 reputed moderate ulema from around the world, scores of them from the United States, wrote an Open Letter to the self-styled Khalifa Baghdadi denouncing his activities in August 2015. This 14,000-word fatwa was considered a big breakthrough, raising expectations, but 40,000 educated Muslim youth joined ISIS the same year from 86 countries around the world. Apparently, this well-publicised fatwa from eminent scholars of all sects of Islam, representing the moderate voice of the global Muslim community, had no impact. I had written a 2,000-word critique of this Open Letter pointing out why it will fail. This is available on my website. But I will share with you some of the reasons I had cited. This Open Letter actually made the Jihadi task easier by saying: "... everything in the Qur’an is the Truth, and everything in authentic Hadith is Divinely inspired." It also says: “Hadith is akin to revelation," even though these so-called sayings of the Prophet were written down up to 300 years after his demise.” This is precisely what Jihadis too tell our youth. These 126 Ulema also imply that the Quranic verse (2: 256) “there is no compulsion in religion,” may well have been abrogated by later militant verses in the Quran. They clearly agree with the militant Doctrine of Abrogation according to which militant verses that came later in Madina abrogated the earlier Makkan verses of peace and tolerance. Just one militant verse (9:5) alone is said to have abrogated 124 peaceful verses revealed in Makka. Similarly, the moderate Ulema say: "Hudud punishments are fixed in the Qur’an and Hadith and are unquestionably obligatory in Islamic Law," thus accepting the basic premise of the Baghdadi tribe about a Sharia that is mostly based on 7th century Bedouin Arab mores, and was first codified 120 years after the Prophet had passed away. Also, the renowned moderate Ulema accept the supposed obligation to destroy and remove all manifestations of shirk, polygamy, that is idolatry. What right do Muslims today have to destroy idols worshipped by people of other religions? Even Bamian Buddhas had survived 1300 years of Muslim rule. And so have worship places of other religions across the Muslim world. This completely obliterates the difference between moderation and extremism. What more would terrorist ideologues need by way of support from mainstream and moderate Islam. The problem with the theologians is that they have read and teach the same traditional theology on which the Jihadi narrative is based, so they cannot go beyond merely questioning its tactics, implementation, timing, etc. Now, in the remaining few minutes, I would like to share with you a few points of what I think should be the counter-narrative which will strike at the very root of the Jihadi theology. This counter-narrative is consistent with Islamic teachings and can be made acceptable if presented to the masses of Muslims properly, bypassing the theologians. Fortunately, we do have the technological means today to reach the masses of Muslims with a counter-narrative without having to approach mosques and madrasas run by traditional Ulema. 1. Qurʾān has been created by God. It is a collection of verses that were revealed to Prophet Mohammad initially in Makka. These Makkan verses teach us peace and harmony, good neighbourliness, patience, tolerance and pluralism. These are the foundational and constitutive verses of Qurʾān. They constitute the fundamental message of Islam. 2. Qurʾān also contains many contextual verses, the war-time instructions, for instance. Such verses are no longer applicable to us Muslims today. 2. The Doctrine of Abrogation, as defined by radical ideologues, is a false doctrine. God cannot be giving orders only to abrogate them later. So the militant Medinan verses of war have not abrogated the earlier peaceful and pluralistic Makkan verses. 3. God does not prescribe any punishment for blasphemy and apostasy. Nor does He authorise any human to punish anyone for Kufr or shirk. So, if at all any such 'crime' has been committed, in the eyes of theologians, the punishment has to be left to God. 4. We are now living in the world of modern nation-states; our international relations are guided by the charter of United Nations which has been signed by all Muslim states. So, all talk of performing Jihad at least once a year should cease. 5. There is no scriptural sanction for the call of a global Khilafat. Modern pluralistic states are very much in tune with the first Islamic State evolved by Prophet Mohammad under his constitution called Meesaq-e-Madina. 6. Modern Democracy is a fulfilment of the Quranic exhortation of Amrahum Shoora Bainahum (42:38). So, Muslims should try and strengthen democratic institutions. 7. Islam is primarily a spiritual path to salvation, one of the many (Qurʾān 5:48), not a supremacist political ideology. As Qurʾān came to confirm all previous faiths, we can only accept and respect all other religions as paths to the same divinity. 8. The Doctrine of al-Wala wal-Bara (Loyalty and Disavowal for the sake of God alone) as propagated by radical elements is misconceived and impractical in the present highly complex and intricately interwoven global society. I keep explaining these and similar points to my readers, hoping that common Muslims will consider them and a consensus will gradually evolve. ------ A Transcription Of The Question And Answer Session Moderated By Stacey Roman Of Middle East Forum ( Slightly Edited For Clarity) Stacey Roman : Wonderful. Thank you so much. We have the first question from Jeffrey Norwoods. Islam demands adherence to the Medina and the rule of Abrogation. How can the Muslim world deny the specific words of Muhammad and not be apostate? Sultan Shahin: With an unstable internet connection, I did not get your question fully, but I think you're probably talking about Makkan and Medina verses, the difference between them. Is that so? Yeah. What happens is that the Jihadi viewpoint and the traditional Islamic theology also is that since the Medina verses of war came later, so they have abrogated the previous Makkan verses of peace. Makkan verses had come at a time when Muslims were very weak. They were very few in number. They were living in Makka, and they were besieged by them. And so on. We didn't have a state of our own. We didn't have the power to fight. And so these new verses that came in Medina have abrogated the previous verses. However, this is a very false doctrine. And for moderate Ulama, as I told you, to support this doctrine of abrogation just amounts to supporting the theology of Jihadis. It is their theory. It suits them. How can one verse 9:5 contradict and abrogate 124 verses of Quran, which came earlier telling Muslims about coexistence and plurality and accepting other religions. La Ikraha Fiddin, for instance, there is no compulsion in religion. It is one of the main pillars of moderate Islam. This is how we present Islam. And also this is how we can live today in the modern world. We just cannot live in a world in which religion is by compulsion. You cannot convert people, compel them to convert to Islam or force them. That is something impossible. So we Muslims have to come out and say all these things out aloud and repeatedly and reach our common masses, as I said, bypassing the theologians because they are never going to accept. As I gave you the example of these 126 Ulama who are very renowned as moderate Ulama, very well respected by governments around the world, and some of them, scores of them actually are in the United States itself and Europe and other parts of the world. And they are saying, as I have explained to you, the same thing that the Jihadi theology is saying, they are actually strengthening their theology instead of refuting it. Stacey Roman: Thank you. Arnold Cohen asks, does the law of the nation state in which Muslims reside take precedence over Islamic law? What is the relationship of Islamic law and the law of the nation in which Islam is practiced? Do the answers differ depending upon the particular strain of Islam which is being observed? Sultan Shahin: Islamic law, as I said, was codified 120 years after the Prophet’s demise, and since then it has been changing. It is different from country to country. Even today, the different Muslim countries have different laws. Some of them practice only the family laws and nothing else. Most of them actually only practice the family laws. And even there are differences. Pakistan, for instance, which claims to be an Islamic Republic, has itself changed, modified and reformed Islamic law, even the family law. Even things like triple talaq law, for instance, which is considered part of the Sharia law, although it is not, it cannot be by any means. There is no sanction for that in the Quran. So there is no point in insisting on Sharia, and it is absurd living in Europe and wanting to establish Europe as a Sharia controlled zone. I was living in the UK and once found a part of East London declared by extremist Islamists as a Sharia-Controlled zone.What kind of nonsense was that? So these kinds of things that Muslims keep saying and the Jihadis have convinced some Muslims that it is their duty as Muslims to enforce Sharia on the world and that every society in the world should be following Sharia laws. And it is our duty to say that this is all absurd. And we have to say this again and again, repeatedly. And you see in a way which is consistent with Islamic scriptures. We can say these things by remaining within the Quran and Hadith perimeter. Stacey Roman: Thank you. Robert Slater asks, does Sufi Islam come closer to some of your positions? Sultan Shahin: Not Sufi theology? There are two things in Sufi Islam. One is the behaviour, the conduct of the Sufi Masters, the way they treated non-Muslims. In fact, many people converted to Islam because of their treatment, in countries like mine, for instance, where there was untouchability and things like that and these Sufis invited everybody to come and sit down with them and dine with them on the same table, etc. So it was their behaviour. They made Khidmat-e-Khalq which is service of humanity as the cornerstone of Islam. Then they also went for what is now considered as a derivative from Vedas, which is Monism, not monotheism, but monism, that God is everywhere and God is in all of us. And we are all made of the same divine Godly stuff. So we are all one. So this was the message of the Sufis, some of them, you know about that, some of them were crucified for this by the Muslims themselves. So this is what the Sufi conduct is, the Sufi Masters and how they behave. And that's how we have so much respect for Sufism also. But then there is also Sufi theology. There are Sufis who have tried to reconcile the Sufi theology with traditional Islamic theology, and they more or less say the same things. In fact, you will find that all schools of Islamic thought, including the Shia and all within Sunni Islam, all of them -- when it comes to the question of Islam, Islam's relationship with non-Muslims, Islam supremacism, exclusivism and xenophobia within Islam, they all come together. They all say more or less the same things, maybe sometimes using some different words and some different terminologies, but essentially the same thing. And Sufi theology is also no different. So when there was a big international Sufi conference in Delhi a few years ago, I had written a long piece, an Open Letter, requesting Sufi theologians to consider these issues and bring their theology in line with modernity and in line with the conduct of Sufi Masters themselves. Stacey Roman: Thank you so much. Yosef Tiles asks, Since much of the Quran speaks about punishment and torture of infidels, would it be possible to change the Quran with a more moderate sacred book? Sultan Shahin: No, I mean, you can't change the scriptures. There are so many scriptures in the world and all of them say things that you don't like and which are not compatible with modern sensibilities. You cannot change them. But what you can do. And as far as the Quran is concerned, my view has been for decades now that we should tell our people that some of these verses are contextual verses. In any war when there is a war, we do not know today exactly how this war happened. You see, even in recent events, we sometimes disagree with how things happened, what actually happened, so if something happened in a desert village 1400 years ago in Arabia at that time, we do not exactly know how things happen, why things develop, the way they develop, why God felt constrained to give the kind of orders he did. But these were wartime instructions. And in any war, this is common sense. Anybody would understand that any war order is given to kill the people. What do you do in a war? You kill people, you fight with them, you defend yourself, you try to protect yourself and you kill in that process, et cetera. So these orders are given in every war. Even in future wars, there will be orders given to the military to kill people. But then the moment that war is over, those instructions lose their value and applicability. How can instructions given 1300 years ago in a war that took place in a village in a desert be applicable to us today? What is the point of that? What kind of sense does that make? So we cannot remove verses from the Quran, for that matter, we can't do that from any scriptures. There are many scriptures and all of them contain things that are not acceptable to us today. But what we can say and this is the truth also that these verses are no longer applicable to us Muslims today. This is something that every Muslim should understand. This is the message with which we should go to the Muslims, common masses. Ulama, I am very disappointed with them. I have been dealing with them. I argued with them for decades now and I'm very disappointed that these people are simply not able to understand even matters of common sense. You just can't talk to them. They said, oh, this is in the Quran. And they say the Quran is uncreated, which means it is like God. It is an aspect of God. So you just cannot discuss the Quran. And this again is absurd because the Quran is not a book that fell down from heaven, one fine morning. It is a collection of verses, instructions that came to the Prophet from time to time for over two decades in bits and pieces. And they were basically advising the Prophet as to how to tackle a certain situation that had arisen. That situation no longer exists. There is a whole section in Islamic theological training, you go through studying Shane Nuzul, which means the context, which means how and why this verse came. What time did this verse come? What was happening at the time when this verse was revealed? Now, what is the point of understanding and studying Shane Nuzul, If you don't also say that since that context no longer remains, these verses are no longer applicable; this should be, you know, the logical conclusion. Stacey Roman: Thank you. Yes. Your point early on about the scriptures being up to interpretation, but history being undeniable was fascinating. Jeffrey Norwood follows up on that the Quran is perfect and eternal. Isn’t challenging the historic accuracy of the Quran apostasy? Sultan Shahin: There are questions about how it was collected. It was collected ten to twelve years after the demise of the Prophet in the form in which it exists now. And there have been some questions about, there have been found some pieces of Quran which seemed to differ a little bit in grammatical form, qir'at et cetera from the Quran that is considered the authentic one today by all Muslims. They do not change the meaning. And it seems that there is not much difference of opinion on this except that some people will always question. Anything that happened 1400 years ago in a very uncertain situation will be questioned and can be questioned. And people have questioned that. But the thing is that Muslims had even memorised this right there and then when the verses were revealed, it was written down as well as memorised by many people. And so many people would not have allowed Hazrat Usman, the third caliph, to give a very different version of the Quran. However, in Islamic theology itself, in the Islamic literature itself, you find some narrations which say that some verses of the Quran have disappeared. About one Surah it is said it was as big as Surah Baqarah, but retains only half of it, et cetera. So there are these questions that have arisen. Muslims have themselves recorded these down very honestly. All these questions that have come and they are there and they are even taught in Madrasas. There are several books that are taught which talk about these things and they are there. But by and large. There is not much question about the authenticity of Quranic verses. Stacey Roman: Thank you. And In our last minute here, can you just tell our viewers a little more about your website? Sultan Shahin: Well, my website, I started it in 2008 and what we try and do is to refute the arguments made in Jihadi websites point by point and of course there are also some articles and statements but this is one of the things that we do. When we started doing that our site was banned in Pakistan, unfortunately. Pakistan claims to be fighting extremism itself. But what happened was that there was a magazine Nawa-e-Afghan Jihad published by the Taliban and printed and distributed free of charge to Pakistanis. It is also available on their websites. It once published a series of articles justifying the killing of civilians according to Islamic theology. So we picked that up, and we started refuting every point that they were making, point by point. This didn't suit some people and the Pakistani government first banned the Urdu articles, then they banned the English ones, then they banned the whole Urdu section and then they banned the whole website, and today you can't read our website in Pakistan. We are also a multilingual website, we publish and translate our articles in Urdu, Hindi and Malayalam which cover areas where there is a great deal of radicalization in India and we also have articles in Bangla, Assamese and Tamil, and you know, Kannada, etc, but few. (We also used to translate in French and some articles are still there in the French section.) We have not yet been able to find the right translators for those languages but we are trying to reach as many people as we can, through these translations. Stacey Roman: Thank you so much for speaking about newageislam.com. Thank you some much Mr. Sultan Shahin for joining us today. Sultan Shahin: Thank you very much. I would like to appeal to you and to your viewers to visit my website and contribute in terms of articles, as well as comments. We debate issues. There are hundreds and even thousands of comments on an article sometimes. And I would like your viewers to also contribute articles and comments. Thank you very much indeed. ---- Radical ideology is far more powerful and well-entrenched today than it was on 9/11. So-called Islamic State may have lost territory, but radicals have gained new territory in Afghanistan, and Africa. ISIS and al-Qaeda continue to preach their venomous ideology and attract educated Muslim youth. One of their main targets now is Indian Muslims, whom they are trying to incite for Jihad against their own government through their new propaganda organ Voice of Hind. Many blame US foreign policy mistakes post 9/11 as part of the reason behind their increased strength. But I don’t buy that. There is a reason why. I was based in London as a journalist in the 1980s. I had a chance encounter with a radicalised Muslim youth in Nottingham in the winter of 1986-87. He was trying to convert the children of a friend to Ahl-e-Hadeesim, a Salafi sect supported by the then Saudi regime. According to him, Ahle-Hadeesis were the only true Muslims. I asked him what he thought of other Muslims. He said they are the first and foremost enemies of Islam. But they constitute 99 per cent of the Muslim community, how will you deal with them, I asked him. “Kill them,” was his unhesitating response. This set me thinking. After all, this was only a young student. Something is going on in my community of which I am not aware, I thought. I had never associated Islam with extremism and violence. I started investigating this phenomenon and discovered that already 60 to 70 per cent of Muslim students in most UK universities had acquired an extremist medieval mindset under the influence of a charismatic Salafi Omar Bakri who later became spokesman for Osama bin Laden. This was early 1987, so I can’t accept that what is happening today is merely because of post 9/11 mistakes. Islam has now become almost synonymous with terrorism. Does this bother Muslims? Some Muslims, yes, they are bothered. But not the traditional Muslim Ulema. They may not say this publicly but seem to agree with the radical narrative in principle. As Maulana Abul Ala Maudoodi had said in 1940s, "Islam needs to conquer the whole world, not a part of it." According to radical theologians while Islam can allow non-Muslims to live and practice their religion, it cannot allow them to be in positions of power, much less to perpetrate atrocities against Muslims; it cannot allow them to dominate the Muslim powers as they are doing now. What is the secret of radical Islamism's success? Its strength lies in the fact that it is based on unquestionable early Islamic history, and not just Islamic scriptures. Scriptures many do not understand. But history everyone can relate to. Scriptures may lend themselves to various interpretations. But established history remains the same. Wars against Kafirs, Mushriks, Apostates. All these actually happened in the seventh century C.E and Muslims were victorious, at a time when they were very weak. Muslims destroyed the two reigning superpowers. The then world order was overturned. Within a century after its advent Islam started ruling from Spain to borders of China. An atheist like India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru called it a miracle. Now radicals claim they have again defeated two superpowers. This is another miracle, they claim, and only establishes the power of their faith once again. They feel vastly empowered with the turn of events post 9/11. What, if anything, are the moderate Muslims doing to reverse the trend, to prevent further radicalisation. As a global community, Muslims have encouraged their religious scholars, the Ulema, to issue fatwas against terrorism. Practically every Muslim religious institution has issued such a fatwa. Some of these fatwas in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh have been signed by hundreds of thousands of clerics. They all passionately declare Islam a religion of peace and denounce terrorism. But these fatwas have not worked. And they will not work. There are very clear reasons why. One, these fatwas are mostly rhetorical statements and do not question the foundations of the radical narrative. The Jihadi theology is a theology of consensus. It has evolved out of opinions of scores of revered Ulema of all sects of Islam over the last 1400 years. It cannot be countered merely by rhetorical statements like Islam is a religion of peace. All that most fatwas do by way of refutation of terrorism is present a popular quotation from Quran (5:32) saying killing even one innocent person amounts to killing humanity and saving one person amounts to saving humanity. Two, the Jihadi narrative cannot be countered by a fatwa that itself seems to agree with the fundamentals on which that narrative is based. Let me give you a concrete example. As many as 126 reputed moderate ulema from around the world, scores of them from the United States, wrote an Open Letter to the self-styled Khalifa Baghdadi denouncing his activities in August 2015. This 14,000-word fatwa was considered a big breakthrough, raising expectations, but 40,000 educated Muslim youth joined ISIS the same year from 86 countries around the world. Apparently, this well-publicised fatwa from eminent scholars of all sects of Islam, representing the moderate voice of the global Muslim community, had no impact. I had written a 2,000-word critique of this Open Letter pointing out why it will fail. This is available on my website. But I will share with you some of the reasons I had cited. This Open Letter actually made the Jihadi task easier by saying: "... everything in the Qur’an is the Truth, and everything in authentic Hadith is Divinely inspired." It also says: “Hadith is akin to revelation," even though these so-called sayings of the Prophet were written down up to 300 years after his demise.” This is precisely what Jihadis too tell our youth. These 126 Ulema also imply that the Quranic verse (2: 256) “there is no compulsion in religion,” may well have been abrogated by later militant verses in the Quran. They clearly agree with the militant Doctrine of Abrogation according to which militant verses that came later in Madina abrogated the earlier Makkan verses of peace and tolerance. Just one militant verse (9:5) alone is said to have abrogated 124 peaceful verses revealed in Makka. Similarly, the moderate Ulema say: "Hudud punishments are fixed in the Qur’an and Hadith and are unquestionably obligatory in Islamic Law," thus accepting the basic premise of the Baghdadi tribe about a Sharia that is mostly based on 7th century Bedouin Arab mores, and was first codified 120 years after the Prophet had passed away. Also, the renowned moderate Ulema accept the supposed obligation to destroy and remove all manifestations of shirk, polygamy, that is idolatry. What right do Muslims today have to destroy idols worshipped by people of other religions? Even Bamian Buddhas had survived 1300 years of Muslim rule. And so have worship places of other religions across the Muslim world. This completely obliterates the difference between moderation and extremism. What more would terrorist ideologues need by way of support from mainstream and moderate Islam. The problem with the theologians is that they have read and teach the same traditional theology on which the Jihadi narrative is based, so they cannot go beyond merely questioning its tactics, implementation, timing, etc. Now, in the remaining few minutes, I would like to share with you a few points of what I think should be the counter-narrative which will strike at the very root of the Jihadi theology. This counter-narrative is consistent with Islamic teachings and can be made acceptable if presented to the masses of Muslims properly, bypassing the theologians. Fortunately, we do have the technological means today to reach the masses of Muslims with a counter-narrative without having to approach mosques and madrasas run by traditional Ulema. 1. Qurʾān has been created by God. It is a collection of verses that were revealed to Prophet Mohammad initially in Makka. These Makkan verses teach us peace and harmony, good neighbourliness, patience, tolerance and pluralism. These are the foundational and constitutive verses of Qurʾān. They constitute the fundamental message of Islam. 2. Qurʾān also contains many contextual verses, the war-time instructions, for instance. Such verses are no longer applicable to us Muslims today. 2. The Doctrine of Abrogation, as defined by radical ideologues, is a false doctrine. God cannot be giving orders only to abrogate them later. So the militant Medinan verses of war have not abrogated the earlier peaceful and pluralistic Makkan verses. 3. God does not prescribe any punishment for blasphemy and apostasy. Nor does He authorise any human to punish anyone for Kufr or shirk. So, if at all any such 'crime' has been committed, in the eyes of theologians, the punishment has to be left to God. 4. We are now living in the world of modern nation-states; our international relations are guided by the charter of United Nations which has been signed by all Muslim states. So, all talk of performing Jihad at least once a year should cease. 5. There is no scriptural sanction for the call of a global Khilafat. Modern pluralistic states are very much in tune with the first Islamic State evolved by Prophet Mohammad under his constitution called Meesaq-e-Madina. 6. Modern Democracy is a fulfilment of the Quranic exhortation of Amrahum Shoora Bainahum (42:38). So, Muslims should try and strengthen democratic institutions. 7. Islam is primarily a spiritual path to salvation, one of the many (Qurʾān 5:48), not a supremacist political ideology. As Qurʾān came to confirm all previous faiths, we can only accept and respect all other religions as paths to the same divinity. 8. The Doctrine of al-Wala wal-Bara (Loyalty and Disavowal for the sake of God alone) as propagated by radical elements is misconceived and impractical in the present highly complex and intricately interwoven global society. I keep explaining these and similar points to my readers, hoping that common Muslims will consider them and a consensus will gradually evolve. URL: https://www.newageislam.com/multimedia/modernity-sultan-shahin-american-audience-radical-ideologies/d/126142 New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Rich and Liberal Ideas of the Muslim Faith: We Ought To Show Compassion To Gay Individuals

By Junaid Jahangir, New Age Islam 12 January 2022 Imam Daayiee Abdullah Rejects Patriarchy As A Cultural Construct, For “During The Lifetime Of Prophet Muhammad, Women Gained Significant Freedoms, Including The Right To Choose Their Husbands, The Right To Divorce, And Inheritance Rights” Main Points: 1. Progressive Islam is concise, written simply to be accessible, and reasonably priced to be affordable for a wider audience. 2. Rampant homophobia among Muslim scholars, let alone the masses, would not allow a dispassionate look at the subject. 3. In telling his story and his understanding of Islam, the Qur’an, and the Prophet, he allows us a glimpse of his inner world. ------- Progressive Islam by Imam Daayiee Abdullah Abdullah, Daayiee. (2021). Progressive Islam: The Rich Liberal Ideas of the Muslim Faith. MECCA Institute Publishing. 186 pages. ISBN-13: 978-0578851372, paperback $5.23 ---- Introduction Imam Daayiee Abdullah, the world’s first openly gay black Imam and founder of the MECCA Institute, published his book Progressive Islam last year. It is concise, written simply to be accessible, and reasonably priced to be affordable for a wider audience. Often books on progressive Islam are written for the academic market and are exorbitantly priced, which push them beyond the reach of everyday Muslims. Therefore, his book is a much-needed welcome addition in the Muslim market. I came to know of Daayiee in 2004 when I had begun to read about the position of gay Muslims in Islam. This was a year before same-sex marriage was legalized in Canada in 2005 and a decade before the same in the U.S. in 2015. It was long before the Orlando gay bar shooting of 2016, which incentivized western Muslim leaders to condemn homophobic violence if only to protect their own vested interests. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Also Read: Why Accommodating Gay Rights within Islam is a Challenge? ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Back then, I was affiliated with Qur’anic studies scholar, Dr. Shehzad Saleem, as his research assistant for the Renaissance monthly magazine. He was quite gracious to publish my article, where I argued that while homosexuality was a sin, we ought to show compassion to gay individuals. While this position of tolerance is mainstream in Muslim cultures today, at least in western countries, back then my article was met with intense scorn. It informed me that rampant homophobia among Muslim scholars, let alone the masses, would not allow a dispassionate look at the subject. Imam Daayiee Abdullah, the world’s first openly gay black Imam ---- To date, Javed Ahmad Ghamidi, the chief scholar who influenced many of my teachers including Dr. Shehzad Saleem and Dr. Khalid Zaheer, maintains the erroneous view that homosexuality is a result of childhood incidents (alluding to sexual abuse), in contrast to the mainstream position of professional bodies of psychologists, psychiatrists, paediatricians and medical doctors. Though, at least the topic is talked about today for the issue was a taboo back in 2004. This is why it was amazing to find out that there was an Imam, who did not preach that homosexuality is an Azmaish (test) but rather blessed Muslim same-sex unions. Unlike Sufi masters and Muslim celebrity speakers with YouTube channels, Daayiee does not make supernatural claims or puts himself on a pedestal with a large following of minions. Additionally, he seems more interested in offering his perspective on progressive Islam than engaging in counterproductive Munazaras (debates) that have come to define the religious sphere in the Indian subcontinent. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Also Read: ‘Gay Rights’ Versus The ‘Human Rights Of Gays’ – A Fresh Insight Into The Broader Message Of The Qur’an ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Indeed, from what I know of him for more than a decade, he is a simple, kind, and sensitive human being despite his larger-than-life physical appearance. While I have my own outlook on Islam, I honour him for his humanity and for being a beacon of hope where many others succumb to societal prejudice. In this spirit of honouring him, I highlight a few salient ideas below that emerged from my reading of his book. The Black Gay Imam The book is a blend of how Daayiee embraced Islam, his relationship with the Qur’an and how it informs his worldview, and his lived experience as a black gay Muslim. In telling his story and his understanding of Islam, the Qur’an, and the Prophet, he allows us a glimpse of his inner world. This honesty is refreshing because so many Muslim scholars, academics, and celebrity cult speakers hide their insecurities behind their titles and positions of privilege. But Daayiee speaks to his audience as a peer instead of speaking down from a pedestal. Sometimes, I wonder what reception he would have received from the larger Muslim community had he been a straight, blue eyed, white skinned convert. For I often ponder how white converts assume positions of privilege and power based on the internalized racism of brown skinned Muslims of Middle Eastern and South Asian origins. I think had he not been black or gay, Daayiee’s story of conversion would have been universally spread across Muslim communities. He writes that despite being baptized in the Southern Baptist denomination and expected to see Jesus as a saviour or God, he never did (p. 31). He mentions how his connection to the Qur’an allows him to grow spiritually and writes about his conversion that “I eventually had my Iqra moment … I felt my breath taken away. I was in such a state that there was no time or physical presence; I felt in the fullness of my soul that I had connected with my Creator and was at total inner peace” (p. 46). Growing up in the pre-civil rights era, he writes about how “people were afraid of integrated education, integrated neighbourhoods, and any form of equality between whites and blacks” (p. 72). I found his description of that time quite moving of how “blacks were brutally attacked by individuals, mobs, the police forces with dogs and guns” and how “the state and federal government turned a deaf ear” (p. 72). It is important to remember this history, as it made black people “rethink the idea of a common Saviour” after both Malcolm X and Dr. King were murdered, and as history repeats itself where black people are blamed for “the burning of ransacked shops and businesses” even as “it was probably white police provocateurs inciting the riots” (p. 72). ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Also Read: The Holy Quran: Why Were The Verses On The People Of Lut Revealed? ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Daayiee’s words made me think of how people are oppressed and then blamed for their own oppression. This victim blaming the black people also holds true for poor people who are blamed for their poverty. It also holds for gay people, whose legitimate human need for intimacy, affection, and companionship are first rejected and who are then judged as sinners and accused of bringing misery upon themselves. Daayiee’s experience of racism was only compounded by homophobia. He writes about his lover who committed suicide that “he was a black gay boy in a world that did not want him to be either of those things; the non-blacks rejected his blackness, and the blacks rejected his gayness” (p. 114). And this homophobia followed Daayiee when he converted to Islam. He didn’t chase the title of an Imam, but it came to him as he was “pushed to become an imam … when a gay Muslim was denied their last rites” (p. 115). ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Also Read: To Sustain an LGBTQ Affirming Islamic Discourse, Lateral Violence Must End ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- In essence, regardless of the reaction of the larger Muslim community, I think Daayiee’s story of a black gay man who was born before the Civil Rights act of 1964, his conversion to Islam and subsequent stepping into the role of an Imam who offered compassion when none was shown, deserves a documentary of its own. Dispelling Casual Islamophobia Daayiee’s simple and concise book is useful against casual Islamophobia where, ignoring the socio-economic and political conditions, Islam is simplistically reduced as the factor responsible for the problems in Muslim countries. He writes that Muslim communities suffer from “theocratic dynasties, monarchies, colonialism, despots, and extremists”, and from “cultural conflicts” and “political wounds” that “date back to Prophet Muhammad's death”, which “were further strengthened through European colonialism and modern dictatorships” (p. 12, 113-114). Daayiee does not delve into topics like the age of Aisha and the massacre of the Banu Qurayza, issues that have been addressed ad nauseum, and which take away time and effort from the pressing concerns of economic inequality, automation, climate change, and weakening democratic norms. He spends less time on apologetics and more on building an affirmative narrative. He alludes to how the Prophet’s “new religion challenged the very foundation of Mecca’s pilgrimage economy”, which rested on “trading in human slavery, including sex slavery … blood feuding between the tribal groups, female infanticide, … the rich taking advantage of the poor through usury and other forms of oppression” (pp. 34-35). He rejects patriarchy as a cultural construct, for “during the lifetime of Prophet Muhammad, women gained significant freedoms, including the right to choose their husbands, the right to divorce, and inheritance rights”, whereas “in the United States, it was not until the mid-1800s that women were allowed to sue for divorce” (p. 86). Similarly, he contrasts the Prophet’ saying that “the best women who ride camels are the women of Quraysh” with modern Saudi Arabia, which was able to prevent women from driving cars (p. 86). He upholds a significant insight that it is not about Islam but about how “leaders use Islam to promote or minimize concepts that may intersect with political interests (p. 114). He states that where the Qur’an is “used as a calling card to bring about change in the disenfranchised lives” it is also “used by the ruling classes to maintain their hegemony” (p. 63). What this means is that where Islam is diverse, it is its practitioners who wield it to support capitalism or socialism, dictatorship or democracy, homophobia or affirmation, and patriarchy or liberation. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Also Read: Why Gay Muslims Are Upheld To Standards That Not Even Prophets Fulfil? ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Daayiee also captures the increased conservatism of Muslims, as they immigrate to western countries. Based on his travels to Muslim countries, he writes that, “I realized the immigrants were not as diverse as those living in their native countries. I suppose this happens to diverse communities of any faith, as we all want to "unite" in foreign countries” (p. 18). This is perhaps what lies behind the increased “black and white” positions of some Muslim youth who grew up in the west, as they rail against the women and LGBTQ empowering norms. In essence, Daayiee’s book helps dispel casual Islamophobia by offering the insight that ignoring socio-economic and political considerations, patriarchal and homophobic norms that run much deeper than religion, and simplistically blaming all problems on a caricatured Islam is reductionist and unwarranted. Additionally, he creates a narrative that draws our attention away from never ending debates on dead-end issues that add no meaning to our lives and towards economic and systemic oppression, which matter. Addressing Muslim Homophobia And Internal Divisiveness Just as racist Islamophobes defend themselves against being called out as racists, so too Muslim homophobes claim that they are not homophobic. Yet, the litmus test of someone being racist or homophobic is simple enough, for many such people are starkly absent when it comes to anti-racism and anti-homophobia initiatives. It is not uncommon to find Muslim leaders, who raise their voices against Islamophobia but who are deafeningly silent when it comes to their own complicity in the oppression of minorities like Ahmadis or LGBTQ Muslims. Daayiee narrates a moving story of the institutionalized homophobia he experienced in the American Muslim community. He glowingly talks about how the late Dr. Taha Jabir al-Alwani (d. 2016) encouraged him to pursue “Islamic Studies, specializing in Qur'anic interpretation” (p. 21). Yet, despite fulfilling the requirements for graduation at the “Graduate School of Islamic Social Sciences, which eventually evolved into Cordoba University”, he was informed that he would not graduate because he was gay (p. 20-22). While Dr. Taha informed him “that he was against the administration's decision”, Daayiee “heard from the school that they were considering issuing” his certificate but would not maintain his records at the school (p. 23). This is unthinkable in this day and age when institutions support equal opportunities for minorities. Yet, just two decades ago, Daayiee could not get his certificate because “it was a Saudi funded school”, which “could negatively affect their future funding” (p. 23). Moreover, even though many Muslims like to claim they are not homophobic, Daayiee was refused internship at a mosque, as the Imam did not want him there just because he was gay (p. 22). Such issues are not unique to the Muslim community. I am reminded of a Christian case where Delwin Vriend was fired from the King’s College, which is now the King’s University, a private Christian institution in Edmonton, Alberta. Today, the same institution proudly supports its LGBTQ students, staff, and faculty. Unfortunately, such is still not the case with Muslim institutions across North America. I think part of the reason is the constant infighting and divisiveness within progressive Muslim communities. Daayiee writes that the “Progressive Muslim Union of North America or PMUNA ... was an impressive group” that supported progressive thinking and LGBTQ Muslim rights, but “there began schisms within the membership, and eventually, the infighting tore the group apart in 2006” (pp. 24-25). He reiterates generally that “progressive organizations disbanded one after the other because the members had disagreements on certain topics” (p. 107). I have noticed this even within the marginalized LGBTQ Muslim community where lateral violence and scathing criticisms burn individuals out. In the end, it is not only conservative Muslims but rather the progressives who, by chewing each other out, impede effective change in Muslim communities. Addressing this concern on divisiveness, Daayiee recognizes that “a significant number in the community” are “still dealing with multiple levels of internalized trauma”, which is “linked to the complex nature of reconciling ancient cultures with modern realities” (p. 115). He argues that we will have to create and highlight values to “overcome division” and to remind people that “commitment to the group’s values” does not lessen “their individual growth” (p. 107). In essence, Daayiee’s story reminds us that a lot remains to be done in the Muslim community that rightfully challenges Islamophobia but casually ignores the entrenched homophobia within its own institutions. To this end, his book informs us that LGBTQ and progressive Muslims would first have to overcome division among themselves and commit to cooperation if they hope to change the status quo. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Also Read: The Quran on Homosexual Relations ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Qur’anically Inspired Vision For Change Daayiee does not allow himself to be bogged down by the division within progressive Muslim communities for his anchor is the Qur’an and his direct relationship with Allah that countenances no intermediaries. He writes that “in building my personal relationship with my Creator, I am not so easily swayed to believe that I must mimic Prophet Muhammad’s practices of the 7th century” (p. 32). In support of his position, he quotes “Ibn Khaldun, who said, “[Deliberately] following ancient customs and traditions [of a faith] does not mean that the dead are living, but that the living are dead” (p. 32). He remains rooted in his personal connection with the Qur’an and gives it precedence over the secondary sources of Islamic knowledge including the Hadith and Tafsir (commentary). Alluding to the late Gamal al-Banna (d. 2013), he writes that “he is well known for removing some 600 Hadiths from Bukhari alone, saying they were fabricated and unsuitable for keeping in the book” (p. 39). Similarly, he writes about Tafsir that it “tends to be a domain of male academic theologians and a relatively conservative field” (p. 69). Daayiee is clear in his approach that while “the Holy Qur'an represents the divine message from our Creator, it is the human interpretation that makes it what it is in the Muslim communities” (p. 51). He writes that “the personal relationship with the Qur'an is what also makes it a fundamental tool for change ... there is a call for unity through the concept of human diversity leading back to the same historical ancestor. Concepts like this have the power to eliminate ugly aspects of human history such as racism, xenophobia, and imperialism (p. 111-112). He set outs a Qur’anically inspired vision for change, as he writes that “some of these Qur'anic messages include that there is no compulsion in religion, to care for members of society, honor one’s commitments, honesty and fairness through dealings, not kill unjustly” (p. 75). He continues that “these ethics are not limited but can also include much larger societal issues such as environmentalism, religious pluralism, freedom of expression, politics, animal welfare, peace and justice, human welfare, military ethics, as well as various medical ethics” (p. 75). Daayiee shows how the wisdom from the ancient text manifests in contemporary times. He writes that “the code of human rights we find in the United Nations is as Islamic as anything else” and reiterates that “the Qur'an, in verse 21:92, commands us to acknowledge our unity and God. In the 20th century, by creating the United Nations, it seems that humans attempted to fulfil this commandment” (p. 75-76, 104). In essence, Muslim readers gather that if God has not spoken to human beings since the Prophet, he has also not abandoned them, for the Qur’anically inspired vision for change manifests itself through the United Nations and therefore the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Conclusion In conclusion, Daayiee has written a book that showcases the story of a black gay Muslim who was thrust into the role of an Imam because others were too homophobic to show any compassion. It shows how Islamophobia is dispelled less by engaging in apologetics and more by offering a liberating narrative that draws Muslims away from incessant dead-end debates and focuses their attention on the pressing issues of our times. It shows that internal division would have to be overcome through values for a progressive vision of Islam to thrive. Finally, it shows that a Qur’anically inspired vision for change manifests in contemporary times through the United Nations and therefore the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. One hopes that his message receives the wide readership that it deserves, for where pessimistic Muslims are consumed by the fear of calamities, pandemics, and the end of the world, Daayiee’s optimistic approach reminds us of the Hadith to plant a tree even if the world comes to an end. ------ Junaid Jahangir is an Assistant Professor of Economics at MacEwan University. He is the co-author of Islamic Law and Muslim Same-Sex Unions. With Dr. Hussein Abdullatif, a paediatric endocrinologist in Alabama, he has co-authored several academic papers on the issue of same-sex unions in Islam. He contributed this article to NewAgeIslam.com. URL: https://www.newageislam.com/books-documents/daayiee-muslim-faith-gay-individuals/d/126139 New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Causes of Downfall of Muslim Community: How To Regain The Honour and Progress

Muslims Who Excelled In The Sciences And Arts Were Admired By People From All Walks Of Life All Around The World Highlights 1. When did the Muslim Ummah start to fall apart? 2. There are numerous reasons for the Muslim Ummah's collapse. 3. Muslim backwardness has also been attributed to a lack of interest in education and technology. 4. We would not be in such a state of deterioration if we were real believers. 5. In today's Muslim community, moral values guided by Islam are on the decline. ---- By Kaniz Fatma, New Age Islam, New Age Islam 12 January 2022 When did the Muslim Ummah start to fall apart? Nothing can be said for definite, but history shows that the Muslims began to decline in every sector around the end of the twelfth century, when they endured political and military collapse and became stagnant, leaving the road of research and writing, ijtihad, and inventions. The Muslim Ummah plunged from here, having attained the zenith of development in technology, industrialization, civilization, culture, sciences, and arts. There are numerous reasons for the Muslim Ummah's collapse. The main reasons are: lack of religious education, faith weakness, Muslims attacking one another, failure to judge with justice in affairs, adopting extremist attitudes, distancing oneself from wisdom, not caring about Haram and Halal, lying, betrayal, lack of sincerity and love, unjust occupation of one another's property and lands, lack of respect for saints and religious leaders, increase of enmity, doing religious work for the sake of fame, and in short doing what is forbidden in Islam, etc. We will discover that we are not sincere believers if we analyse our beliefs today. We would not be in such a state of deterioration if we were real believers. Today, oppressive rulers are imposed on the Muslim Ummah in various parts of the world because Allah Almighty says that if the Ummah is involved in evils, an oppressive ruler will be imposed on it, but if they come out of the mire of evils and walk on the path of goodness, they will be protected from the tyrant rulers. Our obsessions with worldly issues, as well as our ignorance of the light of faith, show that our faith has weakened significantly. So, first and foremost, we must illuminate our faith and belief within our hearts. -------------------------------------------------------------------------- Also Read: Had Muslims Gone For Universal, Modern Education There Would Have Been Peace in Islamic Societies and the World, Not Terrorism and Militancy, Either Religious or Social -------------------------------------------------------------------------- Distancing From Education Muslim backwardness has also been attributed to a lack of interest in education and technology. Even small nations are developing through education today all throughout the world. Muslims, on the other hand, are at a disadvantage in terms of education and technology. Muslims who excelled in the sciences and arts were admired by people from all walks of life all around the world. There are 57 Islamic countries that are autonomous and independent. Their overall population is estimated to be around a hundred billion people. An estimated 40% of the population is illiterate. The entire manpower in the disciplines of science and technology in these Islamic countries is only about 8 million, or about 4% of the global population working in these fields. Every year, about 100,000 scientific books and 2 million scientific articles are published around the world. While there are fewer than a thousand scientific and research books and articles published each year in Islamic countries. Sectarian Clashes and Disagreements among Muslims Muslims’ backwardness is primarily due to sectarian conflicts and disagreements within Muslims. Allah and His Messenger have constantly admonished Muslims to stay united and avoid strife. Allah said, “Obey Allah and His Messenger, and do not dispute, lest you falter and your strength departs; and be patient. Indeed, Allah is with the patient” (Al-Anfal 45-46). As a result, disagreement is a source of stumbling and the enemy's win over you. And dispute is a gateway for evil and hate to infiltrate your relationship. There have also been numerous hadiths recounted in this regard. According to a hadith, Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) stated, “A believer is like a building for another believer, with each part strengthening the others” (Sahih). Despite all of these commands, the Muslims grew increasingly split, as a result of which they declined, becoming backward in several fields. Decline of Moral Values In today's Muslim community, moral values guided by Islam are on the decline. This has also contributed to their downfall. The renowned historian Ibn Khaldun writes in his work 'Muqaddama,' that a nation that has gained prosperity and advancement in the world is always seen as having good morals, whilst a nation with evil morals collapses. If the Muslim Ummah is to restore its magnificence and avoid the traps of humiliation and dishonour while also ending oppression, it must address the flaws, which can be accomplished through education and reformation. The Holy Qur'an also emphasises the significance of first gaining knowledge and then reforming in accordance with the criteria. ----- Kaniz Fatma is a classic Islamic scholar and a regular columnist for New Age Islam. URL: https://www.newageislam.com/islamic-society/downfall-muslim-community-honour/d/126138 New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

The Verses of Jihad in Quran: Meaning, Reason of Revelation, Context and Background - Part 11

By Badruddoja Razvi Misbahi, New Age Islam (Translated from Urdu by Newageislam.com) 11 January 2022 Explaining verses 3:151 and 48:20 out of 26 Verses Presented by Wasim Rizvi in Supreme Court Main Points Discussed In Part 11 1. The Quranic commentators [Mufassirin] argue about whether Allah Almighty’s promise (of instilling fear in the hearts of disbelievers) is limited to the day of Uhud or is universal. 2. Most commentators hold the opinion that this divine promise is specific to the day of Uhud. 3. All the commentators agree that verse 3:151 exclusively refers to the disbelievers who spilt the blood of Muslims with tremendous cruelty on the day of Uhud. 4. As all commentators have agreed, the verse (3:151) definitely does not refer to current disbelievers and polytheists in our country or around the world. ------ Allah says in the Quran: (1) “We will cast dread into the hearts of those who disbelieve because they have set up partners with Allah, to which He has revealed no evidence. Their abode is Hell, and what an evil abode of injustice!” (3:151) (2) “Allah has promised you much booty that you will take [in the future] and has hastened for you this [victory] and withheld the hands of people from you - that it may be a sign for the believers and [that] He may guide you to a straight path.” (48:20) In the first verse of this part of the article, Allah Almighty says that the Muslims should not be concerned about the momentary victory and success of the disbelievers and polytheists since He will soon place fear and awe in their hearts, prompting them to abandon the battlefield. Those who are familiar with the Ghazawat history know that in the battle of Uhud, the Muslims initially triumphed over the infidels and polytheists of Makkah and were advancing with triumphant glory, but their victory was turned into defeat due to the archers' negligence and abandonment of the front. As a result, one hundred eight or seventy-four companions [Sahaba] from the Ansar and Muhajireen were martyred. The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) sustained injuries himself. His lowest tooth had been sacrificed. His bottom lip was swollen and bleeding. Amr ibn Qamiyyah threw a rock at the Prophet, breaking two links of his helmet and causing him to fall into one of the secret pits dug by the enemies. Hazrat Ali and Hazrat Talha backed him up to stand. Hazrat Abu Ubaidah bin Jarrah used his teeth to rip out both links of the Prophet's helmet one by one, losing two of his teeth in the process. The situation was such that Hazrat Khalid bin Waleed's (who did not convert to Islam at the time) invasion threw the Islamic army into disorder and reorganised the infidels and polytheists. Abu Sufyan (who had not yet converted to Islam) and his associates were wandering in the battlefield looking for the bodies of the Holy Prophet, Hazrat Abu Bakr and Hazrat Umar. Abu Sufyan climbed the hilltop and asked the Muslims where Abu Kabasha, Ibn Qohafa, and Ibn Al-Khattab were, but no one responded. All were dead, Abu Sufyan thought since if they were alive, they would respond. Hazrat Umar who couldn't bear the silence any longer said, “O the adversary of God! You are a liar because we're all here”. The conversation between the two then went on for a while. Then, when the Muslims were vanquished and their bodies were strewn across the battlefield of Uhud, the Kuffar fled the battlefield with no apparent threats. The reason why the disbelievers fled from the battlefield is that Allah Almighty suddenly instilled such fear and awe in the hearts of the disbelievers and polytheists that their footsteps became detached from the battlefield and they made their way to Makkah. As Allah says: ““We will cast dread into the hearts of those who disbelieve...” (3:151) The Quranic commentators [Mufassirin] argue about whether Allah Almighty’s promise (of instilling fear in the hearts of disbelievers) is limited to the day of Uhud or is universal. Most commentators hold the opinion that this divine promise is specific to the day of Uhud because the earlier verses were only revealed in relation to the fight of Uhud. Then the commentators who believe in such a commentary expressed the state of infusing Muslim horror in polytheists' thoughts. There are two reasons for this. The first is that when the disbelievers prevailed over and defeated the Muslims, Allah implanted fear and glory in their thoughts, enabling them to run away from there without being threatened. Abu Sufyan mounted the hilltop and asked, “Where are Ibn Abi Kabshah (the Holy Prophet), Ibn Abi Qohafa, Ibn Al-Khattab?” as previously stated. Hazrat Umar replied to Abu Sufyan, making him tremble, and Abu Sufyan did not dare to descend from the mountain and move farther towards the Muslims, instead, fleeing to Mecca, saying, “We will return here again next year.” The second reason is that on their trip to Makkah, the disbelievers and polytheists stopped at a location along the path and discussed the possibility of launching a decisive attack upon their return. They were outraged that they had abandoned the Muslims despite their win. The reason for this was that the disbelievers were going to assault and uproot the Muslims, but Allah, praise be to Him, instilled fear in their minds, and they returned to Makkah instead of attacking. This divine promise, according to some commentators, was more generic than specific to the day of Uhud. Despite the fact that this event occurred on the Day of Uhud, these commentators think that Allah Almighty instilled fear in the hearts of disbelievers and polytheists until they were defeated, and Islam triumphed over all religions. Thanks to Allah Almighty's fulfilment of this promise, Muslims governed several parts of the world for centuries, with Islam being triumphant over all religions. Scholars and commentators have debated whether Allah Almighty will create terror in the hearts of all disbelievers, or simply in the hearts of disbelievers and polytheists battling Muslims on the Day of Uhud, based on this verse (3:151). Some scholars argue that this verse is interpreted according to its apparent meaning and that it relates to general disbelievers and polytheists. On the contrary, all the commentators [Mufassirin] agree that it exclusively refers to the disbelievers who spilt the blood of Muslims with tremendous cruelty on the day of Uhud. [See Imam Razi, Tafsir-e-Kabir under the verse 3:151) As all commentators have agreed, the verse “We will put dread into the hearts of those who disbelieve...” (3:151) definitely does not refer to current disbelievers and polytheists in our country or around the world. By the second part of this verse, “...because they have set up partners with Allah, to which He has revealed no evidence...” (3:151), Allah Almighty has stated the reason for instilling fear in the hearts of the disbelievers and polytheists. Allah Almighty has made man the best of all creatures. The intellect and nature do not believe it is proper for a man to worship someone or something other than himself. Allah Almighty created all the strength and magnificence in man's nature. Regardless, if he worships lower-ranking creatures and considers them as his sustainer, providers, and rulers, it is as though he, as a king, has adopted the enslavement of worthless things. Associating someone else in God's worship is the greatest injustice and, without a doubt, the most serious offence, and when the crime is severe, the penalty must be harsh, as God Almighty declares at the end of this verse. 2. “Allah has promised you much booty that you will take [in the future] and has hastened for you this [victory] and withheld the hands of people from you - that it may be a sign for the believers and [that] He may guide you to a straight path..” (48:20) In this verse of Surah Al-Fatah, Allah Almighty promised Muslims a large amount of booty and He has even delivered them numerous spoils of war in a hurry. This alludes to the war spoils that the Muslims received as a result of the conquest of Khyber, which Allah Almighty states in Surah al-Fatah verse 19: "And much war booty which they shall seize." Allah is Exalted in Might and Wisdom forever." (40:19) The Arabic phrase "Maghaanim Katheera" in verse 40:20 refers to the spoils that Allah has set aside for the Muslims at specific times until the Day of Resurrection. And, according to a portion of the Quranic verse, “...withheld the hands of people from you,” who are the individuals whose hands Allah has kept from reaching the Muslims, protecting their lives, property, and honour? There are two points of view in it. The first is that it relates to the people of Khayber and their allies Banu Asad and Banu Ghatfan, with a total number of seventy thousand people in Khyber alone. Less than a month after the Prophet (peace be upon him) came from Hudaybiyyah, a report of the march of the Jews of Khyber arrived. They had joined the Banu Ghatfan tribe's 4,000 men, promising that once Madinah was conquered, they would always give the Banu Ghatfan half of the Khyber’s produce. However, Allah Almighty instilled fear in their hearts, and as a result, they broke their mutual pact. The second view is that it relates to the hands of the people of Makkah. (For more on verse 40:20, read Tafseer Ruh al-Bayaan and Tafsir-e-Abi Saud.) Both sides agreed not to take military action against each other for ten years under the terms of the Hudaybiyyah peace pact. The Muslims benefited from this, as it provided them with an opportunity to take action against the Jews. The Jews of Khyber were quickly discouraged by the prospect of losing support from the people of Makkah and were defeated by the Muslims. The route was paved, and it became evident that the peace pact of Hudaybiyyah was not a defeat for the Muslims, but rather a forerunner to tremendous successes. The portion of verse 40:20 that says, “...that it may be a sign for the believers and [that] He may guide you to a straight path” denotes that after returning from Hudaybiyyah, Allah Almighty gave the Muslims the victory of Khayber and that He gave them many spoils and protected them from the reach of the enemy. There is a sign for the believers in this. This sign alerted the Muslims to the fact that the provisions of the Hudaybiyyah Peace Treaty ostensibly pointed to the weakness of the Muslims but were actually a prelude to great victories behind the scenes. The conquest of Khayber, as well as the conquest of Makkah, is an example of this. Muslims were allowed to enter the Haram, and both Arabs and non-Arabs were brought under the jurisdiction of Islam. In this way, the Muslims recognised the authenticity of the Holy Prophet’s (peace be upon him) pledge to his companions [Sahaba] while returning from Hudaybiyyah, that this Hudaybiyyah agreement was a clear triumph for them, and that this marked the way to trust and rely on Allah in all situations. (Continuing) ----- Maulana Badruddoja Razvi Misbahi, Principal of Madrasa Arabia Ashrafia Zia-ul-Uloom Khairabad, District Mau, UP (India) is a Sufi-minded, well-mannered, classical Islamic scholar, an expert teacher, an excellent writer, a good poet and orator. He has authored numerous books, some of which are as follows: 1) Fazilat-e-Ramazan, 2) Zad-ul-Haramain, 3) Mukhzin-e-Tib, 4) Tauzeehat-e-Ahsan, the commentary on the well-known logical book “Mulla Hasan” 5) Muhazarat fi Halle Qutbi Tasawwurat, 6) Tahzib al-Faraid commentary on “Sharh al-Aqaid”, 7) Atayib al-Tahani fi Halle Mukhtasar al-Ma’ani, 8) Commentary on Sahih Muslim Other Parts of the Articles: The Verses of Jihad: Meaning, Denotation, Reason of Revelation and Background- Part 1 The Verses of Jihad: Meaning, Denotation, Reason of Revelation and Background- Part 2 The Verses of Jihad: Meaning, Denotation, Reason of Revelation and Background- Part 3 The Verses of Jihad- Meaning, Denotation, Reason of Revelation and Background- Part 4 The Verses of Jihad in The Quran - Meaning, Denotation, Reason of Revelation and Background - Part 5 The Verses of Jihad in The Quran - Meaning, Denotation, Reason of Revelation and Background - Part 6 The Verses of Jihad in Quran: Meaning, Reason of Revelation, Context and Background - Part 7 The Verses of Jihad in Quran: Meaning, Reason of Revelation, Context and Background - Part 8 The Verses of Jihad in Quran: Meaning, Reason of Revelation, Context and Background - Part 9 The Verses of Jihad in Quran: Meaning, Reason of Revelation, Context and Background - Part 10 URL: https://www.newageislam.com/debating-islam/jihad-quran-revelation-context-background-part-11/d/126131 New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism