Monday, February 28, 2022

Russian Invasion of Ukraine Has Lessons for Muslim Countries

Putin Sees Growing Influence of NATO In The Region As A Security Threat Main Points: 1. US-led NATO destroyed Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan. 2. It also wanted to destroy Syria. 3. Now Putin sees a re-run of Middle East civil war in his neighbourhood. ----- By New Age Islam Staff Writer 28 February 2022 Protesters at a peace march for Ukraine in Boston on Sunday. Credit...Vanessa Leroy for The New York Times ------ The Russian invasion of Ukraine, an erstwhile province of the former USSR has some lessons for the Islamic world. Russia invaded Ukraine because it feared that Ukraine will also take membership of 30 member military alliance called NATO and will cause a security threat to it. Russia thought it wise to strike a regime change in Ukraine before it formally becomes a member of NATO. Therefore, it was s pre-emptive strike. The US and other NATO allies left Ukraine alone when the actual war began. Intriguingly NATO did not respond even when Russia hit the ships of Romania,. NATO member and Japan which has close ties with NATO. NATO is a military Alliance of 30 countries of which only two, Turkey and Albania are Muslim majority countries with only Turkey having some political clout. Prior to war the US and the other members of NATO provoked Ukraine against Russia but when Russia invaded Ukraine, the US and other powerful members of NATO backtracked and only imposed economic sanctions against Russia as they had a powerful country like Russia throwing a challenge to them. When the US did not come to the rescue of Ukraine on the basis that it was not s member of NATO, Russia put another challenge before the US by hitting Romania and Japan. Still the US did not have the courage to attack Russia. This is the same US and NATO which ravaged three Muslim majority countries in the name of war on terror. The US first destroyed Iraq because Saddam Hussein was a big impediment to the trade and military interests of the US in the region. The US attacked Iraq on the pretext of liberating Kuwait but is silent on liberating or protecting Ukraine which is a Christian majority country. The US and NATO destroyed Iraq fully and brought a regime change in Iraq on the pretext of disarming Iraq of weapons of mass destruction. The US and UK spread the lie that Saddam Hussein had piled up weapons of mass destruction and was supporting terrorism though a UN inspection team had declared that it had found absolutely no evidence of the existence of WMDs just before the start of the invasion. Iraq was fully destroyed with the help of a lie. Next was Afghanistan. The US and NATO attacked Afghanistan after 9/11 attacks and NATO-led UN-mandated International Security force (ISAF) was stationed in Afghanistan in order to create the conditions whereby the Afghan government could exercise its authority through the country and build the capacity of the Afghan national security forces including in the fight against international terrorists. But after staying in. Afghanistan for two decades the US and other powerful nations surprisingly could not build the military capacity of the Afghan security forces to fight Taliban. In fact they themselves could not eliminate Taliban and had a peace agreement with them in 2020. They left the Ashraf Ghani government helpless when the Taliban captured power in Afghanistan in the same way they left Ukraine alone when Putin attacked.The US is now co-operating with Taliban government whom it earlier considered terrorists. The next victim in line was Libya's Muammar Gaddafi who was an eyesore for the US imperialism. The US and NATO took the Arab Spring as an opportunity to bring a regime change in Libya in 2011. When the uprising reached Libya after Egypt and Tunisia, Qaddafi tried to crush the rebellion with force. In a speech he had threatened the rebels to chase the protesters from street to street, alley to alley, home to home and person to person. He had also reportedly asked his supporters to cleanse Benghazi. This gave the US and the NATO a tool to attack Libya and bring a regime change. They succeeded in getting Resolution 1973 passed in the UNSC against Libya and to implement the resolution, multi-state NATO-led coalition began military intervention in Libya on 19 March 2011 to 'protect the people ‘of Libya and to punish Gadhafi for 'crimes against Humanity' though in practice the US Defence Secretary had no confirmation of real attacks on citizens. The NATO's claim that it invaded Libya to protect the citizens was proved false because the rebels killed black Libyans and destroyed whole villages of black Libyans and raped black women in the refugee camps. The rebels had the backing of NATO because both wanted Gadhafi out. The operation ended with complete destruction of Libya and Gadhafi’s death in October. The US-led NATO had also wanted to destroy Syria because Bashar al Asad had close trade and military ties with arch enemy Russia but Syria survived because of strong backing of Russia. The US and UK had even tried to prove that Syria had used chemical weapons against rebels and Saudi Arabia's Intelligence Minister Bandar bin Sultan had even visited Putin to persuade him to remain neutral but Putin threatened to attack Saudi Arabia if the US had attacked Syria. This serve as a deterrent and Syria wash saved. Before the NATO attack on Iraq in March 2003, 3 million people had protested against war in February and 36 million people worldwide had organised 3000 protests against American war mongering but it did not listen and destroyed Iraq and killed Saddam. Now as the world media is in the hands of the western countries a media blitzkrieg will be launched against Putin and he will be portrayed as Dracula, demon and famous personalities, sportspersons, actors, politicians who remained silent during the NATO game of death and destruction in Middle East will condemn Russian barbarism. and the US and the NATO members who killed millions of innocent people in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya and supported the terrorist outfit ISIS whom Putin called 'liver eaters', when Obama had met Putin to seek his support to them against Bashar Al Assad, will be portrayed as flagbearers of peace. War cannot be supported and Putin's military adventure or misadventure in Ukraine cannot be justified as it will result in death and destruction but the question is: Should Putin allow the US and NATO to play the same game of death and destruction in Eurasia that it has played in the Middle-East, Afghanistan and Africa? 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

Religious Nudity vs. Religious Veiling

By S. Arshad, New Age Islam 28 February 2022 In A Multicultural Society Like India, Veiling Should Also Be Accepted If Nakedness Is Acceptable On Religious Grounds Main Points: 1. In India even Hindu women have covered their faces with Ghoonghat. 2. Muslims are divided on face cover as Jains are divided on clothing. 3. Both Muslims and government should show some flexibility on the issue. ----- Tarun Sagar was greatly respected by various politicians including PM Modi, Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar and Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje. (Photo: DNA) ----- In October 2016, the Digamber Jain Saint Tarun Sagar had been invited by the Education Minister of Haryana, Ram Vilas Sharma to preach a sermon in the Haryana Assembly. He had accepted the invitation and come to the Assembly and delivered his sermon for forty minutes. According to his religious principles, he was totally naked though there were some women MLAs also present in the assembly. Questions were raised on the legitimacy of the event on the social media. Questions were raised as to how a monk or a Saint can be invited to address an audience in a public comprising women while sitting completely naked. Reacting to the event, a woman columnist Sanjukta Basu had written an article that was published in Firstpost. She wrote about India's laws on obscenity and the justification of permitting a religious guru to deliver a sermon in an Assembly while naked. She wrote: "Section 294 of Indian Penal Code defines the crime of obscenity: Whoever to the annoyance of others a) does any obscene act in any public place or b) sings, recites or utters any obscene song, ballad or words in or near any public place." She further wrote: "Of course the law is very ambiguous. The main test is that of annoyance. Courts have held that no act is per se obscene or vulgar unless it causes annoyance (2005 (3) ALD 220). But what constitutes annoyance? Who are others? What is a public place? When a formal event is organised in a workplace where women go as part of their ordinary duties that choice is kind of taken away. But this is not just one day in Haryana Assembly or just about a few women. What example is being set? Tomorrow it could be a school or college --- a nude body should not be forced upon a female gaze in any way. Nudity in the workplace would amount to sexual harassment but why doesn't religious nudity? Is it because it is about what the religious man intends and not how the non-religious female gaze receives the body?" ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Also Read: Indian Muslims Should Adopt A Realistic Approach To Hijab Issue ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- To many this analogy to the Hijab issue may not sound appropriate but in a multicultural society like India it sounds bizarre that religious veil or Hijab causes annoyance to many but religious nudity does not. India is not a culturally homogenous society like France where uniformity in looks and dress is expected and so if Hijab is banned there, it is seen as lack of knowledge to cultural sensitivities of others. But in India where veiling and nudity are both part of religion and culture and people of different geographical regions wear different clothing. Images by Abhishek | This photograph was taken during the Naga sadhus procession while the crowd looks on ---- There are Naga sadhus whose nudity does not cause annoyance to any one so as to fall under obscenity. Again when a rape happens, it is said that scantily clad women encourage rape. The Muslim college girls were barred from attending college because it annoyed the boys associated with a particular ideology. The arguments the girls presented was that the Hijab or veil was among their Essential Religious Practices just as the Jain monk said nudity was his Essential Religious Practice. In India not only Muslim women use veil or face cover but for centuries Hindu women have used Ghoonghat, a part of sari to cover their face. In a joint family the bride or the daughter in law had to draw Ghoonghat over her face the whole day because she was supposed not to show her face to the senior male members of the family. In modern society too young Hindu girls cover their face with scarf or stole for security reasons. Some high profile rape cases, in the country have instilled a sense of fear and insecurity among the girls. By covering their face they avoid unwanted glares and enjoy the comfort of anonymity. Incidents of posting of photos of girls in the social media by rogue elements have also made no-Muslim girls to opt for face cover. However, since there is no religious compulsion of covering the face in Hinduism, so Hindu girls are not rigid on the issue of covering the face and so they remove the scarf where uncovering the face is required. In case of Muslim girls, since veil or Hijab is seen as a religious ordainment, the Hijab or veil becomes a religious identity. Hence the rigidly. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Also Read: Hijab Is Not Only A Religious Dress But Also Represents Various Social And Psychological Aspects Of Society ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- The girls who are ready to leave their career for veils or Hijab are not aware that in many Muslim countries veil is banned. In 2009, Egypt's Al Azhar University banned veil or niqab in all female classrooms and dormitories in all its affiliate colleges and educational institutes. In Saudi Arabia there have never been clear cut rules mandating Hijab or Niqab. The black Abaya was imposed because of the pressure of the religious section. The present government has lifted the Hijab. Now it is not compulsory. In India too, Hijab or veil is worn by a section of women and girls while other section does not wear hijab or veil. The choice is entirely theirs. In Karnataka, Muskan Khan was hailed by Muslims for wearing Hijab while a Kashmiri girl who was a topper in class 12 was criticised for not wearing Hijab. In a society where girls face harassment, cat calls, or harassment on social media, they have found Hijab or face cover as a protective cover irrespective of religious affiliation. The Indian government has not banned Hijab or veil and so educational institutions may adopt some leniency In view of the sensitive nature of the issue. Whether veil or face cover is cited in Quran or Hadith is a debatable issue as different Ulema have interpreted Quran and hadith differently. Some say veil is mentioned in the Quran while others say it is not just as Digamber Jains and Shwetambar Jains differ on dress. In short, as religious nudity is allowed and accepted in a multicultural society like India, religious veil should also be acceptable. However, a degree of flexibility is desired from both the Muslims and the government on the issue. ----- 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

NASA Findings Corroborate the Quran's Theory of Contracting Atmosphere

This Finding Is Latest Corroboration of Quran's Position on Scientific Topics Main points: 1. NASA scientists have found that earth's atmosphere is contracting. 2. The Quran also says the earth is gradually contracting from its edges. 3. Quran was the first to state that earth rotated and revolved round the sun. ------ By New Age Islam Correspondent 28 February 2022 NASA maintains a fleet of earth science spacecraft and instruments in orbit studying all aspects of the earth system (oceans, land, atmosphere, biosphere, cryosphere), with more planned for launch in the next few years. ----- The holy Quran is a divine religious book revealed in the 7th century but it has statements on scientific topics as well. The topics range from physics, astronomy, zoology, biology, geology etc. The statements on scientific facts are only hints that inspire researchers and thinkers to delve deep into nature and explore the universe for themselves. For the last 1400 years the holy Quran has guided man to scientific discoveries or has corrected wrong scientific hypotheses proposed by philosophers, natural scientists and researchers. One of the scientific discoveries that was attributed to Copernicus of the 16th century A.D. was the Heliocentric Theory which said that the earth rotated and revolved round the sun. Later in the 18th century Kepler proposed the theory of orbital motion of planets round the sun based on Copernican theory. However, Copernicus had acknowledged that he borrowed ideas from Muslim scientists Al Battani, Al Bitruji, Thabit ibn Qurra, Averroes and Al Urdi and Ibn Al Shatir who lived during the 13th century. This strengthens the belief that Muslim scientists had received guidance on the topic from the Quran which clearly said that the planets revolve in an orbit and the sun rotates on its axis. And the sun run its course for a term and place appointed for it. That is the decree of the Al-Mighty and All-Knowing"(Yasin: 38) "It is not for the sun to overtake moon nor does the night outstrip the day. They all float each in an orbit."(Yasin: 40) Through these verses, the holy Quran refuted the hypothesis of Greek philosophers that the earth was static and the skies revolved. Similarly, the Quran asked its readers to study the Bees. An Austrian scientist Karl Von Frisch researched on the life and movements of bees and won the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine along with Nikolaas Tinbergen and Konrad Lorenz in 1973. He had written a book titled Aus Dem Leben Der Bien (The Dancing Bees) in 1927. In his book he had presented the theory that honey bees send signals to other bees through a particular dance like movement when they see a flower or fruit. The scientists had then rejected his theory. Therefore he researched on the bees and proved his theory with facts and evidences. The Quran had said to the Bees: “Then eat from all the fruits and follow the ways of your Lord laid down (for you). There emerged from their bellies a drink varying in colours in which there is healing for people. Indeed in that is a sign for a people who give thought."(Al Nahl: 68-69) The dance like movement of honey bees is subtly hinted by the word "ways" and there is sign for a people who give thought (group of scientists, researchers) The Quran has also made statements on the types of rocks which finds corroboration in later day scientific studies... The Quran also detailed the stages of conception of foetus in the womb and its evolutionary stages in the 7th century when biological science was not much developed. The Quran also spoke of Big Bang Theory which science corroborated in the 20th century. However, it is also true that the Big Bang was earlier mentioned in the Upanishads. ------------------------------------------------------------------ Also Read: Environment And Human Life Are Inter-Dependent in all World Religions ------------------------------------------------------------------ These are only some examples of Quran's contribution to the scientific advancement and to the refutation of wrong scientific theories. Now the latest scientific findings by NASA in 2021on the gradual reduction of Earth's atmosphere has proved Quran's position on the subject true. According to reports, scientists of NASA have found that parts of the upper atmosphere are gradually contracting in response to rising human-made greenhouse gas emissions. The report says: "Combined data from three NASA satellites have produced a long term record that reveals the mesosphere, the layer of the atmosphere 30 to 50 miles above the surface is cooling and contracting. Scientists have long predicted this effect of human driven climate change, but it has been difficult to observe the trends overtime. Together the satellites provided about 30 years of observations, indicating that the summer atmosphere over earth's poles is cooling four to five degrees Fahrenheit and contracting 500 to 650 feet per decade. Without changes in human carbon dioxide emissions the researchers expect these rates to continue." (Photo courtesy: Slide Share) ----- The holy Quran had stated or predicted this phenomenon long before the modern science discovered it. 1400 years ago the Quran had said: “Don’t they see that We gradually reduce the earth from its outline borders."(Ar Rad: 41) In other verse, the Quran reiterates this fact: "Don't they see that We gradually reduce the earth from its outlying borders."(Al Anbiya: 44) The NASA scientists have ascribed this phenomenon of Contracting Atmosphere to human driven climate change. Quran also cited human driven climate change as the cause of the gradual contraction of atmosphere. See this verse: "Fasad (corruption or pollution has spread on land and sea, the result of man's earning, they should be made to taste the consequences of their deeds so that they may retract."(Ar Rum: 41) It sounds very similar or identical. The current findings of NASA is the latest corroboration of Quranic positions on scientific topics. Earlier scientists of 20th century had proposed hypothesis that the earth was expanding. Expanding earth theory was proposed by Robert Mantorani in 1909 who thought that the continental drift occurred due to the expansion of the earth. But later the scientific community found significant evidence that contradicted the Expanding Earth theory. The latest findings by NASA has refuted Expanding Earth theory and the Quran's position on Contraction of earth's atmosphere was corroborated. (File Photo) ----- Therefore, the holy Quran has once again proved that Zalikal Kitabu La Raiba Fih. (There is no room for doubt in this book). It keeps evolving with time and keeps itself relevant even in a fast changing universe. That's why it's called a miracle and its sentences are called Ayat (sign or God's miracle). 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

An Anti-Forced Conversion Law Is Urgently Required in Pakistan to Protect the Minority Rights Given under Islam

Forced Conversion Is Reportedly On The Rise In Pakistan, Yet It Is Forbidden In Islam Main Points 1. Approximately 1,000 girls between the ages of 12 and 25 are forcibly converted to Islam and married to their abductors in Pakistan. 2. According to Islam, if a non-Muslim is compelled to say the words of the Islamic faith but does not really believe in the fundamentals of Islam, he will not become a Muslim. Then why such dark ignorance! 3. According to Hazrat Umar Farooq, non-Muslims live in an Islamic country under the protection of Allah and the Prophet (peace be upon him). ------- By New Age Islam Staff Writer 28 February 2022 People in Pakistan demonstrated two days ago in the Okara District of Punjab Province, demanding an end to forced conversions of teenage females and passage of the Anti-Forced Conversions Bill. The protestors are totally valid and correct in their demand. Forced conversions have become a major concern in Pakistan. Despite international and human rights organisations' efforts to eliminate forced conversions and marriages, Pakistan's government has shown only inconsistent interest in expanding religious, policy, and dialogue frameworks to protect the safety of minority girls and women Every year, approximately 1,000 girls between the ages of 12 and 25 are forcibly converted to Islam and married to their abductors in Pakistan, according to a report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Pakistani Minorities, a scenario described as a "human rights disaster." The report also highlighted the rapidly growing practice of forced conversions and weddings, pointing to the government's terrible handling of much-needed measures to address this heinous crime. ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Also Read: Can Muslims Force Non-Muslims To Convert To Islam? Why No Outrage Among Ulema On Reports Of Forced Conversions From Different Countries, Particularly Pakistan? ------------------------------------------------------------------------- According to media sources, Pakistan's minority councillors expressed worry in January about the lack of security for religious minorities as the country saw a sharp spike in occurrences of forced conversion, with cases jumping from 15 in 2020 to over 60 in 2021. More than 70% of those who were forcibly converted were minor females. The fact that there is no law in place to prevent this from happening is concerning. The Prohibition of Forced Conversion Act of 2021 was prepared and presented to the legislature, however, it was voted down because "it would pose further problems for minorities." Both the forced conversions and the subsequent underage marriages are major human rights crimes that must be addressed through appropriate legislation that prohibits both. Furthermore, councils should be established to determine if a person is acting autonomously or under coercion while converting to a different religion. Pakistan is already a harsh environment for minorities, and issues like forced conversions exacerbate the situation. Such reports are widely available on the internet, and their veracity is a major source of concern. In Islam, the concept of forced conversion is unacceptable. Is this happening in Pakistan as a result of ignorance? If it's ignorance, why aren't Muslim clerics and Ulema publicly condemning this inhumane and anti-Islamic practise? Is it possible for someone to become a Muslim or Muslimah after being forcibly converted to Islam? This is a fundamental concept that being a Muslim entails a heartfelt belief in one God and the recognition of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) as a real Messenger of Allah. A person does not become a Muslim only by pronouncing the words of Tawhid (Kalima) and praying the namaz (salaat) unless he or she has believes in Tawhid and Prophethood by heart. ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Also Read: What Is Iman And How Can A Person Be A Momin, Believer Or Muslim? No Way to Forced Conversion ------------------------------------------------------------------------- While it is apparent that the words of Tawhid and Islamic faith can be forced out of one's mouth, they cannot be forced out of one's heart. If a Muslim is forced to say words of unbelief while his heart is pleased with Islam, he does not become a disbeliever, according to the principle given in the holy Quran (16:106). Similarly, if a non-Muslim is compelled to say the words of the Islamic faith but does not really believe in the fundamentals of Islam, he will not become a Muslim. Imran Khan, the Pakistani Prime Minister, has frequently mentioned his desire to operate on the model of the State of Medina [Riyasat-e-Medina]. This was just a so-called Riyasat-e-Medina promise because the forced conversion was not permissible in the State of Medina, nor was the notion of being labelled a Muslim if forcibly converted. If he is truly interested in the Riyasat-e-Medina, he must pass an anti-conversion bill in order to protect minority rights, as well as keep in mind the following teachings of the Prophet Muhammad Peace be upon him: If the non-Muslims living in a Muslim country are attacked by an enemy, the Muslim government is obligated to fight on their behalf. Non-Muslims living under the Islamic government shall not be forced to convert to any other religion. It is the legal obligation of the Islamic government to protect the life, wealth, caravan, trade and land of non-Muslim citizens. Everything they already have in their possession will be kept in their possession. Their priests, Mahants, Pandits and clergy shall not be removed from their positions. ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Also Read: Forced Conversion is Unethical and Against the Will of Allah ------------------------------------------------------------------------- (Books for reference: See (1) Kitāb Futūḥ al-Buldān (“Book of the Conquest of the Countries/Lands”) authored by the 9th-century Persian historian Ahmad Ibn Yahya al-Baladhuri of Abbasid-era Baghdad or (2) Kitāb al-Kharāj (Book of taxation), a classic text on Fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence), written by Imam Abū Yusūf Yaʻqūb Ibrāhīm al-Anṣārī al-Kūfī) The preceding Islamic teachings were given by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Pakistan must act quickly to pass a bill prohibiting forced conversions for the protection of minorities. The government should also learn from Hazrat Umar (may Allah be pleased with him), the second caliph of Islam, who stated, “The non-Muslims who live in our country are under the protection of Allah (God) and the Prophet.” (Kitāb Futūḥ al-Buldān) (File Photo) -------- The non-Muslims live in Islamic countries under the protection of Allah and the Prophet (peace be upon him). This means that Allah and his beloved Prophet have commanded to protect the rights given to the non-Muslims, such as the right to life and the right to religious freedom etc. Therefore the state authorities must take a genuine interest in safeguarding their rights under Islam. 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

Saturday, February 26, 2022

Dialogue to Bridge Christian And Islamic Studies

By Fr. Midhun J Francis Kochukallan, SJ, New Age Islam 26 February 2022 On 23 February 2022, the dean of the faculty of Missiology at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, Prof. Bryan Lobo SJ, presented the book “A Call to Dialogue: Christians in Dialogue with Muslims”. It was edited by Prof. Ambrogio Bongiovanni and Joseph Victor Edwin SJ. Professor Ambrogio Bongiovanni is a professor at the faculty of Missiology at the Gregorian University and Joseph Victor Edwin SJ teaches at the Vidya Jyoti College of theology in Delhi. Call to Dialogue is a volume of essays gathered from the last forty volumes of Salaam, a journal of the Islamic Studies Association, Delhi. It commemorates the fortieth anniversary of the Islamic Studies Association, Delhi. Dean Bryan Lobo introduced the book by focusing on the qualities that the title had pulled his attention to. He continued, “on the one hand, I see that the term ‘dialogue’ is commonly used in church. The concept of getting into another world and going out, of calling to dialogue, is still relevant today. Pope Francis’ description of the church as an outgoing church, a summons to leave one world and enter another, has a challenge in it, as well as a commitment to mission. Furthermore, he explained that the mission is not just to make friends, but to also deal with numerous challenges on many levels, and not just intellectually. However, the authors are also talking or writing things on a practical level, and therefore, in the dean's remarks, he said, “I have seen the blending of four forms of dialogue”. This was already said in the document in 1984, and it was also mentioned in the book's introduction by Ambrogio. These articles, in some ways, push us to these various levels with our Muslim friends. The Book “A Call to Dialogue: Christians in Dialogue with Muslims” ---- The preface to the book was written by Diego Ossario, the President at Pontifical Institute for Arabic and Islamic Studies (PISA). In his talk, he emphasized the activities of the Islamic Study Association in Delhi, India, which is renowned not only for its history, but also for establishing a bridge between Christian and Islamic studies. The Second Vatican Council calls us to moral principles, peace, and liberty in praise of those who come together to defend and promote together. Furthermore, he said we talk about dialogue between Christians and Muslims from a Catholic perspective, guided by the mission and teaching of Vatican II that bring us together to promote and defend the moral values of peace and freedom, as the Council invites us to do. Among the papers included in the book we are discussing today are a selection of articles published in the Salam magazine of the Islamic Studies Association between 1981 and 2020. There are no fewer than 48 essays written by different authors in this volume of about 600 pages. He was also thankful that many authors in this volume were associated in a variety of ways with PISA, where he had the honor of serving. As President of the institution, but far more fundamentally, this is beyond any personal thanks and a testament to my deep conviction gathered in this book. It contains many infections and reflections that will show inspiring profit work today in the area of relationships. As Christians, we are addressing a variety of topics, putting together the various backgrounds and interests of the authors who have contributed to this volume. In addition, this volume has one important feature in common: all the essays are written by people who have solid intellectual backgrounds, often in the context of the mystical experience of contact with Muslims in India and elsewhere. In fact, he mentioned some of the authors as they were his professors during his academic career, while others have been and continue to be a source of inspiration for him, both through their works and their commitment to fostering friendship, collaboration, and mutual understanding between Christians and Muslims. In short, the majority of the authors whose work is collected in this book are not only Christian scholars, but also Christian-Muslim dialogue practitioners. Their reflections are often based on field-based experiences that add value to the argument. Additionally, he expressed special appreciation to Muslim brothers and sisters, emphasizing how their spiritual experiences are enhanced when they trust in God and allow Him to enter theirs, thus merging them into one. Fraternity's dignity and human freedom serve as guiding principles for moral behaviour and social existence. Such Muslims are the true believers of Islam, and they are disturbed when the Holy Name of God is invoked to justify violence and oppression. According to Mong. Indunil J Kodthuwakku, from Colombo, the title is a good summary of the volume's goal and content. He says that it was a valuable service to present concrete examples of Christian-Muslim relations and understanding in the Indian context in order to illuminate and to encourage others working in similar capacities elsewhere. Further, he stressed the teachings of Vatican II and later magisterial teachings on interreligious dialogue. As a response to this call to dialogue, the Salam journal and the Islamic Studies Association were established. During his 2017 address, Pope Francis emphasized the importance of quoting Three basic orientations, as well as associated faiths, that can inspire discussion: The courage of truth, the sincerity of intentions, and the duties of identity. Our religious identity is essential for interreligious dialogue, but so is our social identity and how others see us, because religious beliefs influence our identity, attitudes, and behavior. Religious identification can therefore facilitate or hinder interreligious communication. The result is that both formal and informal education can help shape and reshape an individual's identity. It was Thomas Michael’s initiative at the dialogue site that provided the first breakthrough understanding of the beliefs and efforts of other faiths in light of the church's teaching on the redemption of non-Christians. Catholics and Muslims do not share a single identity or approach to interreligious dialogue, but everything in this collection contributes to the formation of inclusive identities. Prof. Ambrogio Bongiovanni, one of the editors, thanked everyone who assisted and highlighted the humble beginnings of this book-publishing project. He mentioned “In recent years, Victor and I have shared paths and the core of our friendship in the training dialogue we do with other friends from the seminar courses, which are itinerant in a number of countries, notably in Asia, and we generally organize itinerant seminars on dialogue subjects”. He recalled how the fruit of this voyage arrived one evening as Victor and he sat having dinner in the center of Delhi. Initially, the project was to publish a sort of theology in which the testimonies of life were included in a dialogue of life. When he came across the job of going to see these 40 years of work, the work had become huge. When he did for the moment, then we saw the possibility of publishing. Professor Victor Edwin, SJ, the editor of the book, explained the diversity of Indian culture, in which the context within which both groups of believers find themselves determines their relationship. Founded on the principles of secularism and democracy, India is a socialist, secular, and democratic republic. Nevertheless, the democratic foundation of India was threatened right from the start by the minds of right-wing fundamentalists. Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the nation, along with thousands of fathers and mothers who were killed, was a victim of this group. The author also noted that the rules governing the Iranian and Turkish forms of Sufism share points of affinity with the monastic traditions of Hinduism and Buddhism. Moreover, he said that Indian Christians who wish to engage in dialogue with Indian Muslims should be aware of this diversity. “A Call to Dialogue: Christians in Dialogue with Muslims” is an invitation to both Muslims and Christians to respond to the will of God and submit fully to it. ---- Midhun J Francis Kochukallan SJ is a Jesuit priest from the state of Kerala in India. He is a research scholar specializing in Christian-Muslim interaction at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. He has a master's degree in philosophy from Tilk University, Pune, a licentiate in systematic theology from JDV in Pune, a postgraduate diploma in Islamic studies from the Henry Martyn Institute in Hyderabad, as well as diplomas in Arabic and Urdu. He works with the South Asian Jesuit Conference on the Christian-Muslim relationships. He also contributes to a number of English and Malayalam magazines and newspapers. 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

Indian Muslims Should Adopt A Realistic Approach To Hijab Issue

Islam Does Not Mandate Face Veil Main Points 1. Growing trend of wearing Hijab is s recent phenomenon. 2. In some Muslim families in India, Hijab is forced on even three year olds. 3. Arab identity is not Islamic identity. ----- New Age Islam Correspondent 26 February 2022 Meriem Helie, a sociologist and women's rights activist based in Algeria has been closely watching the Hijab controversy which started in Karnataka recently. She belongs to a country where the Muslims form 100 per cent of the population but she does not have a majoritarian outlook on the issue. She says that in her country there is no threat to the identity of Muslims and the Muslim women in Algeria and African countries freely wore colourful ethnic and traditional dresses. But gradually Islamists in the country fostered the Arab identity as true Muslim identity and imposed long body covering dresses as Islamic dress. She has seen a similar trend of veil or Hijab growing in India where Muslims are in the minority. --------------------------------------------------------------- Also Read: Hijab Row Is Now Taking A Toll On Muslim Girls' Education --------------------------------------------------------------- Ms Helie has seen India very closely and so is of the opinion that this growing trend of wearing head scarf or Hijab among women, particularly among girls is a recent phenomenon. She saw a small girl of three years in Hijab in India in 2004 and prior to that she saw a three year old girl in Hijab with her mother who was in Burqa in New York. It can be noted that the Taliban had captured power in 1996 and had imposed full covering Burqa in Afghanistan. Therefore, it seems that Taliban had a great impact on Muslim psyche across the world so far as veil is concerned. Ms Helie suggests to the secularists and Muslim intellectuals should not fall prey of the Arab or Middle eastern identity. ---- The Hijab Controversy: Open Letter To Our Secular Muslim Friends In India By Meriem Helie Lucas 18 Feb 2022 Friends, I am following closely the events in Karnataka university/colleges and the controversy about female students wearing various head covering in class – whether hijab, burqa, etc... Let me first tell you that I realize everyday how lucky I am to be a citizen of a virtually 100% “Muslim” country (Algeria): we were spared attempting to analyse the hijab/burqa conflict (and other similar conflicts) through the majority/minority lens and Hindu perpetrators/ Muslim victims dichotomy. In our case, there was no ‘other’ religious majority oppressing us. Not that I have any doubt about the ugly reality of massacres led by a rising communal Hindu extreme-right majority attacking minorities, including Muslims in India. This unfortunately has been a blatant fact for decades and recent developments under Modi government only confirm the trend. But the problem you presently face with the hijab controversy cannot be limited to it, nor should it be blurred by it. In countries with heavily Muslim majorities, whether in North Africa, in the Sahel, in the Middle East, in the Indian subcontinent as a whole or now even spreading at the moment to Southern Africa and other places, we can witness the very same situation of rising political Islam and the promotion of its most blatant flag: the women covering (in increasing order, from hair/head covering to face covering: scarf, hijab, burqa). In other words: “the veil”. (I will avoid, for the moment, the issue of our diasporas in the West, in order not to go into more political complexities). It is striking that in most places I know, there appear to be a continuum from the mildest covering towards the fuller one. In other words, the head scarf prepares the ground for the hijab, which prepares the ground for the burqa. Interestingly, in most places, none of these outfits were indigenous, rather they have been recently imported from specific places in the Middle East. For decades and sometimes centuries, on different continents, people have lived as Muslims without feeling the need to dress as if they were middle -easterners. Let me just for one minute ponder upon the origin of the head, body and face covering and how it came to represent Muslims worldwide – I am intentionally not limiting its representativity to female Muslims but to the entire community whose identity women bear the burden of carrying; nor am I linking it to Islam itself, for this feminine outfit is highly contested by progressive Muslim scholars as being part of religious requirements. I kept coming regularly to India for long stretches of time for the past more than 40 years. I am an eye witness to the fact that burqa is a very recent acquisition to Indian female “Muslim” fashion. In your country - like in mine – women for centuries were wearing traditional outfits other than burqa which was unheard of till a few decades ago. In most places I know, there appear to be a continuum from the mildest covering towards the fuller one. In other words, the head scarf prepares the ground for the hijab, which prepares the ground for the burqa. --------------------------------------------------------------- Also Read: On The Hijab Controversy --------------------------------------------------------------- I remember flipping with a friend through her before Partition family photo-albums: her grand-mothers, grand-aunts, cousins were all wearing Saris despite being devout Muslims. Women my age and younger were mostly wearing alternatively Saris (for social occasions) and Shalwar-Kurta (for everyday convenience). During our conversation, it became clear that pressure has been mounting on Muslim women throughout the subcontinent – i. e. whether they belonged to the majority community (as in Pakistan and Bangladesh) or the minority one (as in India and Sri Lanka) - to abandon Saris to the benefit of Shalwar-Kurta in a first step, in order to visibly separate religious communities; and then more recently to done the totally alien Middle Eastern Burqa. This trend is equally true in India, in Pakistan and in Bangladesh. In Algeria, peasant women were wearing colorful dresses with an equally colorful headwear which was perched high on top of their beautiful hair with no purpose of concealing it; and definitely no veil – a far cry from what is now imposed in the name of “Muslim” identity. Meanwhile, urban women did have different forms of veil depending on the geographical area: thin, flowery and transparent, worn openly hanging from the head in the South; black and full body-concealing in the area of Constantine/Ksentina; white, upper body covering but hardly leg covering, with a lace mouth-covering in the region of Algiers; etc… It is only in the early 70ies, i.e. nearly a decade after independence, that was first introduced in Algeria an “Islamic” outfit consisting at the time of a feet-long beige or grey coat worn with a matching scarf covering hair, head and shoulders, tied under the chin. This outfit was distributed for free to university students by our first openly Islamist groups; they called it at the time: ‘the student’s dress”. Decades later, it is the black burqa – Iran and Saudi style – which they distribute for free in Algeria. I remember the first time I saw a tiny little girl who could not have been older than 3 wearing an Islamist outfit in India; it was during the World Social Forum in Bombay (2004) and she was playing with other little girls whose outfits were not identity-laden, at the entrance of the building in a Muslim area where I stayed. I remember the first time I saw a tiny even tinier little girl in a pushchair wearing a hijab; it was in New York, close to a conservative mosque; the woman who was pushing her, presumably her mother, was burqa clad. That was in year 2000. I witnessed in the past two decades, the spreading of the black Saudi-style burqa throughout predominantly Muslim areas in Africa and South East Asia, with the progressive disappearance of what used to be women’s local traditional dresses. To my utter surprise, it seems no one from our cultural rights advocates has taken the task to defend our various cultures by attempting to preserve saris, boubous, sarongs, etc… as valuable elements of cultural diversity - including Muslim cultural diversity. With Islam spreading on all continents, it seems without doubt that there must be a cultural diversity to acknowledge and defend? No one seems worried about the enforced homogenization of a transcultural Islamist (not Islamic) identity which carries so much of a reactionary political program. In India itself, it seems progressives have been stuck within the fascist Hinduist political program of eradication of minorities and the defense of these oppressed minorities to the point that even suggesting that another reactionary religious political program is also at work within the endangered minority has, so far, not been audible. I have been blasted in New Delhi intellectual progressive circles for decades for doing just that: trying to draw your attention, friends, to the trend I could see easily in your country, for having lived the same process in my virtually 100% Muslim country. I have witnessed the first burqas appearing in the streets of my beloved Nizamuddin “village” in Delhi, and then their multiplication … My saying so was repeatedly branded as “Islamophobic”. It was just an attempt to share my Algerian experience (and beyond) and to alert you on the rise of what such experiences allowed me to see rising in your country … Now the question remains: how to defend the endangered Muslim minority against the new Hinduist extreme right without giving-in to the Muslim extreme-right which active political presence within the Muslim community you, friends, have refused for so long to acknowledge? In India itself, it seems progressives have been stuck within the fascist Hinduist political program of eradication of minorities and the defense of these oppressed minorities to the point that even suggesting that another reactionary religious political program is also at work within the endangered minority has, so far, not been audible. I do think we have to take a long view and while, of course, protecting and defending the basic human rights and freedoms of the individuals – for instance the hijab or burqa clad women students‘ right to education in Karnataka - , one should also firmly refuse to promote women covering either as a religious right (contested unanimously, may I remind you, by all progressive scholars of Islam on different continents, who paid with their lives their political courage and religious integrity), nor as an individual choice. Wearing a hijab or a burqa today cannot be seen as an individual choice when we witness the world over how women are induced or coerced into wearing it, and more often than not at the cost of their lives – as was the case in Algeria in the 90ies, more recently in Mali, in Daesh-controlled areas in Syria and Iraq, in neighbouring Afghanistan under the Taliban (then and now), and for past long decades in Iran, just to take a few examples. (I do not imply by saying this that burqa clad women in India are aware of the role they are made to play on the global arena. But we must be.) In all the above-mentioned cases, it must be noted that it is men of their own Muslim community – in fact belonging to an extreme right political force which hides under a Muslim identity – who are pursuing this policy and have become the perpetrators of violations against women’s human rights. For it must be noted that women are in most cases made to wear a covering – something we Algerians have come to identify as the political flag of an Islamist far-right - in the name of the defence of an oppressed identity. --------------------------------------------------------------- Also Read: The Many Meanings of Hijab --------------------------------------------------------------- But how come this Muslim identity is seen as threatened regardless of whether Muslims are in a majority or a minority or represent 100% of the population? Whether “Muslims” are heads of government? And even when laws are said to be derived from Islamic faith interpretations? How come Islam is seen as in danger the world over and Islamists are seen as its only legitimate representatives? To me, this clearly points at the fact that the defense of the Muslim minority in India must be linked to the fight for secularism: secular laws i.e. common laws for all, and therefore equal rights, for all citizens of India. A landmark legal end to communalism. The replacement of a community identity by a citizen’s identity. Again, your situation in India makes me realize everyday how lucky I am to be a citizen of a country which inherited from colonialism the best conceptual weapon against communalism: Algeria was colonized by France; you, friends, were colonized by the British. We inherited a different understanding of the concept of secularism. The French revolution invented the concept of secularism in-so-far as it wanted to free the newly proclaimed Republic from the subjugation to the Vatican and its Catholic Church that had plagued the Kingdom of France. It therefore defined secularism as the total separation of the State from religions: article 1 of the 1906 law on secularism/separation states that citizens enjoy freedom of belief and of practice of their cult; article 2 declares that the State will have nothing to do with private belief systems; it will not officially recognize any religion, nor their representatives, it will not fund them, etc… The State will be totally separated from religions. This legal provision allowed, for instance, to pass laws that the Church disagreed with on the ground that they did not follow (their) god’s rules; this allowed laws on personal status to be voted for all citizens, benefitting all; not granting different legal rights to different unequal categories of citizens, according to one’s religious presumed affiliation, it allowed for citizens not to be forced into a religious or caste identity; it granted equal rights before the law to all citizens; etc… This is the original revolutionary definition of secularism. Wearing a hijab or a burqa today cannot be seen as an individual choice when we witness the world over how women are induced or coerced into wearing it, and more often than not at the cost of their lives It is a far cry from the British re-definition of secularism which ultimately aimed at legitimizing the double status of the King/Queen of England as Head of State and as Head of the Anglican Church. It therefore turned the original revolutionary definition of secularism into a situation where the State becomes a sort of arbitrator between religions, which grants equal rights to different religions and keeps the balance between their privileges; not only does it acknowledge and negotiate with self-proclaimed un-elected religious “representatives”, but it funds them, allows them to manufacture un-voted laws of personal status said to be in accordance with the principles of their religion – as interpreted by conservative religious clerics-, and coerces willing or unwilling citizens into a religious and community identity which is declared ‘theirs’ by birth – not by choice. This is the trap in which far too many progressive people have fallen when running to the rescue of burqa-clad students assaulted by the Hindu right, and more generally all the numerous caste and religious victims of rising extreme-right Hindu nationalism. It seems to me that progressives in India could find a way out of the trap in a French-revolution inspired redefinition of Indian - in fact British colonial- secularism. The defense of victims of one (majority) religious fundamentalist extreme right should not lead to supporting another (be it minority) one. The battle for secularism is raging in so many countries today, including in France itself, where successive both Left and Right governments slowly de facto abandon the basic principles of separation between religion and state; and where the British re-definition of secularism as equal tolerance by the State vis-a-vis all religions is creeping, with the active support of the European Union. However, so far, de jure, the legal provisions of separation still stand, as defined by the French revolution and formalized in the 1906 law on secularism. The bigger threat at the moment in France is the attempted appropriation of “secularism” by the French extreme right for communal purposes – an appropriation which is ardently combatted by progressive secularists in France, including political and human rights exiled and migrants who fled Islamic fundamentalist governments in their own countries. I hope and look forward for a trans-communal coming together of secularists, both within national contexts and internationally, at grass roots level, to force our unwilling governments to let us make full use of the revolutionary concept of secularism. ------- Meriem Helie is an Algerian sociologist as well as an activist for women's rights and secularism. She occupied leadership positions in human rights groups starting in the 1980s. Source: The Hijab Controversy: Open Letter To Our Secular Muslim Friends In India 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

Hijab Controversy: Unable to prove from Quran and Hadith that Face Veil is Obligatory in Islam, Petitioners Now Rely on Tradition and Voice of Conscience

The Educational Career Of The Girls Is At Stake Main Points: 1. Quran does not mandate face cover or Burqa. 2. Ulema insist on one-eyed Burqa without any justification. 3. Petitioners say Hijab is only a tradition. ----- By New Age Islam Staff Writer 26 February 2022 (From the Files) ----- The Hijab case has been heard and debated in the Karnataka High Court for 11 days and the Court has reserved its order. The Solicitor General had told to the Court that hijab was not an ERP ( Essential Religious Practice). He had qouted the architect of Indian Constitution Dr B. R. Ambedkar that "We should leave our religious instructions out of educational institutions." He said that only ERP gets protection under Article 25 of Constitution. Interestingly the contention of the petitioners, the college students, was that wearing face cover was an Essential Religious Practice and so they should be allowed to attend class with Hijab but their advocate could not give reference from the Quran or Hadith that could prove that it was an ERP. --------------------------------------------------------------- Also Read: The Many Meanings of Hijab --------------------------------------------------------------- He probably quoted Mohamnad Pickthal's translation of verse 59 of Surah Ahzab which is as follows: " O prophet, tell thy wives, and thy daughters, and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks close around them (when they go abroad). That will be better, so that they may be recognised and not annoyed. Allah is ever Forgiving and Merciful." The advocate of the petitioners also said that in the hadith it is said that even if there is no need to cover the face, the Hijab (head cover) is necessary. He said that wearing the face cover was a tradition based on the voice of conscience and so it need not be seen whether it is ERP or not. It is only a cloth that covers the head and face. Do now the argument rests on the fact that it is tradition based on the voice of conscience whereas earlier it was said that face cover is a religious ordainment. It would be appropriate here to quote the translation of another verse from the Quran regarding Hijab: The Verse 30-31 of Surah Nur: Pickthal: "And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and be modest and to display their adornment only that which is apparent and to draw their veils over their bosom and not to reveal her adornment save to their husbands, or father's or husband's father or their sons, or their husband's sons, or their brothers or their brothers' sons, or sisters sons, or their women or their slaves or male attendants who lack vigour or children who know naught of women’s' nakedness. And let them not stomp their feet so as to reveal what they hide of their adornment. And turn into Allah together O believers in order that ye may succeed." --------------------------------------------------------------- Also Read: On The Hijab Controversy --------------------------------------------------------------- Here another translation of the verse of Surah Ahzab (59) done by Mohsin Khan would be an interesting example of how the exegetes and translators of Quran have inserted their own sectarian views in the translations violating the rules of translation: O prophet tell your wives and your daughters and women of the believers to draw their cloaks (veils) all over their bodies (i.e. screen themselves completely except the eyes or one eye to see the way). That will be better that they should be known (as free respectable women) so as not to be annoyed. And Allah is Ever Oft Forgiving Most Merciful." Some Islamic scholars insist that women should wear full body Burqa with a hole before one eye. Mohsin Khan has inserted this belief in his translation though this has no basis in Quran or Hadith. The advocate of the practitioners could not prove it from Quran or Hadith. The translations of Pickthal or other honest translators does not mention face cover or full body cover as mandatory. In Urdu commentary of the verse 31 of Surah Nur, Maulana Shabbir Usmani writes: "The most prominent part of the physical body is the breast. It's veiling was especially enjoined and the way of eliminating the practices of Jahiliyyah was also preached. During Jahiliyyah, women would use khumar (Dupatta) which they put in the head and then wrapped it around the shoulders to cover the breasts. (From the Files) ----- In this way the shape of the breast would remain prominent. It was as though the exhibition of beauty. The Quran taught that the Dupatta should be out on head and then it should wrapped around the breast so that ears, neck and breasts remain completely covered." Here the covering of face is not mentioned. The controversy started when the college administration banned face cover in the class. Some girls had approached the Principal to seek permission to wear Hijab to class but we're refused. According to reports, the students wing of PFI, Campus Front of India had held a press conference to protest against the ban. Some girls had approached the Principal and sought permission to wear Hijab in the class but we're refused. The girl students had attended the press conference. --------------------------------------------------------------- Also Read: Hijab Row Is Now Taking A Toll On Muslim Girls' Education --------------------------------------------------------------- If the court order goes against them the girls will either have to remove the hijab or leave the college. In the latter case, their educational career will come to an end. Their dream of achieving their goals and serve their community and country will be shattered. For this the one-eyed exegetes and Ulema as well as conservative outfits will be responsible. The girls will have to decide whether they will prefer face cover (Hijab) which has no basis in Quran and Hadith over their education. They will face a big dilemma. 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 Quran Warns Believers against Fasad or Corruption and Mischief

By S. Arshad, New Age Islam 26 February 2022 Fasad Denotes All The Vices And Immoral Practices Declared Un-Islamic Main Points: 1. Many nations were destroyed for Fasad. 2. Fasad is a grave crime a cording to Quran. 3. Corruption, mischief, terrorism, adultery, dishonest practices, all come under the definition of Fasad. ------ The Quran uses the word Fasad on many occasions. Fasad is a term that denotes all the vices and immoral practices that have been declared un-Islamic. On many occasion it is used to mean collective vices of a society and on some occasions it is used to mean a particular vice or moral or social evil. Fasad is a comprehensive word in Arabic. It means corruption but it has a wider meaning. It is a vice that destroys the social, moral and religious order. Before the advent of Islam, the Arab society had become degraded. Moral, financial, sexual and religious evils along with disbelief in one God was widespread. Bloodshed was commonplace. Orphans were oppressed and their wealth or property was usurped by dishonest people. Theft and robbery were the order of the day. Even the followers of Abrahamic religions had invented many new beliefs and validated what was haram in their scriptures. In short, there was widespread Fasad in the Arab society. Islam came to remove Fasad from the society and from the hearts of the people. The holy Quran mentions forms of Fasad and terms it a grave sin. The Quran prescribes severe punishment for the Mufsid ( perpetrator of Fasad) either in this world or in the Hereafter. According to the verses of the Quran, Fasad means unjustified bloodshed, dishonest business means, sexual crimes, conspiracy against the Deen and haram ways of income like Riba (interest) In the Quran, the angels use the word to express their concern after God decided to create man and appoint him his vice-regent on earth. The angels said to God: "Said the angels, 'Do you appoint someone on earth who will cause Fasad on it and shed blood and we sing your praise and greatness. God said, you don't know what I do"(Al Baqarah:30) According to this verse Fasad is used to mean bloodshed. It means Fasad because peace is the divine order of the universe. The entire universe follows peace and order and no object of the universe disrupts the working of the other. Therefore, angels feared that man may disrupt the order of the earth by causing bloodshed. They had the precedence of mischiefs of Djinns who inhabited the earth before man was sent down. But Fasad is not used to mean bloodshed but to mean other vices of man. When prophet Moses was appointed the prophet of Bani Israel, Pharaoh was causing Fasad on earth. He claimed to be God and oppressed his subjects. God gave Moses victory over Pharaoh and his people. Qarun was one of the richest lieutenants of Pharaoh. He was given immense wealth but was not a believer in God. When Prophet Moses preached oneness of God and invited him towards Deen, Qarun started conspiring against him and he incited people against Prophet Moses. His conspiracies and mischiefs are called Fasad in the Quran. "Qarun was from the nation of Moses then he started mischief and We had given him so much wealth that powerful men would get tired of carrying the keys of his treasures. When his nation told him not to take pride as whatever he had was a gift of God so he should earn the last abode with it. 'And do not ignore your part from the world and do good as God did favours to you and do not wish Fasad (mischief) on earth. Allah does not like mischief mongers."(Al Qaeda's:77) In this verses. Mischiefs and conspiracies of Qarun comes under the definition of Fasad. The Quran terms the corrupt business practices of the nation of Prophet Shuaib of Madyan. They used to weigh things dishonestly while selling things. They also worshipped false gods. Therefore, their religious and moral corruption together forms Fasad. The Quran says: *And sent to Madyan their brother Shuaib, then he said to them , O my nation, worship Allah and expect the last Day and do not wander on earth causing Fasad." (Al Ankabut:36) The Quran calls the nation of prophet Lot a.s. the nation of Mufsid (Qaum-ul-Mufsideen) in Surah Al Ankabit because of their sexual perversion. They were destroyed when they refused to reform themselves by the wrath of God. In the modern times, uncontrolled and rampant industrial development has led to environmental pollution. This pollution has become so severe that it has posed a grave threat to human beings, plants and aquatic animals. Both land and water have seen results of pollution. The Quran calls the environmental pollution Fasad because pollution disturbs the ecological balance and is a danger to life on earth. The Quran says: "Fasad has spread on land and water, result of misdeeds of man, he should be made to taste the result of his deeds so that they return."(Ar Rum:41) All the prophet's warned their nations against Fasad as it invites God's wrath. God asked the nation of Prophet Moses not to cause Fasad on earth. It means people should worship God and abstain from evil deeds. "And when Moses asked for water for his nation We said, Strike your stick on the rock, So twelve streams gushed forth. Each nation recognised it's stream. Eat and drink from God's provisions and do not go around spreading Fasad."(Al Baqarah:60) In modern times, religious extremism and terrorism has been recognised as the latest form of Fasad. Many militant organisations claim to be the true flagbearer of Deen and cause bloodshed on earth. They attack non-Muslims and Muslims alike on the basis of their ideological interpretation of Deen. They do not even spare women and children. They do not listen to any voice of reason because they think that they are reformers. The Quran calls them Mufsid (mischief mongers). "When they are told not to spread corruption, they say, 'why we are only reformers. Let it be known that they are the mischief mongers but they do not understand."(Al Baqarah:12) The Quran prescribes hand and leg amputation or death or banishment for bloodshed. Apart from it, other social and moral crimes that affect the order and peace of the society and violates the rights of people also come under Fasad ( corruption in the Quran. God's wrath befalls on those causing Fasad in 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

Friday, February 25, 2022

The Many Meanings of Hijab

By Arshad Alam, New Age Islam 25 February 2022 A Singular Understanding of the Veil Is Best Avoided Main Points: 1. The history of hijab as a symbol of Muslim identity is extremely complex and varied 2. The Quran does not talk of the hijab in the sense of clothing; rather it uses the word Khimar for that purpose. 3. Khimar is not a dress code, rather an inculcation of modesty whose standards are different for men and women in the Quran. 4. The Khimar or the veil (as it is now known), is not just a religious obligation but also performs important sociological functions. ----- The row over headscarves has sparked countrywide protests (Getty Images, BBC News) ---- One of the most disturbing images in the wake of the Karnataka hijab imbroglio was the forcible removal of headscarves and Jilbab (outer covering/gown) of Muslim students and teachers. Like the demolition of the Babri mosque, those images will become the defining moment in the history of communal relations in India. Some have compared the episode to the unveiling of Algerian women during the French occupation. But the comparison misses the point that the French military had staged the unveiling, under the misguided notion of liberating Muslim women. Karnataka was neither staged nor is the ‘liberation’ of Muslim women a stated position. It was the naked display of majoritarian might with the express intention of ‘showing Muslims their place’. In a country where every other government school organizes Saraswati Puja, it is rather rich to argue that the college in question was trying to enforce some sort of secular uniformity. In a country where most public spaces are saturated with Hindu religious symbols, it is dishonest to expect Muslims to give up their religious markers. The history of hijab as a symbol of Muslim identity is extremely complex and varied as it is linked both with religious obligation and political expression. Although today the hijab is understood as headscarf, the Quran does not use the term in the sense of a cloth which is used to cover the head. In the seven different places in the Quran where the word hijab occurs, it specifically refers to a separation, visible or invisible. Amongst these it is only one verse that gets highlighted: “O you who have believed, do not enter the houses of the Prophet except when you are permitted for a meal… And when you ask [his wives] for something, ask them from behind a separation (Hijab)" [Q 33: 53]. And this verse gets highlighted because it appears as an obligation for Muslim women to observe seclusion. However, the verse clearly is related to the wives of the Prophet and speaks of a contextual requirement, that of respecting the privacy of the Prophet and his household. It certainly does not speak of any dress code, rather the intention is to teach good manners to Arabs. Secondly, it exalts the wives of the Prophet, transforming them into mothers of believers who should be approached with profound respect and from a distance. The current meaning imputed to hijab as a headscarf therefore is non-Quranic in its essence. But does it mean that the Quran has no position on head covering? It is wrong to believe that it does not. In fact, the Quran mandates head covering for women but the term it uses for it is not hijab but Khimar. The relevant verse says: “... And tell the believing women to reduce [some] of their vision and guard their private parts and not to expose their adornment (Zinatahuna) except that which [necessarily] appears thereof and to wrap [a portion of] their headcovers (Khumurihina) over their chests (Juyubihina) and not to expose their adornment except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands' fathers, their sons, their husbands' sons, their brothers, their brothers' sons” [Q 24:31]. The term Khumurihina is the plural of Khimar, and refers to the headscarf that women used to wear those days and not just in Arabia. What the Quran is telling Muslim women in this verse is to draw/fold the Khimar/scarf over their chests to cover the upper part of their bodies when they are in public. Classical commentators have suggested that pre-Islamic women used to keep their neck and upper chest uncovered and it is in this context that the verse commands Muslim women to cover upper part of their chest in order and embrace ‘modesty’. Muslim feminists like Asma Barlas and others have argued that the Quran does not mandate the covering of the head but they clearly misread the function and etymology of Khimar. Most Arabic dictionaries understand the Khimar as a headscarf. It appears that the Khimar was a traditional attire of the region which got carried over into Islam. There is near universal consensus amongst the exegetes that hair should be covered but not the face. Those who argue for the full-face Niqab or the Burqa are certainly arguing against the Quran and the Sunna. This is not to suggest that headcover is exclusive to the Islamic faith. All Semitic traditions mandate it and within Hinduism, the traditional expression of modesty has been the Ghoonghat which can still be seen in many regions. However, modesty in Islam is not just linked exclusively with the women’s body because the Quran clearly states that even men should actively cultivate it as part of their religious calling. Of course, there are different standards for the expression of this modesty between men and women and one should not expect the Quran to be apologetic about this difference. Some might argue that behind the veneer of modesty is exploitation or oppression of women. And that might be true in certain lived experiences of Muslim women. But the Quran talks about modesty in terms of an ethico-religious value and definitely not in the sense of subjugating women. It is also important to understand the verse of the Khimar contextualises the garment as necessary when Muslim women interact with unrelated males, in other words when they are in the public domain. Thus, rather than reading it as invisibilising women, Khimar can and should be read as an enabling medium through which Muslim women can participate in the public sphere. There can be a number of reasons why Muslim women take the Khimar or the veil (in its modern usage). They can do so for religious reasons, internalizing the veil as an expression of Muslim piety. If such a believing women argues that by draping the veil, she feels nearness to God, then it should not be our place to judge whether she is right or wrong. There can be multiple ways of expressing the self and doing so in terms of religious aesthetics is also legitimate. Many a times, the secular worldview privileges absolute individualism as the only viable experience for humans, men or women. But we know that individualism is one the many possible experiences; for many relationism and surrender can equally be meaningful and rewarding experiences. The secular unease with the veil therefore needs to be revisited as perhaps too Eurocentric in its orientation. The Indian version of secularism offers us a window to engage with all religious worldviews rather than excluding them simply because it does not conform to our notion of freedom and individualism. Several women said they faced discrimination in school because of their headscarf (BBC News/ Getty Images) ---- But being observant is not the only reason why Muslim women take the veil. She can be non-observant and still take to the veil. Often times, for such women, the veil is an article of negotiation with familial and societal contexts. The conservatism within Muslim society has meant that for many women, it is only the veil which enables her to access higher education. Also, there are other Muslim women who might be even non-religious but sport the hijab as a mark of cultural and political identity. For them, the veil is a symbol of choice as the practice is not coming from any religious understanding. It is interesting to note that the traditionalist within Muslim society is quite at unease with the veil. Since the veil enables Muslim women’s access to the public square, the conservatives think of it in terms of spreading Fitna (unrest/instability which disturbs the existing social order). It is not surprising therefore that most of our traditional commentators, like those of Ashraf Ali Thanvi for example, treat women as demure and as an ornament, not giving them a place under the sun. But as we saw earlier in the CAA/NRC protests and now again in Karnataka, veiled women are anything but domesticated; rather they are vocal, smart and extremely articulate. It is not surprising that the traditionalist Ulema from Deoband and Bareilly have largely been silent on the issue as in their view, rather than going to schools and colleges, these Muslims girls should have been ideally sitting at homes, learning household work and reading a bit of religious literature. The veil then, rather than inhibiting women, signifies a breakdown of the traditional religious authority within Muslim societies. A singular reading of the veil is therefore deeply problematic. It is perfectly understood that in large measure, the veil/Khimar is a religious obligation but we should definitely not ignore the sociological functions it performs in contemporary contexts. This sensitivity, however, should not blind us to the fact that there is considerable pressure on Muslim women, married and unmarried to take to the veil. Over the years, the increasing Islamisation of society has moved it towards overt and literal scripturalism, wherein Muslim women’s bodies has emerged as the master signifier of Muslim religiosity. Girls, as young as six and seven are encouraged or forced to cover their heads and this social conditioning goes a long way to make the veil a part of her bodily habitus. Often in such societies, those that go without the veil are branded as immoral and immodest. Such socio-religious conventions exert informal and at times even formal pressure on such families to ‘fall in line’. Social pressure forces many Muslim girls to adapt to the veil simply because she does not want any unwanted attention. Anyone who argues that there is no social pressure to do so is simply being dishonest or doesn’t know the Muslim society from close quarters. Simply put, if one argues for freedom to choose the veil, then one should also extend the same courtesy to those who do not want to make that choice. After all, aren’t we Muslims fond of the Quranic saying that there is no compulsion in religion? ---- Arshad Alam is a writer and researcher on Islam and Muslims in South Asia. 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

Ideological Crisis in Islam: Al-Qaida, Taliban and ISIS Have Done Islamic World Irreparable Damage

Ideology of Violence Gets Overt and Covert Support of Some Ulema Main Points: 1. Al Qaida could not destroy the US. 2. ISIS could not establish a truly Islamic Caliphate. 3. Afghan civilians are fleeing Afghanistan after Taliban came to power 4. Terrorist organisations thrive on mainstream extremist Islamic exegeses. ---- By New Age Islam Staff Writer 25 February 2022 (File Photo) ------ One major problem of the Muslim world today is that it is facing an ideological crisis. Though generally every Muslim or every Islamic scholar vouches that Islam is a religion of peace, the reality is quite the opposite. The Muslim world at large is in the grip of violence either on the basis of political differences or on the basis of religious differences. Apart from the political or ethnic conflicts, the main reason for the violence in the Muslim societies in the modern times is that extremism has been validated as means of achieving religious and political goals. The history of extremism goes back to the life of prophet pbuh when a group of Muslims committed violence in the name of religion. The Quran speaks of extremist groups among Muslims. "There is one whose words you like in the affairs of the world and he holds God witness on his heart but he is very quarrelsome, when he returns from your company he roams about on earth to create mischief and destroys crops and lives and God hates Fasad (mischief).(Al Baqra:205) --------------------------------------------------------------------------- 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 --------------------------------------------------------------------------- There are other verses in the Quran that speak of extremists among Muslims who believe that violence can be used for reform and to spread the message of Islam though the Quran repeatedly says that violence should not be used to bring social reform or to spread the message of God. There is a similar verse that say that there are Muslims who think that by perpetrating violence, they are trying to bring reform in the society and preparing the ground for a just society but the Quran declares them mischief mongers or Mufsid. "And when they are told to abstain from creating mischief on earth, they say we are only reformers, let it be known that they are mischief makers but they don't understand."(Al Baqarah: 12) On another occasion, the Quran again says: "And God knows the mischief maker (Mufsid) and the reformer". (Al Baqarah: 220) Therefore, it becomes clear that it may sometimes become difficult to distinguish between mischief and reform, especially in the modern world where the situation is very complicated and so even Islamic scholars are divided on some basic issues. According to a hadith in Sahih Bukhari, in the later period, there will be confusion in matters of Deen and many Islamic scholars will lead Muslims towards Hell with their misleading views. (File Photo/ Boko Haran) ------ The extremist group emerged as a prominent ideological group during the caliphate of Hadhrat Ali r.a. so much so that the fourth righteous Caliph had to fight a decisive battle against them and eliminate them. They were called the Kharijites. They were called Kharji which in Arabic means outsiders. Since Takfiri ideology had not gained ground till that time, they were not declared Kafirs and were only called outsiders on the basis of a verse in the Quran which says to the prophet that he had nothing to do with those who create groups in Deen. Though most of the Kharijites were eliminated by the fourth Caliph, some survived and the extremist ideology remained dormant for some time. However, Hazrat Ali was himself killed by a Kharjite. In later years, the Khariji ideology gave birth to extremist and terrorist groups like Al Qaida, Taliban, ISIS and their offshoots. But these groups did not emerge overnight. They had basis in the extremist interpretation of Quran and events during the lifetime of the prophet pbuh by some prominent Ulema of the middle ages. Even some modern Ulema have extremist ideas. These terrorist organisations do not have their independent ideology but they base their beliefs and ideas in the interpretations and exegeses of some mainstream Ulema. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Also Read: Taliban, ISIS, Al-Qaeda and Boko Haram – Do You Know Islam Means Equality, Peace and Kindness? --------------------------------------------------------------------------- The major incidents of violence, massacre and civil wars in the Muslim world were perpetrated by these extremist organisations in the name of protecting Islam, spreading Deen among non-Muslims, fighting the enemies of Islam and establishing caliphate. Al Qaida carried out 9/11 and other bombings in different parts of the world in the name of fighting US excesses in Muslim countries. Taliban got legitimacy by fighting against US occupation of Afghanistan and for attempting to establish Sharia rule. ISIS also gained the moral support of some prominent Ulema of the Muslim world for establishing Caliphate in the Levant. In all these operations many innocent Muslims --- women, children and elders from among the Muslim community apart from non-Muslims --- were killed but these Kharji outfits justified their inhuman acts by quoting opinions of some prominent Islamic jurists of the middle ages. Even the bloodshed and killing of Shia, Sunni and Christian women during the ISIS occupation of Mosul was overtly or covertly supported or defended by a section of Muslim scholars. Ayman al-Zawahiri (left) and Osama bin Laden (right)/ Photo: TRT World ------ The Taliban have targeted residential complexes both in Pakistan and Afghanistan in the past. They attacked girls’ schools in Swat in Pakistan and in many towns in Afghanistan. Their soldiers shot at Malala only for advocating girls' education which is a Farz (duty) on Muslim men and women. They shot dead a girl in Afghanistan recently just for not wearing a veil in public. In Pakistan, they target Shias and attack Shia children saying snakelings will only grow into snakes. Still many Islamic scholars ignore these un-Islamic acts based on a Khariji ideology and hail them as the true flagbearers of Islam. About ten years ago the Nawaz Sharif government had called an all party conference on the issue of Taliban terrorism. An Islamic organisation had refused to take part in it saying they did not consider Taliban a terrorist organisation. Recently, the head of a so-called moderate Islamic organisation, a prominent Islamic scholar and teacher of India welcomed the Taliban's ascent to power in Afghanistan saying they were freedom fighters. These Ulema have ignored the Quranic injunctions on the use of force. The Quran authorises force or violence only when one is wronged or faces an existential threat. It asks Muslims to abstain from violence as far as possible. These Ulema are so obsessed with the belief that only a form of government named Khilafat is the remedy of all the problems of the Islamic world that they accept every massacre, bloodshed and mischief perpetrated in the name of the establishment of caliphate. One Islamic scholar said during the civil war in Syria that small excess are acceptable for achieving big goals. This view does not have any justification in the events that took place during the prophet's life. And saying that the bloodshed, killing, rape of women, their enslavement, destruction of mazars mosques and churches were small excesses speaks of their own Kharji ideology under the cover of moderateness. The Al Qaida could not destroy the US, the ISIS could not establish a caliphate and the Taliban have not been able to establish a truly Islamic caliphate or government. Millions of Afghan civilians have fled to non-Muslim countries because of persecution and throttling limitations. Certainly this is not the kind of rule envisaged by Quran and Sunnah. These terrorist organisations have caused a lot of loss and damage to the Muslim world by giving the US and other Western countries the alibi to carry out military operations and station their troops in Muslim countries. These terrorist organisations have only served the political interests of the enemies of Islam by providing them the opportunity to destroy the economy of Muslim countries in the name of war on terror. Terrorism will flourish as long as Muslims will support the ideology of violence in any form. Islam does not support any movement that is run from jungles or mountains. A just movement should be run for the people, by the people and should be of the people. The holy prophet pbuh brought reform within not from outside and by peaceful means and not by using force on innocent people. The sooner the Muslims realise this the better for them 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

Thursday, February 24, 2022

Traditional Islamic Opinion on the Importance and Necessity of Hijab

By Badruddoja Razvi Misbahi, New Age Islam (Translated from Urdu by Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi, New Age Islam) 24 February 2022 What is The Meaning and Significance of Hijab or Purdah in Islam? Main Points: 1. The veil is not only a woman's protector, but also a guarantee of her honour, dignity, and chastity. 2. In the Quran, Allah commands the pious wives and other princesses of Islam to cover their bodies and faces with the chador when they leave their homes. 3. Women in Islam should not follow the example of European society and film actresses who display their beauty. 4. If one sees a non-Mahram woman by accident, it is pardoned because it is the first glimpse whereas the second intentional sight is a sin. 5. There is no such thing as extremism in Islam. Islam is a religion that encourages people to live in moderation. ----- (File Photo) ------- The Literal Meaning of Hijab Hijab means veil and barrier in Arabic. In other words, the hijab refers to anything that stands between two things. The gatekeeper is known as Hajib because he prohibits people from entering without the owner's consent. Similarly, the eyes and brows are referred to as "Hajib" and "Hawajib," respectively, because they prevent harmful objects from entering the eyes. Hijab and veil are terms used in common parlance to describe anything that shields a lady from the gaze of a non-Mahram. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Also Read: Why the Indian Muslim Clergy is Hijacking Muskan’s Just Campaign: Do They Want to Buttress the Polarizing Efforts by Hindutva Forces in Assembly Elections? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The Hijab Verse and the Reason for Revelation In the presence of the Prophet, Hazrat Umar Farooq (may Allah be pleased with him) remarked, “O Messenger of Allah! People of all stripes, both good and bad, flock to you. I wish you would impose veils on the exalted wives [Azwaaje Muttahirat]. The following verse was revealed at that time: “O People who Believe! Do not enter the houses of the Prophet without permission, as when called for a meal but not to linger around waiting for it – and if you are invited then certainly present yourself and when you have eaten, disperse – not staying around delighting in conversation; indeed that was causing harassment to the Prophet, and he was having regard for you; Allah does not shy in proclaiming the truth; and when you ask the wives of the Prophet for anything to use, ask for it from behind a curtain; this is purer for your hearts and for their hearts; you have no right to trouble the Noble Messenger of Allah, nor ever marry any of his wives after him; indeed that is a very severe matter in the sight of Allah.” (33:53) According to another narration, the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) was once having lunch with several of his Companions when this blessed verse was revealed. Meanwhile, someone's hand dropped on the hand of Hazrat Ayesha Siddiqah, Umm Al-Mu'minin (may Allah be pleased with her). The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) disliked this happening. The Hijab verse was revealed at that time. However, because the commentator Abu Saud reported it using the word 'qeel,' the preferred view about its cause of revelation is the one indicated above in relation to Hazrat Umar Farooq's narration. (Tafsir Abi Saud, vol. 7. P.112) Although the reason for the revelation of this verse is specific, this divine admonition applies to homes of all believers. As a result, it is essential for every Muslim not to enter someone's home without his permission. This restriction is also in conformity with natural principles, as men leave the house for work or other reasons, leaving women alone in their homes, unable to care for the concealable areas of their bodies [Satr-e-Aurah]. It's unclear which state they're in. In this case, common sense indicates that no one enters the residence without permission. Even if the husband is inside the house, the outsider has no idea what the husband and his wife are going through. It's feasible that they're in a one-of-a-kind situation. Watching a stranger in this circumstance would be a humiliation to them. As a result, according to Islam, before entering someone's home, you must first seek permission from the house owner. We'll go through this in further depth later. We want to emphasise that the veil is not only a woman's protector, but also a guarantee of her honour, dignity, and chastity. Wearing a veil enhances a woman's dignity and self-respect. The veil holds the key to a woman's affluent existence. In the verses of Surah Al-Ahzab and Surah Noor, Allah Almighty commands women to be veiled. Allah Almighty says, “O Prophet! Command your wives and your daughters and the women of the Muslims to cover their faces with a part of their cloaks; this is closer to their being recognised and not being harassed; and Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful” (33:59) In this verse, Allah Almighty commands the pious wives and other princesses of Islam to cover their bodies and faces with the chador when they leave their homes so that wanderers will know she is a noble, chaste, and virtuous woman and will not try to tease her. We can notice in our surroundings now that ladies who wear hijab and veil when they leave the house are less prone to lust. Human beasts are not afraid to touch or approach them. Women who leave the house naked, on the other hand, quickly become a source of sexual harassment, and their honour and dignity are shattered as a result, and they are occasionally kidnapped and even murdered. As a result, women in Islam should not follow the example of European society and film actresses who display their beauty and their concealable parts of bodies, obtaining limelight in newspapers, magazines, and advertising, and trading their honour for a few coins. Muslim women should follow in the footsteps of the elevated ladies of Islam [Sahabiyat], study their biographies and lifestyles, especially those of Umm Al-Mu'minin Hazrat Ayesha Siddiqa and Hazrat Syeda Fatima Zahra, the Prophet's daughter, and adopt their lives and teachings for themselves. Now, for the benefit of all, we give some impressions of Hazrat Ayesha Siddiqah and her style of life and teachings. Even before the revelation of the verse of hijab, Umm Al-Mu'minin Hazrat Ayesha Siddiqah (may Allah be pleased with her) used to take special care of the veil. Following the revelation of the hijab verse, it became such a need in her life that she would grow outraged at the sight of a lady who was not veiled and demand that she be veiled. Her niece was Hazrat Hafsa bint Abdul Rahman. She wore a small scarf when she went to see Hazrat Ayesha. When she saw the flimsy Dupatta, she became enraged and tore it up, saying, "Do you not know what Allah has commanded in Surah Noor?" (Ibn Sa'd's Tabaqat, vol. 8, p. 50) When Hazrat Ayesha was a visitor at a residence, she noticed two young daughters of the owner praying without veils. Seeing this, she insisted that no girl offer prayers without wearing a veil. (Hazrat Ayesha's Biography with Reference to Musnad Ahmad, vol. 6, p. 96) Women are not permitted to wear sound-producing pieces of jewellery. She was once presented with a girl dressed in Ghunghroo. When she saw her, she remarked, “Do not bring her to me while she is wearing this Ghunghroo.” One of the women was perplexed as to why this was the case. “When the bell sounds, the angels do not come to the house or caravan,” Hazrat Ayesha explained with reference to a hadith of Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) [From Musnad Ahmad's vol. 6 p. 225/240, Ayesha's biography] When Amir-ul-Momineen Hazrat Umar Farooq was buried in her room, it was a great concern of Umm Al-Mu'minin Hazrat Ayesha Siddiqa for the sake of Taqwa that she did not enter the room without covering herself, even though there is no restriction of the veil from those who have died according to Islamic Sharia. (File Photo) ----- Women were allowed to perform prayers in the mosque during the Prophet's time, and they used to go to the mosque for prayers, but when their presence became a source of disturbance, Amir al-Mu’minin Hazrat Umar Farooq barred women from entering the mosque. When the women complained to Umm Al-Mu'minin Hazrat Ayesha, she replied, “What Hazrat Umar Farooq knew about the women of these days; if Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) had seen them earlier, he would not have let you enter the mosque,” [Fath ul-Qadir with Al-Kifaya, Vol. 1, p. 317] Women were prohibited from attending the mosque for prayers during the time of Hazrat Umar Farooq. But what is the state of women in modern times, to say the least? Nudity and other heinous crimes are so common that we turn to God Almighty for refuge! O, Islamic Princess! Please don't display your good looks. Live your life in accordance with Allah's and His Messenger's commandments. In Islam, the veil is so well-designed that women are instructed to walk carefully in their houses so that the sound of their jewels is not heard. Allah says: “And let them not stamp their feet to make known what they conceal of their adornment.” (24:31) The sound of jewels has been stated as a reason for the non-acceptance of dua [prayer] in the hadith, therefore you can imagine how much it would displease God Almighty if ladies did not wear veil. Who Should Women Be Veiled For And Who Should They Not Be Veiled For? This is stated explicitly in the following verse of the Holy Quran: Allah Almighty says, [interpretation of the verse]: “And command the Muslim women to keep their gaze low and to protect their chastity, and not to reveal their adornment except what is apparent, and to keep the cover wrapped over their bosoms; and not to reveal their adornment except to their own husbands or fathers or husbands’ fathers, or their sons or their husbands’ sons, or their brothers or their brothers’ sons or sisters’ sons, or women of their religion, or the bondwomen they possess, or male servants provided they do not have manliness, or such children who do not know of women’s nakedness, and not to stamp their feet on the ground in order that their hidden adornment be known; and O Muslims, all of you turn in repentance together towards Allah, in the hope of attaining success.” (24:31) According to a well-known proverb, “First the eye, then the heart, and then the concealable portions of the body [satr] go astray” Therefore, Islam has firmly advised all believing men and women to safeguard their eyes and has mandated that when they leave their homes, they should keep their eyes down. Allah says: “Command the Muslim men to keep their gaze low and to protect their private organs; that is much purer for them; indeed Allah is Aware of their deeds.” (24:30) In the same way, Allah has taught believing women to protect their honour and dignity and has covered it in a very effective way. Allah says: “And command the Muslim women to keep their gaze low and to protect their chastity, and not to reveal their adornment...” (24:31) Women's hearts are soft and sensitive, just like their skin. They have a soft personality and are ready to react to external stimuli. That is why women are severely forbidden from making eye contact with strangers and from displaying their ornamentation and beauty in front of anybody except the Maharams, and they must always wear the veil when leaving the house. Hazrat Umme Salma (May Allah be pleased with her) narrates that “Maimuna (Umm Al-Mu'minin) and I were present at the Prophet's service. Then a blind Sahabi [companion] namely Ibn Umme Maktoom came to the Prophet for some needs. The Prophet ordered us to go behind the curtain. I said, ‘O Messenger of Allah! Isn't Ibn Umm Maktoom blind? The Holy Prophet said, “Are you both blind?” [Sunan al-Tirmidhi] There is no such thing as extremism in Islam. Islam is a religion that encourages people to live in moderation. It may appear to everyone that in today's society, men and women sit, stand, and work in offices together, and face each other on trips and other occasions; how can a man or a woman not look at each other? It is an eye that has the ability to view anyone at any moment. This type of question was also posed to the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him). Hazrat Jarir asked the Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) about an unintended look (on a woman). He (peace be upon him) said, “Turn your eyes away”. [Sunan Abi Dawud 2148] This hadith means that if one sees a non-Mahram woman by accident, it is pardoned because it is the first glimpse. However, as soon as one notices her, one must avert one’s gaze away. If one looks at her again, it will be classified as one’s intentional look and thereby adultery of the eye. Similarly, it is necessary for women not to glance at a non-Mahram male intentionally. ------ Maulana Badruddoja Razvi Misbahi, Principal of Madrasa Arabia Ashrafia Zia-ul-Uloom Khairabad, District Mau, UP (India) is a Sufi-minded, well-mannered, classical Islamic scholar, an expert teacher, an excellent writer, a good poet and orator. He has authored numerous books, some of which are as follows: 1) Fazilat-e-Ramazan, 2) Zad-ul-Haramain, 3) Mukhzin-e-Tib, 4) Tauzeehat-e-Ahsan, the commentary on the well-known logical book “Mulla Hasan” 5) Muhazarat fi Halle Qutbi Tasawwurat, 6) Tahzib al-Faraid commentary on “Sharh al-Aqaid”, 7) Atayib al-Tahani fi Halle Mukhtasar al-Ma’ani, 8) Commentary on Sahih Muslim Urdu Article: Traditional Islamic Opinion on the Importance and Necessity of Hijab اسلام میں حجاب کی اہمیت و ضرورت 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