Thursday, October 6, 2022

A Smile Is Always Contagious

By Sumit Paul, New Age Islam 6 October 2022 Itna Mahanga Ho Gaya Hai Tabassum Aaj Kal/Goya Regzaar Mein Paani Bachata Ho Koi Nashtar Nishapuri ( Smile has become so pricey, as if one uses water in the desert sparingly) Why I love an innocent smile For, it shows, the heart is free of guile Rumi Ek Tabassum Pe Munhasir Hai Hayaat Saari Phir Woh Zauq-E-Nazar Ki Ho Ya Ho Bhikari Ki -Faizan Nomani (Life hinges on just one smile/ Whether it's of a beloved or of a mendicant) When I go to the institute in the morning, I see children play and they always smile to see me. I also smile back and feel good from within. Smile has a universal language, which's intelligible to all. Like music, a smile has no language and geographical barriers. Yet, it pains me no end when I see people hardly smile nowadays. There has never been a face lovelier than a smiling one. This logic simply doesn't hold water that people in this age have more problems than those of the people of previous eras. So, they've forgotten to smile and laugh. Men have always had nagging worries and pressing problems in all ages, yet some people never forget to smile. 'Hujoom-E-Gham Meri Fitrat Badal Nahin Sakta/ Main Kya Karoon, Meri Aadat Hai Muskurane Ki' (The hordes of worries cannot change my inner fibre/ I just cannot eschew my habit of smiling). When you smile, you drive away all your blues and when someone looks at your smiling face, s/he also gets inspired and feels the waves of happiness welling up inside. A smile is much more contagious than Corona, albeit in a very positive way! A person's smile, not smirk, bespeaks his/ her character and fabric. Have you ever noticed the great singer Muhammad Rafi's face? His beatific smile vindicates the intrinsic innocence of his angelic persona. The ever-smiling face of the great Nelson Mandela also comes to the mind. Remember, a smile helps you go the extra mile. Only those, who're innately good, always smile and spread joy and happiness all around. As we grow old, we slowly drift away from our basic and inherent nature, that's goodness. We all have noticed how easily and spontaneously a child smiles and laughs. But adults often have to make an effort to smile and when they smile, it doesn't appear to be coming from the core of the heart. It seems forced and often laboured. A smile should have the quality to make others smile because all smiles begin from one and original smile. The flower of love, the greatest cementing force in the world, blossoms on the branches of smiles. The disarming smile of a damsel not just floors the suitor, it also gladdens the souls of the onlookers. A face that doesn't smile is often devoid of feelings. Why do all painters invariably draw angels and celestial beings with smiling faces? Because their smile is a message and a metaphor that only through a smile can we live our lives in this otherwise wretched and heartless world. ----- 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 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

Sri Ram Chandra of Maulana Zafar Ali Khan

By Saquib Salim, New Age Islam 6 October 2022 Maulana Zafar Ali Khan, often considered the father of Urdu journalism, was a well- known freedom fighter. As editor of the Urdu daily, Zamindar, he wrote extensively in support of the freedom struggle and also served a five-year jail term. A supporter of Congress in initial years, he later joined the Muslim League. Today, it seems impossible that a poet whose politics was rooted in Muslim identity would write in praise of Hinduism and Hindu gods. Zafar wrote extensively praising Lord Rama and, to him, it was not contradictory to Islam. Maulana Zafar Ali Khan ----- Zafar’s Sri Ram Chandra se Khitab (Address to Shri Ram Chandra), is one of the best eulogies written for Lord Ram in Urdu. In his view, Lord Rama is the symbol of a living Indian civilization. Addressing Lord Rama he wrote: Na To Naaquus Se Hai Aur Na Asnaam Se Hai Hind Ki Garmi-E-Hungama Tere Naam Se Hai (Neither because of conch nor by its idols The excitement and love thriving in India is by your name) He believed that the principles, ideals and philosophies taught by Lord Rama had been forgotten by Indians because of colonial propaganda. Indians blamed this decay in morals to the changing times, which they should not. Zafar wrote, Teri Taalim Hui Nazr-E-Khurafaat-E-Firang Barhaman Ko Ye Gila Gardish-E-Ayyam Se Hai (Your teachings have been destroyed by the evil plans of the English Brahmin is still blaming it over the changing times) Zafar wrote that the Hindu civilization had survived the onslaught of colonialism only because people did not forget Lord Rama, Goddess Sita and Lakshman. He emphatically pointed out the following: Naqsh-e-Tehziib-Hunud Ab Bhi Numaya Hai Agar To Wo Sita Se Hai, Lachhman Se Hai Aur Ram Se Hai (If the imprints of the Hindu civilization are still evident These are because of Sita, Lakshman and Rama) The above poem, of which three couplets have been shared, is not the only instance where Zafar had paid tribute to Lord Rama. In another piece written in 1917, as he appealed to Muslims and Hindus to commemorate Muharram and celebrate Dussehra harmoniously, Zafar threw light on teachings of Lord Rama through Dussehra. He wrote: Fasana Ram Chandra Ji Ka Sab Ko Yaad Hai Azbar Unhone Kis Tarah Buniyaad-E-Haq-O-Sidq Mohkam Ki (We all remember the story of Lord Rama/ How, he laid the strong foundations of righteousness and truth) Shadaayad Aur Masaayab Me.N Rahe Wo Mubtala Barso.N Kisi Takliif Ki Is Raah Me.N Parwaah Bahut Kam Kii (He faced hardships and difficulties for years. But, never cared of all these problems on the path of righteousness) In another poem, Tehziib-e-Hunuud, (Hindu Civilization), Zafar took up the role of a preacher. He asked, Wo Tehziib Aey Hinduo.N Ho Gayi Kya Baja Jiska Dankaa Tha Duniya Ke Andar (O, Hindus, what happened to that civilization /Which was famous for its greatness in the world) In the poem, he pointed out a number of problems among the present-day Hindus. Zafar lamented that the bravery of Arjun was dead, the grandness and luster of Kashi had gone, those riches had turned into rags and people mocked their own Hindu gods. After listing all the ills, he provided the solution in a single couplet. And the solution was turning back to the teachings of Lord Rama. He wrote: Haqiiqat Shanaasi Ki Gar Justjuu Hai Sabaq Tumko Denge Sri Ram Chandra (If you want to learn reality of the world and true knowledge. The lesson will be taught by Lord Rama) In another poem he termed the Indians collaborating with the British as the followers of Ravana. Zafar wrote, Koi Leta Hai Muh Se Ram Ka Naam Magar Kehta Hai Ravan Hi Khuda Hai (He who utters the name of Lord Rama Through actions, consider Ravana as his god) Zafar's had read Valmiki Ramayana and translated it. One act of Ramayana translated into poetry, was published in one of his books. Maulana Zafar Ali Khan published all these writings in one of the leading Urdu newspapers and it never clashed with his image of a Muslim thinker. In his belief, and rightly so, India is an ancient civilization that has produced scholars, thinkers and rulers who should be respected. The great men of the soil should be freed from narrow politics, their teachings should be adopted in the present context and respect for all religions should prevail. Only then can India return to its glorious past, Maulana Zafar Ali Khan had talked about. Like Maulana Zafar Ali Khan, several Muslim writers paid tribute to Hindu Gods and Goddesses. Interestingly, most of them were known for their orthodox Islam and not for their western outlook towards religion. One such poet was Mohammad Iqbal, more popularly known as Allama Iqbal. He also wrote Sare Jahan Se Aacha Hindustan Hamara.., a number the humming of which fills our hearts with pride even today. Today, Iqbal is seen more as a Muslim ideologue and in Pakistan, he is considered one of the founders of the idea of the nation. He too has written a n eulogy of Ram. Readers, who are far removed from the realities of those days, may find it hard to believe that he wrote that poem. The couplet below is from that poem: Hai Ram Ke Wajood Pe Hindustaan Ko Naaz Ahl-E-Nazar Samajhte Hain Us Ko Imam-E-Hind (India is proud of the existence of Ram, Spiritual people consider him prelate of India) ----- Saquib Salim is a Historian and a Writer 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

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Questioning Female-Male Power Relations In Islam

By Grace Mubashir, New Age Islam 5 October 2022 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------- In the wake of Hijab controversy, this article looks into problematic patriarchal understanding of male-female relation. Brutalized patriarchy is often permeated through the classical Islamic literature. But the fact is that even these bodies of work are strong legal and didactic critique of patriarchy practiced by Muslim communities. This article is the rebuttal of dehumanization of women using authentic classical Islamic sources. The clamour for reforms in patriarchal interpretations of religious scriptures is gradual continuance of this vibrant culture. The reform project is just the demand of time. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Qivama, the jurisprudential part which discusses male-female relation, should be understood as a evangelically structured system to protect women's rights and women themselves instead of a male-dominated system of authority. It can be assessed that men and women should follow each other in Qivama, whatever democratic human values are followed by the leader and superiors who lead a national system, office system or party when interacting with their colleagues. Just as structural alignment for administrative convenience exists at occupational levels, Qivama points to the tenuous existence of the basic social institution of the family. The 34th verse of Surat al-Nisa is the most hotly debated Qur'anic verse in discussions of power relations between men and women in general and in feminist discourse in particular. It is assigned primary meanings such as 'men have control over women', man is the steward of women'. This practice has been active in classical Muslim scholarly circles as a system based on the principle of maintaining the family rather than holding power. This system is generally referred to as Qivama. The Qur'an introduces it with the term ‘Qawwamoon’. The significance of this is that men are the ‘Qawwamoon’ of women. ‘Qawwamoon’ is derived from the root word Qiwama. The Qivama is an important resource in feminist thought and in discussions of Qur'anic teachings in general. The resource value of Qivama in such discourses is that it is interpreted as a mechanism for maintaining authoritarianism and supremacy. Therefore, an attempt is made here to examine how the system of Qivama has been understood in the traditions of Qur'an interpretation that have stood over time. It must be understood fundamentally that medieval Qur'anic interpretations have given the concept of Qivama a bewildering range of meaning, and that this essay is not part of an attempt to polish the Islamic tradition of women in a patchwork of relegating religious values to the framework of modern logic. It is childish to assume that the classical Muslim Qur'an commentators who interpreted the Qivama were all misogynists. They have succeeded in reading the elements of authoritarian values in living environments and contemporary dominant discourses into the universality of humanistic values of Islam. Consequently they were instrumental in breaking away from the medieval rule of patriarchal norms. Definition ‘Zamakhsari’ was an Iranian scholar who lived in the eleventh century and who fundamentally analysed the literary values of the Qur'an. He makes it clear that a man should act in Qivama as a leader acts towards his ranks and a king acts towards his subjects (Tafseer al-Kasaf). The 13th-century Iranian scholar Al-Bailavi (Tafseer al-Bailavi) and the 19th-century Alusi (Ruhul Ma'ani) of Baghdad have explained the Qivama with the same metaphors. The famous fourteenth-century Qur'anic commentator Ibn Kathir explained the Qivama as the man who is the guardian of the woman, superior to the woman, and entitled to take disciplinary action over the woman. (Aleem in Tafseerul Qur'an). The modern commentator Wahba Suhaili (Atafseer al-Munir) also presents the same idea about Qivama while retaining the said expressions. Muhammad Abdu, a modernist scholar in Egypt, has envisioned Qivama as a male leadership position in his Tafseer al-Manar. For this he uses the word Riasa which means leadership. He dictates that the guided woman should follow the decisions of the male protagonist. But this does not mean that the woman is oppressed and denied the fundamental right to make decisions, and explains that the role of the man inside the Qivama is only as a guide (irshad) and observer (Muraqaba). Imam Qurtubi, who wrote a commentary on the Qur'an in the field of ritual science, observed that the duty of working for the improvement of the woman's life and protecting her from the evils of life is to be performed by the man through Qivama (Al Jami'u Liahkamil Qur'an). Ibn Ashur (Attahrir Watanweer), a Tunisian who lived in the 20th century, evaluates the responsibility of the man in the Qiwama by putting the concept of the protector of the woman in front. Like Qurtubi, he considers it a part of protecting a woman to earn the necessities of life. One of the authoritative voices of the eleventh-century Maliki madhhab, Ibn al-Arabi, understood the Qivama as a system in which men and women shared rights with each other. In his Ahkamul Qur'an, Ibn al-Arabi observes that duties performed individually by men and women become rights of each other. He interprets it as the husband's responsibility to pay the wife's Mehr (dower) and living expenses, to treat her in the most desirable manner, to keep the marital relationship sacred and secure, to lead the woman to divine thought, and to protect her husband's property, serve the family, and behave according to his instructions in his absence. Ibn al-Arabi's explanation is that mutual duties imply complementary rights at the same time. Mutawalli Alsha'arawi, an Egyptian Mufassir who passed away in 1998, sees Qivama as a system that covers all the women and men of the family, not limited to the husband and wife. In his al-Qawathir, Sha'rawi, who gained fame both inside and outside Egypt for his constant lectures on Qur'anic interpretation, criticizes the downplaying of Qivama as a mechanism that works only between couples. Sharawi's assessment is that fathers have an obligation to protect their children and brothers have an obligation to protect their sisters. Sha'ravi also observes that Qivama's desire is for men to guide women in all spheres, moral, ethical and spiritual. He points to a verse in the Qur'an as evidence. In Sura Tawaha, the 20th chapter of the Qur'an, there is an instance where Allah tells Adam that he must protect himself and his fellow man from falling into the trap of Iblis or else he will fail. Allah praises Prophet Adam as follows: ‘O Adam, he is an enemy of you and your fellow man. Therefore, it should not be the case that he expels both of you from heaven. If so, you will be a loser’. Here Allah is using the verb form of the Arabic grammar in the two persons of the enemy in the expressions "the enemy of both of you" and "both of you will be out". But only where it is used as a loser, the verb form is used to address the individual/Adam only. Because, the interpretation given by Sha'rawi is that the Qur'an was used in this way to show that the moral responsibility of guiding the woman in a straight way should be carried out by the man. ‘Tafdeel ’: Is Man Better Than Woman? ‘Tafdeel ’ means natural preference of men over women. ‘Tafdeel ’ and ‘‘Infaq’ are introduced by the Qur'an as the two authentic key words that legally, sociologically and familially validate Qivama. These are the adverbs of the verb forms ‘Faddala’ and ‘Anfaqa’ respectively. The essence of this is that the man has the right of control, protection and responsibility over the woman as long as the two reasons of ‘Faddala’ (man is given innate ability over woman in some matters) and ‘Anfaqa’ (man pays Mehr for the woman and always finds a means of living) exist. Pickthall paraphrases ‘Faddala’. Yusuf Ali's translation is ‘Has Given the One More Strong than Another’. Imam Razi understood the principle that men are superior to women in this way: Since God commanded men to pay Mehr to women and take care of her livelihood, it is the woman's right to receive Mehr and expenses in due time. Thus the superiority of the inheritance to the male is settled by the right of the female to dowry and expenses. Consequently the woman has no ultimate superiority over the man or the man over the woman (Faqa Annama La Fallah Albatah). (Mafatihul Ghayb. 10:90). Imam Razi clarifies that it is remarkable that responsibilities such as Mehr and living expenses are vested only on men, while men and women are equal partners in terms of sexual satisfaction. Therefore, ‘Tafdeel ’ is the excellence of man, Imam Razi ironically suggests that it should be understood as a social responsibility rather than an exercise of power. Shaarawi develops this concept further. Both men and women experience sexual pleasure, sexual satisfaction, and the consequent joy of procreation. But Sha'rawi's explanation while describing ‘Tafdeel ’ is that the responsibility of the family and children, which is a sociological product of this, is assigned only to men. He also observes that no matter how wealthy a woman is personally, the ultimate responsibility rests with the man. (Al-Qawathir). Both the man and the woman experience the joy of the resulting fertility. But Sha'rawi's explanation while describing ‘Tafdeel ’ is that the responsibility of the family and children, which is a sociological product of this, is assigned only to men. He also observes that no matter how wealthy a woman is personally, the ultimate responsibility rests with the man. (Al-Qawathir). In al-Bahr al-Muheet, the prominent Qur'anic commentator Abul Hayyan al-Andalusi represents a broader stream of Qiwama. That is, his argument is that not all men in the world are superior to all women, and some men are superior to some women, as it is a well-known fact that there are many women who are ten times better than men in many areas of life. Then, he argues that the Qur'anic statement that men are made superior to women is a relative reference, and the definition of ‘Tafdeel ’ can change and gain scope depending on the time-space-karma consideration. This explanation shows that ‘Tafdeel ’ is not a principle which the Qur'an seeks to establish universally. Moreover, the Qur'an does not explicitly say that men or women are used to make some people better than others. Andalusi's explanation is that the Qur'an uses such ambiguous syntax to convey the idea that men and women are superior to each other in various fields, rather than to suggest that all men are ultimately superior to women. With this, it is evident here that al-Andalusi validates the hermeneutical development of Tafdeel in the fourteenth century itself. Imam Qurtubi defines ‘Tafdeel ’ in such a way as to rule out even the subtle possibility of making a woman a victim of exploitation. Qurtubi clarifies his position with the comprehensive statement that the benefit of ‘Tafdeel ’ ultimately returns to the woman herself. In other words, there are no interests in Tafdeel that exceed the woman's protection. Qurtubi's view is that since men naturally have more physical and mental capacity (Tafdeel ) than women, manhood cannot be achieved through ‘Tafdeel ’, which exceeds the natural justice of entrusting men with the responsibility of interfering in public spaces that are naturally inaccessible to women. Hence the understanding that Qivama is not a system of absolute power but a system to liberate women from the worries of life's complexities is changing. Through this reading, it is also possible to reach the meaning of Qivama that the woman solves certain social duties that are generally inaccessible to men, and the man solves some social duties that are generally inaccessible to women. Qurtubi fundamentally rejects the validity of the concept of Tafdeel as the social security and cost of living of women are not guaranteed. (Qur'an 5:169 in al-Jami'u li Ahkam). This rejection of Qurtubi reinforces Imam Razi's Fa Kaannahu La Fadla Albatah (the fact that men and women perform complementary duties and that ultimately one is not superior to the other), and identifying with it. This view of Qurthwubi has an extraordinary relevance as he is one of the prominent people who interpreted the Qur'an from the basis of the philosophy of karma. When discussing ‘Tafdeel ’, it is also relevant to examine how Qur'anic commentators interact with current scientific thought. Both Qurtubi and Razi agree that men are superior to women in the areas of intelligence, physical ability, and leadership. Razi and Qurtubi believe that the attributes of tenderness (Ruthubah) and tenderness (Buroodah) are inherent in women and firmness (Yabusah) and fervour (Hararah) in men. Because of this, it is also clear that the arduous tasks such as taking care of livelihood are essentially assigned to men. There is nothing anti-feminist to be found in this explanation other than to read the difference between men and women in the light of existing scientific consciousness. Syed Qutb is the prominent person who observed the complementary gender relations of Qivama using some sociological criteria. The family is the most valuable social institution in the process of making man, the most exalted being in the universe. Sayyid Qutb argues that only the most suitable people should be selected to take responsibility for the family, considering that only the most suitable candidates are appointed as managers of economic, industrial and commercial institutions that are relatively less important than the family (Fee lilalil Qur'an. 2:650). Qutb's view is that the selection in question must be based solely on the pure nature (fitrah) of man, as it is not rational to make it accidental or random. The Qutb also clarifies the approach to ‘Tafdeel ’ where it explains what the innate scents of pure nature are. Therefore, Qutb understands that it is a manifestation of God's supreme justice to endow each sex with the appropriate biological and psychological characteristics and skills for the life situations they are likely to encounter. It can also be re-read as a proof of God's supreme justice by assigning different roles and duties to men and women based on the natural differences that Tafdeel validates. Qutb is very careful not to use negative phrasing regarding women as inferior to men, as traditional Mufassirs have generally done in interpreting the Qur'anic verse about Qivama. Instead, he uses it as a positive phrase that one is superior to the other in terms of both sexes. It is observed that women are superior to men in terms of gentleness, tenderness, and reacting to problems in a superficial manner without going into more practical considerations, and men are superior to women in qualities such as tactfulness, spiritedness, and responding to problems with practical indifference. He uses it as a positive phrase that one is superior to the other in terms of both sexes. It is observed that women are superior to men in terms of gentleness, tenderness, and reacting to problems in a superficial manner without going into more practical considerations, and men are superior to women in qualities such as tactfulness, spiritedness, and responding to problems with practical indifference. He uses it as a positive phrase that one is superior to the other in terms of both sexes. It is observed that women are superior to men in terms of gentleness, tenderness, and reacting to problems in a superficial manner without going into more practical considerations, and men are superior to women in qualities such as tactfulness, spiritedness, and responding to problems with practical indifference. Ibn Ashur, a North African scholar who made many seminal contributions to Islamic jurisprudence in the 20th century, understood ‘Tafdeel ’ as a means of protection for women. He argues that it is a fact of life that generations of women need men to protect them, whether they are weak or strong (Attahrir Watanweer. 5:38). Ibn Ashur sees no other reason why Tafdeel is divine than the natural difference between man and woman. However, it is notable that Qutb avoids the terms weak and dependent that is prominent in medieval Tafsirs about women, and instead emphasizes a single concept of natural characteristics (al-Masaya al-Jibilliyyah). Another modern Qur'anic commentator, Wahba Suhaili, has developed the concept of ‘Tafdeel ’ using somewhat more medieval terminology. Wahba Suhaili attributes to the man such attributes as flawless creation, perfect sense of smell, perfect wisdom, balanced emotions, balanced body structure (Tafseerul Muneer). He argues that these give superiority (Tafdeel ) to men over women. But Suhaili does not see such adjectives as a means of dominating a woman. On the contrary, he believes that it is because he is the bearer of the embodied nature that the man is obligated to undertake the duties of woman's needs. ‘Infaq: Fundamental Rights of Women ‘Infaq is the financial role of men in the family. From the analysis so far, it can be understood that ‘Tafdeel ’ is a broad concept that includes the innate differences between men and women, the differences in appearance and character expressed by both identities, and the different tasks (gender roles) that men and women should undertake in the construction of society as a result of these two. But ‘Infaq is a declaration of two fundamental rights of women which are definite and absolute. The first is Mehr, and the second is the fulfilment of living expenses (Nafaqa). At the same time both act as the responsibility of the man and the fundamental right of the woman. Although the ultimate responsibility to fulfil these lies with the man, the woman seizes the power and the right to diminish the quantity and quality. Judging the interpretations of the Qivama through the lens of ‘Infaq, the economic significance of the Qivama can be seen. Let us take Qurtubi's commentary as an example. Qurtubi insists that if a man fails to establish and maintain the woman's ways of life, he immediately loses his status as a woman's guardian (Qawwam). (Al Jami'u li Ahkamil Qur'an, 5:169). From this it can be judged that even the failure to engage in the economic sphere, which is only one of the rhetorical scope of the concept of Qivama, cancels the man's responsibility of Qivama towards the woman. That is, the principle put forward by the Qur'an is that the existence of a man who does not have the power to ensure the physical-psychological-social security of the woman and the security of the family has no relevance or validity in the Qivama. When it comes to future property, the importance of the financial sphere of the Qivama increases even further. According to the distribution theory of inheritance, the primary rationale behind paying a man twice as much as a woman is that the man has the full financial responsibility of the woman. Alusi, Razi and Wahba Suhaili confirm this logic. Under Islamic law, except for this fundamental difference in inheritance, women are free to make all other financial transactions. And that the man has no power to usurp discretionary power to buy or sell the wealth acquired or inherited by the woman. But the woman is also free to share the wealth with her husband according to the exigencies of life's circumstances. Without understanding the Quranic principles in the entirety of its principles, the feminists are seen to be taking issue with women's share of inheritance. The Christian tradition treated women as property without actually giving them power over their wealth. In the Christian tradition where the wife was regarded as one of her husband's property, her freedom to inherit was unthinkable. (Shareef Abdel Azeem, Woman in Islam versus woman in Judeo Christian tradition: the myth and reality). It must also be appreciated that it was only at the end of the sixteenth century that women were given the right to inheritance in traditions outside the Muslim world. (Mary F. Radford, the Inheritance Rights of Women under Jewish and Islamic Law). It is from this background that the value and relevance of the right of inheritance given to women by Islam in the 7th century must be assessed. The explanation of Imam Tabari, one of the foremost scholars of the middle ages, is quite remarkable in terms of delineating the economic sphere of Qivama. He cites several explanations of the Prophet's followers without breaking the chain of narrators to explain the Qivama based on ‘Tafdeel ’ and ‘Infaq. (Jamiul Bayan, 3:2287). However, Tabari does not show the tendency to explore the meaning of Tafdeel as in post-Tabari commentaries. Rather, he merely cites Ibn Abbas' explanation, which separates Tafdeel from other interpretations and reduces it to a mere financial obligation. There is no other meaning beyond ‘Infaq in the explanation of Ibn Abbas, who has the title of Ra'iz al-Mufassireen (Foremost among the commentators). In other words, Ibn Abbas observes that no man is superior to a woman except that he takes over the financial burden of the woman. Conclusion As mentioned earlier, the position of man in Qivama is non-authoritative, complementary, and loving. Qivama should be understood as a evangelically structured system to protect women's rights and women themselves instead of a male-dominated system of authority. It can be assessed that men and women should follow each other in Qivama, whatever democratic human values are followed by the leader and superiors who lead a national system, office system or party when interacting with their colleagues. Just as structural alignment for administrative convenience exists at occupational levels, Qivama aims at the tenuous existence of the basic social institution of the family. It is logical to judge that the family system that does not emphasize on human values such as harmony, mercy, love, friendship, dependency, and justice is not relevant in Qivama, just as other exploitative tendencies beyond administrative convenience are not relevant at job levels. Moreover, it must also be read that family systems, which radical feminists view as systems of male authority at the micro and macro levels, cannot enter the meaning of Qivama in any way. Islam does not support patriarchal local customs. ----- 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

Do Prayers Really Bring About A Change?

By Sumit Paul, New Age Islam 5 October 2022 " Na Dozakh Ka Dar, Na Khauf-E-Khuda Hans Kar Maine Maut Se Loha Liya " -Adil Rampuri (Neither hell nor Allah am I fearful of/ I challenged death with a grin on my face) " Prayers can only have a Placebo effect on a person or they can apparently minimize the severity of a situation. That they can change a hopeless situation dramatically, is a very big self-deception. Prayers are for frightened and religiously conditioned humans. " Ahmed Harqan, Egyptian Human Rights activist and an outspoken atheist Recently, famous comedian Raju Srivastava passed away despite the whole country earnestly praying for him for nearly two months. My friend's young sister died of cancer, though her family called Pandits from UP to recite Maha Mritunjay Jaap continuously for many days. Alas, nothing could help her survive. A complete nonbeliever at Adelaide hospital in Australia, sternly told his near and dear ones not to pray for him as he had no faith in any god and the effectiveness of prayers. He recovered miraculously though all doctors gave up on him. He had faith in himself that he'd survive. My point is that unwavering self belief and courage of conviction can help a person sail through even the toughest challenge(s) in life sans a skerrick of faith in any god, prayer or religion. There's no arrogance about it. Readers may be aware that when a complete atheist Bhagat Singh was about to be hanged at Lahore Central Jail on March 23, 1931, the fatherly jailor came to him and politely requested him to pray. Bhagat Singh said, ' I'm not scornful of your belief in some divine power, but I've never had any faith in any heavenly power. So, at this juncture, I cannot compromise on my conviction. Please let me die faithless.' Imminent death can make anyone vulnerable. Yours truly is no exception. But one can triumph over the fear of impending death by having absolute self belief and this belief is his/her 'spiritual' anchorage. Self belief sans any esoteric mumbo-jumbo is true spirituality. I saw my professor and mentor Dr Zaifa Ashraf die. She too died of cancer at The Royal Marsden Cancer Hospital, London. A complete non-believer, Dr Ashraf chose to embrace death despite writhing in extreme pain. She never prayed in life or had any faith in religion (read Islam). Doctors attending to her were amazed by her self-belief and fortitude. My atheist mother was instructing doctors to give away her whole body for medical research without praying or fearing for death. Yours truly never prayed (and will never pray) throughout his life. Yet, he has got everything and all his wishes have come to fruition. I know, death is inevitable. So, why should I worry or pray to stave it off? Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib wrote, ' Maut Ka Ik Din Muayyan Hai/Neend Kyon Raat Bhar Nahin Aati ?' (The day of death is predestined/Why does sleep elude all night?). So very true. When death is unavoidable, welcome it with utmost calmness, equanimity and dignity. If the majority of people in the world are religious and believers, there are also people who've no faith and are totally godless. For such non-believers, approaching death mustn't be so overwhelming as to degenerate them into believing something they never believed during their lifetime. ----- 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 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, October 4, 2022

The Pluralistic Message of the Quran

By Naseer Ahmed, New Age Islam 4 October 2022 The Qur’an Celebrates Gender, Ethnic and Religious Diversity. Diversity It Says Presents Not Only An Opportunity To Learn From Each Other But To Benchmark And Compete In Virtue. ------ There is only one God, who may be called by any name (20:8) Allah! there is no god but He! To Him belong the most Beautiful Names. (17:110) Say: "Call upon Allah, or call upon Rahman: by whatever name ye call upon Him, (it is well): for to Him belong the Most Beautiful Names. The Meaning of “The Only Religion Acceptable To Allah Is Islam” (3:19) The Religion before Allah is Islam (submission to His Will): Nor did the People of the Book dissent therefrom except through envy of each other, after knowledge had come to them…. The people have broken up their religion into many sects based on envy. (3:83) Do they seek for other than the Religion of Allah?-while all creatures in the heavens and on earth have, willing or unwilling, bowed to His Will (Accepted Islam), and to Him shall they all be brought back. Every other creation whether it is the heavenly bodies, inanimate matter or living creatures, submits to Allah’s laws and is therefore Muslim. Man is the only creature who has choice and autonomy to exercise his choice and can therefore choose to be a Muslim (one who willingly submits to Allah) or a Kafir (one who rejects or rebels against his Creator) (5:69) Those who believe (in the Qur´an), those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Sabians and the Christians,- any who believe in Allah and the Last Day, and work righteousness,- on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve. (3:85) If anyone desires a religion other than Islam (submission to Allah), never will it be accepted of him; and in the Hereafter He will be in the ranks of the losers Religion is from Allah and Allah's religion has always been Islam even if the people gave their religion different names. The meaning of Islam is submission to Allah by whatever name as long as the name is a beautiful name. Allah's religion has always been about submission to Him and not associating any partners with Him. When a Sabian's religion is also acceptable to Allah, it means that not only the so-called Abrahamic religions, but the religion of all those who submit to "The God" by whatever name is Islam in the Quran. “Sanatan Dharma” in Sanskrit means “The Eternal Religion”. Allah’s religion has always been the same, unchanging or eternal and indeed it is “The Sanatan Dharma” The Meaning of Muslim in the Quran The trilateral root word slm (sīn lām mīm س ل م) is common for Islam, Muslim and Salam. Allah says in the Quran that He has named all his devotees Muslim from ancient times. Muslim is a generic term which means a person who submits to Allah (by whatever name). Shalom, the greeting of the Jews means Salam and is from the same trilateral root. So, why does the word Muslim and Islam not appear in their scriptures? It may have been lost in translation and only the greeting form appears to have survived. It however appears in the Aramaic Gospel of Mathew as ‘Mašlmana’ from the root word slm, the same as Muslimun in Arabic and means « submitted to God, » « he who trusts in God, » « who commits himself to Him » to commit or hand oneself over (or again to submit) to God. While translating, it has been rendered in Greek by the use of the verb paradidomi. The Greeting of People of All Religions The greeting of Salam and its alternatives, Tasleem, and Aslama mean “acceptance”. The Persian Adaab additionally conveys respect. The common root word for a greeting such as Salam and submission to God such as Islam/Muslim is also found in other religions and cultures. For example, Namaste is a greeting while Namaha from the same root word means submission to God. Namaste is the combination of two words Namah (नम :) + Te (ते). The meaning is "Salutations to you", "I bow down to you" or "Obeisance to you". The root of the word ‘Namaha’ is ‘Nam’ =Namati meaning to prostrate, ‘to salute’ etc. The word ‘Tae’ is the dative case form of the pronoun ‘Tvam’ meaning ‘you’. नमस् - bow, obeisance, reverential salutation, adoration by gesture or word; often with a dative case, for example, Rāmāya Namaḥ, salutation or glory to Rāma In every Mantra the prefix of Namah is generally added. Just for example Namah Sivaya. Now, this Mantra is practically indicating the holy name of Lord Siva. Na means negation and Ma means false ego or Ahamkara. Therefore Namah means surrendering to the name Siva. In other words, to accept the supremacy of Lord Siva means Namah Sivaya. The Arabic Equivalent of Namaste Is Therefore Salam And the Arabic equivalent of Namaha is Islam or the religion of surrender/submission to God negating self and ego. The greeting Salam, Shalom, Namaste or Adaab convey acceptance and respect for the other and therefore peace. All religions are from the same God, preach the same message and stand for peace, acceptance of and respect for others. Read: The Meaning of Islam and Muslim The Quran says that Only the Fools Are Supremacists The Quran makes irrelevant the question "which is the best religion?" It asks us to focus on who is the most righteous. There is no verse in the Quran that promises Heaven to the Momin or to the Muslim but only to the Muttaqi or the sincere ones who could be following any religion. Following "the best religion" is a double-edged sword. You have a greater chance of falling short of its requirements and ending up in Hell. Consider the following verses which refer to such foolish arguments: (2:111) And they say: "None shall enter Paradise unless he be a Jew or a Christian." Those are their (vain) desires. Say: "Produce your proof if ye are truthful." (112) Nay,-whoever submits His whole self to Allah and is a doer of good,- He will get his reward with his Lord; on such shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve. (113) The Jews say: "The Christians have naught (to stand) upon; and the Christians say: "The Jews have naught (To stand) upon." Yet they (Profess to) study the (same) Book. Like unto their word is what those say who know not; but Allah will judge between them in their quarrel on the Day of Judgment. (114) And who is more unjust than he who forbids that in places for the worship of Allah, Allah´s name should be celebrated?-whose zeal is (in fact) to ruin them? It was not fitting that such should themselves enter them except in fear. For them there is nothing but disgrace in this world, and in the world to come, an exceeding torment. (115) To Allah belong the east and the West: Whithersoever ye turn, there is the presence of Allah. For Allah is all-Pervading, all-Knowing. Verse 112 makes no distinction among the followers of various religions. The Ecumenism of People of All Faiths in Heaven and Hell Now consider the following verses about people who will be thrown into Hell. The verses make no distinction based on religion and these people could be followers of any religion: (55:41) (For) the sinners will be known by their marks: and they will be seized by their forelocks and their feet. (14:49) And thou wilt see the sinners that day bound together in fetters;- People in Heaven Who are the people in the verse below? Notice that the verse includes people of all faiths. (22:17) Those who believe (in the Qur´an), those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Sabians, Christians, Magians, and Polytheists,- Allah will judge between them on the Day of Judgment: for Allah is witness of all things. They are the righteous ones destined for Heaven to whom Allah will speak and inform them of the things they differed about in the world. Allah will not even deign to speak to those who are destined for Hell as we learn from verses 55:41 and 14:49 cited earlier and therefore these persons are the righteous ones destined for Heaven whom Allah will honour by speaking to them. Most Muslims have difficulty accepting that there will be polytheists in Heaven as they believe that Allah can forgive every sin except polytheism going by verses 4:48 and 4:116. What they miss is that the addressees of 4:48 are the Jews and Christians and the addressees of 4:116 are Muslims. Polytheists among the Jews, Christians and Muslims will not be forgiven. There is no verse addressed to all mankind which makes polytheism an unforgivable sin for all of mankind. The verse addressed to all mankind (7:33) makes polytheism a sin on par with the prohibitions and these are forgivable sins if the person is otherwise a righteous person. Read: 1. Does Allah Provide A Level Playing Field To All The People? 2. Who Is A Kafir In The Quran? (Part 3): Why Kufr Is A Relative Concept While Shirk, Idol Worship Etc. Have Fixed Meanings 3. Revisiting the Meaning of Kafir More Verses on Religious Pluralism Finally, focus on the following verses that reinforce the message of pluralism and the sole criteria of righteousness: (2:62) Those who believe (in the Qur´an), and those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Christians and the Sabians,- any who believe in Allah and the Last Day, and work righteousness, shall have their reward with their Lord; on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve. (2:177) It is not righteousness that ye turn your faces Towards east or West (differences in the rituals of people of different faiths is unimportant); but it is righteousness- to believe in Allah and the Last Day, and the Angels, and the Book, and the Messengers; to spend of your substance, out of love for Him, for your kin, for orphans, for the needy, for the wayfarer, for those who ask, and for the ransom of slaves; to be steadfast in prayer, and practice regular charity; to fulfil the contracts which ye have made; and to be firm and patient, in pain (or suffering) and adversity, and throughout all periods of panic. Such are the people of truth, the Allah-fearing. The difference in rituals of the Jews who face Jerusalem while praying, the Christians who face the East and the Muslims who face the Kaba is immaterial is what the above verse says and then goes on to describe righteousness in a secular way. 5:48 “We have prescribed to each of you a law and a tradition. If God had desired, he could have made you a single community. Instead, he is testing you with regard to the revelations you received. So, compete in doing good. You will all return to God, and he will inform you then concerning those things about which you argued.” The Qur’an does not negate any previous scriptures but says that Allah will judge people by the revelations sent to them. The superiority of a religious community over other communities will be judged by how far a religious community achieves its own moral ideals and how much it helps those in need. The scripture reminds the people that their ultimate charge is to do good and be charitable. The Quran also emphasises the Need for All People to Live in Peace and Harmony on Earth. 49:13 says, “People, we have created you male and female and made you nations and tribes so that you may come to know one another. The noblest of you in the sight of God is the most pious of you. God is knowing and aware.” The Qur’an here celebrates gender, ethnic and religious diversity. Diversity it says presents not only an opportunity to learn from each other but to benchmark and compete in virtue. Diversity should not, therefore, be made an excuse for bigotry or conflict. By mentioning the diversity in gender, the Quran is also saying that men and women have something to learn from each other and that they are also equal. ----- A frequent contributor to, Naseer Ahmed is an Engineering graduate from IIT Kanpur and is an independent IT consultant after having served in both the Public and Private sector in responsible positions for over three decades. He has spent years studying Quran in-depth and made seminal contributions to its interpretation. 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

Hindus Are Not the Kafirs Mentioned In the Quran

Kafir Is a Relative Word Main Points: 1. 2. Kafir means ungrateful. 2. Quran calls the illiterate animists of Makkah and Madina of Jahiliyyah Kafir. 3. Pharaoh calls Moses Kafir and Prophet Moses calls Pharaoh Kafir. 4. Hindus of India do not fall into the category of Kafir. ----- By New Age Islam Staff Writer 4 October 2022 RSS Sarsanghachalak Mohan Bhagwat | PTI photo ----- Ibn Khaldun Bharati argues that Hindus of India do not fall into the category of Kafir because the polytheists of Makkah were illiterate (Ummi) and uncivilised without any religious scripture. The head of the RSS had recently told a group of Muslim intellectuals that the word Kafir used by Indian Muslims for Hindus was humiliating. This sparked a debate on the word Kafir. The Quran on a number of occasions says that they (the polytheists of Arab) do not have a Sanad (testimony) or book. The Hindus of India, on the other hand, had their scriptures and had philosophical treatises on religious topics. The Quran does not typecast a whole community and so does not declare any community entirely Kafir or Mushrik (polytheist). It marks out Kafirs from among the People of the Book (98:1 and 98:6). It does not say that all the People of the Book are Kafirs. An interesting point here is that the Pharaoh uses the word Kafir for Prophet Moses who was a prophet of God in the sense of ungrateful as Prophet Moses was brought up under the patronage of the Pharaoh and his queen. Therefore, Kafir is a relative word. The Quran does not use the word Kafir for a whole community and so the use of the word Kafir for the entire Hindu community is not correct. Even a Muslim is said to have committed Kufr when he violates an important injunction of the Quran. In support of his arguments, the author quotes some verses from the Quran and suggests that the use of the word Kafir for the Indian Hindus should be stopped in order to build bridges between the two communities. Mohan Bhagwat’s Right — No Word Wounds Hindus Like Kafir Does By Ibn Khaldun Bharati 2 October, 2022 The much-belated revelation about a meeting, held a month ago, between Mohan Bhagwat, the Sarsanghchalak of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, and five Muslims, “a motley group of friends”, has generated a great deal of excitement in the media — print, electronic, digital and, most importantly, social. Much has been said about the representative character of the Muslim members and the details of the conversation they saw fit to share with the public. While the “concerns about the insecurity of the Muslim community” and how best they be allayed have been thoroughly discussed, the concerns of the Hindus, as usual, have received little attention. In the said meeting, Bhagwat expressed his deep concern about two issues and how hurtful they are to the Hindu psyche: One, cow slaughter, and two, the ‘Kafir’ appellation. The first one has already been dealt with by others, so I will focus on the second. The apologia proffered by the Muslim members was that Kafir was the word for non-believers, that is, non-Muslims, and so, the Hindus were amiss in taking offence at that. They explained that in Abrahamic religions, there are such words for those beyond the pale. Wrong. Kafir is not the word for a mere non-Muslim, and it is not an Abrahamic problem. The oldest Abrahamic religion, Judaism, does have a word for a non-Jew — gentile. But it is not a slur. At least, no longer, and certainly not in popular usage. There is no corresponding word for a non-Christian either. Pagan, heathen or infidel, etc., are not the exact opposite of a Christian, like Kafir is considered to be of a Muslim. Similarly, non-Abrahamic religions don’t have opposites either. Neither in the Indic religions is there a word for a non-Hindu, non-Buddhist, non-Jain, or non-Sikh. People are best identified by the names they give themselves. Names given by others are seldom palatable to the individual. Religions can co-exist with one another, in peace and on equal terms, without identifying others as opposites and enemies. This is the crux of pluralism — a modus vivendi in which Indian Muslims have a greater stake than others. A Product of Islamic High Noon The Kafir of Islamic theology and the one mentioned in the Quran bear no resemblance to each other. Islamic theology is a product of the imperial high noon of the religion and reflects its imperialist and supremacist ethos to the tee. Islam acquired an empire before its formative phase was over. Inevitably, it became politicised at the outset and set out to conquer all that it could and developed concepts and categories that would further its supremacist and imperial agenda. Kafir is one such concept. No word has wounded the Indian psyche like it. If nearly 300 years after the Muslim rule, Hindus still feel so hurt at being called Kafir, it shouldn’t be hard to imagine how deep their sense of injury must be. Historical memories, passed on from generation to generation, in oral traditions and through folklores, resonate more with collective consciousness than the curated facts and ideological interpretations in history books. To dismiss this concern of Hindus by telling them that if they knew the lexical meaning of the word, they wouldn’t mind this appellation, is both facetious and cavalier. Irrespective of its dictionary meaning, what is important is how the word was employed and understood. Exclude, Insult, Humiliate In Indian history, Kafir has been a word of insult, exclusion, hostile othering, xenophobia and, above all, dehumanisation and disenfranchisement. During the Muslim rule, the State was governed by Islamic principles. A non-Muslim — a Hindu, a Kafir — couldn’t legitimately have a share in power. A Kafir had no original rights and lived on sufferance. The Muslim-Kafir binary is a recast of the Arab tribal system on a large scale in which someone excommunicated from the tribe had no rights, not even to life. The ethos of Arab tribalism has deeply informed the Islamic norms. Even today, this practice of excommunication by declaring someone a Kafir is rampant in the Muslim community in India and globally. It could be done over a most arcane quibble on a minor dogmatic dispute. There is no bigger humiliation and danger than being declared a Kafir. The person not only loses all his rights but forfeits his life too. If this could happen to someone from within the fold, one could only imagine the plight of a vanquished community. It is this generational memory of subjugation and humiliation that continues to haunt Hindus. The least that Muslims can do is to show some empathy towards their biradran-e-watan, their compatriots, and shun the usage of this offensive word. If they did so, they would be standing on a solid theoretical foundation as they would be nearer to the Quran even as they break away from the imperial Islamic theology. Unearthing ‘Kafir’ Roots The root verb of Kafir, and of the infinitive noun kufr, is the trilateral K-F-R (kafara), which means, “he covered (a thing)”. Originally, it described farmers burying seeds in the ground. In surah 57, verse 20, the Quran uses the word Kafir for a farmer as he covers the sown seed with earth. Arabic poets personify the darkness of night as Kafir. Ideologically, it implies a person who hides or covers the truth. This is the connotation that the Quran employs to describe those who evinced active hostility towards its message. Another connotative usage of this word in the Quran is of a thankless person who shows ingratitude towards God’s grace. The Quran depicts how Fir ’awn fulminated against Moosa for challenging his authority, called him a Kafir, an ingrate, for the latter was brought up in his own royal household (surah 26, verse 18-19). Besides these two meanings, the Quran identifies as Kufr some behavioural traits such as the N-word (4:37, et al), exorbitant usury or high rate of interest (3:130), vulgar display of charity (2:264), using religion for material gains (5:44), and haughtiness (2:34). However, howsoever sinful being parsimonious or usurious might be, it doesn’t, ipso facto, make a person Kafir. These characteristics of kufr are universal, regardless of faith and community. No verse of the Quran describes a mere non-Muslim as Kafir. One doesn’t become a Kafir by default for not belonging to the Muslim community. What does make one is the persecution and oppression of Muslims; attempt to stop them from practising their religion; driving them out of their homes; and waging war against them (2:190, 217; 47:1). Hindus never stopped Muslims from practising their religion or drove them from their homes and made them refugees, or waged religious war against them. So, how do they become a Kafir? Hindus were designated as Kafirs because, on a bad analogy, they were likened to the Mushrikeen (associationists, that is, those who associate other ‘imaginary beings’ with God’s unicity and thereby practise shirk) of Arabia. The Mushrikeen were a primitive people living in the Jahiliyyah (ignorance) era before Prophet Muhammad. They were Ummi — illiterate and uncivilised. A people without a book. The Hindus, on the other hand, had an advanced civilisation, profound spirituality and sophisticated philosophical systems. To liken them to the Mushrikeen on the wrong equation between their respective modes of idol worship was a thoughtless analogy. By the way, even the Mushrikin were not Kafir per se as is clear from the Quran 98:1 and 6, which mention Kafirs from among the Mushrikeen and the ‘people of the book’, implying that all of them were not Kafirs. Abu Talib, Prophet Muhammad’s uncle, has never been called a Kafir though he didn’t become a Muslim. Yet the Hindus wrongly continue to be called Kafir. It’s time to correct the wrong. In South Africa, the word kaffir, as the blacks were pejoratively called, has been outlawed. Kaffir was a legacy of the slave trade in which Muslim slave traders captured the blacks. It was considered legitimate since they were not Muslim. In America, the N-word has as good as been eliminated from usage, and in India, using caste name for the Scheduled Castes is a punishable offence. It’s time that the word Kafir for Hindus and other non-Muslims in India should also be outlawed. ----- Ibn Khaldun Bharati is student of Islam, and looks at Islamic history from an Indian perspective. Views are personal. The Print Editor’s Note: We know the writer well and only allow pseudonyms when we do so. (Edited by Humra Laeeq) Source: Mohan Bhagwat’s Right — No Word Wounds Hindus Like Kafir Does 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

The Unevolved Minds Will Perpetually Be In Need Of Religions And Its Totems

By Sumit Paul, New Age Islam 4 October 2022 “So, too, the creeds of man: the one prevails Until the other comes; and this one fails When that one triumphs; ay, the lonesome world Will always want the latest fairy tales” Abu al - Alaa al- Ma'arri, the 11th-century Arab poet who discarded Quran, Muhammad and all man-made faiths Imagine, what Abu al-Ma'ari stated a millennium ago is unfortunately still relevant. Humans cannot survive sans religions and its associated totems. Imagine, what Abu al-Ma'ari stated a millennium ago is unfortunately still relevant. Humans cannot survive sans religions and its associated totems. In fact, our dependency on religion and god is increasing all the more in recent times. Islam and Muslims could be favourite punching bags for many. But fanaticism among the followers of all religions is fast getting intensified. A few days ago, I met a young Sikh woman after a couple of years. She was wearing a turban and carrying a dagger like her male counterparts. She became an Amritdhari Sikh and stopped trimming and vaxing her eyebrows and body hair. " I'm on the path of self-enlightenment and Truth and I'm a born-again Sikh, " she solemnly declared. I got scared. I'm always frightened of religious people and she was carrying a weapon to boot! That scared me all the more. A gorgeous looking, well-endowed Sikh young woman is now a crusader of her religion. This pained me no end. A scholar of Sikhism told me that this latest trend is pretty common among Sikh young girls and women of Punjab. The fashionable religious trend of Sikh women wearing a turban and carrying a weapon has increased, following missionaries in rural Punjab converting poor Sikhs to Christianity. Wahe Guru....Wahe Guru.... Hindus have always been terribly superstitious. Now using religion as a fashion accessory is integral to most of the Hindus. Even 'educated' ones flaunting religious symbols and deities as their DPs during the ongoing festive season is very common. You'll call it nitpicking but my point is, why on earth should your deity or religious occasion be your DP? Why do you require to wear your religion on your sleeves and emblazon it across on your 36 or 56 " chest? This is disgusting, to say the least. In Poona, even Hindu men are roaming around barefoot during Navratri! Men and women are eating everything, yet calling it fast! There's a term in anthropology, Religious Recrudescence. According to social scientists and scholar of religious studies, after the period of roughly 400 years, the world witnesses a kind of religious recrudescence and explosion. Dr Edward W Said, said the same thing in one of his last articles that appeared in The Spectator, London and The Dawn, Pakistan also carried the same. Humans cannot survive without these silly religious practices because most of us are conditioned to believe in them. There have been more than1000 religions, cults, sub-cults and groups from the advent of human civilization. So many 'advanced' religions came and went and their gods and scriptures vanished into thin air. New faiths appeared in their place and they too will disappear, whether it's Sanatan Dharm, Hindu Dharm, Islam, Christianity or Sikhism. Remember, every religion has an expiry date. Humans haven't yet been able to live without these crutches which have become mankind's inescapable necessities. When one religion goes, a new one comes along and the same putrid bilge goes on. Humanity will have to ask itself as to why can't it survive on its own steam and why on earth does it need the psychologically comforting and self-deceiving support of god and religion? Until you get the answers (and you'll never get), continue to wallow in religious muck and stay deluded. Happy Dussehra! ----- 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 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, October 3, 2022

History and Mission of Madrasas in India

By Grace Mubashir, New Age Islam 3 October 2022 --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Most Importantly, Madrasa Students Should Be Taught That, According To Quran, Followers Of All Religions Will Be Judged On The Day Of Judgment, In Accordance With Tenets Of Their Own Faiths And Their Good Or Bad Deeds, And Rewarded Or Punished Accordingly. That Muslims Alone Will Go To Heaven Is A Lie That Madrasa Students Need To Be Told Repeatedly In Order To Dispel That False Notion That Leads To Islam Supremacism. Supremacism Of Any Sort Leads To Strife And Violence In The World, And We All Should Avoid It. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- As madrasas are being surveyed for their teaching content, among other administrative issues, some are being summarily demolished in Assam, either by the government or people, as centres of terrorism, what the reader would want is to know if there is any truth in that. Do madrasas teach Islam supremacism, do they accept other religions, do they teach al wala wal bara or teach coexistence, do they present Islam as a totalitarian political system or as a spiritual path to salvation, do they teach exclusivism, with Islam as the only religion whose followers will go to heaven, why have they stopped teaching Persian books by Sufi masters, why do they spend so much time teaching students how to vehemently criticise other sects, do they create graduates who can fit in the multicultural and multi-religious milieu in which we live or create misfits, have they adjusted their content to times when Muslims are no longer rulers but a subservient people across the world for several hundred years now, are they still teaching books that were written at a time when Muslims ruled half the world and expected to conquer the whole world. And so on. Many questions about madrasas that are bothering Muslims and non-Muslims alike. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Also Read: Madrasa Education is a Clear Violation of the Human Rights of Children: Sultan Shahin asks UNHRC to make Muslim Countries Stick to their Pious Declarations ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Do we know which madrasa chain like Deobandi, Barelvi, Sufi, Ahl e Hadees, Jamaat e Islami, teaches what books? This is a good time to think through all these questions and many more about our madrasas. All Indians, indeed the world wants to know what is going on in madrasas. Madrasas are supposed to be centres of knowledge that ensure access to knowledge at all levels of the social hierarchy. They are the culminations of culture and training that mould generations of sanity, discernment and purposefulness to participate in the spheres of community formation and nation building. The madrasa curriculum, which teaches to know God as the Lord of the Universe and to recognize man as a co-creator, helps to overcome the limitations of work-oriented secular education. It is claimed, madrasa education is creating generations that have overcome the prestige emptiness of mere materialism with a definite sense of purpose in life. Despite its limitations, madrasa authorities’ claim, those fortunate enough to have a madrasa education are rich in spiritual inculcation. These cognitive motivations have played a significant role in enabling this large minority in India to survive the fires of crises. The greatest feature of madrasas is that the habits of justice, tolerance and love, in stark contrast to the sects which fill the land with the poison of hatred and training in the use of sharp weapons. Historical Routes Madrasa systems in the Muslim community were not formed in the context of any historical event or emergency situation. This practice was not initiated by governments, nor was it sustained under their patronage alone. It is an essential mechanism for acquiring knowledge which is one of the fundamental pillars of Islamic life. Madrasas can be described as a great mission that has existed naturally within the Muslim community since the beginning of Islam and has continued uninterrupted throughout the decades and lands of history. Dar al-Arqam, the place of study and consultation in Makka where the Prophet Muhammad started his Islamic teaching, the knowledge audience in the Prophet's mosque built in Madinah where he fled, the Ashabussuffa on its slope, and the knowledge platforms of the Prophet's disciples who settled in different countries can be considered as the first forms of madrasa systems. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Also Read: Evolution of Hadith Sciences and Need for Major Paradigm Shift in Role of Hadith Corpus and Scope of Madrasa Education ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Maktabs, established for elementary Islamic learning, and the large education systems that emerged in mosques in Muslim centres including Mecca, Medina, and Cairo, were various expressions of the madrasa system. In Faz, Morocco, historical records show that the first systematic madrasa was established in 859. Madrasa of various schools in India have evolved over time by taking basic models from all these. Madrasa is a word that means 'school'. The concept of the word ‘Dars’ is teaching. In the Muslim world, madrasa was generally used to refer to institutions of higher learning at the college level. 'Madrasa Aliya' in Calcutta reflect this concept! The madrasa system in India is thirteen centuries old. With the growth of Islam in the 7th century, the first 'Maktabs' were established in Malabar, South India. Maktabs were the primary institutions of religious learning. It was started by Islamic preachers, Muslim traders and others. In later centuries, madrasas were started at the initiative of learned preachers, Sufis and administrators from other parts of India. During the Arab Muslim rulers who ruled Sindh in the 8th-10th centuries, Madrasas began to take formal forms. As markers of Islamic culture and civilization, madrasas were springing up in key areas. The madrasa system of education began to develop in a big way in the 13th century with the establishment of the Delhi Sultanate. With the formation of various provinces, madrasa chains were started. One of the earliest important madrasas in India was established in 1192 at Ajmer. During the Mughal rule (1526-1857) madrasas became widespread and institutionalized. It was a common practice of Muslim rulers to build mosques and religious educational institutions in the areas under their jurisdiction. Many of these later grew into large Madrasas. Some historians have recorded that there were 1000 madrasas in Delhi alone during the Tughlaq period. During Akbar's time, madrasas included more science subjects. In the late fifteenth century, the Iranian scholar Mir Fathullah Shirazi, a member of Akbar's court, introduced works on astronomy, mathematics, medicine, natural science, and polemics to scholars and incorporated them into the madrasa curriculum. Such formal Maktabs and Madrasas were the primary system of Islamic education in India. The second is the Deen classes (religious sermons) and lectures held by many Muslim scholars in their homes or local mosques. These can be described as informal madrasas. Rooms can be found on two sides of the magnificent and spacious mosques that were erected in major cities during the Muslim rule in India. Abul Hasan Ali Nadvi has observed that this is a sign of their utilization as centres of education, including Madrasas (Hindustan Ki Khadeem Islami Dargayem, Maktabe Maarif, Azamgarh, 1971, p. 15). Manalir Ahsan Geelani has observed that such madrasas were the prevailing system of education during Muslim rule (Hindustan me Musalman ka Nizame Taalim wa Tarbiyyah, Nadwatul Muswannifeen, Delhi- 1944, 1/13-15). The third was Gurukula Vidyalayas, run by private individuals known as Muallim and Mu'addib. There were many religious scholars who enthusiastically took it upon themselves to impart Islamic education to generations in their homes or mosques. Many of them did this voluntarily and without getting paid. Those who had other occupations as a way of life devoted their free time to religious teaching. Many of them did this without getting paid. Those who had other occupations as a way of life devoted their free time to religious teaching. Many of them did this without getting paid. Those who had other occupations as a way of life devoted their free time to religious teaching. Eminent thinker and educationalist Shibli Nomani's observation is noteworthy: “Once upon a time colleges were formed by focusing on individuals and marking them with their names. Where a scholar was, many students and seekers of knowledge would come and surround him. They took advantage of his day and night classes. Even his normal speech, movement and mannerisms were perceived as 'silent lecturing'. Gradually, there is an increase in the number of teachers and students. It forms a college and a Jamia (University). ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Also Read: RESTRUCTURING MADRASA EDUCATION: Muslim Opponents of India’s 'Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act' are Enemies of Indian Muslims ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Today individuals can address colleges and universities. However, at that time students were known for being disciples of learned personalities. Colleges and universities today are mainly located in small or large towns. But at that time lively colleges functioned not only in the cities, but also in the villages and even in the huts. The Muslim rulers had prepared a system of education for the lower castes and captives who lived as servants and servants in houses and other places. During the reign of Firoz Shah Tughlaq (1309-1388), thousands of such people were educated at the expense of the government. Not only traditional knowledge, They practiced handicrafts and mechanical work (Tariqe Firuz Shahi 339-340). Ghiyasuddin Muhammad Khilji, a prominent slave dynasty leader, instituted an extensive system of education for women belonging to the lower classes (Tariqe Farishta 2/ 255). It was a gradual development of all this later. During the dark centuries of caste discrimination, Muslim scholars indiscriminately popularized knowledge through schools operating in cities, villages and even slums, in a social environment where knowledge was forbidden to a large number of people. On the one hand, religious judgments arose to 'melt lead into the ears of a Shudra who listens to the Vedas', while on the other hand, Islam extended the study of the Vedas to all mankind. The rich, the common man and the so-called different castes studied together in the same madrasa and witnessed the practical beauty of equality. The political relevance of madrasas that have crossed such boundaries should be measured in a time when casteism is forbidden to gather together in public mosques and even to walk in public streets. At that level, the impact of the madrasa system on the Indian social fabric remains to be studied. Prominent Madrasas There are madrasas in India that function according to the syllabus prepared by different Muslim sects based on their ideals. Schools such as Barelvi, Ahle Hadith, Deobandi, Tabligh Jamaat, and Sufi all run many Madrasas, large and small. Darul Uloom Nadwatul Ulama of Lucknow, supported by the Ash'ari-Hanafi Sarani, is a high-level mahad college of the madrasa system, with many features. The lion's share of madrasas in India are located in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Bengal and Assam. Madrasas are also functioning in South Indian states, though not as extensive. There are many important madrasahs in India starting with madrasa Rahimiya Delhi, Jamia Naimiyyah Muradabad, Jamia Amjadiyya Rizviyyah, Al Jamiatul Islamiyya Mau- UP, Aljamiaatussalafiyyah Surat, Aljamiaatussalafiyyah Varanasi, Aljamiatul Ashrafiyyah Mubarakpur. Many of these, which started as primary madrasas and so on, are now universities with thousands of students. Uttar Pradesh has more madrasas. India's largest Madrasa system, Deoband Darul Uloom, founded by Mohammad Qasim Nanautavi, is also located in UP. An unofficial estimate is that there are more than 20,000 Deobandi Madrasas operating under the Jamiat Ulemaye Hind. The Deoband movement was the epitome of a movement that had a decisive impact not only on madrasa education but also on the history of India itself. Moreover, the madrasa movement was the foremost fighters of the Indian freedom struggle. The history of madrasas, which played a leading role in the anti-British struggles, including in 1857, and the hostile attitude adopted by the British against madrasas for that very reason, should be remembered in present-day India. Educational System While acknowledging that madrasas, not just religious schools , have various limitations, especially in northern states, three important points need to be understood. First, madrasas generally have extensive academic systems that range from elementary religious studies to higher-level research studies. Its nature may be different in different currents. Second, madrasas are not schools limited to liturgical legal subjects, which can be described as mere religious studies. Subjects like Language, Mathematics, Medicine, Science, Vocational and Computer Science are also taught in madrasas in different ways along with religious and ritual rules. India's oldest and largest Darul Uloom Deoband has degree courses in medicine. Barring some southern states, madrasas are generally a parallel education system to public schools and colleges in India. Although madrasas do not cover all the subjects and examinations taught in schools and colleges as per the government curriculum, many of the language and science subjects mentioned earlier are part of the madrasa syllabus. There are many madrasas that teach religious subjects as well as all the subjects of the school syllabus. These madrasas are the true educational institutions in thousands of villages of North India, imparting education from literacy to graduation to lakhs of children. In many places madrasas are comparable to government schools. It should also be noted that various state governments are giving recognition to such courses and equivalency certificates to those who pass them. Graduates from such colleges get admission to PG in other universities. Thousands of madrasas in India are also government-recognised. This is changing now. The financial cost of private education and the poor quality of government schools have drawn many to Madrasas. The disappearance of these madrasas, which provide free education to hundreds of thousands of poor children, does not mean that mere religious education will disappear, but that a section of the population will be denied education. The third is very important: students in madrasas, the public educational institutions of North India, particularly West Bengal, are not exclusively Muslim. People of other faiths have also studied in madrasas and continue to do so. Raja Ram Mohan Roy, who is described as the teacher of Hindu revival, former Indian President Dr. Rajendra Prasad, Hindi writer Munshi Premchand and others were also products of madrasas. Raja Ram Mohan Roy studied at a madrasa in Patna then in Madrasa Aaliya in Calcutta. He had a background in Sanskrit and Hinduism and was also knowledgeable in Persian and Arabic languages. If their names were recorded in this way because they were prominent personalities, then it is natural that many non-prominent brother community members were students in madrasas. Present Scenario Even today, members of the fraternal community are being educated in some madrasas in North India. There were earlier reports that non-Muslim students were studying in three madrasas in Chandigarh. The parents of those students explained that they get admission here because they get school-like education in the madrasas operating near their homes in their area. There were reports of children from Hindu families studying in madrasas in Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. Al Jazeera previously reported that 60 percent of the 1,400 students in a Madrasa in West Bengal were non-Muslims. Also read that out of the thirty-two teachers there, eleven were non-Muslims. At one stage, the non-Muslim representation in madrasas in the state was up to fifteen percent! Also relevant is the observation that non-Muslim participation in madrasas provides an opportunity to know and experience each other among religious groups and imparts lessons of social coexistence at the practical level. But timely changes are needed in madrasa education system. New secular subjects and concept of indigenous Islam should be added to the educational system. Along with it, the patterns should be streamlined with current pace of the country. Most importantly, madrasa students should be taught that, according to Quran, followers of all religions will be judged on the Day of Judgment, in accordance with tenets of their own faiths and their good or bad deeds, and rewarded or punished accordingly. That Muslims alone will go to heaven is a lie that madrasa students need to be told repeatedly in order to dispel that false notion that leads to Islam supremacism. Supremacism of any sort leads to strife and violence in the world, and we all should avoid it. ----- 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

Ban on PFI: Saudi Wahhabism and Egyptian Salafism Produced a Deadly Mixture of Jihadism

Wahhabism Was Founded By Muhammad Bin Abdal Wahhab In Najd, Now Saudi Arabia Main Points: 1. Salafism originated in Egypt in the late 19th century. 2. Salafism was exported to Saudi Arabia in the 1970s. 3. Muslim Brotherhood was founded on Salafist ideology. 4. ISIS, PFI, SIMI, Al Qaida and Taliban follow Salafist ideology. 5. Hasan al Banna, Aduh, Sayyid Qutb, Rashid Rida and Jamaluddin Aghani preached Salafism. ---- New Age Islam Staff Writer 3 October 2022 There have long been calls to ban the Popular Front of India for their alleged involvement in terror activities. AFP ---- The article by Arun Anand presents a brief study of the origin and development of the Salafist ideology in the Islamic world. He points out that Wahhabism and Salafism are wrongly considered synonymous. They are different in approach. Wahhabism believes in a return to the golden age, the age of the first three generations. It strongly advocates jihad against non-believers and rejects modernism. Salafism, on the other hand, seeks to reconcile Islam with modernity but accepts the ideology of Ibn Taimiyyah who presented the concept of Dar al Harb and Dar al Islam. The ruler who does not adhere to the Islamic law will be declared unbeliever and will be overthrown according to Ibn Taimiyyah. Anyone not adhering to his interpretation of Islam is an unbeliever. This ideology professes blanket warfare against non-believers. The Salafists adopted this ideology. Hasan al Banna followed this ideology and founded his organisation Muslim Brotherhood on this ideology. Sayyid Qutb also promoted this ideology. MB spread its base across the world. However, Hasan al Banna was assassinated in 1949 and Sayyid Qutb carried the movement forward. But he too was executed by Jamal Abdal Nasser in 1966. However, by that time, Salafism spread in the Islamic world with a stress on Jihadism against non-Muslims and against Muslims who believed in democratic principles of governance and social behaviour. Osama bin Laden was a student of this school and Taliban, ISIS, Boko Haram etc were found on the ideology of Salafism. In India SIMI and now PFI followed Salafism. PFI strengthened its base in Kerala because of its economic and ideological affinity to Saudi Arabia and Egypt. After SIMI was banned, this ideology found expression in PFI. And so after the ban on PFI, some other organisation based on Salafist Jihadism may spring up. Therefore, to root out Salafist Jihadism, an ideological solution must be found out to this ideological malaise. The solution can be found only through an ideological counter-narrative and this ideological counter- narrative can be formed only by liberal Islamic thinkers. Therefore, this task can be achieved by taking the Islamic intelligentsia into confidence, not by alienating them. ---- Ban on PFI: Time To Recognise Threat Posed By ‘Salafism-Jihadism’ By Arun Anand October 01, 2022 The ban on Popular Front of India (PFI) and several of its affiliates imposed by the Government of India is likely to effectively address some symptoms of a malaise. But it might not be the permanent solution as new outfits might come up to replace the PFI. This has happened in the past also as PFI had replaced Student Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) after the latter was banned. No government can address this issue unless we, as a society, understand and subsequently address the threat posed by the ideology of ‘Salafism-Jihadism’ which is the origin of such organisations. Salafism and Wahhabism There is often a confusion about Salafism and Wahhabism and commentators tend to use these terms interchangeably. Both these movements believed in revival of pure Islam but they weren’t the same till there was a cross between the two in Saudi Arabia in the 1970s. Wahhabism was founded in the region of Najd (in today’s Saudi Arabia) in the 18th century by Abd-al-Wahhab. Many scholars and experts refer to it as a reformist movement. But Wahhabism isn’t a reform movement. It believes that Islam should return to its golden age-the age of the Prophet and the first four Caliphs. It strongly advocates use of ‘jihad’ in its teachings. Salafism on other hand, emerged in Egypt and was exported to Saudi Arabia in the 1970s as a large number of radical Egyptians landed there to escape the crackdown on them in Egypt. Saudi Arabia also welcomed them as with the oil boom, its economy skyrocketed and it didn’t have enough educated people to set up and run universities, hospitals, infrastructure projects and the rapidly expanding administrative apparatus. Trevor Stanley wrote way back in 2005 (Understanding the Origins of Wahhabism and Salafism; Terrorism Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 14), “Salafism… originated in the mid- to late 19th century, as an intellectual movement at al-Azhar University, led by Muhammad Abduh (1849-1905), Jamal al-Din al-Afghani (1839-1897) and Rashid Rida (1865-1935). The movement was built on a broad foundation. Al-Afghani was a political activist, whereas Abduh, an educator, sought gradual social reform (as a part of da’wa), particularly through education. Debate over the place of these respective methods of political change continues to this day in Salafi groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood.” Stanley underlined the finer nuances that differentiated these two movements: “In terms of their respective formation, Wahhabism and Salafism were quite distinct. Wahhabism was a pared-down Islam that rejected modern influences, while Salafism sought to reconcile Islam with modernism. What they had in common is that both rejected traditional teachings on Islam in favour of direct, ‘fundamentalist’ reinterpretation.” However, as mentioned above, once the two — Wahhabism and Salafism — met in Saudi Arabia, the outcome was a deadly mix of Salafism-Jihadism that was exported to the rest of the world including India. Salafism-Jihadism Salafism is a branch of Sunni Islam. Those who follow it believe in emulating “the pious predecessors” (Al-Salaf Al-Ṣāliḥ; often equated with the first three generations of Muslims). The use of violence against those who do not follow this principle shaped the ideology of Islamism-Jihadism. Hasan al Banna and Sayyid Qutb, both played a significant role in establishing this ideology in 20th century. Banna was an Egyptian political and religious leader. He founded the Society of Brothers, commonly known as ‘Muslim Brotherhood’ in the 1920s. This organisation has a global reach now. “The Muslim Brothers formed their society in Egypt in order to reclaim Islam’s political dimension, which had formerly resided in the person of the now-fallen Caliph. Confronted by the Egyptian nationalists of the time who demanded independence, the departure of the British and a democratic Constitution, the Brothers responded with a slogan that is still current in the Islamist movement: “The Koran is Our Constitution… The doctrine was shared by the entire Islamist movement, whatever their other views,” observed Gilles Kepel in Jihad: The Trail of Political Islam (Bloomsbury Academic; 2021, pp25). Banna was assassinated in 1949 but Syyid Qutb, the top theorist of Muslim Brotherhood, carried the movement forward. Qutb was an Egyptian religious leader. Robert Spencer writes in The History of Jihad; (Bombarider Books; Pp299), “Qutb’s influential book Milestones positioned Islam as the true source of societal and personal order, as opposed to both capitalism and communism… Qutb concluded: ‘It is essential for mankind to have a new leadership!’. The new leadership would come from Islam. To Qutb, what the Muslim Umma needed was a restoration of Islam in its fullness and purity, including all the rules of the Sharia for regulating society… Qutb taught that jihad was necessary in order to establish Sharia.” Qutb was executed by the Egyptian government led by socialist ruler Gamel Abdel Naseer in 1966. But Muslim Brotherhood continued its journey and so did Salafism. In a monograph titled, “Salafi-Jihadism: A 1,400-Year-old Idea Rises” (published by School of Advanced Military Studies, United States Army Command and General Staff College Fort Leavenworth, Kansas in 2016), Major Jacob M Teplesky observed, “Salafi-Jihadist ideology provides just cause and proper authority for waging war against apostate governments and Western targets. If we fail to understand the history and theory underlying Salafi-Jihadist groups’ use of violence to topple regimes and impose sharia, we will not grasp the current operating environment or enemy doctrine.” He further adds, “The Salafi-Jihadi version of global jihad is linked to the teaching of Ibn Taymiyyah (1263–1328), who offered a legal and religious justification for overthrowing unjust and non-Muslim rulers. Believing anyone who rejected Islam should be opposed, Taymiyyah thus rendered jihad an offensive as well as a defensive action. Taymiyyah’s principles of jihad, “particularly the permissibility to overthrow a ruler who is classified as an unbeliever due to a failure to adhere to Islamic law, the absolute division of the world into Dar-al-kufar [land of unbelief] and Dar-al-Islam [land of Islam], the labelling of anyone not adhering to one’s particular interpretations of Islam as an unbeliever, and the call for the blanket warfare against non-Muslims… became the doctrine of Salafi-Jihadis.” The Salafism-Jihadism is now the biggest global threat for security as a 2018 study by Centre for Strategic and International studies (‘The Evolution of the Salafi-Jihadist Threat’) pointed out, “There were 67 Salafi-jihadist groups across the globe in 2018, tied with 2016 for the highest level since 1980. This reflected a 180 percent increase in the number of groups from 2001 to 2018. There were approximately 44 groups other than the Islamic State, al-Qaeda, and their direct affiliates in 2018. This total, which included organizations like Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan and Lashkar-e-Taiba, accounted for roughly 67 percent of all groups.” There are many Salafi-jihadist groups which are active in different parts of the world such as Jama’at Nasr al-Islam, Boko Haram, the Islamic State West Africa, Taliban and Al-Shabaab. Salafi-Jihadism in India In an investigative report (January 2022) by India based think tank Usanas Foundation that exposed the funding of a number of Salafi-Jihadist organisations in India, authors Abhinav Pandya and Akshay Kumar revealed, “ (a) major cause of concern is the financial support for Salafi organizations in Kerala. Over the past years, this southern state of India has become the hub of radicalization and recruitment ground for several transnational terrorist groups. Salafi organizations in Kerala have constantly been accused of supporting violent extremism, and several ISIS recruits from the state have been associated and radicalized through them. Banned Kerala-based Islamist terror groups such as the Student Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) and extremist groups like Popular Front of India (PFI) (also banned now) have used hard-core Salafi teachings for radicalizing youth and recruitment. The fact that raises alarms is that these transactions also match the period when radicalisation and extremist trends in Kerala acquired a steeper trajectory.” The recent raids on PFI across several states, before it was banned, have revealed the pan-India expanse of Salafist-Jihadist ideology. It is time to recognise this grave threat to our society and the nation. --- Arun Anand an author and columnist, has written several books. Views expressed are personal Source: Ban On PFI: Time To Recognise Threat Posed By ‘Salafism-Jihadism’ 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

God’s Word and Work Abounds in Diversity: Use It to Establish Brotherhood & Sisterhood of Mankind

By Abdool Kader Sayed, New Age Islam 3 October 2022 God gave exactly the “same” knowledge of the Divine System (Qur’an 42:13) to all the Apostles of all nations and tribes (Qur’an 10:47, 16:36) in their own language (Qur’an 14:4) in different ways. For example, He spoke directly to Moses, gave Jesus the knowledge of the Divine System in the womb of his mother and Prophet Muhammad (s) through Gabriel. In addition to this, God states in the Qur’an (23:52-53) that “all the Apostles of God belonged to one community”. Therefore, in this community, they did not only receive the knowledge of the Divine System in different languages and in different ways, but God also gave them different sights/sounds (Qur’an 49:13) holy rites/ceremonies (Qur’an 22:34/22:67), church/mosque (Qur’an 72:18, 22:40) and Books. Likewise, all the Apostles of God highlighted the different teachings of the Divine System. For example, Noah advocated the BELIEF in One God (monotheism). Abraham gathered that Faith without Works was dead. Hence, he SACRIFICED his wealth, health, pleasure, etc, to strengthen the BELIEF of Noah. Moses followed suit by highlighting the teachings of the COMMANDMENTS, Jesus by teaching LOVE and Prophet Muhammad (s) by teaching UNITY and UNIVERSALITY. Therefore, the Divine System developed as follows: NOAH: B ABRAHAM: B + S MOSES: B + S + C JESUS: B + S + C + L MUHAMMAD: B + S + C + L + U All Prophets established the Divine System by following the Creeds of Abraham (Qur’an 2:130) and the worldview teachings of Tawhid (unity and universality), (Qur’an 2:27, 13:21 and 13:25) in their own language. The Creeds of Abraham teaches us to believe in God as the Creator, Sustainer, Protector, etc, of our Universe, free of all dogmas and doctrines of Religion, and follow the secular and scientific path of the creation, according to a “restrictive definition” of Secular and Religion. Tawhid (unity and universality) teaches us to have absolute Unity: of God; of all the Books and Prophets of God; between the Word of God and the Work of God in Nature and the wider Universe; between the Word of God and the sayings and doings of the Prophets; between the world of God and the world of Caesar; and so on. These teachings of the Qur’an declare that Abraham did not become a Muslim (one who submits to the Guidance of God) by reciting the Shahada. He became Muslim by embracing the Divine System. All the people of all the religions are required to embrace the Divine System in its pure form according to all their God-given Diversities in order to form one Standard way of life (AdDeeni Haneefan) for all humans, both secular and religion and one spiritual Brotherhood and Sisterhood of Mankind so that they can integrate, assimilate and marry people of all Faiths in their pure form and co-exist with their spouses and their families peacefully. This is the kind of Diversity God wants to see in the Divine System, both in this world and the Hereafter. 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

Get Out Of ‘My Camel Is the Best ' Syndrome

By Sumit Paul, New Age Islam 3 October 2022 Recently, one 'learned' contributor commented that, “Islam is the favourite and blessed religion of Allah.” The same crap ad nauseam! This is a quintessential tribal view from a religio-anthropological perspective. Eleventh-century Arab poet and apostate Al-Ma'ari said, " The human race is divided into two: One, man intelligent without religion, the second, religious without intellect.” I put this man in the second slot. Believing in the superiority, invincibility and infallibility of one's faith and god is a sign of delusion and condescension. This deluded mentality births all sorts of bad-blood and religious differences. Having travelled across the world and interacted with a huge spectrum of believers of all faiths and hues, I've observed that Christians and Muslims have a pronounced tendency to glorify their faiths and characters. Believers of other faiths also have this proclivity, albeit restrained. Almost all Muslims have a terribly wrong belief, ingrained in their system, that their religion is the best and most favoured by a prejudiced and partisan Allah who packs believers of other religions off to hell without a trial. The Quran says that Allah doesn't discriminate and it's Rabbul-Alameen (the god or Supreme Being of the universe) not just Rabbul-Muslameen (the god of only Muslims). So, how can an 'egalitarian' Allah favour a specific faith and its followers? Is he also as partial as his followers are because partiality is a typical human attribute which Muslims are endowing their Allah with? Aren't you contradicting yourself and your scriptural claims? Anthropologically speaking, Islam is a tribal faith. It's obvious that its followers still have certain tribal ethics and ethos. Noted anthropologist Franz Boas opined that the religious stubbornness of Muslims stemmed from their early tribal tendencies and practices. In olden times, when there were tribes galore in the Arab peninsula, every tribe had its own deity and tribal supremacy was determined by the strength of the respective deity and the cattle. A camel symbolised the superiority of a tribe. So, the Pre-Islamic perception that my camel is the best to assert tribal superiority, travelled through subsequent generations to emerge as my faith being the supreme. It's worthwhile to mention that a 'modern' faith or precisely, Islam, is nothing but an improvement upon an erstwhile tribe or group with additions of esoteric beliefs as time marched on. En passant, the national animal of Saudi, camels are native to the Arabian Peninsula and have accompanied Saudis as far back as recorded time. Muslims must pluck this 'My camel being the best' syndrome out of their belief system to earn respectability in these times when they're justifiably anathemas to the rest of the world. ----- 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 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