Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Festival of Rakhi Belongs To All

By Sumit Paul, New Age Islam 10 August 2022 I Was Appalled To Read In Dailies That Deobandi Ulema Issued a Fatwa against Muslim Girls Tying Rakhis to Their Hindu Brothers, Terming It UnIslamic and Impious ----- Prabhat Khabar Graphics ----- The great Persian poet Urfi from Shiraz, in the court of Mughal emperor Akbar, once saved the life of a Hindu woman who tied a Rakhi to him every year till Urfi breathed his last. Urfi was all praise for this beautiful festival that consolidated the bond between a brother and sister. He also wrote a Qasidah (panegyric), extolling the importance of this heart-warming festival. Amir Khusro had a Hindu sister, who unfailingly tied Rakhis to him. The women of Braj would tie Rakhis to Krishna Bhakt Muslim poet Raskhan (Syed Ibrahim Khan: 1548-1628). The regent of Mewar queen Karnavati sent a Rakhi to the Mughal emperor Humayun with an SOS to save her kingdom from a Muslim invader, Bahadur Shah of Gujarat. Humayun rushed to save her in deference to the bond of Rakhi. Lata Mangeshkar tied a Rakhi to Yusuf Bhai (Dilip Kumar) every year. The list is endless. A human bond has no religion. A relation between two individuals is above all religious beliefs and paraphernalia. On the occasion of Raksha Bandhan, I still get a Rakhi from my Muslim sister who lives in Karachi. She's more than a Humsheera (a beautiful Persian word which means a biological sister who was breastfed by the same mother; Sagi Bahan in Hindustani, Sheer: milk in Persian) to me. Rubai, her name, has nothing to do with my non-belief or condemnation of Islam and other faiths for, she knows that I challenge ideas and views, not individuals. This cerebral young woman has never called me an Islamophobic atheist or Islam-basher. What matters to her is our personal bond of brother and sister and nothing else. Even different countries don't thwart my bond with her as she too dislikes the pathological and most juvenile notion of my nation, your nation. Any festival of any religion has a universal meaning and purpose. If Eid symbolises bonhomie, Diwali or Jashn-e-Chiraghaan is an emblem of light and gaiety and Christmas heralds a new year, full of hopes and verve. Ergo, calling Rakhi a Hindu festival or Eid, an occasion for only Muslims is parochialism of the worst level. A few years ago, I was appalled to read in dailies that Deobandi Ulema issued a fatwa against Muslim girls tying Rakhis to their Hindu brothers, terming it unIslamic and impious! I felt pity for the 'muftis' of the fatwa factory. If we all start celebrating each other's festivals sans religious restrictions and prejudices, the world can be turned into a far better place to live in. ----- A regular columnist for New Age Islam, Sumit Paul is a researcher in comparative religions, with special reference to Islam. He has contributed articles to world's premier publications in several languages including Persian. URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

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