Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Knowing About the Prophet

By Arshad Alam, New Age Islam 31 January 2023 The Sira And Hadis Literature Have Shown To Be Fabricated, So How Do We Know About The Early Islamic Community Main Points: 1. The extant Sira and Hadis were written down much after the death of the Prophet Muhammad. 2. Yet most of what we know about him and the early Islamic community comes through this literature as the Quran does not tell us much. 3. Scholars have shown this post-Quranic material to be contradictory and at times plain fabrications. 4. How then do we then reconstruct the historicity of the early Islamic community, including the career of Prophet Muhammad? ------- The traditional Islamic narrative about Prophet Muhammad tells us in minute details about his birth, youth, his prophethood, his marriages and wars and his ultimate death in 632 AD. But the sources for much of this information are Islamic literature itself. They do not cite or rely upon a single source which is outside of the Muslim tradition. They do not even pose the obvious methodological question whether there is any reference being made to an Arabian prophet in Christian, Jewish or other sources. In other words, they refer to only Muslim sources and that too uncritically, as if they represent the kernel truth. Today, we know that the arrival of an Arabian Prophet was noticed by non-Muslim sources and they referred to it much earlier than some Islamic commentators. Information about the Prophet is found in Sira (biographical) and Hadis literature, which were written much after the death of the prophet. One of the earliest such biographies was written by Ibn Ishaq roughly between 761-767, which is more than hundred years after the death of the Prophet. What is troubling is that no copy of this Sira exists and we know about it only through the another Sira by one of his students, Ibn Hisham, who probably wrote it in the early 9th century. What is more, Ibn Hisham informs us that he excluded those parts of the original work, which might be offensive to the readers. Thus, we cannot be sure about the actual contents of the first biography of the Prophet. Roughly three to four generations would have passed when these presumably oral information about the Prophet would have been complied in the book known as the Sira. But we know that after the passage of such a long time, we can never be certain about the authenticity of received information. The second source of information about the life of Prophet comes from the Hadis literature which was compiled even later. Sahih al Bukhari and Sahih Muslim were compiled around 850s which is more than 200 years after the death of the prophet. What is intriguing is that all these writers lived outside the Hejaz, the birth place of Islam. They came from cities in present day Iraq and Uzbekistan, much removed from Mecca and Medina. It will be quite fanciful to believe that whatever they have written about the life of the Prophet is true. This is reflected in quite many contradictory narrations about the Prophet which are contained in these Hadis collections. Consider the length of the Prophet’s stay at Mecca, a crucial point if one is interested in early Islamic history. Bukhari tells us that he stayed in Mecca for 10 years (SB 7:72:787) but another narration in the same collection puts it at 13 years (SB 5:58:242). Imam Muslim however, says that the prophet stayed in Mecca for 15 years (SM 30:5809). Similarly, this literature is not even sure of the age at which the Prophet died; marking it variously as 60, 63 and even 65. The key point here is not to argue which of these is true but since they contradict each other, they all cannot be true, although it is possible that they all can be wrong. The important point is that we should realize that our insistence on using this material as sources of history is nothing but fallacious. The compilers themselves were aware of the fictitious nature of many such oral narrations and they themselves pruned away many thousands from their texts. Still many fanciful and contradictory accounts of the Prophet’s life remain within these collections, such as the ones cited above. Moreover, the purpose of these Hadis collections was not really to establish historical accuracy but to clarify legal and ritual matters. There was much internal debate about the authenticity of these reports and some of these texts like the Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim would only get canonical status much later in the 11th century. Academic scholarship on early Islam has always recognized the problem of historical reconstruction from traditional Islamic literature. Decades earlier, Ignaz Goldhizer and Joseph Schacht had pointed out the unreliability of Hadis narrations for purposes of historical writing. Wael B. Hallaq similarly stated that “we have good reasons to believe that Prophetic reports were fabricated at a later stage in Islamic history and that they were gradually projected back to the Prophet”. F. E. Peters in his book Islam: A Guide for Jews and Christians argues that “the great bulk of the Hadis, sound or otherwise, appear to be forgeries and there is no reliable of determining which, if any, might be authentic historical reports from or about Muhammad”. Even some Muslim scholars have been confounded by this problem. Abdullah Saeed, in his Reading the Quran in the Twenty First Century clearly writes that “there are significant problems in relying on the use of Hadis and other traditions when attempting to understand certain aspects of the Prophet’s life or to understand what was happening in the earliest Muslim communities. Given the level of fabrication of Hadis that occurred in the first and second centuries of Islam, and the difficulties associated with the biographical material collated by Muslims in relation to the Prophet, the question of authenticity of such material remains an important question in contemporary Islamic scholarship”. Under these circumstances, how sure can we be about the received knowledge about the Prophet? Can we reliably know about the historical Muhammad? Questions such as these led scholars like Patricia Crone and Michael Cook to argue in their book Hagarism that the traditional Islamic literature should be rejected in toto as it has become so layered that nothing of value about early Islam can be discerned from it. But it is primarily through such literature that Muhammad has been reconstructed in fine detail. Thankfully, there is now some consensus in the academia that the Quran became stable much early in Islamic history. Even revisionist historians like Crone and Cook later accepted that “…we can reasonably be sure that the Quran is a collection of utterances that he (Prophet Muhammad) made in the belief that they had been revealed to him by God. The book may not preserve all the messages he claimed to have received, and he is not responsible for the arrangement in which we have them. They were collected after his death-how long after is controversial. But that he uttered all or most of them is difficult to doubt”. Fred Donner, the author of Muhammad and the Believers: The Origins of Islam concurs: “we seem…. to be dealing with a Quran that is the product of the earliest stages in the life of the community in western Arabia. The fact that the Quran text dates to the earliest phase of the movement inaugurated by Muhammad means that the historian can use it”. However, questions regarding the historical reconstruction of the Prophet and early Islamic history will remain. In terms of the personhood of Muhammad and the early Islamic community, the Quran has very little to say. What we know of his activities and those of his early companions have all come to us through the Sira and Hadis collections. What can only be termed as an inverted reasoning, the traditional Islamic method seeks to fill the gap in the Quran by seeking explanations from the Sira and Hadis, which were composed much later! Does this mean that the possibility of retrieving the historical Prophet Muhammad and his early Islamic community has been lost forever? ------ A regular contributor to NewAgeIslam.com, Arshad Alam is a writer and researcher on Islam and Muslims in South Asia. URL: https://newageislam.com/islamic-personalities/prophet-sira-hadees-islamic-traditional/d/128995 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

Ulema e Suu (Charlatan Religious Scholars)

By Mushtaq Ul Haq Ahmad Sikander, New Age Islam 31 January 2023 The Biggest Curse That These Ulema E Suu Create Is The Division Among Muslims In The Name Of Islam. So They Interpret Islam As Enshrined By Their Elders (Akabirs) Not As Interpreted By Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) And His Companions. ----- A tradition reported by Imam Ali (RA) narrates Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) saying, “Soon there will dawn an age upon mankind when nothing will remain of the Quran, but its text. Their mosques will be beautifully adorned structures, but devoid of guidance. Their Ulema will be the worst (of creation) under the canopy of the sky. Fitnah will emerge from them and Fitnah will return to them.” (Bayhaqi) So who are the Ulema e Suu? Maulanas, mullahs and Ulema will not discuss this theme as most of them fall in this category, as current Fitnahs are emerging and ending with them. First of all we need to understand this fact that most of these Ulema are not scholars of Islam, but represent a category or sect within Islam. So you have Deobandi, Barelvi, Salafi, and Sufi scholars. All of them are ready to defend their own sects than Islam when it comes to explaining and interpreting Islam. They have out of pragmatic reasons created few forums and joint ventures under the banner of unity. But these are a façade to save their images, otherwise every scholar of each sect considers the different one as deviated, even infidel. So these types of forums are just to safeguard their own vested interests not Islam. But whenever they come together and decry about Islam being in danger, it is basically their own vested interests that are in danger and they want to maintain their grip over the community and the desire of being considered as the representatives of Islam, hence blow the trumpet about Islam being in danger. The biggest curse that these Ulema e Suu create is the division among Muslims in the name of Islam. So they interpret Islam as enshrined by their elders (Akabirs) not as interpreted by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and his companions. Hence they give precedence to their elders instead of Prophet (pbuh) and his companions. So they are indulging in shirk (polytheism) by elevating position of their Ulema more than that of Prophet (pbuh). They will not openly do it but throwing away the sayings of Quran and Prophet (pbuh) and accepting those of their scholars is worst form of unseen (Khafi) shirk. Then for their own reasons they will use the pulpit that is available freely to them to reinforce sectarianism among the masses. They label each other as the agents of devil and anti Islamic forces, thus creating the divide among the people. So people driven by this zeal are destroying each other in clashes, fighting and even snapping relationships, whereas these Ulema e Suu then are seen on the stages of unity conferences, thus inviting Muslims towards artificial unity while themselves stealing the show. The sectarian defense of their own sects is being conducted under the banner of Islam. The Ulama e Suu think they are doing a great service to Islam by reinforcing and perpetuating sectarianism, whereas in reality they are raging the fires of Fitnah. So any mullah who is raging the fires of Fitnah through sectarianism should be considered to be part of the Ulema e Suu. Also most of these sectarian mullahs act as parasites on the body of Islam. For a few thousand rupees they can go to any extent. They siphon off most of the charity given as Zakah by the Muslims. This charity could be used for diverse purpose and the compartmentalization of Zakah as enshrined in Quran under different heads is antagonistic to what sectarian mullahs are explaining. Under no head can Zakah, Sadaqat be given to Ulema as they are supposed to earn their own living and be financially independent. There they do not follow Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam Malik, Shafaiee or Ahmad bin Hanbal or Imam Taimiyyah. So this rendering of Islam subservient to the personal interests is another glaring example of Ulema e Suu. Misusing and exploiting religion for the vested economic and interests of fame is a manifest characteristic of Ulema e Suu. Also clandestinely they will take directions from the official policy of their sects, that are based in Deoband, Bareilly, Saudi or Iran. What their official policy dictates they would be more than happy to express and articulate it camouflaging it as Islam, although most of the times it goes against Islam. Islam for them is a tool to blind people into their submission, not of God and Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). So Islam does not need saving from its unknown enemies but these Ulema e Suu are its biggest enemies, since its inception, as they are eating up its vitals as termites, while masquerading as the real scholars of Islam (Ulema e Haqq). We have to be very cautious about the Ulema, we take and understand Islam from. If it is a bunch of Ulema e Suu, then we should not fall prey into their trap as they will inculcate among us the hatred for the other Muslims and all good things of life. Islam is quite great to be in danger and we should not let these sectarian guys play God and making us believe in sectarianism and undertaking Takfir. They may shoo down this Prophetic saying about Ulema e Suu, but we who believe in it should propagate it. This fact should also be kept in mind that Islam does not believe in clergy system and monopoly of knowledge with a certain group of people. It has always believed in democratization of spaces and knowledge. So anyone who has got the requisite understanding of religion can lead prayers, interpret Islam and articulate viewpoints/opinions about Islam. The power and authority granted to Ulema e Suu, needs to be returned to genuine scholars whom they day in and our label as agents, liberals and soldiers of enemies of Islam. Now these all labels should be imposed and returned back to these Ulema e Suu, who are the real enemies of genuine Islamic reform and revivalism. ----- A New Age Islam columnist, M.H.A. Sikander is Writer-Activist based in Srinagar, Kashmir URL: https://newageislam.com/islamic-personalities/ulema-suu-charlatan-religious-scholars/d/128996 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

The Hijab: Beyond Oppression and Liberation

By Grace Mubashir, New Age Islam 31 January 2023 Reviewing the Book “The Islamic Veil: Beginners Guide” by Elizabeth Bucar Main Points · The Islamic Veil: Beginners Guide" is a book that examines the possibilities and impossibilities of the approaches in the light of new academic research. · The book consists of eight chapters containing debates related to the hijab and fashion. · The author discusses the hijab, veil, khimar, jilbab, and niqab, which represent the clothing of Muslim women living in different situations, and the turban and face covering used by Muslim men of the Tuareg tribe in Morocco. · In this book, Elizabeth Bucar adopted the word, Islamic Veil, taking into account the Muslim dress as a whole, including women and men. · For ease of understanding, the word "Hijab" is used in this article to refer to the head covering of Muslim women in India. .... Hijab helps Muslim women who choose hijab in situations where Muslims are in the minority, to stop their social, religious and gender differences. But it is my personal experience that if a woman wears a “hijab” in a “secular” place like Indian Universities, she is subjected to secular moral policing as either a “Kashmiri/traitor” or “oppressed by religious tradition”. In his book “The Islamic Veil: Beginners Guide” the author Elizabeth Bucar puts forward some subtle observations. Muslim woman's dress is widely discussed in the world today. The secularists leading this discussion are evaluating the role of the Muslim woman as a product of oppression, anarchism and irrationality. At the same time, this is understood as a religious problem within the Muslim community. Moreover, in modern times, as a response to secularism, a way of seeing Muslim women's clothing as a liberating agenda has also developed from the religious side. Unlike these two, many academic studies are now coming out related to the perception of Muslim women's clothing in different geographical-social-political-cultural environments. In such a religious and secular environment, “The Islamic Veil: Beginners Guide", published by Oneworld Publications in 2012, is a book that examines the possibilities and impossibilities of the approaches in the light of new academic research. The author is Elizabeth Bucar, an assistant professor in religious studies at North Eastern University in the United States. Her earlier Iran-focused studies of Muslim women and sexuality have been well noted. Her works on ethics, precepts, law, colonialism, education, work, and personality have provided a new structure to academic studies. The book consists of eight chapters containing debates related to the hijab and fashion. Throughout the book, the English word "Islamic Veil" is used for Islamic dress. She discusses the hijab, veil, khimar, jilbab, and niqab, which represent the clothing of Muslim women living in different situations, and the turban and face covering used by Muslim men of the Tuareg tribe in Morocco. In this book, Elizabeth Bucar adopted the word, Islamic Veil, taking into account the Muslim dress as a whole, including women and men. For ease of understanding, the word "Hijab" is used in this article to refer to the head covering of Muslim women in India. Three main reasons led Bucar to write this book. One) The role of the Muslim woman is in the first place in the debates related to women's freedom in the world today. That is why this issue needs to be subjected to serious debate. 2) An attempt to highlight the different approaches Muslim women take towards clothing. Bucar observes that Muslim women in the same situation still need to learn how to approach Islamic dress in different ways. In 2004, she spoke to women leaders of organizations fighting for women's political rights in Iran. Not one of them spoke of the Islamic State's compulsory dress code for Muslim women in Iran as a rights issue. Moreover, they adopted a very "conventional" dress code. But unlike them, Bucar observes that young women in the city who are interested in modern fashion are speaking out against the government's mandated dress code. 3) In the mainstream debates, there are very one-sided discussions regarding the perception of Muslim women's clothing. They reduce Muslim women's dress to an agenda of religious fundamentalism. This is a debate that does not consider what the Muslim woman says about herself and her dress. In these debates, secular male-female feminists and Muslim men often argue about what constitutes a "Muslim woman." Through this, a religious and social entity called "Muslim woman" is forgotten and rendered invisible. Although many field studies have been conducted to investigate what Muslim woman says about herself, it does not receive enough attention. Instead, the Muslim woman is relegated to being a product of wishful thinking shared by secular feminism and Muslim men. Hijab-related debates/controversies arise as a historical situation with the colonial conquests that took place in the Islamic world. Colonialism as a political practice and Orientalism as part of began to talk about Muslim dress. Bucar argues that the debates about clothing and Muslim women's clothing that we see today are formed when liberal feminism as part of elite women's rights politics in Euro-America surrendered to these agendas. Colonialism and sartorial rights of Muslim women The role played by Islam in the struggles and defences against the occupation in Muslim-majority countries was a major setback for the colonial powers. The colonial powers justified their invasion by saying that we do not want the land of the Muslims but that they should somehow be reformed and become good people. Saving the Muslim woman from the violent and sexually addicted Muslim man comes first in this reform agenda. Thus, "keeping the head open" was taken up as women’s emancipation agenda. But they never asked what the Muslim woman who had to be subjected to this reform would say about herself. In this way, women in the colonies became nothing more than a reception site for colonial reform agendas. The hijab has thus pervaded the Western imagination as a cultural symbol justifying colonial transcendence. Certainly, Muslim women's choices have lived in various forms in the Western imagination at different times. The ideas about Muslim women in the Romantic period were different from the Renaissance period. There is another side to this. Men in colonies who resisted colonial encroachment began to consider women's head coverings as a defence against colonial agendas. They said their culture was women sitting at home. In this way, the burden of culture literally fell on women's heads. This made it easier for men in the colonies to adopt modern clothes and live without the burden of culture, while women in colonized societies became the bearers of culture. So women's clothing in the colonies became part of the conflict between the colonial powers and the colonized men. A particular reading suggests that women in colonized societies were reduced to mere “objects” or “reasons” for men to fight in this struggle. A classic example of this is Algeria, which was a French colony. During the colonial period in Algeria, the French saw the hijab as resistance to their cultural assimilation agenda. Algerians, on the other hand, resisted imperialist domination. This is not to say that these two approaches are the same. Nor is it derogatory in the sense that those who fought against colonialism are oppressors of women. Orientalism Orientalism first defined the East as Islamic and distinct from the Christian West. It ignored other religions and cultures of the East and propagated that Islam was the common characteristic of the East. They propagated that Islam can only be understood through Quran and Hadith and their interpretation is still correct. They argued that Islam is only a text and that the practice of Muslims should not be accepted. Thus, they made people believe that hijab is only seen and understood through Islamic principles and the whole world is accepting it in that single way. Thus, erasing the various socio-historical backgrounds of the hijab, its distinctiveness is denied. Second, Islam is a fundamentalist ideology. They argued that the actions of Muslims should be reformed as they are backward. In that, they undertook the historic task of saving a Muslim woman from the hands of a Muslim man as soon as possible. Thus, the wearing of the hijab was judged as a low and degenerate practice and redefined the female condition by making the white Western woman's dress a symbol of global women's clothing freedom. Liberal Feminism: Liberal feminist debates are formed in Euro-American countries against gender discrimination and oppression. Liberal upper-class/white women's arguments, which saw all women's issues as one, failed to understand women's issues from different social backgrounds. These are also reflected in discussions related to Muslim women's clothing. Moreover, the influence of the colonial Orientalist discourses mentioned earlier continues to be very evident in such women's arguments. Liberal feminism views Muslim women's clothing in two ways. The first group argues that Muslim women are intelligent and capable, but Muslim men oppress them by wearing the hijab. The second section argues; women who self-select hijab are judged as unintelligent and brainwashed idiots. Liberal feminism reduces Muslim women to either oppressed victims or less capable of thinking, less fortunate human beings. This book deals not only with perceptions of Muslim women's dress created by colonialism, orientalism and liberal feminism. She also analyses the representation of Muslim women in the public sphere in great detail. They investigate how Muslim women's clothing is represented in the fields of employment, education and other time and country conditions and what are its problems. Most discussions about the representation of the hijab seem to be trapped in two approaches: hijab-liberating or hijab-repressive. Such a dichotomy often fails to fully explain the dilemmas posed by Muslim women's clothing. In the first half of the twentieth century, many social scientists hypothesized that the increasing privatization of religion in the modern world would lead to a decline in the use of religious symbols in the public sphere. But in contrast to this, the use of the hijab increased in the 1980s and 90s, observes Egyptian Islamic feminist and feminist historian Laila Ahmed. Hijab women who entered the public sphere in this way were generally educated young women from the upper class. They saw the hijab as a gateway from the religious family context into the public sphere. Working outside while wearing a hijab was allowed in some families. In such a situation, Muslim women started wearing hijabs to be model housewives and good workers. Wearing the hijab was read as belonging to the family and religion, as well as facilitating employment outside the home. They mainly overcome two arguments through hijab. One is the secular argument that hijab is a hindrance to women's progress. Two, the specific Islamic approach that women's place is in the world. Through these two observations, Elizabeth Bucar makes very clear the social presence of the Muslim woman who wears the hijab and her agency in society. This approach also challenges the dichotomy of the Hijab being either oppressive or liberating. They see the hijab as a garment that changes women's lives from within the religion/family, in contrast to these oppressive/liberating hijabs. Workplace conditions that have generally been described as secularly “liberating” have regulated, influenced, and constructed the hijab in many ways. For example, capitalist economic growth in Muslim countries such as Egypt opened many job opportunities. Thus, the Muslim national governments of the post-colonial era promised education and employment to all citizens. Thus, many women started working in various industries and jobs under the government. This created a female working class. There were private capitalists whose men had rams. This is how the government and private capitalists built women's labour forces. Whether or not to wear a hijab around the shoulders is only a reason to protect the interests of male bosses. In short, the secular reading that the workplace as a public space is liberating is highly problematic. The capitalist economic system that controlled the public sphere accepted women in low-wage jobs to their advantage, wearing or not wearing the hijab. This women's emancipation that took place in Egypt was really a “liberation" from the "fences" of religion in the capitalist order. Second, the book criticizes the use of the hijab in some secular state settings as a cause of discrimination and promotion of barriers. It is mainly contributed to areas where Muslims are in the minority. There are Muslim women who have lost their jobs for not wearing hijab. Secular law courts have ruled that this is an Arab dress and does not violate religious freedom. Thus, they were forced to choose between faith and life, between work and religion. This shows that the secular public sphere "controlled" the access of women in its own way as well as religion. The modernization that took place in the Muslim world gave great importance to education. The consideration given to the education of girls is noteworthy. As many feminist studies argue, modernizing women is highly problematic. For example, what consumer citizenship really does through education is part of a government agenda. Because of that, modern governments have forced some clothes to protect their interests within the market interest and some have been banned (for example, check the actions of secular governments in countries like Egypt and Turkey). In a social structure where religion plays a central role, the hijab is seen as a "veil". Religiously speaking, Islam has commanded believers (male and female) to acquire knowledge. But the males and females are also determined to be careful with each other when they grow old. This has led some Muslim communities to assume that the spaces of men and women are different. Some considered the hijab as a “cover” to educate in the modern context. Thus, women were admitted to schools by wearing hijabs. Here the hijab gave the woman the opportunity to gain knowledge in a “restricted” way. But beyond this, by denying entry to a girl who does not wear a hijab, governments like Saudi rule that such women are not entitled to study in the said Muslim countries in any way. Hijab and Religious/Secular Regimes Regimes have mandated hijab as part of their unique politics. Iran's American-British-backed autocrat Riza Shah Pahlavi banned the hijab in 1938. Women wearing it were ordered to be arrested if they left the city. The 1979 revolution against the Shah forced the hijab in retaliation. We were able to see that France, Turkey and Belgium, which are said to be democratic secular countries, are also banning the hijab. Visibility of Hijab: The representation of the hijab is its “visibility” in the background of the conflict between the secular state concept and the visibility of religious symbols (specifically the hijab) in the public sphere. In other words, the secular administration began to assume that the use of religious symbols in secular public spaces was a threat to the status quo of the nation's “secular structure”. Such secularism has reduced religion to a mere belief in private space. The 1979 Iranian Revolution, the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, the Palestinian Intifada and the events of 9/11 were read as the arrival of Islamic statehood on a global scale. This has worried Western secular nations. Around the same time, girls wearing the hijab began to appear in public places (especially schools) as part of the Muslim migration to the West. This has led to the hijab being easily read as an Islamic religious symbol and thus an adjunct to political Islam. Thus, many secular governments have banned the hijab in schools and public spaces. This led to conflict between hijabi women and the secular regime. In situations where the hijab is banned in schools, Muslim women have argued that the concept of hijab should be protected under religious freedom. In this way, the secular government expelled the Muslim women who covered their heads from the schools by justifying their side of the liberal women's arguments. Here, secular colleges give freedom to anyone to study without any “mask”. But they form "restrictions" so that a Muslim woman can wear the clothes she wants to be seen in college. Briefly, Bucar shows that there are specific “regulations” around women's bodies and clothing in both religious and secular contexts and that the approach of one as liberating and the other as oppressive is problematic. This book debunks the dominant view that Muslim veiling is caused by women and that it is due to a repressed female identity. In some special situations, Muslim men also forget their heads. For example, the men of the Tuareg Muslim tribe in Morocco forget their heads and faces. Moreover, even women who wear hijab suggest that there are many reasons that motivate them to do so. Hijab as a choice has many interesting historical contexts. Hijab was seen by Egyptian secular feminist 'Huda Sharavi' as a defence against imperial power during British colonialism. Later, when the country became independent, the hijab was abandoned. At the same time, Islamist women who were fighting against French colonialism in Algeria ditched the hijab and disguised themselves as European women to smuggle weapons through the French checkpoints. Thus, women use hijab as a choice in many ways. Those are areas of study that require a lot of close reading and special contextualization. Relevance of the book: Hijab has many meanings in many situations. It cannot be simplified in the sense of either liberation or oppression. Sometimes a personal choice can be surrender in a structural sense in another situation. Conversely, an apparent capitulation may also create a large opening in a structural sense. Or as 'Saba Mahmud' observes, oppression/liberation can be another way of working/living that makes them irrelevant. Discussions about the hijab are often framed through the lens of liberation/oppression. Only the hijab, the garment of the oppressed woman, and the Muslim woman standing with her face down in a single way are seen in such analyses. Elizabeth Bucar tries to say that 'the hijab is part of a symbolic system that produces multiple meanings. The prevalence of hijab in different socio-cultural political contexts is quite different. Even Muslim women living in the same social environment (same houses/offices/workplaces/educational institutions/streets/places of worship) have different opinions about the hijab. Thus, this book tells us that the hijab is not an issue that can be easily manipulated by comment, but a very micro-political garment. This book underlines that the modern-secular logic that the hijab can be easily defined does not take into account the extremely pluralistic approach of the Islamic community on this issue. From medieval male Islamic scholars to Islamic feminists Amina Wadud, and Laila Ahmad, this book shows that they hold different opinions about the hijab and that these define Muslims as a group in many ways. Moreover, this book demonstrates that the secular rationale for policing the hijab is not entirely immune to colonial-orientalist stereotypes about Muslims. ... URL: https://newageislam.com/books-documents/hijab-islamic-veil-beyond-oppression-liberation/d/129001 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

We and our Generation are Now Deprived of Moral Teachings

Kaniz Fatma, New Age Islam 31 January 2023 The importance of moral behaviour and societal peace 1. A peaceful community can be established and strengthened with the help of morality. 2. The moral standing of a nation strongly influences its rise and decline. 3. The state of Muslim society now is so dire that we have turned our faith into a means of destroying one another's rights. 4. I request parents, educators and community members to instil moral, ethical, and spiritual qualities in their children and students. ==== One of the significant teaching subjects of Islam is the importance of moral behaviour and societal peace. Islamic beliefs give morality a high priority because righteous people are necessary for the existence of a peaceful community. A peaceful community can be established and strengthened with the help of morality. Every civilisation on earth has a chapter on morality since no nation can develop without strong moral values and ethical character. The moral standing of a nation strongly influences its rise and decline. Moral principles serve as the cornerstone of every civilization, whether or not it is Muslim. Ibn Khaldun maintained that "a nation with excellent morals rises and develops in the world, whereas a nation with bad morals collapses." (Muqaddama, Ibn Khaldun) Since morality is what distinguishes humans from other creatures, it is the crown gem of humanity. There is no distinction between man and animal if there is no morality. Prophets were sent by Allah, the Almighty, to people of every age to show them the way and instil morality in them. Additionally, Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) was sent to establish morality. As a result, he (peace be upon him) gave the human race the morally superior example that Allah Almighty had recorded in the Quran. The Holy Prophet himself attests to his morals at one point, saying: "I was sent to perfect morals." (Bukhari) However, the situation of our civilization at the moment is very pathetic. Sadly, the majority of Muslims still don't really comprehend the religion. Due to misdeeds and moral decay, modern Muslims are losing their respect in the world. Despite being born into a Muslim family, we regrettably lack a thorough understanding of the fundamentals of the faith. Most of us don't know what religion, ethics, morals, belief, humility, honour, and justice are. We no longer understand why we are here on this planet. It may be argued that contemporary Muslims are still just Muslims in the name. Muslims today are not practical. Islam currently only exists in name. Everyone is responsible for taking their manners, ethics, and culture into account. We have lost sight of our faith along with our civilisation and culture. We have suffered from moral, Islamic, educational, economic, and political decline. Examine your surroundings and exercise independent judgement. People in today's society have no idea what ethical behaviour is. As a result, our society has become morally corrupt. There is no such thing as an inexistent evil in modern society. The next generation is now being impacted by the morality and social unrest issues that currently plague our civilization. Fighting, abuse, murder, violence, finding fault, jealousy, pride and arrogance, self-interest, deception, mixing right with wrong, greed, adultery, usury, stockpiling, stealing, drinking, smoking, and gambling are all widespread in our culture. Our children lack a moral and spiritual upbringing. The state of Muslim society now is so dire that we have turned our faith into a means of destroying one another's rights. The longing, the sense of missing, the caution, the spiritual connection, and the passion that ought to have been directed toward the Lord of the Universe have begun to be directed toward money. We have not been conditioned to become upset if we skip even one prayer. Our predicament is that we frequently forget to say the prayers. We awaken at about eleven or twelve in the morning as opposed to early in the morning. Instead of spending time with one another, parents, siblings, brothers, and wives are absorbed in their mobile devices. Instead of mosques and madrassas, young people choose to congregate in parks and eateries. Girls wander around bazaars and parks without maintaining the dress code of Islam. Young men and women in schools, colleges, and universities are concentrated on developing relationships without getting married. Instead of comprehending the genuine source of peace and relaxation, people who are dealing with life's troubles sometimes mistakenly believe that listening to and watching Instagram dance would help them overcome all their worries and anxiety. They are unaware that the only thing that can make them really calm and satisfied is to continuously remember God. Unfortunately, our Muslim community presents as a corrupt civilization because youngsters do not receive adequate moral and spiritual instruction. The fact that all of this is a part of contemporary civilisation is regrettable. Today, there is no peace in our hearts. We have gone through depression. I should apologise for blaming us for all of the challenges and issues. The tragedy of today's youth is that we are more concerned with engaging in pointless behaviours than strengthening our relationship with God Almighty. We Muslims today should examine our own lives. "Members of a decent and civilised society"—does it describe us? We should all take a minute to consider that we are turning out to be the enemies of our own generations. By introducing moral corruption into our culture, we are leading the charge in dismantling the best and most beautiful civilization. It's time to get up and get up right now! There is still time to care about improving the social peace and morals of our country, prioritising our families over social media, adhering to the understanding and application of the Quran and Hadith, and improving the Hereafter. We still have time to uphold righteousness, deepen our faith, and teach our kids Islamic moral and ethical values. Allah Almighty said: Verily, Allah does not change the condition of a people until they themselves change it." (Surat al-Ra'd: 11). I request parents, educators and community members to instil moral, ethical, and spiritual qualities in their children and students. We ask Allah, the Exalted, to endow us with good morals and make it possible for our future generations to follow the way that leads to peace in society and good deeds. === Kaniz Fatma is a classic Islamic scholar and a regular columnist for New Age Islam. ----- URL: https://www.newageislam.com/islam-spiritualism/generation-deprived-moral-teachings-community/d/129000 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, January 30, 2023

Pakistan: How Corruption Brought A Country's Doom

Politicians Are Involved In Corruption Main Points: 1. Pakistan has laws and institutions to prevent corruption. 2. Laws and institutions do not have teeth. 3. National Accountability Bureau has not been able to nab corrupt leaders and bureaucrats. 4. Railways scam, Hajj scam, PIA scam, medical registration scam, Rental power scam and NATO container scam are some of the high profile corruption cases of Pakistan. ----- By New Age Islam Staff Writer 30 January 2023 The holy Quran has described the doom of some powerful nations and it has also described the causes of their doom. Some nations were destroyed for sexual crimes and some for dishonesty and corruption. Corruption --- both moral and financial --- leads to the ruin of a nation or community. From a close study of the fast deteriorating financial crisis of Pakistan, we can see that corruption is at the root of Pakistan's impending doom. The common man, the political leaders and the military have sunk deep in corruption. The Quran had warned them against corruption, against food adulteration and lavish investment on luxurious projects. A former mayor of Karachi and an activist Arif Aajakia talks of the dishonest ways and corruption of politicians and bureaucracy in Pakistan. He says that roads in Pakistan are always in a bad condition because of rampant corruption in government departments. The roads are constructed with crores of rupees but do not last more than two weeks. This is because all the officers that are involved in passing an order of the construction demand their commission. So if one crore rupees are sanctioned, Rs 40 lakh is paid to 17 officers who put their signature of approval. Rs 60 lakh is left out which the contractor keeps Rs 30 lakh. And the road is constructed with Rs 30 lakh. Since the roads are in a bad condition, they need to be repaired on special occasions like festivals or Muharram when processions are taken out. So the 'patch up' work is done. That is, only potholes are filled. This also requires about a crore rupees of which a large chunk is claimed by officers and clerks. He says once a road in Gwadar Port was constructed by the Pakistan army because it was given the contract. One crore rupees were sanctioned but only after a week, the road vanished. This is the degree of corruption in Pakistan. Mr Aajakia also says that in Pakistan military has its own budget but apart from that billions of rupees are also allocated to the military from the civilian budget for pensions of retired military personnel. Moreover, during disasters and civil unrest, the army claims millions of rupees from the concerned states as service charge. For example, if the army conducts rescue operations during floods in a state, the state has to pay the army for its services. If there is civil unrest in a state and the army is called for help, the state needs to pay for its service. Similarly, the state has to pay the army for its services during any calamity or natural disaster. This puts a huge financial burden on the country. During the current financial crisis when the country has foreign reserves of less than 4 billion dollars and it has been begging loans from Saudi Arabia, UAE and IMF, the leaders have not shown any remorse for their corrupt behaviour. Only two days ago, Shahbaz Sharif announced that his government will distribute loans of Rs 15 lakh to millions of youth and laptops to one lakh youth. This is ridiculous. When the country does not have money to pay 2 billion dollars to the shipping companies to get the release of 9000 containers carrying essential commodities holed up at Karachi port, it has announced that it will distributes loans and laptops to the youth. This is because the elections to the Punjab assembly are to be held within three months and he needs to come back as the Chief minister of Punjab, if he does not come back as the Prime Minister. Shahbaz Sharif and other Pakistani leaders can not set aside politics at this juncture. Shahbaz Sharif has agreed to accept all the conditions of the IMF to get the first instalment of 1.6 billion dollar but will spend the money on his election campaign. He has already announced Rs 100 crore for building judges ' quarter to appease them as they are crucial for his and his son's acquittal in corruption charges. Mr Arif Aajakia says that even if the laptops are distributed, the track record of Pakistani politicians shows that each minister will forward the name of one thousand beneficiaries, most of whom will be his relatives and friends. And from the common people, they will demand half the price of the laptop. In this way, the laptops will be distributed. It can be guessed how the loans of Rs 15 lakh will be distributed. The people among the friend circle of politicians and ministers will plunder the loan money and the deserving youth will not get it. It is not that the country does not have laws dealing with corruption and bribery. Prevention of Corruption Act 1947, 1950 & 1958 seek to deal with corruption, bribery and economic crimes in public sector. In 1999, the National Accountability Bureau Ordinance was brought. The ordinance granted NAB the authority to investigate, conduct inquiry and issue arrest warrants against individuals, suspected in financial corruption, terrorism, corruption in private, state, defence and corporate sectors and direct such cases to accountability courts. Individuals convicted under NAB are prohibited from holding political office for ten years. Apart from these, the states have also legislations on corruption. Still, there have been high profile scams and corruption cases in the country. One of the scams in which a minister was involved was Rental Power Projects scam in which Raja Pervez Ashraf was allegedly involved. But later NAB gave him a clean chit. In 2010, there was a medical fake registration scam in which some members of the executive committee of Pakistan Medical and Dental Council were allegedly involved. The council issued fake registration to 19 medical colleges in one day and 40 fake registrations were issued to fake doctors who played with the lives of people. The council issued 150 fake registrations. There have also been Hajj corruption case and corruption case of the PIA that caused a loss of US $500 million to the country. The Railways corruption case and thd NATO container case were also high profile corruption cases among others. Cricketer Imran Khan entered politics with the promise to root out corruption from Pakistan and gave the slogan of Riyasat-e- Madina for a corruption-free Pakistani society and bureaucracy. But he has not been able to live upto his promise. The reason is that corruption cannot be root out with the help of laws and legislations alone. It can be achieved only with a spiritual reform in the society. Unless corruption is rooted out on the individual level, it can not be rooted out on the collective level. URL: https://newageislam.com/the-war-within-islam/pakistan-corruption-doom/d/128992 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

Celebrating Christmas in Kashmir

By Mushtaq Ul Haq Ahmad Sikander, New Age Islam 30 January 2023 Christian Missionaries Have A Huge Role In Positive Awakening And Nation Building Of Kashmiri Society. The Christian Missionaries Were The Pioneers In Establishing Hospitals, Dispensaries And Modern Day Schools In Kashmir Valley. ----- The biggest mass in the Valley was held at the Holy Family Catholic Church at Maulana Azad Road in the heart of the city, where hundreds of Christians, including women and children. (Image Credit: Twitter) ------ This year the Christmas in Kashmir had altogether new vibes that resulted in controversy over social media with half baked Maulanas, mullahs and social media preachers jumping the band wagon of condemnation. The event got highlighted more because a bunch of exoteric Muslims who always wear their identity on their sleeve joined the Christmas celebration in main church of Srinagar. Soon the pictures of these exoteric Muslims with long beards, shaved mustaches and completely niqabi hijab clad girls started doing rounds over social media. Hence common people, laymen, illiterates, educated literates all started condemning their actions. They quoted the Quranic verse, which goes like this, “O people of the Book! Do not go to extremes regarding your faith; say nothing about Allah except the truth. The Messiah Jesus, son of Mary, was no more than a messenger of Allah and the fulfillment of His word through Mary and a spirit created by a command from Him. So believe in Allah and His messengers and do not say, ‘Trinity’ Stop!-for your own good. Allah is only one God. Glory to be Him! He is far above having a son! To him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. And Allah is sufficient as a Trustee of Affairs.” (4:171) This is a very correct factual position of Islam as it denies Trinity. But how does celebrating birth of Jesus Christ be synonymous with acceptance of trinity? To add more insult to injury, Televangelist Dr Zakir Naik’s clips condemning celebration of Christmas began to circulate, whereas his mentor Ahmad Deedat allows and calls for the celebration of Christmas like many Muslims except the Wahhabis of Saudi celebrate Meelad on the birthday of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Dr. Zakir Naik, instead of promoting Dawah and interfaith Dialogue is responsible for creating more antagonism with non Muslims while fueling sectarianism among Muslims. He could not differentiate between Dawah and Debate. Dawah is not an arena where the opponent is to be defeated to claim victory over him. The Peaceful spread of Islam, stands in contrast to debating as a tool of Dawah. Dawah is a slow process of reaching to the hearts and minds of non Muslims, and clearing them from any prejudices and stereotypes against Islam. Later that paves way for anyone to embrace Islam. Muslims did earlier participate in the Christian celebrations, but the exoteric Muslims highlighted the issue, that again gave rise to rumors about them being used by clandestine hands to achieve a political charade. Such rumors keep making rounds, but joint prayers and joint celebrations certainly are a great way to build interfaith relations, but our half baked Maulanas and mullahs seem to be quite unaware about its essence. They just need some event to hop into limelight otherwise they remain in oblivion about the real big issues confronting Muslims. The Christian missionaries have a huge role in positive awakening and nation building of Kashmiri society. The Christian missionaries were the pioneers in establishing hospitals, dispensaries and modern day schools in Kashmir valley. They were the ones who in fact documented the history of Kashmir in English. Due to their efforts numerous lives were saved, education became acceptable to the common Muslims particularly education of the girl children. A campaign against prostitution of Kashmiri women was initiated by Muhamnaad Subhan Hajam and this campaign was well aided by a missionary C E Tyndale Biscoe. These efforts cannot be undermined. These mullahs still could not establish a good primary school and the school established by Biscoe still continues to function in the heart of Srinagar. The failure to understand the fact that greeting and celebrating Christmas does not mean to believe in the doctrines of Christianity. Enrolling in Christian schools, being admitted to a Christian hospital or working in a Jewish corporation does not render one as non muslim. Similarly participating in religious functions like Christmas does not make one believer in Trinity. This trend is something similar to what the Kharjis upheld, about whom Caliph Ali (RA) observed, they recite the Quran correctly but juxtapose it on wrong circumstances because Quran cannot interpret itself. These wrong interpretations are responsible in building wrong images about each other. Quran in a verse observes, “Verily ….you will find the nearest in love to the believers (Muslims) those who say, We are Christians! That is because amongst them are priests and monks, and they are not proud” (5:82) So when Quran reiterates it so why quote selectively and use verses out of context while exploiting their meaning? The Christians of Najran stayed in the mosque of Prophet (pbuh) in Medina and no fatwas or allegations of being believers in Trinity were hurled at Muslims not even by hypocrites and non Muslims. Then another hadith is quoted out of context that observes that “one who adorns the garb of others or imitates them is among them.” This is something that was contextual to the first generation of Muslims as a new distinct community was being created so it was essential that some identity markers be guarded and some certain aesthetics be temporarily banned like art of making sculptures and painting. There was apprehension that some Muslims may fall back on old ways and start worshipping them, but today there is nothing wrong about it. So many times we falter while understanding the spirit and message of hadith, thus render lawful and legitimate things as unlawful and sinful. So unless we do not possess a tinge of Ijtihad, we cannot undertake Dawah and Dialogue, while assuming the power of declaring something as forbidden whereas Allah has allowed and made it legal. If we are able to separate the domains of God and man in Islam, numerous problems will get resolved naturally, thus saving human and material resources of Muslims from getting dissipated in futile exercises. ----- Mushtaq Ul Haq Ahmad Sikander is Writer-Activist based in Srinagar, Kashmir URL: https://newageislam.com/interfaith-dialogue/celebrating-christmas-kashmir/d/128991 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

Those Who Respect The Elderly, Pave Their Own Road Toward Success

By Sumit Paul, New Age Islam 30 January 2023 --------------------------------------------------------- Knowledge Is Always Superficial, Whereas Wisdom Is Unfathomable. That's Why, The Latter Is So Calm, Cool And Collected And Doesn't Lose Its Moorings. Knowledge Thinks That It Knows Everything. Wisdom Says That It Has Just Started To Know And There's Still So Much To Learn. --------------------------------------------------------- “Those Who Respect The Elderly Pave Their Own Road Toward Success.” – African Proverb Photo: Dawat e Islam.com ----- I may sound pontificating, even exasperatingly sermonising, but I must say that the arrogance (at times, bordering on being ad hominem) of two over-active and fanatic young men on this forum and the mellowed refinement of a venerable gentleman can be cited as a metaphor or a template for youthful superciliousness vis-a-vis old age wisdom. There's a beautiful saying in the Bible: By insolence comes nothing but strife, but with those who take advice is wisdom (Proverbs 13: 10). These two haughty young men erroneously think that the knowledge of the whole universe is at their disposal but the elderly gentleman is always so serene in his wisdom and temperate replies. It's like a fight between knowledge and wisdom; knowledge of the youth and wisdom of the gentleman in the US. Knowledge is always superficial, whereas wisdom is unfathomable. That's why, the latter is so calm, cool and collected and doesn't lose its moorings. Knowledge thinks that it knows everything. Wisdom says that it has just started to know and there's still so much to learn. So, it's naturally mellowed down. In his last and unfinished Masnavi, Maulana Rumi described his equation with his soul-mate Shams-e-Tabriz. Shams was much older than Rumi. There was a gap of more than two decades between their age as the former was born in 1185 AD and the latter in 1207. Rumi, though universally regarded as a greater poet than Shams, conceded that when he met Shams for the first time on November 15, 1244 AD, he (Rumi) was full of youthful arrogance of knowing a lot. But the tranquil wisdom of Shams (he was 60-yr-old) bedazzled (Khunamat in Pahlavi) Rumi so much that he called Shams his Qutub (Perfect Guide). Rumi became Shams' Mureed (disciple). To cut the matter short, the hubristic arrogance of a little knowledge one gains at a young age cannot be pitted against the fully bloomed (Shagufta-e-Kaamil) wisdom of old age. Wisdom that comes with greying hair is light years ahead of the knowledge one acquires by reading a few books, referring to Wikipedia or blindly following dubious sources, teachers and people. Remember, wisdom is always distilled, whereas knowledge is often diluted. Sooner one learns this, the better it's for those who strive to tread on the path of self-enlightenment. One, therefore, must show respect to the wise and elderly people whose firmament of learning is boundless and the cornucopia of wisdom is inexhaustible. ---- 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 the world's premier publications in several languages including Persian. URL: https://newageislam.com/spiritual-meditations/respect-elderly-success/d/128990 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

The Greatest Enemy Of Humanity Is The Evil Self, Or Nafs, Which Calls For Jihad Bin-Nafs

By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi, New Age Islam 30 January 2023 Jihad Akbar, As Defined By The Holy Prophet, Is Jihad Bin-Nafs Which Is Waged Against The Evil Self Main Points 1. The greatest enemy of Muslims is their evil self (nafs), which motivates them to behave immorally and conduct bad deeds. 2. Muslims must wage Jihad against the internal enemy described as "the evil self". 3. The situation in Muslim countries like Syria, Iraq, and others leads us to the conclusion that anyone who calls for Jihad Bil-Qitaal is an enemy of Islam and Muslims. ------ Nowadays, Jihad is a hot topic of conversation worldwide. There is a contentious debate regarding jihad, particularly in English-language publications including periodicals, journals, newspapers, and websites. Everyone seems to be speaking within their respective intellectual comfort zones and areas of expertise. The truth for common Muslims in India is that they actively begin raising voices for justice and resistance whenever a Muslim is brutally and oppressively attacked through lynching in India. However, despite the fact that extremist organisations have killed millions of Muslims in Muslim countries to date, no one is speaking up loud enough to put a stop it. Everyone is aware that extremist organisations exploit words like "Jihad" in depraved ways to commit horrific acts of violence against weak and defenceless individuals. In this instance, Jihad will undoubtedly be covered in newspapers and on social media. As a result, people today dislike hearing the word "Jihad" since every time it is used, violent acts carried out by extremist groups come to mind. There are numerous forms of jihad in Islam, but Jihad Bin-Nafs and Jihad Bil-Qitaal are the two that are most frequently discussed, according to Muslim experts from all over the world. Go wherever in the world right now, and if you can successfully convey the essence of Jihad Bin-Nafs to one person, even if they are unable to carry out its demands, at least they won't want to condemn it. This is so because Jihad Bin-Nafs upholds all the ideals connected to high moral character and honourable deeds. Jihad Bin-Nafs promotes the well-being of all people, adherence to human values and customs, as well as patience, tolerance, peace, security, and the avoidance of evil activities. Jihad Bin-Nafs is the struggle against evil thoughts, impulses, and capacities for lust, rage, and an insatiable imagination, bringing them all under the control of reason and faith in obedience to Allah Almighty's commands, and ultimately purifying oneself of all satanic influences and concepts. Jihad Bin-Nafs also counsels people to abstain from doing evil activities like slandering and accusing others, lying, backbiting, stealing, cruelty, disobedience, mischief, robbery, looting, reducing measure and weight, and other similar deeds. Jihad Bin-Nafs illuminates the heart and mind of a true believer to such an extent that his heart overflows with compassion and affection. He thus views the well-being of humanity, assistance for the impoverished, and human compassion and goodwill as the springs of life. He keeps his distance from any egocentric greed. As a result, he has a such inner peace that the idea of terrorism never even enters his mind. He despises the idea of terrorism so intensely that he does not believe it is appropriate to bring it up in conversation. This could be explained by the fact that those who engage in Jihad Bin-Nafs are fully aware that even the mere perception of terrorism will disturb his peacefulness. His heart develops accustomed to receiving kindness and gentleness and stays away from all sorts of harshness and extremism as a result of being intoxicated by the love and sincere devotion of Allah Almighty. In short, those who practice Jihad Bin-Nafs pose no threat to human life because they are such devoted servants of Allah that they believe that the unjust killing of any human being created by Allah or its illegal termination can itself result in humiliation and shame in the presence of Allah in the Hereafter. He shall therefore participate in Jihad Bin-Nafs to abstain from all forms of oppression, injustice, dishonesty, breach of promise, and wrongful killing. Similarly, if he is successful in avoiding all the other crimes of the evil self, it will be asserted in his favour that he has actually performed Jihad Bin-Nafs. This short article has shown how important it is to remember that the wicked self (nafs) is the biggest enemy of mankind since it is the evil Nafs that drives people to join terrorism and extremism in order to gain control over politics and the government, wealth, and other things. Some people are in such a situation that they (astaghfirullah) are not ashamed to cite the texts of the Quran and hadith of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) outside of their context and do not fear God Almighty in order to achieve their own selfish objectives. The divine words of God which came to enlighten humanity are now used to commit illegal acts of terrorism. Tyrants who are addicted to human blood have gone so far as to misuse the words of God Almighty for justifying their forbidden acts. By forbidden acts, I mean the actions of some extremist groups that bomb monasteries, mosques, holy sites, gatherings of people, and markets while justifying their actions by quoting the Quran and the Sunnah out of context. They do so while referring to suicide bombings and other terrorist attacks as "Jihad." When they refer to jihad while engaging in such behaviour, they mean Jihad Bil-Qitaal. Contrary to what they believe in this regard, Islamic texts draw many parallels between Jihad Bil-Qitaal and military operations as both are agreed upon by the leadership of a country. According to Islamic texts, Jihad Bil-Qitaal is a struggle that is fought to protect human lives and remove oppression, and it can only be declared by an Islamic country, a king, or the Sultan of Islam. Islamic law of Jihad Bil-Qitaal strictly forbids harming other individuals, including women, children, monks, priests, and members of other faiths. However, despite these restrictions, terrorist organisations continue to target individuals with bombing and suicide attacks. The extremist organisations overstepped the bounds of Islam and deceived the youth by exploiting phrases like Jihad, Sharia, and Islamic laws mentioned in the Islamic books to achieve their nefarious goals of acquiring power and authority. As a result, the destruction is evident in the Muslim countries where these groups have established themselves. Citizens, mostly Muslims, women, and children, have only seen disaster in any country where extremist beliefs have started to grow, whether it be Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, or Kashmir. The oppressed and those who have been the targets of extremist violence have no one to turn to for protection. In the terror-affected areas, women are living as widows, children are orphans, and aging parents have lost their young sons. Many people are compelled to cross borders and live as refugees outside of their own country because they have lost not only their family but also their possessions. The majority of them have requested asylum in Western nations, while Muslim countries are hesitant to accept them. Who is responsible for this situation? In truth, these conditions are the result of radical organisations misusing the term "Jihad" and destroying their own country. Knowing the Quran and Sunnah can help you to comprehend that Jihad bin-Nafs, rather than Jihad bil-Qitaal, is what contemporary Muslims should carry out. The person who succeeds in Jihad Bin-Nafs will undoubtedly understand that Jihad bil-Qitaal, which occurred during the lifetime of the Prophet of Allah (peace be upon him), was a defensive war that occurred in an unavoidable situation. In Makkah, Muslims were subjected to religious persecution for almost thirteen years. They migrated to Madina to flee religious persecution, but their adversaries followed them. It was at this time that the verses of the Quran referring to Jihad Bil-Qitaal were revealed in order to protect human rights, life, and religion. The virtue of Jihad, the greatness of the martyrs, and the glad tidings of Paradise was also revealed through the verses of the Quran during the blessed time of the Prophet of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) so that the Muslims would not fail to engage in it and so take a keen interest in eliminating the oppression. The practical form of jihad that the Prophet Muhammad and his companions waged cannot ever be condemned by a just historian of history. In other words, the Quranic verses declared Jihad bil-Qitaal, or the Jihad to end the terrorism of that time. But in the present day, this jihad is misconstrued as a justification for terrorist acts. In reality, this is a planned war against Islam itself, which aims to weaken Muslims economically and socially and is equivalent to eliminating Muslims from the face of the earth permanently. Although the extremists do not admit this, their actions lead to such results and this fact is in front of everyone. Muslims must now engage in Jihad bin-Nafs rather than Jihad bil-Qitaal. They must absolutely refrain from their own wicked deeds. The hearts and minds of Muslims are being attacked by morally repugnant acts like lying, cruelty, distorting weights and measures, accepting usury, committing adultery, stealing, breaking promises, and generally being impolite to others and thereby violating the rights of Allah as well as the human rights. These wicked activities motivated by the evil self (Nafs) are what drive most people's bad morals and deplorable behaviours. The bad deeds are the real enemies. Muslims must therefore first fight jihad against the enemies they have within. This suggests that people must engage in Jihad Bin-Nafs, which the Prophet referred to as Jihad Akbar (the Greatest Jihad) (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). It is also important to note that the person calling for Jihad bil-Qitaal in the current situation is an adversary of Islam, Muslim life, property, honour, and dignity. This is especially true in light of the situations in Syria, Iraq, and other countries. Since the evil Nafs is our internal enemy and extremist organisations are our external enemies, our first job is to protect ourselves from both enemies. ---- A regular Columnist with NewAgeIslam.com, Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi Dehlvi is a Classical Islamic scholar with a Sufi background and English-Arabic-Urdu Translator. ۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔ Urdu Article: An Overview of Jihad Bil-Qitaal and Jihad Bin-Nafs جہاد بالقتال اور جہاد بالنفس کا جائزہ URL: https://newageislam.com/islamic-ideology/enemy-humanity-evil-nafs-jihad/d/128988 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, January 28, 2023

A Brief History of Mankind

By Naseer Ahmed, New Age Islam 28 January 2023 ------------------------------------------------------------ The Broad Outline Of The History Of Mankind From The Quran And From Science Match Very Closely. The Significant Difference In Detail Is Only In One Aspect. While The Quran Speaks About The Creation Of Adam Or Modern Man, Science Considers That Modern Man Evolved From Among The Homo Sapiens. ------------------------------------------------------------ Pre-Historic Man Dahr is the Arabic word for "time" from the very beginning of the Universe. We know from science that time began an estimated 13.8 billion years ago. Human beings came into existence only an estimated 2.5 million years ago and have therefore existed only for a very small period in Dahr. For about 2.43 million years, man’s existence was not even worth a mention. The Quran says about Man (Al-Insan) during this period: هَلْ أَتَىٰ عَلَى الْإِنسَانِ حِينٌ مِّنَ الدَّهْرِ لَمْ يَكُن شَيْئًا مَّذْكُورًا (76:1) Has there not been over Man (هَلْ أَتَىٰ عَلَى الْإِنسَانِ) a period of Time in Dahr(حِينٌ مِّنَ الدَّهْرِ), when he was not a thing ( لَمْ يَكُن شَيْئًا) worth mentioning?( مَّذْكُورًا) What Yuval Noah Harari, a historian says, echoes the same. He says, “There were humans long before there was history. Animals much like modern humans first appeared about 2.5 million years ago. But for countless generations, they did not stand out from the myriad other organisms with which they shared their habitats. The most important thing to know about prehistoric humans is that they were insignificant animals with no more impact on their environment than gorillas, fireflies or jellyfish.” Modern Man and His Exceptionalism Harari says, “Then about 70,000 years ago, according to the most commonly believed theory, accidental genetic mutations changed the inner wiring of the brains of Sapiens, enabling them to think in unprecedented ways and to communicate using an altogether new type of language. We might call it the Tree of Knowledge mutation. Why did it occur? As far as we can tell, it was a matter of pure chance. But it’s more important to understand the consequences of the Tree of Knowledge mutation than its causes. The Cognitive Revolution kick-started history”. By history, Harari means the most distant time in the past from which we begin to see in archaeological and fossil evidence significant achievements of mankind. It is not what we normally understand the beginning of history as a written record of our life which started only around 4000 BC. There is absolutely no doubt about human exceptionalism from the time of the “Cognitive Revolution” (CR), which resulted in us acquiring unique intellectual and cognitive capabilities that enable us to understand at the micro level the nature and attributes of everything, as well as the design, the order, and the rationality built into the natural world at the macro level. This event is called the “Cognitive Revolution” because it happened suddenly, and not as a slow process spread over thousands of years, and ever since, there is little change. Most researchers maintain that the people who drove the Neanderthals to extinction 45000 years ago, settled in Australia 50,000 years ago, and carved the Stadel lion-man 41000 years ago, were as intelligent, creative and sensitive as we are. If we were to come across the artists of the Stadel Cave, we could learn their language and they ours. We’d be able to explain to them everything we know – from the adventures of Alice in Wonderland to the paradoxes of quantum physics – and they could teach us how their people view the world. The above description resonates with the Quranic description of the creation of Adam and his progeny and the exceptionalism of this new creation: (2:30) Behold, thy Lord said to the angels: "I will create a vicegerent on earth." They said: "Wilt Thou place therein one who will make mischief therein and shed blood?- whilst we do celebrate Thy praises and glorify Thy holy (name)?" He said: "I know what ye know not."(31) And He taught Adam the names of all things; then He placed them before the angels, and said: "Tell me the names of these if ye are right."(32) They said: "Glory to Thee, of knowledge We have none, save what Thou Hast taught us: In truth it is Thou Who art perfect in knowledge and wisdom."(33) He said: "O Adam! Tell them their names." When he had told them, Allah said: "Did I not tell you that I know the secrets of heaven and earth, and I know what ye reveal and what ye conceal?"(34) And behold, We said to the angels: "Bow down to Adam" and they bowed down. Not so Iblis: he refused and was haughty: He was of those who reject Faith. We know God from His names. The Ahadith tell us that there are ninety-nine names of God and I can add many more to that list such as the ultimate Mathematician and Logician . Each of these names is an attribute of God that give us an idea of what God is like. “He taught Adam the names of all things” is therefore a metaphor for giving this new creation the intellectual and cognitive capabilities to know the nature and attributes of all things and learn “the secrets of heaven and earth”. The exceptionalism of this new creation is underlined by making the angels bow to Adam. It does not matter whether we take the story of the creation of Adam literally or metaphorically as long as we understand that the story is describing the coming into existence (suddenly) of such a human being and the exceptionalism of this new creature and its progeny as regards its intellectual and cognitive abilities to make sense of the world. The believers in “evolution” can continue to believe in it and yet remain believers while treating the story is Quran as metaphorical. Spreading out of Adam’s Progeny The Quran says that soon after the creation of Adam, Allah spread out Adam’s progeny far and wide. (4:1) O mankind! reverence your Guardian-Lord, who created you from a single person, created, of like nature, His mate, and from them twain scattered (like seeds) countless men and women;- reverence Allah, through whom ye demand your mutual (rights), and (reverence) the wombs (That bore you): for Allah ever watches over you. (30:20) Among His Signs in this, that He created you from dust; and then,- behold, ye are men scattered (far and wide)! We Learn The Following From The Scientific History Of Man: Between 80,000 and 50,000 years ago, a wave of humans migrated out of Africa. These humans are likely to have been ‘modern’ in terms of their appearance and behaviour. Due to their newly cooperative behaviour, they were more successful at surviving and covered the whole world in a relatively short period of time. As they migrated, they would have encountered earlier, primitive humans, eventually replacing them. Genetically, the six billion (now eight billion) people of today’s world vary very little from these earlier Homo sapiens that ventured out of Africa. The broad consensus now is that all modern humans are descended from an African population of Homo sapiens that migrated around the world but bred with local archaic populations as they did so. Modern humans reached Asia 70,000 years ago before moving down through Southeast Asia and into Australia. The settlement of Australia is the first unequivocal evidence of a significant sea crossing and rates as one of the greatest achievements of early humans. Molecular clock estimates, genetic studies and archaeological data all suggest the initial colonisation of Sahul and Australia by modern humans occurred around 48,000–50,000 years ago. Conclusion The broad outline of the history of mankind from the Quran and from science match very closely. The significant difference in detail is only in one aspect. While the Quran speaks about the creation of Adam or modern man, science considers that modern man evolved from among the homo sapiens. Considering that the CR was sudden and not spread over a long period, and increasing evidence that “evolution” happens only in short bursts, it is unreasonable to assume that the entire population of existing homo sapiens underwent the CR. If the CR took place 130,000 years after the homo sapiens came into existence and thereafter there is no change of any significance over the last 70,000 years, then the most reasonable conclusion is that this was a rare occurrence from a happy coincidence of circumstances the details of which we cannot fathom. Such a rare accident could have happened to only one member of the homo sapiens species who then passed it on to all his or her progeny. When millions of such accidents have brought into being new species which are well adjusted to their environment, and procreation requires at least one pair to start with, science has a long way to go to discover how such happy accidents produce at least one pair of the new species so frequently. As for the believers in the Quran, science supports everything the Quran says on the subject and there is no challenge to even a single verse of the Quran. For a believer, the fact that Science is progressively converging to what the Quran said more than 1400 years ago on every subject, and the fact that not a single verse is proven wrong, is sufficient proof that the Quran is the word of God. The disbelievers will believe that it is a matter of time before scientists find good reasons for why such happy accidents occur so frequently that have resulted in the creation of millions of new species. Scientific inquiry, whether directed or misdirected, can produce outstanding results but not necessarily succeed in proving what we were seeking to prove. The believers pursuing science should also, therefore, approach science with the mindset of disbelievers. Nothing can be achieved by becoming complacent that we know what we need to know from a study of the Quran. Such an attitude cannot lead us to the knowledge of certainty or Ilm al-Yaqin and Ayn ul Yaqin which is to be found in the pursuit of science alone. The dichotomy between Religion and Science is an artificial one created by unevolved beings who understand neither science nor religion. As we have repeatedly seen, Science complements the Quran and there is no dichotomy between them. “Religion without science is blind and science without religion is lame” as Einstein famously said. There is nothing more hideous than an enemy of religion or an enemy of science. It is a sure sign of a diseased mind. ----- A frequent contributor to NewAgeIslam.com, Naseer Ahmed is an Engineering graduate from IIT Kanpur and is an independent IT consultant after having served in both the Public and Private sector in responsible positions for over three decades. He has spent years studying Quran in-depth and made seminal contributions to its interpretation. URL: https://newageislam.com/islam-science/history-mankind-science-sapiens/d/128980 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

Male Gods and Female Slaves on Earth - Priestly Ghost Revisited

By Rashid Samnakay, New Age Islam 28 January 2023 ------------------------------------- The Picture Emerges From “Bahishti Zewar" (The Heavenly Adornment) That Girls Are Mere Chattels of Males And Their Total Submission to Their Men, Was Divinely Ordained, Hence "Good" Girls Accepted Their Position for Gaining Merit in Male Dominated Jungle Where He Was the Lion King ------------------------------------- The current situation in Afghanistan and Iran, in the context of Female Human Rights violation, forbidden Emancipation and Freedom is somewhat beyond rational analyses for an ordinary person with Western upbringing yet loaded with oriental baggage. There is no reason however to be surprised at what is happening in, not only these two countries but most of the so-called Muslim world. With that backdrop, one can draw on the past, not very distance past, events that may be considered as the fountain of the mindset currently influencing the named countries, viz Afghanistan and Iran, today. Although the Taliban (Talib of what one wonders?) gave hope to the World at large on their second coming that they have now "softened" their previous primitive hard core and will reform to march in step with enlightened world, so as to be taken as civilised people! But alas, the primitive mindset was and is an obstacle in their culture preventing any progress to enlightenment. Interestingly, in the mid nineteenth to mid twentieth century, when Muslims of India were embroiled in heightened political activity, an Aalim by the name of Ashraf Ali Thanvi (Deobandi Maulana at that!) who took the reigns in his hands to steer the Muslims of India in Religious matters and wrote numerous books in Urdu, Arabic and Persian. A Religious person and Sufi by inclination, Ashraf Ali however took active part in Indo-Pakistan politics too! From the outset, it is to be said that , the gentleman's contribution in Religious matters pertaining to Muslim women in particular, their education and place and status in Society was, to say the least awful; such that he was responsible in relegating them, hundreds of years at least, back in the dark ages. The main source of his drive in revers was the Book he wrote for Muslim girls, named socially; “Bahishti Zewar"--The heavenly adornment. At one time, it was made compulsory for Muslim parents to include the book as a dowry/gift to girls to be read in their married life in order to become heavenly and good wife. It must be pointed out though that he did not profit directly from this Religious enterprise. This was ironic as he considered any form of reading and writing thought to girls as being Satanic and misguided and therefore he strongly opposed female Education. So much so that some of the Quranic verses, such as, for example those related to Prophet Yusuf/Joseph and his Master's wife's love affair with Joseph as being vulgar and to be read to girls only under the strict supervision of an Aalim- Religious Scholar! In this book, Ashraf Ali advocated absolute submission by a wife to her husband and girls to be obedient to their male guardians. The "four walls" of the house were to be their sanctuary... good girls never ventured out of this sanctuary in order to be entitled to paradise in Hereafter... under the guidance of males. The picture emerges from this book that girls are mere chattels of Males and their total submission to their men, was divinely ordained, hence "good" girls accepted their position for gaining merit in Male dominated jungle where he was the lion King. Fast forward to present period and one finds astonishing similarities in the Taliban edicts and Iran’s Priestly regime's crack down by morality police on female coverings. These Edicts on the treatment of Females have no bases whatsoever in Quran. On the contrary! Some time back, in a BBC documentary the reporter , a lady, asked the assembled Mullahs (all leaders here are called Mullahs) in Afghanistan to explain the contradictions....They unanimously replied that it has nothing to do with Islam.... "It is our Forefather's custom and we follow it, ...we respect our women," they said! Have we not come across often this phrase in the Book? It seems that more things one expects to change the more it stays the same! If only some authority took the following message of a poet to heart. It applies to both the above-mentioned countries in particular: افغانیوں کے غیرت دین کا ہے ایک ہی علاج۔ ملا کو انکے کوہ و دمن سے نکال دو۔ "The only solution to Afghan's pride/honour of their religion.... Is to banish the Mullahs out of the hills and valleys." Easy Said than Done! But then has the Authority in Saudi Arabia not taken the message to heart and may soon banish the Priests from the Holy Temple---Hail the Arabian Caesar, one is forced to agree? ---- A regular contributor to New Age Islam, Rashid Samnakay is an Indian-origin Engineer (Retd.) based in Australia for over forty years. URL: https://newageislam.com/the-war-within-islam/male-gods-female-slaves-priestly-ghost/d/128979 New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Why It's Imperative To Have No Religion And God While Studying And Analysing Different Faiths

By Sumit Paul, New Age Islam 28 January 2023 I liked Mr Mushtaq ul Haq Ahmad Sikandar's book review, ' Jesus and Muhammad by Roman James.' In his essay, he has rued the fact that Roman James has attempted to prove the supremacy of (his) Christianity over Islam and subtly tried to convert Muslims to Christianity. Nothing surprising. However broad-minded a person may be and however wholeheartedly he or she may admire other religions, it's one's own religion and its Natural Prejudicial Attachment (C G Jung's phrase, used in subjective religiosity) that cannot let a researcher/analyst of comparative religions remain absolutely indifferent, dispassionate and non-partisan. That's why, it's often said that a researcher in the sphere of comparative faiths ought not to have any religion and belief in any damn god/s. So long as you remain attached to a specific faith, you can never be totally impartial because you subconsciously tend to analyse other faiths with respect to the religion you belong to. No self praise but the fact is, I could study comparative religions in a disenchanted manner because I never had any faith and I never tied myself to the apron strings of any divine power. I could like/dislike all faiths in an unprejudiced manner just the way H C Fields observed and envisaged, ' I'm free of all prejudices. I hate everyone equally.' The apostle of peace, M K Gandhi respected all faiths. But his deep appreciation of other religions was subservient to his ingrained loyalty towards Hinduism. This is natural. Most of my teachers, who taught me religions, were outright atheists and had no trace of their parental religions. That's the reason, they could inculcate the universality of faithlessness in me. I grew up sans any faith and any god. Let me change the subject and come to Trinity of Christianity. It's a theological double Dutch and a later-day interpolation. Christianity borrowed it from Hinduism (Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh) and made a mess of it while implanting it into the eschatological edifice of original/pristine Christianity. As a student, I laughed it off. I still scoff at the idiocy of Church and liturgical studies that concocted Trinity. ---- 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 the world's premier publications in several languages including Persian. URL: https://newageislam.com/spiritual-meditations/imperative-religion-god-different-faiths/d/128978 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, January 27, 2023

Refugee Children in Islamic Countries Deprived Of Education

By S. Arshad, New Age Islam 27 January 2023 Bangladesh, Burundi, Nepal, China And Malaysia Do Not Allow Refugee Children To Enrol In Public Schools Main Points: 1. In Bangladesh, government closed learning centres in Rohingya refugee camps. 2. In Lebanon, Syrian refugee children are discouraged to enrol in schools. 3. In Malaysia, Rohingya children are not allowed to enrol in public schools. ----- UNICEF/UNI206049/Karimi ---- Islam preaches equality and removal of racial and ethnic discrimination. It guarantees human rights to all irrespective of nationality and ethnicity. But the refugees in Islamic countries face injustice, racial discrimination and persecution. The refugee crisis has aggravated in Islamic countries in the last decade after the Syrian civil war and ethnic cleansing in Myanmar. The Syrian Muslims took shelter in Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan and European countries. The Rohingya Muslims fled persecution and military crackdown in 2017 and took shelter in Bangladesh. In Bangladesh, more than 8 lakh Rohingya Muslims have been lodged in refugee camps in Cox Bazar and Bhasan Char island. Rohingyas have also taken shelter in Malaysia. One of the problems the refugees in these countries face is the lack of access to formal education to their children. In Lebanon, Syrian refugee children are denied education on the basis of not being able to provide certified government documents. The documents required for enrolment are birth certificate, legal residency certificate and other documents issued by the Syrian government. The public schools run second shift classes in the afternoon for refugee children as they are not allowed for morning classes along with Lebanese children. The teachers of the afternoon classes are paid by donor agencies. In January, the teachers went on a strike over their demand of higher wages. So the government also suspended afternoon classes for Syrian children on the ground that if the Lebanese children do not attend classes, the Syrian children will also not be allowed to attend classes because if it is done, it will be injustice to the Lebanese children. The education ministry gave the argument that the educational authority cannot suspend morning classes attended by Lebanese children while maintaining the afternoon shifts allocated to the Syrian children. Earlier, the Lebanese government made rules harder for Syrian children. The education ministry has formulated discriminatory laws that undermine Syrian children's education. The Human Rights Watch has demanded that Syrian children be allowed to enrol without Lebanese residency, birth certificate or Syrian government documents and need not provide evidence of previous formal education. In Lebanon, there are more than 6 lakh Syrian refugee children out whom 200,000 have never been to school and 60 per cent children have not enrolled in schools in recent years. Even those who enrolled have not received education since 2019 due to anti corruption protests and Covid-19 lockdown. Some principals of primary schools have racial and biased approach towards Syrian students. They make derogatory remarks about them and demand documents that are not required by the education ministry. A Lebanese legal residency certificate costs $200 annually which most parents can't afford. Less than 16 per cent Syrian children have legal residency. They live on rent which is hard to pay. 90 per cent of Syrian refugees live below the Lebanese poverty line. Principals also demand birth certificates issued by the Syrian government. 70 per cent children don't have birth certificate. The education ministry of Lebanon also requires Syrian children to take the Brevet examination after nine years of formal education and the Baccalaureate examination at the end of secondary education. Many Syrian students leave public schools because of mistreatment by Lebanese teachers and enrol in learning centres run by humanitarian groups like the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC). 40,000 Syrian children receive non- formal education in these learning centres. But the education ministry has made laws that makes transition of the children from non- formal to formal schools difficult by requiring certification from the education ministry. Another hurdle in the access to education for Syrian children is that they should complete an Accelerated Learning Program ( ALP) if they have been out of school for more than two years. Therefore, racial discrimination, government authorities' treatment and the behaviour of teachers and principals have been hurdles in the education of Syrian refugees in Lebanon. In Bangladesh, the situation is more grim. Though the Bangladesh government has hosted more than 8 lakh Rohingya refugees, it has its own problems. It is one of the five countries together with Nepal, Burundi, China and Malaysia that do not allow access to formal education to refugees. Bangladesh also does not allow refugee children to enrol in public and private schools of Bangladesh and learn Bangla language for the fear of their integration in the Bangladeshi society. It fears that if Rohingya mix up with Bangladeshi society they may not want to go back to Myanmar. Bangladesh only allows basic nursery education to Rohingya children in learning centres run by humanitarian groups. Only children under the,age of 14 are allowed to study. The lessons allowed are informal and unaccredited. Learning and teaching of Bangla language by Rohingyas is strictly prohibited. In order to impart formal education to Rohingya children, the volunteers from among the Rohingyas set up many learning centres inside the refugee camps. Madrasas were also set up to impart them basic Islamic education. Since 2018, many makeshift learning centres and madrasas were set up. 35,000 Rohingya children attended 3,200 learning centres. Most of them were supported by the UNICEF. In these learning centres subjects were taught according to the syllabus of Myanmar and secondary level classes were run. But the Bangladesh government decided to close all the schools and madrasas run by the volunteers for not sufficient reasons. In March 2022, the government started closing such schools. The authorities threatened the refugees that if they attended the learning centres, their identity cards called data cards would be confiscated and they would be relocated to the prison island Bhasan Char which is flood prone. The authorities allege that the learning centres were opened without written permission and that Bangla was taught there. In April 2022, the last learning centre was closed by the authorities. This is in violation of the educational rights of children. The European Union granted Bangladesh free trade benefits contingent upon upholding human rights in treaties including the convention in the rights of child which prohibits discrimination against refugee childrens ' education. In Malaysia, the Rohingyas are considered illegal immigrants and so they always live in fear of arrests and deportation. The refugee children do not have access to formal education. Volunteers run schools for Rohingya children which are not approved by the Malaysian government. These schools are known as underground schools. Therefore, Islamic countries have deprived Syrian and Rohingya children of education because of ethnic and racial bias and for the fear of their integration in the local society. They not only violate the Quranic principle of universal brotherhood but also the UN Charter on Human Rights to which they are signatories. The World Bank, the Global Partnership for Education and Foreign bilateral donors and trade partners of Bangladesh, Lebanon and Malaysia should demand an immediate end to policies blocking Syrian and Rohingya children 's education in particular, and all refugee children in general. ----- S. Arshad is a columnist with NewAgeIslam.com. URL: https://newageislam.com/the-war-within-islam/refugee-children-islamic-education/d/128973 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

Jesus Versus Mohammad by Roman James - A Debate Among Muslims And Christians

By Mushtaq ul Haq Ahmad Sikandar, New Age Islam 27 January 2023 James, Has Drawn And Referenced Most Of His Research About Islam, From A Progressive Website Like New Age Islam. New Age Islam, Over The Past Two Decades Has Become A Repository Of Critical Knowledge About Islam. Main Points: 1. Very few books have been written in this format and the work proves very academic and analytical 2. Many efforts have been made to bring down the levels of violence, as well as build bridges between Islam and Christianity. ----- Jesus Versus Mohammad: Two Visions of Humanity by Roman James ----- Christianity and Islam are among the most populous and popular belief systems. Billions of people subscribe to their version and vision. Christianity is older than Islam, and Islam believes in the corruption of Bible, that is revered as the Holy divine revelation by its believers (Christians). Similarly Christians believe that Muslims will not find salvation because they do not believe in Trinity. Islam reinforces the Christian belief about the miraculous birth of Jesus Christ but it categorically denies Jesus being son of God. It further believes in the sanctity of Mother Mary, who is described in Quran as one of the pious ladies. A whole chapter of Holy Quran, Surah Maryam is dedicated to her, deliberating about her virtues. The believers of Islam and faithful of Christianity both have clashed with each other, although Quran emphasizes that Christians are more close to Muslims than believers of any other faith (5:82). These clashes are time and again manifested in different forms. The attack by U.S.A on various Muslim countries including Afghanistan, Iraq and its meddling in the Middle Eastern countries, toppling the unfavorable governments and installing regimes that are loyal to its interests, all have been constructed as neo crusades. Even the ex U.S President George W Bush, used the term crusade for his ‘war on terror’ initiative that resulted in more violence and terrorism. Many efforts have been made to bring down the levels of violence, as well as build bridges between Islam and Christianity. The current book under review written by Roman James, a researcher and writer based in Australia is among the few works that has the potential to rake up a debate among Muslims and Christians. Very few books have been written in this format and the work proves very academic and analytical. James, has opted for a confrontationist approach, that appears feasible for him to draw comparisons and conclusions while naming the chapters as Trinity vs Tawhid, Evolution of Islam and Christianity, Political Islam while forgetting Christian Zionism, Gender Equality in Islam and Christianity, eschatology and multiculturalism. Each chapter draws on the original texts of the religions i.e. Bible and Quran for comparative study and drawing inferences. A reader can read about both about Islam and Christianity, as they are available side by side on the same page, that renders the book quite feasible for the readers to understand and analyze issues. Every topic is backed by a plethora of evidence that is quite hard to deny or discard. The additional feature of this work is that the author James, has drawn and referenced most of his research about Islam, from a progressive website like New Age Islam. New Age Islam, over the past two decades has become a repository of critical knowledge about Islam. It envisions a future for Muslims that is non violent, tolerant, gender just and peaceful. This all will be pragmatic only when new progressive interpretation of Islam is articulated by new scholars of Islam, who believe in the fundamentals of progressive Islam. Daily the website adds scores of articles regarding various aspects of Islam and issues that Muslims are baffling with, while offering them new insights in the light of Islam. James, is very apt and intelligent to use this website for drawing inferences about various aspects of Islam. It is one of the authentic sources about understanding Islam as well as the contemporary issues that are baffling Muslims. It offers innovative insights in resolving the problems which are not available in the mainstream Islamic theology and by traditional Ulema. It is quite great to know that scholars like James are relying on this website to know, understand and analyze Islamic teachings. James is a devout practicing Christian and his book certainly brings out these aspects to the fore, as he seems biased and prejudiced many times while trying to prove supremacy of Christianity over Islam. This aspect of supremacy instead of equality among religions, that is the basic principle of Interfaith relations, certainly demeans the academic merit of the work. It many times appears aiming at proselytizing muslims to accept Christianity as the real creed and belief system. Here James, appears to be driven by the missionary zeal of proselytizing the ‘barbarians’(read Muslims). This aspect subverts the message of the book, as a muslim reader may get offended many times while reading the book. James, wants muslims to introspect while failing to demand the same from Christians. Another flaw of the book is that it compares the practice of muslims with the Holy teachings of the sacred book Bible, if the same methodology would be used to compare the practice of Christians with their own Holy book or Quran, the results can be devastating. So the path to be adopted should be to compare the practices of Muslims and Christians with each other, not with ideals as enshrined in their Holy scriptures. Calling caliphs and dictators as same is grave injustice (P-26). The first four righteous caliphs didn’t play God or later other kings who were self styled Caliphs too were not supposed to play God. Further, dictatorship is a new phenomenon and here again comparison of new age democracy is being made with the age where divine rights of kings were the norm. James tries to make Muslims understand Trinity and hoping that they will accept it (P-30) and certainly it will not happen, understanding of Trinity can be one aspect in building bridges but accepting it is out of question. Despite these flaws, the book is a manifestation of the hard academic work and research undertaken by James to understand Islam and Christianity and compare its various stances regarding gender, environment, and basic concepts of both religions. The contents of this book and the references it has quoted certainly make it a great read. It should be an essential reading for anyone who is interested in understanding different aspects of both these Semitic religions. The author needs to be congratulated for this great feat. ---- M.H.A. Sikander is Writer-Activist based in Srinagar, Kashmir URL: https://newageislam.com/books-documents/jesus-mohammad-debate-muslims-christians/d/128972 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