Monday, March 4, 2024

A Riddle, Who I Called Sahir: Amrita Pritam

By Sumit Paul, New Age Islam 4 March 2024 Ek Mu'amma Jise Main Sahir Kahti Thi Amrita Pritam Hazaar Barq Gire, Laakh Aandhiyaan Utthein/Vo Phool Khil Ke Rahenge Jo Khilne Wale Hain (Let a number of blitzkriegs strike and tempests rage/ The flowers, destined to bloom, will finally bloom). (Sahir Ludhianvi, Amrita Pritam/ File Photo) -------- Sahir Ludhianvi's famous couplet never loses its power and potential to boost up the drooping morale of demoralised souls. Sahir's own life and his rise as the foremost poet-lyricist in the history of Hindi film music will vindicate this couplet. Setbacks and an unloving draconian father couldn't dampen Sahir's resolve and determination and he achieved what he was destined to achieve. Sahir wrote at the age of 21, "Manzil Mil Hi Jaati Hai Uss Shakhs Ko/ Justajoo-e-Manzil Mein Paaon Jis Ke Thakte Nahin" (He eventually reaches his destination whose steps are never tired and ponderous). Life is all about taking the bull by the horns. Setbacks in life serve as facilitators and catalysts to march on. Every individual has a specific destiny and he or she eventually realizes it against all odds. We're not puppets in the hands of destiny but puppeteers who can operate and decide the course of destiny. The indomitable human spirit ultimately triumphs. Sahir once told an interviewer that Talkhiyan (Bitterness, 1945), his first published work in Urdu, was his way to tell the destiny that, 'Tu Laakh Sitam Dhaa Mujh Par / Roshnai Qalam Ki Kabhi Sookhegi Nahin ' (You can heap lakhs of torments and setbacks upon me / The ink of my pen will not dry up). Sahir was an enigma. He invited sorrows, loved their company and hobnobbed with them. It was like, Khushi Bhi Aati Hai Toh Aansoo Ban Ke Aati Hai (Even if joy comes, it comes in the form of tears). A very private person, Sahir was almost a recluse, if not an outright misanthrope. He loved his own company. Composer Ravi Shankar Sharma, with whom he teamed up for many movies, once told me that Sahir would often ask him smiling wryly, "Kya Khud Se Zyada Kabhi Kisi Ko Chaha Maine" (Have I loved anyone more than I've loved myself?). That's why, despite many women crowding his life, Sahir couldn't live permanently with anyone. A Pakistani scholar told me that Sahir's life was a case study in solitude. A chain-smoker, Sahir wrote, "Dhuein Ki Maanind Hai Hayaat Meri/ Be-Nuqoosh Ghul Jaaye Jo Fiza Mein" (My life is like smoke/ It gets absorbed into the air, leaving no traces behind). This couplet birthed the immortal 'Main Zindagi Ka Saath Nibhata Chala Gaya/ Har Fikra Ko Dhuein Mein Udata Chala Gaya,' Film: Hum Dono, Rafi, composer, Jaidev Verma, 1961). By the way, I didn't get this couplet in any of his collections. The editor of a Pakistani Urdu daily sent this to me in 2009. If anyone has come across the preceding couplet to Main Zindagi Ka Saath, do let me know. Fifty-nine is no age to go but, Sahir was getting disillusioned with life and his own poetry in films. The overall standard of music and lyrics also began to decline in the 70s. The demise of his friend Rafi on July 31, 1980 proved to be the final nail in the coffin and he too followed suit on October 25, 1980. Amrita Pritam summed up the life and persona of Sahir when he breathed his last: Ek Mu'amma Jise Main Sahir Kahti Thi (A riddle, who I called Sahir). Sahir indeed was a conundrum. Sahir Ludhianvi's birth anniversary falls on March 8. ------ A regular columnist for New Age Islam, Sumit Paul is a researcher in comparative religions, with special reference to Islam. He has contributed articles to the world's premier publications in several languages including Persian. URL: 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

Saturday, March 2, 2024

Unlocking the Power of Allusion in the Qur’an and its Interpretational Implications

By Adis Duderija, New Age Islam 2 March 2024 The Qur’an, As The Holy Scripture Of Islam, Is A Remarkable Literary Piece. Its Messages And Intricate Linguistic Features Continue To Captivate And Inspire Millions Of Believers Around The World. Among Its Many Literary Techniques, Allusion Stands Out As A Powerful Tool Employed By The Qur’an To Connect With Its Audience And Activate Their Prior Knowledge. ------ The Qur’an, as the holy scripture of Islam, is a remarkable literary piece. Its messages and intricate linguistic features continue to captivate and inspire millions of believers around the world. Among its many literary techniques, allusion stands out as a powerful tool employed by the Qur’an to connect with its audience and activate their prior knowledge. This essay aims to explore the significance of allusion in the Qur’an and its interpretational implications, highlighting its ability to engage with readers on a deeper level and harness the power of their existing knowledge and requiring a contextualist , intertextual and symbolic interpretational approach to the Qur’an. The Power of Allusion Allusion refers to the indirect reference to a person, event, or concept that the audience is expected to recognize and understand. In the context of the Qur’an, allusions serve a dual purpose. Firstly, they establish a connection between the text and the reader, creating a sense of familiarity and relevance. Secondly, allusions tap into the reader’s prior knowledge, activating their intellectual and emotional faculties, and facilitating a deeper comprehension of the message being conveyed. By employing allusion, the Qur’an acknowledges the existence of a shared cultural and intellectual heritage among its audience. It assumes that readers possess a certain level of knowledge and understanding, enabling them to decipher the implied meanings and draw connections between various passages. This recognition of the audience’s prior knowledge not only enhances their engagement with the text but also empowers them as active participants in the interpretive process. The Qur’an as an Allusive Text Throughout the Qur’an, we encounter numerous instances of allusion that invite readers to draw upon their prior knowledge. These allusions range from references to biblical stories and figures to historical events and cultural practices prevalent at the time of revelation. By evoking familiar narratives and symbols, the Qur’an establishes a bridge between the divine message and the lived experiences of its audience. For example, the story of Prophet Adam and his expulsion from Paradise serves as an allusion in the Qur’an, reminding readers of the consequences of disobedience and the inherent vulnerability of human nature. Similarly, the mention of the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt and their subsequent trials in the wilderness resonates with the audience’s understanding of liberation and the hardships encountered in the pursuit of freedom. By alluding to these well-known stories and historical events, the Qur’an not only reinforces moral lessons but also encourages reflection and introspection. Readers are prompted to connect the dots, discern patterns, and extract timeless wisdom from the narratives presented. This engagement with prior knowledge allows for a more profound and personal understanding of the Qur’anic message. Activating Prior Knowledge The activation of prior knowledge through allusion in the Qur’an is not a passive or superficial process. Rather, it serves as a catalyst for intellectual and spiritual growth. When readers are prompted to recall and reflect upon their existing knowledge, they are challenged to critically analyse their beliefs, values, and actions in light of the divine guidance presented in the Qur’an. Moreover, the activation of prior knowledge fosters a sense of continuity and connectedness with the broader Judeo-Christian tradition. By recognizing shared symbols, stories, and values, readers become part of an ongoing conversation that spans centuries and traverses cultures. Interpretational/Hermeneutical Implications of Allusions in the Qur’an: The quality of allusion in the Qur’an carries significant hermeneutical implications, shaping the interpretive process and influencing the understanding of the text. These implications can be explored from several angles: 1. Contextual Understanding: Allusion in the Qur’an necessitates a contextual approach to interpretation. The audience’s prior knowledge, cultural background, and historical context become crucial in deciphering the intended meanings of the allusions. Hermeneutically, this underscores the importance of considering the socio-historical context of revelation and the cultural milieu in which the Qur’an was received. 2. Intertextuality: Allusion establishes intertextual connections between different parts of the Qur’an and between the Qur’an and other religious texts, most notably those associated with Late Antiquity Christian sectarian context. It recognizes the interconnectedness of divine revelations and invites readers to examine the broader scriptural context for a more comprehensive understanding. This intertextual approach has hermeneutical implications, emphasizing the need to study the Qur’an in conjunction with other religious texts to gain deeper insights into its teachings. 3. Personal Engagement: Allusion encourages personal engagement with the text, as readers are prompted to draw upon their own knowledge and experiences. This participatory aspect of interpretation challenges the notion of passivity and encourages readers to actively construct meaning and apply the lessons of the Qur’an to their own lives. Hermeneutically, this highlights the ( inter)-subjectivity of interpretation and the importance of individual reflection and introspection. 4. Multidimensional Interpretations: Allusion often allows for multiple layers of interpretation. The Qur’an’s use of allusion enables diverse readings that accommodate different levels of knowledge and understanding among its audience. This hermeneutical flexibility acknowledges the richness and complexity of the text, fostering a pluralistic interpretive landscape that accommodates various perspectives and approaches. For example, scholarship has shown that the Qur’an can sustain and support both feminist and patriarchal interpretations. 5. Symbolic and Allegorical Meanings: Allusion in the Qur’an frequently employs symbolism and allegory, conveying deeper meanings beyond the literal level. This hermeneutical aspect calls for a nuanced approach to interpretation, recognizing the potential for symbolic and metaphorical interpretations alongside literal understandings. It encourages readers to delve beneath the surface and explore the spiritual and moral dimensions of the text. Islamic mysticism has often approached the Qur’an from this perspective. 6. Dialogical Interpretation: Allusion fosters a dialogical interpretive process by engaging readers in a conversation with the text and the broader interpretive tradition.. The recognition of shared symbols and narratives cultivates a sense of community and encourages dialogue and engagement with diverse interpretations. This hermeneutical aspect underscores the importance of respectful engagement and the value of collective wisdom in understanding the Qur’an. Conclusion The allusive nature of the Qur’an plays a very important role in understanding its messages and teachings. Through allusion, the Qur’an establishes a rapport with its audience, recognizing and activating their prior knowledge. By drawing on familiar narratives and historical events associated with the broader Judeo-Christian tradition , the Qur’an encourages readers to reflect, introspect, and seek deeper meanings. It facilitates a dialogue between the sacred text and the individual’s intellectual and emotional faculties, that can lead to personal spiritual growth and a greater understanding of the moral and spiritual dimensions of Islam. The hermeneutical implications of the quality of allusion in the Qur’an are multifaceted. The quality of allusion in the Qur’an necessitates a contextual understanding, invites intertextual exploration, encourages personal engagement, allows for multidimensional interpretations, incorporates symbolic and allegorical meanings, promotes continuity and adaptability, and fosters dialogical interpretation. These implications highlight the dynamic nature of Qur’anic interpretation and emphasize the importance of engaging with the text holistically, considering its historical context, intertextual connections, and the diverse perspectives of its readers. ---- A decades old patron of New Age Islam, Dr Adis Duderija is a Senior Lecturer in the Study of Islam and Society, School of Humanities, Languages and Social Science; Senior Fellow Centre for Interfaith and Intercultural Dialogue, Griffith University | Nathan | Queensland | Australia. His forthcoming books are ( co-edited)- Shame, Modesty, and Honora in Islam and Interfaith Engagement Beyond the Divide (Springer) URL: 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

Kerala High Court Judgement On Women's Entry Into Masajid Has Islamic Scriptural Support

By Grace Mubashir, New Age Islam 2 March 2024 The Orthodox Criticism Against Women's Entry Into The Masjid Is Not Validated In Islam According To Scriptures Main Points: 1. The entry of Muslim women into mosques must emerge as a necessity for women themselves 2. In the context of the Supreme Court's decision allowing women to enter Sabarimala, some demanded that if the courts intervene in religious matters for women's equality and protection of rights, they should also intervene in the matter of Muslim women 3. None of the scholars or Imams of the Madhabs have unconditionally stated that ladies should be prevented from the mosque ------- (File Photo: Representative) ------- When I visited Malaysia last year, one of the striking sights was women-friendly Masajid. Like men, women come to Masajid for prayers and participate in all religious activities. In India due to the obscurantist orthodox practice of Islam, women's entry into Masajid has been banned, although nowhere in the scriptures such prohibitions could be found. In India, courts facilitate the due rights of Muslim women, which is banned by orthodox and regressive sections of society. Women's entry to Masajid, is under the Supreme Court’s review. But local courts in Kerala have ruled in favour of the issue. Judgments of Thalassery District Court in 1998 and Kerala Waqf Tribunal in 2006 based on Islamic principles can be considered important in the interventions related to protection of women's rights. What distinguishes the above judgments from the judgments of various courts in recent years regarding Muslim women is that the court went beyond mere logic and common sense and based on the basic tenets of the religion, respecting the feelings of the believers engaged in an effort to find the truth. A facility enjoyed during the Prophet's time would have been lost somewhere in history and then it would have been inherited. But the court judgments indicate that the reform movements were able to correct this traditionalism which is contrary to the basic principles of Islam and make a new awakening possible. There is relatively little academic historical research beyond religious debates on Muslim women's Masjid attendance. Navin Ridath's study ‘Women in the Mosque: A Historical Perspective’ attempts, at least on a small scale, to investigate the rights given by the Prophet to women. Some of these discussions can also be seen in the historical research of Muslim feminists. Judgments of Thalassery District Court in 1998 and Kerala Waqf Tribunal in 2006 based on Islamic principles can be considered important in the interventions related to protection of women's rights. What distinguishes the above judgments from the judgments of various courts in recent years regarding Muslim women is that the court went beyond mere logic and common sense and based on the basic tenets of the religion, respecting the feelings of the believers engaged in an effort to find the truth. A facility enjoyed during the Prophet's time would have been lost somewhere in history and then it would have been inherited. But the court judgments indicate that the reform movements were able to correct this traditionalism which is contrary to the basic principles of Islam and make a new awakening possible. None of the scholars or Imams of the Madhabs have unconditionally stated that ladies should be prevented from the mosque. In the end, some of the Imams would say that young ladies should not be permitted, but this is contrary to what the Prophet has commanded. The entry of Muslim women into mosques must emerge as a necessity for women themselves. Women still need to wake up and legally face the clerical actions that deny a right granted by Islam and enjoyed by Muslim women since the time of the Prophet for some childish reasons. Women should also exercise caution in enforcing the rights they have obtained through the courts. Scriptures Support Women's Entry Into Masajid The mosques, which are the house of Allah, do not belong to anyone. No one has the right to forbid worshipping there. Allah says: Who is the greatest transgressor among those who hindered the glorification of His Name in the mosques of Allah and sought their downfall? They were not allowed to enter those mosques except with fear. They have contempt in this world. In the Hereafter, there will be a severe punishment. (Al-Baqarah: 114) Women have come to mosques since ancient times to worship Allah. Look at what Allah says to Maryam (R.A.), the one who is mentioned in the Holy Qur'an as an example for the Muslims of the world. O Mary, be obedient to your Lord and prostrate and kneel with those who kneel (Al-Imran 43). O Mary, fear thy Lord, and prostrate thyself, and bow thy head with those who bow their heads. (Al-Imran: 43) Here Allah instructs Mary to pray with those who are praying in the mosques. Tafseer Ibn Kathir explains this verse and says: اي: كوني منهم means that you perform as one of them. (Tafseer Ibn Kathir: 363) Tafseer Bailawi, which is taught in mosques, says: عمرت بالصلاة في الجمعة They were commanded to pray in congregation. (Tafseer Bailawi: 1/38) Thus Tafseer Al-Khazen says: Rather, he said: Kneel with the kneeling men, and he did not say: with the kneeling women, because the word “kneeling” is more general and includes men and women, and praying with the men is better and more complete. It was said that its meaning is like the action of those who kneel, and it was said: What is meant by it is prayer in congregation, meaning he prayed with the worshipers in a group. (Tafsir Al-Khazen (1/347)) Maryam, you did not say bow with the women who bow, but with those who bow (masculine plural). Because it includes men and women. Praying with men is best and most perfect. It means to do as those who pray and participate in congregational prayer with those who pray. (Tafseer Khasin: 1/347) Islamic Shariah has never prohibited women from going to the mosque and performing worship. On the contrary, the documents teach that during the time of the Prophet (PBUH) and after his time, many Muslim women went to the mosque. A few proofs are given below: On the authority of Ibn Umar that the Messenger of God said, “Do not prevent God’s handmaids from the mosques of God.” (Sahih Muslim 1018) Narrated by Ibn Umar (RA): The Prophet of Allah (PBUH) said: Do not forbid the servants of Allah from the mosques of Allah (Muslim: 1018). (On the authority of Salim, on the authority of his father, on the authority of the Prophet, “If the woman of one of you asks permission to go to the mosque, let him not prevent her.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari: 5238) Salim (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated from his father: The Prophet of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: If the wife of one of you asks for permission to go to the mosque, do not prevent her (Bukhari: 5238). (On the authority of Ibn Umar, he said: The Messenger of God said, “When your women ask permission to go to the mosques, then give them permission.” (Musnad Ahmad: 5211) Narrated Ibn Umar: The Prophet of Allah (SAW) said: If your wives ask for permission to go to the mosque, give them permission. (Ahmad : 5211) (On the authority of Ibn Umar, may God be pleased with them both, on the authority of the Prophet, who said, “When your women ask permission to go to the mosque at night, then give them permission.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari 865) Narrated Ibn Umar: The Prophet of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: If your wives ask permission to go to the mosque at night, grant them permission. (Bukhari: 865) On the authority of Ibn Omar, he said: A woman of Omar was witnessing the morning and evening prayers in congregation in the mosque, and she was told, “Why did you go out when you knew that Omar He hates that and is jealous. She said, “And what prevents him from forbidding me?” He said, “The saying of the Messenger of God prevents him: Do not prevent God’s female servants from the mosques of God.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari: 900) Narrated by Ibn Umar (RA): A wife of Umar (RA) used to come to the mosque to pray Subah and Isha prayers in congregation. Then they were asked. Umar (RA) knows that you don't like going to the mosque and hates it, so why are you going? They immediately asked back. But then what is the obstacle for Umar himself to be banned? Abdullah said: Umar is hindered by the saying of the Prophet that the maidservants of Allah should not be prevented from the mosques of Allah. (Bukhari: 900) Even after the verse of hijab, Prophet did not prohibit women from Masjid entry. when the Prophet (PBUH) married Zainab (PBUH), the daughter of Jahsh, when the people invited to the feast did not go out, etc., when the Prophet (PBUH) had a hard time, the 53rd verse of Surat al-Ahzab of the Holy Qur'an was revealed: O you who believe, do not enter the houses of the Prophet unless he (invites you) to a meal (and you receive consent). Do not be those who watch it (food) being cooked. But if you are invited, go through. If you eat, leave. You should not be amused by the news. Indeed, all of that annoys the Prophet. But he is ashamed (to say that) to you. Allah is not ashamed of the truth. Ask them (the Prophet's wives) about something from behind. That is purer for your hearts and theirs. You must not disturb the Messenger of Allah. And you shall never marry his wives after him. Verily, that is a solemn matter with Allah (Ahzab: 53). After narrating this incident, Imam Bukhari (RA) says: وَأُنْزِلَتْ آيَةُ الْحِجَابِ (صحيح البخاري : 4794) And the verse of Hijab was revealed. (Bukhari : 4794) Tafseer Ibn Kathir explains this verse and says: إذا آية الحجاب (تفصير ابن كتير 3/607) This is the verse of Hijab (Tafseer Ibn Kathir : 3/607) Scholars are of the opinion that this event took place on the 3rd or 5th of Hijra. However, the traditionalists cite verses 32 and 33 of Surat al-Ahzab as the verse of hijab. “Wives of the Prophet, you are not like any other women. If you are virtuous you should not speak (to others) in a persuasive tone. Then the one who has disease in heart may feel lust. Say the right thing. And keep yourselves in your houses. Do not put on a show of beauty like the beauty show of the old age of ignorance. You should perform Salat regularly, give Zakat and obey Allah and His Messenger. O Household (of the Prophet)! Allah only intends to remove the evil from you and purify you properly. (Ahzaab: 32,33) In all the above verses, the manners to be observed at home and outside are taught. Besides, it is not possible to find a verse in the Book of Allah or in the Holy Sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH) that forbids the one who goes to the mosque to wear clothes according to the conditions prescribed by Islam. Many people have assumed that the ayah of hijab is a verse that the mosque forbids Muslim women. The rules to be followed when going out for all purposes are the same rules that women should follow when going to the mosque. Do not use perfume in such a way that the body parts are not visible, dress in a way that does not attract people, and go out without mixing with other men. Along with that, they should go to the mosque with complete devotion and modesty. On the authority of Abu Hurairah, he said: The Messenger of God said: “Any woman who burns incense will not witness the afterlife with us.” (Sahih Muslim 1026 Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet (PBUH) said: If any woman has used perfume, she should not join us in the Last Night Prayer. (Muslim : 1026) The Wives Of The Prophet (PBUH) Also Went To The Mosque It can be seen in the documents that during the time of the Prophet (PBUH) and his death, the wives of the Prophet (PBUH) used to go to the mosque to pray and perform I'tikaf (staying in Masjid). Aisha (RA) and Zainab (RA), the wife of the Prophet (PBUH), used to perform I'tikaf in the mosque (Bukhari:2033, Muslim:2848). Aisha, may God be pleased with her, said: The women of the believers would witness the dawn prayer with the Messenger of God, wrapped in their cloaks, and then they would go back to their homes when the time was spent. No one from the unknown knows the prayers. (Sahih Al-Bukhari 578) Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) said: Indeed, the believing women used to attend the Subh prayer with Rasulullah (may peace be upon him) wearing their veils. After Namaz they return home. No one recognized them because of the darkness. (Bukhari: 578) Explaining this hadith, look at what Imam Ibn Hajar Asqalani says: In the hadith, it is recommended to hasten the morning prayer at the beginning of the time and it is permissible for women to go out to the mosques to witness the prayer at night. It is taken from Its permissibility during the day is more appropriate, because at night there is more uncertainty than during the day (Fath al-Bari by Ibn Hajar (2/360). In this hadith, it is Sunnah to perform Subh prayer at its earliest time, and women may go out to the mosque for prayer at night. Thus, it is understood that one can go to the mosque for prayers even during the day, while there is more possibility of doubt during the day and night. (Fathulbari : 2/360) Even after the death of the Prophet (PBUH), the wives of the Prophet (PBUH) used to pray in the mosque and sit in I'tikaf. On the authority of Aisha, may God be pleased with her, the wife of the Prophet, that the Prophet used to seclude himself during the last ten days of Ramadan until God took his life, and then his wives secluded themselves from (Sahih Al-Bukhari: 2026 and Muslim: 2841) Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) reported that I'tikaf used to be in the last ten days of Ramadan until the Prophet (peace be upon him) passed away. After he left this world, his wives also sat in I'tikaf. (Bukhari: 2026, Muslim: 2841) I'tikaf is valid only in the mosque. This is clear even in the books of the Shafi'i Madhhab. I'tikaf is only valid in a mosque. Juma’a Mosque is the best. There is no harm in leaving some of the limbs outside the mosque. I'tikaf is not Sahih at home or any other place prepared for prayer except in the mosque. Is Home Better? They want women to stay at home. But Allah and the prophet did not stop women from going out for the purposes of prayers, Tawaf, Hajj and Umrah. Even if the hadith that says it is better for women to pray in mosques is to pray in their homes, none of them teach that praying in mosques is haram. If such hadiths were authentic, the beloved wives of the Prophet (PBUH) would not have gone to the mosque. But read above the hadith that they not only went to the mosque but also sat in Itikaaf in the mosque. Women have been participating in Juma’a and Jama'at since then and in the Madina mosque, which was built for the first time in the world to worship Allah. So what evidence is there for this empty argument of all Muslims? What does Imam Shafi'i (RA) say? All the books of the Shafi'i Madhhab, from Ten Kitab to Al-Umm, the shortest book, state that it is permissible for women to go to mosques attended by men and participate in Jama’ah congregations. In Book Ten it says: ويكره حوزر المسجد لمشتهاة وشابة لا غيرهما عند امن الفتنة (عشرة كتب : PAGE : 7 Attendance at the mosque is not recommended for those who are desirable in appearance and young women. This was said when they were not afraid of destruction. Here it is only Karahat (unpleasant). It is not haram even for young women to attend the mosque. Non-young women are also allowed. However one can find many quotations from the authoritative scholars of the Shafi'i Madhhab in Nawawi where they say that all are permissible among women. وَيَقِفُ خَلْفَهُ الرِّجَالُ ثُمَّ الصِّبْيَانُ ثُمَّ النِّسَاءُ (شرح المشيل على المنهاج (1/312) Men should line up behind the imam first, then boys and then women. (Mahalli :1/312) ويقف خلف الإمام الرجال, تم الصبيان, تم النساء. (فتح المعين (2 / 32) The men should stand behind the imam first, then the children, then the women (Fathul Mu'een: 66) آذا عرادت مرونة حوزر الجمعة فهو كحدورها لساير الصلوات (المجموعة 4 496 If women intend to participate in the Jummah prayer, they must come with the condition that they must follow when they come for the other prayers. (Sharhul Muhaddab Vol. 4 pg:496) ولا احب لواحد ممن له ترك الجمعة من الاحرار لعزر ولا من النساء غر العربين والعبيد أن يسلى الظر حتي ينصرف الامام… لانه لعله يقدر على إتيانها الجمعة فيكون إتيانها خيرا له ( المم : 1 / 219) Jummah is not compulsory for free men, those who are free, and those who are minors, I do not like women and slaves to pray Zuhr except after the imam performs Juma’a and retires from it because it is best for them to attend Juma’a if their hindrance is removed. (Al-Umm: 1/219) Allow Women To Become Part Of Muslim Society It is established with enough proofs that it is permissible for women to go to the mosque and participate in the Juma‘a congregational prayers, the Eid prayers, and the eclipse prayers while wearing Islamic dress. No need to quote them all at length. It also indicates that it is ready to produce full evidence if required. In short, it is not possible for anyone to show that it is haram for Muslim women to go to mosques and participate in congregational prayers by following the requirements of Islam in the Holy Qur'an, in the hadith of the Prophet (PBUH), or what Imam Shafi'i (RA) said. Allowing entry for women to mosques has been a topic of discussion and debate in many communities and countries. Some mosques already welcome women for prayers, while others have separate prayer areas or times designated for women. Advocates for gender-inclusive mosque access argue that it promotes equality and fosters a sense of belonging for all members of the community. It also aligns with principles of diversity and inclusion within religious spaces. However, decisions regarding mosque policies often depend on the traditions, cultural norms, and interpretations of religious texts within each community or denomination. It's important for communities to engage in respectful dialogue and consider the diverse perspectives and needs of all members when addressing this issue. ----- A regular columnist for, Mubashir V.P is a PhD scholar in Islamic Studies at Jamia Millia Islamia and freelance journalist. URL: 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

Report Categorizes Anti-Muslim Hate Crimes As Communal Riots, Hate Speeches, Hindu Vigilantes, State Funding Of Hindu Religious Activities, Demolition Drives

By Syed Ali Mujtaba, New Age Islam 2 March 2024 It is not even two months in 2024; there are numbers of anti – Muslim hate crimes reported from different parts of the country. The Centre for Study of Society and Secularism Mumbai has come out with a report on the communal situation in India, since January 2024. The centre has listed the hate crimes against Muslims and categorized them as communal riots, hate speeches, Hindu vigilantes, state funding of Hindu religious activities, demolition drives, etc. Communal riots – Five communal riots have taken place in January 2024. They are directly related to the Pran Pratisthan event held in Ayodhya on January 22. Out of the five communal riots, two were reported in Mumbai, one in Nagpur, one in Vadodara, and one in Shajapur in Madhya Pradesh. All these riots took place in the BJP-ruled states. The communal riots in Mira Road, Mumbai had origin in local tension where scuffle gave way to stone pelting resulting in Municipal Corporation stepping in to use bulldozers. The Corporation bulldozers demolish about 15 structures in the Muslim-dominated area on Mira Road. In the incident, more than nine persons were injured. The second incident took place in Thane, near Mumbai. Here stones were pelted by miscreants at a vehicle rally taken out on the occasion of Ram temple consecration in Ayodhya. A clash broke out between members of two communities and several people were injured in the ensuing clashes. The communal riot in Nagpur took place in the Garib Nawaz Nagar locality where an altercation between members of two communities took place to celebrate the consecration event in Ayodhya. This led to a scuffle between two communities in which 12 persons were injured. In Bhoj, Vadodara communal riot took place on January 22 after stones were allegedly pelted on a procession, Shobha Yatra, to celebrate the idol consecration in the Ram temple at Ayodhya. In Shajapur, Madhya Pradesh communal riot took place on January 8, when participants of a religious procession were allegedly pelted with stones leading to clashes where several persons were injured. Hate Speeches: According to the CSS report, there were seven instances of hate speeches reported in January. These speeches broadly called for the demolition of mosques made baseless allegations of love jihad, boycott of halal certification meat, use of bulldozers against Muslims, and called for stricter action against Muslims. The hate speeches were made by BJP leaders, MLA T Raja and MLA Nitesh Rane in Solapur and Mumbai in Maharashtra, MLA Geeta Jain in Mumbai, and Anantkumar Hegde, BJP Member of Parliament and BJP leader KS Eshwarappa from Karnataka. Government funding Hindu Religious symbols: The government in the BJP-ruled states has shown its largesse to spend public funds on the promotion of heritage associated with Hindu gods and symbols. Some of the examples include the curating of a wax museum in Ayodhya on the theme of Ramayana. In Chhattisgarh ‘Shri Ramlalla Darshan (Ayodhya Dham)’ scheme has been launched and in Puri, the Odisha Parikrama project has got started through public money. The Municipal Corporation of Ayodhya allotted 2.5 acres for setting up the “Ramayana Wax Museum” in a 7-crore project floated by the UP government. There will be about 100 life-size wax statues of all the important characters from Ramayana. The first phase will depict 30-35 scenes from Ram Katha, including Sita’s Swayamvar, Vanvaas, and Lanka Dahan. In Chhattisgarh, the state government has announced that it will roll out the ‘Shri Ramlalla Darshan (Ayodhya Dham)’ scheme, under which 20,000 people from the state will be taken to Ayodhya in UP every year, free of cost, for a visit to the newly constructed Ram Temple. In Odisha, the government is set to inaugurate an ambitious “Shree Mandira Parikrama” project of Rs 800 crore. This heritage corridor is planned around Puri’s renowned Jagannath Temple which is aimed at improving infrastructure for visiting devotees. The Parikrama project includes a 75-metre corridor surrounding the Jagannath temple complex, which will provide pilgrims with a “visual connection” with the temple. The Odisha government has planned to mobilize around 10,000 people daily for a month to visit the Parikrama Project. Public Holiday- Ten BJP-ruled states- Maharashtra, Gujarat, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Goa, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, and Tripura and AAP-ruled Delhi, declared a complete holiday or half-day holiday on January 22 to celebrate the Pran Pratisthan ceremony in Ayodhya. This implied that schools, colleges, and government offices amongst other state establishments remained closed on that day. Some of these state governments also prohibited the sale of non-vegetarian food items, meat, and alcohol on that day. Hindu Vigilante activity- There was a significant spurt in Hindu vigilante during January 2024. In Uttar Pradesh’s Shahjahanpur district, there was an alleged incident of removing a green flag from a mosque and replacing it with a saffron flag on January 23. In a similar incident, eleven miscreants hoisted saffron flags atop a mosque in the Tajganj area of Agra district during a Shobha Yatra on January 22. Demolition of Muslim property: It is seen that Hindu leaders were at the forefront of inciting local tensions into a big communal riot leading to bulldozers stepping in to demolish Muslim homes using the pretext of illegal encroachments. Apart from the Mira Road demolition in Mumbai, there was a report of demands for the demolitions of Muslim properties in Panvel, where communal tension prevailed on January 22. On February 8, 2024, violent clashes erupted in Haldwani, Uttarakhand, following the court order to demolish an unauthorized madrasa and a mosque situated in the predominantly Muslim-inhabited area. The municipal authorities demolished the Muslim religious structure claiming they were illegal construction. The consequent clash between the residents and the police claimed five lives and left over 100 injured. Reclaiming Muslim Sites- An alarming trend of reclaiming Muslim places of worship has been seen after the Pran Pratisthan event. Soon after the event in Ayodhya, a Varanasi district Court ordered allowing puja inside the Gyanvapi mosque in its “Vyas Tehkhana.” Thereafter, the Shahi Idgah case flared up in Mathura. The place is now peddled as Krishna's birthplace and is being reclaimed by the Muslims in a bid to convert it into Krishna Janmasthan. In the same vein mentioned may be made about Maharashtra, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde announced to "liberate" Haji Malang Dargah in Mumbai and convert it into a Hindu site. In this election year, more such incidents are waiting to happen. It is seen that the BJP gains significantly from such religious polarization. What is apparent that Muslims may have no respite from hate crimes in 2024. ------ Syed Ali Mujtaba is a journalist in Chennai. URL: 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

Let Ghazals Remain Ghazals - Who Want To Understand Will Learn Urdu

By Sumit Paul, New Age Islam 2 March 2024 'Jise Samajhna Hoga, Vo Urdu Seekh Lega' ----- I'm reading Urdu, English and Bengali newspapers that are all praise for the late Pankaj Udhas' 'beautiful' Ghazals that are bereft of difficult Urdu words. Yours truly has also written an article in English on the late maestro, highlighting his role of purging Ghazals of Urdu and Persian words. While I appreciate the endeavours of Pankaj Udhas, Anup Jalota, Rajendra and Nina Mehta, among others as they tried to simplify Ghazals for the masses, I've always felt that somewhere the purity of Ghazals is being compromised in this way. Ghazals were written in other languages as well. Rumi, Hafiz and Saadi Shirazi of Persia in Persian; Yunus Emre, Fuzûlî and Nesimi of the Ottoman Empire wrote Ghazals in Turkish; Mirza Ghalib and Muhammad Iqbal of North India penned their exquisite Ghazals predominantly in Urdu; and Kazi Nazrul Islam of Bengal wrote them in Bengali. Dushyant Kumar Tyagi and Hanumant Naidu wrote excellent Ghazals in Hindi. Nagpur's Suresh Bhatt wrote Marathi Ghazals. But I'm afraid he massacred them because Marathi, being a rather uncouth tongue, is not suitable for Ghazals. Amar Palanpuri experimented with the Ghazal format in Gujarati and the brilliant Agha Shahid Ali introduced the Ghazal genre to English poetry. But classical Ghazals written by Ghalib, Daagh, Momin, Mir, Ahmad Faraz, Faiz and Firaq with Urdu, Persian and Arabic words will always be appreciated by those who love Urdu and Ghazals. In short, they'll continue to enthral the purists. The politicization of Urdu has witnessed the relegation of this mellifluous language to Hindustani. What's Hindustani? I call it a mongrel. Urdu is Urdu and Hindi is Hindi. No need to bridge the two. This attempt of linguistic bridging has harmed both Urdu and Hindi. It's like, 'Na Khuda Hi Mila, Na Visaal-e-Sanam/ Na Idhar Ke Rahe, Na Udhar Ke Hum.' This unnecessary simplification has resulted in the overall mediocrity of today's songs and Ghazals. 'Poets' not knowing Urdu and prosody are writing Urdu Ghazals and killing the spirit of Urdu as well as Hindi. Let Ghazals remain Ghazals with naturally difficult Urdu, Persian and Arabic words. Don't try to replace them with Hindi words. That'll be tantamount to committing a linguistic molestation, if not downright rape. 'Kyon Kar Main Giraaoon Meyaar Apna, Duniya Ki Khaatir / Jise Samajhna Hoga, Vo Urdu Seekh Lega' (Why should I lower my standard down for the sake of the world?/ Who wants to understand (me), will learn Urdu). ------ A regular columnist for New Age Islam, Sumit Paul is a researcher in comparative religions, with special reference to Islam. He has contributed articles to the world's premier publications in several languages including Persian. URL: 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, March 1, 2024

Muslims Are Being Specifically Targeted In A Hindu’ Rashtra

By Sumit Paul, New Age Islam 1 March 2024 Yahi Sila Milta Hai Bhale Kaam Ka Be-Ghar Kar Diya Jaata Hai, Be-Naam-Sa Sada Layalpuri (This is what one gets after doing something good/ He's rendered homeless like a non-descript) Hum Phool Hain Auron Ke Liye Laaye Hain Khushboo/Apne Liye Le-De Ke Bas Ek Daagh Mila Hai ----- Rat-hole miner Wakeel Hassan's (R) house was demolished by the DDA on February 28 | Photo: India Today ------ Delhi Development Authority on Wednesday carried demolition drive in Khajoori Khas to remove encroachment from its land and in the process house of Wakeel Hassan, a rat-hole miner recognised for his efforts in rescuing 41 workers trapped at Uttarkashi’s Silkyara tunnel in Nov, was also demolished. Claiming that the action was taken without any prior notice and only his house was demolished, Hassan said “I demanded papers or notice from the authority officials who reached the site with the police but there was no reply from them." Wakeel Hassan's predicament reminds me of Sahir's poignant couplet from his immortal song, sung by Talat Mahmood, 'Ashkon Ne Jo Paaya Hai Woh Geeton Mein Diya Hai' (Film: Chaandi Ki Deewaar, 1964): Hum Phool Hain Auron Ke Liye Laaye Hain Khushboo/ Apne Liye Le-De Ke Bas Ek Daagh Mila Hai (I'm a flower that has brought fragrance for all/But for myself, I'm happy with a scar). This demolition raises questions about the underlying motives behind targeting an individual lauded for his valour and humanitarian contributions. It also reminds us of Dr Kafeel Ahmad Khan, the paediatrician, who selflessly served the patients in times of crisis, only to be imprisoned later! This happened in Adityanath’s UP. There's no gainsaying the fact that something sinister is going on, however hard you may deny it. Muslims are being specifically targeted in a Hindu' Rashtra. Dr Muhammad Iqbal lamented in his 'Shikwa' (Complaint against god) 'Rahmatein Hain Teri Aghiyaar Ke Kaashanon Par/ Barq Girti Hai Toh Bechare Musalmaanon Par' (All your grace is on the abodes of the strangers / Alas, the blitzkrieg always falls on Muslims). What Iqbal wrote in 1909, assumes much greater significance in the current times of discrimination and destruction. ------ A regular columnist for New Age Islam, Sumit Paul is a researcher in comparative religions, with special reference to Islam. He has contributed articles to the world's premier publications in several languages including Persian. URL: 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

Mystical Mindset and Problem-Solving – Part 1

By Kaniz Fatma, New Age Islam 1 March 2024 Is Sin And Disobedience The Primary Cause Of All Problems And Tragedies? Main Points: 1. Everyone experiences various worries, including those about life, poverty, position, honour, dignity, job and circumstances. 2. People strive for contentment, peace of mind, and resolution by self-diagnosing problems. 3. Mystical mindset sees peace and comfort in obedience to God. 4. The Qur'an and Prophet's sayings explain the consequences of deeds in various ways. ------ Everybody worries about something. Some people worry about living a short life; others worry about poverty; still, others worry about position; still, others worry about honour and dignity; the rich worry in their palaces while the poor worry in their huts; still others worry about their jobs and circumstances; still others complain about friends and family; almost everyone worries, gets restless, and feels anxious at some point in their lives. Everyone makes an effort to find contentment, peace of mind, and resolution by self-diagnosing their problems in accordance with their own brains and thinking. People seeking comfort in office, power, or position often face worries about responsibilities and the position's downfall, while those with wealth often fear business loss, development concerns, and sleepless nights due to fear of danger and fortune loss. Some seek relaxation through dance, music, and alcohol, but anxiety and worry persist. Drugs are used for temporary amusement, but permanent loss occurs. Even trying new fashions doesn't bring them peace. The mystical minded group believes that the only way to avoid problems and troubles is to consider oneself a sinner and ask Allah for forgiveness. They believe that peace and comfort are with the Almighty, who owns them. When a servant gives up disobedience and sins, the Almighty God is pleased and bestows peace and comfort on His obedient servant. Actions, whether good or evil, always have an outcome. An individual's actions directly influence the world's circumstances and are linked to the pleasure or displeasure of Allah Almighty. Physical factors during events or accidents are the apparent causes of good or bad events. Ordinary people take preventative action by linking them to external, physical causes after an accident or catastrophe. As Muslims, we are obligated to hold the view that all of this is carried out at the behest of Allah Almighty, who is beyond the reach of our senses and intellect. The prophets and divine revelation have provided us with an explanation of this invisible system of rewards and punishments, which holds that the real and true cause of any event and accident is Allah's pleasure and displeasure. Allah Almighty has connected and associated the circumstances (whether good or bad) with human actions. Therefore, conditions such as profit and loss, success and failure, happiness and misery, rain and drought, inflation and terrorism, diseases, earthquakes, storms, floods, etc., exist according to the nature of an individual's good and evil activities. These are all the outcomes of our actions. Stated differently, regardless of the external factors contributing to these situations, our actions, whether good or bad, are the true causes. Both individually and together, such horrific and enlightening experiences are essentially "alarms" and "warnings" from Allah Ta'ala, intended to make one take responsibility for their deeds and serve as a warning to their careless heart and reform themselves. Human experience, whether positive or negative, bears evidence to the reality that numerous individuals and nations have faced a variety of consequences worldwide as a result of their disobedience to Allah Ta'ala. As an illustration, consider the following: Someone was disfigured, someone sank to the bottom, someone drowned in the ocean, and someone was exposed to a storm. Even now, the remains of these vanished nations' towns serve as a constant reminder that disobedience is the root of suffering and difficulties. In the Qur'an and the sayings of the Prophet, Allah Almighty has explained the consequences of deeds in many ways and dimensions that correspond to the nature of deeds. Tens of verses from the Holy Quran and dozens of hadiths from the Holy Prophet amply support this subject, as they have warned the Ummah about the terrible effects of wrongdoing and commanded them to repent. Allah Almighty says in the Quran: “Whosoever acts righteously - whether a man or a woman - and embraces belief, We will surely grant him a good life; and will surely grant such persons their reward according to the best of their deeds.” (16:97) This verse clearly says that the source of a peaceful life is goodness. Therefore, when faith and good acts are present, Allah Almighty promises to grant "Hayaat Tayyibah," which translates to a kind, good, and peaceful life. Upon reading this verse, a layperson can also conclude that if a person lacks faith or good deeds, or both, he would not obtain the "Hayaat Tayyibah," or the "peaceful life," but rather the "troubled life." Allah Almighty says, “And whoever turns away from My remembrance - indeed, he will have a depressed life, and We will gather him on the Day of Resurrection blind." (20:12) This implies that whoever disobeys Allah Almighty's commands and does not follow them will have an extremely tough time in this world, filled with constant worry about advancement, lack of abundance, and worldly avarice. This verse serves as another evidence that obeying the commands of God Almighty results in peace and disobeying those commands results in trouble. Allah Almighty says, “Corruption has appeared throughout the land and sea by [reason of] what the hands of people have earned so He may let them taste part of [the consequence of] what they have done that perhaps they will return [to righteousness].” (30:41) “And whatever strikes you of disaster - it is for what your hands have earned, but He pardons much.” (42:30) These two verses also make it clear that human wrongdoing is the root of all problems and corruption in the land. It also makes it clear that violence, riots, and other calamities would cease to exist in the absence of bad deeds. This leads to the conclusion that obedience is the cause of peace and disobedience is the cause of trouble. ---- Kaniz Fatma is a classic Islamic scholar and a regular columnist for New Age Islam. URL: 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

Bir Chilarai: An Indigenous War Hero

By Nava Thakuria, New Age Islam 1 March 2024 The makeshift platform, erected on the bank of mighty river Brahmaputra, was readied to narrate the inspiring story of Bir Chilarai, the younger brother of Maharaj Narnarayan, the 16th century great Koch king of eastern India, who astonished everyone with his bravery, clever diplomacy, patriotism and scholarly personality. The illuminating stage under the soothing full moon started unfolding the events where Shukladhwaj emerged as Sangram Singha and later Chilarai as he was as swift as a majestic kite (Chila or Chilani in Assamese language), while leading his troops to strike down enemies and so was named by his soldiers. Dramatic journey of the brilliant strategist, a passionate art connoisseur and a Sanskrit scholar ended with his demise on the bank of Ganges. Presented by Pragya Foundation on the 514th birth anniversary of Chilarai, the play was staged on 24 & 25 February 2024 highlighting the unique qualities of the supreme-commander of Koch armed forces. Based on a novel penned by Nayanjyoti Bhattacharya and directed by Purnima Pathak Saikia, the action-packed play created some golden moments from the pages of eastern India’s history. Chilarai in a real sense materialised the dream of Bor Asom, once nurtured by his father Biswa Singha along with his trusted brother Shiva Singha. Needless to mention that the birth anniversary of Chilarai (1510–1571) is observed in both the government and community levels with fanfare. With an aim to honour his courage, valour and patriotism, Assam government observes Bir Chilarai Divas annually on the full moon day of Magh in the Assamese calendar year (which changes within the month of February). Declared it as a State holiday, the day also witnesses an important award conferred by the government on an NCC Cadet of Assam every year. Both the Koch royal brothers are always adored by the people of Assam for their enormous contribution to rebuild Kamakhya temple (one of the major Shakti Peeths of Bharat) atop Nilachal hills in Guwahati and much needed patronage to Srimanta Sankaradev, who shaped Assamese art, culture and literature. The 15th century Vaishnavite saint, philosopher, scholar, artiste, singer, poet, who preached Ek Saran Naam Dharma in this part of the country. Chilarai (who incidentally married the niece of Sankaradev) not only safeguarded Sankaradev, but also supported the Vaishnavite movement. Later Naranarayan also preached Vaishnavism. With sustained royal patronage, Sankaradev could engage himself in creative exercises and composed many prose & poems on Vaishnavism. They also erected Modhupur Satra (Vaishnavite monastery) near present day Cooch Behar in West Bengal in honour of Sankaradev. Historians say, Sankaradev was chased by the then Ahom king and he had to move towards the west for survival. Without the protection of Narnarayan –Chilarai, Sankaradev would not have even lived for long. Often some intellectuals interpret this fact as a hate speech against Ahom rulers, without realizing that if Lachit Barphukan could not defeat the Mughal invaders in the battle of Saraighat, the socio-cultural fabrics of this part of the world would have been changed forever. The indigenous populace will continue admiring both Chilarai and Lachit for decades to come. Recently, while a senior Assamese editor-journalist put a comment on social media with ill motives over the issue (of harassment to Sankaradev by Ahom rulers), many came out opposing his inherent intention to make both the Koch and Ahom communities fight each other. The editor of an Assamese daily newspaper and also a satellite news channel, cleverly meant the Ahoms as cruel, which was strongly rejected by the conscious citizens of Assam. Initially they opposed his comment on social media, but soon it reached the streets of Guwahati as many agitators arrived in the office of his news channel and demanded an apology. They also threatened to boycott the said newspaper if the editor does not respond to their annoyances. Some social media users posted long video pieces denouncing the editor’s mentality and conspiracy to break the greater Assamese society and many of them even write articles in newspapers. Of course, a few tried to defuse the tension saying that the editor made only a brief comment and he even did not mention the name of Ahom. So the reaction against him was out of proportion and should be minimized as early as possible. There is logic that the editor has been targeted for a personal comment with misinterpretation. He has not penned any media column over the issue and his news channel remains silent over it. So both the media outlets should not be targeted by any organisation or individual for the prolific writer’s views. However, one may definitely question him if it was right to play with the words only to spread venom on a particular community! Was it an intentional attempt to malign the Ahoms, who ruled this region for six centuries till the brutal aggression of Maan (from present day Myanmar) that led to the signing of Yandabo Treaty in 1826! Moreover, we need to take out all positive qualities of our heroes in the bygone eras and redefine their personalities to inspire the new generation. It’s not the time for quarrels or conflicts among ourselves, rather an era of patriotism with great wisdom. We must rise above the parochial mentalities and join hands to contribute for the nation, as legendary music maestro Bhupen Hazarika rightly said each Asomiya is a good Bharatiya and we have to live with that spirit always. Otherwise, Assam will only go to hell only, which we cannot accept at any cost. ------ Nava Thakuria is a northeast India-based professional journalist who is an engineering graduate. URL: 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, February 29, 2024

Darul Uloom Deoband and the Ghazwa-e-Hind Narrative

By New Age Islam Staff Writer 28 February 2024 True, The Ghazwa-e-Hind Narrative Agenda Propagated By The Pakistani Media Has Been Debunked By Several Indian Ulama. However, Given That the Obscure Response Posted on Darul Uloom Deoband's Website Has Already Confused the Matter, Darul Uloom Deoband Must Provide A Thorough Response, Particularly In Disproving The Pakistani Narrative Of Ghazwa-e-Hind. ------ Recently Darul Uloom Deoband made headlines due to an old response regarding Ghazwa-e-Hind. The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) voiced serious concerns over the “anti-India fatwa” that was purportedly posted on the website of Darul Uloom Deoband. The Senior Superintendent of Police and District Magistrate of Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh, received a notification from the National Commission to look into the matter and file a formal complaint. The NCPCR letter claims that Darul Uloom Deoband's fatwa may 'incite hatred against the country' and justify the 'invasion of India'. Following the commission's letter, the heads of multiple Hindu organisations have demanded that Darul Uloom Deoband be shut down, causing fury in Indian media and on social media. Nevertheless, the commission noted in its letter that it had discovered more offensive content on Darul Uloom Deoband Madrasa's website. The invasion of India (Ghazwa-e-Hind) is referenced in the fatwa, and the one who is martyred in it will be known as the greatest martyr [Shaheed-e-Azam]. Since then, Darul Uloom Deoband has been trending on social media, with some demanding a bulldozer attack on the institution and others quoting Deoband principal Maulana Arshad Madani regarding the Ulama's services and involvement in India's freedom struggle. Maulana Arshad Madani, the principal of Darul Uloom Deoband and the former president of Jamiat-e-Ulama-i-Hind, responded to the media representatives over the phone that he was currently in Delhi but that he was aware that Darul Uloom had been contacted by the authorities regarding this and that they had received a written response. According to him, “Darul Alam Deoband provided an answer to a question posed in 2009, therefore this is not a recent incidence. This does not constitute a fatwa or a response to any religious inquiry. According to reports, he stated that when someone inquired about hadiths about the "Invasion of India," Deoband responded by saying that there was one and that it was found in the so-and-so book.” He said, “It is just like when someone inquiries about the platform where the train is arriving, you might respond by telling them that information about it has been displayed on the TV screen.” Darul Uloom Deoband Vice Chancellor Maulana Abul Qasim Nomani is claimed to have reacted in writing to the authorities' contact, but he was unable to make it public then. He countered that the written reply clarified the objections and stated that Muhammad Bin Qasim's invasion of India (712 AD) fulfilled the hadith's description of the "Invasion of India." It also states that this has nothing to do with the future and that children are not being encouraged in this way. In this context, Maulana Arshad Madani's previous statement, "We first fought for the country's freedom, but it appears that we now have to fight for the protection of freedom," is also being repeated. Dr. Shoaib Jami, the chairman of the Indian Muslim Foundation, tweeted his stance, saying, "Ghazwa-e-Hind is a propaganda which is spread from time to time by Hindutva organisation and Pakistani media. The circumstances of Darul Uloom's fatwa have been misrepresented. Pakistani media is mostly responsible for the Ghazwa-e-Hindi narrative.” What Is the Actual Text Posted on the Darul Uloom’s Website? Question: “Is there any reference in the Hadith to the Ghazwa-e-Hind, a battle that will occur on the subcontinent where the Ghaazi [victorious] will go to Paradise and those who are killed will be considered great martyrs? Please respond.” Darul Uloom Deoband provided the following answer to the question: Answer: “In the famous book of Hadith “Sunan Nasa'I”, Imam Nasa'i has made a permanent chapter on Ghazwa al-Hind, under which he has narrated a hadith from Hazrat Abu Huraira (may Allah be pleased with him): The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) promised us about the Ghazwa-e-Hind [invasion over Hindustan]". If I survive to witness that, I will give up both my wealth and myself. I will be among the greatest martyrs if I am slain, and Abu Hurairah Al-Muharrar if I survive.” [Sunan an-Nasa'i 3174: Book 25, Hadith 90]. This prediction is about the same Ghazwa-e-Hind.” [End of answer. Translated from Urdu] Upon scrutinising the query and its response in great depth, we are unable to identify any clear phrasing that would indicate that it refers to the future or that it occurred during the time of Muhammad Bin Qasim. According to reports, Maulana Abul Qasim Nomani, the vice-chancellor of Darul Uloom Deoband, said, “Muhammad Bin Qasim's invasion of India (712 AD) fulfilled the hadith's description of the "Ghazwa-e-Hind and that this has nothing to do with the future and that children are not being encouraged in this way." In an attempt to clear up any misunderstanding regarding the response posted on the Darul Uloom Deoband's website, Abul Qasim Nomani asserted that the prophecy pertaining to Ghazwa-e-Hind had been fulfilled and had nothing to do with what was going to happen in the future. Even so, it is odd that a website would now respond ambiguously to such a sensitive subject at this juncture, given that it is widely known that Pakistani media has been promoting the Ghazwa-Hind narrative to achieve its political objectives and enrage the youth. True, the Ghazwa-e-Hind narrative propagated by the Pakistani media has been debunked by a number of Indian Ulama. However, given that the obscure response posted on Darul Uloom Deoband's website has already confused the matter, it is necessary to provide a thorough response, particularly in disproving the Pakistani narrative of Ghazwa-e-Hind. Mr. Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi wrote a detailed article titled Pakistan's Fake Ghazwa-e-Hind Narrative Violates the Fundamental Principles of Islam. This article challenges the Ghazwa-e-Hind narrative agenda of Pakistan by looking at two types of connected Ahadith, the bulk of which are rejected Ahadith. Even if some of these Ahadith are claimed to be Sahih or Hasan, there are several arguments and convincing evidence to decry Pakistan's fake Ghazwa-e-Hind narrative. URL: 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

Spectre Of Blasphemy: Don't Wear Anything with Arabic Inscriptions and Calligraphy!

By Sumit Paul, New Age Islam 28 February 2024 Kabhi Poochha Tha Khuda Se, Bata Tera Mazhab Kya Hai Aaj Tak Uss Ka Koi Jawab Hi Nahin Aaya Dr Navroze Kotwal (I once asked god, what's your religion? / I've not received any reply thus far) Kabhi Quran, Kabhi Gita, Toh Kabhi Bible Mein Dikhta Hai Mazhabi Insaan Ko Khuda Sirf Kitabon Mein Nazar Aata Hai Unknown (God is found in the Quran, Gita or Bible / A zealot finds God only in the scriptures) A woman in Pakistan recently found herself at the centre of a dangerous situation due to a misunderstanding surrounding her clothing. While wearing a dress with the Arabic word "Halwa," which translates to "beautiful," she was confronted by an angry mob in Lahore. The crowd, mistaking the Arabic calligraphy for verses from the Quran, accused the woman of blasphemy, a serious offence in Pakistan. The situation quickly escalated, with hundreds of people gathering outside a restaurant, yelling and some even demanding her execution. This is not fanaticism. This is something else. This is stone-age primitivism. Arabic, a language that's tailor-made for calligraphy (Khattati / Fun-e-Tahreer / Qalam-Kaari in Arabic) because of the cursive loops of Arabic alphabet, is not limited to writing Quranic verses in an exquisite calligraphic form. General Arabic can also be written cursively. In Arabic, non-religious and non-scriptural words are also calligraphed. But these fools think that the Quranic verses can only be calligraphed. See the level of ignorance. None from the marauding mob could read a word of Arabic and they read the Quran, which's written in Arabic! What do these yokels and bosthoons read? The spectre of blasphemy has already taken a heavy toll in Pakistan. Giving inordinate importance to the Quran, Muhammad and Deen (faith) has blocked the progress of Islam and birthed blockheads like the Muslims of Pakistan and Talibanised Afghanistan. Hindus are at least a trifle better on this count. You can still wear clothes with the names of deities inscribed on them. You won't be lynched. However, they've also lynched many Muslims in the name of cow vigilantism, carrying beef etc. A few years ago, I saw a man in Cork (Ireland) wearing a T-shirt with Psalms (book of the Old Testament composed of sacred songs, or of sacred poems meant to be sung) written on it. He wasn't lynched and booed by anyone. I'm happy, the young woman in Pakistan was saved in the nick of time by a couple of alert cops. That such things are still happening in a 'civilized' world is all the more shocking. Humans are still slaves to antediluvian religions and their countless shibboleths. When will we come out of this morass to live and behave like sane humans? ------ A regular columnist for New Age Islam, Sumit Paul is a researcher in comparative religions, with special reference to Islam. He has contributed articles to the world's premier publications in several languages including Persian. URL: 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

"Esurient For Knowledge, I've Not Learnt To Be Complacent Even For A Moment"

By Sumit Paul, New Age Islam 29 February 2024 "Esurient for knowledge, I've not learnt to be complacent even for a moment..." Jalandhar-born British novelist Lawrence Durrell "Wusa't-E-Samandar-E-Ilm Bhala Kya Kahoon Ek Qatrah Bhi Shayad Haasil Na Ho Saka" (How shall I explain the expanse of the ocean of knowledge?/ Even a drop couldn't be achieved out of it) "Jahaan-e-Ilm Mein Kaamyaab Ke Liye Inki Saari Shart-e-Na Guzeer Hai" Ghalib's advice to his friend and student Altaaf Hussain Hali 'Panipati' (Humility is a sine qua non to succeed in the world of knowledge) When I first came across the popular slogan, 'stay hungry, stay foolish,' it appeared to be rather preposterous to me. But when I mulled over this pithy slogan, I found it to be very meaningful. What it means is, 'stay hungry' for knowledge and learning new things. The second part, 'stay foolish' needs a little enumeration. If you think that you know a lot, you'll not learn anything further. To acquire knowledge or wisdom, one has to be humble to imbibe the spirit of Socratic wisdom that I know nothing. Those who're too clever by half, end up learning and gaining cipher. Here, the phrase 'stay foolish' connotes humility. Humility is the key to wisdom. Hubris nullifies, dilutes and finally deletes it. When the demon-king Ravan was dying, Ram urged his younger brother Lakshman to go and acquire the Swan Song of wisdom from Ravan, who was certainly a man of erudition. Lakshman went and stood near the head of the dying Ravan. Ravan said nothing and gestured to send Ram. Ram came and stood near the feet of Ravan. "This is the first lesson of acquiring wisdom: Be humble, "Ravan said to Lakshman. " I'm vanquished and mortally wounded by your elder brother. Yet, he came and stood near my feet. But you came and stood near my head. How can you expect any wisdom from me? Your arrogance is an impediment to learning. But Ram's humility is a catalyst to gaining more wisdom. He's ready to learn even from his sworn enemy." This episode in the Valmiki Ramayana explains the quote, 'Stay Hungry, Stay Fool.' Two lessons can be learnt from it. First, knowledge or wisdom can be gained from anyone even if that person happens to be your foe. Secondly, there must be a humble openness to learning and acquiring new things. Wisdom from all sources and direction is always welcome and the utmost humbleness is a conduit to learning further. So, stay hungry, stay open and stay forever willing to learn from anything and anyone. That's the crux of a meaningful and sagacious existence. By the way, Stay Hungry Stay Foolish is a 2008 book by the Indian non-fiction author Rashmi Bansal. ------ A regular columnist for New Age Islam, Sumit Paul is a researcher in comparative religions, with special reference to Islam. He has contributed articles to the world's premier publications in several languages including Persian. URL: 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, February 27, 2024

"You Needn't Accept All That I Say. At Least, Let Me Finish My Sentence"

By Sumit Paul, New Age Islam 27 February 2024 "You don't have to love me but please throw yourself into the world with me." Turkish poet Nazim Hikmet "You needn't accept all that I say. At least, let me finish my sentence...." Sappho, Greek poetess "Zamana Meri Har Baat Maane, Ye Zaroori Nahin Meri Baat Suni Jaaye, Faqat Itni-Si Iltija Hai" (It's not incumbent upon the world to agree with whatever I say in my speech / Just listening to me is what I beseech)......yours truly's shadow-translation Ahmad Nadeem Qasmi, legendary Pakistani Urdu poet I just finished reading Hikmet's two compilations of poetry in Turkish, Sappho's 'Fragments' in Greek and Ahmad Nadeem Qasmi's poetry in Urdu. Strangely, I came across the aforementioned thoughts which, though similar, are expressed in a very unique manner by the three greats of world literature. In this quote, Nazim Hikmet beautifully encapsulates the essence of true companionship and shared experiences. He acknowledges that love may not always be guaranteed, but he implores others to embark on life's journey alongside him. Hikmet's words emphasize the importance of forming bonds and connections with one another, transcending the bounds of individual desires and instilling a sense of unity. By inviting others to throw themselves into the world with him, Hikmet beckons them to embrace all that life has to offer, together. This quote reflects the poet's yearning for genuine human connections and highlights the power of collective experiences in enriching our existence. When Sappho implores 'Let me finish my sentence' and Qasmi requests that he should at least be heard, we all find ourselves agreeing with both the greats. We may disagree with the speaker, but we must be polite as well as generous to let others present their versions of truth. All the conflicts in the world are because we're not ready to listen to the entire viewpoints of others. We butt in with our subjective perceptions of a situation or issue. Ludwig Wittgenstein says, "Truth surfaces only when you finish your whole sentence." Listening to others is an exercise in patience and compassion. You needn't agree with what others say and vice versa but you can at least show a modicum of respect, courtesy and decorum to conflicting views. To respect contrasting and contradicting views is to be respectful of people. Humanity thrives in a non-confrontational set-up. Vulgar and violent disagreements are always the wet-blankets. What a nudge serves, a knock doesn't. Too much assertiveness leads to bitterness and bad-blood. Poet Derek Walcott puts it so sublimely, "Mankind has a common destiny. When you suffer, the world suffers with you. When you rejoice, everyone rejoices with you." This brings all of us together regardless of caste, class, creed and complexion. It may sound utopian but it can be a universal reality in future when evolved humans will learn to live harmoniously, something that's not happening at the moment and we're all sparring over petty issues of religion, god, temple, politics, nation and nationalism. When people of all hues, shades and views will be able to come together, shelving all their differences and prejudices, what Hikmet, Sappho and Qasmi stated long ago, will be a reality. I'm hopeful. Aren't you? ------ A regular columnist for New Age Islam, Sumit Paul is a researcher in comparative religions, with special reference to Islam. He has contributed articles to the world's premier publications in several languages including Persian. URL: 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

Monday, February 26, 2024

Islamophobic Hatred Against Muslims In The UK, Once Known As ‘Multicultural And Ethnic Hotpot’, On The Rise

By Asad Mirza, New Age Islam 26 February 2024 Mainstream British Politicians Are Claiming That British Muslims Are Subverting British Democracy And Are A Security Threat ----- Last week two unrelated incidents once again showed how easy it is, to form a narrative against Islam in the UK. Just 20 years back described as a ‘multicultural and ethnic hotpot’ under the labour-era. The UK is once again witnessing the increasing calls against islamophobia under the conservative rule. The massive rallies against Israel’s bombardment of Gaza after 7 October, last year, were responsible for increasing threats of Islamophobia in the UK. According to TellMAMA, a public service organisation which measures and monitors anti-Muslim incidents, reported on 23 February of a more than threefold increase in the number of anti-Muslim incidents between 7 October 2023 and 7 February, compared with the same period the year before, with Muslim women disproportionately targeted. Similarly, there was a six-fold rise in anti-Semitic incidents seen in the last three months of 2023 compared with the equivalent period the year before, with a spike immediately after Hamas’s attack and before Israel had launched its military response. What is shocking, though, is that instead of sending a clear message that these forms of racism are completely unacceptable, some politicians have sought to make political capital out of the week’s events by further stoking tensions. Particularly, the Conservative politicians have intervened in the most immature manner. The former home secretary Suella Braverman claimed that “the Islamists, the extremists and the anti-Semites are in charge” of Britain. The former prime minister Liz Truss took part in an interview with the disgraced Trump strategist Steve Bannon and failed to challenge him when he called the far-right activist Tommy Robinson “a hero”. Lee Anderson MP, deputy chair of the Conservative party until he resigned last month, said on GB News that the Labour London mayor, Sadiq Khan, had “given the capital away (to) Islamists”, whom he referred to as Khan’s “mates”. But first came the remarks by House of Commons speaker and Labour leader Keir Starmer, which led to an explosion of Islamophobic hatred against Muslims protesting against Israel's war on Gaza We would not be subverting the context by saying that over the last few months a troubling narrative has steadily been gathering strength in British politics. This narrative asserts that radical Islamists are taking over the streets in Britain, using muscle to intimidate politicians, and are destroying the authority of the parliament. As a result, democracy itself is under threat. Further, the narrative that British Muslims are corrupting the British political system went viral and gained strength in just 24 hours. This shows the already prejudiced mindset of the most British politicians. Robert Jenrick, a former cabinet minister, speaking in the Commons on 22 February, said that Britain has “allowed our streets to be dominated by Islamist extremists”. He spoke of “a pattern of Islamist extremists intimidating those they disagree with, backed by the prospect of violence". Penny Mordaunt, leader of the House of Commons, proclaimed that she “could not agree more”. On 22 February, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak fanned the flames, warning that “we should never let extremists intimidate us into changing the way in which parliament works”. However, neither Sunak nor Jenrick took the trouble to substantiate their statements. Contextually, this latest episode arose in the wake of Wednesday’s (21 February) chaotic events at Westminster after the Scottish National Party (SNP) tabled a Commons motion supporting a ceasefire in Gaza. And instead of being framed in a Constitutional narrative, it was used to unleash Islamophobic rhetoric. The motion was acutely embarrassing for Labour leader Keir Starmer, many of whose MPs are deeply opposed to his support for the war. This explains why both the SNP and the Conservatives tore into Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle when he over-ruled the advice of his Commons clerks and defied parliamentary convention to allow a Labour Party amendment which got Starmer off the hook. Amidst furious calls for him to quit, Speaker Hoyle went on the record to say that when making his controversial decision he had been “very, very concerned” about the safety of MPs, their families and members of their staff. He also made clear that he had been influenced in his decision-making by Starmer’s own concern about threats to his MPs. The Speaker, however, did not explain exactly who it was that threatened the safety of Labour MPs - but obviously the finger was pointed towards Muslims. No evidence has been provided, so far, neither from the Speaker, who set the media storm in motion, nor from Starmer, who briefed him. Apparently the speaker didn’t asked Starmer’s for evidence supporting the allegations. If such threats have been made, as Starmer and Speaker Hoyle claim, then law should be allowed to investigate them. Meanwhile, mainstream British politicians are claiming that British Muslims are subverting British democracy and are a security threat. In the backdrop of this serious and inflammatory claim, the Speaker of the House of Commons and the leader of the Labour Party, both have a duty to substantiate their claims. Majorly, the Conservative party members, ostensibly keeping an eye on the upcoming parliamentary elections, orchestrated this Islamophobic campaign. Having lost the faith of most voters after the abysmal performance of the British economy post-Brexit, they don’t have any major plank to mount their electoral campaign, added by divisions within the Conservative ranks. In this backdrop creating a storm over Islamophobia helps them the most, to influence the voters. Despite the fact that under various Conservatives-led governments in the last six years, the Prevent strategy has been allowed to fail along the wayside, as the Conservatives would love to raise the Islamophobic bogey to influence the voters. But the recent episode has also exposed the Labour leadership, which continues to support the Israeli aggression in Palestine. In this backdrop the LibDems might rise again from the ashes and could become a major partner of any future government, taking over later this year. ------ Asad Mirza is a Delhi-based senior political and international affairs commentator URL: 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

Praise Shames Me, For I Secretly Beg For It!

By Sumit Paul, New Age Islam 26 February 2024 One of the most beautiful quotes that I've ever come across while diving into the ocean of world literature in several languages, is Rabindranath Tagore's 'Praise shames me, for I secretly beg for it.' While scholars of Persian mysticism find a semblance of similarity when Hafiz Shirazi says, "I ask for criticism, but long for admiration," such uncanny similarities cannot always be called plagiarism. Great minds often think alike. Coming back to Tagore's thought, juxtaposing it with Hafiz's quote for a greater impact, one must say that almost all humans secretly or blatantly ask for praise and feel snubbed even by a scintilla of criticism. "Ae Nujoomi Mujh Ko Faqat Achchhi Baatein Hi Bata/ Talkh Pesheengoyion Se Mujh Ko Na Dara" (Oh, clairvoyant, please tell me only the good things/ Don't scare me with bitter predictions), Behzad Lakhnavi is spot-on here. Even when we go to an astrologer to know our future, we subconsciously want to hear only the good things that might happen in the days and years to come. Negative predictions unnerve us. So, the whole shebang of fortune-telling is based on sugar-quoted predictions and the entire caboodle of human relationships hinges on (false) praise. Those who're conscientious like the aforementioned poets, might feel embarrassed to receive praise but they too feel good when someone admires them. The point is, should we never criticise and continue to praise even when it's not required? Tagore provides the solution: "Remove my warts and scars without hurting me." Praise is an elixir for every individual. It's an incentive to do better. While gentle criticism can bring about qualitative changes in an individual's life, genuine, not wholesome or unctuous, praise can bring about greater and more positive results. Psychologists are of the view that we want praise because that's a psychological booster for all of us. Nature has made us like that. English novelist J B Priestley aptly said, "She wasn't exactly beautiful. But she could have been prettier had someone kept telling her that she was beautiful." That's the essence of life. Praise works as a lubricant in every individual's life. It's a catalyst for growth, betterment and development. Henry Ford would always advise, "If you criticise once, praise twice." Offset criticism with praise is the golden rule that has transformed lives of innumerable individuals. Mirza Ghalib never had a mentor (Ustad) as an Urdu poet, though he had an Iranian mentor, whose name is still unknown, who 'rectified' his Persian poetry. While Ghalib was extremely confident of his Persian and even claimed that he used to dream in Persian, somewhere he knew that his Persian was a notch below the Central Asian Persian spoken and written by Hafiz, Attar, Rumi, Jami, Khaqani, Anwari among others. So, he required a mentor for his Persian poetry. That Iranian mentor praised Ghalib's Persian poetry but never forgot to add that Ghalib's Urdu was better than his Persian! "You could be the greatest in Urdu poetry but not-so-great in Persian poetry." In a calculated as well as subtle manner, he impressed upon Ghalib that he had better focus on his Urdu poetry rather than 'waste' time in writing convoluted Persian poetry, a language which didn't come to his linguistic self effortlessly the way Urdu came. By the way, the legendary British scholar of Urdu language and literature, Dr Ralph Russell shared this anecdote with me when I was pursuing my Doctoral research under his tutelage. This is the way, praise and (negative) feedback should be mixed to drive home the point. To sum it up in the words of Henry Wordsworth Longfellow, "Even when you continuously criticise, forget not to praise once or twice." ------ A regular columnist for New Age Islam, Sumit Paul is a researcher in comparative religions, with special reference to Islam. He has contributed articles to the world's premier publications in several languages including Persian. URL: 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

Saturday, February 24, 2024

Embracing Religious Pluralism: Moving Beyond Exclusive Claims

By Adis Duderija, New Age Islam 23 February 2024 “We Now Know That No Religion Can Claim An Exclusive Monopoly On Salvation And Truth. We Must Accept The Fact That Our Forebears Knew Far Less About World Religions Than We Know. Hence, We Must See Our Faith In Global Perspective As One Among Many, Each Having Its Own Spiritual Heritage And Civilization. In Light Of This, No Religious Community Or Religio-Ethnic Group Can Claim A Special And Exclusive Mission To Humankind.” Mahmoud Ayoub, The Roots Of Christian-Muslim Conflict. In an increasingly interconnected world, the above quote from Mahmoud Ayoub,(d.2021) a pioneer in Christian-Muslim Dialogue, instructs us to realise that no single religion can lay an exclusive claim to salvation and truth. He argues that we now possess a wealth of knowledge about the diverse religious traditions that exist across the globe, which far surpasses the understanding of our forebears. Consequently, Ayoub calls us to adopt a global perspective on faith, recognizing that each religious tradition holds its own spiritual heritage and contributes to the richness of human civilization. Within this context, it is crucial to acknowledge that no religious community or religio-ethnic group can assert a special and exclusive mission for all of humankind. By embracing religious pluralism and moving beyond exclusive claims, we can foster a more inclusive and harmonious world. Religion in a Global Perspective The advent of globalisation and the proliferation of information on the internet have opened doors to a deeper understanding of various religious traditions. We have access to religious texts, historical records, and the lived experiences of individuals from diverse backgrounds, enabling us to appreciate the depth and breadth of spiritual beliefs and practices. This expanded knowledge challenges the notion that any single religion possesses an exclusive monopoly on salvation and truth. By recognizing our faith within a global perspective, we acknowledge that every religious tradition has valuable insights and teachings that contribute to the spiritual tapestry of humanity. Each tradition has its own unique spiritual heritage and civilization, reflecting the wisdom and experiences of its followers over centuries. Embracing this perspective enables us to move away from a narrow and parochial view of religion, fostering a sense of humility and openness to the diverse paths that individuals undertake in their spiritual journeys. Challenging Exclusive Claims The belief in a special and exclusive mission to humankind has been a source of division and conflict throughout history. It has fuelled intolerance, religious persecution, and even violence. However, as we gain a greater understanding of the world’s religions, it becomes evident that such claims are not only unsubstantiated but also detrimental to the promotion of peace and harmony. No religious community or religio-ethnic group can legitimately claim to possess a monopoly on truth and salvation. Such claims disregard the experiences and perspectives of countless individuals who find spiritual fulfilment outside of these exclusive narratives. Embracing religious pluralism entails acknowledging the validity of diverse religious paths and recognizing that multiple routes can lead to spiritual enlightenment and moral goodness. The Importance of Dialogue and Understanding In order to move beyond exclusive claims, dialogue and understanding play a vital role. Engaging in meaningful conversations with individuals from different religious backgrounds allows us to appreciate the nuances and complexities of their faith. By actively seeking to understand one another, we can dismantle preconceived notions and stereotypes that perpetuate division. Interfaith dialogue provides an opportunity for mutual learning, where individuals can share their spiritual insights, rituals, and ethical values. Such dialogue fosters empathy, respect, and a sense of shared humanity. Through these interactions, we come to realize that the true essence of every religion is rooted in principles of love, compassion, justice, and the pursuit of the divine. Building a More Inclusive World Embracing religious pluralism and moving beyond exclusive claims is not an abandonment of one’s own faith, but rather an expansion of our understanding and appreciation for the diversity of human spiritual experiences. By recognizing that no single religious community holds a special and exclusive mission, we can foster a more inclusive world where individuals from all backgrounds are respected and valued. This shift in perspective allows us to celebrate the contributions of various religious traditions to the common good. It encourages collaboration in addressing global challenges, such as poverty, inequality, and environmental degradation, transcending religious boundaries for the betterment of humanity as a whole. Conclusion In a world characterised by religious diversity and interconnectedness, it is essential to recognise , as Mahmoud Ayoub reminds us, that no religion can claim an exclusive monopoly on salvation and truth. By adopting a global perspective on faith, we acknowledge the rich spiritual heritage and civilization of each religious tradition. Rejecting the notion of a special and exclusive mission to humankind, we can embrace religious pluralism and work towards building a more inclusive and harmonious world. Through dialogue, understanding, and mutual respect, we can transcend the barriers that divide us and strive for a future where religious diversity is celebrated and cherished. ---- A decades old patron of New Age Islam, Dr Adis Duderija is a Senior Lecturer in the Study of Islam and Society, School of Humanities, Languages and Social Science; Senior Fellow Centre for Interfaith and Intercultural Dialogue, Griffith University | Nathan | Queensland | Australia. His forthcoming books are ( co-edited)- Shame, Modesty, and Honora in Islam and Interfaith Engagement Beyond the Divide (Springer) URL: 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

Philippine Muslims Grappling With ISIS Terrorism

By New Age Islam Staff Writer 23 February 2024 ISIS Attacks Majority Christians Of Philippines Main Points: 1. On 3 December 2023, the ISIS attacked a Catholic church during a Mass. 2. 9 ISIS terrorists were killed by security forces on 24 January. 3. Philippine's Mindanao is a Muslim majority province. 4. Mindanao has been declared an autonomous region controlled by Muslims. 5. ISIS wants to establish a caliphate in Muslim Mindanao. ------ Pro Isis graffiti is seen on a wall of a back-alley as government soldiers continue their assault against the Maute group in Marawi City, Philippines.Romeo Ranoco / Reuters ----- Since the emergence of the ISIS in the Middle East and the establishment of its caliphate in Mosul in 2014, the Muslims of the small southeast Asian country Philippine are grappling with the terror of the ISIS. The terror organisation has been carrying out terrorist attacks on churches, markets and government buildings. On 3 December, it conducted bomb blasts inside a Catholic church in Marawi University killing four innocent persons and injuring dozen others. On 24 January, the Philippine security forces killed 9 ISIS terrorists in an encounter. This incident once again brought to fore the fact that the ISIS was not a flagbearer of Islamic caliphate but only a terrorist organisation created to damage Islam's reputation and obstruct the progress of Muslims, particularly Philippines' Muslims who have won the status of autonomous region for their region Mindanao after decades of struggle. Philippines is a small country with Christian majority. The Muslims form the second majority community with 6 to 12 percent population. They inhabit mostly in the southern province of Mindanao which is generally called Muslim Mindanao. After its independence from the United States, the Muslims of Philippines felt victimised and exploited by the majority community. Christians from other parts of the country would settle in their region and capture their land. They were also economically backward. Therefore, there was a deep sense of deprivation and victimisation among the Muslims of the country. But they had one advantage. They had a population concentration in Mindanao with 91 per cent population. Therefore, they launched a freedom movement in 1968. Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and other militant organisations came into existence. They demanded independence from Philippines in order to form an independent state of Philippino Muslims called Bangsamoro. Moro means Muslims. During the struggle, a section of Muslims also wanted only an autonomous region for Muslims within the state of Philippines. Finally, in 2014, the government of Philippines agreed to give autonomy to Muslim Mindanao. The representative organisation of Philippine Muslims, MILF agreed to the autonomy proposal and subsequently the two parties reached an agreement. However, in 2014, the terrorist organisation ISIS emerged and established its so-called caliphate in Mosul. It also spread its tentacles in many Muslim majority countries. Many terrorist organisations in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Middle East declared allegiance to the ISIS to win popular Muslim support. Therefore, terrorist and militant organisations of Philippines also declared allegiance to it. Abu Sayyaf group and Dawlah Islamiyyah were two such organisations. In fact, Abu Sayyaf group ran extortion, drug and kidnapping racket and had nothing to do with Islam. It had got associated with the ISIS only because the ISIS was a big organisation with its caliphate and had popularity among a section of Islamic ulema who wrongly believed that Abu Bakr Baghdadi's caliphate in Mosul was the revival of the caliphate of the initial period of Islam. Therefore, they declared that they wanted to establish an Islamic caliphate in Muslim Mindanao which was soon going to win autonomy. The ISIS-affiliated Dawlah Islamiyyah started conducting terrorist attacks in the country. In 2019, the Muslim Mindanao was formally declared an autonomous region of Muslims where they would have their self-government with a fair share in the natural resources of the region. But the Dawlah Islamiyyah and other terror organisations like Abu Sayyaf said they did not accept the agreement between the government and MILF as they did not want an autonomous region within Philippine but independence from Philippines so that they could establish a caliphate. For this reason they have been carrying out terrorist activities against the majority Christians. The December 3 bomb attack on a Catholic church was one such terror activity by Dawlah Islamiyyah. Since 2019, Muslim Mindanao has been a Muslim autonomous region where Muslims have their self government. The Philippines government does not interfere with their religious affairs or their religious education system. But the Dawlah Islamiyyah demands the establishment of Islamic caliphate in Muslim Mindanao and to press for it, conducts terror acts against the Christians of the country. Some educated Muslim youth also have fallen for their ideology and have joined the ISIS. They speak in support of caliphate. In 2020, the ISIS conducted a number of terror attacks and caused large scale destruction. The United States took advantage of the situation and offered the Philippines government military help in combating ISIS. They jointly launched operation against the I SIS and in the process destroyed a large part of Marawi city, rendering hundreds homeless. During the last ten years, the world has learnt the truth about the ISIS. It only causes harm and damage to the Muslim countries by giving the US and the NATO an alibi to attack the Muslim countries. Earlier, the Al Qaida served the same purpose of providing the US with the excuse to attack and destroy Muslim countries. Now that Al Qaida has been decimated, the ISIS has taken up the task of destroying Muslim countries. If the ISIS captures and establishes control in Muslim Mindanao of Philippines, it will destroy the province. Presently, the Muslims of Muslim Mindanao are living in peace and working for their educational and economic development. The Muslims of Mindanao should realise the conspiracy of the ISIS before it's too late. URL: 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