Monday, June 29, 2020

What Can the Muslim World Learn from the Ibadis?

By Arshad Alam, New Age Islam
29 June 2020
Ibadis are a Muslim group who constitute the majority in Oman and are present in parts of East Africa, Libya and Algeria. These Muslims are distinct from Sunnis and Shias, incorporating elements of both and should be considered as a separate Mazhab (sect or school of thought). They draw their inspiration from the earliest political movement in Islam, the Khawarij.

Ibadis predominate in Oman, which has remained apart from the Islamic infighting that disrupts the Middle East

The Khawarij are popularly known as killers of Hazrat Ali and hence have earned considerable infamy, at times even being characterised as terrorists. The Khawarij argued that since Hazrat Ali had agreed for an arbitration with Hazrat Muawiya at the battle of Siffin, he lost the moral capital of being a true Muslim. And therefore, he could no longer lead the community and hence had to be killed. The modern Ibadis trace their ideological lineage from the Khawarij but reject their more extreme interpretation. It is better to understand them as the ideological descendants of moderate Khawarij.
However, unlike the Khawarij, they do not believe that all Muslims who have committed a grave sin are kafir or Mushrik, and thus deserving of capital punishment. Rather, the Ibadis believe that such people are ‘ungrateful’ for the blessings that God has bestowed on them. Thus even though they believe that committing a sin is wrong, those sinning Muslims remain within the fold of Islam, rather than being condemned to death. Apostasy is therefore not punishable by death in Oman as it is in many other Muslim countries.
The Ibadis adopt the theological position of the Mutazila in matters of Tawhid. They reject all anthropomorphic description of God and deny the possibility of seeing him in this life or the hereafter. Also, unlike the Sunnis, they do not respect caliphs like Hazrat Usman and Hazrat Ali, who they think will not be rescued from Allah’s wrath.
The concept of a ‘just’ Imam is very important for the Ibadis and that’s why Hazrat Ali and the later reign of Hazrat Usman is criticized as they do not hold up to the ideals of imamate. This belief in Imams bring them closer to the Shias but their rejection of free will and acceptance of the concept of predestination make them close to the Sunnis.
Ibadis therefore do have similarities with both Shia and Sunni Islam but they also diverge from them in important ways, making them a distinct interpretative community within Islam.
Most importantly, their distinctiveness comes from their belief that the Quran was created at some point in time and thus unlike the Sunnis, they do not see the sacred text as co-existent with God Himself. This belief in the created-ness of the Quran perhaps plays the most crucial role in their attitude of openness and tolerance towards others groups.
They argue that the Quran spoke to people in a certain context and that for people who are not in the same context, the Quran has to be interpreted to suit their specific contexts. This flexibility has given Ibadi scholars the freedom to reinterpret the sacred text and respond to changing times and circumstances.
Thus today, Muslim judges within Oman are not just required to know the Sharia law but also the secular laws of the country. There was a time in Oman when all schooling was done through mosques. The state slowly changed it all and education became a concern of the state rather than Islam, with the last mosque-school being closed in 1996. In all this, the state has been enabled by ruling of Muftis who have interpreted the Quran to dissociate education and learning from the narrow confines of what is considered as Islamic education. Most teaching within schools today happen through a non-sectarian perspective and students benefit in learning about other faiths.         
This does not mean that Ibadis believe that all interpretations of Islam are equally valid. Rather they are of the firm opinion that only their school of thought is the correct one. However, they do not think those who differ from them, the non-Ibadi Muslims like the Sunnis and the Shias, are liable to punished. The Ibadis practice ‘dissociation’ with those Muslims who are Mushrik, but this does not mean that they have any enmity towards them. They also extend this notion to non-Muslims like the Hindus and Sikhs wherein they see no harm in associating with them on non-religious matters. However, they are of the firm opinion that such association should not be in matters of religion.
Thus, although they have been tolerant of other faiths, this tolerance should not be confused with acceptance of other faiths. Thus, while non-Muslims do have religious freedom, these come with many conditions, some of them not compatible with modern notions of democracy and multiculturalism.        
Their distinct theological position makes them into something like ‘puritan moderates’. So while they remain firmly wedded to their interpretation of original Islam, their understanding of what constitutes shirk or kufr is what makes them tolerant toward other Muslim communities.
Within Oman therefore, we have hardly seen any sectarian intra Muslim violence which we have seen in other Muslim countries. It is not surprising that terrorist groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda have not found the kind of following there which they found in other Muslim contexts. A study by Kings College, London, done in 2015, did not find a single Omani national who had joined the ISIS. Moreover, the Global Terrorism Index of 2016 stated that there was no impact of terrorism within the borders of Oman.
A closer focus on the Ibadis can give Muslims another model to emulate, not so much in matters of inter-religious exchanges but more in terms of much needed intra-Muslim tolerance.
Arshad Alam a columnist with  

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Intellectual Freedom in Islam

By Maulana Wahiduddin Khan for New Age Islam
27 June 2020
Man has been granted total intellectual freedom in Islam. Islam with its message of freedom of expression brought a revolution in human history. Earlier in all periods of human history, the system of absolutism prevailed in the world. Man was denied intellectual freedom and the secret of all human progress lies hidden in intellectual freedom.
According to Islam, the first benefit of this intellectual freedom is that man receives that highest good which is called ‘fear of God’ in the Quran (5: 94). It consists of man’s recognition and realization of God in full freedom and, of one’s own freewill, without any external pressure from God. So long as there is no atmosphere of total freedom, none can experience the indescribable pleasure of spiritual experience which is called fear of God in the Unseen. Hence it is impossible (without freedom) to grant anyone credit for the highest of human actions.
Freedom of expression is the thing which saves one from hypocrisy. The human mind necessarily thinks and forms opinions. In such a situation, if curbs are placed on freedom of expression, people’s thinking cannot be stopped. The only thing that will take place is that their thinking will not come to their lips and pens. Any institution, nation, state which places curbs on freedom of expression will be ultimately brimming with hypocrites. In such an atmosphere sincere people can never be produced.
In this way intellectual freedom is related directly to creativity. A society having intellectual freedom breeds creative people whereas a society which curbs intellectual freedom will necessarily stagnate and as a result, the produce of creative mind and its growth and development will forever be stopped.
The proper stand in the matter of disagreement and criticism is that people shed off their unnecessary sensitivity in the matter of discussion instead of attempting to put a stop to the act of criticism and disagreement itself. This is the demand of Islam as well as the demand of nature.
The attribute of true believers described in the Hadith is: ‘Whenever a truth is presented to them, they accept it.’ (Musnad Ahmad, Hadith No. 24379) A believer is one who has full capacity of accepting truth. Whenever a truth is brought before him, no personal complex comes in the way of his accepting it.
The highest point of this attribute is that man is always prepared, rather he eagerly waits for someone to point out to him any shortcoming of his, so that he may immediately accept and correct it. It is this attribute of a believer which has been expressed by Umar Faruq in these words: ‘May God bless the man who sends me the gift of my own shortcoming’. (Sunan al Darimi, Hadith No. 649)
Acceptance of the truth is the greatest act of worship. It is an act for which man must make the greatest of sacrifice. To lose one’s sense of greatness for the sake of truth is an occasion when man earns his entry into Heaven by paying its price.
When does one receive the blessing of having performed this great form of worship? This opportunity comes to man only when there is full freedom of speech.
Freedom of speech provides that conducive atmosphere in which great virtues flourish. It is in such an atmosphere that those situations are created when a person is given the credit of the pronouncement of truth and another rewarded for the acceptance of the truth.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Curse of Covid-19 And Its Management in Unanipathy

By Dr. Hakeem Shamsul Afaq for New Age Islam
25 June 2020
What is Corona Disease?
              Corona disease is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered Corona Virus.
Most people infected with this virus experience mild to moderate Respiratory trouble/illness with symptoms of sneezing, cold, catarrh, coryza and mild coughing and recover without requiring special treatment. Older people, above 60 and children below 10 and those underlying medical problems like c.v. disease Nephrotic syndrome, Diabetes, Chronic Respiratory disease and cancer are more prone to develop this disease.
              It spreads primarily through droplet infection of saliva, nasal discharge, sneezing and coughing.
It is not a curse of God almighty, rather it is a warning to human being. It is a viral disease. It spread in 2019, so it is known as Covid – 19 (Corona Viral Disease 19). Mostly it occurs during the change of season.
Prone to this disease: -
1)       General body weakness
2)       Older people and children (Below 10, above 60)
3)       Unhygienic Condition
4)       Over crowding
5)       Air pollution
6)       Weak Body immunity
These people are very much susceptible to this disease.
Mode/Way of Transmission
1)       Coughing
2)       Sneezing
3)       Handshake
4)       Frequent touching of eye and nose
5)       Immune system syndrome
Stages: -
There are 3 to 4 stages of spreading this disease
Stage-1: - (Stage of Air Pollution) or primary initial stage
Signs and Symptoms: -
1)       Sneezing
2)       Dry Cough
3)       Weakness
4)       Mild Sore Throat
1)       Avoid group crowding
2)       Avoid social contact/Use mask to cover
3)       Use tissue paper, Handkerchief
4)       Stay Home
5)       Complete rest
Stage-2: - (Stage of general Catarrh and Coryza)
Signs and Symptoms: -
1)       Phlegmatic Cough
2)       Acute Sneeze
3)       Running Nose
4)       Sore Throat
Prevention: - Same as stage 1
Stage-3: - (Stage of Flu/Influenza)
Signs and Symptoms
1)       Phlegmatic Cough
2)       Sneezing
3)       Nasal discharge
4)       Body ache
5)       General weakness
6)       Mild fever (Thermal Screening)
7)       Uneasiness and sore throat
8)       Change of taste buds and smell power. (Ozostomia)
Prevention: - same as Stage 1
Stage 4: - (Stage of Corona)
Signs and Symptoms: -
1)       Dry Cough
2)       Sneezing
3)       Running nose
4)       Body and joint pain
5)       High fever (Hyper pyrexia)
6)       Change of taste buds in some cases
7)       Dyspnoea (Breathing Problems)
8)       Pneumonatic condition
9)       Palmonary Thrombosis
Prevention/Precautions: -
Same as above
1)       To prevent the spread of disease, separating people who are ill with symptoms of Covid-19 is essential (Isolation).
2)       Those who are positive (+ ve). They should be referred to Quarantine centres or Hospitals for further observation care and treatment.
3)       Observe social distancing/Physical distancing.
4)       Don’t panic
5)       Frequent use of sanitizers
6)       Cover your face with mask.
7)       Frequent washing of hands and cloth with soap and alum at least 30-40 seconds.
8)       Don’t shake hand, use mask continuously.
9)       Frequently steam inhalation.
10)     Drink lukewarm water at Bed time.
11)     Gargle Alum and salt water twice a day.
You may also use water, Suhaga Biryan (Borax-Parching), Mazoo (gall-quereus infectoria) and Haldi (Zardehob- (turmeric-Curewma Longa) as gargle.
Treatments: -
Stage 1: -
1)       Gargle Saline Water and Alum.
2)       Laooq Sapistan Khiyar shambary NFUM-1 (Easily available at Poly Pharmaceutical) 17sp (BD). Twice daily with lukewarm water after gargle.
Stage2: -
1)       Habb-e-Bukhar N.F.U.M. (A Poly Pharmaceutical)
-2 tab twice daily (BD)
-Lukewarm water and Sharbat-e-Unnab 17 sp (BD). Mix it with Lukewarm water (A Poly Pharmaceutical drug).
2)       Gargle as directed
3)       Daily use of lukewarm water at Bed Time.
4)       Use above mentioned Medicines as usual.
Stage-3: - Acute condition/Pnuematic condition
1)       Use Qairooti Arad KArsana MIX with Roghan Sarson (Mustard Oil) over chest as a local application. (Luke warm) (A Poly Pharmaceutical NFUM)
2)       Steam inhalation frequently as directed.
Stage-4: - Corona Stage/Acute Pnuematic/Dysponea and Pulmonary Thrombosis.
1)       Use above mentioned drugs as directed.
2)       Use desi Kafoor (camphor Crystal-Q. S), (Cinna Momum Camphora)
3)       Rogan Qaranful S. (Clove Oil-Syzygian aromaticum oil)
4)       Neelgiri oil Q.S., Roghan Kalonji Q.S., Mix it well, use 2-5 drops in boiled water for inhalation. Use it as Steam inhalation 3-4 time, 5 to 10 minutes.
5)       Quarantine
6)       Hospitalization if needed.
7)       Drink more water/Liquid frequently.
Note: Drink water, lemon water and other beverages.
Dr. Hakeem Shamsul Afaq, F.M.B.S,  is Former, Sr Consultant Unani Medicine at Dr R.M.L Hospital, New Delhi – 110001

Monday, June 22, 2020

Is It Permissible to Use Alcohol in The Preparation of Medicines and Perfume?

By Dr. Mohammad Najeeb Qasmi Sambhali for New Age Islam
17 June 2020
Alcohol is a chemical composition (formula) that includes hydroxyl (OH) group, which is intoxicating. In the light of the verses from the Holy Quran and sayings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), there is a consensus within the Muslim community that drinking of alcohol (referred to as Khumr in Arabic and wine in English) is forbidden, regardless of the quantity of consumption. Earlier, alcohol was made by fermentation of various items, for instance, grapes. That alcohol is called as “local or vernacular alcohol”. At present, alcohol is prepared by utilizing modern technology and is called as “English wine”.
However, as per the dictates of Shariah, both the varieties come under the same clause; anything that causes intoxication, its consumption, business transactions/deals related to it, buying shares of a company associated with it, working for/with a company in any capacity that produces alcohol, all such activities are strictly forbidden.
There are few individuals who get so habitual of drinking alcohol that consumption in little quantities does not intoxicate them at all. For those individuals, the learned scholars of the Muslim community have categorically explained that in case a person drinks something for the first time and gets intoxicated, it will fall under the category of alcohol.
There may be few benefits associated with drinking alcohol but from a holistic point of view, its injurious side is way more significant. This is testified by our experience of watching the terrible condition of those who get addicted to alcohol. The point is that He, who has created human, jinn and all the universe, has forbidden the entire human race from drinking alcohol. What it implies is that drinking of alcohol is disobedience of Allah, one of the seven major sins that ruin the human being.
In several modern medicines, alcohol is mixed or used in preparation and formulation as a stabiliser or preservative, or for the cure of some disease. For instance, there is alcohol in most of the medicines prescribed for asthma or breathing problems. In the preparation of most of the homeopathic medicines too alcohol is used. This alcohol is a little different from the one used for drinking purposes. Similarly, in the preparation of perfumes too alcohol is used. Now the question that arises before us is that, is it permissible to use medicines and perfumes in which alcohol is used.
The learned scholars of our community have remarked that in case it is possible to avoid the medicines that contain alcohol, which is to say that there are alternatives for them in the market, then they should not be used. If an alternative is not available, then such medicines can be used because the alcohol used in medicine is in meagre quantity and is also different from the drinking alcohol, as per the information provided by the experts. So, in the case of medicine, the objective is not to drink alcohol.
Similarly, we can also use all those alcohol-based medicines that are used for cleaning the body; the highly volatile spirit that is used before and after an injection shot or extracting of blood through in injection. The same ruling applies to sanitizer.
In the case of most of the homeopathic medicines, alcohol is used for their stability as well as preservation. However, the alcohol used for that purpose is in very small amount. Homeopathic medicine is all about just few drops that are dropped on small pills made of sugar, water and milk. In those few drops, the quantity of alcohol is very little and is much lighter as compared to the drinking alcohol. This is the reason why the learned scholars of our community have said that homeopathic medicines can be used.
Well, as far as the matter of perfumes is concerned, one can easily avoid using them. Therefore, it is only better for us to not use perfumes that have alcohol in them because non-alcoholic perfumes (’Itr) can easily be found everywhere. However, the learned scholars of our community have argued that the alcohol used in perfumes [made of Hydroxyl (-OH)] has not been specifically prohibited in either the Holy Quran or in the sayings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Its prohibition is based on the learned scholars’ independent reasoning (Ijtihad). Moreover, the usage of these perfumes has become quite common these days.
Therefore, it is maintained that usage of perfumes containing alcohol is not forbidden but, for the sake of our well-being, we should avoid using them.

Ability to Make A Plus from A Minus Is the Hallmark of Human Civilisation

By Maulana Wahiduddin Khan
June 22, 2020
The World Health Organization says, suicide has become the second most common cause of death among young people worldwide. In order to create awareness on mental health and tackle the issue of suicide, WHO had developed a Mental Health Action Plan 2013-20, which was adopted by the 66th World Health Assembly.

Bollywood actor, Sushant Singh Rajput
The recent case of suicide of the 34-year-old Bollywood actor, Sushant Singh Rajput, has once again opened up the debate on declining mental health and growing case of depression amongst youth. Rajput was good in studies; he had chosen to opt out of engineering to become an actor. At a young age he achieved name and fame for his acting skills. Despite the prospects of a good life ahead of him, what drove Rajput to the brink so that he ended his life? This question has been bothering me ever since I heard this news.
Man is born with unlimited potential, yet he finds limited use for it. He harbours an ocean of desires in his heart but all these dreams are never realised. In this case, there is no difference between a poor man and a rich man. Each person finds himself amidst toil and strife. But dwelling on the non-fulfilment of desires or sinking into depression because reality does not match your dreams is not the solution.
We cannot forget that while each of us has our share of challenges in life, we also have an inherent ability to fight back. That resilience is within each one of us, we only have to realise it and get ourselves out of the depths of depression.
But there is a precondition. And that is, to not view stress and failures as the end-game. Thomas Edison had famously said, “I have not failed, I have just found 10,000 ways that won’t work!” Edison gave us two key messages with this – relentless effort in the face of repeated failures and positivity is the only way to success in life.
Some say that one should stop thinking about what is bothering him/her. But this approach is not the right one. This is because our mind never really stops thinking. When instead of wading through the problem and finding ourselves an opportunity, we choose to simply create an illusion to stop thinking about the problem, it impedes our ability to fight back. This ability is the essence of human spirit of resilience! But when we dwell on problems and get entrapped in the sense of failure, we end up obstructing the flow of positive ideas thereby creating a double jeopardy for ourselves.
The ability to make a plus from a minus is the hallmark of human civilisation. This is what has kept progress going despite all sorts of failures that have been witnessed throughout history. In this process, each life contributes and therefore each life counts! It is incumbent upon all of us to not only foster our own positive thought process but also extend support to all those around us who may be in need of support and guidance.
Instead of getting disheartened with failures, the remedy lies in feeding the opportunities and starving despair! The health of this equation determines the health of our mind, which in turn determines the success of our endeavours and renders meaning to our lives.
Original Headline: What drives us to the point of no return?