Sunday, May 22, 2022

Islam Must Get Rid Of the Malady of Infallibility and Inviolability Syndrome

By Sumit Paul, New Age Islam 21 May 2022 Islam's Mullish Refusal To Alter Even A Dot In Its 6, 234 Quranic Verses Stems From Its False Superiority Complex, Apprehension Of Exposure And A Slumberous, Zombie Like Belief That The Quran Is INFALLIBLE And INVIOLABLE Important Points: 1. Islam's vehement insistence on maintaining scriptural status quo has been its bane. 2. Muslims have a terribly wrong and exasperatingly pontificating belief that Allah sent down the Quran and Muhammad to 'correct' and 'perfect' the previous two faiths. 3. The problem with the sub continental Muslims is that their education has hardened them all the more. ------- “Nothing in the recorded or unrecorded history of human civilization has been completely error-free and irreproachable. This applies to the 'revealed' religions and their scriptures as well. While all religions have accepted and corrected errors in their Books, one religion has remained locked in a time warp and that religion is: Islam...." -Iranian scholar and renegade Ali Dashti in his famous book, " Twenty Three Years: A Study of the Prophetic Career of Mohammad, “Translated into English by F R Bagley Islam's vehement insistence on maintaining scriptural status quo has been its bane. What Tertullian (155 CE-220 CE) said in Latin nearly two millennia ago, applies to today's most of the Muslims, particularly the sub continental Muslims. He annoyingly said, " Credible est, quia ineptum est " (I believe it because it's absurd!). Though Christianity has somewhat come out of this religious absurdism, Islam refused to move on. Islam's Mullish refusal to alter even a dot in its 6, 234 Quranic verses stems from its false superiority complex, apprehension of exposure and a slumberous, zombie like belief that the Quran is INFALLIBLE and INVIOLABLE. Iranian apostate Ali Sina called it the Malady of Infallible and Inviolable Syndrome. Muslims across the world suffer from the Gradational/Chronological Superiority Complex. Let me explain this bizarre theological concept. Islam is the third and youngest among the three Semitic Faiths. In other words, Judaism was followed by Christianity and Christianity paved the way for Islam. Muslims have a terribly wrong and exasperatingly pontificating belief that Allah sent down the Quran and Muhammad to 'correct' and 'perfect' the previous two faiths. In a way, Islam improved upon Judaism and Christianity as the most PERFECT and UNBLEMISHED faith. So much so that it doesn't want any change and further correction/s. This flawed logic (Vitandabhaas/pathological sophistry) practically nullifies Judaism and Christianity as god's incomplete pathways. That's the reason, when a Muslim invites an Ahle-Kitab (people of the book) to the fold of Islam (Daawat-e-Islam), he/she patronizingly tells the other person to take a mere step and you're into the realm of the only TRUEST FAITH. The Muslims believe that when god already sent down a perfect Book and a Mard-e-Kaamil (the most ideal man in the form of Muhammad), who can dare tinker with the god's texts? Ergo, even to think that there're scores of flawed and ungodly verses that pollute the Al-Furqan, is tantamount to committing blasphemy. Muslims must know that many Hindus still believe that their Vedas are Apourusheya (not created by humans). But scholars have found chinks in them and now many Hindus grudgingly concede that Vedas are fraught with errors and silly things. I drew attention to many errors in Jain Agams and even scholarly Jain Munis accepted them. When Rahul Sankrityayan found anomalies in the Pitakas of Theravada Buddhism or Southern Buddhism (prevalent in Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Burma), he wasn't censured. He later embraced Buddhism. When I was invited by a Granthi at a Gurudwara in Central India to explain Guru Gobind Singh's ' Zafarnama' (Account of Victories) written in poor and grammatically incorrect Persian with interpolations, I politely told the Granthi who knew a smattering of Persian that though I'd explain it to the devout Sikhs, I had doubt about its authenticity. He said, ' I also had doubts. Thanks, you too said the same thing.' This is maturity. This is the willingness to change with the changing times. But Muslims, though not all, are still labouring under the misconception that the Quran is an Aasmani Kitaab that descended on Muhammad and must remain unchanged and unpolluted. In Nyaya Shastra, there are four Negation-evolving terms: Aabhaas (Glimpse/hint)/Durabhaas (Illusion)/Hetvaabhaas (Hallucination) and finally Vitandabhaas (Nonsensical logic). Muslims across the world are suffering from the last Vitandabhaas. Their very Mantiq (logic in Arabic) is erroneous. But they're reluctant to accept that their understanding of the Quran and Hadees is fallacious. Do they ever think logically as to why the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia recently rejected many Hadees (Muhammad's borrowed and dubious teachings)? They'll not be taught any longer in Saudi Arabia, place of Islam's origin! Interestingly, when I talk to my educated Arab Muslim friends settled in the western countries and speaking Arabic, many of them agree that Quran needs a volte-face! But here, the sub continental Muslims are simply reluctant to effect any change and mind you, they resort to the translations of the Quran as most of them don't know Arabic. These Muslims suffer from Taggart's classic An Entrant's Dilemma. A newcomer is always much more agog to prove his/her loyalty to the organization he or she joins. Naya Musalman Zyada Pyaaz Khaata Hai, just to prove his unwavering allegiance to his new faith. That's the reason, neo-converts joined ISIS in droves. One 'educated' but brainwashed Bengali Hindu, settled in the UK, not only joined ISIS but even gave interviews to British dailies justifying the execution of all infidels. That nincompoop convert Siddharth Dhar (Muslim name: Abu Rumaysah) was ISIS' face of executioner after the death of Jihadi John (Muhammad Emwazi, a Kuwaiti-born reprehensible British militant). He'd behead the captives reciting from the Quran! Many neo-converts, young men as well as women from Kerala, surreptitiously joined ISIS, got killed or ended up warming the beds of the rogues and Satyrs of ISIS. Just broach the subject of changing even a dot in the Quran with such over-enthusiastic neo-Muslims and your ticket to hell or heaven is assured. The problem with the sub continental Muslims is that their education has hardened them all the more. That's why, many seemingly educated, rational Muslims have made it their lifetime mission to prove the infallible godliness of the Quran. Such people think that the Quranic verses are lapidary-granite inscriptions that cannot and mustn't be changed or flirted with. So long as this morbid mentality persists, Islam and Quran cannot come out of the morass of ignorance and the Stygian darkness. ---- An occasional 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: https://newageislam.com/islamic-society/malady-infallibility-inviolability-syndrome-/d/127060 New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Saturday, May 21, 2022

The World Muslim Council's Remark That the Muslim World Should Learn From Indian Muslims Is True, but Indian Muslims Need To Improve Further In Several Respects

By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi, New Age Islam 21 May 2022 Indian Islam Model “Can Serve As A Good Example for Many Muslim Communities around the World” To Promote Peaceful Coexistence and Patience Main Points 1. The Abu Dhabi-based Muslim Council has published a book on Indian Islam, encouraging peaceful coexistence between Muslims and non-Muslims. 2. Why Indian Muslims are a good example for other Muslims and why they are safer from "jihadist" recruitment than other Muslims throughout the world. 3. Indian Muslims still need to improve in religious thinking, human ethos and religious-spiritual growth, and patience and endurance in the face of a hostile political environment. 4. They must keep using the tools of social love, friendship, and morality to combat the evils of hatred, animosity, and immorality. ------ The World Muslim Communities Council (TWMCC) of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) believes that the Indian Islam model “can serve as a good example for many Muslim communities around the world” and that ‘the world must learn from India’. The World Muslim Council stated it correctly. Since Islamists and Jihadists have cruelly massacred thousands of Muslims around the world, notably since the 9/11 attacks, on the basis of radical narratives, it is vital to analyse Indian Muslims, who have mostly eschewed extremism, violence, and Jihadism. As a result, The Abu Dhabi-based Council, which promotes Muslim integration with non-Muslim majority countries, has published "Theology, Jurisprudence, and Syncretic Traditions: Indianisation of Islam" a book on Indian Islam, encouraging peaceful coexistence between Muslims and non-Muslims. The "jihadist sect" has been the most prominent group assaulting the spirituality of Islam for the past decade. Jihadists not only rebelled against Islam but also shattered the peace and stability of their own countries. As a result, they are valued neither as obedient 'Muslims' nor as good citizens of their country. This situation stems mostly from a lack of sufficient knowledge of the Quran and Sunnah. The only way to heal them is to reform them with the knowledge of the Quran and Sunnah that is relevant to present needs. For this reason, the book published by the World Muslim Council offers a practical example of Indian Muslims for the rest of the Muslims around the world. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Also Read: Indian Muslims and their Supposed Political Appeasement: the Spiritual Dimension --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Tavleen Singh, a leading Columnist associated with The Indian Express, also wrote about eight months ago in one of her columns, “It is very worth preserving because Indian Muslims have dealt with the modern world better, and with living among people of other faiths better than Muslims anywhere else in the world”. Indian Islam is special. Now if we try to understand why Indian Muslims are a good example for other Muslims and why they are safer from "jihadist" recruitment than other Muslims throughout the world, we would find that the underlying cause is the Indian Constitution. It is the Indian Constitution that provides Muslims with greater liberties than any other secular country in the world. It is the Indian beauty that keeps people safe from the grasp of “Jihadism.” The beauty of India is that it protects Muslims, their faith, their lives, their property, their dignity, and their religious identities. Furthermore, in the current unfavourable political environment, Indian Muslims have set a shining example of patience and resilience. Their patience has largely thwarted the recent Islamophobic agenda in India. In his article titled ‘Will al-Qaida in the Indian Subcontinent Find Support in India?’, Mr. Shafi Md Mostofa enumerated some reasons for the failure of Jihadists and al-Qaeda to draw Indian Muslims. The following are some of the reasons highlighted in his article: Despite the fact that Muslims are a minority in India, they are well integrated into society because they have lived there for over a thousand years. They are not as isolated as they are in European countries. Even though the emergence of Hindu nationalism has put immense pressure on India's democratic, socio-cultural, and political fabric, India has been a beacon of light for the South Asian area. Muslims have legal ways to express their problems and have them handled through democratic processes and institutions. In modifying Muslim ideas, the Indian Muslim community and the country's Islamic intellectuals played a major role. Muslims in India, including Barelvis, Deobandis, and Salafis, as well as Muslim party leaders, have all condemned violent extremism and spoken out against terrorism going on in the name of Islam. Indian civilization is still a collectivist society, with many family members living side by side. This family arrangement acts as a watchdog to keep the family's younger members from becoming radicalised. Another cultural factor that has aided in the moderation of Indian Muslims is that India has a strong tradition of syncretistic ideologies and pluralism and inclusivism, rather than exclusivism. This has had a significant impact on Muslims. Global geopolitics also had a part. Although the Afghan war of1980s aided the rise of Islamic radicalism in South Asia, India was not as affected as other nations in the region because it was then linked with the Soviet Union. It didn't have to deal with the influx of returning Mujahideen. This inhibited future extremism in the country. Furthermore, because of India's strategic ties with Middle Eastern countries, Muslim youngsters found it difficult to travel to these countries for training and networking. The jihadist network was unable to establish a foothold in India as a result of this. India too took a strong stance against jihadists. Effective monitoring of suspected extremists was made possible by intelligence sharing and coordinated action among multiple central, state, and foreign security agencies. Through the Chakravyuh cyber operation, India was able to prevent several terrorists from joining the Islamic State. India has been able to limit terrorist activity in the country thanks to proactive cyber surveillance and intelligence sharing. Most crucially, India does not provide any strategic advantages to Muslim youths who join jihadist groups. In India, Muslims are neither a majority, as they are in Bangladesh and Pakistan, nor a small minority, as they are in Europe. On the one hand, extremist beliefs are not welcome in Indian Muslim society since Muslims in India are unable to construct an Islamic state or attract a big segment of the population through violence. As a result, using violence strategically does not make sense in India. On the other hand, it makes little sense for Muslim youth to travel abroad to fight and die when they have the opportunity to raise their voices within the Indian democratic system. Because of this strategic rationale, Jihadism has become a costly alternative for Indian Muslims. [The Diplomat Website] According to a report in The New Indian Express, the book "Theology, Jurisprudence, and Syncretic Traditions: Indianisation of Islam" includes writings by Dr. Sebastian R Prange of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Dr. Moin Ahmad Nizami of Oxford University, and Dr. Faizan Mustafa of NALSAR University of Law in Hyderabad. Prange coined the term "Monsoon Islam" to characterise the form of Islam spread over South Asia by Arab traders following the monsoon winds. He invented this term to express the diversity of Islam and religion. The ordinary traders who promoted Islam in India were neither state officials nor recognised religious leaders. Outside of the Muslim heartlands, Islam developed with the core of the faith intact while integrating the local culture. The mosques along the Malabar Coast, according to Prange, are living instances of the integration of Hindu and Muslim architecture. In his article published in the book, Dr Mustafa describes how Muslim rulers encouraged cultural synthesis by granting grants to temples, prohibiting cow slaughter, and placing Hindus in key positions. According to Chach Nama, the historical record, Muslims treated Hindus, Christians, and Jews as "People of the Book." [Indigenise Islam to check Arabisation: Muslim Council] It seems quite wonderful to read that the Indian Islam model "can serve as a good example for many Muslim communities around the world." However, we should not become too enamoured with the accolades to lose sight of the fact that we still need to improve in our religious thinking, human ethos and religious-spiritual growth, and patience and endurance in the face of a hostile political environment. Above all, we Indian Muslims must continue to use the tools of social love, friendship, and morality to combat the evils of hatred, animosity, and immorality. ---- A regular Columnist with NewAgeIslam.com, Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi Dehlvi is an Alim and Fazil (Classical Islamic scholar) with a Sufi background and English-Arabic-Urdu Translator. URL: https://newageislam.com/islamic-society/muslim-council-indian-peaceful-coexistence-patience/d/127055 New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Friday, May 20, 2022

The Quran and the Psychology of Human Behaviour - Nafs

By Naseer Ahmed, New Age Islam 20 May 2022 The Quran uses the word Nafs and the closest in concept and meaning to it is ‘cognitive self’. What is Nafs? It is our self-aware, feeling and thinking self which makes us uniquely what we are. What is it that we have apart from our physical body? • We have instincts such as the instinct to avoid pain and seek pleasure, • Needs such as the need for security, association, appreciation, and respect • We have our life’s experiences in the form of memories, acquired knowledge, patterns of thinking, beliefs, prejudices, intellectual suppositions, common sense • We have emotions, feelings, likes and dislikes, habits formed by conditioning or by what we habitually do. • We also choose our goals or the purpose of our life. • We also have an acquired moral code or the criteria of right and wrong and the power of reasoning to negotiate with all the above, override instinct, conditioning, habit, likes and dislikes to choose what we know is right and eschew what is wrong and to pursue our life’s cherished goals. All this forms our Nafs. It represents our true self but has no existence outside of the body. Nafs is often translated as soul. However, the Quran does not support the concept of an immortal soul that has an existence outside of our living, wakeful, and conscious body. The English word soul is also used to mean a person, self, inner-self, innermost being, conscience and consciousness. When used in this sense, it means Nafs but not when it means an immortal immaterial spirit. Nafs is not static and is ever-changing with our experiences and from the choices that we make. Good deeds purify it and make it strong and evil deeds weaken it. Nafs as Feelings وَتَحْمِلُ أَثْقَالَكُمْ إِلَى بَلَدٍ لَّمْ تَكُونُواْ بَالِغِيهِ إِلاَّ بِشِقِّ الأَنفُسِ إِنَّ رَبَّكُمْ لَرَؤُوفٌ رَّحِيمٌ 16:7 And they (animals) carry your loads to a land which you could not have reached except with great trouble (feeling of distress) to yourselves (Alanfusi). Indeed, your Lord is surely Most kind, Most Merciful. The Nafs makes demands on us from our sense of duty وَلَمَّا دَخَلُوا مِنْ حَيْثُ أَمَرَهُمْ أَبُوهُم مَّا كَانَ يُغْنِي عَنْهُم مِّنَ اللَّهِ مِن شَيْءٍ إِلَّا حَاجَةً فِي نَفْسِ يَعْقُوبَ قَضَاهَا ۚ وَإِنَّهُ لَذُو عِلْمٍ لِّمَا عَلَّمْنَاهُ وَلَٰكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ النَّاسِ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ (12:68) And when they entered in the manner their father had enjoined, it did not profit them in the least against (the plan of) Allah: It was but a necessity of Jacob´s nafs, which he discharged. For he was, by our instruction, full of knowledge (and experience): but most men know not. Nafs Is Al-Ammara Bissu or Nafs Is the Enjoiner of Evil The senses are prone to temptations. For example, Yusuf (pbuh) was sought to be seduced when he had grown into an adult by the Aziz’s wife who had adopted him when he was a child. Yusuf (pbuh) says that he does not absolve himself of the blame for being human; his senses are also prone to the temptations of desire even when such desire is illegitimate. It is only through the mercy of God that he could save himself from temptations that may have led him to do an evil act. (12:53) "Nor do I absolve my own self (Nafsi): the senses are certainly prone to the evil temptations (Nafs al-Ammara Bissu), unless my Lord do bestow His Mercy: but surely my Lord is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful." 20: 96 قَالَ بَصُرْتُ بِمَا لَمْ يَبْصُرُوا بِهِ فَقَبَضْتُ قَبْضَةً مِّنْ أَثَرِ الرَّسُولِ فَنَبَذْتُهَا وَكَذَلِكَ سَوَّلَتْ لِي نَفْسِي He replied: "I saw what they saw not: so I took a handful (of dust) from the footprint of the Messenger, and threw it (into the calf): thus did my Nafsi suggest to me." وَأُحْضِرَتِ الأَنفُسُ الشُّحَّ 4:128 And the Alanfusu are swayed by greed فَطَوَّعَتْ لَهُ نَفْسُهُ قَتْلَ أَخِيهِ فَقَتَلَهُ فَأَصْبَحَ مِنَ الْخَاسِرِينَ 5:30 Then prompted to him his Nafsuhu to kill his brother so he killed him and became of the losers Here Nafsuhu is “his feeling self” with its inclinations, temptations, envy, fear, greed, etc. Nafs al-Lawwama or the self-reproaching conscience (75:1) I do call to witness the Resurrection Day; (2) And I do call to witness the self-reproaching conscience: (Eschew Evil). (3) Does man think that We cannot assemble his bones? (4) Nay, We are able to put together in perfect order the very tips of his fingers. (5) But man wishes to do wrong (even) in the time in front of him. Nafs al-Lawwama may be described as that part of the Nafs that causes cognitive dissonance when what we do is contrary to what we believe is the right thing to do. Our sense of right and wrong, or the values of our society, are learnt in the same manner as we learn our mother tongue. We imbibe our values and sense of right and wrong while learning to communicate since what we learn through our interactions is not just the language but also the values of the society with which we interact. This further gets refined based on our efforts directed towards acquiring the necessary knowledge for leading a moral life. The cognitive dissonance may be dealt with honestly by changing our actions to conform with what we believe is right or we may succumb to our temptations and do evil acts. We may even rationalize such behaviour. Cognitive dissonance is also described as the voice of conscience and is experienced by all persons who have moral values. Those who are amoral and the psychopaths, do not experience cognitive dissonance. For such people, the ends justify the means, and their end is self-gratification. Such people are adept liars and deceivers as they do not have to contend with cognitive dissonance or suffer remorse or guilt, and therefore, they have no scruples. They can take on any colour like a chameleon to deceive. Their victims walk into their trap taken in by their superficial charm which they can put on for the occasion. Since they are not bothered by pangs of conscience, the amoral can slip into any role with ease to get what they want. The traits of those who are amoral include a grandiose sense of self-worth, pathological lying, manipulation, lack of empathy, and impulsiveness. Nafs al-Lawwama is a Check on Nafs al-Ammara Bissu وَأَمَّا مَنْ خَافَ مَقَامَ رَبِّهِ وَنَهَى النَّفْسَ عَنِ الْهَوَىٰ (79:40) And for such as had entertained the fear of standing before their Lord´s (tribunal) and had restrained (their) nafs from lower/vain desires, Good Deeds Strengthen the Nafs and Evil Deeds Weaken It Charity in any form, forgiveness and every good deed purifies and strengthens it and every evil deed harms it Seeking Forgiveness to Repair the Damage to Nafs (3:135) And those who, having done something to be ashamed of, or wronged their Anfusahum, earnestly bring Allah to mind, and ask for forgiveness for their sins,- and who can forgive sins except Allah?- and are never obstinate in persisting knowingly in (the wrong) they have done.(136) For such the reward is forgiveness from their Lord, and Gardens with rivers flowing underneath,- an eternal dwelling: How excellent a recompense for those who work (and strive)! Nafs Al-Mutma`Inna or the Nafs That Is Content and At Peace Those who will be successful in the Hereafter are described as the Nafs al-Mutma`inna or those whose conscience is at peace with self (89:27) To the persons whose Nafs or consciousness is at peace and satisfied (Nafs al-Mutma`inna) will be said (28) "Come back thou to thy Lord, - well-pleased (thyself), and well-pleasing unto Him! (29) "Enter thou, then, among My devotees! (30) "Yea, enter thou My Heaven! Whose Nafs will be completely content and at peace? Those who dealt with their cognitive dissonance honestly and acted in accordance with what they truly believed to be right, and when they felt there was a discrepancy between their actual and ideal selves, made sincere efforts to bridge the gap. The Nafs that will be in peace will be those who know that they did their best with the best of intentions and remaining true to their own selves and beliefs and to the best of their knowledge, using every opportunity to do what was best under the given circumstances. They are those who are satisfied with their lives in every way and did not yield to greed, envy, hate, anger, and carnal desires and who remained grateful to Allah for all that they received. A disbeliever in God/religion could be a spiritual person and be inclined toward goodness and be at peace with himself and his world. Such a person has no interest in attacking others for their beliefs or to crusade against religion. Such persons who are at peace with themselves and with Allah will enter Heaven as per Surah 89. Such a state is not possible as Yusuf (pbuh) says without the Grace and Mercy of Allah. Nafs Which Is Not At Peace with Itself Without belief in God, people will tend to suppress their cognitive dissonance with rationalization, succumb to their lower desires, will be greedy for more of everything, be envious of those who are better off, hate others for what they are, and feel insecure and defend their faults/mistakes. The Nafs that is unsatisfied are those who die wanting to live longer, dissatisfied with what they could achieve or feel unfulfilled in some respect. The Nafs that has not found its equilibrium and is in a constant state of agitation are the maladjusted persons. Nafs that is unable to believe or disbelieve and uncomfortable with its uncertain state, is in a constant need of affirmation of its reasons for disbelief. Such persons will argue ad-nauseum and defend their views as if their very life depended on it. They try to defend their position with their own self-serving “necessarian theology” holding their own designer god to be true and the God of the scriptures as false because of their personal discomfort with its verses. They are unable to reject the religion and move away nor accept it. They cannot even take comfort from the verse “Let there be no compulsion in religion” and move away because there are consequences in the Hereafter for deviating from the religion of Allah. They are unable to accept that religion is from God nor are they sure that it is man-made. So, neither will they believe nor start their own man-made religion with their designer god and their necessarian theology. Surely, there is a way to move towards resolution and find peace by seeking refuge in Allah and discarding their designer god and necessarian theology. Else, their struggle and state of unrest and agitation will continue. While to doubt everything and question everything is a sound principle to make progress in the sciences, it is a dumb rule to follow with the scriptures. Do question, find your answers, and move on one way or the other. The Nafs that harbours hatred for the believers and their religion, and is an enemy of religion, is satanic. Shun such people. (3:118) O ye who believe! Take not into your intimacy those outside your ranks: They will not fail to corrupt you. They only desire your ruin: Rank hatred has already appeared from their mouths: What their hearts conceal is far worse. We have made plain to you the Signs, if ye have wisdom. Each one of us knows to what extent we have attained the status of Nafs al-Mutma`inna. Such a Nafs is fearless, optimistic, free of hatred and certainly not paranoid. Paranoia is a sign of a Nafs that is ill at ease with self and its environment. Over a period, from the moral choices that a person makes, it becomes instinctive for one who has attained Nafs al-Mutma`inna, to desire what pleases Allah and to abhor what Allah dislikes. The Nafs Dies كُلُّ نَفْسٍ ذَآئِقَةُ الْمَوْتِ Every Nafsin shall have a taste of death (29:57, 21:35, 3:185) In this part, we have seen that Nafs means our feeling, thinking, discerning, prone to temptations, rationalizing self and our reproaching, correcting, controlling conscience which prevents us from indulgences that we have learnt to consider immoral or unethical, in a state of wakeful consciousness. It is what makes us the unique individual or self or being that we are, which lives and ultimately dies. Death is for both the body and the Nafs. The aim should be to attain the status of Nafs al-Mutma`inna Also Read: The Quran and the Psychology of Human Behaviour ----- A frequent contributor to NewAgeIslam.com, 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: https://newageislam.com/islam-science/quran-psychology-human-behaviour-nafs/d/127047 New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Role Of Ulema In Bringing Down Muslims From The Height Of Enlightenment To The Morass Of All-Round Backwardness: The Imperatives For Muslims Today

By Dr. Mohammad Ghitreef, New Age Islam 19 May 2022 --------------------------------------------------------------- Ulema in Khilafat-e-Osmania did not allow printing presses to be imported from Europe for close to four centuries, heralding Muslim backwardness in Education that continues till today. Even the great scientists and philosophers and theologians of the Abbasid period and Muslim Spain were often called heretics and their books burned and destroyed. We do not find today any trace of rationalist theology of Islam that had received patronage from a few caliphs in early 9th century CE. --------------------------------------------------------------- Islamic Spain (Andalusia) was a unique state because it did marvellous things in its zenith of political power. In particular, in the reigns of the caliphs; Abdur Rahman Al-Salis, (the third) Hisham, Nasir, Al-hakam, and of course, caliph Al-Mansoor the great. These were the great sultans of Islamic Spain politically and on cultural and civilizational planes too. During their rule, Muslims (Arabs), the ruling minority of the country, had been doing best to promote all kinds of knowledge, religious and secular. This resulted in phenomenal advancement in philosophy, logic, and translation, from Greek arts and sciences on the one hand and a great leap in agriculture, trade, and industry. Bringing about an era of prosperity, happiness and well-being in the lives of ordinary people. They had built big and beautiful cities full of significant buildings, palaces, grand mosques, seminaries, libraries, etc. For instance, Zahra city(مدينة الزهراء) on the outskirt of Cordova (قرطبه), Granada ( غرناطه), and Seville can be cited. To their model seminaries and great seats of learning, students and learners would flow and come from neighbouring France, Portugal, Belgium, Germany, Hungary, Austria, Holland, Florence, Italy, etc. The governments were spending much on promoting sciences and arts such as algebra, history, geography, mathematics, medicine, fine arts, poetry, painting, songs, and music. They spent much on artefacts, beautiful buildings, and palaces still there, showcasing their reminiscent grenadier, such as Alhambra palace in Granada and Jam e Qartaba (Cordova mosque) latterly converted into a cathedral as monumental pieces to the world today. According to many historians the European renaissance was a by-product of the rich cultural and civilizational legacy of lost Muslim Spain. For, both of the fountainheads of the European renaissance, France and Florence, directly benefited from exchanging ideas with Muslim Spain. Next to Muslim Spain was Sicily (صقلية), wherein Arab arts, sciences, academic adventures, and new findings had remained flourishing even after Arabs had lost their political power. As new Christian Norman conquerors went on their mentoring for that. Thanks to their generous guardianship, great scholars in geography like Sharif Al-Edrisi, a prominent master in making graphics and geographical maps, continued his work and could produce his magnum opus Ahsanut Taqasim Fi Marifat Aqaalim dedicating it to the great Norman ruler Roger the second. Likewise was the Abbasid caliphate also, which had established a Darul Hikmat (Wisdom house) in the reign of Al-Mamoon, the learned and intellectual caliph, very fond of Greek knowledge. In the first phase of the Abbasid caliphate, Baghdad was the abode of philosophers, translators, writers, and experts in medicine, astronomy, geography, mathematics, geometry, trigonometry, physics, chemistry, history, literature, etc. Scholars and experts in various branches of human knowledge come from India, Egypt, Rome, Greece, Anatolia, Syria, etc. Their academic works were welcomed, translated into Arabic, and applauded. Furthermore, because of all that, Baghdad gained fame and accolade throughout the world as a multicultural and multinational legendary city wherein had been accomplished the timeless literary works of Arabian Nights(الف ليلة وليلة) and Kalila w Dimna an Arabic rendering of original Indian Panjtanrta. Along with government-sponsored good hospitals called Beemaristanat in Cairo, Damascus, Samarkand, Bukhara, etc. Muslim Spain and Abbasids were rivals and had no loved lost, yet both were good competitors in rich mosaic culture and development. After the Mongol invasion on Muslim world and destruction spree in ninth century, there was a growing fascination with occult sciences, astrology, sorcery, black magic, witchcraft, superstition, and incantation among the Muslims. Experimental medicine was replaced with occultism and divination. Therefore, the movement of rational sciences among the Muslims under this wizardry shadow died down. They burned the books of great philosophers and great minds of rational sciences, as happened with Ibn Hazm and others. This Andalusian and Mid-Eastern rich legacy is the only thing Muslims can proudly present to the world today as an enormous contribution to world civilization. For, unlike both of them, the Ottomans, unfortunately, in their four century-long sultanate and the great Mughals in their three century-long rule, did not contribute much to world civilization. Under the influence of Ulema, they built only mosques, mausoleums, forts, splendid palaces, and pompous superfluous things such as the Taj Mahal, Red Fort, and Jama Masjid Delhi in India and similar many monumental Ottoman palaces, forts, and grand mosques in Istanbul and Ankara. Both the empires did not leave good examples of human civilizational works as good seminaries, great seats of learning, best libraries, wisdom houses, research centres, and observatories. Contrary to that, the Ottomans blindly following their rigid and narrow-minded Shaikh ul Islam committed the crime to shutting down in 1580, an observatory established by a noted astronomer Taqiuddin in Istanbul. It was the world's largest observatory. It was demolished due to the insistence of traditional Ulama and public support. Due to their strong notion that this unnecessary interference in the Divine secrets because of the existence of the observatory, there has been an outbreak of great plague, so in order to prevent this, it is necessary to demolish the observatory brick by brick. (Rashid Shaz Kitab-ul-Arooj, p. 2 Milli Publications New Delhi 2012) And their counterparts in India, Bakhtiyar Khilji, to be more specific, is accused, rightly or wrongly, of setting ablaze the ancient Nalanda Vidyalaya (mini university ). Many mosques built by Mughals in India are vulnerable now to being demolished, ransacked, recaptured, or modified as temples by right-winger Hindutva forces ruling the country nowadays. Since, after Babri, now they are hell-bent on snatching Gyanvapi masjid in Varanasi and Mathura Shahi Eidgah. They are not even in a mood to spare secular monuments like Taj Mahal at Agra and Qutub Minar in Delhi too. In coming days the threats are looming large upon these monumental Mughal constructions because the vulnerable Muslim community is not in a position to defend and protect them from vandalism if done in connivance of state machinery and national media. Had Mughals and other Muslim dynasties before them invested their resources in the promotion of scientific research and technological advancement, instead of their great expenditure on construction, fine arts; poetry, paintings, and dance and music parties, their heirs and the Muslim community at large would have been in better standing in India and in the world today. Ulema in Khilafat-e-Osmania did not allow printing presses to be imported from Europe for close to four centuries, heralding Muslim backwardness in Education that continues till today. Even the great scientists and philosophers and theologians of the Abbasid period and Muslim Spain were often called heretics and their books burned and destroyed. We do not find today any trace of rationalist theology of Islam that had received patronage from a few caliphs in early 9th century CE. Muslims can not revive their past glory to which they keenly aspire only by wishful thinking. Instead, for that purpose, they have to have once again revive, revisit, revise and rethink their civilizational legacy. This is the law of nature as revealed by the holy book: "Then as for scum, it departs as rubbish, and as for that which benefits mankind, it lasts on the earth."Quran-13:16) Moreover, this sublime task cannot be done without rejuvenating, moderating, and revising the rotten educational system taught in seminaries, madrasas, and even community-run schools and colleges. Today, among Muslims the most desirable and most wanted theme is the conspiracy theories or the baseless concepts of the coming of Mahdi and the messiah. A lot has been written in both Arabic and Urdu on this theme. Dr. Asrar Ahmad, Mufti Abu Lubaba in Pakistan, and Asrar Alam in India, along with so many Saudi Salafi scholars, are most sought after writers in this regard among the new generation. Asrar Alam is keen to seek the hidden Jewish hand behind every past or present mis-happening in the Muslim world. He has even very absurdly seen that hand behind the holy prophet's demise. This conspiracy literature leaves very bizarre imprints on young Muslim minds impending their intellectual growth and rational credibility. There are thousands of antichrists among them at all times, yet Muslims are looking for the antichrist like many orthodox Jews and Christians. Similarly, most Muslim Ulama and mullahs are waiting for the false Mahdi and messiah and doing nothing. Because, among the Ummah, they have spread the idea that Mahdi and the messiah will come and take away all their sorrows, resolve all their issues, making them victorious over the world. Centuries have gone waiting for the Mahdi and messiah to come, yet the Mahdi and messiah do not seem ready to come yet. Furthermore, many false Mahdis have proclaimed their arrival and still keep claiming to be Mahdi in different times and places. Yes, colonialism was the source of many problems and agonies, yet the "colonialism acceptance mentality," to quote the Algerian writer Malik Bin Nabi is the most lethal disease. We have to shun the victimhood mentality and get out of conspiracy theories altogether to eliminate this disease. Because of negative thinking, Muslims cannot learn from others to go on the development path. Their religious superiority complex is another hurdle. They have to give up the bad habit of living in the past and not accepting new realities. Their sectarian divide is also a significant root of suffering as we see there is no Islamic mosque or Islamic madrasa per se. Instead, there are Sunni mosques, Sunni madrasas, Shia mosque Shia madrasa, Hanafi mosque, Hanafi madrasa, Ahle Hadis mosque, and Ahle Hadis madrasa! There is anarchy in the world of Fatwas. Takfir (declaring someone as a disbeliever) is on its high speed. Muslims have been waging an uncalled-for jihad against their real or imagined enemies for the past two centuries, to which Ulama and community leaders had pushed and led them in, so now they are on the wrong side of history. Because it is the age of dialogue and interfaith and intra-faith understanding. Muslims have to eliminate this battle cry mentality. Without that, Muslims, or any other nation, cannot go ahead with other nations and cannot walk side-by-side with others in modern world. -------- Dr. Mohammad Ghitreef is a Research Associate with the Centre for Promotion of Educational and Cultural Advancement of Muslims of India, AMU Aligarh. URL: https://newageislam.com/the-war-within-islam/ulema-muslims-enlightenment-backwardness-/d/127041 New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Why Islam Has An Atavistic Aversion To Atheism And Agnosticism?

By Sumit Paul, New Age Islam 19 May 2022 Religion Is Not Just An Insult To Human Dignity, It's A Travesty Of Human Intelligence And God Is The Most Venomous Concoction Of Mankind Main Points: 1. To be an atheist in Islam is tantamount to committing a felony. 2. Why the traditional Islam, particularly Sunni Islam, is dead against the Sufism and its exponents? 3. Most of the Sufis didn't believe in the orthodoxy of Quran and Hadees ------ This pertains to Mr Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqui's otherwise 'nice' article, " Was Muhammad Bin Zakariya Razi, A Well-Known Muslim Scientist, An Atheist? " The devout writer and a sane apologist of Islam has tried tooth and nail to prove that Muhammad Bin Zakaria Razi was a believer and NOT an atheist as he was believed to be. Okay, in deference to the writer Mr Siddiqui, let me willy-nilly believe that Razi was a believer. But wasn't he a vehement sceptic or an agnostic, who truly upheld the spirit of ijtihad (questioning or independent reasoning, esp. religious questioning in Arabic)? All Muslims must read the renowned Muslim thinker Abdel Rahman Badawi's " From the History of Atheism in Islam." First published in Arabic, the book was reprinted only once in 1993. It discusses the work of the Islamic philosopher-scientists of the medieval period and the way they upheld reason, freedom of thought and humanist values, while questioning and often refuting some basic Islamic tenets. This book is blasphemous to most of the Muslims and its second reprint is heavily expurgated. Amira Nowaira wrote in her long essay for The Guardian, London, " When Islamic Atheism Thrived "- ' It may therefore come as a surprise to many people that there is a long and vibrant intellectual tradition of dissidence and freethinking going back to the Middle Ages. The Islamic thinkers of the early medieval period expressed ideas and engaged in debates that would appear strangely enlightened in comparison with the attitudes and views adopted by modern Islamic scholarship.' To be an atheist in Islam is tantamount to committing a felony. Have you ever thought, why the traditional Islam, particularly Sunni Islam, is dead against the Sufism and its exponents? The reason being Sufis' unconventional devotion to Allah. Most of the Sufis didn't believe in the orthodoxy of Quran and Hadees and Hakim Sanai went on to say that ' angels offered Namaz, including the Namaz-e-Tahajjud (the Namaz offered at the crack of the dawn and is not mandatory like 5-time Namaz) for him! Yet, he wasn't beheaded or perhaps managed to cheat the gallows/scaffold! But, the modern Islam never discusses Sanai's impudent atheism and at the most calls him a heretic (Read, The Man of Light in Iranian Sufism by Henry Corbin, 1971). It's a well-guarded secret. Here I hasten to add that Sanai lost all faith towards the fag-end of his life. A few years ago, I wrote an article for The TOI in which I clearly and categorically stated that Fariduddin Attar, the putative master of the redoubtable Rumi, discarded Allah, Quran and Islam and wasn't entombed or burnt. He believed that Khuda was not a separate identity but is actually one's Khudi (Self is the Supreme Self). Can you imagine the same statement coming from a Muslim in these turbulent times of bigotry? His head will be somersaulting the very next moment. Talibans have officially declared that Sufis are not Muslims. Ironically, Afghanistan has been the conveyor belt of Sufis, the great Rumi spearheads the list. He was born in Balkh, Afghanistan-Eastern Persia, therefore also known as Rumi Balkhi. Two of the greatest mystics hailed from Afghanistan: Hakim Sanai (Ghazni) and Hakim Jami (Herat). Despite their audacious spiritual proclamations, Islam tried to present these greats as spiritual heretics (What an Oxymoron!) but often refrained from calling them outright Munkir-e-Zaat or Murtad (Atheists and Apostates). The problem with orthodox Islam is that it erroneously thinks that it's the ONLY TRUE FAITH, signed and sent by Allah. Ergo, anyone in its fold, denying it at a later stage is an affront to Islam's DIVINELY FLAWLESS image. It'll be a spiritual embarrassment for the entire Islam. So, Islam refrains from using the word atheist for those who question its tenets and leave it. By the way, Muslims believe that their Allah is unique and exclusive. So he cannot be equated with god or Bhagwan. Though there've been innumerable silent dissenters in the history of Islam, very few have openly come out and proclaimed their disillusionment with Islam. The Persian mystic Mansur Al-Hallaj, who was excoriated on March 26 (ironically, his birthday!) 922 CE for saying An-al-Haq (the direct translation of Upanishadic Aham Brahmasmi......I'm the Truth). Muslim scholars vehemently deny but the fact is, Mansur almost left Islam and accepted the Eastern or Vedantic Consciousness (Hinduism as a name came rather late). So, his skin was ruthlessly peeled off. I remember, I attended a seminar in Delhi in which a scholarly Muslim speaker was trying to call Mansur, the greatest Muslim, perhaps as a mark of atonement. Sorry, he left Islam and had he lived longer, he would have left the Oriental Consciousness as well because an evolved human like Mansur needed no god, no spirituality and no theological crutches. He Himself was god or Allah. Aurangzeb executed his brother Dara Shikoh because the latter embraced Hinduism from a Brahmin priest from Kashi. So, it's always quite risky for a Muslim to be an atheist. And if he happens to be a man of great achievements, like Muhammad Bin Zakariya Razi, apologists like Mr Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqui will leave no stone unturned to prove him a hardcore believer! Lastly, Pakistani Nobel laureate in Physics, Dr Abdus Salam was a non-believer who retained his Ahmadiyya Muslim tag just to prove that he was proud of being an Ahmadiyya, an eyesore to Sunnis and Salafists. He shared the 1979 Nobel Prize in Physics with Sheldon Glashow and Steven Weinberg for his contribution to the electroweak unification theory. It's worthwhile to mention that Professor Salam embellished the wall of his private laboratory in England with the famous quote of his colleague and fellow Nobel laureate Steven Weinberg, who was an avowed atheist: “ With or without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil; but for good people to do evil - that takes religion. Religion is an insult to human dignity. " There cannot be two views about it. Religion is not just an insult to human dignity, it's a travesty of human intelligence and god is the most venomous concoction of mankind. ---- An occasional 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: https://newageislam.com/islamic-society/atavistic-aversion-atheism-agnosticism/d/127040 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, May 18, 2022

Erroneous Intellectual Presuppositions are Obstacles to Progress

By Naseer Ahmed, New Age Islam 18 May 2022 Muslims Idea Of An Omnipotent God Is A Whimsical God Because Whimsicalness Is Proof To Them Of His Omnipotence Because God Says That He Does Whatever He Wills! Important Points: 1. The Quran also repeatedly insists on go look, see, ponder, wonder, discover, know. 2. The Quran repeatedly tells us to learn empirical truths from past stories of the prophets and their people. 3. Muslims have no idea of what good scholarship means. ------ The history of human endeavour is replete with examples of how erroneous intellectual presuppositions have impeded progress. We all know about Einstein’s prolific and unmatched contribution to theoretical physics. This brilliant physicist also hit a wall and his pathbreaking contributions ended abruptly. What caused it? His belief in a deterministic and therefore a predictable world that could be precisely described mathematically. When nuclear physicists were increasingly using probabilistic theories to study and describe the behaviour of subatomic particles, he expressed his discomfort by saying that he does not believe that God plays dice with the universe. However, every pathbreaking and major advance in quantum physics before and since is based on probabilistic models. Deterministic models fail at the quantum level, and we can only describe things in terms of probabilities. Einstein missed out completely on these developments because of his intellectual presupposition. He is otherwise considered the father of quantum physics for describing the photoelectric effect for which he won a Nobel Prize in 1921. The discovery of the phenomenon of the photoelectric effect led to the development of quantum mechanics. The Pitfalls Of Necessarian Theology All through history, people have imagined what God does, what God must necessarily do and what God cannot do. To the extent that such beliefs were erroneous, progress was impeded for several centuries until they discarded some of the erroneous presuppositions. A different set of intellectual presuppositions defined each of the civilisations which set a limit on their progress. Each of the civilizations made rapid strides till they reached the limit set by their set of presuppositions after which they stagnated. In 1277, Etienne Tempier, the bishop of Paris, writing with the support of Pope John XXI, condemned ‘necessarian theology’ and 219 separate theses influenced by Greek philosophy about what God could or couldn’t do. We continue to have necessarian theologians in our midst although the revelation of the Quran has done away with the need for speculative necessarian theology! Scientific Revolution Then in Europe began the scientific revolution. What caused it? Shedding many of the erroneous intellectual presuppositions and adoption of the “scientific method” for a systematic study of natural phenomena to discover what God does or did. (Disbelievers in God can replace God by Nature in this discussion). To paraphrase Robert Boyle, “the job of the scientist is, not to decide what God must have done, but to go and look and to see what He did do”. Go look and see, go look and see. It becomes an empirical science rather than a deductive or philosophical approach to studying nature. And that was the great shift in approach that helped the scientific revolution in Europe. The Seeds For A Scientific Revolution Were There In The Quran The Quran also repeatedly insists on go look, see, ponder, wonder, discover, and know. It also asks us to reject false gods from the empirical evidence that they have no power. The Quran repeatedly tells us to learn empirical truths from past stories of the prophets and their people. It has verses that speak of knowledge discovered only recently by people who adopted systematic empiricism and the scientific method. The Quran repeatedly asks us not to rely on tradition and the beliefs of men but to question these in the light of empirical evidence. It tells us repeatedly that Allah never changes His word and His ways which means that His laws governing the Universe, human behaviour and indeed everything are unchanging which is an invitation to study these and benefit from them. The Quran says in a couple of verses (10:19, 11:110) that He may have acted differently but for the fact that His word had already been sent forth. This means that Allah binds Himself by His word and can never be whimsical. The Quran speaks of logical consistency and integrity and therefore the lack of discrepancy in the Book. This is telling us to strictly follow the rules of logic while making sense of it. It also means that logically derived inferences from the Quran are as good as if the inference was part of the text. This is as it should be because logical truths are apriori truths. So why do the Muslims find themselves at the bottom of the heap? Not quite because the same religion took them to great heights and pitchforked them a thousand years ahead of Europe before they hit the ceiling. For more on the subject, read: Causes For The Rise And Fall Of The Muslims Swings In Our Fortunes There was a great deal of dynamism in the beginning and Islamic civilization flourished and made great strides in every field and dominated the world. They, therefore, had virtues that took them to the top but then they stagnated and even regressed. The first three centuries were of relative freedom from religious orthodoxy and bigotry and the philosophers, the mathematicians, the astronomers, and the healers made great strides. The Muslims were avid learners and learned from the Greeks and every other civilization and took what they learned forward. The Greek philosophers were atheists whose influence rubbed off on the Muslim philosophers and a gulf began to develop between the religious scholars and the natural philosophers (the common term for philosophers and scientists). The tussle between science and religion continues to this day although there is no need for it, as these do not overlap and are complementary. Both sides are equally to blame. The great strides made by Muslim society may also be attributed to the fact that the environment was conducive enough to allow the ascendance of the rationalist’s school of theology or the Muʿtazila. During the period the Muʿtazila enjoyed the patronage of the Caliph, the traditionalists were imprisoned and persecuted. There was a tussle for power between the religious scholars and the natural philosophers who were leaning towards atheism and Imam Ghazali won the fight for religion with his treatise “The incoherence of the philosophers” which paved the way for the return of the traditionalists and driving out of the Muʿtazila and the persecution of the natural philosophers for their unorthodox views. The momentum of scientific progress ensured progress for several decades until orthodoxy stifled it and Islamic civilization began to stagnate. Europe’s renaissance owes much to translations of all the Arabic texts of knowledge in subjects such as mathematics, astronomy, medicine etc. Europe appears to have made a systematic study of what made the Islamic civilization great and took everything a step further. They became a great industrial and naval power and colonized the world. The Muslims became reactive and instead of learning from Europe, became resistant to the very things that made Europe great. Neither could the Muslims learn from their own glorious past nor from the present of a rising Europe. The State Of Islamic Scholarship When I compare the standard of western scholarship with that of Islamic religious scholarship, Islamic scholarship appears primitive, disorganized, unscientific and with little evidence of having mastered even simple logic and mathematics, because of which the Muftis struggle with the inheritance related calculations to this day. Lack of logical consistency does not appear to bother them nor does the fact that their Shariat and theology do not follow from the Quran. Imam Ghazali is the greatest Islamic scholar and yet his Mishkat al-Anwar which is a treatise on the Ayat al-Nur (24:35) on which the scholars go ga ga even today, is demonstrably a can of trash although of the highest erudition. His explanation of the verse contradicts the very next verse. How could Imam Ghazali not know that his explanation of the verse contradicts the very next verse? It did not seem to have bothered him nor the army of scholars who follow him to this day. This malaise exemplifies the entire body of Islamic scholarship. They are suckers for every kind of nonsense if it is packaged well and has the stamp of authority. We therefore blindly follow the Imams although their limitations are obvious. Looks like the Muslims have no idea of what a good scholarship means. Also Read: An Exposition of the Verse of Light (Ayat al-Nur) If I must make a list of what impedes progress for the Muslims, it is a long list. The most important is a lack of intellectual integrity. If contradictions do not bother them and did not bother even their greatest scholar Imam Ghazali, how can then they ever be sure that they are on the right path? One Madrassa product even commented that logic is good but not too much logic! The Muslims seem to have got everything wrong. Their idea of an Omnipotent God is a whimsical God because whimsicalness is proof to them of His omnipotence because God says that He does whatever He wills! Now, if God is whimsical, there can be contradictions in the Quran and therefore the contradictions that arise from their interpretation of the Quran do not bother them one bit. That the Quran says that you will not find any contradictions in it is brushed aside as just another proof of God saying whatever He wills and not to be taken seriously! The fact is that the Quran is not taken seriously at all. It has become a Book of liturgy and the emphasis is on memorising and pronunciation but not on understanding it. The Books that are followed religiously are the Ahadith although the Ahadith contradict the Quran on every subject. So, if the Quran is interpreted considering the Ahadith to be true, you will gain nothing from studying the Quran and will give up and relegate it to the place it occupies as a Book only for liturgical purposes. We will have a revolution once we keep aside the Ahadith and the commentaries of past scholars and read the Quran without a single intellectual presupposition. We will then learn the true nature of Allah and His creation and what leads to success in this life and the Hereafter. Almost every article of mine brings out what the Quran says and how our scholars have got it wrong. Science Complements Religion Without science, our understanding of the Quran would have continued to be as poor as that of the past scholars. Science is not an enemy of religion but provides proof to the people of our times of the truth of the Quran. The mutual antagonism is due to human frailties of insecurity, suspicion, and greed for power. Why should Islamic scholars fear science if their religion is true? They should expect religion to be strengthened by the discoveries of science. The suspicion and antagonism are understandable because many of those who pursue the sciences lean towards atheism. Subjects in the west such as biology, physics and anthropology are taught with the explicit assumption that there is no god, and this attitude rubs off on all who study these subjects. That is proof that bigotry is not confined to the religions alone but extends to the sciences as well. It is possible for us to rise above every kind of bigotry and give proper place to both religion and science in our lives. ----- A frequent contributor to NewAgeIslam.com, 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: https://newageislam.com/islamic-ideology/intellectual-presuppositions-quran-muslims/d/127033 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

Islam And Religious Dialogue: A Thematic Study - Part One

By Grace Mubashir, New Age Islam 18 May 2022 Pluralistic Aspects Of Religious Traditions Need To Be Cultivated Among Adherents To Enable Them To Contribute To The National Development Through Mutual Collaboration Main Points: 1. Strategists and policy makers are no longer able to ignore the role of religion in conflict and peace. 2. Many scholars of terrorism and national security have widely appreciated the role of religion in guaranteeing peace and harmony. 3. Religious engagement and dialogues make the social fabric healthy and firm. ------- The world is passing through very turbulent times. The global economic crisis continues to manifest in newer and graver dangers almost every week. The similarities to the period just before the Second World War continue to be cited and it seems clear that events are moving the world at an unprecedented pace towards a horrific third world war. Religion has become an important topic on today’s policy agenda and global concern. Strategists and policy makers are no longer able to ignore the role of religion in conflict and peace. New researches have amply proved the critical role of religion in conflict prevention and peace building. Although religion is always blamed for inciting conflict and religious tensions obstructing the smooth growth of nation can also be used to resolve conflict and enhance peace initiatives. In different capacities, faith based actors have successfully contributed to peace building process. Religious engagement and dialogues make the social fabric healthy and firm. After explaining in detail the ideological structures of religious belief, the second part discusses the Salafism, one of the world’s most radical fundamental religious sects among Muslim community. Ideological motives for violence, textual literalism, various threats posed by Salafi creed and the mechanism to counter the fanatical menace find detailed mention in the work. Resurging Positive Role Of Religion In the modern era, where science holds considerable sway over the conduct of people, religion and spirituality still occupy prominent role in human life. Driven by the philosophical and methodical tradition of Enlightenment religion was viewed as irrational and unquantifiable phenomenon that cannot be studied from the point of view of reason and expected the importance of the religion to recede as modernization and science triumph. In the backdrop of French revolution and the commencement of European modernity religion was identified as a perennial cause of social destabilization and easy tool to demonize ‘the other’. In the past when religions were blended with the political ambition of the rulers, religious institutions inadvertently assumed the gory face of retrogression and institutionalized violence against the demonized other. Social reforms of 18th and 19th century advocated the rigid separation of religion from state affairs given that religion was the fountain of conflict and solution is impossible from the same source. In contemporary age, tangible nuances are conspicuous in the way people approach religion in various parts of the world, especially Asia and Africa, because spiritual quest of the people is completely unattended by the alternative scientific religion. Religion has double edge function. From time immemorial religion has the inherent potential of mass mobilization on shared collective identity. If this character was channelized into positive construction, religions would possess immense strength for social cohesion and a boon to progress and national development whereas it’s negative summoning would open the Pandora’s Box of violence and conflicts. Reformist movements persistently eschewed the role of religions and faith based organization in order to preclude spates of ethno religious violence promoted by fanatic clergy and cunning politicians who sought legitimacy for their corrupt practices in their mass religious appeal. Conceptual framework regarding the conflict resolution mechanisms have been largely modified to consider religion and faith groups sine qua non to address the recurring world problems from violence to lumping economic growth. Strategies to prevent violence have been generously extended to incorporate religious institutions and appreciated the untapped strengths of religions to maintain social and sustainable development. Kofi Annan, former general secretary of United Nations Organization in a speech made to over a thousand religious leaders who had gathered for the Millennium Peace Summit of World Religious and Spiritual Leaders emphasized the importance of religious agency in allaying specific problems like violence, poverty and environmental concerns. Dealing With Differences: Process For Dialogue And Active Engagement According to Diana Eck what motivates religious violence are ardent beliefs in exclusive truth, stern textual reading of scriptures, unflinching missionary zeal for conversion, political ambitions of religions and outdated laws and that consider the matters through the middle age etiquette and taboos. Peaceful religious traditions would turn into worst beasts of destruction and communal hatred when political motivations are fortified with fanatic world view that makes one pitch one against another. Attempts by Hindutva forces to grab political power in India using Hinduism spoilt the religious harmony in the democratic nation by sowing seeds of mistrust and orchestrating communal violence. Likewise, the aspiration to form a Caliphate for Muslims continues to breed problems of religious tension in Iraq and Syria guided by misquoted venomous Salafi ideology of ISIS. Thus problem is not religion itself but radical interpretations and the exclusivist views of adherents are to blame signifying the fact that religion identity could be tapped into far effective peace advocacy tool. A lion’s shares of conflicts today are identity conflicts in which identity is defined according to ethno-religious lines like Buddhist Sinhala people of Sri Lanka and Yazidi Christians of Iraq. Religious traditions are used to incite and justify violence demonizing the ‘other’. As explained by Johan Galtung, religious, ideological or linguistic symbols that legitimize direct or structural violence contribute to the continuation of the conflicts by systematic traditional teaching and preaching. Religious affiliations along with ethnic bonds often help to create the core of one’s identity. When religion is practiced collectively or in congregation religion becomes the part and parcel of collective identity of society that governs their everyday life. Hence religious feelings embedded in the collective identity of society can mobilize people more powerfully than any other identities of linguistics, nationalism, regionalism and political inclinations. Due to this unique strength to mobilize people easily towards spiritual and political goals, religious traditions have often been abused to legitimize violence, define exclusive identity and perpetuate particular ethnic and national objectives. To sum up, according to Swindler, religions are moderate, harmonious and peaceful in creed but turn into violent institutions in practice due to the wrong strategies applied to interpret the religion or external influences have corrupted the fundamental concepts of religion heralding great human values. In the aftermath of religions being hijacked by bigot elements, religious traditions were robbed of the civilizational responsibility to accentuate peace through mutual coexistence and inclusive active engagements. Bagdad civilization under the Abbasid rulers of middle age that produced painstaking contribution to various fields of knowledge and scientific innovations and the transmission of Greek knowledge through voluminous translations is the great example for the fact that if religious traditions are brought in harmonious cooperation human resources could be used to the optimal level. Many scholars of terrorism and national security have widely appreciated the role of religion in guaranteeing peace and harmony. Pluralistic aspects of religious traditions need to be cultivated among adherents to enable them to contribute to the national development through mutual collaboration. Religiously motivated non-violence and pluralism are the real panacea to various problems plaguing the world. Religious emotions and affiliations if exploited to mobilize people into harmonious life and cultural assimilations it would be the best tool conducive to diminish scourges of ethnic violence and bloody militancy. ------ Grace Mubashir is a journalism student at IIMC, Delhi URL: https://newageislam.com/interfaith-dialogue/religious-dialogue-thematic-study/d/127032 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, May 17, 2022

Let's Augment Our Vision And Imbibe The Spirit Of Humility And Enlightenment

By Sumit Paul, New Age Islam 17 May 2022 Cognitive Dissonance Happens Best In The Context Of Faith When You've A Moral Dilemma Of An Agnostic Or A Sceptic As To Which Way Is Correct Or Incorrect Main Points: 1. Incompatibility (dissonance) could happen when you do something that goes against a value that’s important to you. 2. When you go with a clear conscience and perspicuous consciousness, you're no longer in the prison of religious conundrums. 3. There are the Ayats or the astonishing signs of Allah for the people of today. ------ A few days ago, I mentioned a term 'cognitive dissonance' in my article, The Profundity of Arabic Language and Its Encapsulated Wisdom, on the profundity of Arabic tongue. One 'omniscient' bloke understood it partially and wrote a piece, " The Quran and the Psychology of Human Behaviour." This very piece is a classic manifestation of the Arabic maxim, " You teach best, what you need to learn most." Well, before I descant upon this subject, I need to enumerate upon the term ' Cognitive Dissonance." Cognitive dissonance describes the discomfort experienced when two cognitions are incompatible with each other. This incompatibility (dissonance) could happen when you do something that goes against a value that’s important to you. Or maybe you learn a new piece of information that disagrees with a long-standing belief or opinion. Loosely speaking, it's like 'Cognitive Dilemma' or ' Cognitive Dichotomy.' One must read American philosopher and cognitive scientist Daniel C Dennett's seminal book, ' Consciousness Explained ' (1991). The author, who has no religion and whose faith in god is cipher, writes that, " Cognitive Dissonance happens best in the context of faith when you've a moral dilemma of an agnostic or a sceptic as to which way is correct or incorrect. But when you go beyond that with a clear conscience and perspicuous consciousness, you're no longer in the prison of religious conundrums. Your perceptions are lucid and you're a free individual and you've a Cognitive Resonance in your personality. " Coming back to the 'polymath' writer's piece on the website of New Age Islam, he has tried to create a picture as if those who deny god's infallible signs are outright sinners, who suffer from Split Personality and Cognitive Dissonance. Got to say, an absolutely imbecile perception! In fact, a (devout) believer's worldview is blocked by his/her religious view/s. He or she tends to look at the world from the perspective of his or her religious beliefs. Won't that be a recipe for ' Cognitive Dissonance'? If the cataract of religiosity or religious view is not removed, it may worsen into glaucoma and the person will be completely blind. Now it's time to reread what he claimed: " It was beyond anyone’s imagination that the Universe at one time was squeezed tightly together (to a size less than that of an atomic sub-particle) before the expansion, or the idea that our universe is forever expanding, or of the property of Time that it is relative to the frame of reference of the observer, and, therefore, a cosmic day that the Quran talks about, is not our 24 hour day, but could be one thousand, fifty thousand or even hundreds of thousands of years, that the predominant component of all living beings is water? These are the Ayats or the astonishing signs of Allah for the people of today. Such Ayats are not to be found in any previous scriptures. These Ayats not only provide evidence that the Quran is the word of Allah but that Muhammad (pbuh) was a true prophet and not an impostor plagiarising the previous Books as alleged by the enemies of Islam." Alright. The notion of the Ever-Expanding Universe is in the Quran along with the relativity of time. But he's suffering from the Dutch philosopher Benedict Spinoza's ' Error of Scriptural Monomania ' and the classic ' Misplaced Uniqueness Syndrome.' Moreover, the Quranic Arabic word ' Musi'un ' ( 51:47) may also mean ' expand, ' though it actually means ' vastness.' Isn't there a difference between ' expand' and 'vastness'? While the former is forever in motion or flux, the latter is static. Remember, a truckload of Quranic verses are too Mubham ( Arabic for obscure and unclear). Anyway, let me ask Mr Na-sar, whether he has gone beyond his Islam and its scriptures? Has he heard of the Upanishads and the Vedant? For his knowledge, written down between c. 800 - c. 500 BCE for the first six (Brhadaranyaka to Kena) with later dates for the last seven (Katha to Mandukya), the predominant 13 Upanishads are considered the “end of the Vedas'' (Vedanta) in that they expand upon, explain, and develop the Vedic concepts through narrative dialogues and, in so doing, encourage one to engage with said concepts on a personal, spiritual level. All primary Upanishads dwell upon Consciousness (Chetna), Nature of Universe (Brahmandasya Prakriti), The Relativity of Time (Samay-Saapekshvaad; Danish Nobel laureate Neils Bohr went on to hint that his coeval Albert Einstein got a vague idea of Time's Relativity from Upanishads). All Upanishads clearly state: Chetnam Brahamand iti vadante ASPHAALAN (The Universe like Consciousness or vice versa is ever-evolving and expanding). Even Ashwaghosh (despite being a Buddhist and not believing in esoteric mumbo-jumbo) wrote in his Buddhacharita (early 2nd Century): AVIRAT Anant Seemaheenasya Brahmaand Iti Paridhi Nimasya (It's a mixture of Pali and Sanskrit). Sir Edwin Arnold translated it into English in his brilliant book, ' The Light of Asia' : Continuously expanding Universe whose centre is everywhere but circumference nowhere! Where was Islam in the second century when the spiralling scope of evolution, human consciousness and the universe were being discussed in the Eastern or Oriental Consciousness? Chandogya and Taittiriya Upanishads, imbibing the idea from earlier Upanishads, called Time: Samayheen Samay Sapeksha (Time is not bound by worldly time). Not only that, this 'Daanishmand' writer should also delve into Zoroastrians (poor people who were driven out of marauding Muslims from Iran a millennium ago) and their holy books like Avesta and Zend Avesta, written in old Iranian which's phonetically and semantically very similar to Vedic Sanskrit. In one of Gathas, you come across: Soyen (Pahlavi or Old Iranian for 'Samay'-Time) sad Virtan (Time is always relative) and Conain (later Konain in Arabic for Kayenaat) Phir Aadan (Universe expands). Moreover, three earliest Upanishads also discussed the concept of Bahu-Brahmanandam (Brahmand Ekam Kimva Anekam? ) which is now a possibility as cosmologists are of the view that there's not ONE (Universe) but MULTIVERSES! Show me the concept of MULTIVERSE in your book. And can you forget the recurrent refrain in Vedas (particularly in Rig Veda, predating Islam): Jal Pratyek Jeevanasya Apariharya Ghatakam (Water is an indispensable component to all lives)? Here, my point is not casting aspersions on any one book. All are the same. I've gone beyond that. Readers might be thinking that I'm quoting oriental books. So, I'm a Hindu. Utter garbage! I'm a HUMAN who has studied all faiths but chose to stay aloof and mind you, that's not my Cognitive Dissonance! Much before the Quran, same things, even loftier ideas, were discussed, done and discarded as humans advanced and evolved. But no punishment was decreed as the Megalomaniac Semitic God, esp. the Allah like the god of Old Testament, frightens his slavish followers with dire consequences and mindlessly orders the visiting Muhammad (reference to Shab-e-Meraj, Night of Ascension) to tell the Ummah to offer Namaz for 50 times a day! Muslims across the world should be eternally thankful to Moses who persuaded Muhammad to bring it down to five times, sending him to and fro to Allah. Imagine, had the benevolent Moses not intervened, Muslims would have been offering Namaz 50 times a day! Only a Megalomaniac Allah can be so narcissistic. In short, your Quran is not the exclusive one in proclaiming the timelessness of time and the expansion of the Universe. Its Bhooto Na Bhaviyshate is seriously under scrutiny. Lastly, 'Can prayers help'? Indeed, they do help those who're lily-livered, god-fearing and terribly helpless, not those who're EVOLVED, EMANCIPATED and ENLIGHTENED. Neurologists have come to the conclusion that mentally strong and evolved humans don't resort to prayers. Yours truly never prayed to any damn god. What didn't he get in life? To quote my own couplet in Urdu, " Kashmakash-e-Imaano-Kufra Se Aazaad Hoon Main/Ho Ke Munkir-e-Zaat Bahut Shaad Hoon Main." I needn't translate it into English. ---- An occasional 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: https://newageislam.com/interfaith-dialogue/vision-spirit-humility-enlightenment/d/127025 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

Was Muhammad Ibn Zakariya Razi, A Well-Known Muslim Scientist, An Atheist?

By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi, New Age Islam 17 May 2022 Examining The Charges Of Atheism Levelled Against Ibn Zakariya Al-Razi Main Points: 1. How do Atheists and Orientalists view Al-Razi? 2. Analysing the view of Atheists and Orientalists on Al-Razi 3. Is the notion that Al-Razi wrote the books critical of religions, God, and Prophets a slander? 4. Except for Abu Hatim, none of the Mu'tazilites, Ismailis, physicians, or orthodox theologians who debated Al-Razi accused him of being an atheist or an enemy of Islam. 5. It is debatable if Al-Razi wrote anti-religious books, yet he did write books in favour of the religion, God and Prophets. ----- Muhammad ibn Zakariya al-Razi/ Science Photo Library ----- There is no reliable evidence from the works of ancient contemporaries relating to ‘the sciences of men [Ilm al-Rijal]’ that Abu Bakr Al-Razi was an atheist or a heretic. However, various claims that Al-Razi was an atheist have surfaced in the modern era, based on some books criticising faiths and prophets. The books Fī Ḥiyal al-Mutanabbīn (On the Tricks of False Prophets) ’, ‘Makharīq al-Anbiyāʾ (The Prophets’ Fraudulent Tricks) and ‘Naqdh al-Adyaan [Refutation of Religions] are claimed to have been written by Al-Razi against religions and prophets. Modern Orientalists and atheists wrongly ascribe these books to Al-Razi. Even if we assume these books to be written by Al-Razi, how can we declare him to be an atheist because his most famous books, such as ‘Inna Lil Abd Khaliq (Undoubtedly the humans have a creator), ‘Tabaqat al-Absaar (the layers of visions)’ and ‘Al-Tibb al-Ruhani (Spiritual medicine) reflect his strong belief in Islam? According to the Islamic principle of belief and disbelief [Iman and Kufr], one cannot be termed a Kaafir or an atheist unless one's denial of any of the religious needs [Zaruriyaat al-deen] is absolutely obvious. Islam forbids anyone from declaring a Muslim an atheist on account of some doubts and especially if there is no definitive proof of his denial of beliefs. So, despite certain doubts and charges that Al-Razi wrote books against God, religions and Prophets, he cannot be classified as an atheist because his other works demonstrate that he was a firm believer in Islam. There is an authentic hadith narrated by at-Tirmidhi (2442), Ahmad (1630) and Ibn Hibbaan (722) from al-Hasan ibn ‘Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) who said: I memorized from the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him): “Leave that which makes you doubt for that which does not make you doubt, for the truth leads to reassurance and lies lead to uncertainty.” [1] This hadith supports us in making a decision about Al-Razi’s beliefs. There is some debate and doubt about whether Al-Razi wrote anti-religious writings, but there is no doubt that he wrote books supporting Islamic beliefs. In this scenario, the dubious texts must be set aside in favour of the books written by Al-Razi in support of the Islamic faith and beliefs. The maxim of Islamic jurisprudence that ‘Certainty is not overruled by doubt’ can also be considered in this regard. We will briefly introduce Al-Razi and explain why the anti-religious books attributed to him were fabricated, and why he wasn't an atheist. Muhammad ibn Zakariya Razi (born 854 AH - died 925 AH) sometimes known as Rhazes or Rasis by mediaeval Latinists was a Persian polymath, chemist, physician, alchemist, philosopher, and scholar who lived during the Islamic Golden Age. He is credited with multiple "firsts" in medical research, clinical care, and chemistry, including being the first to distinguish smallpox from measles and discovering numerous compounds and chemicals, including kerosene. "Probably the greatest and most original of all the surgeons, and one of the most prolific as an author," says Edward Granville Browne. Razi made substantial and lasting contributions to medicine, alchemy, music, and philosophy, as evidenced by more than 200 publications and articles in a variety of fields. He was well-versed in medical knowledge from Ancient Persia, Greece, and India, and he used his own observations and findings to make great medical advancements. He studied music, mathematics, philosophy, and metaphysics before deciding to pursue medicine as a career. He is known as the "Father of Pediatrics" for his early support of experimental medicine as a physician. He was also an ophthalmology pioneer. He was one of the first to utilise humoralism to discriminate between contagious diseases. Through his clinical characterization of the two diseases, Razi was the first physician to distinguish between smallpox and measles. He was named chief physician of the hospitals in Rey and Baghdad. [2] Al-Razi is claimed to have written anti-religious and anti-prophetic books as well as the books in favour of Prophets and Islam. This implies that he held contradicting viewpoints on faiths and Prophets, but the reality is quite different. We'll start with perspectives of atheists and orientalists on Al-Razi, and then move over to research of academics and historians. How Do Atheists And Orientalists View Al-Razi? Al-Razi, according to freethinkers and atheists, was a critic of prophethood and a freethinker or atheist. His quotations on religion and prophethood, according to them, are as follows:[3] “On what ground do you deem it necessary that God should single out certain individuals [by giving them prophecy], that he should set them up above other people, that he should appoint them to be the people's guides, and make people dependent upon them?" “Concerning the link between violence and religion, Al-Razi expressed that God must have known, considering the many disagreements between different religions, that "there would be a universal disaster and they would perish in the mutual hostilities and fighting. Indeed, many people have perished in this way, as we can see.” “He was also critical of the lack of interest among religious adherents in the rational analysis of their beliefs, and the violent reaction which takes its place: “If the people of this religion are asked about the proof for the soundness of their religion, they flare up, get angry and spill the blood of whoever confronts them with this question. They forbid rational speculation and strive to kill their adversaries. This is why truth became thoroughly silenced and concealed.” “Al-Razi believed that common people had originally been duped into belief by religious authority figures and by the status quo. He believed that these authority figures were able to continually deceive the common people "as a result of [religious people] being long accustomed to their religious denomination, as days passed and it became a habit. Because they were deluded by the beards of the goats, who sit in ranks in their councils, straining their throats in recounting lies, senseless myths and "so-and-so told us in the name of so-and-so...” According to them, Al-Razi said: “You claim that the evidentiary miracle is present and available, namely, the Quran. You say: "Whoever denies it let him produce a similar one." Indeed, we shall produce a thousand similar, from the works of rhetoricians, eloquent speakers and valiant poets, which are more appropriately phrased and state the issues more succinctly. They convey the meaning better and their rhymed prose is in better meter. ... By God what you say astonishes us! You are talking about a work which recounts ancient myths, and which at the same time is full of contradictions and does not contain any useful information or explanation. Then you say: "Produce something like it?”[4] These are some of the statements that opponents believe Al-Razi made in which he spoke against God, religion, the Qur'an, and prophetic teachings. Al-Razi, according to atheists and freethinkers, wrote three anti-religious books: 1) Makhraiqul Anbiya (The Prophets' Fraudulent Tricks), 2) Fī Ḥiyal al-Mutanabbīn (The Stratagems of Those Who Claim to Be Prophets), and 3) "On the Refutation of Revealed Religions." They claim that these books clearly prove that Al-Razi had anti-religious beliefs. Analysing the view of Atheists and Orientalists on Al-Razi The eminent Muslim scholar al-Biruni of his day was the first person in history to compile a list of Al-Razi’s books and research. According to al-Biruni's Bibliography of al-Razi (Risāla fī Fihrist Kutub al-Rāzī), al-Razi wrote two books: "Fī al-Nubuwwāt (On Prophecies) and "Fī Ḥiyal al-Mutanabbīn (On the Tricks of False Prophets). According to Biruni, the first "was claimed to be against religions" and the second "was claimed as attacking the necessity of the prophets." Al-Biruni was unsure of the anti-religious views of Al-Razi and therefore he used the word ‘claimed’. [5] In his Risala, Biruni also highlighted some religious works of Al-Razi on the ‘divine sciences’, such as ‘Fi Wujub Da‘wat al-Nabi ‘Ala Man Nakara bi al-Nubuwwat (Obligation to Propagate the Teachings of the Prophet Against Those who Denied Prophecies)’ and ‘Fi anna li al-Insan Khaliqan Mutqinan Hakiman (That Man has a Wise and Perfect Creator)’. These works of Al-Razi give arguments in favour of religion and the necessity of Prophets. [6] When these two writings of Razi are considered, he cannot be described as an atheist or someone who opposes Prophetic teachings and religions. Most of the anti-religious views and quotes that are often attributed to Al-Razi can be found in a book written by Abu Hatim Al-Razi, called Aʿlām Al-Nubuwwa (Signs of Prophecy), which chronicles a debate between Abu Hatim and Al-Razi. Abu Hatim was an Isma'ili missionary who argued Al-Razi, but it is debatable if he faithfully recorded the opinions of Al-Razi. [7] According to some historians, Abu Hatim's book should be taken with caution because he is a hostile source of Al-Razi's beliefs and must have depicted him as a heretic in order to reject his critique of the Ismailis. [8] Abdul Latif al-Abd, an Islamic philosophy professor at Cairo University states that Abu Hatim and his student, Hamid al-Din Karmani were Ismaili extremists who frequently misrepresented the opinions of al-Razi in their writings. [9] Early historians such as al-Shahrastani also supported this view, writing, that “such allegations should be doubted since they were made by Ismailis, who had been severely attacked by Muhammad ibn Zakariyya Razi”. [10] The views that are falsely attributed to al-Razi contradict what is found in Al-Razi’s own writings, such as Spiritual Medicine (Fi al-Tibb al-Ruhani), ‘Inna Lil Abd Khaliq (Undoubtedly the humans have a creator), and ‘Tabaqat al-Absaar (the layers of visions)’. The most important point to remember is that Al-Razi engaged in debates with Mu'tazilites, Ismailis, physicians, and theologians from many schools of thought, most of whom were orthodox Muslims. Except for the extremist Ismaili preacher Abu Hatim, none of them accused him of being an atheist or an enemy of religion. If Al-Razi had been an atheist, the Sunni academics in Iraq and Baghdad, the centres of jurisprudence, theology and hadith at the time, would not have stayed silent regarding Al-Razi, but would have challenged or addressed him somewhere in their writings. [11] To summarise, the notion that Al-Razi wrote the books critical of religions, God, and Prophets is a slander, and there is no authoritative evidence that Al-Razi truly penned these books. Al-Razi, on the other hand, penned numerous works defending Islam, God, and the Prophets. Among these books are ‘Inna Lil Abd Khaliq (Undoubtedly the humans have a creator), ‘Tabaqat al-Absaar (the layers of visions)’ and ‘Al-Tibb al-Ruhani (Spiritual medicine) which reflect his strong faith and belief in Islam. [1] https://sunnah.com/nasai:5711 [2] https://www.celebatheists.com/wiki/Muhammad_ibn_Zakariya_al-Razi [3] https://www.celebatheists.com/wiki/Muhammad_ibn_Zakariya_al-Razi [4] https://ilhaad.com/2019/04/abubakar-raazi-and-atheist-lies/ [5] https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abu_Bakr_al-Razi [6] [Deuraseh, Nurdeng (2008). "Risalat Al-Biruni Fi Fihrist Kutub Al-Razi: A Comprehensive Bibliography of the Works of Abu Bakr Al-Rāzī (d. 313 A.h/925) and Al-Birūni (d. 443/1051)". Journal of Aqidah and Islamic Thought. 9: 51–100.] [7] [Marenbon, John (14 June 2012). The Oxford Handbook of Medieval Philosophy. Oxford University Press. pp. 69–70. ISBN 9780195379488] [8] [Seyyed Hossein Nasr, and Mehdi Amin Razavi, An Anthology of Philosophy in Persia, vol. 1, (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999), p. 353] [9] [Abdul Latif Muhammad al-Abd (1978), Al-Tibb al-Ruhani li Abu Bakr al-Razi, Cairo: Maktabat al-Nahda al-Misriyya, pp. 4, 13, 18] [10] [Seyyed Hossein Nasr, and Mehdi Amin Razavi, An Anthology of Philosophy in Persia, vol. 1, (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999), p. 353] [11] https://ilhaad.com/2019/04/abubakar-raazi-and-atheist-lies/ ----- A regular Columnist with NewAgeIslam.com, Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi Dehlvi is an Alim and Fazil (Classical Islamic scholar) with a Sufi background and English-Arabic-Urdu Translator. URL: https://newageislam.com/islamic-personalities/zakariya-razi-muslim-scientist-atheist/d/127024 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, May 16, 2022

What's Religious/Irreligious From The Sufi Perspective

By Sumit Paul, New Age Islam 16 May 2022 A professor friend of mine from Amritsar narrated an incident that happened a few days ago. My friend's friend sought the services of a famous architect in Amritsar who happens to be a Muslim. That friend needed to have an alcove at his home to keep his god's idol. For that, he requested the architect to come and have a look at a nearby temple. That architect refused point-blank, calling it Shirk (sacrilege) for a Muslim even to enter a temple premise. Now, the second example is even more bizarre. I wished my Hindu friends ' Eid Mubarak ' as is my wont on the just concluded Eid. None replied. They (Hindus) didn't even visit the houses of Muslims to have Sheer-Khurma. I've no such silly hang-ups. I went and gulped down nearly 10 bowls of Sheer-Khurma at the houses of my Muslim friends who jolly well know that I've no religion and no god but I've a sweet-tooth. And all being much senior to me, I got Eidee from them. These two episodes reveal religiousness and irreligious behaviour. How'll you define being religious and being irreligious? Will you consider that Muslim architect's behaviour religious? Well, from a narrow perspective of religio-scriptural understanding, that Muslim architect was absolutely right as his Islam abhors even to look at idols! He's a Saccha Musalman, a Momin at that. Right! And my Hindu friends are also right from their perspective not to visit a Muslim's place to have Sheer-Khurma as it might desecrate their pristine Sanatan Hinduism as nowadays, exclusivity is the key to religiosity. So much so that they refused to wish me back when an apatheist like me wished them Eid Mubarak. All these individuals are true, rather faithful, from their religious perspective but I'm afraid they fail as humans because their strict, nay fossilized, religiosity hurts someone. There's a beautiful couplet in Persian, " Gar Sad Hazaar Laal-O-Guhar Mee Dahi Cha Sood/Dilra Shikastah Na Ke Gauhar Shikastah " (You may try to give thousands of pearls and rubies to expiate your (hurtful) behaviour/But remember, you broke the heart, didn't just break a gem; in other words, a broken heart cannot be mended by any means). ' True religiosity is universal empathy', wrote Jalaluddin Rumi Balkhi, who welcomed even the idol-worshippers, Aatish-Parast (fire-worshippers, Zoroastrians), atheists, believers and people of all hues as the offspring of the Almighty. This is lofty religiosity. No condescension, but let me tell you very candidly that most of the religious believers, not just Muslims, haven't understood the broader meaning of being religious. They just divide people into two clear divisions: Religious and non-religious or religion-haters. Alas, so limited is their vision. Khorasan-born Jami wrote in Dari (Afghan variant of Persian): Shee Az' Mastaz Nee Kafir (No one is a Kafir or infidel for me). This is all-encompassing religiosity that doesn't pontificate. I remember, many moons ago in Tehran, I was a part of a group that mainly discussed religious issues. All were Shia Muslims (often far more gentle and less quarrelsome than the Sunnis; I'm being outspoken). My entry was never frowned upon. One day, someone called me a Kafir. Gobsmacked, I quoted Iqbal's famous mystic couplet in Urdu and simultaneously translated that into Persian: Kaafir Ki Ye Pahchaan Ke Aafaaq Mein Gum Hai/Momin Ki Ye Pahchaan Ke Gum Uss Mein Hai Aafaaq (An infidel is lost in the quotidian vortex of the world/But the mundaneness of this world is itself lost in the existence of a Momin). Going by this exalted definition of a Kafir, even a Muslim could be an infidel, if he's lost in an everyday whirlpool of life's frivolous pursuits. But we, esp. all Muslims, erroneously think that anyone other than a Muslim is an infidel. Such benighted thinking! I feel pity. The moment my Shia Muslim friends heard the explanation to Iqbal's Urdu couplet, they all apologized in unison and the person who called me an infidel, started crying. This is religiosity. All those Muslim friends understood that they had no right to call me an infidel despite having no religion and no faith in Allah or any esoteric power, fabricated by humans. But here in India, when one 'gentleman' called me names and gallingly asked the editor, " Does he pay this boor to write on his website," no other Muslim protested, let alone apologized, or showed solidarity with me. Only one non-Muslim individual felt bad and snubbed that 'gentleman', who used outright unacceptable language for me, that too on a common platform. This is rank irreligiosity on the part of that unrefined Muslim man and also the mild irreligiosity in the collective behaviour of other learned Muslim readers and contributors who chose to stay silent and look askance. But it was my religiosity in the words of Fariduddin Attar, ' Challenge the ideas, not the individuals.' I didn't challenge the uncouth 'gentleman' and kept mum. So, tell me, who's more religious, yours truly or that 'devout' Muslim who resorted to abusive language? Great Persian mystic Khaqani says, ' Wherever you see injustice, raise your voice against that. This is your religiosity. This is your spirituality.' But did any Momin come forward and protest, stating that abusing someone is irreligious and un-Islamic behaviour? Yet, to all these learned but blinkered Muslims, I'm a Kafir and a religion-basher. So, no need to defend such an irreligious person! Remember the words of Yaas Yagana Changezi, who could have been a far greater poet had he not wasted his time and energy in lambasting Ghalib all the time: Kah Na Kabhi Uss Shakhs Ko Munkir-E-Zaat/ Paa Liya Jisne Khud Mein Khuda Ka Saath (Never call that person an atheist, who has found the god within). Not just Muslims, but all humans need to have a Universal Vision and an All-Embracing outlook to go beyond being living and moving badges of this faith and that faith. Insaniyat Sab Se Bada Mazhab Hai. Humanity is the greatest faith. All man-made bogus faiths are subservient to it. Aadmi Pahle Insaan Ban Jaaye Ghaneemat Hai (It's enough to become a human in the first place). To quote Ghalib, " Bas Ke Dushvaar Hai Har Kaam Ka Aasaan Hona/Aadmi Ko Bhi Mayassar Nahin Insaan Hona. " So very true. By the way, the Arabic word, Insaan is the desired form of a human approved of by god almighty because Insaan has an in-built UNS (Love in Arabic). So, its literal meaning is: One who loves all. That's your religion. To love all. Don't remain an Aadmi (Dam: to breathe) who merely survives, breathes and dies unlamented and uncared for. ---- An occasional 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: https://newageislam.com/islamic-society/religious-irreligious-sufi-perspective/d/127017 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