Friday, May 27, 2022

Hakeem Ajmal Khan's Contributions To The Renaissance Of Unani System Of Medicine

Hakeem Ajmal Khan Was For The Modernisation Of Unani System. Main Points: 1. He established the All India Unani Tibbi Conference in 1906. 2. He united al the Unani practitioners of the country. 3. He founded Tibbiya College. 4. He was one of the founders of Jamia Millia Islamia. 5. He was an educationist. ------ By New Age Islam Staff Writer 27 May 2022 Hakeem Ajmal Khan who was honoured with the title Masihul Mulk (Messiah of the nation) was not only a Unani physician but had many facets. He not only brought about the renaissance of the Unani system of medicine in the country but was also involved in the freedom movement of India and had played an important role in the educational and scientific upliftment of the Muslim community. Hakeem Ajmal Khan was born on 11 February 1868. His grandfather Hakeem Sharif Khan and father Hakeem Mahmood Khan were also Unani physicians. Hakeem Sharif Khan was the court physician of Mughal emperor Shah Alam. Therefore, Ajmal Khan also adopted the family profession and made Unani medicine proud with his research and medical insight. He did research and experiments and later his research and prescriptions were compiled in books titled Bayaz-e-Ajmal and Afadat-e-Maseehul Mulk. His prescriptions and compositions are not only used by the students of Unani medicines but also by the companies manufacturing Unani medicines. Hakeem Ajmal Khan was the first to unite Unani physicians under the umbrella of All India Unani and Ayurvedic Tibbi Conference. In 1910, the British government planned to bring a law making registration for doctors mandatory for practice but wanted to bar Unani and Ayurvedic physicians from registration. This way, the British government wanted to promote allopathic medicines and destroy Unani and Ayurvedic systems of medicine. Hakeem Ajmal Khan sniffed the conspiracy and called a conference of 400 Unani and Ayurvedic physicians. In the conference, Unani physicians shed light on the efficacy and importance of indigenous system of medicine. This made the British government to retract. Hakeem Ajmal Khan was not satisfied with the data base of knowledge of Unani medicine and stressed the need to do new research to bring it at par with modern systems of medicines. He exhorted Unani physicians to make a record of newer diseases and find new herbs for their cure. He also advised Unani practitioners to adopt modern methods of making medicines and instead of preparing Khameera and Majoon, they should prepare medicines in the form of tablets and capsules. To promote the knowledge of Unani medicine, he established Unani Tibbiya College and Hindustani Dawakhana. As a physician, Hakeem Ajmal Khan was very adept in diagnosing and treating diseases and so he charged a high fee for consultation. At the same time, he treated the poor free of charge. He could diagnose the disease by simply looking at the face of the patient and by feeling the pulse. He used to say that feeling the pulse was also a science and doctors with varying insight could diagnose the disease by feeling the pulse. Apart from being a Unani doctor, Hakeem Ajmal Khan was also an educationist and a freedom fighter. He was involved in the Khilafat Movement and came into contact with Mahatma Gandhi. He was made the President of the Congress after the death of Chittaranjan Das. He was also made the President of the Muslim League. This speaks volumes about his political calibre, popularity and wisdom. As an educationist, he had his own ideas about education of the Muslims. As a liberal Muslim, he was not against the modern education but he believed that Muslims should get modern education in their mother language. In one of his addresses to the students of Jamia Millia where he served as its Vice Chancellor he said: "In 1839, when Lord Macaulay advocated making English the medium of education due to which India suffered losses. Its children were taught sciences in an alien language which required a lot of time and effort. But there was a reason. Their objective was not to impart them education. Their main objective was to destroy the Indian culture and civilisation and what better means to do this. Therefore, Lord William Bentinck, openly declared that their objective, was to propagate western language and sciences and so all the money that was to be spent on education should be used to achieve this objective. The funds that were granted for the education of Sanskrit and Arabic were stopped." Hakeem Ajmal Khan's idea of the true education was that it should prepare an individual for the collective communal welfare and progress. Aping the west was not the purpose of education. The Muslims should have a long term objective of education but lamented the fact that Indian Muslims had sacrificed long term objectives for short term benefits. The movement for the development of Unani medicine he started in 1906 continued even after his death in 1926. The All India Unani Tibbi Conference was established in 1952 and the All India Tibbi Congress was established in 1990. Though he was a doctor, unlike other doctors, he was an avid reader of books. He had a deep knowledge of world history, religion and was aware of the philosophy and thoughts of renowned thinkers and philosophers. Thanks to this he had a balanced approach to the society. Unlike other Muslim intellectuals, he was not a blind follower of western thinkers but analysed their thoughts from a rational point of view. He says: “When we study the views of the western philosophers, we find that despite their knowledge and insight they could not see the truth. They considered the group a tool or means for the fulfilment of the objectives of the individual. Therefore, the names of Michevally, Hobbes, Locke and Spencer become the final argument on any issue for those friends whose mind and intellect have been enthralled by the western wisdom so that they are not able to think innovatively and are groping in the darkness of ignorance. And the weakness of the totalitarian system of the Europe, the ever intensifying tussle between capital and labour and all the efforts of the anarchist and nihilist groups to destroy all the totalitarian systems are the result of the same ignorance." From the excerpts quoted above, it becomes clear that Hakeem Ajmal Khan had a keen eye on the history and the philosophy of his time. He had his own ideas on issues facing his community and the country. His contributions to the renaissance of Unani medicine will be remembered with reverence. The setting up of the ministry of Ayush by the government of India is only a realisation of Hakeem Ajmal Khan’s dream. URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Should Science And Religion Be Kept Separate?

By Naseer Ahmed, New Age Islam 27 May 2022 “There is a verse in the Quran which says, We have created every living being out of water. There are the words about Heaven and Earth being united together before We split them apart. The man who believes in the Big Bang will perhaps believe in the Big Bang. I do not. I do not believe that the Big Bang theory will last forever in scientific thinking. It will be absolutely stupid to try to connect the science of today to what is essentially a religious, spiritual experience which is I think a totally different dimension” Dr Abdus Salam, Theoretical Physicist and A Nobel Prize Laureate ------ While the late Nobel laureate Dr Abdus Salam was a devout Muslim and has said on several occasions that the Quran was his inspiration, and listened to the recitation of the Quran by Qari Basit every day, and said that doing so opened up his heart, what did he have to say regarding verses in the Quran to do with the creation of the Universe? This is a verbatim quote of what he said to his other scientist friends who were curious to know more about the verses in the Quran that say that the Universe came about the way proved by science: “There is a verse that says, We have created everything living out of water. There are words about heaven and earth were united together and We spilt them apart. A man who believes in the big bang will perhaps read the Big Bang. I do not. I do not believe that the BB may last forever by our scientific thinking. It would be absolutely stupid to connect the science of today to what is essentially allegorical, religious, spiritual experience which I think is a totally different dimension” ------------------------------------------------------------------ Also Read: Science Is A By-Product Of Islam But … ? ------------------------------------------------------------------ The Diffidence Betrays Insufficiency Of Knowledge And Faith In The Quran I can see many who hold the same opinion rubbing their hands in glee but hold your horses, dear reader. The words in bold we have heard before in the defence of the Bible when attacked for the unscientific verses in it. That problem in my opinion is because of mistranslations since these books have been translated and interpreted several times over. Salam is using the same words in the context of the Quran when no verse of the Quran contradicts facts established by science. There is nothing allegorical about the verses he cites. The word allegorical in the context of the scriptures is an overused and misused one. The word spiritual is also overused to cover up some woolly-headed nonsense which forms part of the explanations by those who did not understand the verses. The Quranic verses did and may contradict beliefs held by the scientists before and now, but never any fact established by science. Nobody has a spiritual experience from verses that contradict facts established by science. The problem with the Muslims is that they parrot the west thinking that what they say about the Bible must be equally true for the Quran also. Did Salam really have misgivings about the correctness and therefore the durability of the Big Bang theory? I doubt it. It is only a rhetorical argument, I think. The diffidence expressed by Dr Salam is common to most educated Muslims. What is the source of such diffidence? The diffidence comes from an imperfect knowledge of the Quran. While the verses on the creation of the Universe are striking in their correspondence with current scientific thinking, Dr Salam may not have understood the verses about the creation in six days and may have assumed that the Quran is speaking of our twenty-four-hour day and not of a cosmic day of an unspecified number of years. Being an honest man, he has to be consistent and not be selective. If he did not find such comfort with some other verses, then it is understandable that he preferred to keep the Quran and Science in different realms. ------------------------------------------------------------------ Also Read: Islam Does Not Inhibit Science: Islamic Culture Has Produced Many First-Rate Scientists Who Were Also Devout In Their Religious Observances ------------------------------------------------------------------ The diffidence may also have been because, before the Big Bang theory was proposed in 1931, what the Quran said, differed from the scientific thinking current up to then. Many of the verses of the Quran were therefore not in sync with current scientific thinking until the scientific thinking caught up with what the Quran said. This to me is as it should be and should not be a cause for diffidence. It is a pity that even devout scientists like Dr Abdus Salam had a poor understanding of the Quran and although he said that he was inspired by it and found it inspiring, chose to keep it in a different realm. The Maulanas have a deep suspicion of science because historically science has proved to be corrosive of faith and would therefore like to keep science as far away as possible. The suspicion and antagonism or at the very least unease between the two therefore continue. The fact is that without science, the Quran is a dull unintelligible book but looked at through the lens of science, it glitters like a diamond. And without religion, we would have remained savages to this day but the Maulanas do not understand this great strength and position of religion in our lives. There is no need for them to feel insecure. Attributes Of the Quran That One Must Bear In Mind The Quran has another distinct attribute which should make us shed such diffidence. The Quran is explicit only about the phenomenon on which scientific thinking is certain to converge. The Quran uses indicative language about things which will remain a matter of speculation or continuous refinements. For example, it uses the word “Dahr” to mean "Time" which means a very long period the beginning and end of which are unknown or a matter of speculation. It does not tell you that the world began 13.5 billion years ago perhaps because there was no way to express such a large figure in the vocabulary of the Arabic language of the seventh century or because this number will remain a matter of speculation getting continuously refined with new discoveries and never converge. In the story of the people of the cave (Al-Kahaf), the Quran does not tell us how many persons were there in the cave but mentions that some believe there were x numbers and others y numbers while some others believe there were z numbers. The reason is two-fold. The correct number has no significance and giving the correct number will not end the controversy about the right number. The Jews who asked the question would have continued to hold onto whatever number they thought was right irrespective of what the Quran had said was the correct number. ------------------------------------------------------------------ Also Read: Science Should Be Separated From Religion: No Point in Proving Changing Scientific Theories from Quran ------------------------------------------------------------------ The Quran does not and I am sure the Jewish and Christian scriptures do not talk about the number of years between the creation of Adam and Noah or the chronology of the various prophets mentioned in the Books. The Jewish and Christian theologians however do mention and the Muslims follow them. I am sure, the theologians have got it wrong from the simple fact that the Quran is silent on the subject. Why is the Quran silent? The reasons can be two-fold in my opinion. The first reason could be that the chronology does not matter and the second reason could be to prevent a needless controversy in the face of incorrect opinions already held by the people which would never get resolved but keep people engaged in wasteful debates and become a cause of misguidance for many. In my opinion, therefore, if the current scientific thinking has converged with what the Quran says on the same subject, then that is the truth as far as that subject is concerned and there is no need for any diffidence. On matters where the Quran is explicit but current scientific thinking is not in sync, then the scientific thinking has some way to go on that subject. On matters where the Quran uses indicative language, scientific thinking will be continuously refined based on new discoveries and evolving theories. Science and Religion Are Bound To Converge On the question of an Intelligent Designer at the back of all creation, there is growing evidence from developments in molecular Biology that indeed the Theory of Evolution fails to explain the life forms coming into existence in their timeframes based on mutations and natural selection. The inescapable conclusion is that there is an intelligent designer at work which the religious call God. Belief in a Supreme Being is not ‘irrational’ as people like Dawkins will have you believe. Its rational necessity and therefore possibility is supported by philosophy and by ontological proofs by Gottfried Leibniz and Kurt Goedel in mathematics. Observation in the context of what science can and, more importantly, cannot tell us also lends credence to the rational claims of religion. At some level, mathematics and physics are also belief systems with their axioms and postulates and the theoretical impossibility of proving every truth within its own system of axioms and postulates. Religion becomes science when we examine with the rigour of science, its truth claims. Atheists deny the existence of God and it is their denial without proof that is irrational and dogmatic. In other matters, they could be anything – rational or irrational. Agnostics, Since They Neither Accept Nor Deny, Could Be Rational. Theists can be dogmatic and irrational if they are blind believers but can be rational if their belief is based on reason. Surely Leibniz, Goedel, Einstein, and Salam were not irrational believers in a Supreme Being. They believed for their own reasons and based on their own conclusions and in their own unique way. As a matter of fact, every great man who was a believer, rejected the theology of his faith and was a unique person in the way he believed. To quote Ibn Sina (Avicenna), “It is not easy and trifling to call me a heretic; no belief in religion is firmer than mine own. I am a unique person in the whole world and if I’m a heretic then there is not a single Musalman anywhere in the world”– It is a logical impossibility that both a rational Atheist and a rational Theist exist together and since a rational theist is possible, an atheist can only be irrational in his atheism. Not irrational for his reasons for being an atheist, but irrational in ignoring the cogent reasons for believing in the Supreme Being. Science and religion are bound to converge and there is no reason for any unease between the two. The more the religious keep away from science, the more is the danger to religion. Science has historically proven to be corrosive to faith because the religious have shunned science and held unscientific views and became objects of ridicule. Suspicion of science betrays a lack of faith in God. Without science, the faith of the believer is weak and defective and without religion, we cannot have true morality. For me, the proof that God exists is that He gave us moral rules through His divinely inspired scriptures which we were incapable of on our own. These rules have civilized us and without them, we would have remained savages and not taken even one step on the path of civilization. What this means is that we wouldn't have had science, art, architecture, cities etc. without God's religion as our foundation. This topic is covered in my following articles: 1. Religion as a Civilizing Influence 2. Science and Religion 3. The Progression from Religious Morality to Secular Laws and the Danger of Regression of Religious Morality into Bestiality ------------------------------------------------------------------ Also Read: A Quranic Vision of Scientific Knowledge ------------------------------------------------------------------ ----- A frequent contributor to, Naseer Ahmed is an Engineering graduate from IIT Kanpur and is an independent IT consultant after having served in both the Public and Private sector in responsible positions for over three decades. He has spent years studying Quran in-depth and made seminal contributions to its interpretation. URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Whither Life on Earth and Beyond? Positing Justice as a Fundamental Principle

By Prof M A Sofi, New Age Islam 27 May 2022 Religious People Are Often Mocked For Belief And Interaction With A Non-Physical Supernatural God Main Points: 1. Its justice which raises the human life from the level of farce. 2. Search for truth – that necessitates rational thinking – predisposes the heart to the virtues of justice, honesty and humility. 3. The idea of absolute truth is no more than a chimera unless it’s sought to be located within a given logical framework. ----- At the outset, I must confess I’m not eminently qualified to broach a theme about which I can’t boast of more than a smattering, a nodding acquaintance as distinct from a deep understanding involving the many facets of what has always been an extremely complex issue. In the lines that follow, an attempt has been made to put forth my thoughts surrounding the idea of justice being posited as pivotal in order to make sense of life as we confront it on a daily basis. As a disclaimer, it’s not intended to invoke scriptures to drive home the importance of the idea of God (Deity, Supreme Divinity) or of the Day of Judgement (Resurrection, Reincarnation as per Christian/Jewish and Hindu traditions, respectively) which constitute fundamental articles of faith across religions and schools of religious thought around the world. Nor is it intended, for the purposes of this essay, to make a case for a ‘Muslim or a Christian God’ being advocated as ‘superior’ to those being followed as such by people owing allegiance to other religions. The idea is to make a humble attempt, without being pretentious, to lend a certain amount of credibility to these notions as fundamental pillars of religious thought on the basis of the idea of justice while making a case for accepting and according it the status of a universal epistemic virtue across castes, creeds, communities and religious persuasions. We begin with the following passage from Francis Su’s recent fascinating piece “Can Mathematics be Spiritual?” “In both mathematics and in most religions, one comes face-to-face with the reality of immortal objects that we cannot see. Religious people are often mocked for belief and interaction with a non-physical supernatural God. And yet, such mockers have all learned to count, to interact and reason with non-physical Platonist conceptions of whole numbers, and even to apply them to what we call (by contrast) “the real world.” Mathematics puts us “in touch with immortality in the form of eternal mathematical laws” as the historian of mathematics D. E. Smith once noted. Additionally, many learned scientists have marvelled at how this interaction can even take place. Einstein himself asked, “How can it be that mathematics, being after all a product of human thought which is independent of experience, is so admirably appropriate to the objects of reality?” In other words, it should surprise us that Platonic mathematical objects interact with the real world so constructively — but we take this marvel for granted.” The above paragraph helps to put into perspective an oft-encountered experience of confronting those who are seen to scoff at the very thought of a non-physical ‘non-existent’ being deified as an all knowing, all powerful supernatural entity called God, even as these same sceptics are found to be perfectly at peace with such non-physical, ethereal entities as numbers, abstract structures like the Monster (group), the random matrices or exotic spheres in mathematics or quarks, quanta and strings in physics. Unlike in the case of mathematics where, for instance, mathematicians are comfortable with the idea – and the proof - that something called the Axiom of Choice and its negation are both consistent with the standard axioms of set theory, at least many of them - and many more non-mathematician scientists - are dismissive of the idea of an omnipotent God being up there and conducting the proceedings in running the universe ‘from behind the scene’ as it were. In the lines that follow, an attempt has been made to propose the idea of justice as an axiom – as one does in mathematics – in order to show why the idea of God or the day of resurrection has to be factored in our discussion to make whatever little sense we can of life and the world around ourselves. Justice as a Vital Component of the Belief System The fine balance and the sense of proportion that pervades the natural phenomena playing themselves out in life and elsewhere show themselves up essentially as different manifestations of the idea of justice without which such a delicate balance of competing forces in nature cannot be imagined. It should help to understand how the idea of the role of justice in life and human relations harks back to the role of prime numbers in mathematics and how they enjoy a pivotal position among the integers, or how a thorough understanding of matter essentially reduces to a deep insight into the elementary particles which constitute the basic building blocks of matter. Come to think about it, its justice which raises the human life from the level of farce and gives it some form of grace and dignity without which the society is fated to perish as a civilised, egalitarian entity where people are at peace with themselves and with nature. That makes a strong case for the institutionalisation of justice and fair play that ought to be accorded their rightful place and priority in the society. On the other side involving real life situations, it’s the acceptance of the postulate of justice that rules out the possibility of life and the universe at large having come about merely as a result of an accident, without a design behind it, as the agnosts or naysayers would have us believe. Whereas it ought to be conceded that the laws of science do not necessarily rule out the possibility of such a cosmic accident having come about prior to the creation of the universe and life on earth, it makes sense to argue that a system where justice stands denied or dispensed selectively would result in the idea of a life where individual might would reign supreme, and the strong and the powerful would ride roughshod over the weak and the dispossessed and get away with it without having to pay for such transgressions. In real, practical terms, it’s only in the presence of a robust system where the idea of justice has been accorded its well-deserved primacy would it be reasonable to hope for the weak and the dispossessed to claim their rightful place in the system while ensuring that those are held to account who had feted themselves on the toil and blood of the weak and the underprivileged during their life on earth. In fact, it’s the idea of creation of life and the underlying design of the cosmos, marked as these processes are by a breath-taking sense of proportion and a grand design, that necessitate the postulate of justice being weighed in without which the presence of such proportion and design would have been incomprehensible. Rational Thinking Fosters Justice, Honesty and Humility Search for truth – that necessitates rational thinking – predisposes the heart to the virtues of justice, honesty and humility. Once it’s argued, as we have done above, that mathematics seeks to restore order and design from the vortex of utter chaos and commotion in the world of ideas within and in the world around ourselves without, it becomes clear that the endeavor of mathematics bears uncanny similarity with the idea of justice which is sought to achieve precisely that order in the society. Justice, equality and equity are to order, design and a sense of proportion in exactly the same way as injustice, inequality and inequity are to chaos, clutter and disorder. A further instance of commonality of our experiences in mathematics and religion may be sought in the realisation how such epistemic values as the dignity of human beings, the corrupting nature of sin, the importance of justice, and the power of forgiveness are all truths that can be felt profoundly in a religious experience as much as the beauty of symmetry or a deep connection between disparate ideas in mathematics are felt and experienced in the world of mathematics that often elicit profound awe and astonishment. Conclusion Application of logic in mathematics is premised on the acceptance of a set of certain ‘self-evident’ truths called axioms. In the same vein, an attempt to apply logical reasoning in social situations can’t be undertaken in vacuum, unless that effort is bolstered by a set of principles that derive from a certain belief system of the individual. By definition, being illogical means doing things that, by definition, go against logic, or cause logical contradictions. Here, it’s important to note that what counts as a logical contradiction is in fact an assertion that is seen to contravene the established principles within a given system of beliefs or axioms. This is a crucial point because otherwise, one person’s logic might look like idiocy to another person. The point is that the idea of absolute truth is no more than a chimera unless it’s sought to be located within a given logical framework where a certain conclusion as truth has been arrived at on the strength of the axioms and foundational principles defining that system. Here mathematics comes across as an important enabling tool to achieve that and that necessitate creating conditions where the society is exposed to a certain basic level of mathematical familiarity/ maturity and the mind trained to think rationally and thus with honesty and justice. That would make a case for promoting the culture of mathematics in the society and thus restore to reason and critical thought the rightful place that they deserve so as to foster values of justice and peace in the society. ----- Prof. M. A. Sofi is currently NBHM Visiting Professor at JK Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Srinagar He previously taught at AMU, Aligarh, Central University of Kashmir, Srinagar and University of Kashmir, Srinagar Did Master’s from AMU, Aligarh (1978) and Ph. D Mathematics at IIT Kanpur(1982) Presently living in Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir. URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

The Quranic Concept Of War And Peace: Has Modern Warfare Any Place?

If Verse 5:32 Were Implemented, It Could Save the World from Destructive Warfare and Nuclear Madness Main Points: 1. One of the reasons for widespread Islamophobia all over the world is the wrong understanding of the Qur’an. 2. Islam taught the ancient nomadic Arab tribes the ethics of war and the sanctity of innocent human life. 3. Modern warfare has no place in Islam, which is implicit in the Qur’an (2:190, 5:32 and 60:8). 4. Battlefield atrocities and inhuman war practices were also a part of the Arab culture before the advent of Islam. ------ By Dr. Nazia Nazar, New Age Islam 26 May 2022 Photo courtesy: The Muslim vibe ----- One of the reasons for widespread Islamophobia all over the world is the wrong understanding of the Qur’an, the Holy Book of Islam. There is a misconception that the Qur’an contains references to war and violence inciting Muslims to take up arms against non-Muslims. Ironically, a majority of people who criticize the Qur’an are those who did not read it till the last page. They misguide the ignorant by quoting cherry-picked verses from the Qur’an in order to incite Islamophobic feelings. Still, it’s worth asking: why does the Qur’an contain references to battles and battlefield? The answer is simple. War has been a part of human civilization since the dawn of humanity. The history of pre-Islamic Arabia also reflects the same reality. It is a well-known fact that the ancient Arab tribal system lacked any central government or political institutions. As the result, warfare was considered to be the only institution for settling scores. [1] The enmity between tribes over trivial issues used to exist for decades resulting in seemingly endless wars. Battlefield atrocities and inhuman war practices were also a part of the Arab culture before the advent of Islam. It is not an exaggeration to say that fighting was a kind of sport for the Arab tribes.[2] Keeping in view the moral degeneration of the war maniac Arabs fourteen hundred years ago, many verses in the Qur’an proposing conflict prevention strategies, ethics for a defensive battle, and guidelines for humanitarian intervention were no less than a revolutionary message. A deep study of the Qur’an reveals that verses 4:140 and 6:68 relate to conflict prevention in the case of a blasphemous encounter. Verse 140 of Surah Nisa states, “When you hear the Revelations of God being rejected and mocked, no longer sit with them until they engage in some other talk” (4:140). The same theme is discussed in Surah Anam verse 68, “When you meet such as indulge in (blasphemous) talk about Our Revelations, turn away from them until they enter into some other discourse” (6:68). By commanding the Muslims to stay away, the Qur’an suggests a pragmatic strategy for diffusing the provoking situation in order to prevent possible anger and aggression. However, a general message from the above verses is to control one’s negative emotions and make all efforts to prevent a possible conflict. It is true that the Qur’an sanctions fighting in self-defence, but only as the last resort to survival. It’s unfair to analyse the battle-related Qur’anic verses without knowing the context of those verses. In the early years of Islam, Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him), his family, and followers had faced deadly opposition from the pagans of Mecca, who prohibited Muslims from practicing their religion. The non-Muslim chieftains tortured the new Muslims beyond the limits of human endurance. They were brutally beaten, dragged with ropes around the neck, and forced to lie down on burning sand in the very hot desert climate. The pagans left no stone unturned to harass the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) by using torturous and teasing methods. [3] At one point, they hatched an unsuccessful conspiracy to murder him. They also imposed a brutal social and economic boycott on the Prophet and his followers, who were forced to eat tree leaves for months. The cries of the hungry children and suckling babies could not move the heart of the pagans. [4] The prophet and his companions non-violently bore all the hardships for 12 years and did not retaliate. To avoid the devastating persecution, the Muslims migrated first to Abyssinia and then finally to Medina. However, the pagans of Mecca kept chasing the Muslims and put all their efforts into destroying them in Medina. Consequently, the Muslims were left with no other option than to perish or to fight back. In this context, the permission to fight back in self-defence was granted in the Qur’an and the battle-related verses were revealed. [5] Article 51 of the United Nations Charter also sanctions the same right by explaining that “Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of collective or individual self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a member of the United Nations.” [6] In Islam, fighting is allowed in a few circumstances such as in self-defence (Qur’an, 2:190-191, 22:39), in case of violation of peace agreements by an opponent (9:13), or to protect the weak and vulnerable people from persecution (4:75). It is inevitable to know that the Qur’an’s idea of war and peace hinges upon the ideal of social justice. Hence, peace and justice are inseparable in the Qur’an. Leaving a persecuted population at the mercy of the aggressors is against the concept of social justice the Qur’an propagates. How can peace prevail if a large number of people are ill-treated or tormented? Hence, the Qur’an does not support leaving the helpless at the mercy of oppressors, which is explicit in Surah Nisa: “Why, then, should you not fight in the cause of God and of the oppressed, helpless men, women, and children, who cry out: "O Lord! Bring us out of this land whose people are oppressors, and appoint for us from Your Presence a protector, and appoint for us from Your Presence a helper!" (4:75). The above verse, in fact, highlights the circumstances when humanitarian intervention becomes a moral obligation. Furthermore, the phrase ‘fight in the cause of God’ should not be mistaken as fighting to promote Islam; the ‘cause of God’ indicated in the verse (4:75) is to protect the weak and vulnerable. The fact of the matter is that the Qur’an does not differentiate between Muslims and non-Muslims as far as justice is concerned. It says “If two parties of believers fall to fighting, make peace between them (and act promptly). But if one of them aggressively encroaches the rights of the other, then fight you all against the aggressive side until they comply with God's decree (concerning the matter). If they comply, then make peace between them with justice and be scrupulously equitable. Surely God loves the scrupulously equitable” (49:9). Another crucial matter is that, in Islam, only a state has the right to fight and non-state actors cannot lead such expeditions. [7] Furthermore, peace must be given preference and sought at every step. So, the Qur’an prohibits continuing the battle if the opponent is inclined to peace: “Then if they desist (from fighting), surely God is All-Forgiving, All-Compassionate” (2:192). “If they desist, then there is no hostility except to the wrongdoers” (2:193). “And if they (the enemies) incline to peace, incline to it also” (8:61). In Islam, seeking peace is more important than winning a war. As for a battle, the Qur’an clearly states that all non-combatants need to be treated kindly and justly. It is clearly stated: “God does not forbid you, as regards those who do not make war against you on account of your Religion, nor drive you away from your homes, to be kindly to them, and act towards them with equity. God surely loves the scrupulously equitable” (60:8). It is clear that Islam does not approve of war for selfish motives, worldly gains, and satisfaction of the ego. Verse 190 of Surah Baqarah “fight those who fight you” clearly highlights two important points; the first is that fighting is only allowed in self-defence or against persecution; and second, war can only be waged against the enemy combatants. The non-belligerent, civilians, and non-combatants belonging to the enemy group cannot be harmed as it goes against the Qur’anic and Islamic conception of justice. Islam warns its believers that “by no means let your detestation for a people (or their detestation for you) move you to (commit the sin of) deviating from justice” (5:8). Furthermore, verse 5:32 describes the sanctity of an innocent human life leaving no room for terrorism, genocide, massacre or any destructive activities which cause harm to the civilian population. According to the verse, “He who kills a soul unless it be (in legal punishment) for murder or for causing disorder and corruption on the earth will be as if he had killed all humankind; and he who saves a life will be as if he had saved the lives of all humankind” (5:32). In Islam, nothing can legitimize the killing of civilians, regardless of the community or religion they belong to. From an Islamic perspective, everything is not fair in war but there are some strict rules for battle – one of them is to protect the innocent. Fourteen centuries ago, the wars were fought with swords, and the Muslims under Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him) not only ensured the safety of non-combatants but also took special care to protect the environment from the hazards of war. Unfortunately, this seems impossible in modern warfare. Since the invention of gunpowder, wars have resulted in the indiscriminate killings of combatants and non-combatants. As the military industries grew and produced advanced weapons – like nuclear bombs, missiles and drones – civilian deaths increased to unprecedented levels. It is almost impossible to ensure the safety of the civilian population, which is one of the integral Islamic ethics of war. Hence, it goes without saying that modern warfare has no place in Islam, which is implicit in the Qur’an (2:190, 5:32 and 60:8). To recapitulate, Islam taught the ancient nomadic Arab tribes the ethics of war and the sanctity of innocent human life. If verse 5:32 were implemented, it could save the world from destructive warfare and nuclear madness. Unfortunately, Muslims and non-Muslims alike are deaf to the Qur’an. ---- Endnotes [1] Sayyid Ali Asghar Razwy,“A Restatement of the History of Islam and Muslims”. Al-Islam. Accessed October 15, 2021. [2] Marisa Farrugia, “War and peace in pre-Islamic Arabic poetry,” Humanitas: Journal of the Faculty of Arts, 2 (2003): 143-153. [3] Ibn Ishāq, Sīratu Rasūlillāh, trans. Alfred Guillaume (Oxford: University Press, 2004), 146. [4] Safiurrahman. Al-Mubarakfuri, Ar-Raheeq Al-Makhtum, trans. The Sealed Nectar (Al-Riyadh: Dar-us-Salam Publications 1996), 75. [5] Al-Mubarakfuri, 125-126. [6] United Nations, "The Charter of the United Nations," 51 (VII) A (Paris, 1945), [7] Niaz A. Shah, “The Use of Force under Islamic Law,” European Journal of International Law 24, no. 1(2013):343-65. ----- "Dr. Nazia Nazar is based in Finland. She holds an MS in Peace, Mediation, and Conflict Research and a PhD in Developmental Psychology from Åbo Akademi University, Finland. She has written extensively about Islam, peace, interfaith harmony, and minority rights." URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Extremist Interpretations of Quranic Verses Have Presented Islam as a Religion of Violence

By S. Arshad, New Age Islam 28 may 2022 Al Qaida, ISIS, Boko Haram and Taliban Are the Products of Extremist Interpretations of The Quran Main Points: 1. Islam advocates peace with all human beings. 2. Terrorist organisations do not represent Islam. 3. Taliban and Al Qaida are based on the ideology of hate and supremacism. ----- Islam's main goal is a peaceful society where all the members of the society will live in peace and work together for common good. Quran is a book containing 114 chapters in which instructions and guidance for creating a liberal and peaceful society have been provided. The Quran asks Muslims to take care of their neighbours and not to harm or cause inconvenience to them without mentioning its ordainments are only for Muslims. It also asks Muslims to give the orphans, the needy and the travellers their dues without mentioning that the ordainment is for only Muslims or for both. It also asks Muslims to give shelter to a non-Muslim if he seeks refuge and does not ask Muslims to kill him if he does not try to harm them. This approach of the Quran towards the treatment of the members of the society hints at the Quran's policy towards the non-Muslims. It says that in times of peace, Muslims should not be hostile to the non-Muslims and they should fight only those who fight them. ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Also Read: Abu Ibrahim al-Hashmi al-Qurashi, Abubakar Shekau, Haibatullah Akhundzada to Ayman Al- Zawahiri - All Are Playing a Foolish but Deadly Friend to Muslims ------------------------------------------------------------------------- The Quran permits Muslims to launch an offensive only when the opponents wage a war against them. There are numerous verses that enjoin Muslims to maintain peace with non-Muslims while inviting them to Islam with love and peaceful dialogue. A number of scholars and exegetes misinterpreted those verses enjoining good behaviour with non-Muslims as abrogated though the Quran does not have any list of abrogated verses within the text of the Quran. There are a number of verses that prevent Muslims from committing violence against non-Muslims and ask them to convey the message of the Quran peacefully and by engaging with them in dialogue. The Quran does not preach Muslims to convert non-Muslims to Islam by force as those who are non-believers are so according to God's scheme of things. If God had willed, all the people on earth would have been the followers of one religion. God has made people followers of different religions to test their faith and their patience. God only wants believers to strive in His cause. God rewards people not for what their efforts yield but for their zeal and hard work. To guide a person or not is upon God. Therefore, He says: “If thou art anxious for their guidance, yet Allah guideth not such as He leaves to stray, and there is none to help them.” (Al Nahl 37) God time again enjoins Muslims to treat people with love, service and care and make sacrifices to them. He enjoins Muslims to feed the poor, fight for justice to the wronged and stand up against the oppressors. God asks Muslims to observe honesty and piety and spread the message of love and equality to the human beings. To the Quran religion and belief of people are their personal choice. He should not be forced to shun his religious beliefs and should not be forced to accept a particular religion. Muslims are only told to spread the word of the Quran to the people. After that what they do is not the concern of the Muslims. God says to Muslims to leave people who do not listen to the message of piety and Godliness. The job of Muslims is not that of a policeman but that of a messenger. Muslims should convey the message of the Quran to the people and leave the rest to God. “Leave alone those who take their religion to be mere play and amusement, and are deceived by the life of this world. But proclaim (to them) this (truth): that every soul delivers itself to ruin by its own acts.” (Al An’am: 70) “If one amongst the Pagans ask thee for asylum, grant it to him, so that he may hear the word of Allah; and then escort him to where he can be secure. That is because they are men without knowledge”. (Tauba: 6) The Quran prescribes mujadala, that is, peaceful dialogue to resolve issues with the non-Muslims so that common grounds for peaceful co-existence can be found. “And dispute ye not with the People of the Book, except with means better (than mere disputation), unless it be with those of them who inflict wrong (and injury): but say, "We believe in the revelation which has come down to us and in that which came down to you; Our Allah and your Allah is one; and it is to Him we bow (in Islam)." (Al Ankabut: 46) “Argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious: (Al Nahl: 125) The Quran time and again enjoins on Muslims to be patient with non-believers and avoid any confrontation with them in matters of faith. Ever individual will be held responsible for their deeds. Therefore, Muslims should not lose hope and resort to violence when they do not heed their message. Some of the verses are as follows: “But We made thee not one to watch over their doings, nor art thou set over them to dispose of their affairs. (Al Anam: 107) “Tell those who believe, to forgive those who do not look forward to the Days of Allah: It is for Him to recompense (for good or ill) each People according to what they have earned. If any one does a righteous deed, it ensures to the benefit of his own soul; if he does evil, it works against (his own soul). In the end will ye (all) be brought back to your Lord. (Al Jathiya: 14-15) “Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from Error: whoever rejects evil and believes in Allah hath grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold that never breaks. And Allah heareth and knoweth all things”. (Al Baqarah :256) Say: "If ye do love Allah, Follow me: Allah will love you and forgive you your sins: For Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful." (Al Imran: 31) Say: "O my people! Do whatever ye can: I will do (my part): soon will ye know who it is whose end will be (best) in the Hereafter: certain it is that the wrong-doers will not prosper." (Al An ‘am 135) "Say to those who do not believe: "Do whatever ye can: We shall do our part; "(Hud: 121) "Hold to forgiveness; command what is right; But turn away from the ignorant.”(Al Araf: 199) The Quran wants Muslims to work for the reform of the society and for its all-round development. Muslims should assume the job of a reformer, not of a religious warrior all the time. A Muslim should command what is good and persuade people to leave the evil path. That’s why the Quran asks him not to be desperate when people do not pay any heed to his words of wisdom or become hostile to them. It asks the Muslims to leave such people to their own fate and move forward. There are a number of verses that ask Muslims not to cause violence in the name of spreading Islam. “If they charge thee with falsehood, say: "My work to me, and yours to you! ye are free from responsibility for what I do, and I for what ye do!" (Yunus: 41) "that we are responsible for our doings and ye for yours; and that We are sincere (in our faith) in Him? (Al Baqarah: 139 The Quran therefore, makes it clear that it does not want violence in the name of spreading Islam. But over the years extremist Islamic scholars interpreted some war time verses of the Quran as enjoining the Muslims to wage war against non-Muslims to forcefully convert them to Islam. This interpretation initially promoted intolerant ideas among Muslims and in the twentieth century these interpretations gave birth to terrorist organisations like Al Qaida, ISIS, Boko Haram, Taliban, Lashkar-e-Taiba and a host of others that perpetrated acts of terrorism against Muslims and non-Muslims alike. ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Also Read: Taliban, ISIS, Al-Qaeda and Boko Haram – Do You Know Islam Means Equality, Peace and Kindness? ------------------------------------------------------------------------- God has made it clear on a number of occasions that He does not like those who do injustice to people, cause bloodshed against innocent people, drive people from their homes and abuse the gods of other people. “And Allah loveth not those that do wrong”. (Al Imran: 140) “For Allah is with those who patiently persevere”. (Al Anfaal: 66) “Allah does not like transgressors.”(Al Baqarah: 190) “For Allah loves not those who do mischief. (Qisas: 77) Therefore, if the verses of the Quran are studied in the right context, it will become clear that the Quran asks Muslims to spread the word of God peacefully and work tirelessly for the welfare and spiritual amd material progress of the society. ----- S. Arshad is a columnist with URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

The Fairy Tale of Alam-e-Arwah

By Naseer Ahmed, New Age Islam 25 May 2022 Consider The Verse: (7:172) When thy Lord drew forth from the Children of Adam - from their loins - their descendants, and made them testify concerning themselves, (saying): "Am I not your Lord (who cherishes and sustains you)?"- They said: "Yea! We do testify!" (This), lest ye should say on the Day of Judgment: "Of this we were never mindful": What came forth from the loins of our father is the sperm which fertilised our mother’s ovum which resulted in our conception. So, what this verse is saying is that belief in God has been genetically transmitted through our father’s genes. Comprehending how such sophisticated knowledge of a belief in God can be genetically transmitted requires knowledge developed in the last hundred years – knowledge that did not exist in the seventh century. The meaning is however communicated very well through 7:172 although it took 1400 years for us to understand precisely what it is saying. You can imagine the difficulty that the people of the 7th century had understanding this verse and explaining it. The verse is explained as the souls of all having been gathered in Alam-e-Arwah and made to testify, while the verse is an allegorical way of saying, that belief in Rabb-ul-Alimeen is instinctive, and transmitted genetically from Adam to all his children through their fathers. The Fairy Tale of Alam-e-Arwah The fairy tale to explain verse 7:172 is reproduced below: Allah (SWT) created all souls from Adam to the last man to come on this earth till the end of this universe. After creating all souls, Almighty Allah (SWT) gathered them in a wide field to take witness as to whether He is their Sustainer. All souls replied that of course, You (Allah) are our Sustainer. Almighty Allah (SWT) needed this witness from all Souls so that on the day of Resurrection they should not say that they were unaware of the reality that only Almighty Allah (SWT) was their Sustainer. --------------------------------------------------------- Also Read: Islam and Mysticism: Is ‘Nafs’ Soul? (Part - 1) --------------------------------------------------------- Did man have an existence before he was born? Not according to the Quran but yes according to the concocted fairy tale. Concocting an imaginary story to explain the verse inevitably led to several false beliefs that are held to this day to the detriment of Muslim society. The fairy tale leads to false beliefs such as: 1. All those who will be born are pre-ordained since the souls were already created and addressed by Allah in Alam-e-Arwah. Birth control is therefore both meaningless and going against the will of God and therefore a sin. The souls are waiting to be born and procreation helps this process 2. Any interference or attempt to limit procreation is not only useless since those who are destined to be born will be born but an act of Kufr against God. 3. All those who procreate in large numbers are striving to help unfold Allah’s plan of bringing into being all the created souls. They are also rendering service to Allah by making as many as possible, born into their family to be raised as Muslims. Modern Studies Confirm the Truth of Verse 7:172 That belief in God is instinctive, is also supported by recent studies. 1. Belief in God is part of human nature - Oxford study 2. Is Belief in God Ingrained in Our ‘Human Nature’? A New Study Says So Led by two academics at Oxford University, the £1.9 million studies found that faith and religion come to human beings naturally — possibly instinctively. The project entitled the “Cognition, Religion and Theology Project,” took three years to complete and involved 57 academics and more than 40 different studies in 20 countries around the globe, and spanned disciplines including anthropology, psychology, and philosophy. It set out to establish whether belief in divine beings and an afterlife were ideas simply learned from society or integral to human nature. --------------------------------------------------------- Also Read: Islam and Mysticism: Is ‘Ruh’ Soul? (Part 2) --------------------------------------------------------- Roger Trigg, the project’s co-director said: “If you’ve got something so deep-rooted in human nature, thwarting it is in some sense not enabling humans to fulfil their basic interests. There is quite a drive to think that religion is private. It isn’t just a quirky interest of a few, it’s basic human nature. This shows that it’s much more universal, prevalent, and deep-rooted. It’s got to be reckoned with. You can’t just pretend it isn’t there.” Trigg explains that the faithful can look at the data and say, ‘If there is a God, then … he would have given us inclinations to look for him.” On the flip side, atheists would potentially accept the notion that faith appeals to the human heart and mind, but that humanity must evolve and move beyond simple myths. Arguably, the former argument seems more compelling, especially considering the fact that religious beliefs remained consistent, despite major cultural differences. Clearly, a common thread connects the human search for a higher being. In the end, the study contends that, regardless of culture, belief in the afterlife and in purposeful happenings (or happenings with divine purpose) are completely natural and ingrained in human nature. Rather than existing as a remote or infrequent societal occurrence, faith and religion are normal (and frequent) human experiences. ---------------------------------------------------------------- Also Read: Islam and Mysticism: What Else Is Confused With Soul? (Part 3) ---------------------------------------------------------------- Why Do Even Scholars Who Are Medical Doctors Subscribe To The Concocted Tale Of Alam-E-Arwah? The myth of Alam-e-Arwah from Sufi cosmology is followed unquestioningly by even Dr Israr Ahmed who was a medical doctor and a Deobandi. One would expect a medical doctor to understand verse 7:172 correctly. What explains the blindness of even highly educated professionals such as Dr Israr Ahmed? The fact that the Muslims interpret the Quran through the concocted Ahadith. This is why I say that once the Muslims learn to read the Quran sans all their intellectual presuppositions to learn what the Quran actually says, we will have a religious revolution just as we had a scientific revolution when we learned to see the world, not through our intellectual presuppositions but exactly as it is through empiricism and by adopting of the scientific method. This is covered in my article: Erroneous Intellectual Presuppositions are Obstacles to Progress Many of the verses of the Quran cannot be understood correctly, except with the help of discoveries made by science in the last couple of centuries. Until such discoveries were made, these verses were mistranslated and misunderstood. Science corroborates what the Quran tells us. Science and the Quran are never at loggerheads. Now if we are to keep the Quran and Science in distinct realms, and understand the Quran through the commentaries of the imams of the tenth century, then one must believe in the myth of Alam-e-Arwah and not understand the verse correctly. This is however precisely what the bigoted Mullah would want us to do – keep science and religion in different realms and believe in their myths! The apostates and the Islamophobes would also like our understanding to remain defective so that they can attack Islam and the Quran. The ignorant Mullah who blindly follows the scholars of the past, the Islamophobe, and the apostate, have much in common. No amount of knowledge of Arabic or reading of the Quran and all of the Tafseers is going to help you understand the verse correctly but once explained, anyone can see that the explanation fits the verse perfectly. The correct answers to the questions cannot come from intuition or implicit knowledge which past scholars claimed while explaining the meaning through their concocted stories, but from explicit knowledge and reason. The knowledge of how sophisticated knowledge is genetically transmitted, did not exist until the 20th century. Such knowledge covers the whole gamut of talents that are inherited from parents. Since the belief in God is common to all humans, this can be understood as instinct. ----- A frequent contributor to, Naseer Ahmed is an Engineering graduate from IIT Kanpur and is an independent IT consultant after having served in both the Public and Private sector in responsible positions for over three decades. He has spent years studying Quran in-depth and made seminal contributions to its interpretation. URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

A Prudent Recipe for Qaumi ITTIHAAD

By Sumit Paul, New Age Islam 25 May 2022 Spirituality Relates To Spirit And Inner Consciousness. It's Your Heart To Heart Tete-A-Tete With Your Creator. So, Why On Earth Does A Muslim Need A Traditional Stone-Wall Structure Called Mosque and A Hindu, A Temple? Main Points: 1. Worship The God That's Immanent And Not Outside. 2. Humans Need To Evolve Spiritually. 3. Just Leave Places That Are Shrouded In All Sorts of Controversies. ----- But Bhi Rakkhe Hain, Namazein Bhi Ada Hoti Hain Dil Mera Dil Nahin Allah Ka Ghar Lagta Hai (Idols are kept there and Namaz is also offered/My heart has become Allah's abode). The aforementioned couplet by Bashir Badr is the perfect example of Qaumi Ittihaad and defiance of religio-structural symbolism for both Hindus and Muslims in these exceedingly turbulent times of rabid communal antagonism. When every other day, some brainless person claims to find a temple under a mosque and communal hatred increases immediately, isn't it advisable that both Hindus and Muslims should stop visiting their respective shrines and offer their religious obeisance at their homes? Didn't Rumi famously say in Persian, ' Dil Dairo-Haram Ast ' (Heart is temple and mosque) or Sanai in Pashto Tarke-ifa'ar, Khuda Zakaar (Abandon all shrines, yet find the Supreme Being). Ifa'ar is the plural of Ifar (a shrine) and Zakaar is realization in classical Pashto. A very sagacious advice, I must say. I don't urge people to leave their religions and gods. That's well-nigh impossible for most of the humans on earth. But at least, they can bid adieu to their shrines, esp. in these times when even a speculative presence of a shrine (of other faith) can wreak havoc. Moreover, all shrines are structural symbolism of spirituality. When we talk about spirituality, it goes a notch beyond the primitive and literal religiosity. Spirituality relates to spirit and inner consciousness. It's your heart to heart tete-a-tete with your Creator. So, why on earth does a Muslim need a traditional stone-wall structure called mosque and a Hindu, a temple? Ancient ecclesiastical historian Eusebius of Caesarea, used to say, ' Le'est emi flema evita' (I carry my own shrine). Yes, you carry your own shrine. You don't require a place to worship at. This has been the motto of all mystics and Gnostics for centuries. The great mystic Kabir aptly said, ' Kaankar-Paathar Jori Ke Masjid Lai Chunay/Ta Chadhi Mulla Baang De Kya Bahira Hua Khuday? ‘(After building a mosque of pebbles and stones, the Muazzin shouts from the rooftop/Is Allah hard of hearing?). So many centuries have elapsed, yet the Mulla is still unchanged and now he resorts to loudspeakers to call the faithful followers to mosque! Whether Hindus or Muslims, all are Lakeer Ke Faqeer (dyed in the wool). Now when places of worship have become bones of contention, shouldn't they be left? But don't leave your religion, god, books and all that jazz. Just leave places that are shrouded in all sorts of controversies. Humans need to evolve spiritually. Muslims will concur with me that the logic behind remembering the entire Al-Furqan and becoming Hafiz-e-Quran was that even if all the physical copies of the Book were destroyed, yet there'd be people who memorized all the verses to recreate the Book. That the Muslims, esp. the youngsters, still memorise the Quran like parrots and waste their precious time is inconsequential. To cut the matter short, sacredness is in your heart and divinity is within. Your heart itself is a holy place: Baith Ke Farsh-E-Dil Pe Padh Lee Namaaz Maine (sitting on the floor of heart, I offered my Namaz). You needn't go anywhere. Furthermore, nowadays all shrines are symbols of ostentation, pomp and grandeur. Nida Fazli aptly said in one of his Dohas: Bola Baccha Dekh Ke Masjid Aalishaan/Allah Tere Rahne Ko Itna Bada Makaan! (Seeing a grand mosque, a child exclaimed, Allah, you require such an enormous place to live in!). An innocent query, but full of profundity. Ruminate over it and worship the god that's immanent and not outside. Your god or Allah, if at all it does exist, will not be so fussy, finicky and fastidious like you as to be annoyed if you don't visit a shrine to worship it (sorry, no Him/Her.......why sexualise god and give it a masculine gender?). ---- 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: 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

Padma Bhushan Dr. Rafiuddin Ahmed: The Father of Indian Dentistry

By Saquib Salim, New Age Islam 25-05-2022 A True Patriot, Rafiuddin Donated The Calcutta Dental College Established By Him To The West Bengal Government In 1949, So A National Government Could Use It For The Welfare Of Indians In A Better Fashion Dr Rafiuddin Ahmed ---- ‘‘Education is the responsibility of the State; but if no one is willing to carry the cross, I will, for as long as I can.’’ This is the idea of Dr. Rafiuddin Ahmed who wore many hats yet his important introduction can be given as the Father of Indian Dentistry. Dr. Rafiuddin Ahmed was born on December 24, 1890, in Bradhanpara (now in Bangladesh). A bright student from the beginning he passed Higher Secondary Examinations from Dhaka Madrasa in 1906 and was sent to Mohammedan Anglo Oriental (MAO) College (now Aligarh Muslim University) at Aligarh. After his graduation, Rafiuddin went to the United States of America in 1909 for higher studies. He earned his Doctor in Dental Surgery (DDS) from Iowa School of Dentistry in 1915 and worked in the USA till the end of the World War in 1919. On return to his motherland, Dr. Rafiuddin realized that in a country that had a history of dental surgeries for centuries people were in dire need of dentists. It was shocking that such a large country had no modern college to teach dentistry. He took the initiative and in 1920, started teaching dentistry in Calcutta (now Kolkata) to 11 students to establish the first College of Dentistry in India. Kolkata dental College and hospital established by Rafiuddin Ahmed ---- The experiment of teaching students proved successful as these trained dentists started spreading out in the country and serving the Indians. Brigadier S.M.S Nicholson, Major S.K Gupta, Colonel J.F Patel, Brigadier J.M Rao, and Fatima Jinnah were few of the illustrious alumni of this college. In 1928 he published the very first Students’ Handbook on Operative Dentistry, the same year when he established the Indian Dental Association. Before that, he had already established the Bengal Dental Association in 1925. Indian Dental Journal was also started by him in 1925 and was edited by him till 1946. He also helped in drafting the Bengal Dentist Act, 1939, and India Dental Act, 1949. Indian Dental Council, when established in 1954, elected him as its founding President. A true patriot, Rafiuddin donated the Calcutta Dental College established by him to the West Bengal Government in 1949, so a national government could use it for the welfare of Indians in a better fashion. He was also a patriot who served the Indian people as councillor of Calcutta Municipal Corporation from 1932 to 1944. After India received freedom he rejected the idea of Pakistan, remained in India, and contributed as a Minister of Agriculture, Relief, and Rehabilitation in the West Bengal Government headed by another medical man Dr. B.C Roy. He remained a minister for 12 years from 1950. The Government of India recognized his contribution by awarding him with Padma Bhushan in 1964 and later on renaming the Calcutta Dental College after him. His birthday is celebrated as National Dentists Day in India. Source: Rafiuddin Ahmed: The Father Of Indian Dentistry URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Supplement To the Article “The Quran and the Psychology of Human Behaviour – Nafs”

By Naseer Ahmed, New Age Islam 24 May 2022 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Understanding The Quran Has Very Little To Do With Mastery Of The Arabic Language As Should Be Apparent From This Discussion. As A Matter Of Fact, an Arab Reader Is Unlikely To Go Beyond the Dictionary Meanings and Look For the Nuances That the Quran Brings To Every Subject ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ This is a supplement to the article: The Quran and the Psychology of Human Behaviour - Nafs in which we have seen in detail, with the help of the Ayats on the subject, how the meaning corresponds closely with the modern concept of “cognitive self”. None of the older words such as soul, conscience, consciousness, self, inner-self, and innermost being is adequate by itself to describe it although collectively they may come close to describing it. Nafs could not have had such a meaning before the revelation of the Quran and we have not relied on the dictionary meaning of the word. We methodically derived its meaning from the Quran from the manner in which the word has been used in all the verses that contain the word. The Quran necessarily used a word from the vocabulary of the 7th century Arabic and gave it its own meaning which unsurprisingly is closest to the modern concept of “cognitive self” and not to any of the older words which are limited in their meaning and contain only a part of what Nafs means. We also have seen that Nafs al-Lawwama is that part of the Nafs that causes cognitive dissonance. The process of cognitive bias taking us on the path of greater guidance or misguidance is also contained in several verses but described in terms of what Allah does or as His unchanging laws of Human behaviour. Every cognitive process is described and contained in the Quran. This is another proof of the Quran’s ageless modernity despite the constraints of having had to use the vocabulary of 7th century Arabic. Nafs is not soul at all because as we have seen, the Nafs dies, and has no existence outside our living wakeful and conscious body. Why then has it been widely translated as soul? Because, there is no other word in the Quran, amenable to being translated as soul, and the believers in a soul seem to have been desperately seeking any word in the Quran that could be translated as soul. In common parlance, the word “Ruh” is used to mean soul, but the word Ruh although it appears in several verses of the Quran, it is impossible to force the meaning of soul on it even in a single verse. So, what does this mean? It means that the Quran does not support the concept of a soul and that we do not have a soul. Why have people believed in a soul then? Up to the 19th century, the theologians and the philosophers lacking in accurate knowledge of our world, struggled with several concepts, and argued without proof and even against what the scriptures say clearly. For example, all the theologians and the philosophers (those who believe in a life in the Hereafter) believed in an immortal soul. Since the body disintegrates, or a person may be burnt to ashes in an accident or cremated, they had difficulty accepting that we are resurrected in our body although the Quran says so categorically. Even many Muslim philosophers such as Avicenna and al-Farabi argued against bodily resurrection and believed in an immaterial soul. The soul was therefore what was left and required to live a life in the Hereafter and this must not die and therefore must be immaterial or spirit. It must also have all the characteristics that made us a unique person and the capacity to see, feel, think and remember without the body, the brain, the nervous system and the organs! What an impossibility and yet even the so-called rational philosophers believed in it! The Quran is categorical about resurrection in the body in complete detail right up to our fingertips or fingerprints. It categorically rejects the idea of a soul that survives our death or that it existed before our birth. We know now, how it is possible to resurrect without anything surviving our death using stored information which the Quran clearly says is done. We know how the physical body can be cloned. The genes in the egg fertilized by the sperm from our father have resulted in our conception and have given us our sex, form and body. The information is enough to recreate the body exactly as it was. What we made of ourselves in our lifetime is all recorded as the Quran informs us clearly. This information will be used to recreate our “Nafs” populate our memory and to create our old patterns of thinking. We will be recreated exactly as we were without doubt but this does not require an immortal “soul”. The modern man knows that if all his apps and data are backed up including the settings and preferences and the data in the RAM, a lost computer or Smartphone can be “recreated” by buying the same model and downloading all the backed-up apps and the data. It would then be the same as if you never lost it. The analogy for the resurrection is similar. All that is required is accurate information. This is in complete agreement with science as we know it today, except for the part about whether we will be resurrected, which is clearly outside the domain of science. To my knowledge, no one else has covered this subject in this manner. Understanding the Quran has very little to do with mastery of the Arabic language as should be apparent from this discussion. As a matter of fact, an Arab reader is unlikely to go beyond the dictionary meanings and look for the nuances that the Quran brings to every subject. This the Quran does by precisely and comprehensively defining every keyword it uses just as it has done with the word Nafs. Understanding the Quran has more to do with practising the discipline of methodically uncovering the precise meaning in the Quran of every keyword used by it. Knowledge of the language could be an advantage, disadvantage or of no consequence depending upon the reader. Only a person who relies very little on his knowledge of the Arabic language and relies more on methodically deriving the precise meaning the Quran is trying to convey will understand it better. ----- A frequent contributor to, Naseer Ahmed is an Engineering graduate from IIT Kanpur and is an independent IT consultant after having served in both the Public and Private sector in responsible positions for over three decades. He has spent years studying Quran in-depth and made seminal contributions to its interpretation. URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Islam and Religious Dialogue: A Thematic Study - Part Two

By Grace Mubashir, New Age Islam May 2022 Intra and Inter Faith Dialogues and Engagements Cashing On Convergent Commonalities Could Somewhat Ease the Process of National Integrity and Peace Building Main Points: 1. Most effective tool for religious peace building is interreligious dialogues. 2. Hatred of a faithful to other religious people stems from the virtual ignorance of the other. 3. Interreligious dialogues tap the spiritual resources of the religious traditions creating avenues for connecting participants at deeper spiritual level. ------ Intra and Interfaith Dialogues Intra and inter faith dialogues and engagements cashing on convergent commonalities could somewhat ease the process of national integrity and peace building. Interfaith dialogues are defined as whole host of activities and strategies of intervention designed to bring about a state of peaceful relations by conflicting parties, peace building is a complex and dynamic process of changing relationships, perceptions and underlying elements that perpetuate violence. It also implies to strategies that can prevent conflict, terminate it, transform or resolve. Changing behaviours and perceptions of religious conduct is a critical part of peace building. David Little and Scot Appleby explained peace building through religious advocacy in terms of myriad of activities performed by religious actors for the purpose of mitigating and transforming of trust deficit and violence falsely sponsored by religious beliefs and supplanting xenophobic and chauvinistic religious conduct with harmonious pluralistic way of life enabling to bridge the yawning communal gap. Religious peace building entails faith based actors and religious resources such as myths, values and texts to abate violence and promote harmonious life. Most effective tool for religious peace building is interreligious dialogues and constant engagement maintaining the differences. Rampant increase in the ethno-religious conflicts could be instantly checked through inter religious dialogues and gathering which will provide the people the opportunity to know each other and crush the fear caused by ignorance. Hatred of a faithful to other religious people stems from the virtual ignorance of the other. Clash of civilization, maliciously propounded by Samuel Huntington to predict the nature of violence in the post-soviet era, brings the religions, especially Islam, into the dock and wanted the Western hegemony to be imposed upon the world people altogether to ensure the peace dreamt by neo colonial forces. Objecting the arguments of Huntington, Edward Said cited the clash of ignorance as the prime reason for the violence and wanted the civilizational dialogues to clear the mud of fear and ignorance while appreciating the vital role of religions in speeding up the developmental process. To dismantle the apartheid of fear and distrust and to start understanding each other is the first step for active interreligious engagement for the world peace and national development. Interestingly, interreligious dialogues tap the spiritual resources of the religious traditions creating avenues for connecting participants at deeper spiritual level. Using spirituality and moderate religious interpretations as salient sources of commitment to social changes is what distinguishes the interreligious dialogues from other forms of engagements. Religions as a tool with mass appeal among people which supersedes the emotional bonds of nationality and ethnicity makes the revolutionary transformation conducive because religions tracks the deepest rapport between the self and the other. This opinion is backed by Stalov who observes: “When religions engage in deep positive interaction with others people overcome the prejudices and fears and replaces them with mutual understanding, respect and bonhomie. It is high time for religious leaders and statesmen to carve a common platform of cooperation and harmony before religions lead to fatal collision.” Religious harmony is closely associated with nurturing the pluralistic concepts of world religions; in contrast to the hegomonical views of cultural uniformity and religious homogenization. Innovative mechanisms to be formulated by religious leaders will render the religions to be flexible towards the new challenges of violence and enable cultural and social pluralism even though all religious teachings unambiguously reiterate the concept of exclusive truth and success in eschatological life. By fostering the pluralistic reinterpretation of religions, social cohesion, national integration and cultural assimilation are possible. Unification of people owing different affiliations is possible through asserting the universal human values along with maintaining theological and jurisprudential of religious beliefs and practices. Religious harmony and national development through integration and assimilation process The invincibility of the jingoistic political thought that places the nation as the effective binding factor of the citizens, like in Kamalian Turkey and Hitler’s Germany, has failed miserably and instead the concept of multiple identities have been identified as forces behind the mass mobilization. Among all, religious identity occupies central importance. Reports show that conflict-ridden countries lag far behind the stable countries in terms of economic growth and national development because conflicts consume precious sources of nation and hinder the optimal use of human skills. Political stability, national safety and civilian security are the prime concerns of business world when they intend massive investments. Due to this reason hardly turbulent countries get the foreign investment and logistical support to develop. Colonial era witnessed people opposing the concept of ‘nation’ which led to the religious universal movements like Pan Islamic movement of south Asia and Irish liberation movement. Important reason behind this attitude was it delineated the boundaries based on the cunning craftsmanship of imperial forces to perpetuate the oppressive rule. Besides, all religions perceive an imagined global community of believers sans borders and nations. Nevertheless, in the contemporary era this riddle of religious nationalism has been solved as religious leaders and statesmen adopted more realistic approach to limit religions to regional entities. Muslim scholars adopted a more realistic approach rather than idealism. The debates over the nature of religious politics regarding the administration often instigate the radical elements to wage war against the governments only to culminate in the regional disintegration and violence. Recent terror wave unleashed by ISIS to establish an Islamic caliphate is the fitting example. Harmonious atmosphere and mutual coexistence foster national development. As all nations are home to various religions it is important to strike balance among these faiths. Unlike other identities, religious identity is highly vulnerable to exploitation and may even pose threats of separatism and militancy. Commenting on the nature of religious, communal violence in India, K.N Panicker explains the fatal impacts of religious violence in the economic growth of the nation and the severity of jolt to religious fabric that will smoulder for decades. Nowadays conflict resolution ignoring the religious role in social harmonization and reconciliation absolutely deemed unviable. Invoking religious humanism that emphatically brings the religions closer to shared common values of human kind could be used efficiently to address the violence. Scuttling process of integration and assimilation could be easily expedited if the drives in this regard are supported by reinterpretation of religious texts. Analysing the exemplary cultural assimilation of Kerala Muslims Filippo Osella and Caroline Osella reaches the conclusion that contextual and local interpretation of religious texts as to include within the religious framework strong sense of integration was the factor behind the popularization of secular values in Kerala Muslim experiences. Religious insurgency and terrorism are the inevitable outcome of lack of integration and growing sense of alienation and social insecurity. Resurging terrorist attacks in Europe by radicalized Muslims are natural fallout of the indifference both by governments and religious leaders to drive home the crucial demand of integrating the migrated Muslims from the so called Darul Islam (abode of Islam) to the Darul Harb (abode of disbelief). Flexibility of religions to assume various positions from moderation to extremism has attracted less attention by scholars. In case of Islam, it has both extremist position of political hegemony only after the wilful acceptance of people and moderate position while living in a pluralistic society. Problem lies in projecting the only face of extremism totally incompatible with the modernity and overlooking the pluralistic way of religion. Religions nurture national integration and inclusivism in social life, key elements for the national development, given that they share many commonalities pertinent to universal human values. Quran commands people to work for development and prosperity setting aside the minor theological differences because diversity is the essential part of god’s creation. “O People of the Book let us come to a common statement/word (Kalimatin Sawa’in) between us and you. The concept of Hinduism the universe being the single family (Vasudhaiva Kudumbakam) supposed to give and take each other also signifies this point. Common values like peace, love harmony, coexistence and so offer wider platforms for religions to converge at liberal cooperation. The onus lies upon governments and scholars along with civil societies to break the handcuffs of religion and liberate from the narrow perceptions. Appreciating the positive role between religious harmony and national development, Maulana Wahiduddin Khan, chairman Centre for Peace and Spirituality, says that it gives immense opportunity for all people to take part in the economic growth pace of every nations: “Scholars generally define peace as the absence of war. This is a negative definition. The positive definition would be that it is a state in which there are a great many opportunities. The most important role of religious peace is that it opens up the door of opportunities, giving each individual the chance to avail of these opportunities and reach his or her goal. Through violence you can cut down a tree, but violence cannot help you to grow a tree. This is true in the case of human life. In the human world, war only leads to destruction. Peace, however, has a positive role. No constructive work can be done if there is violence, whereas peace facilitates constructive work on its own. Peace paves the way for nation building along the healthy lines.” References Abdul Aziz Bin Abdullah, Bin Baz, “The Beautiful and Lofty Attributes,” Al-Ibaanah 2 (August 1995). Little, David (ed.). Peacemakers in Action: Profiles of Religion and Conflict Resolution. New York: Cambridge University Press , 2007 . Mohammed Nasir al-Din al-Albani, The Knowledge of Current Affairs, trans. by Abu Talhah Dawud Ibn Ronald Burbank (Birmingham, UK: Jam’iat Ihyaa’ Minhaaj Al Sunnah, 1994). Olivier Roy, Globalised Islam: The Search for a New Ummah (London: Hurst Publishers, 2004). Shaikh Ahmad Fareed, On the Issue of Takfeer (Ipswich, UK: Jam’iat Ihyaa’ Minhaaj Al-Sunnah, 1997). Stéphane Lacroix, Awakening Islam: The Politics of Religious Dissent in Contemporary Saudi Arabia, trans. George Holoch (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2011), Swidler , Leonard (ed.). Muslims in Dialogue: The Evolution of a Dialogue over a Generation. Lewiston, NY : Edwin Mellen Press , 1992 . Little, David and Scott Appleby . “A Moment of Opportunity? The Promise of Religious Peace building in an Era of Religious and Ethnic Conflict,” in Religion and Peace building, eds. H. Coward and G.S. Smith . Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 2004. ----- Part One of the Article: Islam And Religious Dialogue: A Thematic Study - Part One ------ Grace Mubashir is a journalism student at IIMC, Delhi URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Seeing Dr Abdus Salam's 'Theism' In a Broader Canvas and Context

By Sumit Paul, New Age Islam 24 May 2022 Religious Orthodoxy and the Spirit of Intolerance Are Two of the Major Factors Responsible For Killing the Once Flourishing Enterprise of Science in Islam Main Points: 1. Why should a Muslim, a Sunni at that, have any truck with Salam's faith or no-faith? 2. Abdus Salam is a non-Muslim in Pakistan and to most of the Sunnis, he's a heretic. 3. Go beyond your religiocentric vision and see good in all things made by nature. ----- Mohammad Abdus Salam was a Pakistani theoretical physicist and a Nobel Prize laureate ----- Many years ago, Pakistani physicist Pervez Hoodbhoy, well-known for his staunchly secularist views, asked the Nobel laureate Dr Abdus Salam to write the preface for his book Islam and Science: Coexistence and Conflict, he expected his more devout colleague to decline. Salam stunned Hoodbhoy by agreeing and beginning his preface by stating, “I completely agree with him that religious orthodoxy and the spirit of intolerance are two of the major factors responsible for killing the once flourishing enterprise of Science in Islam.” The preface goes on with Salam joining Hoodbhoy in opposing the “Islamic Science” movement: “I agree with the statement that there is only one universal Science; that its problems and modalities are international and that there is no such thing as ‘Islamic Science’ just as there is no ‘Hindu Science,’ no ‘Jewish Science,’ no ‘Confucian Science,’ nor ‘Christian Science." Austin Dacey's above-mentioned excerpts from 'Unification of Forces' puts the legendary physicist Dr Salam's 'religiosity' in perspective. It's not his religiosity or non-religiosity that should matter to an obstinate Muslim believer or a non-Muslim non-believer. 'Faith is a contextualised perception,' wrote the Brazilian philosopher and popular writer Paulo Coelho. And remember, seeing is not always believing. When I met Khuswant Singh at his residence in Sujan Singh Park in Delhi in 2011, I asked him off the record whether the world-renowned scientist was really a profound believer. En passant, Khuswant was one of the first journalists in India who interviewed Salam after he got the Nobel in 1979. He (Khuswant Singh) also carried a long article in his long-defunct magazine, ' New Delhi.' Khuswant, himself an agnostic, told me that it was his firm belief that Dr Salam's religiosity was a very fine gesture on behalf of his beleaguered Ahmadiyya community, persecuted by Sunnis, across the world, esp. back home (Pakistan). Dr Salam wanted to send across the message of being a deeply religious person so that his perceived community of Ahmadiyyas in Pakistan got a modicum of respectability (and also safety) because Qadiyanis or Ahmadiyyas are considered to be heretics, atheists and non-Muslims. Didn't Gabriel Marquez say so tellingly, " Every individual has three personalities: Public, Private and SECRET. A Pakistani scholar told me that Javed Iqbal (son of Dr Muhammad Iqbal), who was a friend and coeval of Dr Salam, subtly suggested that he (Salam) should retain his (devout) religious identity for the sake of his community. Mind you, Iqbal's family had a natural inclination towards the Ahmadiyya sect and Iqbal always supported the Qadiyanis. Though, it could be debatable, to the point of being apocryphal. Moreover, when the ever-grateful Nobel laureate visited Calcutta on January 19, 1981 to pay his respects to Professor Anilendra Ganguly, who taught him Mathematics at Sanatan Dharma College in Lahore, a lady journalist from the now defunct Bangla broadsheet Jugantar (Bangla edition of The Amrita Bazar Patrika) asked his apercus on god, religion and personal belief, the mild-mannered scientist just smiled. Here I reiterate, my objective is not projecting him as a theist or atheist. This is a stupid debate that has no end. Neither a theist will get a Nobel for proving Salam to be a believer nor an atheist will get anything if he can prove that the man had no faith and no belief. Moreover, why should a Muslim, a Sunni at that, have any truck with Salam's faith or no-faith? He's a non-Muslim in Pakistan and to most of the Sunnis, he's a heretic. That's it. What matters is his trenchant comment upon the misnomer: Islamic Science. Science is science. It's a universal concept and the legacy of mankind, not the prerogative of any specific religion, race or community. Now the majoritarian in India are emulating the hidebound Muslims in claiming that their ancient texts have plastic surgery, space science and rockets. Rubbish! It's time to drop such sectarian nomenclature and surge ahead. Science belongs to mankind, regardless of religious stripes. When Arabs were giving Astronomy, Cipher, Theorems (sorry, Newton cannot be called the Father of Differential Calculus), the camera obscura, the elephant clock, Al-Idrisi's world map, Al-Zahrawi's surgical instruments (scalpel is still used) and even decibel system (though it's still uncertain) to the world, Aryabhatta was giving Sinusoidal functions, solution of quadratic equations and the Value of Pai, Diameter of Earth, among others. Greeks gave Geometry, culminating in Euclid's Elements, the odometer, the alarm clock and water mill, Pythagoras, Archimedes etc. to the world. Ancient Babylonians and Egyptians also contributed significantly. Look at the symmetry of Pyramids, esp, the Giza Pyramids, built aeons ago. So, scientific development is a concerted endeavour which has a cumulative outcome. Go beyond your religiocentric vision and see good in all things made by nature. That'll be the epitome of faith and epicentre of man's religiosity without which most of the humans cannot survive. ---- 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: 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

Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Father of Modern Indian Renaissance, Was Among India's First Liberals

Raja Ram Mohan Roy Was One of the Greatest Reformers of India Main Points: 1. He was behind the abolition of Sati. 2. He was behind te establishment of Presidency College, Anglo-Hindu College and Scottish Church College. 3. He founded Brahmo Samaj. 4. He translated Upanishads into Bangla. ----- By New Age Islam Staff Writer 24 May 2022 As India grapples increasingly with changing social and religious circumstances, Roy’s work in the sphere of women’s emancipation, modernising education and seeking changes to religious orthodoxy finds new relevance in this time. (Image/Wikimedia Commons) ----- Raja Ram Mohan Roy was born on May 22, 1772. During this period, Hindu society was plagued by many social ills and superstitious beliefs. Dowry custom, Sati, child marriage, polygamy and illiteracy was prevalent. Born into a Brahmin family, he was pained at the high-handedness of Brahmins and upper caste Hindus and the exploitation of the lower castes and the downtrodden. Therefore, he undertook the task of reforming the Hindu society. His extensive knowledge of different religions shaped up his religious philosophy. He realised that monotheism was the core of all religions. Therefore, he translated Upanishads into Bangla to make Hindus of their monotheistic roots. To promote monotheism among Hindus Raja Ram Mohan Roy along with Devendranath Thakur founded the Brahmo Samaj. To bring about educational development among the Indian, he helped in the establishment of the Presidency College, Anglo-Hindu College and Scottish Church College. He together with Vidyasagar prevailed over the British government to abolish the custom of Sati. Therefore, Raja Rammohan Roy is rightly called the father of modern Indian renaissance. --- On Raja Ram Mohan Roy’s 250th Birth Anniversary, Remembering The Legacy Of The Father Of Modern Indian Renaissance By Paromita Chakrabarti May 23, 2022 One of the most influential social and religious reformers of the 19th century, Ram Mohan Roy, born on May 22, 1772 in what was then Bengal Presidency’s Radhanagar in Hooghly district, would have turned 250 years today. As India grapples increasingly with changing social and religious circumstances, Roy’s work in the sphere of women’s emancipation, modernising education and seeking changes to religious orthodoxy finds new relevance in this time. In Makers of Modern India (Penguin Books, 2010), a book that profiles the “work and words of the men and women who argued the Republic of India into existence”, its editor, historian Ramachandra Guha, writes, “Roy was unquestionably the first person on the subcontinent to seriously engage with the challenges posed by modernity to traditional social structures and ways of being. He was also one of the first Indians whose thought and practice were not circumscribed by the constraints of kin, caste and religion.” Early Life Born into a prosperous upper-caste Brahmin family, Roy grew up within the framework of orthodox caste practices of his time: child-marriage, polygamy and dowry were prevalent among the higher castes and he had himself been married more than once in his childhood. The family’s affluence had also made the best in education accessible to him. A polyglot, Roy knew Bengali and Persian, but also Arabic, Sanskrit, and later, English. His exposure to the literature and culture of each of these languages bred in him a scepticism towards religious dogmas and social strictures. In particular, he chafed at practices such as Sati that compelled widows to be immolated on their husband’s funeral pyre. Roy’s sister-in-law had been one such victim after his elder brother’s death, and it was a wound that stayed with him. The waning of the Mughals and the ascendancy of the East India Company in Bengal towards the end of the 18th century was also the time when Roy was slowly coming into his own. His education had whetted his appetite for philosophy and theology, and he spent considerable time studying the Vedas and the Upanishads, but also religious texts of Islam and Christianity. He was particularly intrigued by the Unitarian faction of Christianity and was drawn by the precepts of monotheism that, he believed, lay at the core of all religious texts. He wrote extensive tracts on various matters of theology, polity and human rights, and translated and made accessible Sanskrit texts into Bengali. “Rammohun did not quite make a distinction between the religious and the secular. He believed religion to be the site of all fundamental changes. What he fought was not religion but what he believed to be its perversion… (Rabindranath) Tagore called him a ‘Bharatpathik’ by which he meant to say that Rammohun combined in his person the underlying spirit of Indic civilisation, its spirit of pluralism, tolerance and a cosmic respect for all forms of life,” says historian Amiya P Sen, Sivadasani Fellow at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies, Oxford, UK, whose Rammohun Roy: A Critical Biography (Penguin, Viking, 2012), remains a definitive work on the man who was a key figure in India’s journey into modernism. Roy, the First among Liberals Even though British consolidation of power was still at a nascent stage in India at the time, Roy could sense that change was afoot. Confident about the strength of his heritage and open to imbibing from other cultures what he believed were ameliorative practices, Roy was among India’s first liberals. In the introduction to his biography of Roy, Sen writes, “…his mind also reveals a wide range of interests, rarely paralleled in the history of Indian thought. He was simultaneously interested in religion, politics, law and jurisprudence, commerce and agrarian enterprise, Constitutions and civic rights, the unjust treatment of women and the appalling condition of the Indian poor… And he studied matters not in the abstract or in academic solitude but with the practical objective of securing human happiness and freedom. That made him a modern man.” In 1814, he started the Atmiya Sabha (Society of Friends), to nurture philosophical discussions on the idea of monotheism in Vedanta and to campaign against idolatry, casteism, child marriage and other social ills. The Atmiya Sabha would make way for the Brahmo Sabha in 1828, set up with Debendranath Tagore, Rabindranath Tagore’s father. Abolition Of Sati, Educational And Religious Reforms During the course of his time in Kolkata (formerly Calcutta), a period of about 15 years, Roy became a prominent public intellectual. He campaigned for the modernisation of education, in particular the introduction of a Western curriculum, and started several educational institutions in the city. In 1817, he collaborated with Scottish philanthropist David Hare to set up the Hindu College (now, Presidency University). He followed it up with the Anglo-Hindu School in 1822 and, in 1830, assisted Alexander Duff to set up the General Assembly’s Institution, which later became the Scottish Church College. It was his relentless advocacy alongside contemporaries such as Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar that finally led to the abolition of Sati under the governor generalship of William Bentinck in 1829. Roy argued for the property rights of women, and petitioned the British for freedom of the press (in 1829 and 1830). His Brahmo Sabha, that later became the Brahmo Samaj, evolved as a reaction against the upper-caste stranglehold on social customs and rituals. During the Bengal Renaissance, it ushered in sweeping social changes and birthed the Brahmo religion, a reformed spiritual Hinduism that believes in monotheism and the uniformity of all men, irrespective of caste, class or creed. Perils of Non-Conformism As many modern liberals discover to their peril, non-conformism brings with it its own share of infamy. Roy, who was given the title of Raja by the Mughal emperor Akbar II, was no exception to this. Among the first Indians to gain recognition in the UK and in America for his radical thoughts, in his lifetime, Roy was also often attacked by his own countrymen who felt threatened by his reformist agenda, and by British reformers and functionaries, whose views differed from his. Would Roy’s reformist agenda have met with equal if not more resistance in contemporary India? After all, in 2019, actor Payal Rohatgi had launched an offensive against Roy on Twitter, accusing him of being a British stooge who was used to “defame” Sati. Sen says Roy’s legacy has not been celebrated enough for many historic reasons, of which partisan reading by the Hindu right is one, but “His life and message stands vastly apart from the spirit of contemporary Hindutva or exclusionary, political Hinduism.” Celebrations Roy’s 250th birth anniversary will see year-long celebrations in different parts of the country. In West Bengal, the unveiling of a statue at Raja Rammohun Roy Library Foundation, Salt Lake, by GK Reddy, Minister of Culture; Tourism; and Development of North Eastern Region, will mark the inauguration of the Centre’s celebration plans. The West Bengal state government has overseen repairs of Roy’s ancestral house in Radhanagar, and is set to confer heritage status to it. The Sadharan Brahmo Samaj in Kolkata has organised a three-day inaugural programme from May 22 to May 24 that will see musical tributes and talks by Rajya Sabha MP and retired diplomat Jawhar Sircar; eminent academics and historians such as Suranjan Das, vice-chancellor, Jadavpur University; Rudrangshu Mukherjee, chancellor, Ashoka University; professor Arun Bandyopadhyay of Calcutta University, among others. A philatelic exhibition on the Bengali Renaissance has been organised by the Rammohun Library and Free Reading Room, set up in 1904. The organisation will also publish a commemorative volume. Source: On Raja Ram Mohan Roy’s 250th Birth Anniversary, Remembering The Legacy Of The Father Of Modern Indian Renaissance URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism