Saturday, April 30, 2022

Unruly Behaviour, Slogan Shouting And Abusive Language By Pakistanis Inside The Prophet's Mosque In Madina During Ramazan

Saudi Arabia Government Arrests Several Mischief Mongers And Sends Them Behind Bars. Main Points: 1. On 28 April, Pakistan's two ministers were heckled by Pakistani protesters inside the Masjid-e-Nabwi 1. 2.Information and Broadcasting Minister Maryam Aurangzeb and Minister for Prevention of Narcotics Shah Zain Bugti had visited the mosque. 2. Protesters shouted 'thief,thief', 'traitors' and 'shame' 3. One protester pulled the hair of Mr Bugti. 4. Protesters used abusive language against Maryam Aurangzeb. ----- By New Age Islam Staff Writer 30 April 2022 The spokesperson for the Madinah Police said the suspects were “referred to the competent authorities after legal procedures were completed against them.” (Screenshots) ----- Political rivalry and mudslinging has reached a new low in Pakistan. Since Imran Khan was removed from power he has been running a campaign against the Shahbaz Sharif government. He has held rallies in several towns of Pakistan and the war of words is also in its peak between the two parties. Often this war of words culminates into personal attacks. But on Thursday, this political rivalry reached such a low that even Pakistanis could not expect and defend. The new prime minister of Pakistan Shahbaz Sharif and two ministers of his cabinet Maryam Aurangzeb and Shah Zain Bugti are on 3-day official visit to Saudi Arabia. Maryam Aurangzeb and Shah Zain Bugti took time off to visit the prophet's mosque in the evening. On their visit, Pakistanis, who were apparently the supporters of Imran Khan and his party, PTI started shouting slogans against them. They shouted 'shame, shame, thief thief, traitors' and used abusive language against the two ministers. One protester even pulled Mr Bugti's hair and fled. This all happened inside the prophet's mosque which is one of the three most sacred mosques in Islam together with Kaba in Makkah and Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem. The unruly behaviour by the Pakistani Muslims is a sacrilege against the holy Prophet pbuh and the Muslims of the world have expressed anger and grief over the incident. In Pakistan, Imran Khan and his party leaders are being criticised for provoking his supporters to go this extent. Religious scholars including Maulana Tarique Jameel who is close to Imran Khan has condemned this act. But Imran Khan is yet to make a formal statement condemning the incident. Maulana Tahir Ashrafi said that the prophet's mosque was dishonoured due to the political differences. This was not acceptable. Islamic scholar Mohammad Ali Mirza said that it was a grave sin and a sacrilege against the holy prophet pbuh and Imran Khan should make a public statement condemning the incident. On the contrary, some leaders of PTI, have defended the incident. A leader of PTI Iqbal Khan Afridi said that it was a spontaneous public reaction and that the incident took place outside the mosque. He said that a thief will only be called a thief even in a sacred place.But Engineer Ali Mirza said that it's only a lame excuse and that the entire area within the boundary of the mosque falls under the mosque. According to media reports in Pakistan, Imran Khan and Shaikh Rasheed had been inciting their supporters in Madina to attack them. After the incident, Rashid Kashif, Shaikh Rashid's cousin and a central minister even expressed jubilation over the incident. Meanwhile, the Saudi government has taken strict action against the mischief makers and arrested several persons involved in the incident. Each mischief maker has been fined 60, 000 Saudi Riyal and sentenced to five years imprisonment. This incident shows that political intolerance has grown in Pakistan in recent years. As a backlash of the incident in prophet's mosque, the former deputy speaker and a PTI leader Qasim Khan Suri was assaulted in Islamabad on Friday night at the time of sehri by some miscreants when he was sitting in a hotel. Both the parties have not respected the month of Ramazan. Reacting to the incident, Maryam Aurangzeb said that the PTI has disrespected the prophet's mosque for political gains. Imran Khan had alleged that the conspiracy to topple his government was hatched in the US and Shahbaz Sharif has been painted by him as a puppet of the US. Shahbaz Sharif and his son Hamza are facing corruption chares involving illegal land allotment and money laundering in a federal court of Pakistan and they may be indicted on May 14. However, this does not justify the heckling and misbehaving with the ministers of his cabinet in a holy place in a foreign country. This only shows that Imran Khan or for that matter the politicians of Pakistan can go to any extent to harm the opposition. Imran Khan is also being criticised because he claims he wants to model Pakistan on the state of Madina of the prophet's time. Critics ask if this is the kind of a state he wants to build. They therefore, think that his claim is only a rhetoric to win public support. Imran Khan has won the support of the religious circles and of common Pakistanis with his Islamisation of education and taking other steps that have presented him as the champion of Islam. He has successfully presented Shahbaz Sharif as an agent of the US. Corruption charges have further distorted his image. His partymen are seen by the majority of Pakistanis as a cohort of thieves who have captured power with the help of Pakistan's enemies. All said and done, the incident of slogan shouting, abusing a lady minister and heckling another minister in the holy prophet's mosque is a condemnable act. The incident only shows how intolerant and violent the Pakistani society has become. 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Why is the AIMPLB Crying Hoarse Over a Non-Existent Uniform Civil Code?

By Arshad Alam, New Age Islam 30 April 2022 They Should Wait For A Draft Before Declaring It ‘Anti-Muslim’ Main Points: 1. The UCC was termed anti-Muslim by the AIMPLB in its meeting on the 24th April. 2. This, when there is no draft as yet of the UCC circulated either by the central or any state government. 3. Shouldn’t a draft first emerge and then be debated and discussed within the community before arriving at any decision? 4. This is only adding to the perception that Muslims are always opposed to the government. ------- A couple of days ago, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) issued a statement terming the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) ‘unconstitutional’ and against the ‘minorities’, particularly Muslims and various tribal communities. The general secretary Khalid Saifullah Rahmani argued that “separate personal laws have been granted for minorities and tribal classes according to their customs, beliefs and traditions, which does not interfere with the constitution in any way”. The press note also claims that the real purpose of the UCC is to divert the attention of people from issues like inflation, price rise and unemployment and has been brought to promote an agenda of hatred and discrimination. Rahmani also added that “the UCC is not acceptable to Muslims at all”. This comes in the context where the government of Uttarakhand, Himachal and Uttar Pradesh have started talking in terms of a UCC. Home Minister Amit Shah recently also stated that the Centre was toying with the idea of UCC. As a self-appointed body of Indian Muslims, the AIMPLB had to react. But this reaction of the AIMPLB is hardly new. In 2016, they, along with many other organizations had come up with a similar statement rejecting the UCC. The curious thing though, is that all this while there has been no draft of the UCC that has been circulated. It is almost as if the Board is making itself clear on something which is not in existence at the moment. Muslims are certainly under a lot of pressure in the current dispensation and even before that. A perception has arisen and taken root about Muslims: that they are always in opposition to whatever the government has to say. Through a series of measures like the anti-CAA movement, etc., that perception has only solidified under the current ideological government. Given such a situation, wouldn’t it be prudent on the part of the Board to issue a much more measured statement rather than a blanket condemnation? Since there is no draft of the UCC per se, we do not know what the government has in mind. And certainly, in the context of the bewildering religious and cultural diversity that exists in India, the UCC is not just a Muslim issue but will also be looked at critically within many Hindu communities as well. So why should Muslims be the first to issue a condemnation? What purpose does such a politics achieve except for re-establishing that Muslims are always in opposition to whatever the government does. Why couldn’t the AIMPLB simply say that since the draft of the UCC is not yet ready, it will be premature to comment on it. One can only oppose or support a policy when it has been thoroughly studied and debated within the community. But then, the AIMPLB doesn’t want to lose that oppositional space and hence even without the existence of a draft, it has rejected the UCC! Moreover, there is a canard being spread that with the UCC, the Muslim faith will cease to exist in India. Nothing can be more ridiculous than this. The UCC does not mean that all laws in the country will be replaced by a Hindu law. For example, aspects of UCC are in existence in Goa but Muslims in that state have continued to practice their faith like before. The way in which UCC needs to be understood is that it should make the personal laws of all communities harmonious with the constitutional vision. But we know that when it comes to the Islamic faith, certain provisions are not at all in tune with the republican vision. Take for example the issue of divorce which should be a matter of right for all women irrespective of religion. But the Muslim personal law does not give this right to its women. She is only entitled to take the khula which is basically a request that she be divorced, which the husband can refuse at will. Also, the Muslim women is denied inheritance if she initiates khula proceedings. Next, we should also look at the issue of inheritance within Muslim society. According to the Muslim personal law, women and men cannot inherit equally. We need to recall that Islam was one of the first religions to grant property rights to women. But that spirit should have continued and it should also have been the first religion to grant equal property rights to women. It didn’t because it remained frozen. On the other hand, religions who had no concept of property rights for women could evolve themselves to the extent that now men and women can inherit equally. What a shame this is for the Muslim Sharia to evolve with changing times. Certain aspects of the Hindu personal law are also discriminatory but then there is no one who argues that since it is divinely ordained, it cannot be changed. However, we Muslims make such arguments when it comes to denial of rights of women. What is the logic behind not giving women their due share (according to Islamic law) in agricultural property? When it comes to the Ulama, the misogyny is so bad that they wouldn’t be willing to give even what is promised to women in their personal laws. Just think of what the institution of Meher Maafi by which the Muslim wife is pressured formally and informally, to forgo even the little amount that she gets as part of her marriage. Muslims must realize that their religion is not special. Followers of all religions believe that their laws are God given. But with times, religions have been able to move along and have changed their discriminatory laws. The same cannot be said about Muslims leading to the perception that they (Muslims) are rigid, orthodox and inflexible. It also leads to the perception that Muslims always keep their religion above national needs. Muslims have always countered this argument by stating that it is the Indian constitution that gives them the right to free expression of religion. This is certainly true but the same constitution also demands certain liberalism and sensitivity towards gender justice. When will Muslims be in a position to fulfil those constitutional obligations? ----- 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

Darul Uloom Deoband's New Admission Rules Include Intelligence Verification Of Madrasa Applicants

Glorifying Taliban Has Its Price Main Points: 1. The Darul Uloom Deoband has set a new precedent. 2. All the applicants will have to undergo verification by intelligence agencies and the police. 3. Other educational institutes may follow suit. 4. Admission procedure in educational institutes may become difficult in future. ----- By New Age Islam Staff Writer 30 April 2022 Students of Darul-Uloom Deoband | Facebook ----- The Islamic seminary of India, Darul Uloom Deoband has made admission procedure more stringent this year. According to a news report in the, the students seeking admission in various courses in the seminary will have to undergo verification by the police and intelligence agencies. The report says: "Students seeking admission this year will have to submit their documents including their Aadhar Cards, original residence certificates and an affidavit which would be checked and verified by government agencies including the local intelligence unit of the police, Darul Uloom Deoband's Naib Mohatmim (deputy Vice-Chancellor) said." The official website of the Darul Uloom has a notice in Urdu posted on 28.04.2022 that mentions this along with other essential requirements. This is a new precedent set by the Darul Uloom which will make admission in the seminary difficult as it would require verification of the applicant's credentials by the police which may cause unnecessary hassles to the applicant and his parents. In an atmosphere where there is a growing tendency of hate and suspicion against Muslims, this will trigger a new problem for Muslim students. Taking a cue from the Darul Uloom Deoband, other schools, colleges and universities may make police verification of students compulsory and many students may be denied admission due to 'incomplete documents'. The verification process will entail visits to the local police stations by the parents or to the police station of the town where the institute is situated by the student or applicant. Till now, there is no compulsion of police verification of students of schools, colleges or universities. It is also not known if police verification of students or applicants has been made compulsory by the government of the state in which it is located or it had been done under pressure from undeclared quarters. According to the press release, the applicants belonging to bordering states like Jammu & Kashmir, West Bengal, Manipur etc will go through stricter 'investigation’. This will make every student a suspect. Educational institutes have their own rules and mechanism for verification of the authenticity of documents produced by the applicant. The institute or college sends the documents of the applicant to the Board or University which has issued the document or certificate for authentication. But educational institutes do not make police verification of a student compulsory. However, the new rule of the verification of the applicant for ascertaining his criminal or non-criminal record will start a new trend in the country. Now students will be made to undergo a police investigation before admission. Presently, a Police Clearance Certificate is needed when a student applies to a foreign university. If it is a move envisaged by the Darul Uloom administration, it may be a result of the allegations that the seminary preaches extremism. To ensure that it does not have to face such allegations, it will pass the buck on the police and intelligence agencies for clearing the students. Recently, in an article published in the Print (10 April, 2022), Praveen Swami had mentioned Sana ul Haque, the South Asia head of Al Qaida as a former student of Darul Uloom Deoband. He had later gone to Pakistan on a forged passport and joined the terrorist outfit Harkat ul Mujahideen, claimed Mr Swami. It may be presumed that such reports may be behind the introduction of such rules iin the Darul Uloom. But scrutinising the credentials of students will be of no use when after joining the seminary, the students see his teachers glorifying the Taliban. Maulana Arshad Madani had glorified the Taliban after they came to power last year. When an Islamic scholar like him with millions of students, former students and followers glorifies the militant and violent ideology of Taliban, it may have bearing on the thought of the students. The Saudi Arabia had banned Tablighi Jamat because Taliban has close political and diplomatic ties with Saudi Arabia's political rival Qatar. This new rule will leave students at the mercy of intelligence agencies. Instead of introducing such rules, the Darul Uloom Deoband should abstain from glorifying and openly supporting the Taliban and should condemn the inhuman and un-Islamic behaviour of Taliban and other terrorist organisations. The Darul Uloom Deoband should also introduce chapters condemning an refuting the jihadi ideology of terrorist organisations. Darul Uloom formerly condemns terrorist organisations but glorifies and praises Taliban. It means, like other Islamic organisations of India it also does not consider Taliban a militant organisation. The students will have to pay the price for Darul Uloom's irresponsible stance vis a vis Taliban. 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Awrad-e-Fathiyyah: A Gift From Mir Sayyid Ali Hamadani To The Common Masses Especially To The People Of Kashmir

The Spiritual Significance Of Awrad-E-Fathiyyah, A Unique Booklet Of Wazaif (Religious Litanies) Introduced In Kashmir By Mir Sayyid Ali Hamadani Main Points 1. Awrad-e-Fathiyyah talks about the oneness and attributes of Allah Almighty in melodious style. 2. Kashmiri Muslims recite Awrad-e-Fathiyyah daily at dawn after offering obligatory fajr prayer. 3. The messages in this book are fully derived from the Holy Quran and the Prophet’s hadiths and inspire the believers to seek forgiveness and praise God Almighty. 4. Awrad-e-Fathiyyah is still considered one of the most powerful wazaif (religious litanies) for spiritual enlightenment by the people of Kashmir. 5. Awrad indicates that Mir Sayyid Ali Hamadani was fond of religious spiritualism and divine wisdom. ------ By New Age Islam Staff Writer 30 April 2022 Awrad-e-Fathiyyah is the work of Mir Sayyid Ali Hamadani (1312–1384 CE). He was an Iranian scholar, poet and a Sufi Muslim saint of the Kubrawiya order. He was born in Hamadan, Iran and preached Islam in Central and South Asia as he travelled to practice Sufism. He travelled extensively, spending the better part of his life doing so, and greatly contributed to the spread of the Islamic message. According to tradition, he travelled around the world three times, spreading Islamic teachings to countries such as China, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, and Pakistan. He also chose the valley of Kashmir and sowed seeds of love, peace, and harmony there, influencing multitudes to adopt the message of the Prophet (peace be upon him): “There is no God but Allah and Muhammad (peace be upon him) is the messenger of God”. In 1384 CE, at the age of 71–72, he died in Kashmir and was buried in Khatlan, Tajikistan. Throughout his life, Hamadani was referred to as the Shah-e-Hamadan ("King of Hamadan"), Amir-e-Kabir ("the Great Commander"), and Ali Sani ("second Ali"). His book Awrad-e-Fathiyyah talks about the oneness and attributes of Allah Almighty. The messages in this book are fully derived from the Holy Quran and the Prophet’s hadiths. He sat with a group of about fourteen hundred saints, collecting the Wazaif they stated. Sayyid Ali Hamadani is said to have written this book and offered it to the Prophet for approval, after which the Prophet (peace be upon him) appeared in his dream and said, "Take this Fatiyyah," and it was then disseminated to the common masses. Since then, after morning prayers in most mosques, people have been collectively refreshing their souls by publicly chanting Awrad-e-Fathiyyah with the recall of the monotheistic words mentioned in the Quran. There have been numerous translations and readings of this text, demonstrating its significance. Mr Khursheed Dar underlined the values and usefulness of Awrad-e-Fathiyyah in a brief yet concise article titled "Awrad e Fathiyyah: A gift from Shah-e-Hamdan." He evaluated the book in the context of Kashmir, noting that it continues to serve the people of Kashmir even today. We have reproduced his article below for the benefit of our readers: ----- Awrad e Fathiyyah: A gift from Shah-e-Hamdan By Khursheed Dar 14 April 2022 Awrad e Fathiyyah’s centrality is monotheism. Awrad means repeated short prayers. It’s hard to measure the spiritual significance of this unique booklet of wazaif (religious litanies) introduced in Kashmir by Mir Sayyid Ali Hamadani (1312-1384) in the 14th century. Since then the Kashmiri Muslims recite it daily at dawn after offering obligatory fajr prayer. Mir Sayyid Ali Hamadani came from Hamadan, a province of the then Iran. He was divinely guided and assisted, and was hence able to revert a large population of Kashmir valley to the religion of Islam by way of love and peace. This unique Arabic booklet is itself a piece of the identity of Sayyid Ali Hamadani, popular in Kashmir as Amir-e-Kabeer and Shah-e- Hamadan. Mir Sayyid Ali Hamadani has authored many books and pamphlets in Arabic and Persian but Awrad-e-Fathiyyah is one of his priceless compositions, a concise primer, describing the unity and attributes of Allah Almighty in melodious style. It is said that Mir Sayyid Ali Hamadan collected the Wazaif of some 1400 Auliya e Kerams in his life and shaped it into the form of this booklet. Later on, he blessed it to Kashmiris as a gift. On one of his spiritual journeys Mir Sayyid Ali Hamadani was blessed with the vision of the beloved Prophet (PBUH) and on the same occasion was handed this booklet of Wazaif (religious litanies) known as Awrad-e-Fathiyyah, and later on, the same journey was also taught the proper method of reciting it in the congregation. People of Kashmir valley continue to benefit from this special gift of Hazrat Mir Sayyid Ali Hamadani even to this day, and it’s still considered one of the most powerful Wazaif (religious litanies) for spiritual enlightenment by the people of Kashmir. Hazrat Amir Kabir Mir Syed Ali Hamadani (RA) has himself given an account of how he came to give the title “Awrad-e-Fathiyyah”. “Awrad is the means to success and felicity. After the conclusion of the Fajr prayers at dawn, devotees have been chanting the Awradh-e-Fathiyyah in Kashmir’s mosques since the fourteenth century. Awrad-e-Fathiyyah is a book of “Tawheed”, proved by the Quran and Sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon him). It is also glaring evidence of Mir Hamadani’s mission which was based upon monotheism, peace, and love. The “Tawheed” described in Awrad-e-Fathiyyah is the manifestation of Islamic “Tawheed” simply and effectively so that the common masses of Kashmir would understand it and follow accordingly. It has been translated into many languages including Kashmiri. In the name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful I seek forgiveness from the great Allah. Besides whom none is worthy for being worshipped, The Living, The Eternal. I turn to Him and seek repentance from Him. O’ Allah! You are the author of Peace, and from You springs Peace, and towards you is Peace. Keep me, my Lord, in Peace and grant me entrance into the Abode of Peace. Glory to Thee my Lord and Exalted are Thou, The Lord of Majesty and Bounty. O’ Allah! Such Praise is due to you as will cover all Thy Bounties and will cover Your other Bounties. I am full of Praise for all Your kindness, which I am aware of and of which I am not aware of all your gifts of which I am aware, and I am not aware of and grateful for all. The opening lines of ‘Awrad’ are full of Allah’s praise, an expression of gratitude for Allah’s innumerable bounties. These lines lay strong recommendations for seeking forgiveness from Allah, the Almighty for one’s sins. From Quranic teachings and the hadith of the prophet (peace be upon him) seeking forgiveness is repeatedly recommended for a believer. So in this context, Mir Sayyid Ali Hamadani too has emphasised attaining believers’ virtues. Praising Allah and expressing gratitude is no less than a sacred prayer for a pious Muslim. So Mir Sayyid Ali Hamadani’s Awrad is the noblest Wazifa to purify one’s soul. There is no God but Allah. He is One. He has no partner. His is the kingdom. And all praises are due to Him. And He has power over all things. There is no God excepting Allah the All-Powerful Sovereign the One the Most Supreme. There is no God but Allah, the powerful the Forgiving. The Creator of night and day who is worshipped everywhere, whose mention is made in every language and who is known for all goodness. Whom each day sees in every new glory. There is no God but Allah. I say so with full faith in Allah. I say so, seeking Protection from Allah. There is no God but Allah, and no one has power and strength excepting Allah, and we worship none but Him. There is no God but Allah, I confess in humility and servitude. There is no God but Allah the Kind and the Friend who existed before everything. He will survive everything. There is no God but Allah, the True Sovereign, indeed the True King and the Sustainer of the Seven Heavens and the Sustainer of the Great Throne. Mir Sayyid Ali Hamadani has described Allah’s greatness and powers in a grand style. Indeed, when a believer comes to know Allah’s powers and lordship, instead of seeking forgiveness and perfect solutions for his miseries from the gates of worldly lords, he straightaway communicates with the eternal Lord through the prayers. In this sense, we see that Mir Sayyid Ali Hamadani has awakened the believers and expected good deeds from them to succeed in both this world and hereafter. Glory to my Lord, the High, the Great Bestowal. Glory to my Lord, the High The Great Bestowal. O’ The Bestowal. Glory to Thee! I did not worship Thee as it was my duty to worship You. Glory to Thee! We did not seek to know You as it was our duty to know You. Glory to Thee! We have not remembered You as we ought to have remembered. Glory to Thee! We have not expressed gratitude to You as we ought to do. Glory to Allah! The Ever Eternal Glory to Allah! The single, the independent, Glory to Allah! Who holds the heavens without any support. Glory to Allah, Who has no wife and no children. Glory to Allah, Who neither gave birth nor was born and Who has none equal to Him. Glory to the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One. Glory to The King of This World and that of the Angels. From these pious words of wisdom compiled by Mir Sayyid Ali Hamadani in Awrad , we get to know about the duties and how we must be obedient to our Lord and express gratitude for his bounties. Istighfar (Astaghfirullah) is the gateway of relief and happiness. Whenever you are in distress, start reciting it and Insha Allah it will take you out of your anxiety, put you in a peaceful situation and give you happiness and joy. Istighfar removes sins, and Duas are answered. Istighfar opens the door of Allah’s mercy, and knowledge and what’s more Istighfar is the gateway to productivity and prosperity. Istighfar relieves you when you feel that sadness within you, when you are disturbed and frustrated when anxiety surrounds you, say Astaghfirullah. Gratitude is a crucial and significant aspect of the Islamic faith. In Awrad-e-Fathiyyah, we also find many Quranic verses seeking forgiveness from Almighty Allah and expressing gratitude or thankfulness to almighty Allah for his innumerable bounties. In this way, we see Mir Sayyid Ali Hamadani’s Awrad has intellectual, spiritual, and scientific utility. It is the noblest gift of Mir Sayyid Ali Hamadani for the people of Kashmir, which needs to be recited daily after dawn prayers as has been the routine for centuries. Awrad indicates that Mir Sayyid Ali Hamadani was fond of religious spiritualism and divine wisdom. This unique booklet of Mir Sayyid Ali Hamadani is committed to memory by tens of thousands of Kashmiris, even illiterate Kashmiris. It has been found very effective during calamities. It has been found to serve as a real healer of the worried minds when recited with a full understanding of its meaning. ----- Source: Awrad e Fathiyyah: A gift from Shah-e-Hamdan URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Friday, April 29, 2022

Islam And Modernity: The Compatibility Question

By Dr. Mohammad Ghitreef, New Age Islam 29 April 2022I -------‐---------‐‐------------------------------------------- Modernity is all about some higher human values like democracy, human rights, social justice, gender equality, the rule of law, freedom of religion and thought and expression, human dignity, science, research, innovations, etc. It is not only about skyscrapers, borrowed high tech industry, bought technology and grand buildings, big banks and neat and clean cities, etc. The billion-dollar question is, why do Muslims globally only long for utilizing modern facilities and amenities of everyday life and not aspire to adopt these core values of modernity? -------‐---------‐‐------------------------------------------- Modernity has many aspects; philosophical, ethical, cultural, and material. As far as this latter dimension is concerned, Islam is in harmony with modernity. Let me straightaway elaborate on this. t is generally believed and perceived that Muslim societies cannot go with modernity. On a global scale, Muslims with their backwardness, by and large, proved this hypothesis true simply because, they say, Islam doesn’t have primary parameters of compatibility with modernity. Yet this hypothesis, I think, is wrong because there are some exceptions too, which tell another story. These promising models, though few, put forward by some Muslim countries defy the general negative assumption about Islam and Muslims. For example, take the model set by the United Arab Emirates. In the seventies, seven tiny city-states came together and decided to form a federal union of these relatively arid, less populated, less fertile, resourceless tribal communities, called UAE. It developed Abu-Dhabi as its capital and Dubai as its economic hub. Now, after 50 years or so, UAE is the most developed country not only in the Middle East but in the whole of Asia. Teeming with tourists, traders, world entrepreneurs, a centre for open economy, international groups and conglomerates, a hub for festivals, sports, films, and what not? Emirate set an exemplary model for peace, security, and prosperity. It is now the most attractive place globally, resembling Paris, London, New York, and other metropolitans. Welcoming workers from all religious backgrounds and hosting all cultural denominations. So, from a desert to be a most sought-after resort for global humanity for the purposes related to economy, education, good income, employment, etc., must have been a long journey. Bangladesh came into being in 1971 after the betrayal of West Pakistan of the democratic victory of Sheikh Mujeebur Rahman, the founding father of Bangladesh in general elections. And in its initial phases had been hit for decades by political instability, army revolts, martial laws, and so on. Non the less, now Bangladesh, under Shaikh Hasina’s secular regime is going ahead, and her economy is marching on the path of development۔ The country now is making headlines in world media that her GDP growth is more than that of Pakistan, and even she left India behind. So, it is also an astonishing success story. I can also cite some more examples of Islam's compatibility with modernity. For instance, Indonesia and Malaysia are two "Asian Giants." Indonesia houses the largest Muslim population in the world. With a Muslim majority, Malaysia has a robust presence of other ethnic and religious faith communities like Chinese, Hindus et al. Yet both the countries are developed now in terms of good infrastructure, flourishing economy, and high-tech advancement. And Islam doesn't hinder their progress and embracing of modernity. In many respects, Turkey also is a good model of blending Turk nationalism-cum Islam with secularism and modernity. Even Saudi Arabia, the cradle of Islam historically, which has been indoctrinated with Salafi Wahhabism, the most rigid and puritanical interpretation of Islam, is all set to be open and embrace modernity now to a great extent, as the Vision of 2030 of prince Mohammad Bin Salman, the de facto ruler of the kingdom is showing. A few more names can be cited in this list on a relatively small scale, like Qatar, Kuwait, and Bahrain, as they are also doing good to adopt modernity on a limited practical level, yet not assuming the secular liberal democratic values. It is now the duty of civil society in these countries to acquaint the people with democratic values, fight against religious extremism, and prevent the youth from moving towards it. Large-scale educational and training activities will have to be carried out. Religious extremism will have to be stopped at all costs. Violations of human rights will have to be monitored, and the provision of justice and fairness for all citizens and the rule of law will have to be ensured. These countries are all Muslim majority countries. One cannot blame their rulers or masses to have abandoned Islam. No, Islam is present, alive, thriving as a dynamic force in full in their lives as was before modernity. Then what does it mean? It means that Islam doesn't prevent its followers from going ahead on the path of progress, intellectual growth, and civilizational evolution. In fact, the wrong interpretations of Islam prevalent in most Muslim societies mainly create hurdles in this regard. They are responsible for Muslims lagging behind in the world and not Islam. The point is Islam doesn't fail its adherents. It is Muslims who fail Islam. For instance, Pakistan was created in the name of Islam, but it hardly represents Islam in its proper form. The bigotries, superstitions, prejudices, obscurity, ruthless sectarian blood-shedding inherent in Pakistani society and its clergy's misplaced "jihad" against science, technology and modernity do not relate to Islam. After the demise of Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of the country, Pakistan was not ever blessed by a charismatic leader like him who could lead the nation forward, could overcome the destructive influence of the clergy, maintain the law-and-order, ensure the rule of law? A leader who could educate the people on civilized manners, and not let politics become a toy in the hands of religious leaders and feudal lords. No such ideological wisdom could be developed that could save the nation from the dangers of political Islam and make everyone aware of the importance of modern science and technology. No leadership today has the guts and willpower to focus on real issues like health and education instead of spending more and more on the army and weapons. And it is not only limited to Pakistan, but all the Islamic countries, save a few mentioned above۔ They are suffering from these illnesses and flaws, so Islam cannot be blamed for Muslim backwardness and Muslims lagging behind. Islam's motto is: "word of wisdom is a lost treasure of a Muslim. He must take it from wherever he can find it". Yet the point is that modernity is all about some higher human values like democracy, human rights, social justice, gender equality, the rule of law, freedom of religion and thought and expression, human dignity, science, research, innovations, etc. It is not only about skyscrapers, borrowed high tech industry, bought technology and grand buildings, big banks and neat and clean cities, etc. The billion-dollar question is, why do Muslims globally only long for utilizing modern facilities and amenities of everyday life and not aspire to adopt these core values of modernity? Why are they so reluctant to be inspired by the western civilizational thought process? Though a very complex and long story, this is yet to be told. We can safely summarize that the answer lies in that Muslims have been reluctant, wary, and suspicious because of their ultra-religiosity rooted in the old Fiqhi framework built in the Abbasid period. With that parochial mindset, Muslim Ulama of different hues and colours, having a significant influence on the Muslim masses, have miserably failed to understand modernity. They wrongly took it as Kufr and shirk (infidelity). They have been doing vicious propaganda by all available means among Muslim masses against modernity, amounting to nudity, permissiveness and sin, etc for them. Muslim modernist reformers so far sadly did not get support and, by and large, were unsuccessful and marginalized by narrow-minded Ulama the world over. So, to address this issue, we have to strongly counter the Ulama's narrative and refute their false reasoning with counter-reasoning based on the scriptures and on common sense as well. We should differentiate between Western thought and Western culture and thus convince Muslim masses of the dire need of modern ideas and their certainty in the contemporary age. Times are changing exponentially, and history is going ahead. It will not stop and wait for us. We have to change ourselves to catch up or be ready to go to the dustbin of history. ---- Dr. Mohammad Ghitreef is a Research Associate with the Centre for Promotion of Educational and Cultural Advancement of Muslims of India, AMU Aligarh. 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

Assamese Muslims Divided As Indigenous Muslims And Immigrant Muslims

The Government Panel Proposes Census And Identity Cards For Assamese Speaking Muslims Main Points: 1. In Assam, Bengali speaking Muslims are considered immigrants from Bangladesh. 2. The population of the Assamese speaking Muslims is 40 lakh. 3. The population of Bengali speaking Muslims is 90 lakh. 4. Bengali speaking Muslims are a dominant community. 5. The government seeks to introduce programmes for the development of the Assamese speaking Muslims. ----- By New Age Islam Staff Writer 29 April 2022 One of the 8 panels formed by the Assam government to find ways for the development of the 'indigenous' Muslims (Assamese speaking Muslims) last year, has submitted its report in which it has made a number of recommendations. It has recommended that te government should define who an indigenous Assamese Muslim is. Secondly, the government should conduct a census of the indigenous Muslim and those declared indigenous Muslims should be issued identity cards. It also recommended that greater political representation should be given to them in the assembly or Parliament. In response, the government plans to create a legislative council in the assembly where some seats will be reserved for indigenous Muslims. In July last year, the Chief Minister of Assam, Hemant Biswa Sarma had held meeting with 150 intellectuals and respected personalities from the Assamese speaking Muslims. But this move of the government is seen by the AIUDF as an attempt at dividing the Muslims of Assam. In Assam, the Muslim community is divided into two linguistic communities. The Assamese speaking Muslims are its old inhabitants and the Bengali speaking Muslims have immigrated from the areas which fall in Bangladesh today during various periods before and after the partition. The Assamese speaking Muslims are divided into three categories -- Goriya, Moriya, Desi. Jola is also called an indigenous community of Muslims who had migrated to Assam from Bihar and UP during Railway expansion programme before independence. The process for identifying indigenous Muslims had formally started in April 2021. Muslims of Assam had taken part in what was called a Muslim NRC from 15 April 2021 to identify the indigenous Muslims of the state. The Assam Janagosthi Samannay Parishad (JSPA) had taken the initiative. The purpose of the survey was to identify the indigenous Muslim communities of Assam and distinguish them from the Bengali speaking Muslims who form the majority of the Muslims of Assam but are seen as immigrants from Bangladesh. The JSPA has identified and recognised only three communities -- Goria, Moria and Deshi -- as the indigenous Muslims of Assam. The rest of the Muslim population is called immigrant from Bangladesh and therefore Bangladeshis in their view. The Bengali-speaking Muslims of Assam are called Miya. The Chairman of the JSPA, Syed Muminul Aowal was at the helm of this survey. He said that the survey was necessary because migrant Muslims are trying to merge the Goria, Moria and Deshi Muslims with the Miyas in the name of Islam. There is an identity crisis in the indigenous Muslim community. Muminul Aowal also observes that indigenous Muslims have suffered economically and politically due to the domination of Bengali Muslims. The Minority Welfare Minister of BJP government in Assam Ranjit Dutta had made the proposal in 2019. In the Budget session of Assam in 2019, the provision for a Development Corporation of indigenous Assamese Muslims was made. The provision for a socio-economic survey of the indigenous Assamese Muslims was also made in the budget. On 10 February 2020, a meeting of groups and communities of Indigenous Assamese Muslims was called by the Minority Welfare Minister to finalise the 'socio-economic survey' of indigenous Muslims but the word indigenous (Khilonjiya) was unanimously replaced with the specific names of four communities --Goria, Moria, Deshi and Jola. The Minority Welfare Minister had said that a Goria, Moria, Deshi Jola Development Corporation will be set up. For a long time, the indigenous or Assamese speaking Muslims felt left behind the Bengali speaking Muslims and hold the Congress and Badruddin Ajmal's AIUDF for the economic backwardness of the indigenous Muslims. Therefore, the indigenous Muslims consider the Congress and the AIUDF their enemies and the BJP government their friend and well wisher. But the AIUDF say that this move will further weaken the Muslims of the state and pit the Muslims against each other. The indigenous Muslims say that 13 districts of Assam are dominated by Bangladeshi Muslims and 13 Muslim MLAs of the Congress are Bangladeshi Muslims. Moinul Aowal, the head of the move and the head of JSPA, says that all the Bengali-speaking Muslims of Assam are illegal Bangladeshi immigrants. He calls the Congress the Bangladeshi Muslim Party. According to the statistics provided by the JSPA, the population of indigenous Muslims of Assam is 40 lakh(4 million). The rest 90 lakh (9 million) are Bangladeshi immigrants (Bengali speaking Assamese Muslims). The total Muslim population in the state is 1.3 crore out of the total population of 3.5 crore. The total Muslim population in Assam is 33.4 percent. The narrow chauvinistic definition of indigenous Assamese has labelled all those Bengali speaking Muslims living in Assam since the second jalf of the 19th century as Illegal Bangladeshi which they are not because Bangladesh came into existence in 1971 and those called Bangladeshis today had only migrated from one part of India to another for livelihood. The survey or the Muslim NRC was to be conducted in three months. People were supposed to apply online to its portal with documents issued by the organisation and government departments. After that verification would be done and the final list would be published. This initiative of the Assam government has drawn criticism from political and social activists and intellectuals of the state. They feel that it is an exercise to cause division in the Muslim community. If this plan succeeds, there will be a clear division between the two linguistic communities of Muslims. The Assamese speaking Muslims will become pro-BJP and the Bengali speaking Muslims will be made to feel that they are outsiders. This will subject them to harassment and social segregation. 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

Ahmadis in Pakistan: It's Pitiable That In These Modern Times, Only The Muslims Are Embroiled In Internecine Sectarian Conflicts

By Sumit Paul, New Age Islam 29 April 2022 Recently, a Pakistani friend of mine, who happens to be an Ahmadi Muslim, left Pakistan lock, stock and barrel and settled in the UK. Since Ahmadis are looked down upon as heretics in Pakistan and frequently persecuted, many of them have left Pakistan and settled in western countries. It's worthwhile to state that the members of the Ahmadiyya sect consider themselves Muslim but have been declared “non-Muslim” under Pakistani law. They are subject to the country’s strict blasphemy laws, which criminalise many of their acts of faith. Members of the Ahmadiyya community are not allowed to refer to themselves as “Muslim”, to their places of worship as “mosques” or to perform other rites, with punishments ranging up to three years in prison. Islam has 73 sects. The most frequently cited hadith regarding the 73 divisions of the Muslim faith is reported as: the Jews are divided into 71 sects (Firqa), the Christians into 72 sects, and my community will divide into 73 sects (Ibn Majah, Abu Daud, al-Tirmidhi and al-Nisa'i). The hadith also occurs in many other versions as well. But the followers of only ONE sect will be entitled to go to heaven! So, in other words, the remaining 72 sects are false. But who decides among the humans as to which one sect is valid and the rest are invalid? Doesn't the Quran state," "And surely this brotherhood of yours is a single brotherhood, and I am your Lord and Cherisher. Therefore fear Me and no other. But people have broken their religion into sects, each group rejoicing in that which is with them. But leave them in their confused ignorance for a time." (23:52-54). Let me be a bit explicit here. Out of so many sects in Islam, Sunnis are the most violent and they labour under the eternal misconception that only the Sunni Sect is genuine and its followers will have a direct entry to Jannat. Very good. Go to heaven as Allah's chosen Muslims, nay Momins, but who has given you the right to kill the followers of other sects of Islam or call them Kafirs (infidels)? Aren't they your brethren? It's indeed pitiable that in these modern times, only the Muslims are embroiled in internecine sectarian conflicts. `1There are numerous sects in other faiths as well, but they're not involved in shedding the blood of the followers of other sects within their religions. Continuous blasts in Afghanistan are witnessing the decimation of Shia Muslims and Shi'a Hazaras by the rogues of ISIS and so many militant sects active in the fold of Islam. It's not for nothing that Islam is called 'a religion of piece' (homonymous pun intended) instead of ' a religion of peace.' A few years ago, I wrote a volatile piece in TOI, Speaking Tree, calling Islam a Violent Faith. Late Maulana Wahiduddin Khan tried to refute my trenchant arguments but I'm afraid, the venerable and erudite Maulana's arguments couldn't hold water. Coming back to Ahmadis in Pakistan, three of the greatest Muslims of Pakistan have either been Ahmadis or associated with the sect very closely. Sir Chaudhry Muhammad Zafarullah Khan was one of the leading founding fathers of Pakistan. He was the first foreign minister of Pakistan. He was known for his eloquent representation of Pakistan at the United Nations and is the only Pakistani to have served as the President of the United Nations General Assembly, and that of the International Court of Justice in Hague. He was an Ahmadi, who never got the kind of recognition in Pakistan because of his association with the Ahmadi Sect. The poor soul is rarely mentioned in Pakistani textbooks. The same dismal fate befell Dr Mohammad Abdus Salam, who shared the 1979 Nobel Prize in Physics with Sheldon Glashow and Steven Weinberg for his contribution to the electroweak unification theory. He was the first Pakistani and the first from an Islamic country to receive a Nobel Prize in science and the second from an Islamic country to receive any Nobel Prize, after Anwar Sadat of Egypt. Alas, no Momin in the Pious Land (Pakistan) remembers him. He's a pariah in a Muslim world and is condemned by Muslims, claiming to have 'true' Islamic values. Pervez Hoodbhoy, Pakistani physicist and Dr Salam's student, always rued this sanctimony of Ulema and people of Pakistan . Do you know, Dr Muhammad Iqbal joined the Ahmadi community in 1897 but left after the demise of its founder Mirza Ghulam Ahmad? Iqbal always had a soft-spot for the Ahmadis. By the way, his parents and elder brother remained Ahmadis. It's time, Muslims gave up their sectarian superiority complex and lived peacefully and also let the world live in peace. Too much bloodshed in the name of religion/s and their gods has been the nemesis of mankind right from the advent of all man-made religions, their soi-disant revered characters, scriptures and gods. --- An occasional columnist for New Age Islam, Sumit Paul is a researcher in comparative religions, with special reference to Islam. He has contributed articles to world's premier publications in several languages including Persian. URL: m, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Why The Uniform Civil Code Demand Does Not Cut Much Ice With Muslims Any More?

Debate On The Implementation Of A Uniform Civil Code Has Been Started After The Rise Of The BJP On Indian Political Scene Main Points: 1. Goa already has Uniform Civil Code since 1867 2. Muslims of Goa never raised voice against the UCC. 3. Muslims now don't care much for the UCC. 4. Laws on Triple Talaq, Hijab, Marriageable Age have made Muslims passive. 5. All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) has become a spent force. ---- By New Age Islam Staff Writer 28 April 2022 After the Dhami government of Uttarakhand in India announced that it has formed a panel to prepare the draft of the Uniform Civil Code, the Uttar Pradesh government has also expressed its resolve to implement a common civil code in the state. This has stirred a new debate in the Uniform Civil Code. The debate on the implementation of a uniform civil code has been started after the rise of the BJP on Indian political scene though it is not a plan envisaged by the BJP but mentioned in the Constitution of India in the Article 44 which says that the State shall endeavour to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India. Since, the BJP has made the UCC a political ploy, the minorities, particularly the Muslims are apprehensive of the motive behind it. They think that in the name of implementing a uniform civil code, a majoritarian law will be imposed on them that will jeopardise their existence as a free religious community. This is the fear which makes them oppose the idea of a common civil code But a fact that has been ignored by the common Indians and particularly the Muslims is that in Goa, a uniform civil code is already in place since 1867 and after its independence from Portugal, this uniform civil code has remained functional through Section 5(1) of the Goa, Daman and Diu Administration Act 1962. Under the Uniform Civil Code in Goa the Hindu Marriage Act 1955, Hindu Succession Act 1956 and the Indian Succession Act 1925 or Shariat (Application) Act 1937 are not in force. Interestingly, the Uniform Civil Code of Goa is based on Christian teachings. Yet Muslims of Goa or Muslim organisations like the AIMPLB never objected to it, leave aside demanding its annulment. The union government has long been working on its draft and the Law Commission is preparing a draft for UCC. Indian Muslim organisations like the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, Jamiat-e-Ulema Hind, Jamat-e-Islami Hind and Indian Muslim League have opposed the UCC. They argue that India cherishes the idea of Unity in Diversity not of Unity in uniformity. A Uniform Civil Code will be based on Hindu laws and will be imposed on Muslims just as the Uniform Civil Code of Goa is based on Christian Laws. However, in recent years, the opposition of Muslims to the UCC has become less vociferous and has reduced to formal press statements opposing it. For example, after the announcement of Uttarakhand government on the UCC, no Muslim reaction was seen. The Jamiat-e-Ulema Hind and Jamat-e-Islami have not issued a fresh statement since 2016 and 2018 respectively. The Indian Union Muslim League have issued a statement opposing it. Only the AIMPLB has been actively opposing the UCC. Therefore, Muslim opposition to the UCC has been formal and has no teeth. As for the opposition by the AIMPLB, it has lost its credibility among Muslims after it lost battles for Babri Mosque, Triple Talaq and Hijab and is a spent force. As for the common Muslims, the fear or concern over the implementation of the UCC has receded. The reason is that Muslims are faced with survival issues and the issues of identity become secondary. During the lockdown, the economic hardships have made Muslims more focussed on survival than on identity issues. The symbolic fight to save the Babri mosque wielded another blow to him. The triple talaq and hijab verdicts are to him a step forward towards the UCC. So he wonders what more can a UCC do to his religious identity. The increasing of the marriageable age for girls was another step towards an UCC. The current wave of Islamophobia in India has made Muslims more concerned about their livelihood and survival. The calls of economic boycott, mob lynchings and attacks on mosques have added to their problems. The Covid-19 is another factor that has contributed to his pessimism. These are the factors that have made Muslims passive over the UCC and they do not see it as a greater threat. They see that the triple talaq law has not made much difference to their lives. The increased marriageable age of girls is not an issue only for Muslims but for all the communities living in India. Child marriage is more prevalent in Hindus. The laws on the use of loudspeakers in places of worship will apply to Hindus as well and azan without loudspeakers does not mean a ban on azan. Its only that the Muslims will have to go back to the old days of azan without loudspeakers. This is the reason that Muslims now don't show any strong opposition to or fear of the UCC. It is also noted that other minorities or ethnic communities of India do not express their opposition to the UCC as vociferously as Muslims. The Muslims seem to be suffering from a fear psychosis. The AIMPLB says that not only the Muslims but other religious minorities too have objections to it. If this is true, why other religious minorities dont join it in this fight. Who has made the AIMPLB the representative or spokesperson of all the religious minorities?. Now Himachal Pradesh has also joined the UCC bogey but the JDU in Bihar has strongly opposed its ally BJP's call to implement the UCC in Bihar. Actually, the implementation of the UCC in a diverse religious and ethnic society of India will be a big challenge and preparing a draft that can be acceptable to all the communities and tribes will be very difficult for the government. It will open a Pandora's box when implemented. Therefore, the fear of the Muslims that it will affect only them is unfounded. Despite the recommendation for the UCC in the Constitution, it could not be implemented because of the diversity of the Indian culture. Instead of raising a hue and cry, Muslims should wait and watch. 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

From Iftar To Iftar Party: An Islamic Practice That Turns Into A Multi-Cultural Event

The Tradition Of Political Iftar Parties Was Started By Nehru Main Points: 1. The tradition of Iftar parties has become popular in India 2. Lal Bahadur Shatri stopped the practice. 3. Indra resumed the tradition. 4. UP CM Bahuguna popularised it in Uttar Pradesh 5. Iftar Parties are disappearing. ----- By New Age Islam Staff Writer 27 April 2022 President Pranab Mukherjee, Vice-President Hamid Ansari, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and party leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, and CPM’s Sitaram Yechury at Rashtrapati Bhavan, Friday. (Express Photo: Anil Sharma) ----- The Iftar party has become a popular cultural event in India. Almost every town and city witnesses Iftar parties during the Ramazan. Nowadays, Iftar parties are held not only by Muslims but also by non-Muslims. Since, hosting an Iftar for the fasting people is an act of virtue earning rewards from God, Muslims do it as a religious practice. Therefore, many Hindus also experience joy by hosting Iftar for fasting Muslims. In India where Hindus and Muslims have lived together and shared their joys and sorrows for centuries, festivals have also been common cultural events. Muslims join Hindus in Holi, Diwali and Dussehra and Hindus join Muslims in Eid and Ramazan. Therefore, when Ramazan comes, Iftar becomes a cultural event when Hindus can join Muslims and experience the joy of breaking the fasting. They also want to win the reward for hosting Iftar for a fasting Muslim. This is the spirit that has made Iftar parties very popular in the diverse society of India. Iftar parties are organised not only by Muslim organisations but also by non-Muslims. Though Iftar is a religious practice but in India, it has taken the form of a multi-cultural event and is called an Iftar Party. For example, a Hindu youth Chandrasekhar Jaddu organised an Iftar party in a mosque for his Muslim friends. He had got married on April 24 this year but his Muslim friends could not join him in the celebrations due to fasting. Therefore, he held an Iftar party for them. Iftar in Shatabdi Express ----- A couple of days ago, a train passenger, Shahnawaz Akhtar boarded the Shatabdi Express from Dhanbad. He was fasting. He was surprised when the catering crew presented to him a plate of Iftar minutes before the Iftar time in the evening. Shahnawaz Akhtar was overwhelmed by this gesture of the railways and thanked them. The famous film actress Rakhi Sawant held an Iftar party for street kids and offered them gifts. Recently, the team of the TV show Bade Achhe Lagte Hain Part 2 organised an Iftar parry for the team. These are some of the pictures that show that Iftar party has become an opportunity to reach out to the 'other' and strengthen the social bond between communities. The Iftar parties are hosted by political parties and leaders as part of outreach programmes to strengthen their rapport with the community. But the tradition of political Iftar parties was started by the first Prime Minister of India Jawahar Lal Nehru. Every year he would invite his friends to the AICC office at Jantar Mantar for an Iftar. Its success inspired the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh Hemvati Nandan Bahuguna to start Iftar Parties in Lucknow. However, Lal Bahadur Shastri during his tenure as the prime minster, stopped the tradition. It was resumed by Indira Gandhi. Iftar Parties were also held in Rashtrapati Bhavan where leaders of all parties and prominent personalities registered their presence. But when Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam became the President of India he stopped the tradition of holding Iftar Parties in Rashtrapati Bhavan. It would surprise many because as a Muslim, he was expected to hold on to the tradition. But the reason was that he concealed his Muslim identity. Instead of hosting an Iftar party, he distributed the money to the poor. Later Pratibha Patil resumed the tradition. During the tenure of Pranab Mukherji also Iftar Parties were held in Rashtrapati Bhavan. Though the new generation of the BJP does not encourage Iftar parties, Atal Bihari Bajpayee used to hold Iftar parties and invite Muslim leaders to it. One year, party president Murli Manohar Joshi too organised an Iftar party. BJP's Muslim face Syed Shahnawaz Hussain was the man behind these Iftar parties In the current social and political atmosphere, Iftar parties are disappearing. Particularly, in UP, the tradition of political Iftar parties is on the wane. Mulayam Singh Yadav, Mayawati and Rajnath Singh used to hold Iftar parties in UP but in the changed circumstances when every Muslim practice is seen from a communal angle, Iftar parties are being ignored even by secular leaders to avoid being labelled pro-Muslim. That's why, this year neither Samajwadi Party's Akhilesh Yadav nor Bahujan Samaj Party's Mayawati have held Iftar parties. However, Iftar parties have not lost their relevance despite the widening communal divide. In every town and city of India, Hindus still join Muslims in Iftar parties. There are many Hindus who fast during the Ramazan and they feel solidarity with Muslims and experience the same spiritual solace as Muslims do. The cultural bond between the Hindus and Muslims are so deeply rooted that they can not be broken totally. Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar with leader of opposition Tejashwi Prasad Yadav and other members of family at an Iftar party organised by RJD in Patna. (Photo| EPS) ------ In Bihar the situation has not changed much though. Rashtriya Janata Dal's Tejaswi Yadav and Janata Dal United's Nitish Kumar organised their Iftar parties. Compelled by the political situation, deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi of BJP also held his Iftar party. Nitish's Iftar party even stirred a political controversy as it was seen as Nitish's tilt towards RJD In Rajasthan, CM Ashok Gehlot hosted an Iftar party. However, the Muslims are divided over the tradition of Iftar parties. One section says that Iftar is associated with fasting which is a religious obligation for Muslims and so it should not be corrupted by making it a political event. They argue that, for promoting cultural bonhomie, Muslims should use the festival of Eid. Eid Milan programmes can serve the same purpose. Eid Milan programmes are also held in many places but they are not so popular as the Iftar parties. The reason is not known. Perhaps, the spiritual feeling with Iftar is deeper and the non-Muslims are more attracted towards Iftar as by joining their fasting Muslim brethren they want to feel the pain and thirst of fasting. Another section argues that there is nothing wrong in inviting non-Muslims in Iftar as it serves the purpose of conveying the message of Islam to the non-Muslims. In the modern multicultural milieu, Iftar parties are indeed a powerful and effective platform for cultural outreach and for strengthening the bond between communities. 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, April 27, 2022

Understanding The Political Ideology Of Salafism And Its Theology Of Supremacism, Exclusivism And Violence -- Concluding Part 2

By Grace Mubashir, New Age Islam 27 April 2022 Religious Pluralism And Engagements In Salafism Basis of Salafi arguments of jihadism, Takfirism (calling other Muslims Kafir), and others stems from the outright rejection of Quranic concept of pluralism and diversity and the God’s command to engage using the commonalities of all religions. Holy Quran says: “O People of the Book let us come to a common word/statement between us and you.” In Islamic legacy religious dialogue is not new; it has lengthy history. Muhamed Hashim Kamali in his article ‘Diversity and Pluralism: A Quranic Perspective’ has broadly explained the Islamic perception of pluralism. According to Quran, concept of religious unity is not sweeping uniformity and asserts the diversity as an essential nature of human being. “And among His signs is the creation of heaven and earth and the diversity of your tongues and colours, Indeed there are signs in this for those who know.” According to Salafism plurality and pluralism are sometimes said to be incompatible with the monotheism that Islam demands for its followers. To substantiate their vicious hate ideology verses from Quran are misquoted and misplaced like the verses enjoining the believers to unite and let not separation (Tafarruq) to destroy their unity, taking out of the contexts in which it was revealed. These arguments could be easily blunted by using the inherent disagreement (Ikhthilaf) in the Islamic history and sciences like Ilmul Kalam (theology) and jurisprudence. Islam profusely allows the space for pluralism and religious harmony as opposed to the uniform concept advanced by Salafism. Quranic verse that suggests Prophet Muhammad completed the religion for the posterity is used by Salafis to illustrate the comprehensive nature of Islam without any interdependence.[1] Ethno-regional pluralism, a major bone of contention in the contemporary era, finds theological sanction in Quran. To quote Quran: “O mankind, keep your duty towards your Lord who created you from a single soul and created its mate of the same [kind], and then created from them multitudes of men and women.[2] In another passage Quran tells about the diversity of creation deliberately demonstrating God’s consent for pluralistic way of life. “O mankind, behold, we have created you into nations and tribes so that you might come to know each other. Verily the noblest of you in the sight of God is one who is deeply conscious of God.” In their ardent bid to retain the pristine Islamic monotheism unaffected, Salafis strictly oppose religious pluralism (Al-Ta’addudiyyah Al-Diniyyah), fearing that religious engagement may be tantamount to associating partners in faith and acknowledging the veracity of other religions. Quintan Wiktorowicz says: “This obsession with maintaining and propagating a pure understanding of Islam has produced a strong tendency toward isolationism. Any interaction with nonbelievers is viewed as an opportunity for the nonbelievers to infect Muslims. Although interactions for propagation are permissible, purists see little benefit to dialogue and exchange beyond those needed to spread the faith. After all, if all knowledge and guidance are in the sources of Islam, nonbelievers offer nothing. To think otherwise is to question the supremacy of Islam, something that signifies disbelief. As a result, purists are highly unlikely to engage in interfaith dialogue and often try to physically separate themselves from non-Muslims. Purist scholars in Saudi Arabia, for example, advise Muslims in Europe to leave the domain of disbelief to avoid any corrupting influence. European Salafis who choose to remain try to limit their interactions with the broader society, often developing enclave communities that function like Salafi ghettos. They reject association with non-Muslims in their countries of residence and instead view themselves as part of an international imagined community of true believers. Their identity is predicated on their creed and not their country. `This policy of isolation to avoid corrupting influences is applied to other Muslims as well. Followers are asked to avoid interactions with deviant sects, which are defined as any groups that do not follow the purist interpretation of Islam. There is thus very little intra-faith dialogue as well.” (Wiktorowicz, Quintan, Anatomy of the Salafi Movement,Studies in Conflict & Terrorism) This kind of thoughts would fare bad in maintaining fragile social relationships in increasingly globalized era. Strict textual literalist reading is the major problems Salafism. While criticizing Salafism one should carry in mind the revolutionary changes Salafism brought in many parts of world in the way Islam is practiced, but this does not justify the feeble arguments of radical Salafi scholars who contend comprehensiveness and mutual exclusive preventing the ideology to evolve timely. Various elements in Salafi ideology like Takfiri (declaring apostasy), jihad, al wala’ wa l bara’ (loyalty and disavowal) and others infuse the adherents with virulent fundamentalism and extremism. These beliefs demand more explanation in order to find solutions to Salafi threat against world peace and religious harmony. Al Wala’ Wa L Bara’ The Salafi concept of al wala’ wa l bara’ roughly translatable as loyalty and disavowal, has been considered by many as a recipe for extremism. This idea sates that all Muslims should show loyalty only to God, Islam and Muslims and everything else should be disavowed and opposed. It is definitely true that al wala’ wa l bara’ divides the world into two separate binaries of which one is good and one is evil. This means Salafis maintain strong bonds of loyalty and brotherhood among Salafi Muslims on the one hand as well as extreme forms of piety through disavowal of everything and everyone considered un-Islamic. Adherents of this concept can therefore use it to set up boundaries between religious groups and create divisions and likely even sectarianism. Al Wala’ Wa L Bara’ repudiates even the narrow scope for pluralism and diversity. In western context, Al Wala’ Wa L Bara’ is used as a bulwark against successful integration into society. A certain amount of radicalism thus seems to be connected with the concept of Al Wala’ Wa L Bara’. The origins of Al Wala’ Wa L Bara’ is traced back to pre-Islamic Arabia and early heterodox Islamic sects. In pre-Islamic Arabia it implied that while members of the tribe were bound to each other by strong ties, relations between different tribes were not always very peaceful. They were often at war with other tribes over petty issues. At the outset, this concept was not changed considerably with the advent of Islam and was modified by Muslims in such a way that suited their new needs. Later, the gradual growth of Islam eroded these divisions as Muslims had to come to terms with other people for practical reasons. The first Islamic group to use Al Wala’ Wa L Bara’ as part of its doctrine was apparently the sect known as Kharijites. Kharijites incorporated Al Wala’ Wa L Bara’ into their beliefs, showing loyalty to other members of the group while disavowing outsiders. Motivated by this concept of exclusivism Kharijites spawned many problems in early Islamic society. After several centuries of relative silence on the topic of Al Wala’ Wa L Bara’, the concept was built into discussion by ibn Taymiyya. He explains: “After centuries of pre Islamic ignorance, Islam came to show the people the right path, which Muslims must not deviate from. Jewish and Christian influences, however, have sullied the true path of Islam. So Muslims must cling to the straight path denouncing all others. Muslims should not attend the festivals and ceremonies of Judaism and Christianity because Almighty Allah says in Quran: O believers, take not Jews and Christians as friends (awliya’), they are friends of each other. Whosoever of you makes them his friend is one of them. God guides not the people of the evildoers.” (Ibn Taymiyya, iqtida’ al-sira al-mustaqim mukhalafat ashab al-jahim) Salafi scholars used the concept as a means to fight other religions and assumed Bida’ (innovations). Beside they assert that Al Wala’ Wa L Bara’ is an indispensable part of Islam and that all Muslims must give their exclusive loyalty to God. If they do their loyalty to someone or something else, they are considered Kuffar (apostates) with whose war could be waged. Showing enmity to polytheists, other religions and non-Salafi Muslims is considered benchmark to identify true Muslims. This belief is the evident reason for Salafi aversion for religious cooperation and dialogues. Takfirism The debate over Takfir, represents one of the most prominent sources of violence in Salafism. This deals with the apostasy of Muslims which technically make them a legal scapegoat of violence backed by sharia’ and thus motivates attacks against non-Salafi Muslim sects. This concept of Salafism is borrowed from the Kharijite doctrine of declaring all Muslims renegade if they did not fall in their line. Takfirism stems from the very controversial nature of the religious concept of Takfir, which the act of pronouncing of someone as unbeliever (excommunication) and placing him/her outside the community of believers. In classical Islamic jurisprudence, Takfir is an extremely serious measure that can be pronounced by qualified religious authorities under very specific circumstances. Salafism lavishly uses this concept to excommunicate all opposing their path; hence intra-faith dialogues are hardly impossible in radical Salafism. In the modern context, excommunication is essentially a theological or ideological manoeuvre to ostracize other Muslims; a tool significantly employed the Salafi scholars. Roots of Salafi antipathy against Shi’ism is the direct consequence of Takfiri movement of Salafis. The Shia’-Sunni (Salafism is considered as a branch of Sunnism) divide proliferated due to this ideology has exacerbated the fragile social relationship in the Middle East. While the conglomerate under Saudi Arabia leads the Salafi alliance, Iran spearheads Shi’ite nations. The futile war to protect the vested interests of these two warlords set off much epidemic violence in the region. To reach at mutual cooperation heads of two nations along with the religious leaders must make compromises in their ideological fundamentalism. Jihad Jihadi movements of Salafism or jihadi Salafism like al Qaida, Taliban and ISIS are closely associated with its complex, narrow political concepts. The problematic interaction of Salafism with the real world and politics has been compounded by its relationship with violence. Logically, violence stems from the same rejection of reality as corrupt and corrupting because it leads to compromise in doctrine and practice (Manhaj) that lie at basis of apolitical Islam. Jihadi-Salafism found its original inspiration from Sayyid Qutb (1906-1966), whose ideas on pre-Islamic society (Jahiliyya) and sovereignty of God (Hakimiyya), coincide with those of Salafism, but are much more politicized. Yusuf al-Uyairi, is a good a contemporary jihadi who combined the Salaf terminology of Tawhid, purification (Tazkiyya) and pure intention (Niyya) with a sharp and ruthless analysis of reality, geared to implementation of a jihadi strategy, thus producing a Salafi activist concept of praxis that is comparable to Leninism. Jihadi Salafism is blinded by the antagonism towards West, declaring war against them. Recent attacks in Europe against the innocent civilians are legitimate within the legal extension of maintaining enmity against Kuffar and striving to pulverize them. Admittedly, corporate interests of neo-imperialists forces add oil to the fuel. Even the thought of Taliban outrage in Afghanistan staged by Salafi Jihadist Osama bin Laden or the violent trail being hacked by ISIS in Iraq and Syria shudders the entire human conscience and make them numb. By instituting the martyr cult of religion Jihadi Salafism encourage a strong tendency among Muslims towards religious alienation. Part One of the Article: Understanding The Political Ideology Of Salafism And Its Theology Of Supremacism, Exclusivism And Violence - Part 1 --- An occasional New Age Islam columnist, Grace Mubashir is a journalism student at Indian Institute of Mass Communication, Delhi URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Murder And Arson In Bugtoi Village Lays Bare The Educational And Social Backwardness Of Muslims In Rural Bengal

Bengali Speaking Muslims Of Rural Areas Have Been Left Alone By The Government And Muslim Intelligentsia. Main Points: 1. Poverty and unemployment among the rural Muslims are very high. 2. 80 per cent Muslims of West Bengal live in villages. 3. Only 3.6 per cent Muslims in villages have completed secondary education. 4. Only 1.7 per cent Muslims in villages are graduates. 5. Village Muslims are hot headed. ----- New Age Islam Staff Writer 27 April 2022 Family members of Birbhum violence victims. (Express Photo) ----- On 21 March 2022, one of the worst cases of massacre and arson took place in a village named Bugtoi, about 250 kilometres from Kolkata in West Bengal. Ten people including a 7 year old girl was burnt alive after the deputy Pradhan Bhadu Sheikh was killed by unknown persons. The family of Mahilal Sheikh were killed in retaliation. One year ago, Bhadu Shaikh 's brother was also killed. The accused in the massacre is Anarul Hussain, who is a TMC leader of the area and wields political clout. The massacre is said to be a fall out of political and business rivalry. The population of the Muslims in the village is 35 per cent but unemployment and illiteracy rate is high among the Muslims of the village. The village falls under Birbhum district in which the famous Visva-Bharati University is located. The population of the Muslims in the district is also 35 per cent. The population of the Muslims in West Bengal is 30 per cent but 80 per cent of the Muslims live in rural areas. Literacy in rural Muslim community is lower than in cities and towns. In rural areas literacy rate in Muslims is lower than that of the Scheduled Castes, a fact mentioned in Sachar Committee report. In rural areas, only 3.6 per cent have completed secondary education as compared to 4 per cent among the Scheduled Castes. Only 1.3 per cent Muslims are graduates as compared to 1.7 among Scheduled Castes. Birbhum district is an economically and industrially backward district in West Begal. Opportunities for employment and livelihood are scant and so the Muslim community is steeped in poverty. Due to poverty, the parents can not support the studies of their children. Many drop out after primary level. Many of them do not have skills and qualifications to get decent job and so they work as migrant labourers in Kerala, Delhi or Rajasthan. Those who stay back in the village, work as masons or daily wage labourers in the village or in the neighbourhood. The condition of the Muslims of Bugtoi is the same. Most of them are unemployed and so they are involved in illegal mining or illegal sand, coal and stone business. Anarul Hussain, slain Bhadu Shaikh and Mahilal Shaikh were all involved in illegal coal, sand and stone business. Anarul Hussain was initially an ordinary mason but under political patronage, he joined illegal sand, coal and stone business and gradually became crorepati. There was a rivalry between Bhadu Shaikh and Mahilal Shaikh over coal and sand business. This led to the suspicion that Mahilal Shaikh was behind Bhadu Shaikh's murder. All claimed to belong to the TMC. But only business rivalry cannot be the cause of a massacre of this degree. Even if Mahilal Shaikh was behind Bhadu Shaikh's murder, his entire family including his 7 year old daughter were not guilty. This was only because of the illiteracy and the uncivilised way of life of the Muslim community of the village. Since there was lack of education and employment, a powerful section of Muslims was rich while the majority of the youth spent time in gambling and illegal activities. Many of them were addicted to illicit liquor. Some of them were involved in money lending on interest. Though there are two or three madrasas and mosques in the village, there was a lack of Islamic education in the village. The imams of the mosques did not have any influence in the village as their job was limited to leading the prayer. There was no reform work among the Muslims. The entry of Tablighi Jamat is banned in the village. Other religious organisations also do not have any presence in the village. The Muslims of Bugtoi led a wayward life in the absence of any reformist movement. Licentiousness is rampant. Dirty politics is what most of them are involved in. In many of the remote villages of West Bengal, the police do not enter without the permission of the local politicians or the local club enjoying patronage of the ruling party. The club or the local political committee resolves local disputes. In Bugtoi too, the police and the fire brigade were kept away by Anarul Hussain. The lack of religious or secular education was not the problem of only the Muslims of Bugtoi. It is the general phenomenon of the rural Muslim community of West Bengal. Due to poverty, the Muslim children can not go for higher studies and are compelled to work as hawkers or labourers. Since, most of the Muslims in Bengal villages are Bengali speaking, they are not aware of Islamic teachings due to unavailability of Islamic books in Bengali. Since, they are not aware of Islamic teachings, they go to any extent when there is a dispute in the family or close relationship. It is also a fact to be noted that the Muslims in villages are hot headed and inclined towards violence. The Bugtoi village has 65 per cent Hindu population and there is also political and business rivalry among them but they do not fight among themselves or kill one another. They are more educated than the Muslims and know about the repercussions of violence. For Bengalis, violence is the last thing they will resort to but the Muslims in villages are ever ready to resort to violence giving little thought to what the results may be.. During the last days of the Left rule, it was the Bengali Muslims of Medinipur and other districts who had been involved in political violence against the Left Front government and most the of the people killed in the anti-Left violence were rural Muslims. The root of the problem lies in the fact that all the work of educational and religious reform of the Muslims are based in towns and cities of West Bengal where Urdu speaking Muslims are in better condition both in terms of education and livelihood. Since the majority of Muslims in rural areas are Bengali speaking Muslims, they are cut off from the educational and religious movements of the state carried out by Urdu speaking Muslims. Very few Bengali speaking educationists are working among Bengali speaking Muslims. In short, the Muslim leaders and religious organisations should also be held responsible for what happened in Bugtoi. Political leaders have only exploited them for their political ends and religious leaders have ignored these rural Muslims and spent their resources and energies in spreading sectarian hatred in towns and cities. 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, April 26, 2022

The Heaven’s Caravan: Da’wah – The Concept Of Propagation Of Islamic Faith

By Moin Qazi, New Age Islam 26 April 2022 Da’wah Is An Important Duty Of Every Muslim To Invite People To Their Faith Or To Recall Nominal Or Lapsed Muslims To A Deeper Faith Main Points: 1. The Da’wah message is nonviolent and harbours no hatred for other faiths or peoples. 2. Islamic evangelism has a simple message that boils down to five points to mirror Islam’s five cardinal pillars of a practice 3. Tablighi theology stresses that Muslims must first devote themselves to becoming good, practising Muslims in their own lives ----- Who is better in speech than one who calls (men) to Allah, works righteousness, and says, "I am of those who bow in Islam — (Qur'an, 41:33) Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good, enjoining what is right, and forbidding what is wrong: They are the ones to attain felicity – (Qur’an 3: 104) The Muslim world is in crisis and biased media has added its biased colour to it. The negative stereotyping has created an impression that everything Muslim, is evil. This perception is slowly changing as millions of grassroots Muslim missionaries are spreading the true message of Islam. Far away from the public glare, there is a silent revolution that has Prophet Muhammad’s mission placed on the top of all priorities–the spreading of the authentic message of Islam. Called Da’wah–the concept of propagation of Islamic faith, a humongous army of preachers is silently striving to make Muslims better practitioners of their faith. Religions have jostled with each other for millenniums. Many missionaries are returning to practices that were long ago abandoned by the mainline missionaries. Armed only with sleeping bag backpacks, and a simple message, Da’wah activists are going door-to-door in the remotest nooks of the world. All this evokes tales of Prophet Muhammad’s companions who trekked hundreds of miles and braved bandits and armies to spread the word of Islam back in the seventh century. Historically, missionary Da’wah accompanied commercial ventures or followed military conquests. Now, in the modern digital world, the hardships are fewer, but challenges and prejudices are much stronger. Da‘wah means the issuing of a call or invitation. It is an important duty of every Muslim to invite people to their faith or to recall nominal or lapsed Muslims to a deeper faith. A Muslim who practices Da’wah, either as a preacher, religious worker, or someone engaged in faith-building community work is called a da’I, plural du’at. The fundamental credo of Da’wah is enjoining good and forbidding evil. Moral virtues form the cornerstone of Islamic civilization. It is this fundamental trait that distinguishes it from any other civilization in history. The argument that other civilizations, too, have a moral core is countered by the fact that Islam is a way of life—ad-deen —and not simply a religion. Our values shape our lives; they are the qualities that define us. They make us who we are and guide us in our life choices, what we believe in and what we commit to. It is ultimately our character that will influence the perception of others about us. All religions, of course, do imply a total way of life and define a believer’s most fundamental values and thereby shape their influence within the family, the society, the polity, and the economy. But Islam provides an elaborate code of religious law; it lays out a blueprint for a specific social order Islamic evangelism has a simple message that boils down to five points to mirror Islam’s five cardinal pillars of a practice: Grasp the true meaning and implications of the creedal statement that there is no deity except Allah, and Muhammad is his messenger; pray conscientiously five times a day; acquire learning and engage in the frequent remembrance of God; honour fellow believers, and participate in missionary work (Da’wah) by spreading awareness of Islam. The “invitation”, or call, to accept Islam has to be extended not just to non-Muslims, but also to Muslims who do not observe Islam in its fullest form. Da’wah is God’s way of reconnecting “inconsistent” or “wayward” Muslims to their faith. The Da’wah message is nonviolent and harbours no hatred for other faiths or peoples. Instead, it seeks to show Muslims that the injustice and oppression they face are symptoms of their waning morality. Muslims themselves are to blame, they are told, for letting their faith slip. It insists that the solution lies in spiritual renewal. The aim is less about conversion and more about propagating the correct Qur’anic teachings about piety, sin, and salvation for souls. The most accomplished modern missionary is Maulana Muhammad Ilyas Kandhlawi (1885-1944), a puritan, religious scholar, pass belonging to a distinguished family of Sufis, popularly known as Maulana Ilyas. When he began his revivalist movement called Tabitha Jamaal (“Proselytizing Group, also Society for Spreading Faith”) in a rural setting in Mewat in northern India in 1927, its primary objective was to counter the inroads being made by Hindu missionaries into the local Muslim community whose knowledge of Islam was only superficial. Worried that the existing Islamic educational institutions were not able to suitably fend off the Hindu challenge, Ilyas envisioned a movement for deputing missionaries to villages to reform the society by instilling Muslims with core Islamic values so that they attain personal spiritual renewal. The adherents of the movement are popularly known as “Tablighi”. The Tablighi lead Spartan lives, shunning the outside world. They strive to create an ambience of spirituality, solidarity, and purpose. The Tablighi Jama╩┐at is one of the most widespread Sunni Islah (reform)and Da’wa (missionary)organisatios in the world today. It is apolitical but its loose and porous structure may leave it open to penetration by other elements. It is on account of this reason that there has been infiltration of wrong people with the sporadic accusation of links of terrorists with the organization. Tablighi theology stresses that Muslims must first devote themselves to becoming good, practising Muslims in their own lives, rather than struggling for political power or even protesting oppression by non-Muslims focusing on the "greater jihad," which is the inner struggle for faith and piety. A lay preaching movement, the Tabligh aims primarily to revive the religious knowledge and practice of Muslims, and secondarily to impact non-Muslims. Given the voluntary and largely informal nature of participation, it is impossible to precisely enumerate the persons involved at any given time. Despite its global reach and the presence of regional Markaz (. Markaz, centre or headquarters) outside South Asia, it maintains its strongest presence in South Asia and still looks to its founding Markaz in Nizamuddin, Delhi, as its inspirational centre. With roots in the Deobandi reformist tradition, the organization began in northern India in the early decades of the 20th century. The movement’s founder, Maulana Muhammad Ilyas (1885–1944), studied under Deobandi luminaries like Rashid Ahmad Gangohi (b. 1826–d. 1905). Like his Deobandi forebears, Ilyas was a Alim-cum-Sufi who combined a commitment to scripturalist reform with the sensibilities of a Sufi Shaykh. Concerned about the lay Muslims of India’s Mewat region who were targeted for “re-conversion” to Hinduism by the proselytizing activities of Hindu revival movements, and increasingly dissatisfied with the reforming potential of Islamic madrasa education, Theologically, the Tablighi Jamaat is closely tied to the conservative Deobandi school of Sunni Islam, which emphasizes strict adherence to religious orthodoxy. Ilyas too graduated from Deoband in 1910 A.D. While working among the Muslim masses of Mewat, he realized that education alone could not renew Islam. He eventually decided that only through physical movement away from one’s place could one leave behind one’s esteem for life and its comforts for the cause of God. Some Muslim groups in the subcontinent, notably the Barelvis (a group more catholic in their acceptance of customary practices associated with the veneration of Sayyad’s, holy men, saints, and the Prophet.)had previously developed the idea of itinerant missionary work to counter Hindu (and Christian) conversions of Muslims, but it was Ilyas’s genius that grounded Tabligh as a powerful vehicle in the crusade of rectifying Muslim faith. Another group is the Ahl-i-Hadith (they are akin to Arabian Wahhabis who trace their origin to an iconoclastic late eighteenth-century reform movement.) Tablighis are often conflated with Salafis or Wahhabis—but this is incorrect; they are neither. Ilyas aimed to recapitulate the piety and practice of Prophet Muhammad and his companions in the seventh century A.D., and as such was concerned not just with the percolation of Hindu or Christian influences into the Muslim community but with stemming the growing tide of Westernization and secularization. Unlike other contemporary Islamic revivalists, Ilyas believed that Islam could not be reconciled with Western science, technology, and political ideologies Ilyas wanted to take his teachings from the classroom to the masses, to the grassroots. The mission was meant to devote itself largely to the business of preaching. The Meos, the Rajput community of Mewat, were Muslims but mostly followed Hindu traditions. By the mid-1930s, Ilyas had promulgated a fairly detailed programme of belief and praxis. This new doctrine which is the staple of Tablighi includes: • Propagating Islam. • Islamic education (especially, for children at home.) • Modest Islamic dress and appearance (shaving the moustache and allowing the beard to grow long), • High regard for other Muslims and protecting their honour. • Rejection of other religions. • Self-financing of Tabligh trips. • Lawful means of earning a living. • Strict avoidance of divisive and sectarian issues. What began as a revivalist movement has over the past century transformed into the largest group of religious proselytizers of any faith. It has seen a massive surge in recent times, heightened by a strong religious zeal in the new generation of Muslims. Several influential personalities have joined the movement. Although its members are from diverse backgrounds, all share one key common interest—the propagation of Islam for the salvation of souls. The movement has an amazingly well-oiled machine that nets hundreds of thousands of new adherents every year. Barbara Metcalf, a University of California scholar of South Asian Islam and the foremost Western expert on Tabligh, called Tablighi Jamaat “an apolitical, quietist movement of internal grassroots missionary renewal.” She reckons that although the movement aims to remake adherents’ lives, the sought-for transformation, “is not viewed instrumentally, that is, by the expectation that the transformation of individuals will ultimately produce a just society. On the contrary, the concern is whole with orienting Muslims toward an Islamic pattern in individual lives, the one dimension of life over which, one appears to have full control. The shape of the larger world is simply left to God.” The Tablighi Jamaat’s canon is almost skeletal and amazingly simple, unencumbered with too many spiritual nuances. Their simple message resonates with nascent minds that are caught in a moral bind as they grapple with the complex vicissitudes of life. Apart from the Qu’ran, the only literature the Tablighis are required to read is the Tablighi Nisab (Tablighi Curriculum) later retitled as Fazail-e-Amal, the core piece of literature of the Jamaat, a compilation of hadith and commentaries on the Qur’an written by Muhammad Zakariyya (1898-1982), the nephew of the founder and main ideologue of the movement. This manual has four separate parts titled Hayatus Sahabah, Fazail-e-Amaal, Fazail-e-Sadqaat and Muntakhab-e-Ahadis . The thrust of the book is on “six points.” The six principles (Chhe Usul) of the Tablighi Jamaat (over and above the five pillars of Islam) which are the cardinal canons of the movement are: 1. Kalimah-An article of faith in which the Tablighi accepts an individual covenant that there is no god but Allah and the Prophet Muhammad is His messenger and also acknowledges the obligations that flow from it 2. Salaat-Five daily prayers that is essential to spiritual elevation, piety, and a life free from the ills of the material world. They are to be performed by men in the congregation whenever possible. 3. Ilm and Dhikr-The knowledge and remembrance of Allah, conducted in sessions in which the congregation listens to preaching by the emir performs prayers, recites the Qur’an and reads Hadith. The congregation will also use these sessions to eat meals together, thus fostering a sense of community and identity 4. Ikram-i-Muslim-The treatment of fellow Muslims with honour and deference 5. Ikhlas-i-Niyat-Reforming one’s life in supplication to Allah by performing every human action for the sake of Allah and toward the goal of self-transformation 6. Tafrigh-i-Waqt-The sparing of time to live a life based on faith and learning its virtues, following in the footsteps of the Prophet, and taking His message door-to-door for the sake of faith. This principle is also known as Tabligh, emphasizing the centrality of the doctrine. Personal reform through prayer is the most identifiable feature of the Tablighi. The organization has not produced any major intellectual work nor does it boast of any established scholars. It places an almost magical emphasis on ritual. The Tablighi believes that each act of reciting the Islamic credo or praying makes a defined contribution to an individual’s salvation. Every day, thousands of Da’wah groups, comprising devoted Tablighis with shaved upper lips and wispy beards, donning crocheted skull caps, undertake self–financed short-term preaching treks, known as Kharooj, to reinforce the religious norms and practices that, in its view, underpin a moral society. The Tablighis focus their attention on “correcting” Muslim practice. The Karoo is a designated mission defined by the number of days involved in the spiritual journey, typically three days, forty days, or four months. The most prominent is the “chilla”, a forty-day preaching tour that all are obliged to undertake annually-similar to a Sufi order. Like Jehovah’s Witnesses, they trawl through the day to save souls and find new converts for their faith. . Four or five members of the group conduct daily people door-to-door ghast (“rounds” in Persian) going to those Muslims who live near a mosque. They give a two-minute speech, offer a blessing to the people they visit and make one request that they join them for maghrib (sunset) prayers and a brief lecture at the neighbourhood mosque for a lecture on Qur’an. Those who attend are offered Da’wah (invitation) to enrol in the movement. The object of the exercise is to lure the weak ones into the mosque, where they can be repeatedly subjected to the “six points” programme. The Tablighi missionaries lead an austere and egalitarian lifestyle by observing strict regimens relating to dress and personal grooming. They also demonstrate strongly principled stands against social ills. They eschew beds and sleep on mosque floors, and bond deeply with fellow Tablighis by eating, washing, sleeping and praying together. Intoxicants are off-limits but missionaries are also expected to shun gossip and vain talks to insulate their minds from impure thoughts. Instead of adopting the frayed coarse discourses, the dai, pepper their preaching with stories from Qur’an and Prophet’s life to enthuse the initiates. The enlightened elders also engage in deep theological discussions. The Tablighis layout has two simple aims. First, they encourage fellow Muslims to return to what they believe are the standards and morals of the prophet’s companions. Second, they recruit members to join Da’wah and take part in Kharooj (preaching tours). Tablighi Jamaat acts as a beacon to those lost in Jahiliyyah (the state of ignorance of guidance from God), but it just stops here. It is time it designs and embarks on Mission 2.0 so that the journey completes a full Islamic cycle in every respect. As the acclaimed book Travelers in Faith puts it: “Man is a ship in a tumultuous sea. It is impossible to repair it without taking it away from the high seas where the waves of ignorance and the temptations of temporal life assail it. Its only chance is to come back to land to be dry-docked. The dry dock is the mosque of the Jamaat.” The movement is comparable with the concept of hijra, both in the sense of migration and withdrawal. It is travel within one’s self. One temporarily migrates from Dunya (worldly pursuits) to din (religious concerns), a favourite dichotomy among the Tablighi. It is a migration from corruption to purity, drawing away from worldly attachments to the Path of God. A period in da’wah work cleanses the soul and enhances one’s spiritual vitality. The secret of the Tablighis’ success lies in direct, personal appeal and their simple style, shorn of theological frills. That is why they are most successful among the young. The members are committed, highly motivated, and spend their resources on the work of the Jamaat. It is no wonder that we have millions of stories of backslidden Muslims undergoing a total transformation and being restored to the pristine faith. An important point, a Da’i emphasizes is that the Islamic concept of spirituality differs from that of other religions. In contrast to the renunciation of the world and physical self-denial, Islam lays stress on being in the midst of life and balancing both the mundane and temporal roles. Far from proselytizing and inducing others to change their religion or way of life against their free will, Islam does not permit the use of coercive, aggressive, or violent means. To set an example, Da’wah followers attempt to emulate the social practices of Muhammad in all aspects of life, ranging from which foot should one put forward to exit the mosque first to which direction to face when sleeping at night. They eat from communal platters on the ground, men sport beards of a certain length, and they use Miswak (teeth-cleaning twig) instead of a toothbrush as did the Prophet’s companions. In short, they emulate the dress, speech, and habits of the Prophet. The Qur’an has made it explicitly clear that the method of both Islamic call (da’wah) and preaching (Balagh) should be fair, balanced, moderate, peaceful and non-violent so that people can embrace it voluntarily. The Qur’anic term “Balagh” means to convey the message and “not to convert.” It involves wisdom and prudence on the part of the preacher. The missionaries are expected to approach their audience with respect and treat them with love. The preachers are expected to be humane and sensitive to the family obligations of others. They should not pursue their mission with aggressive zeal. Moreover, they must invite people to the faith and convince them through logical explanation and not by coercion. These two Qur’anic verses are lodestars for the missionaries: • “You cannot guide whomever you please: it is God who guides whom He wills.” (Q28:56) • “It is not up to you to guide them, but Allah guides whom He wills.” (Q2:72) The proselytization movement needs to guard itself against the arrogance that usually corrupts such movements. The missionaries need to inculcate the highest ethical standards while staying on course. They must also use creative ways of leveraging various l platforms for sharing the “gospel.” Tablighi Jamaat has its share of critics. Harder-line Islamists mock them because of their simplistic version of a revolutionary creed. Tablighis focus entirely on fostering a consciousness of the Islamic creed and promoting the practice of Islamic rituals. Many argue that its obsession with other-worldliness and asceticism leads to alienation and withdrawal from everyday realities, which is not what Islam enjoins to communicate the “gospel” correctly and convincingly; by seamlessly navigating all cultural filters and societal barriers. The overarching objective must finally be to polish people’s faith to make it a robust moral template to enable attaining well-being in this world and salvation in the hereafter. Moderation is a fundamental and distinguishing feature of Islam. God says: ‘We have made you a nation justly balanced‘(Q 2:143). When the Qur’anic verse, “As to monasticism which they themselves invented, we did not prescribe any of it for them” (Q57: 27). An inability to cope with regular family and social obligations can impair one’s faith and lacerate one’s moral character. But, as Metcalf writes, “Islamic movements [like the Tablighi Jamaat] may have many goals and offer a range of social, moral, and spiritual satisfactions that are positive and not merely a reactionary rejection of modernity or ‘the West.’ Quite simply, these movements may, in the end, have much less to do with ‘us’ than is often thought.” ---- Moin Qazi is the author of the bestselling book, Village Diary of a Heretic Banker. He has worked in the development finance sector for almost four decades. 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