Tuesday, May 31, 2022

The Intersection of Faith and Country: Islam in India

By Rosemary Abraham, New Age Islam 31 May 2022 Islam in South Asia Has Had a Complicated, Colourful, and Oftentimes Tumultuous History Main Points: 1. Throughout the region’s history, the relationship between Islam and Hinduism has been fraught with strife. 2. Muslim merchants were permitted to settle down in South India, build mosques, and marry Indian women. 3. Indians that converted to Islam were largely peasants from ethnic and religious minorities, not Hindu elites. 4. Indians of all faiths coexist with a passion for religious diversity and pride in cultural and national identity. ------- 1.0. Introduction From the beginning, Islam in South Asia has had a complicated, colourful, and oftentimes tumultuous history. As of 2010, the subcontinent is home to 507.3 million Muslims, dwarfing the population of Muslims in other regions (such as the Middle East and South-East Asia) significantly. This research article will focus upon evolving perceptions of Islam in India across three eras: early, classical, and contemporary. In discussing the changing perceptions of Islam (primarily by Hindus) across these periods, this article will also emphasise the significance of Islam in Indian history. Muslims comprise the most populous religious minority in India (14.2% of the population). Throughout the region’s history, the relationship between Islam and Hinduism (the dominant faith in the region) has been fraught with strife. Nowhere is this more evident than in contemporary India, decades after the partition which divided the subcontinent into a majority-Muslim north (Pakistan, and later Bangladesh) and a majority-Hindu – albeit constitutionally secular – south (India), with tensions rising due to the Islamophobic policies of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). 2.0. Discussion 2.1. Early Islam in India: Arab Merchants and Northern Invaders The first mosques in India were built within the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad, in the early days of Islam. The oldest functional mosque in India, the Cheraman Juma Mosque in Kerala, is believed to have been built in 629 CE – according to legend, the mosque was constructed at the behest of a Hindu king who witnessed the splitting of the moon. He asked visiting Arab merchants about the nature of the event and journeyed to Mecca to meet the Prophet Muhammad and convert to Islam; however, he died in Oman, before he could make the journey home. Though many scholars contest the credibility of this oral tradition due to disagreements about the identity of the king and the time during which he lived, the Muslims of the region continue to attribute the roots of their faith to this historic event. One element of the legend which resonates with historical evidence is the presence of Arab traders on the Malabar coast– whether the legend of the Muslim convert king was true or not, it is irrefutable that Arab traders who settled on India’s western coast were significant vehicles of cultural exchange in the region. They were well-regarded by Indians on the Malabar Coast for their annual visits during the monsoon, when they would bring dates and other exotic goods.Later, as Islam spread throughout the Arab world, Muslim merchants were permitted to settle down in South India, build mosques, and marry Indian women. However, in the north of the subcontinent, the perception of Muslims shifted dramatically from merchant to invader in 712 CE, when Sindh (the region for which India came to be named) was conquered by Muhammad ibn Qasim, a military commander from the Umayyad Caliphate. The desire of the caliphate to expand into India may have been based in hadith, as was referred to in the Book of Jihad. Thawban, the liberated slave of Muhammad, claimed: "The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: 'there are two groups of my Ummah whom Allah will free from the Fire: The group that invades India, and the group that will be with 'Isa bin Maryam, peace be upon him.'" Hindu resistance to forceful conversion was strong, and in the following centuries perceptions of Muslims became overwhelmingly negative as rulers such as Mahmud of Ghazni (971-1030 CE) expanded their territory – destroying temples, cities, and idols. Islamophobic arguments made by Hindu nationalists in contemporary India call back to some of these historical events, citing them as evidence of the ‘invasive’ nature of Islam in contrast to native Hinduism. Though stories of forced conversion and invasion dominate the cultural consciousness in recollections of early Islam in India, so too exist positive experiences – a significant example of this is the intellectual and spiritual dimension of Hindu-Muslim relations in the early years of Islam. Under the rule of the Abbasid caliph al-Mansur in the 8th century CE, Sanskrit texts written by Hindu scholars concerning science, mathematics and astronomy were translated to Arabic and housed in Baghdad. The translation of Sanskrit texts heralded the beginning of a mass migration of scholars from Muslim-ruled regions (Persia, Afghanistan, Western and Central Asia) to India, among whom were the Sufi mystics who contributed greatly to the peaceful conversion of many Indians to Islam. 2.2. Classical Islam in India: Caste, Eclecticism, and Religious Tolerance One major motivator for conversion was caste. Social mobility in Hindu societies was greatly restricted by the caste system, under which many Hindus were considered Dalits, or Untouchables – shunned by the rest of society, they were allocated the lowliest tasks, such as handling corpses, butchering animals, and tanning leather. Islam, to many, was an egalitarian faith which promised the opportunity to escape from the grim reality of the caste system. Even as many Hindus (oftentimes upper caste) shunned the new faith, others turned to it for liberation from the system. However, conversion did not free Muslims from caste-based discrimination; it instead added another dimension to the existing system. As a result, caste and compulsion (the typical theories put forth in discussions of conversion to Islam during the classical era) cannot be considered the sole motivators of conversion. The theory of Islam as the “religion of the sword”, as was explored previously, is deeply flawed – rate of conversion to Islam in Indiawas far more significant at the outermost regions of Muslim India, where military influence was weaker (Eastern Bengal and Western Punjab). This conflicts with the theory that the prospect of death (or the appeal of political patronage) was the primary motivator for conversion, for the likelihood of these consequences was greatly diminished given the distance of these regions from the heart of the empire, Delhi. Moreover, those that converted were largely peasants from ethnic and religious minorities, not Hindu elites. These communities, which were not affected by caste, and who absorbed elements of Islam into their existing spiritual practices, were drawn to the faith by the teachings of local saints – Sufi mystics, who made their teachings more accessible to the wider populace by using local faiths and traditions. The willingness of Sufi saints to adapt themselves to their new environment and intermingle with people of different backgrounds played a significant role in encouraging Indians to embrace Islam. Sufis went on to establish Dargahs in India – these shrines were built in honour of revered figures in the Sufi community, such as saints or dervishes, and as places they continue to be respected to the current day not for the people that they commemorate, but the people that they unite. In India, Dargahs have become unique locations of interfaith connections, visited during pilgrimages by both Muslims and Hindus. One of the most famous of these is the Ajmer Sharif Dargah, where a 13th-century Iranian saint and philosopher, Moinuddin Chishti, is entombed. Beyond Sufi mysticism, there were various other elements of Islam which served to consolidate its position as a major faith in India during the classical era. The lengthy reign of the Mughal Empire, the most well-known example of Muslim rule in India, has long been attributed to a policy of religious tolerance which enabled Hindus and people of other faiths to participate in the empire on an equal basis with Muslims. The most famously liberal of these Muslim rulers was Akbar the Great, who not only expanded the empire as a military commander but also acted as a patron of the arts and furthered his cause of religious unity through the propagation of a syncretic religion, Dīn-i-Ilāhī, the “Religion of God”, which merged what he considered to be the ‘best’ elements of Islam, Hinduism, and even Zoroastrianism and Christianity. The longevity of the Mughal Empire is often attributed to the foundation he established with his pluralistic policies and his willingness to connect with the empire’s non-Muslim subjects, similarly to the Sufi saints. 2.3. Islam in Contemporary India: Partition, Hindutva, and Identity The most significant event in modern historical recounts of India is oftentimes not independence from the British Raj, but Partition – the division of the subcontinent into a Muslim north and a majority-Hindu (but constitutionally secular) south. Partition is a source of both trauma and animosity amongst Indians and Pakistanis, with the experience itself having displaced 14.5 million people within four years. The ensuing violence and chaos killed between 0.5 and 2 million people, from a range of backgrounds and identities. The Pew Research Centre found that many Muslims in India view Partition as being detrimental to their relationships with Hindus, whereas a similar percentage of Hindus claims the opposite. This religious divide in perceptions of the past is a significant element that influences attitudes towards Islam in India. The lines between religious and national tensions have blurred in the years following independence, particularly as the BJP (a right-wing political party centred around Hindutva ideology) ascended to power in India’s central government. Politicians from the BJP are known to appeal to a sense of Hindu nationalism by characterising Pakistanis and Bangladeshis as terrorists and Indian Muslims as inherently anti-Indian and prone to radicalisation. The Hindutva political ideology espouses a united identity – a singular cultural, religious, and national identity – to which ‘true’ Indians adhere. This ideology necessitates the imagining of an ‘Other’, an antithesis to the ‘true Indian’. In most cases this other is an ‘Islamic invader’, as characterised by many proponents of the Hindutva ideology. Oftentimes this image of Islam as an invading, alien faith is perpetuated by right-wing Indian media – the public outcry over the Hindutva conspiracy of ‘love jihad’ is just one example amongst many in modern India, further entrenched by the Islamophobic actions and policies of the dominant BJP. This is a fear commonly used to justify extra-legal acts of violence and aggression towards Muslims, and to enact controlling policies which deliberately target Muslim communities – take, for instance, banning of hijab in Karnataka colleges, or the exclusion of Muslims from the Citizenship Amendment Act 2019.The latter incited significant protests amongst Indians (primarily Muslim), who feared that they would be stripped of their citizenship and disenfranchised – resulting in violent backlash from the government and right-wing nationalists. The political unrest in the wake of the Act created an environment especially hostile to Muslims, and many BJP leaders spoke out against the protesters; decrying them as “Pakistani hooligans” and, in one instance, leading a chant urging people to “shoot the traitors”. Fear of the religious ‘other’ and the conflation of religious identity with national identity are two major factors in negative impressions of Muslims in India, as has been explored so far. Such sentiments are deeply entrenched in Indian society, and impact even elements as mundane as peoples’ preferences for neighbours (36% of Hindus would not be willing to accept a Muslim as a neighbour). However, as with any other era in history, there exist several sides to perceptions of Muslims in modern India. There appears to be a unique intermingling in modern Indian society, where a desire for religious segregation (expressed amongst Indians of all faiths) coexists with a passion for religious diversity and pride in cultural and national identity. Take, for instance, the Hindu and Sikh inhabitants of Massanian, who continue to maintain the mosque and graveyard left behind by fleeing Muslims during Partition, and the shared cultural practices and beliefs of Indians across faith (77% of Muslims in India believe in karma, and 7% of Hindus celebrate Eid). These examples simultaneously consolidate and defy the predominant ideals of religious tolerance and segregation. 3.0. Conclusion It is beyond evident that the interaction of place, time, and faith has had a significant influence on the rise and spread of Islam in India. The identities and experiences of Indian Muslims are multi-dimensional, with a long history of conflict and connection with the hegemonic faith in the region, Hinduism. Where a desire for religious segregation exists, it is often mutual – and yet, those who strive to achieve this vision simultaneously devote themselves to the ideals of religious pluralism and freedom that were expressed by Akbar the Great centuries ago. Though there are many who consider ‘Indian’ and ‘Muslim’ to be mutually exclusive identities, history suggests that the two are deeply intertwined. ---- Rosemary Abraham is an Education student currently aspiring to teach English and History to secondary school students. She is especially passionate about the potential of education to bridge divides and empower students of diverse backgrounds and identities. URL: https://newageislam.com/islam-politics/intersection-faith-country-india/d/127140 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

Nupur Sharma Only Stated What is Written in Hadith; Why Are Muslims So Upset?

By Arshad Alam, New Age Islam 31 May 2022 If She Is Guilty Of Blasphemy, Then That Makes Bukhari the Original Blasphemer Main Points: 1. The BJP’s spokesperson statement on the Quran and Prophet Muhammad have riled a section of Muslims. 2. Muslims have filed multiple FIRs against her in different states. 3. Some have accused her of blasphemy and have raised provocative slogans. 4. This attitude does not help Muslims. They need to redefine parts of their theology to suit the present times. Otherwise, such questions will be repeatedly asked of them. ----- Nupur Sharma/ Pic Credit: ANI ----- A section of Muslims are incensed about the statement of BJP’s spokesperson Nupur Sharma over the course of a television debate. The video grab shows her derisively stating even she can make fun of Islam. She then proceeds to tell her opponent, Taslim Rahmani, that in his religion, horses fly (a reference to the Buraq, on which the Muslim Prophet reportedly flew to heaven), that according to the Quran, the earth is flat and that the Prophet married a young girl of six and consummated it when she turned nine. It is this last remark about the Prophet which has landed Nupur Sharma in trouble. FIR has been filed against her in some states for hurting the religious sentiments of Muslims. She has also claimed that she is now receiving death and rape threats over the social media for her statement on the Prophet. Muslims believe that anything slanderous against the Prophet constitutes blasphemy and it is a stated position in Islam that it is a crime punishable with death. One is not surprised that even someone like Nupur Sharma, who has the backing of the most powerful party in the country, should feel worried and vulnerable. There is some merit in saying that perhaps she should have tempered her arguments. The communal situation in the country has markedly deteriorated, thanks in part to such statements made on public television. Moreover, as a spokesperson of the ruling party, she should have acted more responsibly and showed restraint even if she had been provoked. But considering that Muslims have been hurt by her statement, there should have been a better way to register their protest. They could have issued statements stating what their position on the whole issue is. By filing multiple FIRs, issuing hate threats on social media, they are only proclaiming their intolerance to the whole world. Their angst is not just directed at Nupur Sharma, but also towards those (Muslims and Hindus) who have suggested caution and patience while dealing with the issue. One Abdul Rahman, president of the students’ union of Shibli College in Azamgarh is heard telling a crowd that when it comes to protecting the honor of the Prophet, Muslims will not hesitate to trample the heads of crores of Hindus under their feet. The crowd is seen chanting Gustakh E Rasool Ki Ek Hi Saza; Sar Tan Se Juda, Sar Tan Se Juda which would loosely translate as a call to behead anyone who speaks ill of the Prophet. Such reactions are bound to be counter-productive whose brunt will be borne by ordinary Muslims of the country. But more importantly though, we need to talk about the nature of ‘Muslim hurt’. Has Nupur Sharma said something which is false or unknown to Muslims? Or is it that Muslims do not want certain things to be discussed at all about their religion? The age of Ayesha, the last wife of the prophet has been the subject of some unease amongst Muslims. Some have opined that she got married at the age of nine, others have variously put her age at 11 or 16 or 19. Those who are arguing that she got married after attaining maturity (like Javed Ahmad Ghamdi) are basically doing so under modernist pressure. But Hadith writers like Bukhari were under no obligation to do so. They are clear that Ayesha got married to the Prophet when she was six and that he consummated the marriage when she turned nine. So, if Muslims are arguing that Nupur Sharma committed an act of blasphemy, then they should also say that the first blasphemer in this context was Bukhari himself. Muslims have elevated Hadith almost to the status of scripture, although the fact remains that their collection started two and a half centuries after the death of the Prophet. It is easy for any Muslim to argue that these Hadith collection are more fables than reality. But then they have tied themselves in knots by pointing out the stringent and meticulous method of collecting these traditions. They are themselves embarrassed by some of the Hadith in various collections but do not have the courage to boldly discard them. And when someone points out to them these inconvenient facts, instead of arguing rationally, they normally either leave the debate or start saying that their feelings have been hurt. Nupur Sharma only said what is written in our religious literature, she did not fabricate anything. Are the Muslims hurt because she is not a Muslim or are they hurt and angry because they do not have an answer to such barbs? I think it is the latter; Nupur’s Hindu identity has nothing to do with. Even if a Muslim would have pointed it out, the result would have been the same. Recently, there was an Indian TV debate between some ex-Muslims and Islamic scholars. In this debate also, we saw the same prevarication on the part of the so-called Islamic scholars who were unable to answer the questions raised by ex-Muslims. And that’s precisely the problem. Islamic scholars and Muslims in general do not have answers to certain questions which will be raised time and time again. Not just the age of Ayesha, but certain verses of the Quran which advocate violence on the unbeliever, etc. have been raised by Muslim reformist themselves. But instead of having a dispassionate discussion, the orthodoxy has stymied any such debate and have seen to it that the reformists either shut up or are exiled. And because they cannot answer certain questions; Muslims think that it is best to raise the bogey of hurt and victimhood. This is not going to solve the problems that they are confronted with. Moreover, Muslims themselves are not following what some of Islamic scriptures are telling them to. For example, the Islamic law is clear that there is no harm in marrying girls of young age. But today, no single Muslim would want to marry their daughter who is still a child. So there already is a gulf between the scripture and practices within the community. This leads to a certain dissonance in the thinking of average Muslim. The only way to resolve this is to clearly state that certain aspects of the scripture have become outmoded and no longer apply in the present context. If Muslims find the courage to do so, the likes of Nupur Sharma would have no ground to cast any aspersion on the Muslim religion. ---- A regular columnist with NewAgeIslam.com, Arshad Alam is a writer and researcher on Islam and Muslims in South Asia. URL: https://newageislam.com/islamic-society/nupur-hadith-muslims-upset/d/127139 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

Grow Up! There're Far Better Things To Do

By Sumit Paul, New Age Islam 31 May 2022 On my 14th birthday, my neuro-surgeon father and a devout Hindu, who wouldn't operate before praying to god, gifted me Dr B R Ambedkar's brilliant but proscribed book ' Riddles in Hinduism with the introduction by Kancha Ilaiah. ‘Imagine a Hindu religious father giving his son a book that's potentially disconcerting and explosive to the majority of Hindus. I dare say, the book is factually so unerring and logically so incontrovertible that by the time a sane and sensible Hindu reader reaches its last page, he or she will have left Hinduism. But will a Muslim father, however educated and erudite he may be, gift his son The Satanic Verses, written by Salman Rushdie? Please don't get me wrong. I've adduced my personal example to assert the religious maturity of erstwhile Hindus vis a vis Muslims. That today's Hindus have also become as moronic as most of the Muslims have been for 1400 years is inconsequential. Now ignorant Muslims are baying for the BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma's blood for insulting and questioning Muhammad's alleged ascension to heaven (Shab e-Meraj) on a winged horse Buraq. Right from the beginning of Islamic history, this episode has been interpreted as an allegory and a metaphorical phenomenon by many Muslims as well as western scholars of Islam. So, why Muslims are so worked up when a woman questions the authenticity of this 'story'? We all have become religiously too touchy in recent terms. I remember reading and discussing a very polemic essay, Ganesher Proteek Bibechana (The symbolism of Ganesh) in Bangla by late Sunil Gangopadhyay, a complete atheist, at a coffeehouse on College Street in Calcutta. No Hindu took umbrage, though all were staunch believers barring yours truly. But around that time when The Satanic Verses hit the stands in London and Iran, all hell broke loose. Fatwas were issued to kill Rushdie. Even Somalia-born Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who's a complete atheist today and lives in Holland, screamed from her rooftop to kill the apostate Rushdie for insulting Muhammad! This is a collective religious frenzy now all are afflicted with. Islamic scholar Dr Rafiq Zakaria wrote a very sensible essay urging Muslims to keep restraint as Islam doesn't approve of killing even those who insult Muhammad. 'Let Allah decide and determine the punishment for the transgression/s. Believers have no right to assault and kill one who has insulted Allah and his Rasool,' he (Dr Zakaria) sagaciously wrote and appealed. We all seem to have been consumed by religions and their 'revered' characters, who we see and treat as infallible idols. So much so that all sensible people have begun to question the validity as well as utility of religion and god. Recently, a very educated Tamil Nadu couple got a 'No religion, no caste' certificate for their three-and-a-half-year-old daughter, Vilma. Hats off to them for such a bold decision! Let others also emulate this couple. This reminds me of the eternal Ilhadi (atheist) Sahir Ludhianvi's immortal words from the song ' Tu Hindu Banega Na Musalman Banega...' (Film, Dhool Ka Phool, 1959): 'Aachha Hai Abhi Tak Tera Kuchh Naam Nahin Hai/Tujh Ko Kisi Mazhab Se Koi Kaam Nahin Hai/Jis Ilm Ne Insaan Ko Taqseem Kiya Hai/Uss Ilm Ka Tujh Par Koi Ilzaam Nahin Hai ' (Good that you don't have a 'religious' name/You've no truck with any damn faith/The 'knowledge' that divided people/ Still has no bearing on you). Alack, the ill-evolved humans are fighting and fussing over something and someone they never saw. They're blinded by their irrational faiths and otiose Books. We don't realize that religion, caste, country, nationality, province etc. are mere accidents of birth. This immature woman Nupur Sharma, who's defending her religious beliefs and casting aspersions on Islam, could have been a Muslim by the name of Nadira or Salma had she been born into a Muslim family. Then Muhammad would have been her alpha and omega in life and Islam her heartbeat. I remember an elderly Muslim gentleman's (now an atheist and lives in Lisbon) words of wisdom, "Insaan Ye Kya Mera Deen, Mera Khuda, Mera Mulk Aur Mera Ilaqa Karta Phirta Hai? Uska Apna Kya Hai? Uss Mein Toh Intikhaab-E-Ism Ki Bhi Himmat Nahin Hai...." (What is this rubbish about my faith, my god, my country and my province? What does a man have as his own? He can't even choose a name for himself......that's also given to him by his parents!). Indeed......what does a man have as his own? All that we've is inherited from our parents and troglodyte ancestors living in stone-age. Yet for our Aasmani Book, Aasmani Khuda or Bhagwan, we've been shedding blood of innocent people for thousands of years! No pontification, but this reminds me of Abdul Hamid Adam's famous couplet, " Jisne Iss Daur Ke Insaan Kiye Hon Paida/Wahi Mera Bhi Khuda Ho Mujhe Manzoor Nahin " (One who has created such bovine humans, can never be my god) and the same god or Allah, if at all IT does exist, smirks to have created a weird world like this: Takhleeq-E-Kaaynaat Ke Dilchasp Jurm Par/Hansta Toh Hoga Aap Bhi Yazdaan Kabhi-Kabhi. Be a human and care for your fellow humans. Your Ram, Muhammad and god have the wherewithal to protect themselves from all dangers and abuses. Don't lose your sleep over perceived insults to your god and religion. Grow up and do something that can ameliorate the collective fate of mankind. ---- 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: https://newageislam.com/spiritual-meditations/ignorant-muslims-buraq-nupur/d/127138 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

Muslims Continue to Perform Poorly In Civil Services Exams

Only 21 Out Of 685 Candidates Cracked UPSC Exams In 2021 Main Points: 1. The performance of the Muslims this year is the worst in a decade. 2. The topper among the Muslim candidates ranked 109. 3. Only three women passed the exam among 21 Muslims. 4. The best performance by the Muslims was in 2016 and 2017 with 52 and 50 Muslim candidates respectively. 5. The poor performance is due to the economic and educational backwardness of Muslims in the country. ----- By New Age Islam Staff Writer 31 May 2022 The results of the Union Public Service Commission Exams 2021 have been published and with that the performance of the Muslims is also being analysed as usual. This year only 21 Muslim candidates out of 685 candidates have passed the exams. The percentage of successful Muslim candidates is a poor 3 per cent. This is very disappointing as the total Muslim population in India is 14.2 per cent according to the 2011 census. Worse their ranking is also very low. The topper among the Muslim candidates is a girl with 109 rank. Only three Muslim girls --- Areeb Noman, Shumaila Chaudhary and Muskan Dagar have cleared the Civil Services Exams whereas this year three non Muslm girls --- Shruti Sharma, Ankita Agarwal and Gamini Singla -- are the first, second and third ranking candidates respectively. If we look at the performance of the Muslim candidates in the last ten years, we see that their performance is very irregular. In 2009, their percentage was around 4 per cent with 31 candidates out of 791 candidates. In 2016 and 2017, 5 per cent Muslim candidates cleared UPSC exams. In 2014, only 38 Muslim candidates out of 1236 candidates passed the exams which was 3 per cent. The list of number of successful candidates since 2009 is given here. 2009 ------ 31 out of 791 2010 ------ 21 out of 875 2011 ------ 31 out of 920 2012 ------ 30 out of 998 2013 ------ 34 out of 1122 2014 ------ 38 out of 1236 2015 ------ 34 out of 1078 2016 ------ 52 out of 1099 2017 ------ 50 out of 1058 2018 ------ 27 out 759 2019 ------ 42 out of 829 2020 ------ 31 out of 767 2021 ------- 21 out of 685 Out of 685 candidates last year, 568 were men while 117 were women. Out of 117 women, 3 women secured top three position which speaks highly of the good performance of women in national level. However, the number of women in 2021 was less than in 2020 when it was 216. This might be because of the pandemic. The poor performance of Muslims in 2020 and 2021 may also be attributed to the pandemic. In 2019, the number of successful Muslim candidates was 42 which was around 4 per cent. The overall performance of the Muslims in Civil Services has remained poor and various reasons are attributed to it. The foremost reason is the poor economic and educational conditions of the Muslims which comes in the way of their success in civil services. Though, the Muslims are around 15 per cent of the total population of India, they are the least literate among all the religious communities of the communities. The literacy rate of the Muslims is the lowest with 68 per cent where the national average is 74 per cent. The highest literacy rate is among the Jains with 84 per cent. Only 17 per cent Muslims are matriculate. The percentage of graduate Muslims eligible for civil services may be even lower. According to a study conducted by S.M. I.A. Zaidi in 2006, the highest literacy rate of the Muslims is in Andaman and Nicobar with 89 per cent. Haryana and Bihar are the lowest with 40 and 42 per cent respectively. Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Haryana and West Bengal are the states where the Muslims are more backward than other religious communities. The backwardness of the Muslims of Bengal is surprising because there the communists ruled for 34 years with the full support of Muslims. The poor literacy of the Muslims is attributed to the poor economic and educational conditions of the Muslims. They are more backward than the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes according to the Sachar Committee report. It is obvious that the state and central governments did not work on the recommendations of the committee sincerely for their economic and educational upliftment. One reason for the poor performance of the Muslim candidates is the unavailability of coaching institutes for financially weak candidates. Though there are coaching institutes in Delhi and some other metropolitan cities, their number is very low and therefore they are out of reach of the Muslim candidates based in small towns. Those financially sound stay in Delhi to study in coaching centres. The coaching centres run by the government are not at par with private coaching centres that charge fees in lakhs. The low performance of the Muslim candidates in the last two years also reminds us of the propaganda of Civil Services Jihad or Bureaucracy jihad by a section of Islamophobic media in India in 2020 when 42 Muslims passed the UPSC exams. Though the success rate of the Muslims was only 4 per cent, the media, particularly Sudarshan TV had projected it as a bureaucracy jihad by the Muslims. It presented the theory that Muslims have hatched up a conspiracy to infiltrate the bureaucracy and that by entering into the bureaucracy, the Muslims will rule the country. However, the channel had not presented any statistics to support its theory. The percentage of the success of the Muslims is actually well below their population which reflects on the lack of commitment of the government to the educational upliftment of the Muslims and giving them proportionate representation in the assemblies, Parliament and in the bureaucracy. The low percentage of the successful Muslim candidates in the UPSC exams in two consecutive years calls for serious study of the reasons and factors behind it. URL: https://newageislam.com/islamic-society/muslims-perform-civil-services-exams/d/127137 New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Monday, May 30, 2022

Corrosive Muslim Communalism Contaminates Tender Minds in Kerala

By Grace Mubashir, New Age Islam 30 May 2022 The Equation of Majority Communalism Equals Minority Communalism Is Only a Discourse Formed In the Particular Political Context of Kerala Main Points: 1. A teenage boy, perched on the shoulders on his parents, was seen punching his hands in air while hauling unsavoury communal slogans. 2. Kerala has witnessed recent spike in communal politics. 3. Majority and minority communalisms, lying on backburner for many years, have recently picked up brisk space due to multiple social and political reasons. ------ A teenage boy, perched on the shoulders on his parents, was seen punching his hands in air while hauling unsavoury communal slogans. This happened in Alappuzha, Kerala, in a march conducted by Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI), affiliated to Popular Front of India (PFI). The crowd was seen enthusiastically chanting the communal slogans shouted by the boy. In the video, a boy is seen raising the vicious and murderous slogan that “Hindus should keep rice for their last rites and Christians should keep incense for their last rites. If you live decently you can live in our land and if you don’t live properly, we know Azadi (freedom). Live decently, decently, decently.” The video was shared widely in social media, causing huge backlash from political parties and civil societies in the state. The state police is groping in the dark to nab the miscreants and have failed to identify the boy’s parents. District level authorities of SDPI have been arrested. Through lackadaisical approach, state police is stoking flames of distrust among peace loving people of the state. Kerala has witnessed recent spike in communal politics. Back to back political murders in Palakkad district have flung open the lurking scars of communal violence in the state. Before that two political murders within a short span of 24 hours at Alappuzha had shocked the state. Majority and minority communalisms, lying on backburner for many years, have recently picked up brisk space due to multiple social and political reasons. The growing tentacles of radical elements in respective societies have virtually caused communal polarization, leading to communal tensions in the state. The boy in the case, shows the extent of communal flares have made into the public fabric of the society. A teenage boy bellowing stinging communal refrains amounting to veiled death threats is dangerous enough to send chill down the spines of all concerned authorities of the state. Even young minds are radicalized with communal venom, barring them from their intellectual discretion to dissect the falsehood. Any lenient compromise from the part of government and police machinery will add stinking manure to the proliferation of hate ideas. The failure of mainstream political parties to present an alternative to communal politics give credence to communal narrative, easy to poach the gullible minds unaware of the mutilation of truths. It is irrational to argue that there are good and bad communalisms. Every exclusivist hate idea propagating violence is to be condemned vigorously. There have been many studies on communalism in India. One of the most important of these is Gyanendra Pandey's book, ‘Construction of Communalism in Colonial North India’ (1997). He argues that communalism flourished in India during the colonial period. During the pre-colonial period, there were more Sunni-Shia conflicts than Hindu-Muslim communal conflicts. This attitude of Hindu-Muslim conflict today was, of course, part of the British strategy. Partha Chatterjee, a renowned sociologist in India, argues in ‘Agrarian Relations and Communalism’ (1982) that the problem of religious communalism in India is a product of secularism and rationalism. Will Kerala Continue To Be A Haven? Kerala has undergone many social changes. Although there are still no major gaps in social security, we cannot avoid seeing some imminent crises. Social security in Kerala is due to the fact that Malayalees have largely remained a secular society. It is now beginning to lose those secular convictions and identities. That is the first problem. Mutual trust between different religious communities is paramount for social security. That faith is also a matter of self. The situation of losing faith is extremely serious. And the next degeneration is mutual suspicion. Then people begin to believe in various hearsays spewing communal venom. Without anyone trying to find out the truth, we rely on hatred and emotional reactions. It's a great tragedy to befall. In his book ‘Communism, Subaltern Studies and Postcolonial Theory: The Left in South India’ (2021), Professor Nisim Mannathukaran, a Malayalee professor at the University of Dalhousie in Canada, attributes the emergence of such a secular society in Kerala to the secular view of communal parties in Kerala and the presence of the Communist Party in Kerala. Of course, the presence of the Communist Party in Kerala has been a strong reason for maintaining secularism here. Secularism is not a political ideology that is the sole responsibility of a section. For that, the majority and the minority must be bound by secularism. Secular Discourses of Kerala Muslims Kerala is gradually falling into communal tinderbox. This is because of some political issues. The Indian Union Muslim League has played a significant role in keeping Muslims plural in secular affairs in Kerala. The existence of the Muslim League in Kerala is a surprise to all political parties in other states. Historian M Gangadharan has written that the Muslim League stands apart from the rest of Kerala due to its communal politics but its tolerant and secular attitude. The controversy over the fifth minister after the 2011 assembly elections brought about a fundamental change in the Muslim political movement in Kerala. PFI like communal organizations are eating into community vote bank held by Muslim League. Organizations promoting political Islam are increasing their toehold in Kerala. 22 youths joining the ISIS and the ‘promised Caliphate’ could be explained only through these circumstances created by PFI's suicidal politics. The failure of secular traditional parties to address Muslim issues gives these organization ideological mileage to tarnish the plural beliefs of Islam. Strong secularism is studied from its grassroots. Maulana Abul Ala Maududi, founder of Jamat e Islami denied secularism. It leads to the ingraining of perfect socio-communal, religious and political discourses within them. Those dry philosophies are justified by a misreading of the arguments of the eminent anthropologist Talal Assad. The misinterpretation of political contexts of Islamic holy books leads to such ideological groping. Majority Racism Equals Minority Racism? The equation of majority communalism equals minority communalism is only a discourse formed in the particular political context of Kerala. Therefore, majority communalism must be eliminated. Minority communalism is also a social security threat here. Communalism is present in every community in various forms. To deny this is a political fraud. In any case, the elimination of minority communalism, or the conversion of all sections of the population into secular modern societies, will not eliminate the majority communalism that threatens the very existence of the nation. Indian sociologist TN Madan makes a similar point in his book ‘Modern Myths, Locked Minds: Secularism & Fundamentalism in India’ (2009). For that is the nation, We must move forward with strong rule of law. But minority communalism can quickly turn majority communalism into an explosive form. Especially when it comes to the sheer volume of social media available today. Secularism Is the Only Solution India hopes for only secularism. Other than that, the rhetoric that just creates smokescreens is closing in on the darkness. In the context of Kerala, Muslim religious organizations need to conduct introspection into the study of religious subjects by children. That is, an inquiry needs to be made into the role of secular politics in the particular political context of India. At the same time, discussions on religion-modernity and social evolution must be included in the syllabus. ------ Grace Mubashir is a journalism student at IIMC, Delhi URL: https://newageislam.com/islamic-society/corrosive-muslim-communalism-kerala/d/127128 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

200 Years Of Urdu Journalism: Is There A Reason To Celebrate?

From The Journalism for the Masses, It Has Been Reduced To the Journalism for a Section of Muslims Main Points: 1. Harihar Dutt and Lala Sadasukh had launched the first Urdu newspaper in 1822. 2. Kolkata is the birth place of Urdu journalism. 3. Maulana Abul Kalam Azad published Al Hilal and Al Balagh from Kolkata. 4. Urdu journalism played an important role in India's freedom movement. 5. After Independence, Urdu journalism in India lost its national identity. ----- By New Age Islam Staff Writer 30 May 2022 Urdu journalism has completed its 200 year journey. In March 1822, Harihar Dutt and Lala Sadasukh had launched the first Urdu newspaper Jam-e-Jahan Numa. It was a weekly newspaper that published news and poetry. After that Urdu journalism flourished and numerous newspapers and periodicals in Urdu were published. During that period, Persian was the official language of the East India Company but Urdu was the lingua franca. Seeing the growing popularity and reach of Urdu, the East India company made Urdu the official language in 1832. This paved the way for further growth and development of the language. Urdu gradually replaced Persian as the language of the elite and the language of creative expression of writers and poets. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- Also Read: A Tribute to the First Martyr of Urdu Journalism Maulvi Mohammad Baqar ----------------------------------------------------------------------- Various Urdu newspapers and periodicals were published in later years which propagated and promoted nationalist ideas. The oppressive rule of the East India Company was gradually causing anger and resentment among the Indians. Urdu newspapers started giving vent to the pent up feelings of the masses and also published material that stoked rebellious thoughts among the Indians. Among the important newspapers of the period was Delhi Urdu Akhbar published by Maulvi Mohammad Baqar. The newspaper played an active role during the Revolt of 1857. It published news of the revolt and of the fighting between the British and the freedom fighters. The newspaper also published excerpts of the speeches of Indian leaders and fatwas of Ulema against the British. However, the revolt was crushed by the East India Company and Maulvi Mohammad Baqar was sentenced to death. Maulvi Mohammad Baqar was the first journalist of India who sacrificed his life for his motherland and Delhi Urdu Akhbar's name is itched in gold in the history of the freedom movement of India. Another journalist who became prominent during the freedom movement was Maulana Abul Kalam Azad. He published Al Hilal and Al Balagh during the second decade of the twentieth century. Both the newspapers published nationalistic material and were anti-British. Mohammad Ali Jauhar's Hamdard, Abdul Ghafoor Shahbaz's Darus Sultanat and a host of other Urdu newspapers promoted anti-British ideas and united the people of India against the foreign rulers. Ghazals and poems stoking the fire of revolt were also published in these newspapers. In short, before the independence, Urdu journalism played a very powerful and effective role in uniting the people of India against the British government and leading the nation to independence. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- Also Read: 200 Years of Urdu Journalism: Urdu Journalism Needs To Come Out Of the Thrall of Religion ----------------------------------------------------------------------- After the Independence, Urdu lost its national character as Hindi was made the official language and Urdu was gradually reduced to the status of the language of the Muslims of India's northern and eastern states. Partition wielded a hard blow not only to the Muslims but also to the Urdu language in India. Majority of the Urdu speaking regions went into Pakistan and Urdu was limited to some pockets in West Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Karnataka, Delhi, Jammu & Kashmir, Haryana, Punjab and Maharashtra where it was the mother language of less than ten per cent of the total population. Therefore, Urdu journalism catered to a very small population and so its voice was not so strong and loud as to be heard by the powers that be. The low literacy rate of the Urdu speaking population which is mostly Muslim is also a problem for Urdu journalism. Urdu newspapers do not have a wide circulation. The maximum circulation of an Urdu newspaper in a state is around 5,000. Some newspapers are printed 100 or 200 hundred copies only. Some old newspapers even print only the file copies to claim government advertisements. Therefore, these newspapers cannot have any impact on the people or on the government. They do not play any role in shaping the opinion of their target readers and so the government does not care for them. Most of the newspapers are owned by individuals for commercial purposes and to gain political benefits. These editors do not have any missionary zeal or any social objective and so their newspapers do not serve as catalysts for change or development. Since the purpose of these newspapers is commercial, they resort to sensationalism and yellow journalism. They survive on raising emotional and religious issues of Muslims to sell their papers. Economic issues or news of scientific development are generally ignored and all sorts of conspiracy theories are given prominence. Another flaw of the Urdu newspapers is that they look like Islamic newspapers as news and articles published therein are predominantly Islamic. During Islamic festivals, the newspapers are full of Islamic content. During the Syrian civil war, many prominent Urdu newspapers glorified the ISIS and tried to make Muslims believe that the Caliphate of Abu Bakr al Baghdadi was an extension of the Caliphate of the four rightly guided caliphs of Islam. This glorification of the terrorist organisation encouraged Muslim youth of India to join the ISIS. Some youths from Kalyan in Maharashtra left home and went to Syria to join the ISIS. Urdu newspapers glorified the ISIS until the Indian government banned the terrorist organisation in India in February 2015. So much for the journalistic and religious wisdom of the Urdu journalists and editors. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- Also Read: Maulana Azad And Abdul Ghafur Shahbaz Gave Constructive Shape To Urdu Literary Journalism ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This episode was a black spot on the golden fabric of Urdu journalism. Today Urdu journalism is financially and intellectually very poor. Most of the newspapers cannot employ qualified and experienced journalists. The result is that the newspapers are full of linguistic flaws. They cannot hire investigative journalists and researchers or experts because of financial weakness. In an age, when journalism of other languages has been corporatised and become technologically much developed, Urdu journalism has not developed much. On the contrary, Urdu journalism has become dependent on non-Muslims for survival. Today, some largely circulated Urdu newspapers and TV channels are owned by non-Muslims. These media houses are loyal to the government and so do not represent the problems and aspirations of the Muslim minority. Instead, they present a hunky dory picture of the government. Eminent TV journalist Ravish Kumar once lashed at this pathetic state of Urdu journalism saying that the Muslims could not establish their own media in the last 60 years. They depend on others to fight for them, to speak for them and complain that others are not doing enough for them. But the problem is that even if the Muslims someday establish their own media, it will be a religious or sectarian media like what happened in Egypt after the Muslim Brotherhood came to power. Clerics dominated the TV channels and spread sectarian and communal hatred from the channels. The media in Pakistan is in our sight where religion and sectarianism dominate it or the media in Afghanistan where Taliban decide what a news presenter should wear or what should be shown. Therefore, Urdu journalism today has not much to celebrate. Urdu journalists and media house owners need to sit back and do introspection instead. URL: https://newageislam.com/islam-media/urdu-journalism-celebrate-harihar-sadasukh/d/127125 New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Saturday, May 28, 2022

Nikhat Zareen’s Neglect Showcases a Broken Indian Society

By Arshad Alam, New Age Islam 28 May 2022 The Government Has Not Announced Any Financial Reward For Her So Far Main Points: 1. Nikhat Zareen recently won gold in world boxing championship. 2. India has a culture of announcing financial rewards for such performers. 3. But there has no gesture so far either from the state or the central government. 4. Muslims have been quick to point out that this is so because of her religious identity; and yet Muslims themselves have not organized any function to felicitate her. ------ Nikhat Zareen is an Indian amateur boxer. She won gold medal at the 2022 IBA Women's World Boxing Championships. She won gold medal at the 2011 AIBA Women's Youth & Junior World Boxing Championships held in Antalya. ----- It is customary for various agencies of the Indian state to award cash prize and other felicitations for those sportspersons who win international medals. Nikhat Zareen, the girl from Hyderabad, brought glory to India by winning gold at the world boxing championship. Ideally, she should have been felicitated by central and state governments and concerned ministries. We saw how India erupted in celebration when another Indian boxer, Mary Kom, brought laurels to the country in Olympics. In the case of Nikhat Zareen, it is unfortunate that such public recognition has been completely absent. Surely the prime minister has tweeted in appreciation and the Telangana government has announced a cash prize of five lakhs but this is too little for a girl who has made all Indians proud. Cricketers who wait at the stands get more money than what is being offered to Nikhat. Money certainly is not everything. But surely, in the Indian context, it is a great motivator. Many sports persons in India come from very humble backgrounds and such prizes go a long way to ensure that life becomes easy and secure for them. Moreover, it also acts as a motivator for other potential players in the field. Moreover, Nikhat is a Muslim, and she has broken many barriers, religious and cultural, to achieve her goal of becoming a world champion. In all her interviews, she has recalled how community members dissuaded her father. They told him that boxing was a men’s sports and that Zareen should not wear shorts, as it was unacceptable in Islam. It is the great determination of this father-daughter duo that they did not listen to such third-rate views. Her struggles and eventual gold should have made all of us doubly proud. And especially when this government prides itself on the slogan of Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, the lukewarm reception to the achievement of Nikhat tells us that something has fundamentally broken in our national life. Nikhat Zareen ----- Muslim organizations have been quick to point out that Nikhat has been treated like this because of her religion. Unfortunately, there is nothing to suggest otherwise. The political conditions obtaining in the country have made sure that there is a negative premium on Muslim identity today. Anything remotely to do with Muslims and Islam is being frowned upon. So called secular political parties and social organizations who earlier vouched for Hindu Muslim amity have fallen silent. Some have in fact gone to extreme lengths to distance themselves from anything Muslim. The shunning of Nikhat Zareen seems to be part of the same trend. Nothing can be more unfortunate than this. This girl could have become the toast of the nation; brought together religious communities which could have strengthened communal harmony. But the short sightedness of our political class, both the ruling party and the opposition, have wasted this opportunity. The opposition always cries that India is being divided under the current dispensation. And yet, in not rising to the occasion and felicitating Nikhat, it has proved that it is not a worthy opposition; that it is not wedded to any higher principle and has no alternative vision for this country. The way Nikhat has been neglected only proves that there is no longer an opposition in this country; that all the talk of Ganga-Jamuni Tahzeeb is a mere eyewash to win some brownie points. It is like political and social organizations have cancelled Nikhat, and only because she is a Muslim. But those Muslim organizations who are arguing that she is being discriminated against because she is a Muslim, also need to answer what they have done for Nikhat Zareen. At a time of worldwide negative attitude towards Muslims, she could become a valuable resource to break religious stereotypes. Unfortunately, one does not hear of any plans to felicitate Zareen by any Muslim organization. The politician who currently masquerades as the sole spokesperson of Muslims in India, Asaduddin Owaisi, should have organized a gala function in her honor. But nothing of the sort has happened. One cannot say the same thing about the All-India- Muslim Personal Law Board, regressive as it is to the core. But it could have at least issued a statement in support of Zareen. But then, when a Muslim girl is ordered to go off stage by clerics in Kerala simply because of her gender, we know that nothing better can be expected from them. Not very long ago, sport was above religion and caste and governments never made any distinction on that basis. Sania Mirza was also a Muslim but she was showered with various financial rewards whenever she brought laurels to the country. Looking at the lukewarm recognition that Nikhat has received, it appears that even sports is now being evaluated through the lens of religion. This was a moment of triumph which should have been celebrated by one and all. Alas, the opportunity to rise above sectarian religious identities has been wasted; instead, Nikhat has become the symbol of a divided and broken nation. ------ A regular columnist with NewAgeIslam.com, Arshad Alam is a writer and researcher on Islam and Muslims in South Asia. URL: https://newageislam.com/islam-women-feminism/nikhat-zareen-indian-society/d/127115 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 Sermons Can Play a Big Role in the Transformation of the Muslim Society

Mosques Should Be Made A Centre of Moral and Social Reform Main Points: 1. Mosques hold a special rather central place in the collective life of Muslims. 2. In modern times, however, mosques have been reduced only to the status of a place of worship where the Muslims go to offer the Friday prayers. 3. The imams today are not equipped with modern knowledge to provide with necessary information or advice to the Muslims. 4. Mosques can play a constructive role in the Muslim society and the Friday sermons can be an effective medium for propagating moral and social values. ------ By New Age Islam Staff Writer 28 May 2022 File Photo: Oldest Mosque of India, The Cheramaan Juma Mosque ----- Mosques hold a special rather central place in the collective life of Muslims. In the initial period of Islam mosques were not only places of worship but also centres of learning. Important decisions regarding the Ummah were taken from the mosque. The holy prophet pbuh imparted moral and religious education from the pulpit of the mosques. In modern times, however, mosques have been reduced only to the status of a place of worship where the Muslims go to offer the Friday prayers. A minority of Muslims visit the mosques for offering five times prayers. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- Also Read: More and More Islamic Countries Monitor Friday Sermons to Prevent Extremism ----------------------------------------------------------------------- Because of the limited use of mosques, it has lost its central character in the Muslim society. The majority of the imams or preachers in mosques have elementary knowledge of Islam which is though sufficient for them in fulfilling their duty as an imam, is not sufficient for them in guiding the Muslim community in the challenging global milieu when Muslims are faced with myriad problems. If the mosques need to be the centres of collective Muslim society, the imams or preachers who hold an important position in the Muslim society too need to be well qualified not only in religious education but also well aware of the political and social affairs of the country so that they can form an independent opinion and guide the Muslim community accordingly. Since the mosques are seen only as a place of worship, the imams and preachers are not required to be highly qualified since they are only required to lead five time prayers. They need to follow the decisions of the managing committee or act to the diktats of the Mutawalli of the mosque. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- Also Read: Friday Sermons to Educate Muslims on the Issues of Social Importance and Radical Elements ----------------------------------------------------------------------- The worse, the mosques have become centres of sectarian ideology. The Friday sermons are mostly centred round sectarian issues which divide the Muslims along sectarian lines or spread hate among Muslims against other sects. Most of the time, the preacher raises marginal, inconsequential issues in their Friday sermons. The issues they generally discuss are whether the holy prophet pbuh was Nur (light) or Bashar (human being), or should one say Ameen loudly or softly after Surah Fateha. Since these issues and some others are sectarian in nature, the Muslims are divided on sectarian lines. The fundamental issues of economic development, character building, struggle against social evils like dowry custom, drug addiction, gambling etc are ignored. In modern social condition poverty and unemployment are the main concerns for Muslims particularly but the mosques are not able to provide consultation to the Muslims for career development. The example of the prophet pbuh making an axe for an unemployed man so that he could cut wood from the forest and sell it for livelihood has been forgotten. The imams today are not equipped with modern knowledge to provide with necessary information or advice to the Muslims. Mostly the mosques have been used for propagating a particular ideology for a long time in the sub-continent. In Bangladesh, mosques had attached libraries. This could have revolutionised the Bangladesh Muslim society if the libraries had books on science, competitive material for jobs, career counselling and similar subjects but unfortunately the libraries had literature of a particular sectarian ideology which promoted extremism and sectarianism among the Muslims of Bangladesh. After Shaikh Hasina came to power, these libraries were closed. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- Also Read: Peddling Hate: Prejudice Developing In Muslim Youths by Listening to Friday Sermons by ahl-e-Hadeesi Imams, Zakir Naik and his Like ----------------------------------------------------------------------- Since Friday sermons are an effective opportunity to propagate an ideology, the Muslim sectarian organisations use this platform to spread their ideology among the Muslims. They know that the Muslims do not buy books or magazines and so through books they cannot spread their ideology. The majority of Muslims gather in mosques for Friday prayer and need to listen to the half hour sermon before the prayers. This half hour becomes very important for the imams or preachers. During their half hour sermon in Urdu or other local language, they can spread their ideology or spread hate against other sects. Ideally, the Friday sermons should be based in the message of the Quran in unity, education, brotherhood, rights of neighbours, on the need to do research and promote inquiry. But instead, the sermons before Friday prayers are based on sectarian ideology. The Islamic organisations realised the importance of mosques and the power of Friday sermons and used this to spread their extremist ideology the world over. These extremist organisations trained imams and preachers in their ideology and planted them in mosques in Europe where they preached extremist and separatist ideas among the Muslims presenting the host countries as enemy territory. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- Also Read: Friday Sermons in Indian Mosques Should Refute The Extremist Theology Of Violence And Xenophobia And Promote Positive, Pluralistic, Inclusive Values Of Islam? ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This led to the growth of militantism and extremism in the European Muslim society. The European and American governments had to impose curbs and start surveillance to keep a tab on mosques. In France, the government conducted a nationwide inquiry on mosques and religious organisations and hundreds of mosques were closed on charges of spreading extremist ideas from the pulpit. Not only Europe, a number of Islamic countries started monitoring Friday sermons in mosques. Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Bangladesh are some of the Muslim countries where Friday sermons are monitored. The imams in some countries are suggested topics for sermons or given complete sermons which alone they can deliver. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- Also Read: Importance of Friday Sermon: Why does it have to be in Arabic ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This situation has arisen because of the irresponsible behaviour of preachers. India, Friday sermons do not promote extremism but spread sectarian hatred. There are only few mosques where imams discuss truly Islamic issues. It is also a fact all the imams are not orators but still they think it their right to deliver a speech or sermon. For them. Imarat-e-Shariah, Bihar has compiled a collection of sermons meant for Fridays. Instead of delivering incoherent and meaningless sermons, such imams should read out the sermons from the collection. In short, mosques can play a constructive role in the Muslim society and the Friday sermons can be an effective medium for propagating moral and social values and for creating opportunities for economic and social development of the Muslim youth and social harmony in the country. URL: https://newageislam.com/islamic-society/friday-sermons-transformation-muslim-society/d/127114 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

Why the World Needs Sheikh Saadi's Moral Wisdom All The More

By Sumit Paul, New Age Islam 28 May 2022 Once someone asked the great British philosopher Sir Bertrand Russell, what should he read that can encapsulate the wisdom of all ages, Russell said, ' All books written by the Persian great Sheikh Saadi and the plays of the Bard of Avon. That'll be enough to be enlightened, but don't read the scripture of any religion. That will surely nullify the impact of what you gained from Saadi and Shakespeare.' Very sage advice. It's worthwhile to mention that Sir Bertrand Russell was a lifelong sceptic who wrote a famous booklet, ' Why I'm not a Christian.' Well, that's irrelevant. What's relevant is Russell's lavish encomiums on Saadi and Shakespeare and their immortal works. While the anglicised world, esp, India, has heard a lot about the Bard of Avon (though I seriously doubt how many have read his complete works), Sheikh Saadi is relatively unknown to most of us. Did you know, Persian poet Saadi, wrote a poem eight centuries ago that later became a motto on the entrance of the United Nations building? Saadi, eloquently manifested: The sons of Adam are limbs of each other, Having been created of one essence. When the calamity of time affects one limb The other limbs cannot remain at rest. If thou hast no sympathy for the troubles of others Thou art unworthy to be called by the name of a human. Writing in Persian: Bani Aadam Aazaye Yek Digarand Ke Dar Aafarinesh Ze Yek Gooharand Cho Ozvi Be Dard Aavarad Roozegaar Degar Ozvhaa Raa Namaanad Gharaar To Kaz Mehnate Digaraan Bi Ghami Nashaayad Ke Naamat Nahand Aadami Recently, American political scientist and one of the greatest living minds Noam Chomsky mentioned Saadi's Universal poetry and transcendental wisdom in his lecture at an Ivy League University. Read his immortal works ' Gulistan' and 'Bostan' (pronounced 'Bustan' ) and you'll realize why we need his nous in these times of unprecedented hatred and rancour. Just ponder over his words, “One who understands the silent language of suffering/ Will relate to every human being." This is empathy! Humans need empathy much more than mere sympathy. Empathy is a divine attribute. Elsewhere Saadi writes, “Win not the battle outside but the battle inside." Contextualise it in Islam's much-maligned Jihad, which must be understood metaphorically and not literally. Jihad is prevailing over inner strife/battle (Har Saans Jihad Hai) and not waging a war against the perceived infidels. When he says, 'Tears have no religion' you realize the cosmopolitan nature of pain and suffering and also concur with him that misfortune spares none. So, when one individual sheds tears, the whole of mankind sheds tears. Didn't Buddha say, ' Men have shed more tears than all the water lying in the great oceans?' The most sublime facets of Saadi's wisdom are the universality of pain and the cosmopolitanism of humanity, regardless of man-made boundaries and faiths. Years ago, my Persian teacher wrote the immortal words of Saadi in my diary which I still carry: A man of virtue, judgement, and prudence speaks not until there's silence. And whenever I'm down in the dumps, I remember Saadi's famous quote: 'The rose and the thorn, and sorrow and gladness are linked together.' Or, ' Wars and battles are obstacles to human evolution.' Saadi was one of the first poets and thinkers to dwell upon the idea of human evolution (Istaf'aar in Persian). Mankind can learn from him in these turbulent times of differences and divisions in religion(s) by contemplating over this statement: 'God will not judge you by your sect, skin and smartness. But by the sanctity and sacredness of your heart.' A coeval of the great Jalaluddin Rumi, Saadi somewhere got eclipsed by Rumi's dazzling brilliance. But a deep analysis of the oeuvre of both the greats will marginally tilt the scale in favour of Saadi. Unlike Rumi, who was a mystic par excellence, Saadi was a practical moralist. Mind you, the world needs moralists, not mystics, at least in these hard times. Saadi was aware of the inherent goodness of humans and that's why he could say emphatically: Even if you're not religious, be good to your fellow humans. Humanity needs patience, patience of an angler or the proverbial Quranic patience (Sabre-Ayyub) at the moment and we mustn't feel scared to take a revolutionary step or decision as Saadi said succinctly, " Have patience: All things are difficult before they become easy.” Because of his peripatetic life; he travelled extensively; Saadi could accumulate the wisdom of the world. Travel to unravel was his motto. He came to India and spent some time at today's Ahmednagar and Aurangabad in Maharashtra, but there's not much information available on his sojourns through Deccan, India, except for a passing reference in Henry Miers Eliot and John Dowson's ' The History of India, as Told by its Own Historians.' Humankind must imbibe Saadi's great wisdom for the survival of humanity. ---- 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: https://newageislam.com/islamic-personalities/world-sheikh-saadi-moral-wisdom-/d/127113 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

Why Do Muslims Face So Many Troubles And Calamities In The World?

By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi, New Age Islam 28 May 2022 Our Behaviours Lead Us to Suffer In This Life Main Points: 1. Rather than producing positive behaviours and outcomes, we are instead embracing undesirable habits and conventions. 2. Today we moan that we are plagued with sufferings and crises, blaming it all on others. 3. Muslims must first take stock of their deeds and seek forgiveness from Allah for their sins and evil deeds in order to avert suffering. ------ As Muslims, we have been accustomed to blaming others for our problems and difficulties. The majority of us are uninformed of the teachings of the Qur'an and Sunnah. Rather than achieving constructive actions and outcomes, we are engulfed in detrimental habits and customs. To put it another way, the vast majority of us are corrupt, immoral, and guilty of wrongdoing, rather than following the beautiful teachings of Islam. However, we place blame on others for our issues and crises and fail to consider what caused them. According to the Qur'an and Sunnah, Muslims must first take stock of their deeds and ask forgiveness from Allah for their sins and wicked deeds in order to avert troubles and crises. They must repent of their sins and seek to please Allah Almighty because Allah Almighty holds all the keys to deliverance from worldly afflictions and troubles, as well as all the treasures of comfort. If they succeed in pleasing Allah, He Almighty will undoubtedly deliver them from their afflictions and provide peace and comfort to them. Allah will be pleased with the servant if he repents of his faults and becomes a devout believer. There is no doubt that bad deeds provoke Allah Almighty's wrath, resulting in not only eternal torment but also worldly sufferings. Unrest, assassinations, food scarcity, and unequal distribution of income, land, and property have all become routine in our Muslim culture today. Our impolite manners have become a defining feature of our culture. The grace of Allah Almighty is slipping away from us as a result of our evil conduct. Our terrible activities have harmed our minds and concepts to the point where we are unable to overcome educational barriers, avoid social and political disgrace, or avoid natural disasters. All of this is unmistakably an indication that Allah is dissatisfied with our actions. We must remember that God's wrath is not restricted to the Hereafter and Hell, but that sinful conduct can bring His wrath onto us in this life as well. Allah is the Lord of this world as well as the next. The world is represented by the House of Acts [Darul Amal], whereas the afterlife is represented by the House of Reward [Darul Jaza]. Man's eternal salvation is determined by his earthly actions. Why does Allah Almighty warn people in the Quran about His wrath? The answer to this question is simple: this is so that man may be attracted to virtuous activities and refrain from wicked deeds in his worldly existence out of dread of Allah Almighty. People are warned of the repercussions of evils by Allah Almighty so that they should not lose sight of their ultimate goal of turning to Allah. Allah Almighty says in the Quran, “Whatever misfortune befalls you is a consequence of your own deeds. But much of it He forgives.” (42:30) This verse serves as a reminder to Muslims. This verse is directed at those who commit sins and bad activities. This verse emphasizes that the challenges and tragedies that people endure in life are frequently brought on by their evil deeds and misdeeds. However, it's also important to note that if the servant repents his wrongdoings with sincerity, Allah Almighty would relieve him of his sufferings and utilize them to atone for his previous sins. We also know from the Qur'an and Sunnah, as well as Sufi sayings that believers' sufferings and trials can lead to transformation and prosperity, as well as a rise in their ranks. From this verse, it is known that one of the causes of the calamities that befall the people is their disobedience and immorality. According to Hazrat Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) stated, "If My followers obey me, I will water them with rain at night, I will raise the sun over them during the day, and I will not make them hear the sound of thunder." (Hadith 8716, Musnad Imam Ahmad, 3/281) Muslims are taught in the preceding hadith that if they repent and seek forgiveness from Allah for their sins, Allah will relieve them of their worldly woes and grant them prosperity. It's also critical for kids to remember that when they suffer challenges as a result of their bad behaviour, they should approach them with patience and gratitude, seeing them as an opportunity to make amends. Here Are Some Ahadith About The Sufferings And The Atonement For The Sins That Caused Them: Abu Musa reported the Prophet as saying, “No affliction great or small afflicts a man but for a sin, but there are more which God forgives.” Then he recited, “Whatever misfortune befalls you, it is because of what your hands have done; but He forgives much.”(Qur’an, 42:30) (Tirmidhi transmitted it/ Mishkat al-Masabih 1558) It was narrated by al-Khadir bin al-Qawwas from Abu Sukhailah who said: `Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) said: Shall I not tell you of the best verse in the Book of Allah, may He be exalted, that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) told to us? [It is:] And whatever misfortune befalls you, it is because of what your hands have earned. And He pardons much” [42:30]. [He said:] “I will explain it to you, O ‘Ali. ‘And whatever of misfortune befalls you, be it sickness or punishment or trials in this world, `it is because of what your hands have earned. And Allah is too generous to double the punishment in the Hereafter, Whatever Allah pardons in this world. He is too forbearing to retract His pardon.” (Musnad Ahmad 649) Abu Burdah narrated from his father Abu Musa, that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: "No worshiper suffers a calamity nor what is worse than that or less, except due to a sin, and what Allah pardons as a result of it is more." He (Abu Musa) said: "And he recited: And whatever misfortune befalls you, it is because of what your hands have earned (42:30)." (Jami` at-Tirmidhi 3252) The Prophet (peace be upon him) is reported to have said that “Good deeds prolong life, supplication averts destiny and of course, man is deprived of sustenance because of some of his sins” (Ibn Majah, Kitab al-Fitan, 4/369, Hadith 4022) Hazrat Ayesha (may Allah be pleased with her) reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “If a believer is afflicted with a thorn or something greater than that, then Allah Almighty raises him to a higher rank or removes one of his faults. (Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-Birr, Hadith 2572) The Prophet (peace be upon him) is reported to have said, “The believer's illness is the expiation for his sins” (Shu’bul Iman, Hadith 9835) May Allah Almighty provide us Muslims the opportunity to repent, to participate in allegiance to Him and devotion to His religious instructions, and to be forgiven for our misdeeds! May Allah Almighty keep us safe and secure from all sufferings and tribulations, as well as provide us with the strength to confront the difficulties ahead. Ameen. ---- A regular Columnist with NewAgeIslam.com, Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi Dehlvi is an Alim and Fazil (Classical Islamic scholar) with a Sufi background and English-Arabic-Urdu Translator. URL: https://newageislam.com/spiritual-meditations/muslims-face-calamities-world/d/127112 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

Unending Plight of Rohingya Refugees In Bangladesh

Bangladesh Government Decides To Shift another One Lakh Refugees to Bhasanchar Island Main Points: 1. Bhasanchar Island is like an open air prison. 2. Sea storms often lash the island. 1. 3.20 thousand Rohingyas have already been shifted to Bhasanchar. 3. Rohingyas do not want to be shifted to the dangerous island. 4. Rohingyas do not want to go back to Myanmar. ----- By New Age Islam Staff Writer 28 May 2022 This file photo showing the aerial view of Bhasan Char shows a portion of the housing facilities that has been built on the island to relocate the Rohingyas from Cox’s Bazar. Photo: Star/File ----- The plight of nearly 9 lakh Rohingya refugees just does not seem to come to an end. As the world community does not have a solution and the Myanmar army Tatmadaw still in control, Rohingya refugees have to suffer in the Bangladesh refugee camps. Majority of them have been lodged in refugee camps in Cox Bazar but in 2020, the Bangladesh government decided to shift some refugees to an island named Bhasanchar 60 kilometres away from the mainland. On 27 May 2022, the Hasina government decided to shift another one lakh Rohingyas to Bhasanchar which is like an open air prison where they do not have freedom of movement and opportunity for livelihood. Sea storms are a constant threat. Last year the UNHCR had entered into an agreement with the Bangladesh government in order to help the refugees. The UNHRC has promised to provide financial assistance worth $881 million but only 13 per cent of the promised account has reached them. Currently 20 thousand Rohingyas are lodged in Bhasanchar. Earlier the UN and humanitarian groups had raised objections to the shifting of Rohingyas to Bhasanchar as they were not convinced of the habitability of the island. But defying objections from the United Nations and humanitarian groups, the Bangladesh government had shifted more than twenty thousand Rohingya refugees from Cox Bazar refugee camp to Bhasan Char Island on navy ships. These refugees reportedly had agreed to shift to Bhasan Char. The Bangladesh government has spent $300 million on building houses for 100,000 families in Bhasan Char. According to the Bangladesh government, modern amenities and facilities have also been built there. But the United Nations had expressed reservations over the safety and security of refugees on the island. It had sought permission from the Bangladesh government to carry out technical and protection assessment but the Bangladesh government did not gve it the permission. This had raised serious concerns over the security of refugees on the island. The Human Rights Watch had described it as a De Facto Prison Island. The island can be reached after 3 hours of journey by boat. This makes the island an open prison. In November 2020, the Bangladesh government had taken 40 representatives of 22 NGOs to a guided tour of the island. They reportedly expressed satisfaction on the arrangements on the island. The Bangladesh authorities claim that from the accounts of refugees shifted earlier, the refugees have learnt about the satisfactory arrangements in Bhasanchar and so many Rohingyas have voluntarily shifted to the island. However, earlier the refugee women who had been taken to the island against their wish had said that arrangements of food and living conditions there were very poor. The security personnel appointed there even molested some women. They complained that the water provided to them was dirty. They wanted to return to the Cox Bazar camp. File Photo ---- The UN had said that without the technical and protection assessment, it cannot determine it can start its operations there. According to the human rights agencies, the Rohingya refugees do not want to go to Bhasanchar but the authorities intimidate them and force them to go to the island. Those who have been shifted there do not want to stay there and some of them try to escape to Malaysia by boats but they are captured by Bangladesh navy. They are then booked under various laws. They are caught between the devil and the deep blue see. The refugees are concerned that those who will shift to Bhasan Char will not be able to meet their relatives living in camps in the mainland. Some NGOs have been working on the island but they struggle to get funds. In the Cox Bazar refugee camps, many refugees run their own shops or do small jobs to make a living. But on the island they do not have that freedom. Bangladesh government decided to shift the Rohingyas to Bhasanchar because the Cox Bazar refugee camps are overcrowded and criminal gangs operate there taking advantage of the crowd. Often there are clashes between rival groups and killing. The Rohingya terrorist group is also active in the Cox Bazar camps. They run extortion racket and kill those who oppose their extremist ideology. That was also the reason Bangladesh government decided to shift the refugees to the island. But the refugees face many problems in Bhasanchar. In times of emergency, like clashes between criminal gangs in the refugee camps in Cox Bazar, refugees would escape to other camps to take shelter. But in Bhasan Char, they won’t be able to escape if there is bombing or arson between criminal gangs. They will simply be at the mercy of the criminals, extortionists and terrorists. The concerns raised by the UN, Human Rights Watch or the NGOs are not unfounded. In the refugee camps in the mainland drug mafia like Munna gang or Rohingya terrorist group ARSA are active. Due to poor security arrangements in the Cox Bazar refugee camps, often there are incidents of abduction, murder, extortion and arson. They have made the life of the refugees a hell. The Bangladesh government has not been able to clear the camps of the drug mafia or terorists because the police and the security personnel are on their payroll. File Photo ----- Sometimes the criminals and terrorists attack the security personnel posted in camps and take away arms and ammunition The twenty thousand Rohingyas who have voluntarily shifted have shifted to Bhasan Char because the camps in Cox Bazar were over overcrowded and because of murder, abduction, arson and extortion by the criminals and terrorists active in Cox Bazar camps. But at Bhasanchar, they have different problems. They cant go and meet their relatives in Cox Bazar mainland camps. They cannot do their own jobs and earn a living. The Bangladesh government wants to shift the Rohingyas because it is not sure when their repatriation will take place. The Myanmar government has razed the houses of Rohingyas in Myanmar and built army and government complexes there. The remaining Muslim population live under constant threat from the Myanmarese army and Buddhist militants. The Rohingya refugees do not want to go back to Myanmar because they fear the situation is not favourable yet. The Bangladesh government therefore fears that if the Rohingyas remain in the country for decades, they may cause a demographic change in the country and may have adverse effect on economy and culture. This is the reason, it does not allow Rohingya children to enroll in the schools in Bangladesh. It wants to keep Rohingyas away from mainland. As the world community remains silent spectators, there is no end to the plight of 9 lakh Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. URL: https://newageislam.com/islamic-society/plight-rohingya-refugees-bangladesh/d/127111 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, May 27, 2022

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

Hakeem Ajmal Khan Was For The Modernisation Of Unani System. Main Points: 1. He established the All India Unani Tibbi Conference in 1906. 2. He united al the Unani practitioners of the country. 3. He founded Tibbiya College. 4. He was one of the founders of Jamia Millia Islamia. 5. He was an educationist. ------ By New Age Islam Staff Writer 27 May 2022 Hakeem Ajmal Khan who was honoured with the title Masihul Mulk (Messiah of the nation) was not only a Unani physician but had many facets. He not only brought about the renaissance of the Unani system of medicine in the country but was also involved in the freedom movement of India and had played an important role in the educational and scientific upliftment of the Muslim community. Hakeem Ajmal Khan was born on 11 February 1868. His grandfather Hakeem Sharif Khan and father Hakeem Mahmood Khan were also Unani physicians. Hakeem Sharif Khan was the court physician of Mughal emperor Shah Alam. Therefore, Ajmal Khan also adopted the family profession and made Unani medicine proud with his research and medical insight. He did research and experiments and later his research and prescriptions were compiled in books titled Bayaz-e-Ajmal and Afadat-e-Maseehul Mulk. His prescriptions and compositions are not only used by the students of Unani medicines but also by the companies manufacturing Unani medicines. Hakeem Ajmal Khan was the first to unite Unani physicians under the umbrella of All India Unani and Ayurvedic Tibbi Conference. In 1910, the British government planned to bring a law making registration for doctors mandatory for practice but wanted to bar Unani and Ayurvedic physicians from registration. This way, the British government wanted to promote allopathic medicines and destroy Unani and Ayurvedic systems of medicine. Hakeem Ajmal Khan sniffed the conspiracy and called a conference of 400 Unani and Ayurvedic physicians. In the conference, Unani physicians shed light on the efficacy and importance of indigenous system of medicine. This made the British government to retract. Hakeem Ajmal Khan was not satisfied with the data base of knowledge of Unani medicine and stressed the need to do new research to bring it at par with modern systems of medicines. He exhorted Unani physicians to make a record of newer diseases and find new herbs for their cure. He also advised Unani practitioners to adopt modern methods of making medicines and instead of preparing Khameera and Majoon, they should prepare medicines in the form of tablets and capsules. To promote the knowledge of Unani medicine, he established Unani Tibbiya College and Hindustani Dawakhana. As a physician, Hakeem Ajmal Khan was very adept in diagnosing and treating diseases and so he charged a high fee for consultation. At the same time, he treated the poor free of charge. He could diagnose the disease by simply looking at the face of the patient and by feeling the pulse. He used to say that feeling the pulse was also a science and doctors with varying insight could diagnose the disease by feeling the pulse. Apart from being a Unani doctor, Hakeem Ajmal Khan was also an educationist and a freedom fighter. He was involved in the Khilafat Movement and came into contact with Mahatma Gandhi. He was made the President of the Congress after the death of Chittaranjan Das. He was also made the President of the Muslim League. This speaks volumes about his political calibre, popularity and wisdom. As an educationist, he had his own ideas about education of the Muslims. As a liberal Muslim, he was not against the modern education but he believed that Muslims should get modern education in their mother language. In one of his addresses to the students of Jamia Millia where he served as its Vice Chancellor he said: "In 1839, when Lord Macaulay advocated making English the medium of education due to which India suffered losses. Its children were taught sciences in an alien language which required a lot of time and effort. But there was a reason. Their objective was not to impart them education. Their main objective was to destroy the Indian culture and civilisation and what better means to do this. Therefore, Lord William Bentinck, openly declared that their objective, was to propagate western language and sciences and so all the money that was to be spent on education should be used to achieve this objective. The funds that were granted for the education of Sanskrit and Arabic were stopped." Hakeem Ajmal Khan's idea of the true education was that it should prepare an individual for the collective communal welfare and progress. Aping the west was not the purpose of education. The Muslims should have a long term objective of education but lamented the fact that Indian Muslims had sacrificed long term objectives for short term benefits. The movement for the development of Unani medicine he started in 1906 continued even after his death in 1926. The All India Unani Tibbi Conference was established in 1952 and the All India Tibbi Congress was established in 1990. Though he was a doctor, unlike other doctors, he was an avid reader of books. He had a deep knowledge of world history, religion and was aware of the philosophy and thoughts of renowned thinkers and philosophers. Thanks to this he had a balanced approach to the society. Unlike other Muslim intellectuals, he was not a blind follower of western thinkers but analysed their thoughts from a rational point of view. He says: “When we study the views of the western philosophers, we find that despite their knowledge and insight they could not see the truth. They considered the group a tool or means for the fulfilment of the objectives of the individual. Therefore, the names of Michevally, Hobbes, Locke and Spencer become the final argument on any issue for those friends whose mind and intellect have been enthralled by the western wisdom so that they are not able to think innovatively and are groping in the darkness of ignorance. And the weakness of the totalitarian system of the Europe, the ever intensifying tussle between capital and labour and all the efforts of the anarchist and nihilist groups to destroy all the totalitarian systems are the result of the same ignorance." From the excerpts quoted above, it becomes clear that Hakeem Ajmal Khan had a keen eye on the history and the philosophy of his time. He had his own ideas on issues facing his community and the country. His contributions to the renaissance of Unani medicine will be remembered with reverence. The setting up of the ministry of Ayush by the government of India is only a realisation of Hakeem Ajmal Khan’s dream. URL: https://newageislam.com/islamic-personalities/hakeem-ajmal-renaissance-unani-medicine/d/127104 New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Should Science And Religion Be Kept Separate?

By Naseer Ahmed, New Age Islam 27 May 2022 “There is a verse in the Quran which says, We have created every living being out of water. There are the words about Heaven and Earth being united together before We split them apart. The man who believes in the Big Bang will perhaps believe in the Big Bang. I do not. I do not believe that the Big Bang theory will last forever in scientific thinking. It will be absolutely stupid to try to connect the science of today to what is essentially a religious, spiritual experience which is I think a totally different dimension” Dr Abdus Salam, Theoretical Physicist and A Nobel Prize Laureate ------ While the late Nobel laureate Dr Abdus Salam was a devout Muslim and has said on several occasions that the Quran was his inspiration, and listened to the recitation of the Quran by Qari Basit every day, and said that doing so opened up his heart, what did he have to say regarding verses in the Quran to do with the creation of the Universe? This is a verbatim quote of what he said to his other scientist friends who were curious to know more about the verses in the Quran that say that the Universe came about the way proved by science: “There is a verse that says, We have created everything living out of water. There are words about heaven and earth were united together and We spilt them apart. A man who believes in the big bang will perhaps read the Big Bang. I do not. I do not believe that the BB may last forever by our scientific thinking. It would be absolutely stupid to connect the science of today to what is essentially allegorical, religious, spiritual experience which I think is a totally different dimension” ------------------------------------------------------------------ Also Read: Science Is A By-Product Of Islam But … ? ------------------------------------------------------------------ The Diffidence Betrays Insufficiency Of Knowledge And Faith In The Quran I can see many who hold the same opinion rubbing their hands in glee but hold your horses, dear reader. The words in bold we have heard before in the defence of the Bible when attacked for the unscientific verses in it. That problem in my opinion is because of mistranslations since these books have been translated and interpreted several times over. Salam is using the same words in the context of the Quran when no verse of the Quran contradicts facts established by science. There is nothing allegorical about the verses he cites. The word allegorical in the context of the scriptures is an overused and misused one. The word spiritual is also overused to cover up some woolly-headed nonsense which forms part of the explanations by those who did not understand the verses. The Quranic verses did and may contradict beliefs held by the scientists before and now, but never any fact established by science. Nobody has a spiritual experience from verses that contradict facts established by science. The problem with the Muslims is that they parrot the west thinking that what they say about the Bible must be equally true for the Quran also. Did Salam really have misgivings about the correctness and therefore the durability of the Big Bang theory? I doubt it. It is only a rhetorical argument, I think. The diffidence expressed by Dr Salam is common to most educated Muslims. What is the source of such diffidence? The diffidence comes from an imperfect knowledge of the Quran. While the verses on the creation of the Universe are striking in their correspondence with current scientific thinking, Dr Salam may not have understood the verses about the creation in six days and may have assumed that the Quran is speaking of our twenty-four-hour day and not of a cosmic day of an unspecified number of years. Being an honest man, he has to be consistent and not be selective. If he did not find such comfort with some other verses, then it is understandable that he preferred to keep the Quran and Science in different realms. ------------------------------------------------------------------ Also Read: Islam Does Not Inhibit Science: Islamic Culture Has Produced Many First-Rate Scientists Who Were Also Devout In Their Religious Observances ------------------------------------------------------------------ The diffidence may also have been because, before the Big Bang theory was proposed in 1931, what the Quran said, differed from the scientific thinking current up to then. Many of the verses of the Quran were therefore not in sync with current scientific thinking until the scientific thinking caught up with what the Quran said. This to me is as it should be and should not be a cause for diffidence. It is a pity that even devout scientists like Dr Abdus Salam had a poor understanding of the Quran and although he said that he was inspired by it and found it inspiring, chose to keep it in a different realm. The Maulanas have a deep suspicion of science because historically science has proved to be corrosive of faith and would therefore like to keep science as far away as possible. The suspicion and antagonism or at the very least unease between the two therefore continue. The fact is that without science, the Quran is a dull unintelligible book but looked at through the lens of science, it glitters like a diamond. And without religion, we would have remained savages to this day but the Maulanas do not understand this great strength and position of religion in our lives. There is no need for them to feel insecure. Attributes Of the Quran That One Must Bear In Mind The Quran has another distinct attribute which should make us shed such diffidence. The Quran is explicit only about the phenomenon on which scientific thinking is certain to converge. The Quran uses indicative language about things which will remain a matter of speculation or continuous refinements. For example, it uses the word “Dahr” to mean "Time" which means a very long period the beginning and end of which are unknown or a matter of speculation. It does not tell you that the world began 13.5 billion years ago perhaps because there was no way to express such a large figure in the vocabulary of the Arabic language of the seventh century or because this number will remain a matter of speculation getting continuously refined with new discoveries and never converge. In the story of the people of the cave (Al-Kahaf), the Quran does not tell us how many persons were there in the cave but mentions that some believe there were x numbers and others y numbers while some others believe there were z numbers. The reason is two-fold. The correct number has no significance and giving the correct number will not end the controversy about the right number. The Jews who asked the question would have continued to hold onto whatever number they thought was right irrespective of what the Quran had said was the correct number. ------------------------------------------------------------------ Also Read: Science Should Be Separated From Religion: No Point in Proving Changing Scientific Theories from Quran ------------------------------------------------------------------ The Quran does not and I am sure the Jewish and Christian scriptures do not talk about the number of years between the creation of Adam and Noah or the chronology of the various prophets mentioned in the Books. The Jewish and Christian theologians however do mention and the Muslims follow them. I am sure, the theologians have got it wrong from the simple fact that the Quran is silent on the subject. Why is the Quran silent? The reasons can be two-fold in my opinion. The first reason could be that the chronology does not matter and the second reason could be to prevent a needless controversy in the face of incorrect opinions already held by the people which would never get resolved but keep people engaged in wasteful debates and become a cause of misguidance for many. In my opinion, therefore, if the current scientific thinking has converged with what the Quran says on the same subject, then that is the truth as far as that subject is concerned and there is no need for any diffidence. On matters where the Quran is explicit but current scientific thinking is not in sync, then the scientific thinking has some way to go on that subject. On matters where the Quran uses indicative language, scientific thinking will be continuously refined based on new discoveries and evolving theories. Science and Religion Are Bound To Converge On the question of an Intelligent Designer at the back of all creation, there is growing evidence from developments in molecular Biology that indeed the Theory of Evolution fails to explain the life forms coming into existence in their timeframes based on mutations and natural selection. The inescapable conclusion is that there is an intelligent designer at work which the religious call God. Belief in a Supreme Being is not ‘irrational’ as people like Dawkins will have you believe. Its rational necessity and therefore possibility is supported by philosophy and by ontological proofs by Gottfried Leibniz and Kurt Goedel in mathematics. Observation in the context of what science can and, more importantly, cannot tell us also lends credence to the rational claims of religion. At some level, mathematics and physics are also belief systems with their axioms and postulates and the theoretical impossibility of proving every truth within its own system of axioms and postulates. Religion becomes science when we examine with the rigour of science, its truth claims. Atheists deny the existence of God and it is their denial without proof that is irrational and dogmatic. In other matters, they could be anything – rational or irrational. Agnostics, Since They Neither Accept Nor Deny, Could Be Rational. Theists can be dogmatic and irrational if they are blind believers but can be rational if their belief is based on reason. Surely Leibniz, Goedel, Einstein, and Salam were not irrational believers in a Supreme Being. They believed for their own reasons and based on their own conclusions and in their own unique way. As a matter of fact, every great man who was a believer, rejected the theology of his faith and was a unique person in the way he believed. To quote Ibn Sina (Avicenna), “It is not easy and trifling to call me a heretic; no belief in religion is firmer than mine own. I am a unique person in the whole world and if I’m a heretic then there is not a single Musalman anywhere in the world”– It is a logical impossibility that both a rational Atheist and a rational Theist exist together and since a rational theist is possible, an atheist can only be irrational in his atheism. Not irrational for his reasons for being an atheist, but irrational in ignoring the cogent reasons for believing in the Supreme Being. Science and religion are bound to converge and there is no reason for any unease between the two. The more the religious keep away from science, the more is the danger to religion. Science has historically proven to be corrosive to faith because the religious have shunned science and held unscientific views and became objects of ridicule. Suspicion of science betrays a lack of faith in God. Without science, the faith of the believer is weak and defective and without religion, we cannot have true morality. For me, the proof that God exists is that He gave us moral rules through His divinely inspired scriptures which we were incapable of on our own. These rules have civilized us and without them, we would have remained savages and not taken even one step on the path of civilization. What this means is that we wouldn't have had science, art, architecture, cities etc. without God's religion as our foundation. This topic is covered in my following articles: 1. Religion as a Civilizing Influence 2. Science and Religion 3. The Progression from Religious Morality to Secular Laws and the Danger of Regression of Religious Morality into Bestiality ------------------------------------------------------------------ Also Read: A Quranic Vision of Scientific Knowledge ------------------------------------------------------------------ ----- A frequent contributor to NewAgeIslam.com, Naseer Ahmed is an Engineering graduate from IIT Kanpur and is an independent IT consultant after having served in both the Public and Private sector in responsible positions for over three decades. He has spent years studying Quran in-depth and made seminal contributions to its interpretation. URL: https://newageislam.com/islam-science/science-religion-abdus-salam-quran/d/127103 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