Thursday, March 31, 2022

Forty Dreams Shattered as Girls Prefer Hijab to Education

Muslims Should Establish More Schools And Colleges For Girls. Main Points: 1. 40 Muslim girls skip exams in Udupi. 2. They were barred from entering exam hall in hijab 3. Majority of the girls prefer exams to hijab ---- By New Age Islam Staff Writer 31 March 2022 (Photo: OneIndia for Representative Purpose) ------ The hijab row in Karnataka took its toll on the educational career of forty Muslim girls who preferred hijab to education. They skipped their exam when they were not allowed to enter the exam hall with hijab. These girls had big dreams and wanted to become doctors, engineers, professors, lawyers, judges or fashion designers but now their future hangs in uncertainty. The teachings that had been imparted about veil had made their attitude rigid. The trend of purdah or hijab among young Muslim girls is not very old. Even two decades ago, Muslim girls used to go to schools, colleges and universities without hijab. What they cared for was a decent dress. The parents did not have any problem. Religious leadership never encouraged girls' education and so madrasas were only meant for boys. Girls were taught at home. In every town of India, schools for boys or for both boys and girls were established not by ulema but by social workers and educationists who knew the importance of education. Sir Syed Ahmad Khan is one example. The ulema only opened madrasas for boys. Though they formally used to say that education was necessary for men and women, they never meant it. They had the view that women should only manage their homes. They should not work in offices in close proximity with men and their earnings should not be accepted by their family.The fatwa of Darul Deoband is well known in this regard. So the girls who today want to get higher education are not inspired by ulema because ulema never encouraged them to go to schools or colleges. But ironically, the girls who go to colleges against the wish of the ulema are unduly inspired by the ulema on their views on hijab or veil. After passing the exams and graduating from colleges, these girls will go for higher studies and find jobs as professors in schools, colleges and universities where they will work in 'close proximity' with male professors or teachers. If they become doctors, they will have to work in 'close proximity' with male doctors and deal with male patients of all hues. If they become engineers, they will face the same dilemma. And when at the end of the month, they will bring home the salary, their family will not accept it because it will be haram for them. Presently, not only in India but also in most of the Islamic world, women work with men in every sphere of life. No one cares for the fatwa of Deoband. When the Islamia Inter College of Deoband allowed the girls in 1995, the ulema made a hue and cry but the parents sent their daughters to the college. Parents did not give any importance to the objections raised by ulema. Two decades ago, this would not have been an issue for girl students. This dilemma with the girls of Karnataka is faced because of the rigid interpretation of religion gaining more ground there. Ironically, in Afghanistan, the women are forced purdah and in India, girls are forcing hijab on themselves. This is only the result of increasing identity-oriented religiosity in India among the Muslims. Some radical and conservative Ulema advocate full veiling of face except a hole before the right eye though the Quran and hadith do not prescribe this kind of veil. In a multicultural society where Muslim women want equal visibility with the women of other religious communities, they cannot afford to be so rigid as to keep themselves invisible in society. In the process of keeping them invisible, they have made them hypervisible which has created problems for them. According to the reports, 13 girl students of 28 from R. N. Shetty P.U. College attended the exams. 4 out of 5 girls of Udupi Bhandarkar College attended the exams. All the Muslim girls of Sharda College attended the exam. In two other colleges, only 2 out of 10 or 8 students attended the exams. Obviously, for some girls, their future and their career was more important than than the hijab. Some colleges are girls' college where girls could have no problem attending the exam without hijab. Before the girls who skipped their exam due to ban on hijab, some Muslim women resigned their job because they would not forgo hijab. These girls will face similar problem in future, if not now if they have a rigid notion of hijab in a multicultural society. The Muslim intelligentsia is also to blame for the current cultural dilemma of the Muslim girls. They realised the importance of girls' education, though belatedly but they did not pay attention on establishing schools and colleges for girls. They encouraged their girls to wear hijab and keep their religious identity intact but were compelled to send their girls to study in schools and colleges established by non-Muslims. If they wanted their girls get higher education, they should have opened girls' schools and colleges in every town. In fact, girls' schools should have become an essential part of a Muslim society. The hijab controversy should now stir the collective conscience of the Muslim society. A constructive approach finds opportunity in every crisis. And there is opportunity for Muslims in the hijab crisis. The Muslims should chalk out a long term policy of establishing schools, colleges and vocational training centres for girls where Muslim girls can study while not being forced to remove hijab. If a community is so obsessed with its religious identity and about its women, it should not leave them at the mercy of others or should not ask for privileges. 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

Towards a Progressive Islam

By Ghulam Mohiyuddin, New Age Islam 31 March 2022 Modern-day Muslims do not accept the wall that has been created between Islam and modernity. They are in favour of incorporating into Islam the best liberal and fact-based trends in modern thinking. While not all progressive Muslims accept all of the progressive ideas that have been proposed in recent decades, certain trends seem to be gaining more and more acceptance. It may be opportune to identify such trends and seek feedback from others who have been engaged in similar introspection. The following is a simplified listing of the principles that many may consider the appropriate components of Progressive Islam. Some of these principles may seem to some to be contrary to our usual teachings but they are, in my view, consistent with the true spirit of Islam. (1) Islam promotes the brotherhood of man and the development of humane and caring societies. It encourages individuals to be kind, loving, and respectful to others. (2) Islam lets us think for ourselves. (3) Islam is based on rationality and common sense. (4) Islam emphasizes righteousness, justice, and compassion. It rejects cruel and unusual punishments. (5) Islam supports gender equality. (6) Islam supports a pluralistic society and respects the religions and sects of others. (7) Islam rejects obscurantism, supremacism, racism, and casteism. It considers concepts such as 'jihad' and 'Kafir' to be obsolete. (8) Islam believes in peace and nonviolence. (9) Islam favours democratic and secular governments, favours the separation of state and religion, promotes human rights, individual freedoms, freedom of speech, and freedom of the press. It rejects all blasphemy laws. (10) Islam cherishes education and science. Boys and girls have equal rights to quality education. (11) Progressive Islam considers the above principles to be consistent with the true spirit of the Quran and the Sunnah. While some people may disagree with some of the above principles, it would be good to see them as suitable subjects for future discourse. --- Ghulam Mohiyuddin is a retired psychiatrist. 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

Pakistan: Female Madrasa Teacher Killed for Blasphemy

By Arshad Alam, New Age Islam 31 March 2022 Till The Time Blasphemy Is On the Statute, Such Killings Will Continue Main Points: 1. A female madrasa teacher in Pakistan was killed by her colleagues over accusations of blasphemy. 2. The accused were told in someone else’s dream that the victim had to be ritually slaughtered. 3. There were doctrinal differences between the victim and the accused, although the precise nature of this difference is not known yet. 4. Not just Pakistan but the whole Muslim world should resolve to abrogate the theology of blasphemy. ----- (Representational Photo) ---- A 17-year-old female madrasa teacher in Pakistan was killed for blasphemy by three of her colleagues. The incident occurred in Dera Ismail Khan District, known for its regressive religious mores and values. The three accused have told the police that one of her relatives, a minor, saw in her dream that the victim committed blasphemy and that in the same dream, Prophet Muhammad ordered to kill her. The very next day, these three teachers slit the throat of the victim and left her to die. The accused and the victim all teach at the local madrasa called Jamia Islamia Falahul Banat. This is not the first case of blasphemy killing in the Islamic emirate of Pakistan, nor will it be the last. But what is certainly novel is the use of dream to justify an act of religious murder. Dreams have been used for other purposes like seeking political legitimacy or even climbing up the caste ladder, but using it to commit murder may possibly be the first. It is troubling that the girl who was killed was a minor and hence should have been handled differently even if there was a proven case of blasphemy against her. What is also troubling is that the accused, one of whom is a minor, are all of young age which tells us the extent to which religious extremism had satiated Muslim minds. Every time such a horrendous incident happens, Islamist apologists line up to defend blasphemy laws by arguing that the motive behind such murders are mostly personal and hence have nothing to do with Islam. By all standards, this is a religious killing. The accused were told in someone else’s dream that the victim had to be ritually slaughtered. And they certainly did so, obeying what they thought was the command of the Prophet. Slaughtering is perhaps the most favored method of Islamic terrorists the world over. Whether it is ISIS in West Asia or in Europe, they have all ended up slaughtering their victims and have publicized it as an Islamic punishment. In this case also, it was the accused who told the police about their gruesome act. In other words, they were publicly proclaiming that they had killed the blasphemer as an act of religious obligation. In their minds, this was an act of supreme piety, fulfilling a command from the Prophet himself. Those in denial that Islam has a problem at its hands must now wake up as even women are now becoming active agents in this maddening rush to slaughter deviants. The reports suggest that the victim was a follower of Maulana Tariq Jameel, a well-known Islamic preacher in Pakistan. Differences of opinion on religious issues led to the accusations of blasphemy which ultimately led to this murder. It might be possible that these were doctrinal differences but that such differences should lead to murder is hardly surprising. After all, haven’t our Ulama have been at each other’s throat over allegations of blasphemy and kufr since the establishment of Islam? More recently, in the South Asian context, differences between Shias and Sunnis have led to bombs being exploded at mosques. The Ahmadis have been forced not to call themselves as Muslims by the dominant majority. Within Sunnis, the rivalry between the Barelvis, Deobandis and Ahle Hadees have not just led to fatwas of Kufr against each other but also violent dismembering of each other’s bodies and sacred spaces. Why does it shock us when these girls exhibit the same violent behaviour over theological differences? After all, the first apostasy wars were led by the first caliph Abu Bakr which is hailed as an exercise which saved Islam from its doom. If the foundation of Islam is based doctrinal violence, why blame contemporary Muslims, who are just emulating their religious heroes? Certainly, condemnations of the killing have come from all quarters including the Wafaq e Madaris, the apex body of madrasa education in Pakistan. But clearly there is much more that needs to be done. The Pakistan religious establishment has to sit up and take notice at what is being done to Islam in the name of blasphemy. And it is not just the religious clerics who are responsible for this; the Pakistani establishment is perhaps more to blame for this mess. Despite so many killings over blasphemy, including some from the political fraternity, neither the military nor the political establishment has had the courage to speak up against it. If they think that it will not reach them, they are sadly mistaken. The killings have touched the poor as well as rich and politically connected. Till the time blasphemy remains on the statute books, there will be no viable solution to this religious problem. The Pakistan establishment has earned some praise in their effort to launch an effective counter-terrorism operation. But the gains seem to be washed away by the growing internal extremism which has singed all sections of the Pakistani population. At the larger level, this is not just an issue for Pakistan but for the whole of the Muslim world. At a time when other religions have internalized modern notions of democracy, pluralism and dissent, Islam continues to be defined for its penchant for killing blasphemers and apostates. If today, people have begun arguing that Islam cannot be reformed, it is thanks to Islamic percepts that sanctions killing in the name of ‘protecting’ religion. Muslims are prone to accuse others of Islamophobia, but they do very little to dispel such thought through their actions. Ultimately, it is upon the Muslims themselves to come out in large numbers and say loud and clear that blasphemy and all its related theology need to be abrogated wholesale. ---- A regular contributor to, 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

Nurflix and Alchemiya: Shariah Compliant Online Streaming Services Seek to Redefine Entertainment

Imams and Preachers Supervise These Online Entertainment Productions Main Points: 1. During the last two years, online streaming services catering to the Muslims have come up. 2. Malaysia's Nurflix was launched from a mosque. 3. UK's Alchemiya was co-founded by Ajmal Masroor Akhtar, a London based Imam. 4. Nurflix produces Shariah compliant drama, religious instruction programmes, programmes for children and women and Islamic music. ----- By New Age Islam Staff Writer 31 March 2022 Nurflix/Facebook ----- For a long time, Muslims were worried about the corruptive influence of immoral content on the internet and on online streaming services. These video-on-demand services offer films that are based on love, sex, violence and promote immorality and perversion in the society. Since internet and media platforms have become a quintessential part of everyday life, the Muslims cannot keep away from it. Therefore, some people from the Muslim community started thinking of using the internet and media platforms to present what they called Islamic entertainment. The term Islamic entertainment seems self-contradictory as Islam does not encourage vain entertainment to pass time. Quran terms vain entertainment as Lahw -al-Hadith and asks Muslims to abstain from it. But in the modern social milieu, entertainment provided on internet or other media platforms cannot be avoided. So some Muslim ideologues who had been in the media or entertainment industry for some time decided to produce entertainment based on Islamic values so that Muslims could be kept away from the corruptive influence of the 'non-Islamic' entertainment. Hence the term Islamic entertainment. Therefore, to produce 'Islamic entertainment', Navid Akhtar and Ajmal Masroor Akhtar who had worked with the BBC, founded Alchemiya, an online streaming service in 2015 keeping Muslim audience in mind. Interestingly, Ajmal Masroor Akhtar is an imam in a London mosque. Alchemiya streams most of the content in the English language ----- Alchemiya offers movies, dramas and documentaries which are based on Islamic values. All its content is in English and it has achieved a multi -country subscriber base. It was called the Muslim Netflix. Inspired by its success, a streaming company iflix was established in Malaysia in 2018. It was not based on Islamic values and was established on commercial basis. But it was Malaysia's first indigenous streaming company. Its first drama Nur went on air in 2018 and had 11 million views. The story of Nur was based on the forbidden love between a religious preacher Adam and a prostitute named Nur. The success of Nur prompted the producers to make its sequel Nur 2 in 2019. In February 2020, Nurflix, a video-on-demand or online streaming service company was founded in Malaysia. The purpose of the company was to provide 'Islamic' entertainment to the Muslim masses. The company's stress was on ethics and it wanted to teach the Muslims morals through comedies and dramas. Nurflix's first production was a drama titled Khadijas that was written by the famous Malaysian writer Hazwani Helmi. It went on air on 22 January 2021. The show was so successful that the producers claim that the moment it went on air, its server was jammed. The management of Nurflix claim that it is a fully Aqeedah and Shariah compliant media platform. It has a supervisory committee which is headed by an Islamic scholar Ustad Raza Ahmad Mukhlis and its advisor is the popular Malaysian preacher Habib Ali Zainal Abedin al Hamid. The fact that may make eye brows raised is that Nurflix's launch was broadcast live on its Facebook page Nurflix. TV from a mosque in Shah Alam, Selanger and the event was officiated by preacher Habib Ali Zainal Abedin al Hamid. Nurflix offers programmes on various categories like general, women, children etc. Earlier they had a category on religious preachers but (wisely) dropped it. Currently Nurflix has 26000 followers on Instagram and 16000 followers on Facebook. It has 16000 subscribers. The CEO of Nurflix is Syah Rizal Mohammad and its Chairman is Syed Tahir Ali who was formerly associated with the petroleum firm Petronas and the carmakers Proton and Perodua. One of its members is Brader Shah who was one of the members of a famous musical group of Malaysia. Nurflix plans to produce 1000 items of content on education, spirituality, motivational and mainstream categories. It plans to make 12000 episodes of programmes in the next five years. However, given the sectarian divide among the Muslims, it has to be seen how these streaming companies deal with sectarian issues. Will Nurflix remain neutral or become a mouthpiece of a particular sect or ideological school? For example, in September 2021, Nurflix invited a famous Malaysian singer, Aliff Azizi, who had recently joined the Tablighi Jamaat for a chat session. During the conversation, Azizi said that joining the Tablighi Jamaat was a good decision for him. Alchemiya of the UK and Nurflix of Malaysia are, therefore, are an attempt to define entertainment in the modern global perspective where Muslims cannot avoid media and internet. But whether it is imperative to have imams and preachers to supervise its contents and launch a streaming platform from a mosque, is a topic of discussion. Preachers have their sectarian affiliations and many of them have extremist views on veil, girls' education, blasphemy, dress and relations with non-Muslims. Therefore, association of religious preachers with these media platforms may create problems in the long run. URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Taliban And Girls' Education: Girls Are Being Deprived Of Their Educational Rights Granted By Islamic Shariah

Girls' Schools Have Been Closed After A Short Duration Main Points: 1. Taliban are in a dilemma over the girls' education. 2. They had earlier said that they would allow girls to go to schools under Islamic limits. 3. Taliban leadership is divided over girls' education ----- New Age Islam Staff Writer 30 March 2022 Photo: Tolo News ---- When Taliban had come to power again in August 2021, they had tried to show that their approach towards women and girls' education has changed. The Taliban leadership had said that they will give women and girls their due place in society and that they would allow girls to go to schools and colleges. They had even opened the schools for a short duration and then closed them again. They have said that they will allow girls to go to schools under Sharia guidance but it seems that their Ulema have not reached a consensus on what the system of girls' education should be in an Islamic structure. Islam's stand on education is clear. Every Muslim man and woman must receive education. And one should go as far as China to acquire knowledge and education. Islam has also made its stand on purdah (veil) clear. All the Islamic countries allow girls to receive knowledge through traditional systems of education. The limit of purdah is also been determined for them but in no Islamic country, girls ' education becomes an issue of policy for the government or the Muslim society. Earlier the Taliban ordained that there would be curtains between the girls and the boys in the classroom and the girls were told to observe purdah. Pictures of such class rooms went viral on the social media. The Taliban want the girl students to be escorted to and fro homes and sit in separated or all female class rooms. They also want only female teachers to teach girls. Then perhaps the issue of syllabus is one major issue as they would not like the "un-Islamic" subjects to be taught to the students, both male and female. It is known to all that conservative mainstream Islamic ulema have held the position that science is not included in Islamic education. This was the ideology behind the preparation of the syllabus of the Darul Uloom Deoband in the 19th century. This belief has not changed after two centuries and even today madrasas do not include science in its syllabus. Since the Taliban follow the Deoband school of thought, they will most probably turn all the schools into religious institutions where only Islamic sciences will be taught. The Taliban are faced with this dilemma because they have never been a social Islamic organisation. They have presented themselves as a militant organisation and they know how to fight. To govern a country is a diametrically different issue. A political party has its views and policies on every sphere of governance, that is, on economy, on gender justice, on education, on human rights etc. The Taliban don't have their policy framework because their leadership consists of radical Islamists, not of scientists, economists, educationists and liberal modern Islamic thinkers. They want girls to be taught by women teachers but in a society where women education is restricted, women teachers can not emerge. And educated women will not accept the strict rules about purdah they want to impose. Already many professionals have migrated from Afghanistan. The Taliban say that the closing down of schools for girls was only a technical issue. The decision on their uniform has to be taken. It is just ridiculous. Islam has outlined women's dress and so there should not be so much delay on the issue that schools need to be closed. Obviously, there may be other reasons. The actual reason is that Taliban cannot work or operate in isolation. It has to conform to international standards. Last year, during the Oslo conference, the western nations had linked financial assistance with freedom of women and girls' education, human rights and freedom of expression. This is the dilemma with the Taliban. In the bigger world the Taliban will have to make some compromises in the field of education. media, human rights and freedom of expressions. In a caliphate, an ordinary Muslim has the right to hold the caliph accountable. (The example of Hadhrat Umar is before us). Without accountability, they can not run their government. In the modern global milieu, they will not only be accountable to their own people but will also be accountable to the world community. The problem with the Taliban is that one military leadership is deciding all the issues There are no different committees to look into different affairs. The top militant leadership thinks that they have all the knowledge of all the fields. They have completed 7 months in power and don’t have a decision on the girls ' uniform. Does the prime minister of a country decide what the uniform of the students would be? And are the schools kept close till the time the decision is made? During the last 7 months they have not been able to bring stability and normalcy in the country. Millions of children are on the brink of starvation and the US refuses to release billions of rupees of Afghanistan frozen in the US banks. Instead of making compromises with the US and other western nations, Taliban have taken a confrontationist stance against them. They have imposed restrictions on the Voice of America, BBC and Deutsche Welle. Thanks to the restrictions, these media outlets have been barred from working. According to recent reports, the Taliban have issued advisory for government employees. According to the advisory, every employee must conform to the dress code imposed, keep beard, wear a cap or turban and wear loose shirt and Shalwar above the ankle. This makes it clear that the Taliban are heading towards imposing the Wahhabi lifestyle. Therefore, it can be guessed what their policy towards women, media and education is going to be. In short, the Taliban can not change their ideology and the people of Afghanistan are left with no option. If they want to live in Afghanistan, they will have to live a life of slavery and if they want freedom, they will have to leave their homeland and seek asylum in any western country. They are caught between the devil and the black sea. URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Islam and Indic Tradition: The Barmakids of Baghdad

By Arshad Alam, New Age Islam 30 March 2022 A Buddhist Family Fundamentally Influenced The Islamic Knowledge System Main Points: 1. The Barmakids were the chief priest of the Buddhist temple at Balkh, present day northern Afghanistan. 2. They served at high positions in the courts of Abbasid caliphs like al Mansur and Harun al Rashid 3. They were fundamentally instrumental in transmitting Indian medicinal knowledge to the Arabic and Persian world ------ In the dominant reading of Islam, it appears that the religion almost sprouted out of nowhere. God spoke to Muhammad who eventually struggled and established Islam in the Arabian Subcontinent. Revisionist historians have taken another view; that no religion can just arise in a social and ideological vacuum. These historians link early Islam with sects of Christianity and Judaism and argue that the religion of Muhammad was responding to these religious forces in Arabia. However, because these three religions arose in that part of the world, we do not see much talk on how eastern traditions like Hinduism or Buddhism might have impacted Islam. It is worth noting that a large of Muslim land today was once dominated by eastern religions like Hinduism, Buddhism and Manicheanism. Islam took over those lands very rapidly and it is not conceivable that the practitioners of these religions just converted and forgot everything about their previous traditions. What one is arguing is that there is a need to see the kinds of interaction that took place between different Indic traditions and Islam in its formative years. While the orthodox have argued that the formation was complete the day revelation ended, we know that the history is much more complicated. Some have even argued that it was the Abbasids who would eventually perfect what we know as Islam today. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Also Read: Islam and the Indic Tradition: The Contribution of Mir Fenderiski ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ The Abbasid empire was far and wide, extending from the shores of Tunis to the present-day parts of Pakistan. We should not forget that some of these lands, especially present-day Afghanistan and parts of Iran, were centers of Buddhism and Hinduism since centuries. The Abbasids and before them the Umayyads were building the foundation of Islam on the edifice of these two important Indic traditions and it is not fantastical to argue that the conquered in turn would have influenced the formation of Islam in certain ways. The current article tells the story of one such interaction which took place between Islam and Buddhism through an important family called the Barmakids. The Barmakids were the chief priest of the Buddhist temple at Nawbahar (Nava Vihara/New Monastery) in Balkh, present day northern Afghanistan. Within this lineage, we get Khalid Barmak who was born as a Buddhist but later converted to Islam and took various important positions in the Abbasid caliphate. Khalid’s father, we are told, studied religious scriptures, medicine and sciences of the day in various monasteries in Kashmir before returning to Balkh to continue with his duties as the chief priest of the temple there. It is important to remember that Barmak is the corrupted version of Pramukh in Sanskrit and Parmak in Bactrian. In both these usages, the meaning is the same: head priest of a Buddhist monastery. But as Parmak was translated into Arabic, the phenome P was changed to B and Parmak became Barmak. The Buddhist ancestry of the Barmakids seems to have stimulated the interest in Indian sciences during the age of translation at the Abbasid court in the late eighth century. Yahya Barmak, the son of Khalid sponsored Sanskrit translations at the court, in part inspired by his own personal heritage. Writers like Masudi wrote high praise for the Barmakids and tell us how they rose to high offices of caliph Harun al Rashid. Although astronomical and mathematical treatises were also being translated during the golden age of Islam, the Barmakids were particularly interested in bringing Indian medical knowledge to the Abbasid court. Thus, the translation of Shusruta Samhita, the Gupta period medical text, was begun during the reign of caliph al Mansur, when Khalid was one of the most important members of the inner circle. Khalid’s son, Yahya Barmak, who rose to become the vizier of caliph Harun al Rashid, similarly showed much interest in the translation of Indic medical knowledge, first in Persian and then into Arabic. Yahya was particularly significant as he gave patronage to Jabir ibn Hayyan (Geber), who recorded the art of alchemy by fusing the Hindu and local Iranian tradition. Jabir has had an enormous influence the world over on medicinal sciences through his huge corpus of works. Jabir’s friendship with the Barmakids facilitated the synthesis of Indic and other traditions related to alchemy and other esoteric sciences. The Jabirian Science, as it later came to be known, emphasized the dualism of physical or exterior (Zahir) and spiritual/hidden (Batin) or interior body; a dualism which will inform the philosophy of the Ismailis later on. Jabir was heavily accused of bringing ‘foreign’ influences into Islam through his multifarious works. But his closeness with the Barmakids meant that he could not be harmed. The Barmakids also popularized the teachings of Buddha by commissioning various authors. Three books about the life of Buddha were translated into Arabic under the patronage of Fazal and Yahya Barmaki. Yahya Barmaki, the right-hand man of the Abbasid caliph Harun al Rashid, personally commissioned some of these translations and this can possibly be due to the fact that Buddhism was his ancestral religion. These translations were not without its risk though. The translator of one of these texts was said to be Aban Lahaghi, who was accused of being a Zindiq (heretic) Manichean, but he was saved as he had the good fortune of being close to the powerful Barmakid family. Others were not so fortunate. Ibn al Muqaffa, who was another celebrated translator of middle Persian texts including the life of Mani (Manicheanism) and Mazdak (Zoroastrianism), was similarly accused of being a Zindiq and put to death. Unfortunately, the Barmakids would themselves be put to death by Harun al Rashid, the reasons for which need not detain us here. What is more important is that this family of Indic origin had a huge impact on knowledge tradition in early Islam. It was through their efforts that a synthesis of Indic and non-Indic knowledge systems could occur. True that they converted to Islam, but their Buddhist origins played a significant part in how they understood knowledge systems and believed in its continuity. The history of Barmakids tells us that a change in one’s religious identity need not mean the fundamental abandonment of one’s intellectual heritage. ----- A regular contributor to, 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

Debunking Islamophobic Myths About 26 Wartime Verses Of Quran Considered Militant And Exclusivist: Part 2 On Verse 9:28

Responding To Questions About The Impurity Of The Polytheists As Stated In Verse 9:28 Main Points: 1. That the polytheists are unclean refers to the polytheists of Makka. 2. The divine declaration that "polytheists are unclean" alludes to their polytheism, betrayal of peace treaties, and religious persecution. 3. This prohibition has been interpreted by Hanafi, Shafii, Maliki and Hanbali in a variety of ways. ----- By Kaniz Fatma, New Age Islam 30 March 2022 The following verse is also used to incite anti-Islamic sentiment: “O you who have believed, indeed the polytheists are unclean, so let them not approach al-Masjid al-Haram after this, their [final] year. And if you fear privation, Allah will enrich you from His bounty if He wills. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Wise”. (9:28) Several questions are raised with regard to the aforementioned verse. In this verse, who are the polytheists mentioned? Why is it that polytheists are described as unclean in this verse? Are they unclean physically or spiritually? Or are they unclean only because of their polytheism and infidelity beliefs? Is it simply forbidden for polytheists to enter al-Masjid al-Haram or all Masajid all over the world? Is it permissible for them to attend al-Masjid al-Haram only on Hajj and Umrah days, or also on other days? These are the questions I've addressed in this section after reviewing the accessible materials, and none of the points is mine; they're all drawn from popular Quranic interpretations. Who are the polytheists specifically mentioned in this verse? They are the polytheists of Makkah who did not keep their peace deal, as indicated in the previous part. Why is it that polytheists are described as unclean in this verse? Why is it that polytheists are described as unclean in this verse? Are they unclean physically or spiritually? Or are they unclean only because of their polytheism and infidelity beliefs? If you examine the various Quranic interpretations to discover answers to these questions, it will become evident that the divine declaration that "polytheists are unclean" alludes to their polytheism, betrayal of peace treaties, and religious persecution. Is it simply forbidden for polytheists to enter al-Masjid al-Haram or all Masajid all over the world? Is it permissible for them to attend al-Masjid al-Haram only on Hajj and Umrah days, or also on other days? Yes, it was prohibited for Mushrikin/Polytheists to enter al-Masjid al-Haram. This prohibition has been interpreted in a variety of ways. According to Imam Abu Hanifah, it simply prevents them from performing Hajj and Umrah, as well as from performing the ceremonies of ignorance in the sacred precincts. However, Imam Shafii believes that they have been barred from entering the Al-Masjid-Al-Haram for any reason. According to Imam Malik, they are not only forbidden to enter Al-Masjid-Al-Haram but any mosque. The latter viewpoint is not accepted by the majority of scholars and Ulama. According to Mufti Badruddoja Razvi, Impurity in this Quranic verse does not refer to what comes to mind, such as urinating and excrement, as anti-Islamic elements spread. Instead, impurity refers to their polytheism, which is spiritually filthy, or it could be interpreted as they have been labelled ‘unclean’ because they do not perform proper purification and bathing (Taharat and Ghusl, specific modes of purification described in Islam), and they do not avoid impurity, as it is common to see them urinate standing up and without avoiding urine splashes. They defecate in a small amount of water. Impurity has been applied to them as a result of these factors. This verse does not imply that they are as filthy as urination and excrement, as Abi Saud clarifies in his commentary. (Tafsir Abi Saud vol. 4, p. 57) In his commentary on Sahih Muslim, under the chapter "The evidence that a Muslim is not unclean," Imam Nawawi said, "The disbeliever has the same decree as the Muslim." This is also the Shaafii view and the majority of the pious predecessors and successors (Salaf and Khalaf). "Polytheists are unclean" the scripture adds, referring to the impurity of polytheism and infidelity of the polytheists and disbelievers. This isn't to say that their limbs are unclean, as urine and excrement are.” In the verse “So after this year they would not be allowed to come near the Sacred Mosque after this year (9:28),” the Quran commands Muslims to keep infidels and polytheists of the Makka from entering the Sacred Mosque. This rule is based on the "impurity of polytheism" and the prohibition on accessing al-Masjid al-Haram is based on hyperbole. The prohibition in this verse, according to Imam Abu Hanifa, is intended to prevent polytheists from doing Hajj and Umrah, not from the Haram, al-Masjid al-Haram and other mosques. Imam Shafii believes that the restriction here refers to preventing polytheists from entering al-Masjid al-Haram. It has been commanded here, according to Imam Malik, to expel polytheists from all mosques. The viewpoints of these Imams and Jurists are mentioned in Abi Saud's commentary. (Tafsir Abi Saud, Vol:4, 57) The preferred view among Hanafi and Shafii scholars was not clarified by the author of Tafsir Abi Saud. Mufti Badruddoja Razvi examines the viewpoints of Hanafis and Shafiis, citing what is found in Sharh—E-Sahih Muslim, a commentary book of Allama Ghulam Rasool Saeedi. According to the Shafiis, infidels and polytheists are not permitted to visit the Haram, although they are permitted to enter other mosques with the permission of Muslims. Allama Taqi al-Din al-Subki, a great Shafii jurist, says, “The Infidel, in general, will be barred from entering the Haram, be he a Dhimmi or a Musta’min.” Dhimmi is a non-Muslim living in a Muslim country, and a Musta'min is a non-Muslim who comes to a Muslim country with a temporary passport or visa. Another Shafii scholar, Imam Nawawi says, “It is permissible for a disbeliever to enter mosques other than the Haram with the permission of Muslims, no matter whether he is a dhimmi or Musta’min, idolater, or from the people of Book or Ahle Kitab. The reason is that when a delegation of Thaqif came to the Prophet (peace be upon him), he set up a tent for them in the mosque. When they accepted Islam, they fasted. Imam Tabrani has recorded this hadith with the authentic chain. There is another report narrated by Hazrat Abu Hurayrah (May Allah be pleased with him), which mentions the arrest of Thumama ibn Athal and tying him to the pillar of the mosque. That is why Imam Shafai' ruled that an infidel is allowed to enter a mosque with the permission of Muslims even if he is not from the People of the Book. However, an infidel is not allowed to enter the mosques and Haram of Makkah. Allama Nawawi has written in his book "Majmoo" that our companions have stated that no infidel should be allowed to enter the Haram but it is permissible for the infidel to enter every mosque outside the Haram, and with the permission of the Muslims he can stay in the mosque at night.”(Tikmilah Sharh -e-Tahzib, Vol. 9, p. 436, 437 Published by Dar al-Fikr, Beirut) Non-covenanted polytheists, i.e. those with whom there is no agreement or law of peace, shall be barred from visiting the Haram and the rest of the mosques, according to Hanafi authorities. Similarly, covenanted non-Muslims with whom there is an agreement or constitution of peace will not be denied access to the Haram or the other mosques. Imam Muhammad (May Allah bless him and grant him peace) writes in his book "al-Sayr al-Kabeer, “Zuhri has narrated that Abu Sufyan used to come to the mosque during the peace-treaty days of Hudaybiyyah, while he was a disbeliever at that time. However, it is not permissible for an infidel to enter al-Masjid al-Haram because Allah Almighty says, “The polytheists are impure and they should not come near Al-Masjid al-Haram.” From Imam Mohammad's words, it appears that polytheists will be barred from entering al-Masjid al-Haram in general, but he has made it clear in his Jami' Saghir that there is no prohibition for the covenanted infidels or people living under the protection of peace or peace-constitution. He says, “The people of the covenant are permitted to enter the Sacred Mosque (al-Masjid al-Haram)”. (al-Jami' al-Saghir, p. 153, published by Mustafai Hind) Following Imam Muhammad's reasoning, Hanafi jurists believe that covenanted unbelievers or Mushrikin with whom there is a peace accord will not be prevented from accessing the Kaaba and the other mosques. This prohibition is only applicable to non-covenanted polytheists. The Fatawa Alamgiri says, “There is no barrier for the covenanted people to enter al-Masjid al-Haram and other mosques, and this is the true position, as stated in Imam Sarkhasi's book ‘Al Muheet.’” [Fatawa al-Alamgiri, vol. 5, p. 346, published by Kubrah Aamiriyah, Bulaq, Egypt] Imam Malik opines that non-Muslims of any kind are not allowed to enter any mosque, whether it is al-Masjid al-Haram or otherwise. Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal holds the view that it is forbidden for polytheists to enter any part of the Sacred land (Haram Sharif, i.e. the part of Makkah which comes under the land of Haram). There is no specification for Masjid-e-Haram. As for the mosques located outside Haram, there are two types of statements narrated by him. (Allama Ghulam Rasool Saeedi, Sharh-e-Sahih Muslim, vol. 3, pp. 681, 682, 683) ------ 1. The Verses of Jihad: Meaning, Denotation, Reason of Revelation and Background- Part 3 2. Are All The Mushrikin For All Times “Spiritually Unclean” (Rijz) (Literal Reading Of Verse 9:28 Of The Qur’an)? ------ Kaniz Fatma is a classic Islamic scholar and a regular columnist for New Age Islam. Related Article: Debunking Islamophobic Myths about 26 Wartime Verses: Part 1 on Verse 9:5 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

Contrary To The Current Communal Narrative, Temples, Mosques And Dargahs Have Been A Part Of India's Syncretic Culture For Centuries

Temples And Dargahs Never Divided People Of India Main Points: 1. Many temples and mosques are located side by side for centuries. 2. Many temples were built by Muslim kings and Nawabs. 3. Many Dargahs are visited by both Hindus an Muslims. 4. Nawab Shuja-ud-Daula donated land for Hanumangarhi temple. 5. In Kashmir, many temples are maintained by Muslims. ---- New Age Islam Staff Writer 30 March 2022 Temple ---- The recent call for ban on Muslim traders in the premises of Hindu temples has stirred a controversy. The move has religio-political undertones and so the move is being opposed even by Hindus who keep India's centuries old syncretic culture close to their heart. Temples, mosques and Sufi shrines called Dargahs have never divided the Hindus and Muslims, rather they have played an important role in strengthening the cultural bond. Many Sufi shrines in the country are visited by both Hinds and Muslims. In fact, Urs at many Dargahs are jointly managed by Hindus and Muslims. Many Hindu temples were either built by Muslim emperors and Nawabs or funded by them. Many temples in Kashmir are maintained by local Muslims. Particularly, after the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from Kashmir, many Shiva temples have been maintained and protected by Kashmiri Muslims and have been functioning as usual. There are many Dargahs, for example, in Maharashtra which are revered and visited by the devotees from all castes. Dargah of Zinda Pir in Kaigaon in Jalgaon district and Dargah of Dada Ghulam Ali Shah in the same district are centres of communal Harmony. The entrance gate of Dargah Ghulam Ali Shah was donated by a Hindu trader of the locality. In Karnataka where the move for ban on Muslim shop owners has been introduced, the syncretic culture still remains strong. The Dargah of Sufi saint Dawal Malik in Domanal village in Bijapur district is revered by both Hindus and Muslins and during the Urs, it is the Hindus who take the lead in managing it. Another Dargah in Kalburgi in Karnataka is that of Hadhrat Ruknuddin Tola. Since the sufi is revered by Hindus as well, devotees are instructed not to visit the Dargah after having non-vegetarian food. In Malegao, Maharashtra, Mahadeo Temple and Jama Masjid are situated side by side in the densely populated area where shops and looms of both Hindus and Muslims exist. Jama’ah Masjid, Delhi ---- When Kashmiri Pandits left Kashmir amid insurgency, they requested their Muslim neighbours to take care of the temples and the Muslims pledged to them that thay will protect them at every cost. They kept their promise and have been protecting the Shiva temples. For example, the Shiva temple on Zobaria Hills in the outskirts of Srinagar is being maintained by Nissar since 2004. Before him his father was the caretaker of this temple. Another Shiv temple at Payar, which is very old is being maintained by one Mushtaque Ahmad Saikh It is 45 km from Srinagar. Mushtaque and his family protected the temple during the height of the insurgency in the 1990s. Another temple, Mamalaka Temple which is 900 years old is situated on the bank of Lidder river. Since there is no priest in the temple, two Muslims, Md Abdullah and Ghulam Hasan have been serving as priests. They clean and sweep the temple every day and serve the Prasad to every visitor. While leaving Kashmir, the Pandits had requested them to keep the temple open and they have kept their request. Dargah Khanqah-e-Maula and Rama Kaul Temple stand face to face in Kashmir and remind Indians of the glorious history of religious harmony in the country. The Mughal emperors, particularly, Akbar and Jahangir promoted religious harmony by granting financial assistance and land to Hindu temples. Jahangir is even said to have visited Vrindavan and granted land to the Sewaks of the temple. The Mughals and Nawabs of Awadh patronised many temples in Ayodhya and elsewhere. Dargah, Ajmer Sharif ----- These are only some of the examples of religious harmony promoted from temples, mosques ad Dargahs in India. Within the premises of every Dargah and temple, markets have sprung up where shops are owned by the members of all castes. As Muslims set shop in the premises of temples, so Hindus have shops within the premises of Dargahs. The controversy of Hindu shopkeeper versus Muslim shop keeper has never before been heard. During Urs at famous Dargahs, fairs are held in which traders and artisans belonging to different castes from across the country set shop and do business together. Never ever the question of banning Hindu traders occurred to Muslims. Therefore, the communal move of banning the traders of a particular community from the premises of places of worship does not augur well for the multicultural fabric of India and is also bad for the economy. 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

Minorities in Sindh of Pakistan under Constant Fear of Security and Survival: Report

A Report Chattan, Srinagar 30 March 2022 Translated from Urdu by Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi, New Age Islam Sindh [Pakistan], March 29 (MNN): As a result of the psychological and social effects of hate speech, minorities in Pakistan's Sindh province live under constant fear for their security and survival. The study, titled “Hate Speech: A Subtle Discrimination!” was carried out by the National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP), a statutory body of the Catholic Bishops' Conference. Trends of Religious Hate Speech in Sindh reported that Christian, Hindu, Sikh, Shia, and Ahmadi minorities are constantly threatened, according to The News International. The study proposed that the government establish monitoring, regulating, and standardisation methods for religious sermons, speeches, and seminary curriculum, as well as create comprehensive equality and non-discrimination legislation. The methodology portion of the report stated that “This evidence-based paper serves as a tool to recognise the overlooked hate speech and also analyses the detrimental impacts of hate speech on society”. Hate speech is recognised as a standard in Pakistan, according to the study's findings, and one of its direct repercussions is that people have to bear a loss of self-esteem, according to The News. “As victims’ feelings of inferiority grow, they seek to isolate themselves, which only serves to exacerbate their mental health problems,” according to the NCJP research. According to the study, women are more exposed to hate speech in public places because they are already vulnerable due to their gender in a male-dominated culture. “Women from religious minorities are clearly identifiable in public because of their traditional clothes; for example, Hindu women in Sindh typically wear the Ghagra Choli, which is their traditional outfit.” Calling people names is usually observed in Markets, particularly indecent names based on religious affiliation, according to The News. According to The News, the study also calls for the criminalization of forced conversion in Sindh and invites political parties to enact a bill that was proposed in November 2016 in the provincial parliament but failed owing to religious pressure. The study also calls for the legal age of marriage in Pakistan to be set at 18 years old for both boys and girls, and for senior civil judges to determine the presence of a free will, consent, age accuracy, and the marital status of the people involved. According to the report, discrimination is also practised in medical institutions, where members of religious minorities are denied medical help purely because of their faith or belief, and no one is held accountable for such human rights breaches. When tracking hate speech trends, one of the most striking findings is that religious minority communities are lagging behind in economic growth due to ongoing mental health issues, deliberate efforts to prevent their advancement, the high dropout rate of minority students from educational institutions, a lack of security, and government neglect. According to the study, religious minorities are channelled into an economic disadvantage by a variety of systematic means, such as state-run departments placing advertisements in national media stating that they only require someone from minority communities to fill janitorial staff vacancies. "In addition, authorities have been known to ignore municipal issues in places with a minority population; for example, road building is denied and drainage difficulties are not addressed." Tharparkar, a remote and rural district of Sindh, is one prominent example of a barrier to collective growth. According to The News, it has a large Hindu population, and similar places with a predominantly Hindu population are neglected by the government in terms of development. Source: A Report Chattan, Srinagar URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

A Tribute to the First Martyr of Urdu Journalism Maulvi Mohammad Baqar

Delhi Urdu Akhbar Founded By Maulvi Mohammad Baqar Was the Pioneer in Modern Urdu Journalism Main Points: 1. Maulvi Baqar was killed by the British for his nationalist views. 2. Maulvi Baqar was known for neutral reporting. 3. Maulvi Mohammad Baqar was the first to do Spot reporting. ---- New Age Islam Staff Writer 29 March 2022 [A sketch of Maulvi Baqir’s execution. He and other scholars were tied to canons and were publicly blown away] ----- Although Urdu journalism in India started with the weekly Urdu newspaper Jam-e-Jahan Numa of Calcutta in March 1822, the Urdu journalism took its distinct shape with the publication of Delhi Urdu Akhbar in 1838. Jam-e-Jahan Numa was more of a cultural and literary Urdu magazine and did not publish content on politics or current affairs. Its circulation was also not wide because till that time Persian was the official language and Urdu readership was not high. Delhi Urdu Akhbar was launched in 1838 after Urdu was granted the status of official language in 1834 and Urdu gradually became the language of the masses as well as of the elite. Delhi Urdu Akhbar, founded and edited by Maulvi Mohammad Baqar was the first Urdu newspaper in the real sense. It published news of political happenings and analytical repoting on current affairs. The period in which Delhi Urdu Akhbar was being published was a critical phase in the history of India. The strength and influence of the British was increasing and the power and authority of the Mughal Empire was witnessing a downslide. Maulvi Mohammad Baqar, therefore, published a newspaper when writing or speaking against the British could invite trouble. Still as a nationalist and a staunch Muslim he was not afraid to call a spade a spade. He published reports of both the policies of the British government and also of the happenings inside the Mughal Durbar. Delhi Urdu Akhbar's pages give a reliable account of the social and political affairs and conditions of the time. On the one hand, the newspaper criticises the imposition of new taxes by the British government and on the other, it gives an account of the hardships it causes to the masses and the new problems it creates for the Mughal Durbar. We know from the reports published in the paper that due to extra financial burden caused by the new taxes, the salaries of the staff of the Mughal Durbar were pending. Maulvi Mohammad Baqar's journalistic insight made the Delhi Urdu Akhbar a reliable source of news and the government and the elite followed the newspaper keenly. From this newspaper the readers also become aware of the cultural and literary atmosphere of the period. Interestingly, two great poets of Urdu, Mirza Ghalib and Ibrahim Zauq lived during the period in Delhi. The literary rivalry and duels between Zauq and Ghalib are well known to the Urdu literary circle. Zauq was a close friend of Maulvi Mohammad Baqar and so he enjoyed the advantage of his closeness to Maulvi Baqar. Delhi Urdu Akhbar often published news, Ghazals and reports about Zauq presenting him in good light often in exaggeration. But Ghalib was often presented in poor light and sometimes flaws and errors in his ghazals were pointed out. It was in this newspaper that the news of his arrest for gambling was published. Zauq must have rejoiced at this report of his rival. Maulvi Mohamnad Baqar was born in an Iranian religious Shia family in 1790. His father Maulvi Mohammad Akbar was himself a religious scholar and ran a Shia madrasa. Maulvi Mohammad Baqar was also an educated liberal person. He had received his education from Delhi College and later became a teacher at his alma mater and taught English along with religious subjects. He was known for his knowledge of Shia jurisprudence but did not have sectarian bias against the Sunnis. He did not approve of Tabarra which made him unpopular among a section of conservative Shias. Therefore, Another Shia scholar Jafar Ali issued a fatwa against him and a call for his boycott against him was published. The differences of opinion between Maulvi Mohammad Baqar and Jafar Ali on some other religious issues became so severe that the Shias of Delhi became divided in two groups. One group was known as Baqaria and the other was known as Jafaria. To keep away his son Mohammad Hussain Azad (who later became an Urdu writer and critic in his own right) from the sectarian bias, he later assigned him to a Sunni teacher. When Maulvi Mohammad Baqar launched his Urdu newspaper and set up his own press, he kept his newspaper and press away from sectarian beliefs. In fact he published Shah Abdul Qadir's first Urdu translation of the Quran in his own press though Shah Abdul Qadir was Shah Waliullah's son and a Sunni. He also published books of Hindu religion in his press. When the revolt of 1857 broke out, Maulvi Muhammad Baqar's newspaper took active part against the British. News of fighting and killing of British officers and advances of the freedom fighters were published fearlessly. The fatwas of jihad issued by ulama against the British were also published boldly. Speeches and messages of Mughal emperor and other leaders were also published regularly. Maulvi Baqar also introduced the genre of spot reporting. He would move about in the streets and write reports of rebellion. Actually, Maulvi Baqar was so much convinced of the victory of the Indians that he did not have any fear of the British while reporting against them.. But the revolt was crushed and the British dealt with the freedom fighters very ruthlessly. Thousands of freedom fighters were hanged and killed. Newspaper offices were burnt and all their copies were burnt. Ulema were either hanged or shot dead. There was a reign of terror in Delhi. People would be picked up at the slightest suspicion on being a participant in the revolt and hanged. During that period there was an informer named Kaley Khan on whose information many freedom fighters were hanged or shot. Probably, Sarai Kaley Khan is named after him. The British also arrested Maulvi Muhammad Baqar on the charge of the killing of Principal Taylor (of Delhi College) who had been Maulvi Baqar 's student. During the revolt when Indian's were killing British officers, Principal Taylor had taken shelter at his house. But when he thought that the freedom fighters would catch him there too, he left Maulvi Baqar's house in disguise but was recognised and killed by freedom fighters. He was killed on 12 May 1857. On 16th September 1857, the British government held Maulvi Baqar responsible for or accomplice in the murder of Principal Taylor. He was shot dead instantly. He died but left behind him the legacy of nationalism and patriotism. His contributions to the freedom movement of India and to the growth of Urdu journalism has been itched in gold. 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

While Islamic Scholars Are Busy Declaring One Another Kafir, Muslim Governments Have Left 18 Million Muslim Refugees Living In Confinement or In Refugee Camps to Fend For Themselves

By S. Arshad, New Age Islam 29 March 2022 Political and Religious Conflicts, Mostly Sectarian Clashes Are At the Root of the Muslim Refugee Crisis Main Points: 1. Muslims of Palestine and China live in open air prisons. 2. A big population of Muslims of Myanmar, Syria, Libya and Afghanistan live as refugees. 3. 24 million Muslims live as refugees or prisoners in the world. ---- Syrian refugees wait to enter Jordanian side of the Hadalat border crossing, a military zone east of Amman.(Khalil Mazraawi / AFP / Getty Images) ----- There are more than 50 Muslim majority countries in the world and there are other dozens of countries where Muslims constitute a considerable part of the population. The Muslim majority countries except the Asian and African countries are rich with oil and minerals. But unfortunately, Muslims of the world both in the Muslim majority and Muslim minority countries have not learnt to live in peace. Political and religious or sectarian differences among them are so severe that they often cause strife and bloodshed, massacre and civil war. If we take a look at the countries that have been ravaged by civil war, political war or sectarian strife, we find that the Muslims of Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, Phillipines, Nigeria, Jordan, Sudan, Lebanon, Palestine, China and Pakistan have been suffering from religious and sectarian strife and this strife has caused large scale displacement of the Muslim population. This displacement is of two kinds: Internal and external. There are millions of Muslims in Muslim majority countries who are internally displaced. They have to leave their homes to take shelter in comparatively safer places within the country as refugees. Such internally displaced people are in millions in Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq and Libya. There are others who have left their countries in the wake of civil strife or political instability and have taken asylum in another countries as refugees. Home to more than 85,000 people, the Zaatari refugee camp has become a small city, with more than 3,000 shops and kiosks set up mainly by Syrian refugees. (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times ) ----- There is a third category of hapless Muslims who live in confinement in their towns as the entire area is turned into an open prison. Muslims living in these open prisons are in millions. They are made prisoners by their own government or by an occupying force. They have no freedom and no rights. Now we come to the details. During the protests as part of the Arab Spring, the autocratic governments of Tunisia, Egypt and Libya were overthrown by the violent protesters. The protesters wanted democratic governments and human rights but instead they got involved in civil war which was hijacked by the ISIS and Al Qaida and the entire middle East became a battle field and the common protesters soon became invisible. In the bloodshed that ensued, almost entire Middle East was ravaged and millions of people, majority of them were Muslims had to flee their homes and their countries and take shelter in neighbouring countries or in European countries. The number of Muslims internally displaced only in Syria is 7 million. The number of Syrians living as refugees in other countries is again 7 million. Refugees from Libya are 1 million who have taken refuge in different countries. There are 6 million refugees in Tunisia. Photo: DW Made for Minds ---- These Muslims were rich and wealthy and had been living a prosperous life until the Arab Spring turned their life into a cold autumn. Entire towns of Syria today present a deserted look. Their spatial houses and markets, hospitals, malls and parks have turned into abodes of ghosts. And their inmates are living a life of abject poverty and penury in refugee camps in African or European countries. This is why Muslim religious scholars and imams of the Middle Ages discouraged Muslims from revolting against the established governments. Now we realise the wisdom behind it. But the religious scholars of today instigated such revolts by terrorist organisations. The same situation is in Libya and Iraq where millions of Muslims are either internally displaced or are living in refugee camps abroad where there is no freedom, no jobs, no hygiene, no safety and there is hostility from the local population. Certainly, this was not the life when they had revolted against their governments. The Muslims of Myanmar called Rohingya Muslims who are persecuted by the majority Buddhists and the military have to seek shelter in Bangladesh. Prior to 2017, some 200,00 Rohingyas had to leave Myanmar and take shelter in Bangladesh. In 2017, there was a bigger crackdown by the military and extremist Buddhists against Rohingyas and fearing ethnic cleansing, 8 lakh Rohingyas fled and took shelter in Bangladesh. They live in refugee camps in Cox Bazar. Last year the Bangladesh government forcibly shifted some Rohingyas to an island called Bhasanchar which they say is an open prison. There are two open air prisons for Muslims. One is Palestine where two million live in confinement and the prison guard is Israel. The other open air prison is Xinjiang region in China where there are 1.1 million Uyghur Muslims and the prison guard is China. In Palestine, the Gaza Strip is called the biggest open air prison in the world because here 1.94 million Palestinians live in confinement. No one can go out of it and enter it. Israel has restricted their movement and so they dont have access to the other parts of Palestine and the world. They have been living in confinement since 1948. Even the West Bank of Palestine is not free. Citizens have been confined by a 700 kilometre long separating wall apart from check points, gates, artificial barriers and forbidden and segregated roads. Therefore, the inmates of West Bank too live in virtual confinement. The third category of Muslims are more unfortunate. They are Muslims living in another open air prison in Xingjian in China which is home to the Turkic Uyghur community living in the region since the initial days of Islam. Senior Sahabi of the prophet of Islam pbuh, Hadhrat Amro bin al Aas is said to have visited China during the life of the prophet pbuh. During 2014, the emergence of ISIS in Mosul gave China the reason to adopt the policy of persecution of Uyghur Muslims in the name of fighting terrorism in the country. In 2017, finally China confined about 1.1 million Uyghur Muslims in concentration camps it called re-education or vocational training camps. In these camps, rape of women, sterilisation of young women, forceful abortion of pregnant women and torture and death of men have been reported. They are forced to forego their religious beliefs and learn Communist ideology. They are also forced to work as bonded labour. Rohingya Muslims / Photo: Iqna ----- Another category of refugees are stranded Pakistanis in Bangladesh. They are Urdu speaking Pakistanis left behind after the creation of Bangladesh. They want to go to Pakistan but the Pakistan government has abandoned them. Their number is about 2, 50, 000. They live a life of deprivation and misery but the outer Muslim world does not care. Two decades of religious and political conflict in Afghanistan has caused irreparable damage to the society and economy of Afghanistan. Many lives were lost and 2.7 million people had to leave the country and live in other countries as refugees. Other 2.5 million people are internal refugees. There are another one million refugees from Somalia uprooted due to internal conflict. Now we guess the total number of refugees and inmates of open air prisons among Muslims: China: 1 million Syria: 7 million Palestine: 2 million Bangladesh: 1 million Tunisia: 6 million Europe: 1 million Afghanistan: 5 million Somalia: 1 million The total number of refugees and confined Muslims is about 24 million while the total population of Muslims in the world is about 2 billion and they are the second largest religious community after the Christians who are 2.8 billion. The Muslim countries have wealth and natural resources and some of them are even atomic powers but practically they are paper tigers. They do nothing to emancipate these 18 million people. Instead they support the persecution of these hapless Muslims or at best ignore it. Sectarian differences among the Muslims, terrorism and political immaturity of Muslim nations have brought the Muslims to the position that they have to live in their own country or alien countries as refugees or prisoners. And Muslim scholars are busy discussing the theory of abrogation, or other sectarian issues and declaring one another Kafir. 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

Monday, March 28, 2022

200 Years of Urdu Journalism: Urdu Journalism Needs To Come Out Of the Thrall of Religion

Over The Years, Urdu Journalism Has Degenerated In Terms Of Content And Language. Main Points: 1. The first Urdu newspaper is said to be Jam-e-Jahan Numa in 1822 2. Another important Urdu newspaper was Dilli Urdu Akhbar. 3. Maulvi Mohammad Baqar was the first Indian editor hanged by the British government. 4. Maulana Abul Kalam Azad was the most popular Urdu journalist before Independence. 5. Mirza Bedar Bakht editor of Payam-e-Azadi was also hanged for publishing anti-government writings. ----- New Age Islam Staff Writer 28 March 2022 The first Urdu newspaper is said to be Jam-e-Jahan Numa which was launched on 27th August 1822 though it was not a fully Urdu language newspaper. The newspaper had pages in Persian too. Therefore, Urdu journalism has completed 200 hundred years. From the history of Urdu journalism we come to know that it has many feathers in its cap. It is the third language after English and Bengali to start its career in journalism. Maulvi Baqar, the editor of Dilli Urdu Akhbar was the first Indian journalist to be hanged by the British government for publishing revolutionary material. During the same time, Mirza Bedar Bakht, the editor of Payam-e-Azadi was also hanged for revolutionary ideas. Urdu newspapers had contributed largely to the spread of revolutionary ideas among the Indian masses as during that period, Urdu was the common mother language of Indians and also the official language of the British government since 1834. Therefore, under the British patronage both Urdu language and Urdu journalism flourished. In the 20th century when the freedom movement gained momentum, Urdu newspapers became the mouthpiece of the Indian masses. Maulana Abul Kalam Azad's Al Hilal and Al Balagh, Maulana Mohammad Ali Jauhar's Hamdard and Maulana Zafar Ali Khan's Zamindar were some of the popular Urdu newspapers in the pre-Independence India. Bande Mataram and Kohinoor were popular Urdu newspapers published from Lahore during the British Era. After Independence many of the Urdu newspapers migrated to Pakistan along with their owners and editors. The majority of them, bout 475 Urdu newspapers remained in India while only 70 Urdu newspapers shifted to Pakistan. While some Urdu dailies in Pakistan got involved in religious and sectarian politics and even fomented anti-Ahmadiya riots, the Urdu newspapers in India played a positive role in the nation building and promoting communal harmony. However, after Independence, Urdu language lost the status of official language and with it the Urdu journalism lost state patronage. It learnt to survive in adverse conditions and hostile atmosphere. Despite the stigma of causing of partition on Urdu, Urdu language maintained its multicultural character as the older generation of Indian Hindus and Sikhs still read and spoke Urdu and so Urdu newspapers run and managed by Hindus were still in circulation. Hind Samachar, Milap, Pratap and Tej continued their publication after independence. During those days Urdu newspapers were known for their high standard of reporting and ideological content. Though Urdu had originated in India and flourished in the multicultural Indian society, it was given the tag of the language of the Muslims which it could not remove rather with the passage of time this tag became more prominent and relevant with growing dominance of religious circles of Muslims in the ownership and management of Urdu newspapers. Publication of Urdu newspapers by Islamic organisations like Jamiat-e-Ulema Hind gave religious colour to previously secular Urdu journalism. Gradually, other religious minded Muslim ideologues like Maulana Abdul Waheed Siddiqui entered the arena of Urdu journalism and a new era of emotional and victimhood Urdu journalism started. His Nayi Dunya was a prominent example of sensational journalism which thrived on juicy stories of RSS and Jewish conspiracies against the Muslims of India and the world. Later, this became the general and common pattern of Urdu journalism in India. This was the reason, Islamic scholar Maulana Wahiduddin Khan termed the entire Urdu journalism as yellow journalism. After the 90s, a new trend started in Urdu journalism. Corporatisation of Urdu print and electronic journalism had its advantages and disadvantages. Sahara India Pariwar launched its Urdu publications, Urdu daily Rashtriya Sahara, weekly Alami Sahara and Urdu literary magazine Bazm-e-Sahara. These publications gained wide popularity because of their multicultural approach. Soon, Inquilab was sold to Jagran group of publications and Urdu daily Aawami News was published by Sanmarg group. This corporatisation of Urdu print journalism ensured stability of Urdu newspapers but at the same time, communal issues of the Muslims took a back seat as these groups of publications had ideological affiliation to the right wing governments and downplayed genuine concerns and problems of Muslims. They presented a hunky dory picture of the Muslim society. Since these corporate groups knew the religious weakness of the Muslim readers, the owners of these Urdu newspapers did not restrict the publication of religious material in Urdu newspapers and strategically offered them the opium of religion. Gradually, the Urdu newspapers turned into Urdu religious magazines that contained less material on science, economy and multicultural events of the country. Since, Muslims don't read books these days, religious organisations use the Urdu newspapers to disseminate their sectarian and extremist ideas. Some Urdu newspapers owned by Muslims glorified the ISIS during their capture of Mosul in 2014-15 and even published special issues on Khilafat giving the impression that the so-called Khilafat of the ISIS was an extension if the Caliphate of the rightly guided caliphs of the first century hijri. The Hindu owners do not mind the predominance of religious material in Urdu newspapers published by them as long as the policies of the government even detrimental to the Urdu speaking or Muslim community are highlighted and presented in sugar-coating. Urdu has long been the language of poetry and literature and there is no doubt that it has produced great poetry and prose literature but it has not evolved with times and has not progressed with the advance of civilisation. It is said about English language that it has become highly utilitarian and so great poetry can't be produced in it. It may be partly right because apart from being a utilitarian language it occasionally produces Nobel prize winning poets like Seamus Heaney, Bob Dylan and Louise Gluck. But Urdu has not been able to develop a utilitarian character along with its poetical and literary nature. Urdu journalism has a glorious past and has contributed enormously to the growth of Indian culture and to the freedom of India. Today it is going through a lean patch because of its loss of multicultural spirit. Urdu journalism can reclaim its lost glory if it undergoes a complete ideological overhaul. 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

Stranger to History: Aatish Taseer’s Journey through Islamic Lands

By Mohammad Ali, New Age Islam March 25, 2022 Main points: 1. This essay reviews Aatish Taseer’s book, Stranger to History 2. It focuses on three main points that the reviewer thought important and are shared by a larger number of Muslims across the world ----- Stranger to History (2009) is an account of the journey through Western to Eastern Islamic lands in Asia. The author, Aatish Taseer, embarked upon this journey to understand what it means to be a Muslim in the modern world. Taseer begins his adventure from Turkey to Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Pakistan. Each country represents a unique relationship—which is determined by their political realities—with Islam and offered an array of experiences that Taseer has talked about in this book. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk (d.1938), the founder of modern Turkey, set out on a course to implement a strict form of secularism in the country, disallowing Islam, and the expressions of Islam to be exhibited in the Turkish society. However, with time, Islam managed to reappear from the peripherals that it has been diminished to. Unlike the Turkish society, Islam was always allowed to flourish and dominate public life and was also used to legitimize the decades-long dictatorship and monarchy in Syria and Saudi Arabia. Iran has also a different story. In the previous century, the country was ruled by a monarchy whose ambitions to modernize the state and its pro-West policies brought the monarchy in conflict with the Iranian ulama and other disgruntled factions of the society. Eventually, a revolution occurred in 1979, the monarchy was overthrown, and an opportunity opened up for the Ulama. They captured the state and renamed it the Islamic Republic of Iran declaring Iran as an Islamic state. Pakistan’s emergence coincided with a dreadful carnage of millions of people which was followed by the Partition of the Subcontinent in 1947. This modern state was founded on a romantic idea of creating an ideal Islamic state. Since its foundation, it insisted upon its Islamic identity. Taseer’s book is rich in providing detailed observations and comprehensive accounts of interviews and casual discussions that he had with local people during his journey. This journey is not viewed through Muslim eyes. Taseer does not claim to be a Muslim. He was born out of an unconventional relationship between his mother, Tavleen Singh, a famous Indian journalist, and his father, Salman Taseer, a renowned Pakistani politician, and businessman, which he called a love affair. Taseer was brought up by his mother in a non-religious environment in India. Therefore, as he mentions in the book, in order to understand his father’s religion, i.e., Islam, he undertook this journey. Along his way, he found sometimes frustrated, sometimes scared, and sometimes both, young Muslims, suppressed under the name of secularism and Islam. His non-religious and liberal sensibilities acutely observed how in police-state, such as Syria, and Iran, people are afraid to open up about the political problems of their countries even to their friends lest they may be spies and informants to the establishment. And how frustrated Muslims in Islamic states commit acts that are immoral and contradictory to their religious claims. Even though the whole book is an interesting read, I would like to focus on three important points here. Nostalgia Muslims long for their past. A past where pristine Islam helped Muslims nurture an advanced and powerful civilization—a golden age. A past where Muslims dominated the world. it is a romanticized idea that imagines that the Islamic world in the past was a unified entity where Muslims of all sorts lived together. It overlooks the differences, the conflicts, the bloody battles that Muslims fought against each other in their past. Taseer detects the air of this nostalgia in his conversations with some students in Turkey. They believed that the continuity of this golden age was ruptured by the Western invaders who established new world order in the Muslim lands with an ambition to spoil Islam. The idea of a golden age of Muslims as a unified powerful community remains attractive to the modern religious Muslims who feel oppressed at the hands of the western aggressors. These students talked about the need of bringing back to the Islamic world order to counter the western one. It is a yearning that many Muslims in the world share with those students. History is either romantic or cruel for many Muslims. Other than a loving memory, history reminds Muslims of their suffering and loss. When in Syria, Taseer observed how some Bosnian Ulama manipulated historical events of the banishment of Muslims from Spain in order to illustrate the sufferings of the Bosnian Muslims. Even though, the title of Taseer’s book, Stranger to History, implies that it is he who is unfamiliar with the history of his father’s religion. But an analysis of Muslim behaviour to their history would reveal that it is they who have forgotten their own past except for some selective stories for their nostalgic pleasure. Insistence on Trifles Muslims believe that Islam is a complete way of life, meaning that Islam has fairly something to say for everything that you do in your life. So long as this idea of living life by following a religion strictly to its minute injunctions remains personal, it does not do any harm to other people. But as soon as a state shoulders the responsibility to force people to follow the trifles that are considered parts of the religion, it becomes a device to control and censor the lives of its citizens. In Saudi Arabia and Iran, Taseer observed how religion was used to control the lives of normal people and curtail their freedom. Taseer recorded an incident that occurred while he was performing his Umrah, an off-season pilgrimage to Mecca. He said that he was wearing some religious strings from some temples and Sufi shrines around his neck and wrists. Suddenly, a fellow pilgrim approached Taseer and his Saudi friends who were helping him to perform Umrah. The pilgrim said to them that they should make him remove those things. Similarly, another incident that he recorded was narrated to him by an Iranian girl. It was about some religious police who tried to seize her dog only to kill him afterward and were stopped once her uncle bribed them to go away. These anecdotes demonstrate how states, such as Iran, in the name of religion, control the lives of their people. As a result, people become rebellious and start hating the state religion as is the case in Iran. Taseer quotes one Iranian saying, “(In Iran) People were very connected to religion even though the government (the monarchy) was not religious. But now that the government is religious, most of the people want to get away from religion. They see it as killing people, putting journalists in jail. That is the true religion. It is very hard for me to say I am a Muslim. Most of the terrorists today are religious. I prefer to say I have no religion.” (p.185) When religion becomes a tool for oppression at the hands of a government, it loses its sanctity for the people. Islamic Renaissance In a conversation with his half-brother in Pakistan, Taseer observes that Pakistanis, or at least his half-brother, were hoping that their religious leaders would bring an Islamic renaissance, just like the one that brought about by monks in Europe, which would bring again the civilizational glory of Islam. And then he makes an interesting remark, “In his (Taseer’s half-brother) excitement, he forgot what constituted the kind of renaissance he was thinking of. He forgot the industry of those European monks all those centuries ago, translating books from Arabic into the European languages. I’d been to enough madrassas in my life, in enough places, to know that the majority not only ignored books outside the Islamic past, they ignored the Islamic thinkers too; they taught only on Book.” (p.222) Taseer is right in his analysis. Based on my experience of the Indian madrasas, since I have spent many years studying there, I can argue that their exposure to education, not just modern but religious as well, is very limited. Madrasas have failed to achieve their objectives. Due to their flawed educational system, they are unable to impart proper religious education to their students. Madrasa students are illiterate in their own field. This ignorance is exhibited through their disengagement with the serious religious issues that Muslims are facing today. Islam is a complex religion. Its source, the Quran and Traditions, cannot be read atomistically in closed walls, as is the case in India. Nor can it be entwined with politics. Islam needs a serious and intellectual approach for its interpretations. In Muslim lands, people attach themselves to Islam either emotionally or politically, which is bad for both, the religion, and its followers. Even though, Taseer rarely engaged with political Islam in his book, he commented once on the disastrous consequence that political Islam had caused in some Muslim countries. He writes, “What I had discovered in Iran, and had sensed in Syria, was how violent and self-wounding the faith could become when it was converted from being a negative idea, a political and historical grievance against the modern world, into a positive one.” (p.206) Taseer’s book looks deep into the moral and psychological problems that Muslims are facing today, their conflict with the modern world, and sometimes, with their own. ---- Mohammad Ali has been a madrasa student. He has also participated in a three years program of the "Madrasa Discourses,” a program for madrasa graduates initiated by the University of Notre Dame, USA. Currently, he is a PhD Scholar at the Department of Islamic Studies, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi. His areas of interest include Muslim intellectual history, Muslim philosophy, Ilm-al-Kalam, Muslim sectarian conflicts, madrasa discourses. 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

Despite Losing His Young Son in Riots, Maulana Imdadullah Rasheedi Refuses To Bear False Witness against the Accused

The Accused Were Acquitted For Lack Of Clinching Evidence Main Points: 1. Maulana Imdadullah Rasheedi's son had been killed in communal riots in 2018. 2. Maulana Rasheedi had appealed to Muslims not to avenge his killing. 3. Pintu Yadav and Vinay Tiwari had been arrested as the accused. 4. Maulana Rasheedi refused to bear false witness against them. 5. The two accused were acquitted by Asansol District Court. ----- By New Age Islam Staff Writer 28 March 2022 Maulana Imdadullah Rashidi (left) got one last gift from his son Sibghatullah — his Madhyamik certificate ------ Asansol in West Bengal had witnessed a communal riot on the occasion of Ramnavmi in March 2018 in which some people from both the Muslim and Hindu community were killed and property was destroyed. During the riots, Sibghatullah Rasheedi, the young son of Maulana Imdadullah Rasheedi, the imam and preacher of Noorani Masjid was abducted and killed by the rioters. This had caused widespread anger among the Muslims of the Muslim majority area of South Asansol called Railpar. The Muslims wanted to avenge Sibghatullah's death. But Maulana Imdadullah Rasheedi despite his grief and pain, averted the worst by appealing to the Muslims not to indulge in violence. He rode pillion on the bike of a well-wisher and went round the locality appealing to people to maintain peace and calm. He said to them that he did not want others to lose their innocent sons like he did and threatened that if Muslims indulged in violence, he would leave the town. At some places, he strongly rebuked those who were rumours. His appeal bore fruit and another round of rioting and violence was averted. This was possible because Maulana Rasheedi followed the Quranic principle that no innocent person should be punished for the crime of others. The Quran says that killing one innocent person was akin to killing the entire humanity and saving an innocent person was akin to saving the entire humanity. However, two persons, Pintu Yadav and Vinay Tiwari had been arrested and made the accused in the case. The case was heard for four years. On 26th of March 2022, Maulana Imdadullah Rasheedi was to bear witness in the court. All eyes were on him as his witness was important and could decide the fate of the two accused. But what he said from the witness box not only surprised the judges and the counsel’s but also showed his religious integrity and his strict adherence to the teachings of the Quran and hadith. He said to the judge that he did not see the accused kidnap and kill his son and so he could not bear false witness against them. He said that it was the job of the police to arrest the real culprits. There were ten other witnesses and they too refused to recognise the accused as the killers or abductors of Sibghatullah. The accused therefore, were acquitted by the Additional District Judge. Reacting to Maulana Rasheedi's statement, the advocate Swaraj Chattopadhyay said that during his entire career spanning 48 years he had not seen a father refusing to bear witness against the accused of his slain son. Maulana Imdadullah Rashidi’s son, 16, Sibtullah Rashidi martyred by Hindutva fanatics. ----- According to reports, before the witness, the relatives of both the accused had begged for mercy for the accused and he had assured them that he will not bear false witness against them since he had not seen them committing the crime. Maulana Rasheedi had followed the injunction of the Quran: "Those who witness no falsehood and if they pass by futility they pass with dignity."(Furqan: 72) "Truly Allah guides not one who transgresses and lies."(Ghafir; 28) Definitely, these injunctions of the Quran were in Maulana Rasheedi's mind. He showed to the Muslims and to the world that a true believer does not leave the path of truth even in the height of personal grief and loss and remembers another Quranic principle that believers should not leave the path of justice in the enmity of a people. He said that the culprit could go scot free in this world but would not be able to escape God's punishment on the Day of Judgment. However, with the acquittal of the accused questions have been raised on how the police handled the sensitive case. They could not reach the real culprits. Maulana Imdadullah Rasheedi had helped the police and the administration to avert a bigger tragedy. What did the police and the administration give him in return, the people ask. Maulana Imdadullah Rasheedi has once again demonstrated the power of self-restraint and his true religiosity in an age when even religious leaders falter when faced with such testing circumstances. Four years ago, he had prevented the masses from going berserk and indulge in wanton killing of innocent people. Praising his self-restraint, Manoj Yadav, a local TMC leader had said in a programme where Maulana Rasheedi was also present he feels guilty and had lamented the growing communalism in the society and had suggested that as the communal forces used the social media to create rift and spread hatred, the secular and peace loving people should also use the social media to counter their propaganda and spread the message of unity and harmony. URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Islam and the Indic Tradition: The Contribution of Mir Fenderiski

By Arshad Alam, New Age Islam 28 March 2022 Little Is Known About the Iranian Scholar Who Was Steeped In Indic Religious Tradition Main Points: 1. An Iranian, Mir Fenderiski was a poet, Sufi and a philosopher translator of Indic knowledge. 2. He knew Sanskrit and wrote a commentary on Yoga Vashishta 3. Eventually, he adopted some of the precepts and practices of Hinduism like vegetarianism and non-violence. 4. Around the same time, a similar effort was being undertaken by Dara Shikoh ------ Abul Qassim Fenderiski/Findiriski (1562-1640) ----- The Mughals in India and the Safavids in Iran were almost contemporaries. The Mughals, especially since Akbar had the policy of using Persian at all levels of bureaucracy. He invited a number of scholars from Iran for this purpose, gave them tax free lands and established madrasas for this very purpose. Not just Muslims, but Hindu castes like the Kayasthas made use of this provision and eventually rose up to high positions within the state structure. But this is not just the story of creating a standard bureaucratic language. More fundamentally, the association of India and Iran also saw the exchange of ideas and personalities, especially those who sought to understand each other’s religious traditions. This article is about one such personality who came to India to learn about the Indic traditions and then transmit it to his Iranian Muslim audience. This man was known as Mir Abul Qassim Fenderiski/Findiriski (1562-1640) who was a poet, Sufi and a philosopher translator of Indic knowledge. Let me add a caveat here. I am not suggesting that the interaction between the Islamic Khurasan and the Indic tradition started in the 16th – 17th century. Muslims took over those land which were dotted with Buddhist Viharas. Some Buddhist priest like the Barmakids would eventually embrace Islam and played an important role in the formation of the Abbasid Empire. But then that’s another story. Let us concentrate on Mir Fenderiski and his fascination with Buddhism and Hinduism. This becomes all the more important to recall because of the current ideological atmosphere where it is being argued that Islam never ever had a positive appreciation of Indic traditions. Just like al-Biruni much earlier, Mir Fenderiski would learn Sanskrit and introduce Hinduism and Buddhism to the Islamic world in the spirit of inter religious understanding and dialogue. There is very little work on this scholar of comparative religion, but he engaged with Indian traditions for 35 long years of his life during which he produced commentaries on Indian religious corpus. Eventually, he would even adopt some of the precepts and practices of Hinduism like vegetarianism and non-violence. It has been argued that one of his students was Mulla Sadra, the Iranian philosopher who would breathe fresh ideas of dialectics into Islamic thought. But then, for reasons best known to all of us, neither Mulla Sadra nor his mentor would write about their indebtedness to Hindu and Buddhist philosophy. Fenderiski used to frequent India at a time when Hindu religious scriptures like the Upanishads, Mahabharata and Bhagavad Gita were being translated into Persian. Nizamuddin Panipati had already translated the Yoga Vashishta into Persian. Yoga Vashishta is a Hindu mystical text in the form of a dialogue between Vashishta, a Hindu sage and his student which is infused with Vedantic and Buddhist thought. Mir Fenderiski edited this text and wrote a commentary on it, parts of which survive to the present day. The manner in which he has commented on the text makes it amply clear that he had extensive knowledge of the Sanskrit language. Through his commentary, he refined the meaning of greed (lobh) and desire (moh) and told his readers how they could overcome them and find bliss (sukkh); all of them concerns native to Buddhism and Hinduism. Through his travels in Gujarat and other places, he immersed deep into Indic philosophy, eventually adopting the principle of Ahimsa, primarily a Buddhist principle. Fenderiski never said that he was not a Muslim but he refused to do the pilgrimage to Mecca arguing that if he did so, he would have to sacrifice a sheep which was against his principle of non-violence. He remained deeply wedded to the idea and practice of yoga, maintaining a wakeful state (Bodhi) and vegetarianism. Not much is known of the later life of Mir Fenderiski, but scholars have opined that he went into seclusion, away from the public view. This is certainly understandable at two levels. It is beyond doubt that he was much inspired by Indian tradition and hence seclusion in the penultimate years of life is completely in sync with this tradition. At the level of politics also, it made sense, as the Islamic orthodoxy would have eventually condemned some of his ideas and writings and declared him an apostate. Dara Shikoh (1615-1659), a close contemporary of Fendiriski, was attempting at a similar reciprocity between Indic tradition and Islam. It is supremely important to remember that Dara also took a special interest in Yoga Vashishta. Alongside, he had translated nearly fifty Upanishads and written the Majmua al Bahrayn (A Meeting of Two Seas). The exercise was another heartfelt attempt to bring Islam and Hinduism together, trying to tie the knots through allegorical and hermeneutical efforts. Dara was wedded to the idea of monotheism, but he could see its manifestation in Vedantic Hinduism and thought that it could become a bridge of conversation between Hinduism and Islam. Dara was killed on the charge of apostasy. And along with him died a genuine intention of inter religious dialogue and harmony. ----- A regular contributor to, 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