The misinformation and communal propaganda spread by India's 'Godi Media' over the 26 January Tractor March and setting up of Nishan Sahib on the Red Fort seems to have influenced the biased Pakistani columnists.
On 30 January, 2021, three columnists of Pakistan wrote columns on the Farmers' protests and Republic Day Tractor Parade in the Urdu daily Nawa-e-Waqt but made misleading claims and gave wrong information to the readers of Pakistan on the movement and the Red Fort incident. Their write up was laced with their usual anti-India blubbering. They gobbled up whatever propaganda and misinformation was spread by India's 'Godi Media' and Social media which even Indians don't rely on.
A senior columnist Asar Chouhan wrote:
For the last few months, a movement of Sikhs is going on in the name of farmers' movement. But on 26 January, on the occasion of India's Republic Day, Sikh farmers (in fact), the flag bearers of Independent Khalistan removed the Indian flag from the Red Fort and hoisted Khalistani flag. It's a great victory for them". The title of Mr Chauhan's write up is "Khalistan of the Sikhs: a theat to Pakistan too."
Mr Asar seems to have been misled by India's Godi media that spread the wrong information that the Tricolour was removed by the Khalistanis and the flag of Khalistan was hoisted in its place. He did not bother to verify the news because he was only looking for the 'truth he needed". The fact is that some Sikhs hoisted the Nishan Sahib not the Khalistani flag below the Tricolour. The Indian flag was not removed. He also writes that the farmers' movement is actually the movement of Sikhs. Nothing more can be farthest from the truth. Though the movement was started from Punjab, gradually the farmers of other states and other communities joined the movement. Mr Chauhan is unware of the fact that Hindu and Muslim farmers from Bihar, UP, Bihar, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Maharashtra and Communist trade unions from West Bengal have also joined the farmers' movement. He describes Khalistanis a threat to Pakistan too but forgets the fact that it was Pakistan that fuelled and aided the Khalistan movement in the 80s.
Another learned columnist Wajihuddin Khan writes that 'farmer leaders had announced that on 26 January they would march towards the Red Fort with their tractors and they did so'. The fact is that the farmers never planned to go to the Red Fort. They planned to hold a tractor rally through the Ring Road. Only some unruly and confused mob deviated from the decided route.
Another learned woman columnist Mosarrat Qaiyyum wrote:
"By hoisting the Khalistani flag on the Red Fort, the Sikhs have made it clear that the Modi government is going and the Sikhs are coming."
She also writes that for the last few years, the Sikh soldiers have been abandoning the Indian army and joining the Khalistan movement and their number is increasing by the day. She also writes that 11000 to 13000 Sikh soldiers have already joined Khalistan movement. She has not given the source of the information and so her claim cannot be verified. On the contrary, the association of retired Indian soldiers have come forward in support of the farmers' movement and this is no secret.
These ill-informed journalists and columnists of Pakistan are misleading the Pakistani readers. Urdu newspapers of Pakistan should not publish such write ups as their own credibility is marred by such biased and false propaganda material.
God’s Word, Man’s Interpretations: A Critical Study of the 21st Century English Translations of the Quran
Author: Abdur Raheem Kidwai
Publisher: Viva Books Private Limited, New Delhi
Year of Publication: 2018
Pages: 178 Price: Rs 695
Quran as the Holy book of God was revealed for the benefit of whole humankind. Its message is universal and immortal. It was revealed in Arabic language and its first recipients were the Arabs. Later with the spread of Islam, Quran being the primary text from which the principles of Islam are derived was translated in different languages.
Arabs today do not comprise as the majority among Muslims because the population of non Arab Muslims exceeds them. Non Arabs certainly cannot understand Arabic as it is not their mother tongue, native or indigenous language. Further majority of the Muslims do not have the time, money and resources to understand Arabic as a secondary language, hence translations of the Holy Quran become inevitable.
Due to the spread of colonialism and evolution of Orientalism English translations of Quran were carried out by a number of non Muslim scholars who had some understanding, competence and expertise of the Arabic language. These translations are in circulation and many have run for several editions. These English translations had not been critically analyzed and studied judiciously so that their merits and flaws could be brought to the fore.
Abdur Raheem Kidwai, an academic, writer and scholar whose scholarship on Quran is marvellous in his new work has analysed thirty two translations of the Quran published in English between the years 2000-2017. The translations of Holy Quran are being published at a very fast pace unlike the past that depicts the interest in the revealed book, particularly the English speaking and writing class. But translators have the power to mislead gullible readers particularly if it is conducted by Orientalists or Qadiyanis. Also some interpretations amount to rendering Quran as a dated work terming its message as impractical and cumbersome baggage (P-12).
This has created issues for the readers leading to obstacles in understanding the universal message of Islam. Although the discipline of translation is now dominated by Muslims that indeed is a great achievement, still issue like plagiarism galore many translations. Further sectarianism and justifying a certain ideological point of view while translating and interpreting the Quran tries to undermine the real message of the Holy book. Although this shortcoming can be overcome by comparative translations that are being undertaken which help retain the spirit of the Quran.
Commenting about various translations of Quran Kidwai observes that Thomas Cleary’s translation The Quran: A New Translation depicts the affinity between Quran and Buddhist religious tradition. M A S Abdel Haleem’s translation is quite readable with simple English.
The issue of plagiarism is found among many translations and the manner in which Kidwai points it out depicts his mastery over the subject and his wide range of reading. He is aghast at such an atrocity done with the word of God like Syed Vickar Ahamed indulges in this unethical practice and does not even bother to acknowledge the contribution of his predecessors whose work he quotes without naming them. Similarly Alan Jones translation is spiteful and Islamophobic as he claims that Quran is just a copy of Jewish and Biblical scriptures.
Kidwai comments about the merits and flaws of Maulana Wahiduddin Khan’s translation of the Quran that is now widely distributed. Many like Assad Nimer Busool who despite not belonging to the clergy or scholarly class has translated the Holy Quran though it has its own shortcomings.
A trend that has been started by a reverted Muslim Dr Maurice Bucaille in his book The Bible, the Quran and Science has been termed as Bucailleism, who decide the divinity of the religious books based on the scientific facts. This is not a healthy trend as science certainly believes in paradigm shifts and further the subject matter of the divine books is not science, hence this trend needs to be criticized. Kidwai condemns such an exercise, “While taking a cue from its spirit of inquisitiveness and enquiry, early Muslims advanced a great deal the frontiers of knowledge, including those of the natural sciences and medicine. However, reading current scientific concepts in the Quranic text is not a desirable exercise.” P-79
The translation of Professor Tahir Ul Qadri too has its own problems as his exegesis is repeating from the predecessors like Peachy Daoud William (P-85), some translations of the Quran have been out rightly rejected like Kader Abdolah’s The Quran: A Journey. On the other hand some like Safi Kaskas and David Hungerford’s The Quran with references to the Bible, has been described as a noble, good and scholarly accomplishment.
Prof. Kidwai through this work has depicted the merits and shortcomings of different English translations published in last more than one decade. It is a serious study as Prof Kidwai also depicts the background of the translator that is indeed essential to understand his/her motives of translating the Holy book. Translation indeed is a cumbersome activity and when it comes to the Holy Quran, the translators need to be extra cautious. The flaws do creep in despite the caution as human efforts are bound to have errors. Still the attempts of these translators who intend to help people understand the real message of Islam need to be applauded. Others who undertake the translation project with malicious intentions do get exposed as this work of Prof. Kidwai proves.
This work certainly is an important addition to the Quranic studies and it is an essential read for anyone who needs to select a best translation of Quran for understanding the Divine words and paving way for his salvation. This work of Prof Kidwai is a continuum of his pioneering efforts to understand the word of God. The book is an essential read for anyone genuinely interested in the Quranic studies. Prof. Kidwai needs to be congratulated for this important work related to the understanding and analysis of English translations of the Holy Quran.
Mushtaq Ul Haq Ahmad Sikander is Writer-Activist based in Srinagar, Kashmir
The Jihadist narrative dividing the world into Darul Harb and Darul Islam is completely baseless and unsupported by the Quran, Sunnah, and traditional interpretations of Islam. Therefore, Islamophobes have no right to claim the lie that the Jihadist narratives are based on traditional interpretations of Islam. This write-up will present some traditional proofs to refute the Islamophobic claim and in a bid to reform the Jihadist mentality which repeatedly encourages Muslims to migrate from their own country and join the Jihadist ranks.
Both Darul Islam and Darul Harb are the jurisprudential terms (Fiqhi Istilahat) which were originally coined by the jurists of the early period of Islam but to deal with national transactions (Mua’amlaat) and relations (Ta’lluqaat) required by the then circumstances of the world. However, the conditions (Sharai’t) laid down by those jurists for land to become Darul Islam or Darul Harb revolved around what we simply describe in modern times as ‘basic religious rights’, such as freedom of faith and rituals (‘Ibadat)’. The land which granted such religious rights was declared ‘Darul Islam’, whereas the land which banned the basic requirements of Islam was treated as Darul Harb.
According to the Jihadist ideologues, Darul Islam is a land governed by the Islamic state, that is, the land where Islam should be the state religion and the laws of that land or country must be enforced in accordance with Islam, and Darul Harb is a land not governed by the Islamic state. The Jihadist narrative as such vehemently conflicts with the traditional version of Darul Islam and Darul Harb wherein the former term was applied to the land which granted basic religious rights, no matter whether or not the state religion of that land was Islam, and the latter term to the land which banned the basic religious rights such as freedom of faith and rituals.
Despite this clear definition, the Jihadist ideologues hold that their understanding of this binary division of the world is based on the four jurisprudential schools, their jurists, and authorities in law. For example, Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi, a Wahhabi-Jihadist cleric, “the most influential Jihadi Theorist” as per the Combating Terrorism Centre of the United States Military Academy (USMA), and best known as the spiritual mentor of the founding father of ISIS Abu Musab al-Zarqawi (the initial leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq) writes,
“And we hold the view of the jurists regarding the abode [Dar] wherein if the laws of Kufr were uppermost and the dominance therein was for the Kuffar [‘unbelievers’] and their legislations then it is Dar al-Kufr. This term is applied to the abode if the rulings of Kufr are uppermost, even if the majority of its people are Muslims, just as the term Dar Al-Islam is applied upon the abode in which the laws of Islam are uppermost, even if the majority of its inhabitants are Kuffar as long as they are submitting to the rule of Islam [Dhimmah]” [Al-Maqdisi, This is Our Aqeedah pp.25)
Al-Maqdisi believes that no state currently meets the criteria for Darul Islam. He asserts that the implementation of Sharia as state law is a precondition for Darul Islam (see ‘This is our Aqeedah’). This way his assertion inspires the jihadist supporters worldwide to declare war on the leaders of the Muslim majority countries without forgiving the civilians. As a result, the entire world has become a site for potential conflict.
We have mentioned above that the paradigm of Darul Islam and Darul Harb developed throughout Islamic history under political and jurisprudential definitions, though the binary division of the world as such is not mentioned directly in the Quran and Ahadith. These terms were devised by the early Muslim jurists, almost a century after the Prophet (peace be upon him) to suggest legal rulings, required by the challenges of the time.
However, as a result of the political fragmentation of the Muslim world, historical changes, and establishment of the new world order, the concept of Darul Harb has been completely affected and has almost no significance today among mainstream Muslims. Many contemporary Muslim jurists across the world regard the democratic countries as part of the Darul Islam or Darul Amn, arguing that Muslims therein can freely practice and proselytize their faith and creeds. They quote all of the four schools of Islamic jurisprudence, Hanafi, Shafei, Maliki, and Hanbali to support their argument.
Below are some quotations that are taken from classical and traditional corpus of Islamic jurisprudence, which reject the Jihadist definition of the Darul Islam and Darul Harb, and suggest that the present states of the world cannot be declared Darul Harb.
In accordance with the traditional and classical scholarship, the countries that provide with the right to practice ritual prayers [Salah/prayer], the annual fast of Ramazan [Roza/Siyam], the building of mosques, the call to prayer [Azan], and the right to exhibit the wearing of Islamic dress and the performance of Muslim marriage cannot be declared ‘Darul Harb’. These countries, according to some contemporary jurists, are Darul Aman [the abode of peace], and to some, are Darul Islam [the abode where Islam is freely practiced].
For example, Abul Hasan al-Mawardi, the Iraqi judge and scholar of Muslim polity and law says,
The public acts of worship of Islam such as group prayers in mosques and calls for prayers are the criteria by which the Prophet, peace be upon him, differentiated between the Darul Islam [the Land of belief] and the Darul Harb [the Land of Disbelief].
Imam Nawawi, a popular classical Syrian scholar supports al-Mawardi’s definition of Darul Islam and writes in his great legal work ‘Rawda al-Talibin’,
“If a Muslim is able to declare his Islam openly and living therein (non-Muslim majority countries), it is better for him to do so, because this fulfils the criteria for a country to be Darul Islam”
In his book on Shafi’ii jurisprudence, ‘Al-Hawi al-Kabir, Imam Mawardi further says,
“Where a Muslim is capable of protecting and isolating himself, even if he is unable to proselytize and engage in combat, in such a case it would be compulsory for him to remain in this place and not emigrate. For such a place, by the fact that he is able to isolate himself, has fulfilled the criteria of Darul Islam”
The corpus of Hanafis, Shafiis, Malikis and Hanbalis obviously suggests that the open practice of Islamic acts such as ritual prayers, annual fast, call to prayers [azan], etc. are sufficient for the land to be considered Darul Islam even if it is a non-Muslim majority country. For example, the Shafi position is based on a Sunna (as narrated in a hadith) that fighting or Jihad should not take place in a region where the call to prayer (azan) is heard, as the free practice of Islam indicates that the land, in general, was not hostile to Muslims and Islam. Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim report a hadith in this regard,
“Whenever Allah’s Apostle attacked some people, he would never attack them till it was dawn. If he heard the Azan [the call to prayer], he would delay the fight, and if he did not hear the Azan, he would attack them immediately after dawn” (Sahih Bukhari)
Imam Nawawi interprets this hadith,
This hadith is evidence that verily the call to prayer [azan] forbids invading a people of that area and this is an evidence of their Islam.
Besides we have also checked the opinions of the influential Indian jurists and scholars who are followed as pioneers by Indian Muslims including Sunni-Sufis or Barelvis, Deobandis, Ahl-e-Hadithis and Salafis. Without going through their opinions in detail, it is better and time-saving to see the conclusions of their detailed discussions respectively as follows;
In 1881, a person namely Mirza Ali Baig Badayuni sent a questionnaire consisting of three questions to Imam Ahmad Raza Barelvi, the first of which was: Is India Dar-ul-Harb or Dar-ul-Islam?
In response to this questionnaire, Imam Ahmad Raza wrote a pamphlet namely "E’laamul A’alam Bianna Hindustan Dar-ul-Islam" which was first published by Hasani Press Bareilly in form of treatise in 1927 and later included in “Fatawa Razviyya”, a collection of his Fatawa.
The fatwa begins with the following words:
“India is Dar-ul-Islam, not Dar-ul-Harb at all. This is based on the jurisprudential school (Mazhab) of our great Imam Abu Hanifa (may Allah bless him and grant him peace)” (Fatawa Razviyya, vol.14)
Maulana Amjad Ali Azmi, a very trustworthy and close spiritual caliph (Sufi Khalifa) of Imam Ahmad Raza also issued a similar fatwa in response to a question posed in a later period as follows;
“India is Darul Islam. It is a grave mistake to call it Dar-ul-Harb” (Fatawa Amjadiyya, Vol. 3, published and printed by Dairatul Ma’arif al-Amjadiyya, Ghosi, Maunathbhanjan, UP)
According to Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi, a pioneer among Deobandi School of Thought, India is not Dar-ul-Harb but Dar-ul-Islam. He writes;
“Generally, the meaning of Dar-ul-Harb is mistakenly understood that it is the place where war is obligatory; then in this sense, India is not Dar-ul-Harb, because war is not valid under the terms of the treaty” (Ashrafia, Ashrafia Publishing House, Bhoon Police Station, Saharanpur District)
He further writes: “And India is not Darul Harb also according to the Sahibayn (Imam Muhammad and Imam Abu Yusuf, the two great students of Imam Abu Hanifa), because although the rules of polytheism are practiced in it, the rules of Islam are also practiced without fear and danger. That both types of rules and practices freely exist in one land or one country does not make the country ‘Darul Harb’. Similarly, India is not Darul Harb as per the criteria and words of Imam Abu Hanifa” (Tahzeer al-Ikhwan, Maulana Thanwi, printed by Ashraf al-Matabi’, Thaana Bhawan, Saharanpur, UP)
In the biography of the Salafi Ghair-Muqallid cleric and Muhaddith (hadith scholar), Maulana Nazeer Hussain Bihari (d. 1902), the biographer Maulana Fazle Hussain Bihari (d. 1916) writes;
“He (Maulana Nazeer Hussain Bihari) never called India Dar-ul-Harb” (Fazl-e-Hussain, Al-Hayat Baad al-Maut, printed by Al-Kitab International Muradi Road, Batla House, Jamia Nagar, New Delhi)
The founder of Markazi Khilafat Committee (1919), Maulana Abdul Baari Firangi Mahali Lakhnawi (d.1926) writes,
“We declare India Darul Islam” (Maktoob Maulana Abdul Baari Firangi Mahali, printed by Akhbar-e-Mashriq, Gorakhpur)
The reason and condition whereby India was declared Darul Islam by the above-mentioned pioneers and influential clerics of Indian Muslims is that Muslims in India are permitted to learn and profess their faith and practice their religious rituals freely such as prayer (Namaz/Salah), the Call to Prayer (Azaan), Eidain prayers and annual fast etc. In obedience to the early jurists of Islam, these Indian jurists and authorities too did not make the condition of Islam as a State Religion for a country to become Darul Islam. This means that whether or not a country is governed by Islam as a state religion, if the country grants basic religious rights as pointed out above, it is Darul Islam and not Darul Harb. In the present world, the granting of basic religious rights is approximately part of the constitutional rights in all the countries, so there is no way for the Jihadist ideologues to justify their claim and invite Indian Muslims or otherwise to migrate. Besides, Islamophobes too should not claim the lie that he Jihadist narrative is based on the classical or traditional interpretations of Islam.
With Joe Biden assuming office, one major policy change in the Middle East was the lifting of the three and a half years trade and travel blockade on Qatar imposed by GCC countries, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates in June 2017 at the behest of the former US president Donald Trump. Apparently, the reason of the blockade was the alleged financing of the extremist groups ----- Muslim Brotherhood, ISIS, Al Nusrah and Al Qaida ---- by Qatar, the real cause of the blockade was Saudi Arabia's discomfort over Qatar's relations with Iran which is trying to expand its political and economic influence in the Middle East. Iran has been trying to create a Shia Crescent from the Gulf to the Mediterranean by forming alliances with Shia militant groups like the Houthis in Yemen, Hezbollah in Lebanon, Kata'ib Hezbollah in Iraq and Bashar al Assad's army in Syria.
Saudi Arabia's another concern was Qatar's military alliance with Turkey's Erdogan who aspires to establish a Neo-Ottoman empire or caliphate and for that purpose it has started expanding his military and diplomatic presence in the region. Erdogan has established a military base in Western Libya and has signed along with Qatar an agreement with Libya for providing military training and support to Libyan military. It has also established military bases in Idlib province of Syria and Qatar. Turkey has also established its largest military base in Somalia. Erdogan has also suggested a pan-Islamic army which will be commanded by Turkey.
Saudi Arabia, therefore, considers the economic and military ties of Qatar, on the one hand, with its arch enemy Iran and, on the other hand, with its Sunni rival Turkey as a threat to its security and hegemony in the region.
To curb Qatar's ties with Iran and Turkey, Saudi Arabia and other GCC countries, Bahrain, Egypt and UAE had in May 2017 put 13 conditions before Qatar failing which the GCC would impose a trade and travel blockade on Qatar. The GCC had given Qatar 15 days' time. The most important conditions were:
1) Qatar should scale down its relations with Iran
2) Qatar should close down Al Jazeera TV
3) It should close down Turkey's base in Qatar
4) Submit its audits for ten years.
Qatar termed these conditions as a curb to its sovereignty and refused to comply. Instead it filed a lawsuit against Saudi Arabia with WTO and International Aviation Authority.
In fact, the political and diplomatic tussle between Saudi Arabia and Qatar started in 1995 when its Khalifa decided to come out of the shade of Saudi Arabia. It decided to become an independent force in the region instead of remaining a stooge of Saudi Arabia.
This stubbornness of Qatar had compelled Saudi Arabia to withdraw its ambassador to Qatar from 2002 to 2008. The differences between the two countries sharpened during the Syrian Civil War when both the countries scrambled to have a greater control over the ISIS.
Alternate history book page - Neo Ottoman Empire
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The desperation of Saudi Arabia with Qatar is also due to the latter's better relations with both the Sunni and Shia militias. While it funds and supports the Sunni militias like Muslim Brotherbood based in Qatar Hamas, and ISIS, it also funds Shia outfits like Hezbollah. It has also allowed Taliban to open its political office in its land.
These are the reasons Saudi Arabia imposed a blockade on Qatar and expelled it from GCC.
But after Joe Biden's taking over as the US president, Saudi Arabia had to make amends with Qatar as Biden had expressed its unhappiness over Saudi Arabia's human rights violations and its bombardment on civilians of Yemen. Since Biden has hinted at a policy makeover vis a vis Iran, Saudi Arabia would need the diplomatic support of Qatar which has stronger ties with the US to influence Biden's policy on Iran.
Therefore, Saudi Arabia and GCC countries lifted the blockade on Qatar on 5 January 2021 without Qatar fulfilling any of the 13 conditions. Qatar agreed only to rescind its lawsuit against Saudi Arabia filed with WTO and International Aviation Authority.
The lifting of the blockade has only strengthened Qatar's position as Saudi Arabia's rival in the region and a greater regional player.
However, if Joe Biden really wants peace and stability in the region, he will have to create a global concensus to ensure that terrorist organisations do not call the shots in the regional and world politics and the US, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Pakistan, Turkey and Iran do not fund, support and use the terrorist organisations to achieve their political goals.