Thursday, September 29, 2022

Hijab Has Come Full Circle in India

Hijab Was Not Strictly Worn By Girls until Recently Main Points: 1. During the 19th century Muslim women of India remained in purdah. 2. Thanks to spread of education, Muslim girls came out of purdah in India in the 20th century. 3. Girls going to schools and colleges did not use hijab. 4. Hijab and Niqab among girls caught up with Muslim girls only after the 90s. 5. Muslim girls came back to purdah in the 21st century. ----- By New Age Islam Staff Writer 29 September 2022 The satirical poet of Urdu wrote in the 1020s: Be Purdah Nazar Aayin Jo Kal Chand Bibiyan Akbar Zameen Me Ghairat-e-Qaumi Se Gadd Gaya Maine Jo Puchha Aapka Purdah Wo Kya Hua Kahne Lageen Ke Aql Pe Mardon Ki Padd Gaya (The other day I saw some girls/ women unveiled. I was embarrassed and asked them, "Where did you leave your veil?" They replied, "It has been cast over the intellect of men.") This famous couplet gives a hint over the anxiety of the Muslim intelligentsia over the veil during the 1920s. During this period, Muslim women had come out of purdah to join schools, colleges and universities. It was an era of educational renaissance among Muslims. The Aligarh Muslim University was attracting both Muslim boys and girls who wanted to acquire "Angrezi Taalim" despised by stalwarts like Md. Iqbal and Akbar Allahabadi because they feared the western education would corrupt the minds of girls and will have a bearing on their morality. This was the reason Sir Syed Ahmad Khan was at the receiving end of both Ulema and the so-called Muslim intellectuals. Members of the All India Muslim Students Federation protest at Delhi University against the hijab ban in educational institutions, on Feb. 8 in New Delhi, India. Sanchit Khanna/Hindustan Times via Getty Images ----- Back in 1911, Begum Rokeya had started a campaign for the education of Muslim girls. She established a school Rokea Sakhawat Memorial Girls' School in Kolkata. But the parents would not allow their girls to go to the school because that would make them bepurdah (veilless). Ms Rokeya offered to make proper arrangement for purdah in the bus so that men would not be able to see them. After that some parents relented. Gradually parents shed their inhibitions and more and more girls joined schools and college. The advancement of education was more rapid among the Bengali Muslims of Bengal including the areas of the then Bangladesh. Dhaka University attracted more Muslims girls where girls would go without veil. Fazilatun Nisa was the first Muslim graduate from Dhaka University. During that time girls would not wear hijab or Niqab to schools or colleges. Indeed, only mothers would go out in full covering Niqab. This truth is mentioned in the couplet quoted above. Another couplet expressing the dilemma of the Muslim intelligentsia is as follows: Rashida Chamki Na Thi English Se Jab Begana Thi Ab Hai Shamm-e-Anjuman Pehle Chiragh-e-Khana Thi. (Rashida had not shined until she had learnt English. Now she is a socialite. Earlier she was merely the lamp of the house.) These and other couplets of that period speak of the liberation of the women. They were participating in societal activities and making a mark in the educational arena. They had left the veil behind. Still, a section of the society adhered to purdah but students were not forced to wear hijab and Niqab. The religious leaders even those considered liberal were strictly in favour of purdah. But another section did no object to women going in public without a veil. During a public meeting during the Freedom Movement in Bengal, the organisers, the Communists, wanted a Muslim lady deliver a speech from the stage. They sought permission of the Ulema sitting in the front row of the audience. They disapproved of it saying a lady could not appear before men on stage. Then the organisers proposed that she might deliver her speech from a room of the school adjacent to the venue. But the Ulema said that even a women should follow the purdah of the voice (Awaz Ka Purdah). She was not allowed to make her speech either from the stage or from the room adjacent to the venue of the meeting. This incident shows that despite the opposition of the Ulema, Muslim women largely participated in public affairs without hijab or Naqib. Muslim students speak to media after they were not allowed to enter pre-university colleges while wearing the hijab, in Udupi town, Karnataka, India, on Feb. 16. Anadolu Agency via Getty Images ----- After the Independence and Partition, the country became a secular country and secular education became universal. Muslim girls joined schools and colleges along with non- Muslm girls. Purdah was not mandated for girl students. With time, Muslim girls made big strides in the field of education. More and more schools for girls were established. Girls even studied in co-ed schools with boys and parents did not oppose and complain. But after the 1990s, and markedly since the 2000, an ideological campaign in favour of purdah (veil) was started. Different Ulema and exegetes advocated the use of veil or hijab among young girls. On this issue all the sects of Muslims were united. They advocated for full veil for all the women irrespective of their age or marital status. The all-pervasive means of communication helped in the spread of hijab ideology. From India, to Afghanistan to Pakistan, women and girls were told to remain in the house and even if they needed to go out of the house, they had to go in full veil. Some Islamic scholars suggested women can see through one hole in the Burqa even if they fall on the road and meet with an accident. The advent of Taliban and other extremist organisations contributed to the spread of the ideology of purdah among the Muslims of the sub-continent. In Afghanistan, they are even killed for not wearing hijab. In Iran, girls from the age of seven are mandated to wear hijab. The reason why Islamic society went backwards during the second half of the 20th century was the volume of Islamic literature produced during the 20th century. Though Islam had reached the southwestern coast of India during the life of the prophet of Islam pbuh through Arab traders, Islamic literature was compiled only in the last quarter of the 19th century. Shah Waliullah was the first to translate the Quran in Persian during the 18h century and his son Shah Abdul Qadir translated the Quran in Urdu in the late 18th century. Shah Waliullah compiled hadith in India and was called Muhaddith Dehlvi. Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb was instrumental in the compilation of Islamic jurisprudence in the 18th century. However, the work of exegesis and spread of sectarian ideology caught speed only in the late 19th century. During this period more and more exegetes, Islamic scholars and researchers emerged on the.L scene and promoted their own ideology. However, barring a few like Maulana Wahiduddin Khan, almost all of them propagated a hardline stand on purdah. This popularised veil in India. Now, different organisations also campaign for purdah even for small girls. Social and political circumstances also contributed to the popularity of veil. Girls now wear hijab to schools and universities and working women insist on wearing veil in office. This becomes a cause of confrontation and legal battles. Thus, the veil which was imposed on the Muslim girls during the 19th century has again come into vogue in the enlightened age of the 21st century. Only the second half of the 20th century saw the emergence of the liberated women who contributed immensely to the development of the society and the country. Today, hundreds of girls leave their educational career for the sake of purdah. 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

Nothing Veiled About the Hijab: Veiling Has Become The Most Obsessive Topic Of Public Debate

By Moin Qazi, New Age Islam 28 September 2022 One of the Islamic symbols that have been engaging widespread attention across feminist, Orientalist, social, religious, and political discourse is the veil-the hijab (a scarf wrapped tightly around a woman's head to conceal every wisp of hair). Veiling has become the most obsessive topic of public debate. Photo: The Hindu ---- The Supreme Court has recently concluded a hearing of petitions filed by several Muslim organizations challenging the verdict of the Karnataka High Court upholding the ban on the hijab. One of the observations of the Supreme Court during the hearing was that the courts are not well equipped to interpret the Quran. However, if we apply our minds to the vast literature on the customs and practices of the Holy Scriptures we can certainly; make valid inferences. So is the case with the hijab. The word hijab stems from the word hijab, meaning, "to prevent from seeing. In Islamic scholarship, the hijab refers to broader notions of modesty, privacy, and morality. A history of colonialisation Eurocentric and Orientalist discourse depicting non-Western cultures as “backward,” combined with the Gulf War, the “War on Terror,” and the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, have all contributed to the misunderstandings of Islam and specifically, the hijab. Hijab has often been misunderstood to be a symbol of oppression or a sign of extremism, resulting in the idea that Muslim women need to be liberated from it. However, both Islamic men and women have done extraordinary work to clear the misunderstood concept in most cities. We are now at a stage where a veil is a sign of empowerment and even highly social women feel that it gives them agency. The entire discourse has now changed. The hijab has now become the most powerful symbol of Muslim women's rejection of Western notions of feminism. It is being used to articulate a new response to modernity. The hijab protects women from the sexual gaze. Instead of a sexual approach men take an interest in what was in the woman's head and her personality, rather than her body. Too many women exert power through their sexuality, and Muslim women find it very degrading. They consider it a form of enslavement. The hijab also expresses a translational form of Islamic feminism that has been marked by the entry of women into all public spheres of Islamic life including formal religious learning. Some women choose to wear the hijab because it is a national tradition of their country of origin, or because it is the norm in their local area, city, or country. Others wear it to demonstrate their commitment to dressing modestly and for religious reasons. Although people usually discuss the hijab only in the context of women, the Qur'an prescribes for both Muslim men and women to be modest, in both character and dress. Any differences between the Islamic dress of men and women concern the differences between men and women in nature, temperament, and social life. Hijab is a way of ensuring that the moral boundaries between unrelated men and women are respected. In this sense, the term hijab encompasses more than a scarf and more than a dress code. It is an instrument for engendering morality and chasteness. But at the same time, the hijab cannot be used as a marker or benchmark to judge the morality of a Muslim woman and her “Muslimness”. The purity of her spiritualism and chastity of her character is more important for a woman than the moral value of her hijab. For instance, if a Muslim woman is wearing a scarf but at the same time using bad language, she would not be fulfilling the requirements of the hijab. Recognizing the potentially intrusive and debasing power of the gaze, God instructs men and women alike in the Qur’an to lower their eyes and dress modestly in public. “Say to the believing men that they restrain their eyes and guard their private parts. That is purer for them. Surely, God is well aware of what they do.” (Q24:31) “And say to the believing women that they restrain their eyes and guard their private parts and that they disclose not their natural and artificial beauty except that which is apparent thereof, that they draw their head-coverings over their bosoms, and that they disclose not their beauty save to their husbands, or their fathers … (a list of exceptions)” (Q24:32). It recorded that the wives of the Prophet went veiled and in this way, they're able to be recognized by one another and be honoured by other women for their distinction. The conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan resulted in several misunderstandings about Islam. The previous and current misunderstandings of Islam have fostered further tension and several restrictions have been placed by several governments on hijab. Arbitrary rules are being introduced by educational and police authorities who are making the hijab appear like a big Islamic bomb. Hijab is essentially a concept of modesty and privacy, usually expressed through women's clothes. One of the biggest sources of misunderstanding between Muslim women and western feminists is sexuality, Muslim women do not wish to express their sexuality in public, and believe that its proper place is in the privacy of an intimate relationship. Sexuality is not to be used to assert power but to express love. Among Muslim women, the debate about the hijab takes many forms. Many believe that the veil is a way to secure personal liberty in a world that objectifies women. Several women have argued that the hijab allows them freedom of movement and control of their bodies. Understood in such terms, the hijab protects women from the male gaze and allows them to become autonomous subjects. Others have argued that the veil only provides the illusion of protection and serves to absolve men of the responsibility for controlling their behaviour. Both positions assert that Islam is not responsible for sexism. The Qur’an supports the notion of gender equality. Hijab’s purpose is simply modesty. The modesty of clothing, the modesty of thoughts, and the modesty of actions. It was once an armoury of the poorer classes. Today it is the mascot of the most enlightened Muslim girls. They often describe how it liberates them from the toxic consumerist culture, from men’s predatory gaze, sexism, and from impure moral thoughts. Women wearing hijab have been very candidly and publicly emphasizing that dressing modestly and covering their hair minimizes sexual harassment in the workplace. It is a path that aids in self-purification and coming nearer to their Creator. Paradoxically, it is the women who rely on the veil to signal to others that the argument that the veil is indicative of oppression has no logic. A woman can wear it as an instrument of modesty, yet still, embrace all of the rights and opportunities are given to other modern women. The French authorities see both feminism and Islam as inherently at odds, not because of their ideology but because the people of France are embracing Islam in droves., For the general public, the attraction of Islam is it provides more discipline than other religions. They are in a way trying to refuse modernism and get back to a society with more family values and a clearer distinction between men and women. The official authorities see the veil as more about social exclusion and are using this strategy as a subterfuge to control the growing number of converts to Islam. It is being maliciously labelled as a social disrupter that precludes integration and is being used as an alibi for several discriminatory policies and arbitrary rules. They want to subdue the Muslim community to keep them tethered to the secular society. The hijab is also becoming popular because it expresses a translational form of Islamic feminism that has got nuanced by the entry of Muslim women into all public spheres including formal religious learning. It is a vehicle for distinguishing between women and men and a means of controlling male sexual desire. The hijab is not a piece of cloth but a mascot. Muslim women are using it to reclaim their right to speak to re-appropriate their own destinies. Indeed, today many female Muslim intellectuals living in Muslim societies and the West, are questioning several negative preconceptions surrounding these issues. In particular, they contest the classical analysis which stipulates inequality between men and women by asserting that it is certain biased readings, endorsed by patriarchal customs, which have legitimated these erroneous inequalities. They must understand the necessity of recognising and consciously accepting the broad cultural differences between western and non-western conceptions of autonomy as well as respecting social standards that reflect non-western values. Muslim women must work in full partnership with Muslim men, rejecting Western models of liberalisation, but also, and more importantly, asserting their own. Modesty is the defining emblem of Islamic values. The Arabic word for modesty is Haya. The interesting thing about this word is that it is linguistically related to the Arabic word for life (Hayat). Modesty is the virtue that infuses spirituality into the soul. This connection between spiritual life and modesty exists because the virtue is not just about outward appearances; rather, it is tolerance first and foremost about the inward state of having modesty before God–meaning awareness of divine presence everywhere and at all times that leads to propriety within oneself and in one’s most private moments. Prophet Muhammad said, "Every religion has a chief characteristic and the chief characteristic of Islam is modesty. “In Islam, modesty is a virtue for both men and women. The Prophet himself was described as being the epitome of modesty in his behaviour with people. When the Qur’an tells believers to lower their lustful gazes and guard their chastity-important aspects of the modesty tradition-it begins by commanding this to men before women (Q 24:30-31). This connection between spiritual life and modesty exists because the virtue is not just about outward appearances; rather, it is tolerance first and foremost about the inward state of having modesty - meaning an awareness of divine presence everywhere and at all times that leads to propriety within oneself and in one's most private moments. Outward modesty means behaving in a way that maintains one's own self-respect and the respect of others, whether in dress, speech, or behaviour. Inward modesty means shying away from any character or quality that is offensive to God. The outward is a reminder of the inward, and the inward is essential to the outward. Once the erroneous understanding and flawed logic behind the hijab gets cleared, they are bound to acknowledge that the hijab is a women’s cultural armour and there’s nothing veiled about the hijab. We must get referring to the clichés and misapprehensions connected to Islam in France. We must show that French culture and Islam can live together in peace.” Assert Muslim women A veil is seen as a genuine expression of a woman's religiosity. It’s a badge of their womanhood, representative of their resilience as females in a world determined to control every aspect of their being. Paradoxically, it is the women who are engaging with the modern world who appear to rely on the veil to signal to others that this is their way of expressing their freedom. A woman's attire has never been about perception, it is solely a matter of interpretation. What got lost amid such interpretive crossfire is the core message that women should not be objectified. Historically, modesty in dress has been defined by local customs that sometimes even predate Islam. The most sobering words for hijab come from Michelle Obama which she expressed when she addressed hijab-wearing students as the first lady of the United States: “Maybe you read the news and hear what folks are saying about your religion, and you wonder, if anyone ever sees beyond your headscarf to see who you are, instead of being blinded by the fears and misperceptions in their minds. And I know how painful and how frustrating all of that can be. But here’s the thing—you all have everything, everything, you need to rise above all of the noise and fulfil every last one of your dreams." ----- Moin Qazi is the author of the bestselling book, Village Diary of a Heretic Banker. He has worked in the development finance sector for almost four decades URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Tom Alter: A Whiteman Who Wrote and Spoke Impeccable Urdu

By Sumit Paul, New Age Islam 29 September 2022 In these times of linguistic chauvinism and Urdu being branded as the language of Muslims, I often remember actor and lover of Urdu, Tom Alter whose death anniversary falls on September 29. He shuffled off the mortal coil 5 years ago. I remember, when he departed, I wrote a tribute, Aap Mujhe Farsi Sikhayenge? The Tribune, Chandigarh carried my article. I still rue that I couldn't teach him Persian. Tom Alter ----- A fascinating character, who loved to converse in Urdu and would jot down Asha'ar in his cursive Nastaliq, Tom Alter was perhaps the most enthusiastic and serious lover of Urdu, I've ever met in life. His love and fondness for Urdu language was exemplary and a lesson to those who fret over languages. In these times, when most of the people are inarticulate in all languages, Tom's example can be an eye-opener. Son of American missionaries, Tom wrote and spoke Urdu better than many Muslims who proudly call themselves Ahle-Zabaan. A stickler for linguistic purity, Tom was a veritable purist who'd be irritated to hear the most obnoxious Punjabi-Bambiya Hindi syntax such as, 'Aap Kaise Ho' or 'Aap Khaana Khaa Lo' and would correct, please say, 'Aap Kaise HAIN' and 'Aap Khaana Khaa Leejiye.' He once told me, ' Hindi Aur Urdu Zabanein Roman Rasmul-Khat Mein Likhi Hi Nahin Jaa Sakteen' (Urdu and Hindi cannot be written in Roman script). He'd often ask, पहचान Lafz Ko Aap Roman Mein 'Pehcaan' Kaise Likh Sakte Hain? 'Pahchaan' Likhiye, 'Pehchaan' Nahin. कहते Ko KAHTE Likhiye, KEHTE Nahin. He had a perfect sense of transliteration (Naql-Harfi in Urdu and Lipyantaran in Hindi). Apropos, I also feel pukish when people ask me, Aap Kya Kar Rahe Ho or Aap Kab Aaoge? I always correct them: Aap Kya Kar Rahe HAIN or Aap Kab Aayenge? I've read and heard about Sir Hamilton Gibb (Laudian Professor of Arabic at Oxford) and Reynold K Nicholson ( Professor of Persian at Cambridge who taught Dr Muhammad Iqbal) conversing in native Arabic and Persian respectively and correcting Persian and Arabic of the native speakers. Tom was like them. He politely corrected Hindi and Urdu of people, but never condescended. He'd often ruefully comment, ' Ek Bhi Zabaan Theek Se Likhi-Boli Nahin Jaati. ‘I found his spoken Urdu to be better than that of the legendary English scholar of Urdu, Ralph Russell. By the way, the Englishman Russell, who passed away in 2008, was the greatest western authority on Mirza Ghalib. Whether it was Ghalib, Sahir or Azad, Tom enacted all characters with aplomb and always read his script in Urdu. His Sheen/Qaaf, Ain/ Ghain were just perfect. He didn't like frivolity and never used a Cellphone in his whole life. He had an aversion to mobile phones. Very few people are aware that he was a Sahab-e-Deewan and wrote poetry in Urdu. His famous couplet is often quoted by the connoisseurs of Urdu poetry: 'Chahat Ke Angaron Ko Sulagte Hi Rahne Do/ Kahin Ek Lamhe Ki Phoonk Se Aag Na Lag Jaaye.' Rare are such dedicated people nowadays. Lovers of Urdu language remember Tom in these horrific and linguistically abysmal times, when all languages have gone to dogs and no one cares for the nuances and finesse of any language. ----- 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

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Maulana Habibur Rahman of Indonesia and Maulana Jarjis Ansari of India Represent Two Approaches to Social Reform

Reformist Approach Not Hostility towards Social Evils Should Be Adopted Main Points: 1. Religious preachers in India only deliver speeches in jalsas. 2. They do not reach out to the target audience. 3. Most of their speeches revolve round sectarian beliefs. 4. No serious efforts are made to fight social evils. ----- By New Age Islam Staff Writer 27 September 2022 Maulana Jarjis Ansari ---- In November 2018, an Indonesian preacher Maulana Hobibur Rahman entered a night club in the evening where lady dancers were performing dance to the customers as usual. It was the time when the Muslim extremists of Indonesia had unleashed a violent campaign against the entertainment industry and the LGBT. Night clubs, dancers and other entertainment professionals were being attacked. The dancers in the night club were afraid of Maulana Habibur Rahman. But Hobibur Rahman known as Gus Miftah did not adopt a violent attitude. He sat with the dancers and had a discussion with them over Islamic values and informed them of Maruf and Nahl (Islamic and un-Islamic behaviour). He simply told them that what they were doing was not either in their own interest or of the society. The lady dancers were moved by his speech and some even cried. The Muslim organisations and hardline Muslim Ulema criticised this way of preaching to the 'evil doers'. They were of the opinion that such people should be dealt with ruthlessly and not with love and affection. 35 year-old Maulana Hobibur Rahman was not affected by the criticism and continued with his discussions with the members of the entertainment industry. Mos of them thought that they could not leave their job because it was their profession but they could also follow their religious duties along with their professional work. Religious preachers like Maulana Habibur Rahman are rare in the Muslim society. Most of the religious preachers act as enforcers not reformers. Maulana Habibur Rahman follows the Quranic principle of 'Advise good and forbid evil' and not of the mistranslated version 'Order good and forcefully prevent evil'. In India, our religious preachers and Islamic scholars mainly deliver speeches in Jalsas (assemblies) where their speeches revolve round sectarian issues or topics because the preachers belong to one or the other sect. The religious education system in the sub-continent is designed in a way that one must subscribe to a particular Maslak. So after graduating from a madrasa, the Aalim spends his lifetime defending his sectarian beliefs and proving the opponents wrong. Maulana Hobibur Rahman had a target group --- bar dancers, and he achieved success in convincing them that they were on the wrong path. In our country, people spend their time in gambling or other unIslamic activities. Most of the Muslim youth are unaware of the Islamic values. They spend their time in vane activities. Unemployed youth get involved in unproductive and even destructive activities. But there is no organised effort on the part of the Islamic preachers to start campaign against social evils. They do not have a target group for reform. What they are good at is delivering speeches in Jalsas. Loudspeakers have become the most effective tool for them. They deliver their sectarian speeches on top of their voice as if a war is going on. In their speech they mention the word Kafir again and again and the non- Muslims of the locality worriedly wonder if he is saying something against them. Little do they know that the word Kafir is used for the other sects of the Muslims and not for them. Recently, an Islamic preacher, Maulana Jarjis Ansari was convicted by a court in Varanasi for the sexual exploitation of a Muslim woman for two years. He was sentenced to ten years of imprisonment. The Maulana defended himself saying that he was framed by his sectarian opponents who were troubled by his tirade against their sects. If his claim is true, then it sheds light on the gloomy state of affairs between sects. The sectarian hatred and conflict can go to this extent. This is only because of the tradition of Islamic Jalsas where professional Maulanas expert in religious oratory deliver speeches. They charge a hefty fee for their sectarian speeches. The prophets did not claim any reward or remuneration in return for their preaching but these successors of prophets (Waris-e-Ambiya) claim thousands of rupees for one speech. The audience in these Jalsas do not attend these Jalsas to learn Islamic teachings but to hear how their Maulana proves the opposing sect Kafir worthy to be killed. Here religious reform is not the issue or the purpose. The main purpose of the speeches is to criticise other sects. A few years ago, a preacher of Gaya expert in Monazra was waylaid and taken to a forest where he was beaten up badly by the members of the other sect whom he criticised. This is because our religious leaders have forgotten their real duty of reform of the society. Drug addiction among the Muslim youth is rising, social evils like dowry custom could not be rooted out. Brides are killed for dowry. Crimes in Muslim localities are rising. Violence, shooting and bombings are a routine in Muslim societies. Non-Muslims are afraid of entering Muslim localities because of the unfriendly environment and look like ghettos. Loudspeakers are played at high volume at every event causing inconvenience to both the Muslims and non-Muslims.. In short, the true prophetic attitude of reform is missing among Muslim preachers and religious leaders. Great reformers have always tried to reform the society with love and affection. The holy prophet pbuh reformed the woman who threw garbage on him every day with love and affection. He showed to her that he cared for her. Maulana Habibur Rahman showed to the night club dancers that he cared for them and the attitude moved them. Gautam Buddha got an invitation for a dinner by the courtesan Ambapali whom people despised for her corrupt way of lice. His disciples advised him not to accept her invitation because she was a seductress. But the Buddha accepted her invitation and had meal at her house. She was deeply moved by his affection and joined Buddhism. She became one of the Theris (Bhikshunis) whose religious poems are included in the religious canon of Buddhism, the Tripitaka. Social reformers know that love not hate can reform the society and sincere efforts not fiery speeches bring revolution. If Maulana Jarjis Ansari had realised this truth, he would not have landed in jail. 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

When MEN Cry

By Sumit Paul, New Age Islam 27 September 2022 Rone Se Aur Ishq Mein Bebaak Ho Gaye Dhoye Gaye Hum Aise Ke Bas Paak Ho Gaye Mirza Asadullah Khan 'Ghalib' (Tears in love made me all the more uninhibited/ It cleansed and purified me) “Tears Aren't Male or Female Emotions Have No Gender Let It Be A Happy Or A Sad Tale We All Cry Whether Tough or Tender” My translation of Rumi's one of the last quatrains written in Ottoman Turkish A poignant picture of all-time greats Federer and Nadal with tears in their eyes, has moved the world. TOI carried the picture on the front page of its Sunday edition. Men shedding tears isn't a very common sight. But when they cry (in public) they make themselves endearingly humane as crying is a humanising act that transcends gender stereotypes and perceived emotional rigidity. We've a fixed belief that men don't cry. Rather, they shouldn't cry. “Aankhein Hain Toh Ashk Bhi Honge Hi/ Insaan Hain Toh Royenge Bhi “(When there're eyes, there must be tears/ When we all are humans, we must also shed tears). Men are as emotional and sensitive as women are. In fact, now behavioural science has begun to believe that men are more emotional and sensitive (than women). Valmiki cried when two mating birds were arrowed (Kronch-Vadh) by a hunter and the resultant pathos, created by the anguished heart, made him a Mahakavi. Crying is cathartic. Men must cry because when they hold their tears back, the pent up sorrow breaks them. Cry whenever emotions overwhelm you. Men often don't cry in public lest people should call them sissy. This is an erroneous belief. Cry for your own sake. Cry for your mental, physical and emotional well-being. Remember, men have shed more tears than all the water lying in the great oceans. There's a Persian adage, ' One who doesn't cry is capable of committing the most heinous crimes.' Tears are catalysts of humane aspects that constitute our persona and make all of us humans. Rafi sang, ' Ye Aansoo Mere Dil Ki Zubaan Hain/ Main Rouun Toh Ro Dein Aansoo, Main Hans Doon Toh Hans Dein Ye Aansoo.' They (tears) cleanse the firmament of our turbid existence and the azure blue sky of our life paves the way for a bright and rejuvenating sunshine. ----- 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

Anti-Hijab Protests: Iranian Women Lead the Way, Again

By Arshad Alam, New Age Islam 27 September 2022 Scores of Women Are Fed up with the Regime’s Requirement Of Compulsory Veiling Main Points: 1. Mahsa Amini, Who Died From Severe Beating She Received From The Iranian Morality Police, Has Become The Symbol Of Resistance. 2. The Veil Creates A Division Between Pious And Non-Pious Muslim Women, With Piety Being Defined In Narrow Sectarian Way. 3. The Islamic Brotherhood Was Able To Establish The Veil Through Which Muslim Religiosity Should Be Viewed, Albeit By Very Different Means. 4. The Iranian Women Are Saying That There Are Other Ways Of Being Religious; That The Veil Should Not Be A Marker Of Religiosity. ----- An undated picture obtained from social media shows Mahsa Amini. (Reuters) ---- The brave women of Iran are retaking the streets again. Just as they have been doing this for some decades now. This time, again, the demand is against the compulsive wearing of hijab, which is the law in Iran. Mahsa Amini, the Kurdish girl who died from severe beating she received from the morality police, has become the symbol of resistance. Not just for women who are burning their hijabs but also for Hijabi women who are fed with the restrictions that the Iranian regime imposes on women in general. Protests have broken out in almost all parts of Iran and solidarity protests are being held in different parts of the world. In all nearly 41 peaceful protestors have killed by the Iranian regime. And yet the protests show no sign of subsiding. Iran is a youthful country, with nearly 60% of the population below the age of 30. Almost everywhere, the protests have been led by women, particularly those within universities, where women comprise the majority of all student population. Almost everywhere, these protests have been supported by men but more importantly by women from all ages and from all walks of life. The protest is no longer simply about the compulsory hijab; it is now turning into a call for regime change. There was a time in Iran when veiled women were discriminated against. They were not allowed in schools, colleges and couldn’t go to work with their veils. Women were a huge part of the protests which eventually overthrew the Shah. They welcomed the Islamic regime but soon realized that they had chosen an Islamist clerical regime which didn’t see women as individuals in their own right. Women could study and work but not without becoming the bearers of the veil; the marker of sharia which would eventually segregates lives, spaces and minds. Women have their interpretation of this segregation; some support it but others do not. But what is getting increasingly clear through these protests is that even those who do wear veil have come out against its compulsory imposition. In Egypt, the Islamic Brotherhood never tasted real power except briefly when Muhammad Morsi became president. But much before that, through a very effective capturing of educational spaces, the Brotherhood was able to impose the veil on huge numbers of women. Through the mosque movement, etc. it were the women who were voluntary taking to the veil, first as markers of equality but later as a political flag of Islamism. In Iran the process was top down, with the state imposing compulsory hijab, which was strongly supported by the leadership of the Brotherhood. But what was common to both was the symbolism that got attached to the veil. Firstly, it marked out that veiled women from ‘lesser’ Muslim women/society. Secondly, the veil was a symbol of anti-Westernism, the refusal to bow down to the demands of modernization and westernization. The veil became the urge to embrace an Islamic authenticity. While one might have differences with such terminologies, these ideas were and are certainly part of the politics of hijab even today. Women hold up signs depicting the image of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who died while in the custody of Iranian authorities, during a demonstration denouncing her death outside the UN offices in Arbil on September 24, 2022. (AFP) ------ By far the Egyptian model seems to be more successful. There is no compulsion to wear the hijab and so it can be argued that women are doing it out of their own choice. However, coercion has many forms. Research conducted amongst such women during the 1980s and 1990s clearly tell us how unveiled women were ridiculed and scorned at by members of the Islamic Brotherhood in public. In other words, it was not state imposition but the Brothers had created such a hegemony that not wearing the hijab was not an option for many women. When we talk of veiling as choice, we also need to look at the societal context in which that ‘choice’ is being exercised. The protests in Iran have become anti state precisely because this ideology/illusion of choice is not there. It is ironical that despite being in state power for more than forty years now, it has not been able to convince its own women about the absolute necessity of the veil. On the other hand, the Islamic Brotherhood, without any state power could achieve this hegemony over the past fifty years. It would be premature to judge what will be the outcome of the current Iranian movement. The protestors may or may not win. Or they might be persuaded to go away with some piecemeal reform promises. Despite the fact that 41 protestors have been killed, it is safe to assume that the Iranian regime has not come out with its full force. One reason might be that when the protests broke, the Iranian President Raisi was abroad, at the United Nations, and hence would have faced international press if something went out of hand at home. But now since he is back, we can expect that the regime would not shy away from using even more force. We need not be over-simplistic in our analysis by calling this a fight between secularism and Islamic fundamentalism. The voices of Iranian women, which we have heard so far is more complicated than this simple binary. There are many women, and perhaps a majority of them, who do not want to identify with secularism. They argue that Islam remains the frame through which they see the world but their Islam is one that does not impose itself forcefully. In other words, religious women are part of this struggle but they are opposed to the regime imposing hijab on everyone without their consent. They are opposed to the regime for the brutal manner in which they have handled the protestors. They are not in this fight because they want to establish a secular state, but because they are opposed to a singular expression of Islamic religiosity. They are saying that Muslim women need not have to express their Islam through the veil; that religiosity is something very interiorized, very private to the individual experience. And the veil or its absence is not the yardstick through which one’s Islam should be judged. ---- A regular contributor to, Arshad Alam is a writer and researcher on Islam and Muslims in South Asia. URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Monday, September 26, 2022

Why Jihad, In the Sense of Qital, is Not Taking Place in India? Jihad in Islamic Jurisprudence in Indian Context - Part 3

By Grace Mubashir, New Age Islam 26 September 2022 A Community Of Another Country Entering Into A Treaty With The Head Of State Of One Country Is Equivalent To Two Heads Of State Entering Into A Treaty. Since Our Forefathers Signed An Agreement Then And We Renew It Every Five Years, Our Obligation Is To Live As If Both People Have Equal Rights Without Seeing That All The Other People Of This Country Are Outside Or They Are The Only Ones Inside ----- (This article discusses the jurisprudential discussions on Jihad according to Shafi School of law and Tafsir Razi and other prominent Seerah literature) Part 1 The question arises in the mind of many people why Jihad, in the sense of Qital, is not taking place in India. This article aims to find the answer. Ibn Hajar (may Allah be pleased with him) states the early ruling of Jihad in Al-Tuhfa Volume IX, Chapter 212. “In the early days of Islam, before the Hijra, Jihad was a taboo. Till fourteen years after Nubuwwat and advent of Islam, i.e. 13 years in Makkah and one year in Madinah, Jihad was prohibited through more than 70 verses of the Qur'an.” See al-Baqarah 190. "The call is to fight those who fight you.' It is very clear that only those who fight you are meant. In the second stage Jihad was permitted during the months when fighting was prohibited. And that too only to the belligerent deniers intent on destroying Islam and the Muslims. This permission was given for any level of Jihad against the aforementioned enemies after the conquest of Makkah. Jihad is permitted by the 41st verse of the Surah Tawbah. From this it is clear that during the lifetime of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) the fate of Jihad was in three stages. Let us move through Surah Anfal and Surah Taubah with the aim of recitation. We should not try to derive the rules of Jihad from Tawbah or Anfal because we are not capable of it. We must follow the rulings that the previous scholars who were able to determine the rules of Jihad, have carefully examined the chapter of Tawbah, the chapter of Anfal, and similar verses and determined from it. Only that can be followed. Just as we have no authority to judge directly from the Qur'an and Hadith on matters of prayer or fasting, neither do we have authority on Jihad. Online self-proclaimed tutors on Islam following literal understanding of religion should be exposed. Allah has divided people into two levels. Those who are capable of making judgments and those who are not. Among the scholars who were able to determine the rulings, those who codified it accurately were Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam Shafi'i, Imam Hambali and Imam Maliki. There are scholars other than these who are capable of determining rulings but we have no authority to follow them as they are not codified. What we should follow is how the scholars who have defined and codified have looked at the Anfal chapter and the Tawbah chapter. The question of why Muslims are waiting is not answered when Anfal chapter and Taubah chapter encourage Jihad so much? Remember that none of the above applies to the Indian situation. We will talk about that later. The Problem of Text & Context Some writers and speakers quote the Qur’anic verses out of context and try to blame Islam for promoting violence and terrorism. They take a “text” and use it outside its “context”. It is just like someone searches through the Bible and picks the following words or sentences to prove that the Bible promotes violence: Chapter 9 (Surah at-Tawbah), verse 12: “Fight the leaders of unbelief” (9:12). This is just part of the whole passage where God talks about the Muslims in Medina and their truce agreement with the unbelievers of Mecca. See verses 12 to 14: “And if they break their oaths after their agreement and revile your religion, then fight the leaders of unbelief –surely their oaths are of no value– so that they may desist” (9:12). “What is the matter with you that you do not fight a people who broke their oaths and aimed at the expulsion of the Prophet [from Mecca], and they attacked you first? Do you fear them? But God is most deserving that you should fear Him, if you are believers” (9:13). “Fight them; God will punish them by your hands and bring them to disgrace, and assist you against them, heal the hearts of a believing people, remove the rage of their hearts, and God turns (mercifully) to whom He pleases, and Allah is Knowing, Wise” (9:14). The context clearly gives the right of defense to the Muslim but, in no way, does it promote aggression. Chapter 9 (Surah at-Tawbah), verse 36: “Fight the polytheists all together” (9:36). In reality, this sentence is part of an entire verse in which God talks about the sacredness of four of the twelve months in which fighting is forbidden. Then it says: “And fight the polytheists all together as they fight you all together; and know that God is with those who guard (evil)” (9:36). The theological and historical documents also support this argument. Seerah of Tabari and Ibn Sa’d’s Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir also points to the ephemeral nature of the verse. Tafseer Jalalyni has also mentioned this fact. Those who like to take this Qur’anic verse out of its context conveniently miss out the part “as they fight you all together”. As you see, this verse is also responding to the aggression started by the polytheists against the Muslims; it does not talk about initiating a war. From these examples, it is quite clear that Islam is not talking about the minor jihad for the sake of aggression; rather it is allowing the Muslims to physically defend their lives, properties, and lands against any aggression, and also to fight for ending tyranny against the oppressed men, women and children. (Tafseer Razi) But contemporaries interpret jihad as simply war. It is completely misleading. As part of this interpretation, many assumed that Jihad was incarnated as a religious law in Madinah. This perception needs to be corrected. Just as the verses dealing with Jihad were revealed in Madinah, so were such verses revealed in Makkah. The greatest Jihad is the Jihad carried out by the Prophet at the time of the emergence of Islam. It is patience. Jihad is of three types. One is Jihad in the heart. By two tongues. Or, Jihad through Speech. Jihad through three wars. It is through Surat al-Furqan that the Qur'an asks the Holy Prophet to perform Jihad in Makkah. (This Surah was completely revealed in Makkah). 'Do not obey the infidels. Wage a mighty Jihad against them. Most Tafseer scholars also say that this surah is in Makkah. Prominent among them are Ibn Zubair, Hasanul Baswari, Ikrima, Atwa and Jabir (ra). (According to Ibn Abbas, verses 95, 96, 97 of this surah are not in Makkah.) Jihad is mentioned here in the Makkah verse. The interest of the Hijra mentioned in this verse is about the Hijra who went to Habsinia. In the context of these verses, the Jihad that should be given the most importance is the Jihad carried out by the Prophet and his Companions in the early stages of Islam. It is the feeling towards the Makkah polytheists. It is to invite them to the path of truth. Prophet’s Jihad in Mecca was a most distinguished preaching mission to show the futility of the religious beliefs their forefathers preached. Therefore, the word of truth is the most essential type of Jihad. Allah described this Jihad as Jihad ul Kabira. Or it means to wage Jihad against them with the Qur'an and the intellectual precepts put forward by the Qur'an. This Qur'anic document is supported by a verse. The best Jihad is to speak truthfully to an oppressive king. It can be seen in another Hadees. Jihad against one's own soul in the cause of Allah is the best Jihad. The Sahabah raised this question when he was in Madinah (Which is the best Jihad?) The Jihad of telling the truth, living with patience, and fighting against the soul can be likened to food, and Jihad by war to medicine. Because medicine becomes necessary only when disease occurs. So is war jihad. But among contemporaries, when they say Jihad, they understand that it is a strategy of war. There is jihad based on war. Jihud al-Qital is Jihad when many conditions are met. It is very clear in the Hadees. Despite saying that the best Jihad is to speak the truth, many people widely misapply Jihad as an act of war without any authentic evidence. There was no militant jihad in Makkah. Umar's raising his sword when he left for Hijra cannot be counted as part of Jihad. It is part of the ‘sial’. Or fighting for self-preservation. This form of Jihad existed when the Holy Prophet reached Madinah. In other words, the core elements of Jihad remained unchanged in His life in Madinah. An Islamic social atmosphere becomes present in the Madinah life. Moreover, a system was established in Madinah that made the very existence of Muslims possible. Muslims are obliged to protect it. Jihad Is Internal Struggle for Purification Jihad is commanded only against those who fight with you or those who are of that state of mind. Then the Dhimmi Kafir (disbelievers who are friends with Muslims) will not be included in this. A belligerent disbeliever who has been given refuge by a Muslim or nation, known as a 'Musta'min', cannot wage Jihad until the end of the period of refuge granted. Then they too will not fall into this fate. This does not include a citizen of a nation that entered into a non-combat truce, known as a "Mu'ahid". Once a truce is made, it is obligatory for all the people of the nation to keep that truce with each other. The difference between a Musta'min and a Mu'ahid is that even a mere citizen of a Muslim country can give refuge to a Musta'min. Even after the Prophet's (PBUH) daughter Zainab (RA) became a Muslim, the wife's husband remained hostile to the Muslims. He came to Madinah in the sixth year of Hijra for a purpose. At that time Zainab Biwi announced that I had given shelter. It was announced by a woman who is a citizen of a Muslim country. The moment Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) heard this, he said: If a person of our nation, be it a man or a woman, gives shelter, it is incumbent on everyone to follow it. But truce (Ahd) can be made only by a head of state. The Prophet (PBUH) had made peace with the polytheists before the declaration of deliverance from the polytheists and those who entered into a covenant. At that time, Muslims used to travel in Makkah and polytheists in Madinah. (Tafsir Razi) Come to think of it, Jihad is not something that humans can do on their own like prayer or fasting. It should be done very carefully looking at the terms. Farz Kifaya comes only if we stand in our country and the polytheists in their country and we do not make peace with them and fall within the scope of the "disbelievers who are belligerent to you" and our membership reaches exactly half of their membership. Part 2 Indian Situation If you look at the Indian situation, it is not a place where Muslims and non-Muslims stand as two nations. In 1947, Mountbatten divided India into two countries, Pakistan and the Indian Union. Mountbatten declared that due to the many communal riots, India was divided into two and those who liked could choose the place they liked. Almost 100 percent of the Muslims in Pakistan stayed in Pakistan. At the same time, the Muslims in India divided into two groups, one group went to Pakistan, mainly Karachi, and the other remained in India. Leaders like Abul Kalam Azad, Fakhruddin Ali Ahmad, Muhammad Ismail Sahib and Ansari who belonged to the Muslim community at that time saw Nehru as the representative of all the Indian people including Muslims and assured them that they would stay here and fully accept the government. At that time, Nehru replied, "We intend to take this country in a socialist manner. Here no one gets preference on account of religion. No one should take the law into their own hands here. Everyone should follow the rules here. The Muslim leaders promised to comply with all this. The first Lok Sabha elections were between those who supported and those who did not support the constitution drafted under the leadership of Ambedkar. The supporters were represented by Nehru and the non-supporters were represented by the Hindu Mahasabha. In the first election in 1951, our forefathers, the Muslims, voted for the candidates who were fielded by Nehru-led Congress. That vote does not mean that I supported that candidate, it means my support for the constitution. It means that the constitution can be supported by following the laws of this country. The Lok Sabha elections are renewed every five years after the agreement of mandate was made then. It is ostensibly a vote for a candidate, but in reality it is a vote for the Constitution. A community of another country entering into a treaty with the head of state of one country is equivalent to two heads of state entering into a treaty. Since our forefathers signed an agreement then and we renew it every five years, our obligation is to live as if both people have equal rights without seeing that all the other people of this country are outside or they are the only ones inside. This is how Allah's Messenger (PBUH) lived with the Jews for the first six years after he arrived in Madinah. Madinah then belonged to both Muslims and Jews. After the Battle of Ahzab, the Jews committed treason and broke away from that covenant. Our present responsibility is to fulfil our personal, social and international covenants. So our responsibility is to abide by the agreement that our forefathers accepted the constitution. This means and that even if some aggressors take the law into their hands, we will not take the law into our own hands. In many places in the Qur'an, it is said that it is our responsibility to keep the covenant. If we ask why Jamaat-e-Islami or their zealous Brotherhood or those who follow their path are working against all this, it is like this: we do not need Fiqh to find out the Farz and condition of prayer. They do not need Fiqh to judge Jihad as they have decided that only Quran and Sunnah are sufficient. They fell into the mistake of believing that the translation of the Tawbah chapter and the Anfal chapter was enough. We cannot accept that. We should only follow the Imams who are able to judge by looking at the Qur'an and the Sunnah and come forward with their results. And no one should join the ranks of those who form new parties and hold secret meetings at night. Inapplicability of wartime instructions after the war is over. In every war, defensive or for some reason offensive, instructions are given to kill the adversary. But these instructions become infructuous once the war is over. These are contextual, not universal. That is why Shaan e Nozool or context of all verses is taught in madrasas. ----- A regular columnist for, Mubashir V.P is a PhD scholar in Islamic Studies at Jamia Millia Islamia and freelance journalist. Part One of the Article: What is Jihad? How has it got conflated with the Christian concept of Crusade or Holy War? - Part 1 Part Two of the Article: Jihad Is Not Holy War: Allah Asked the Prophet to Perform Jihad through Preaching Quran - Part 2 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

Barelvis Today: A Struggle Within

By Mohammad Ali, New Age Islam 26 September 2022 The Followers Of Ahmad Raza Demand Absolute Conformity With The Literal Understanding Of His Fatwa And Forbade Anyone Within The Group To Contend With It. Consequently, the Barelvis Started Applying Every Ruling Regarding How Muslims Should Treat Non-Muslims to Deobandis and Ahl-e-Hadith Main Points: 1. This essay argues that Barelvis are not a homogenous community 2. It points out the ongoing struggle within the Barelvi School ----- A couple of days ago, the 104th Urs, the death anniversary, of the founder of the Barelvi School, Ahmad Raza Khan was commemorated in Bareilly. Ahmad Raza is considered to be one of the most influential Ulama, theologian-jurists, whose rulings and writings shaped the religious demography of Muslims in South Asia, and continue to do so globally through the South Asian Muslim diaspora across the world. When we say Barelvi, it signifies a group of Muslim people who adhere to the rulings of Ahmad Raza in theological and religious matters which are contrasting, sometimes, from that of the scholars associated with the Deobandi and Ahl-e-Hadith schools of thought. Ahmad Raza contended with their rivals on various minor issues, i.e., the issues that do not make the foundations of the faith. But his ruling that was issued in 1906, entitled Husām al Harmain alā Manhar al-Kufr wal-Mayn, against four scholars Muhammad Qasim Nanotwi, Rashid Ahmad Gangohi, Khalil Ahmad, and Ashraf Ali Thanvi, who were the founders and father-figures of the Deoband seminary and the Deoband school, accusing them of blasphemy against the Prophet Muhammad, demarcated the distinction between the Barelvi and other schools that began formation in the same period. Ahmad Raza’s ruling in the Husāmul Harmain was conditioned by the sentence, ‘whoever has doubts in their (i.e. the four scholars I just mentioned) Kufr and damnation (caused by their kufr), then he/she has committed Kufr (as well). This condition led the followers of Ahmad Raza to believe that every one of those who subscribe to the Deoband or Ahl-e-Hadith school by virtue of believing their leaders as Muslims automatically became kāfir. It is also worth noting that Husām al-Harmain can be considered the most important creedal text of the Barelvis with respect to asserting their sectarian identity. The followers of Ahmad Raza demand absolute conformity with the literal understanding of his fatwa and forbade anyone within the group to contend with it. Consequently, the Barelvis started applying every ruling regarding how Muslims should treat non-Muslims to Deobandis and Ahl-e-Hadith. The corollary emanated from the first position, i.e. one has to conform to the literal understanding of the fatwa followed by the belief that only the followers of Ahmad Raza were Muslims. And since the followers of the Deobandi and Ahl-e-Hadith schools do not subscribe to the fatwa of Ahmad Raza, they are out of the fold of Islam. This belief is ubiquitous among the informed Barelvis throughout the subcontinent and among the Barelvi diaspora as well. However, this fact has been overlooked that Muslims in South Asia are not divided into these specific sectarian lines. There are a number of people who do not subscribe to any of these schools, such as the people associated with the shrines in Ajmer, Makanpur in Kanpur district, Dewa in Barabanki district, etc. These people are wrongly associated with the Barelvi School only because they visit shrines and perform devotional practices. These practices have recently been identified with the Barelvi School, regardless of the fact that they have been existing long before the birth of the school. To distinguish these people from the Barelvis, we can call them Khanqahis, meaning the people who do not adhere to the Barelvi tradition but are part of the larger Sufi traditions in India. At this point in time, we cannot assume that the Barelvis are homogenous in their practice of following Ahmad Raza. The young generation has started revolting against the anti-intellectual approach of viewing Ahmad Raza as the sole authoritative figure in the school and the demand for absolute conformity to his rulings, especially Husām al-Harmain. The reasons behind this revolution can be many. However, significant among them are the authoritarian monopoly of Ahmad Raza on ideas, and juristic and theological interpretations, plus the marginalization of the Barelvis due to the separatism caused by the rulings of Ahmad Raza. Today, the Barelvis can be divided into various groups with regard to their view on the anathematization of the non-Barelvis. The first group is the one that carries the traditional position by abiding by Husām al-Harmain in its literal understanding and emanating reasoning, meaning all non-Barelvis are Kafir. The second group is of those Barelvis who do not cede to the previous group. Instead, it believes that a wholesale anathematization of a group of Muslims is not allowed in Islam. They believe that takfir is a sensitive issue and can only be charged against a specific person if their blasphemy or heresy is established by thorough scrutiny and research. Ahmad Raza is right in his ruling against the four scholars in his fatwa. But it cannot be applied to their followers until it is not proved that each of them has the same belief against which Ahmad Raza ruled. This group tends to limit the effect of Husām al-Harmain. However, the problem is that this group is not able to ascertain whether the followers of the Deobandi or Ahl-e-Hadith school share the belief of their leaders or not. In this state of uncertainty, they are not able to save themselves from the effects of Husām al-Harmain which demand a similar treatment with the non-Barelvis to that which is prescribed to non-Muslims. The third group of Barelvis argues that any legal ruling cannot demand absolute conformity. They invoke their right to avoid or disagree with a jurist’s opinion if it turns out to be contradictory to Islamic legal tradition, or if a better opinion is available. Furthermore, if the problem, for example, ‘sentence A’, is to be explained in a way that it is not a problem anymore, the decree of a scholar regarding ‘sentence A’ which he issued seeing it as a problem, cannot demand obedience. On the basis of these arguments, the people of the third group hold, (a) the fatwa of Ahmad Raza in Husām al-Harmain, was his individual opinion based on his own research, therefore, not binding for other scholars and people, (b) the statements of Deobandi Ulama whom Ahmad Raza considered blasphemous can be explained (Tawil) in a way that they no longer appear to be blasphemous, which, as a result, exonerate these Ulama from the charge of blasphemy. Such an explanation makes this group able to free themselves from the shackles of an infinite takfīrī cycle. This contention not only tears down the intellectual hegemony of Ahmad Raza Khan within his own school but also answers the question of the intellectual and social crises that have crept into the Barelvi School during the previous decades. This third group is represented by a large number of Ulama in the previous as well as in the current century. Prominent among these scholars are Pir Mahar Ali Shah, Pir Karam Shah Azhari, the scholars and Sufis of the Khanqah-e-Mujibiyya, Phulwari Sharif, Patna. However, these efforts of being remained neutral or against this sectarian conflict and extremism did not bear any visible fruit due to an unorganized resistance. The Ulama associated with a madrasa, Jamia Arifia, in Sayyid Sarawan in district Kaushambi, UP, are attempting to show an organized resistance to the monopoly of the Barelvi School over the devotional practices in Islam and refusing to fuel division over the pretence of abiding by a century old fatwa. These Ulama are trying to put an end to the destructive effects of the rulings that Ahmad Raza issued against their fellow Muslims. In my conversation with Zeeshan Ahmad Misbahi, a teacher at the madrasa, their objective to contend the rulings of Ahmad Raza is to stop the Takfiri culture among the Barelvis and revive the Sufi culture of inclusiveness and tolerance, an antidote to extremism and separatism. ----- Mohammad Ali has been a madrasa student. He has also participated in a three-year program of the “Madrasa Discourses,” a program for madrasa graduates initiated by the University of Notre Dame, USA. Currently, he is a Ph.D. Scholar at the Department of Islamic Studies, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi. His areas of interest include Muslim intellectual history, Muslim philosophy, Ilm-al-Kalam, Muslim sectarian conflicts, and madrasa discourses. He can be reached at mohammad91.ali@gmail. 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

Muslims Needn't Crawl

By Sumit Paul, New Age Islam 26 September 2022 Itna Bhi Na Jhuk Ke Koi Paaemaal Kar Jaaye Tujhe Apni Na Sahi, Ghairat-E-Qaum Ki Toh Soch Zara Yaas Yagana Changezi (Don't make yourself so low that you're trampled underfoot / You needn't care for your pudency but think of the sense of honour of the community) When a race chooses to crawl; Sooner or later, it does fall Author's own translation of his Bangla verse One of the most cringe worthy manifestations of human behaviour is sycophancy. Umer Ahmed Ilyasi calling RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat the Father of the Nation is an embarrassing instance of apple-polishing. While one can understand the apprehensions of Ilyasi as India is fast becoming a Hindu Rashtra, there's no need for Muslims to be ingratiating with the RSS satrap and other influential Hindus. Currying favour with an outright Hindu outfit and its head-honcho in such a servile and fawning manner is uncalled-for. Sycophancy stems from an acute sense of inferiority complex and also from lurking fear. Arab military General in mediaeval times Amir Alkhoub observed that sycophancy is the final resort or the end result when you inveigh against your opponent tooth and nail but fail. Then you inveigle yourself into his good books by licking his boots. Sycophancy as a war or diplomatic strategy can be understood and even condoned. But genuflecting as a social gesture to appease someone (perceived to be invincible) is unacceptable and humiliating. This besmears the image of the person and the community he belongs to. Amour propre (self-respect or esteem) is something that must never be compromised. No need for Muslims to lie on the ground and let the juggernaut of Hinduism / RSS mow them down. Obsequious Ilyasi must realize this. Retain your self-respect and hold your head high. ----- 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

Sunday, September 25, 2022

Who Enabled The Popular Front Of India (PFI) For Islamist Radicalisation? The role of Maulana Maududi's Jamaat-e-Islami amd Syed Qutb's Ikhwanul Muslemin

By Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi, New Age Islam 25 September 2022 Syed Qutub Interpreted The Following Part Of The 44th Verse Of Surah Al-Maida To Buttress The Same Argument: “Those Who Do Not Rule [Over The Earth] By What Allah Has Revealed Are Indeed The Infidels” ------ Hasan al-Banna founded the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) aka Ikhwanul Muslimin in 1928 in Egypt. But it was replicated with greater ideological momentum in British India. With the establishment of Jamaat-e-Islami in 1941 by the Indian Islamist ideologue, Syed Abul A’la Maududi whose writings actually inspired global Islamist movements including the 1979 Islamic Revolution of Iran, the doctrine of “Hakimiyyah” (an Islamic dominion on earth) gained palpable traction in the new generation of Muslims in India. In this theological worldview which was theoretically developed by Syed Qutub and further buttressed in Urdu by Maulana Mawdudi, every modern, liberal and democratic form of governance was castigated as akin to “shirk” i.e. associating partnerships with Allah [in His sovereignty]. For instance, in his famous commentary on the Qur’an titled, Fi Dilalil Qur’an (In the Shade of the Qur’an), Syed Qutub interpreted the following part of the 44th verse of Surah al-Maida to buttress the same argument: “Those who do not rule [over the earth] by what Allah has revealed are indeed the infidels”. An extremist interpretation of this verse propounded by Syed Qutb and Maulana Mawdudi catapulted Islam from being a spiritual path of salvation into a religion of political dominion, and thus consequently has created chaos in the Muslim world for decades. But India was immune to this threat, thanks to the pluralistic Islam of Sufi Mystics until the political Islamist organisations and radical outfits were given birth mainly in the peninsular part of the country from the womb of Jamaat-e-Islami and at the behest of Ikhwanul Muslimin (Muslim Brotherhood). It was during the 1990s when Kerala first witnessed the self-styled Islamist doctrine of Hakimiyah, with the establishment of an Islamist outfit, Muslim Aikya Sangham, by Vakkam Abdul Qadar, popularly known as Vakkom Moulavi. Influenced by the thoughts of Syed Qutub and Hasan al-Banna, Vakkom Moulavi championed pan-Islamism for the Muslims of Travancore, Cochin and Malabar regions. He was instrumental in creating an “Islamist renaissance” in Kerala through Arabic and Malayalam literature like The Muslim (1906), Al-Islam (1918) and Deepika (1931). Through these publications, he tried to preach puritanical Salafism, purging the Keralite Muslims of local festivals like the Nerchas and Urs. Thus, his proselytes deviated from Islamic postulates and principles reflecting Kerala’s ancient Muslim heritage. As a matter of fact, the advent of Islam in South India is attributed to the early Sufi saints, who reached the coastal areas of Malabar. Hazrat Malik bin Dinar, a mystically inclined companion of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was the earliest preacher of Islam in South India. The first mosque in Kerala, built in 603 AD and known as Malik Dinar Masjid, is located in Kasargod, with an adjacent graveyard and is embellished with gravestones, known as Mizan-stones. Remarkably, this foremost Muslim in Kerala greatly inspired the noted mystics of Islam in Arabia like Hasan al-Basri (R.A) and Rabia al-Adawiya (R.A). In fact, he professed and practised the Sufi notion of ‘jihad bin-Nafs’—inner jihad against one’s baser instincts—in contrast to the offensive jihad. He also showed a wide embrace for all faith traditions in India and was also greatly inspired by the spiritual ideals of Jesus Christ. As recorded in history, Malik bin Dinar memorized various chapters and commentaries of the Bible along with the Qur’an. Thus, he was an epitome of peaceful coexistence with Christians and other non-Muslim communities living in the then-Indian subcontinent. Now, let’s keep in view that Malik bin Dinar’s broader notion of Islam made it mandatory for him to be kind and compassionate with his Christian neighbours. So, what was the stimulus behind the audacity of modern radical Islamists in Kerala chopping off a Christian professor’s hand in Idukki? Clearly, the political Islamist ideologues held the pluralistic Islam of Malik Bin Dinar hostage in Kerala, swaying a section of the Keralite Muslims from inclusivism to brutal religious extremism and exclusivism. There has been a continued wave of radicalisation in Kerala and the Malabar region as a result of the extremist outfits which have camouflaged political Islam in the name of the “fight for Muslim rights”. Today, there are two major groups of Muslims in Kerala diametrically different in thought and action: Sunni Muslims and Mujahid Muslims. While the Keralite Sunni Muslims are believed to be pluralistic and peaceful, the “Mujahid Muslims” in Kerala constitute the “puritanical” Salafis often indulging in communal and sectarian clashes. For instance, on September 6, 2017, they razed the tomb of a Sufi saint Muhammad Swalih at Vazhikkadavu on the Nilambur-Ooty road. A piece of paper stuffed inside a bottle was recovered from the vicinity. The words written on it in Malayalam were: “I am going to the Arabian Sea”. In their protests, the Sunni-Sufi leaders came down heavily on the Salafis. K.P. Jamal Karulayi, district leader of the Sunni Yuvajana Sangham said: “Wahhabism should be thrown into the Arabian Sea.” Regrettably, as a result of enormous wealth from the gulf countries, radical organisations have been by and large successful to woo the gullible Muslim youths in South India. As a result, the mainstream Keralite Muslims are concerned that the pluralistic ethos they have inherited from their peaceful predecessors, was under attack, while the Ikhwani thoughts were spawning across South India through an active role of radical Islamist groups. On top of such radial Islamist outfits was the Kerala-based Popular Front of India (PFI) which, since its inception in 2007, finds itself embroiled in various incidents of violent extremism from creating the blasphemy killers to turning the nationwide Hijab protests into a tool of inciting violence. However, the PFI cannot be understood without grasping the deeper ideological dynamic. It claims to be an NGO, but pledges allegiance to the Muslim Brotherhood (Ikhwan-ul-Muslimin) and has had alleged involvement in terror activities like chopping off the Christian professor’s hand in Kerala’s Idukki, and running the “Islamic State Al-Hindi Module”. As reported, the PFI's origins lie in the National Development Front (NDF), a state organisation that operated in Kerala during the 1990s with an aim to safeguard the interests of the Muslim community. The NDF was founded in 1994, two years after the demolition of the Babri Masjid. Incidents of communal conflict increased dramatically in Kerala as the NDF's popularity increased. Some of its members were detained in 2003 for rioting and the death of eight Hindus in Kozhikode, Kerala's Marad Beach. Three Muslim organisations in southern India, the National Democratic Front in Kerala, the Karnataka Forum for Dignity, and the Manitha Neethi Pasarai in Tamil Nadu, came to unite into one organisation, at a meeting in Kozhikode in November 2006. This is how the PFI was established in February 2007. Now what we have learnt from various media sources is that PFI faces a nationwide crackdown, raids and the arrest of its leaders and active members. Around 106 people have been detained as a result of the searches in 93 different locations, including 22 people in Kerala, where even PFI chairman OMA Salam was arrested. Moreover, 20 arrests have been reported each from Maharashtra and Karnataka, 10 each from Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, 9 each from Assam and Uttar Pradesh, 5 each from Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, 4 each from Madhya Pradesh and Delhi, and 2 each from Rajasthan. All this has reportedly been done as a result of a probe into the PFI’s potential ties to the Islamic State and other terror-related activities. Now the PFI and its general secretary are being sued for contempt by the Kerala High Court for organising a dawn-to-dusk Hartal there. In response to the state-wide raids, the radical group declared a "flash bandh," which resulted in violence, rioting and stone-pelting. The Indian government has maintained that the PFI has indulged in actions detrimental to the internal security of India. Investigators have accused the outfit of pursuing a secret agenda inspired by radical jihadism. The NIA has revealed that PFI cadres impart training in the use of explosives in isolated places and promulgate a narrative of victimhood among Muslim youth. But the question is: will merely banning radical Islamist outfits like the PFI put an end to radicalisation in India? Has the government’s earlier crackdown on the radical Islamist preacher, Zakir Naik and his outfit Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) brought any tangible developments on counter-radicalisation or de-radicalisation in India? Merely mulling a crackdown on radical institutions is pointless unless a better alternative is systematically evolved as an organic development within the community. Indian Muslims must be enabled to strengthen their pluralistic Islam through spiritual centres, Khanqahs (Sufi shrines) and modern educational institutions in order to rescue young and impressionable Muslim minds from being misguided. Given the meagre resources they have, they are unlike to undertake this gigantic task unless the government develops a genuine will. ------ Regular Columnist with, Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi is an Indo-Islamic scholar and English-Arabic-Urdu writer. He has graduated from a leading Islamic seminary in India, and acquired Diploma in Qur'anic sciences and a Certificate in Uloom ul Hadith from Al-Azhar Institute of Islamic Studies. Presently, he is pursuing his PhD in Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi. URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Saturday, September 24, 2022

The Creation/Evolution Of Human Species

By T.O. Shanavas, New Age Islam 24 September 2022 The Qur’anic verse 29:20 decrees that Muslims must explore and discover His process of creation: “Say [Muhammad to your people]: ‘Travel through the earth and see how Allah did originate creation; so will Allah produce a later creation: for Allah has power over all things” (Quran: 29:20). If it is humanly impossible to discover and explain God’s process of creation, all-knowing God would not have decreed to research and learn “how Allah did originate creation … will produce a later creation.” Moreover, the verse spells out that all tools necessary to learn the process of the divine creation available on the earth (“travel through the earth and see how …”). Although Almighty God’s means to act is infinite, based on the above verse, whatever processes of the creation that God applied is humanly discoverable. Here I describe the divine process of creation of modern human (Homo Sapien Sapien). According to the theory of evolution, humans and apes evolved from their ancestral species (Figure 1) by a fusion of two chromosomes. Humans have 46 chromosomes, whereas our closest living relatives, chimpanzees and bonobos, both have 48 chromosomes, as do all other great apes such as gorillas and orangutans, chimpanzee, gorilla, and orangutan (Figure 2). The chromosomes are numbered 1-23 pairs in human and the 1-24 in apes (Figure 2) . Figure 1. Human And Ape Evolution With Chromosomal Fusion From Common Ancestor . Figure 2. Human And Ape Chromosomes. The modern cytogenetic studies show that we, the modern humans, were created out of the head-to-head fusion of two ancestral chromosomes, that remain separate in other primates. What is the evidence for the fusion? A chromosome has telomeres with six-base sequence of the DNA letters TTAGGG at the ends, and a centromere at the junction of its short and long arm (Figure 3). Figure 3. Unlike other 22 human chromosomes, chromosome 2 has two telomeres with six-base sequence of the DNA letters TTAGGG and two centromeres instead of one. Here is a highly simplified visualization of this fusion process from Brown University biologist Kenneth Miller. Figure 4 Chromosomal Fusion In other words, the genetic evidence is precisely what you would expect to see if evolution is true. And that speaks volumes about the power of the theory to explain human evolution/creation. Analyses being performed currently on genomes of extinct species, that are directly related to us, such as Denisovans and Neanderthals, reveal that these species already presented the chromosome fusion that originated the long chromosome 2 that is characteristic of humans. Therefore, this rearrangement of chromosomes goes a long way back in time. Using various methods date, it is estimated to be from 0.75 to 4.5 million years ago. References Yunis JJ, Prakash O. The origin of man: a chromosomal pictorial legacy. Science. 1982;215:1525–30. Ken Miller Human Chromosome 2 Genome – YouTube ----- T.O. Shanavas is a native of Kerala, but is now based in the USA.He is the author of “Islamic Theory of evolution of Evolution The Missing Link Between Darwin and The Origin of Species.” Co-author of the book, And God Said, "Let There Be Evolution!": Reconciling The Book Of Genesis, The Qur'an, And The Ken Miller Human Chromosome 2 Genome - YouTube 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

Developing A Culture Of Education And Social Harmony In India

By Husain Sherani Translated from Urdu by Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi, New Age Islam 24 September 2022 How To Strengthen Social Cohesion And Inclusive Culture Of India Main Points: 1. We see examples of how people respect one another's beliefs and traditions while also knowing that there is a malicious intention to undermine India's cultural harmony. 2. Sometimes a Hindu appears to help a Muslim, and vice versa, depending on the circumstance. 3. The two Muslim students provide as another example of India's rich, traditional culture. 4. The Muslim leaders must focus on taking the required actions to raise public awareness of the benefits of education and to give the next generation in their own communities a priority in terms of education. ------ On the one hand, political power is used to incite social and political hatred against social harmony and national unity, but on the other, we continue to receive news from social media platforms about caste and religion breaking through prejudice and overcoming the divisive wall of the region, language, or colour and dress and demonstrating acts of solidarity as fellow humans who respect each other's beliefs and cultures. Every day, we get examples of how humankind demonstrates its unity by respecting one another's beliefs and cultures. Sometimes a Hindu appears to help a Muslim, and vice versa, depending on the circumstance. Furthermore, there are so many fascinating advancements taking on in front of our very eyes that the growing desire to understand one another's religions just puts out the flame of hostility. These news reports, whether they are about college and university course admissions or Islamic religious trivia competitions, are enough to let us realise that the core religious ideal and the inclusive Indian culture cannot be so easily undercut by hatred and violence. In the same vein, there have been more than a dozen distinct instances in the past 20 years where Muslim students have not only competed in but also won specialised competitions in the study of Hinduism. Regardless of religion or nationality, these events have not only offered comfort to all Indians who are going through the agony of humanity, but they have also kept the lights of love and hope to glow in the midst of the darkness of hatred. It is distinct that such news does not currently make headlines or become a hot topic in our mainstream media. The historic harmonious culture of India was once again highlighted by the tale of the Muslim youth of Kerala winning the state-level Ramayana Quiz held by DC Books in Malappuram, Kerala, in honour of "Ramayana Month." The eight-year Wafy programme at the KKSM Islamic and Arts College in Bilangeri, north Kerala, is where the winners Baasit and Jaabir are currently in their fifth and final year. Students claimed that although they were familiar with the Maha Kavya growing up, they didn't start reading and studying Hinduism and the Ramayana in-depth until they enrolled in the Wafy course, which includes the teachings of all major religions. This announcement startled the entire nation because the majority of people believe that Muslims in India don't study anything about Hinduism or any other religion. Due to its importance to India's cultural history and heritage, this event has demonstrated that Indian Muslims are well-versed in the Ramayana and Mahabharata. It highlights two crucial requirements: first, obtaining a college degree, and second, respecting India's tolerant culture. Since Islam first engaged with other faiths on the subcontinent, Indian Muslims have admired India's culture of harmony. Education is the key to recognising and appreciating a culture of harmony. It is important to note that Indian Sufi preachers did not attempt to impose any cultural changes when they were preaching here; rather, they integrated Islam into India's multicultural civilization, and Indian Muslims defend this harmony. The first condition highlighted is the importance of education among Indian Muslims. This does not imply that Indian Muslims are ignorant of the history and culture of their country. At contrast, it is said that Indian Muslims are underrepresented in institutions of higher learning, including national research universities, IITs, NITs, and IIMs. It is essential to emphasise the necessity for policy participation in order to increase the number of Indian Muslim students enrolled in these institutions. Muslim youth who are knowledgeable, competent, and well-educated will highlight parts of Indian Muslim society that have not yet been discussed. It is disappointing that stories about Muslims winning a Ramayana quiz contest receive less attention than problems that foster prejudice and hate toward this disadvantaged group of the population. Indian Muslims are proud of their culture and heritage and have goals for growth, acceptance in society and the economy, identity, and engagement in national affairs. A specific arrangement and affirmative action are required for Muslims to be treated equally in mainstream higher education. As of 2019–20, just one-third of Muslims are enrolled in college as would be expected given their demographics. With higher education excluded, the percentage of students rose from 2.53% in 2010–11 to 5.45% in 2019–20, and within the same time period, the percentage of faculty members rose from 2.95% to 5.55%. Muslims are becoming more prevalent in absolute terms as well, showing that they are keen to blend in when given the chance. This is concerning because Muslim enrolment in higher education has recently grown more slowly, from 120.09% in 2010–11 to 36.96% in 2014–15 to 2019–20. The percentage of Muslim academicians likewise decreased within the same decade, going from 110.36% to 76%. The enrolment ratios of centrally and government-aided recognised universities, which are 8.41% and 14.5%, respectively, may better represent Muslims. Due to their nature and traditions, a number of institutions, including Jamia Millia Islamia, Aligarh Muslim University, Maulana Azad National Urdu University, and Jamia Hamdard, have a disproportionate number of Muslim students. They do not, however, participate very much in higher education due to their homogeneity. Muslims make up just 1.92% of prestigious universities like NITs, IISERs, IITs, and IIMs. Muslims in India must look for opportunities to spread the word on subjects that get less attention. It is the responsibility of community-based educators to put in place the necessary measures to raise public awareness about the importance of education and to make educating the young a priority for themselves and their communities. The narrative of Baasit and Jaabir shows how education can make India known better for its peaceful cultural traditions. Urdu Article: A Culture of Education and Harmony تعلیم اور ہم آہنگی کی ثقافت URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Friday, September 23, 2022

Indian Muslims for Secular Democracy Condemns Iran's Authoritarian Laws, Urges Indian Muslims to Extend Support

The Wire Staff 23 September 2022 FILE PHOTO: A newspaper with a cover picture of Mahsa Amini, a woman who died after being arrested by the Islamic republic's "morality police" is seen in Tehran, Iran September 18, 2022. Majid Asgaripour/WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS ----- Indian Muslims for Secular Democracy (IMSD) has condemned Iran’s “authoritarian laws and their murderous enforcement”, saying it is “inhuman and barbaric to kill a fellow human being merely for not covering her head”. A 22-year-old Iranian young woman Mahsa Amini died in the custody of police, allegedly due to wounds she sustained after the police thrashed her for taking off her head cover. Several protesters demonstrating against the murder in a peaceful manner have also been killed. IMSD said that in this epochal moment, “the Indian clergy and conservative Muslims in general that support mandatory head covering for Muslim women, citing the principle of right to choose attire, must be questioned whether they support Iranian women’s ‘right to choose or refuse head coverings’?” “It will be hypocritical of all those who tom-tom this liberal democratic argument that ‘forced removal of burqa, naqab, hijab is against the basic human rights of a woman’, but who do not come forward in support of Iranian women of different faiths who are forced to cover their heads in consonance with Islamic Shariah practices of Iran. It is to be noted here that in Iran the rule of mandatory head covering is applicable to Muslims and non-Muslims alike,” the statement, signed by 95 people, said. The collective called upon Indian civil society to “challenge the hypocrisy of those religious power elite” who choose the liberal principles of the Indian constitution as per their “fundamentalist and misogynistic conveniences” while remaining tight-lipped when these principles are “flouted against the progressive aspirations of the citizens in Islamic States”. The complete statement and the list of signatories are reproduced below. “IMSD strongly condemns the repressive Iranian regime, questions the hypocrisy of the Muslim clergy in India” Indian Muslims for Secular Democracy (IMSD) strongly condemns the Iranian State’s obscurantist, authoritarian laws and their murderous enforcement, as also the denial of the citizens’ right to protest. In this third decade of the 21st century it’s inhuman and barbaric to kill a fellow human being merely for not covering her head. At the same time, we question the hypocrisy of India’s Muslim clergy in not supporting the Iranian women’s right to choose, an argument it puts forward in the context of the ongoing hijab controversy in India. The world is witnessing a horrendous turn of events in Iran where State atrocity has caused the custodial murder of a 22-years-old young woman, #MahasaAmini , just for taking off her head cover. No less shocking is the fact that those protesting the murder by peacefully defying the mandatory head covering are being subjected to violence, humiliation and arrests on the streets by the police. The news and real time videos coming from Tehran and other parts of Iran are heart wrenching. However the heart-warming aspect of these protests is the active support of young Iranian men who are opposing both archaic traditional practices and State atrocities. In this epochal moment, the Indian clergy and conservative Muslims in general that support mandatory head covering for Muslim women, citing the principle of right to choose attire, must be questioned whether they support Iranian women’s ‘right to choose or refuse head coverings’? It will be hypocritical of all those who tom-tom this liberal democratic argument that ‘forced removal of Burqa, Niqab, Hijab is against the basic human rights of a woman’, but who do not come forward in support of Iranian women of different faiths who are forced to cover their heads in consonance with Islamic Shariah practices of Iran. It is to be noted here that in Iran the rule of mandatory head covering is applicable to Muslims and non-Muslims alike. IMSD calls upon the civil society in India to challenge the hypocrisy of those religious power elite who choose the liberal principles of Indian constitution as per their fundamentalist and misogynistic conveniences while they remain tight lipped when these principles are flouted against the progressive aspirations of the citizens in Islamic States. Signatories: Akbar Shaikh, Indian Muslims Secular Youth Movement, Solapur Amir Rizvi, IMSD, Designer, Mumbai Anjum Javed, Delhi Anjum Rajabali, IMSD, Film writer, Mumbai. Ali Bhojani, IMSD, Mumbai Alok Sheel, retired IAS, Delhi (Dr) Anthony P. J. (Dr.) Anuradha Chenoi, Delhi Anurag Chaturvedi, senior journalist, Mumbai Arif Kapadia, IMSD, Business, Mumbra Arshad Alam, IMSD, Writer, Columnist, Delhi Asha Puri, Delhi Ashhar Khan, Jaunpur Asiya Shervani, Hyderabad Askari Zaidi, IMSD, Senior Journalist, Activist, Mumbai Dr. Azeez Pasha, Hyderabad Deepak Sanon, retired IAS Dipak Malik, Varanasi Dipak Roy, Delhi Feroz Abbas Khan, IMSD, Theatre & Films Director, Mumbai Feroze Mithiborwala, Co-convener, IMSD, Mumbai (Dr) G. G. Parikh, Freedom fighter, Mumbai Ghulam Mohiuddin, USA Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi, Writer, Teacher, Researcher in Culture, Media & Islamic Studies (Prof.) Girija Gupte, Feminist, Mumbai Guddi S. L. , Activist, Mumbai Harsh Kapoor, Independent researcher, Editor, France Irfan Engineer, IMSD, CSSS, Mumbai (Dr.) Jamsheed Rizwani, France Jasjit Randhawa Javed Akhtar, IMSD, Poet, Film Writer, former MP, Mumbai Javed Anand, Convener, IMSD, Mumbai Jyoti Badekar, Bharat Bachao Andolan, Panvel Kanhaiya Lal Sharma Kasim Sait, IMSD, Businessman, activist, Chennai Kishor Jagtap, Ganai Cultural Movement, Kalyan Kusum Verma, Varanasi Madhu Prasad, IMSD, retired professor, activist Delhi Mahabub Shaikh, Indian Muslims Secular Youth Movement, Bengaluru Mallika Sarabhai, activist, Indian classical dancer, actress, Ahmedabad Mandita Mitra, Delhi Medha Patkar, NAPM Convener, Mumbai Mohammed Imran, USA, Delhi Prof. Mridula Mukherjee, Delhi Muniza Khan, IMSD, Social Activist, Varanasi Nandita Sehgal, retired IAS Naseeruddin Shah, Actor, Mumbai ND Jayaprakash Neelima Sharma, Theatre, Delhi Nihar Bhattacharya, Varanasi Nirmala George, Delhi Persis Ginwala, Ahmedabad Pratibha Shinde, Lok Sangarsh Morcha, Jalgaon (Dr) Ram Puniyani, Author, activist, Mumbai (Dr.) Qaiser Shameem, Delhi Renu, Delhi Ritambhara Shastri, Delhi Rooprekha Verma, activist, former vice-chancellor Lucknow University. Sabah Khan, IMSD, Parcham, Mumbai/Mumbra Sadique Basha, IMSD, Activist, Mira Road, Thane Saif Mahmood, IMSD, Lawyer, Supreme Court, Delhi Sandip Pandey, Political activist, Lucknow Sarita Sabiruddin, USA (Dr.) Satish Mishra, Delhi Satya Narayan Sahu Satyen K Bordoloi, IMSD, Copywriter, editor, Mumbai Shabana Azmi, Actor, former MP, activist, Mumbai Shabana Dean, Naturopath, Mumbai Shafat Khan, IMSD, Writer, Mumbai (Dr) Shanawaz Alam, IMSD, Asst Professor, Sultanpur Shalini Dhawan, Designer, Mumbai Shama Bano, Varanasi Shama Zaidi, IMSD, Documentary Film Maker, Mumbai Shamsul Islam, Author, Delhi Sheeba Aslam Fehmi, IMSD, feminist writer, research scholar and a senior journalist, Delhi Shikha Sen, Delhi Smita Salunkhe, Vidyarthi Bharti, Kalyan Subhashini Ali, CPI(M), AIDWA, Kanpur Sujata Bhattacharya, Varanasi Sultan Shahin, Editor-in-chief, New Age Islam, Delhi (Dr.) Sunilam, former ex-MLA, activist, Indore Sunita Vedantam, Delhi Taizoon Khorakiwala, IMSD, Businessman, philanthropist, Mumbai Teesta Setalvad, IMSD, CJP, Mumbai Tushar Gandhi, Author, activist, Mumbai Utpala, Delhi Vasanthi Raman, Retired professor, Delhi Vibha Wahi, Varanasi Vibhuti Narain Rai, IMSD, retired IPS, writer, commentator, Noida V.K. Singh, Varanasi Vimla Chand, Sydney Yashodhan Paranjpe, social activist, Mumbai Yogendra Yadav, Swaraj Abhiyan, Delhi Zakia Soman, BMMA, Delhi Zeenat Shaukatali, IMSD, Islamic Scholar, Wisdom Foundation, Mumbai Source: IMSD Condemns Iran's Authoritarian Laws, Urges Indian Muslims to Extend Support 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

How Nationalist Were the Indian Ulama?

By Arshad Alam, New Age Islam 23 September 2022 They Never Compromised Of Religious And Cultural Exclusivity Of Muslims Main Points: 1. The Ulama like Fazle Haqq Khairabadi and Shah Abdul Aziz were not anti-British, rather they cooperated with them and maintained cordial relations. 2. Founding Deobandis like Qasim Nanotwi and Rashid Gangohi played no role in the rebellion of 1857, as it is made out to be. 3. The Ulama became anti-British during the 1920s and that’s why they established the Khilafat Conference. 4. They came together with the Congress and advocated for one nation policy as opposed to Muslim League’s two nation policy. 5. However, they continued to advocate religious and cultural separatism of Muslims, which ultimately strengthened the idea of Pakistan. ----- The contemporary Indian Ulama are extremely fond of reminding the world that they have made immense sacrifices for the freedom of the country. Deobandi organizations like the Jamiat Ulama e Hind have even organized conferences to highlight their role in the freedom struggle. In particular, they point out the role of the Khilafat movement and how it brought Hindus and Muslims under the same umbrella aided by the Congress party. They point out, and rightly so, that Husain Ahmad Madani, a Deobandi Alim, had given the formulation of composite nationalism in opposition to the two-nation theory proposed by Muslim League. Not to be outdone, the Barelwis argue that their sacrifices for the country go even further. They point out the central role of the Ulama during the first war of independence in 1857. In particular they hail Fazle Haq Khairabadi as their hero and tell us that he was jailed for life in the Andamans for his anti-British activities during 1857. They also remind us that it was Shah Abdul Aziz, who declared in his famous fatwa that India had become Dar al Harb, making it incumbent on all Muslims to resist the British. But are such assertions backed by any facts on the ground or are they mere rhetorical flourishes? Let us first take the example of Shah Abdul Aziz’s oft cited fatwa. The fatwas definitely declared that India had ceased to be a Dar al Islam as it was now ruled and governed by the English. Yet nowhere in the fatwa, Abdul Aziz is remotely suggesting that Muslims should now take up arms or even other forms of resistance against the British. In fact, the true import of the fatwa needs to be understood in the backdrop of the question on which the said fatwa was requested. The question was that if India had become a Dar al Harb, then was it now allowed for Muslims to practice usury? The intent of the questioner is not whether Muslims should take up arms against the British but whether they can benefit financially from the new political situation. We know that Abdul Aziz, in at least one other fatwa, had said that it was permitted for Muslims to practice usury if they were living in Dar al Harb. Far from being anti British, Shah Abdul Aziz appears as a pragmatic Alim, making sense of the altered political fortunes of Muslims. Throughout his life, he maintained cordial relations with the English, with some of these gentlemen even visiting his house, and debating with him on religious issues. Some of his fatwas plainly state that there is no religious harm if Muslims work under the new masters, the English. Fazle Haqq Khairabadi was jailed for life in the Andamans. But despite the gloss on his “anti-British activities during 1857”, there is nothing to prove that he actually participated in the revolt. In fact, like his father, he remained in the judicial service of the East India Company for long periods of time. As the chief judicial officer in Lucknow, he even gave a fatwa that Muslims should not rebel as they were in a minority situation. It appears that he came to Delhi during the revolt of 1857, but as he himself writes in his memoirs, he came to the city only to tell the Mughal ruler that the rebellion should be stopped. He was convicted but may be it was a case of mistaken identity or may be he was one of the many innocents who became fair game for the British rage during this time. At any rate, the available evidence does not indicate that he was active against the British during the 1857 revolt. His fame seems to be the result of his conviction and being sent to Andamans, not because of his anti-British activities. The historian Mushirul Haqq, who was felled by the bullets of Kashmiri terrorists, conclusively proves that founders of the Deoband madrasa, like Qasim Nanotwi and Rashid Ahmad Gangohi, took no part whatsoever in the rebellion of 1857. Rashid Ahmad was arrested for six months but later released as the British could not find any evidence against him. Their spiritual leader, Imdadullah Makki, left for Mecca and eventually settled there as he feared getting arrested by the British in the wake of 1857 crackdown. However, that might be due to a certain perception, rather than being actually complicit in the rebellion. In fact, their pre-1857 life is pretty obscure, and there is nothing to suggest that they were politically active against the East India Company. To make it worse, the available records in the archives do not name even one of them as being active during the 1857 rebellion. The Ulama probably became part of the political action for the first time during the 1920s with the launch of the Khilafat movement. This is the time when the Ulama emerged as a class of their own, and developed a consciousness of being leaders of the Muslim community. The historian Gail Minault argues that through the Khilafat movement, the Ulama were able to make long lasting networks, which they could use, much after the movement was over. Thanks to Gandhi, the Ulama got a new and unique legitimation in society, which they did not have earlier. Thanks also to Gandhi, while the Hindus were obligated to boycott the British; the Muslims were expected to campaign for the restoration of the Khilafat. By the time the Ulama joined the national movement, their perception of the British had changed. They came to regard the British as an evil sovereign under whom Muslims could not live a Sharia compliant life. Of course, the Ulama joined the national movement, but we need to ask what was their outlook while participating in Congress led campaigns and advocating for composite nationalism. Husain Ahmad Madani, the architect of composite nationalism, himself conceded that religion is more important than the nation when he stated that “unfurling the flag of Islam is ultimate purpose” of their political activism. To paraphrase him, he argued that Hindu Muslim entente is required only till the time the British are around. In other words, when they are gone, they will wrestle with the Hindus for religious supremacy. How does this understanding even qualify as nationalism? And if the protection or establishment of the Sharia was the ultimate end, then it could be very well done by the formation of Pakistan. It is true that the nationalist Ulama opposed Pakistan, but their opposition was not convincing to many tall Muslims of the time, including a section of the Ulama. It also seems that the advocates of one nation theory did not have a clear-cut understanding of how to balance religious diversity with claims of belonging to the same nation. There were clear religious differences between Hindus and Muslims. One way to contain this would have been to focus on other, more secular or cultural aspects of both communities and bring out the commonalities between the two. However, we find the exact opposite strategy adopted by the nationalist Ulama. They not only said that Hindus and Muslims belonged to different religions but also argued they belonged to two very different cultural traditions. The Jamiat Ulama e Hind criticized even those Muslims who had started to wear a Gandhi cap. For the Jamiat, this was an example of going away from one’s own cultural tradition. Most of them insisted on wearing what they called the Hamid/Turkish cap. We should also not forget that the Jamiat opposed Gandhi’s basic education scheme. They argued that ideas like non-violence were un-Islamic and hence should not be forced on Muslim students. The only person who sought to promote broader non-religious solidarities between Hindus and Muslims was Maulana Azad. But then this Maulana was not recognized as a legitimate Alim by the majority of the Ulama. On their part, they were so overwhelmed by the category of religion, that they wanted to see its suzerainty over each and every aspect of Muslim life. But this is the same reason why Pakistan was being created in the first place. So, although opposed to the creation of Pakistan, the ideological confusion of the nationalist Ulama in actuality helped its creation by popularizing the religious and cultural separateness of Muslims. ---- A regular contributor to, Arshad Alam is a writer and researcher on Islam and Muslims in South Asia. 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