Monday, July 31, 2023

Muharram, Martyrdom of Imam Hussain and the "Hussaini Brahmins": Strengthening the Beautiful Blend of Indo-Islamic Tradition

By Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi, New Age Islam 31 July 2023 ہند میں کاش حسین ابن علی آجاتے چومتے ان کے قدم پلکیں بچھاتے ہندو جنگ کرنے یہاں شبیر سے آتا جو یزید اس کو راونڑکی طرح دھول چٹاتے ہندو (Translation: Had Imam Hussain come to India, he would have been greatly venerated and revered by the Hindus. If Yazid were here to wage a war against the Imam, Hindus would have defeated him the way they humiliated the Ravana) While commemorating Muharram and recalling Imam Hussain’s martyrdom, we Muslims often forget those who stood by Hussain in his harshest times. Those who exerted concerted efforts to fight for truth and justice, though they did not belong to Islam, the religion of Imam. One of the most notable, but regrettably forgotten supporters of Imam Hussain was an Indian community historically traced as "Hussaini brahmins". A little-known group and small in numbers, the Hussaini brahmins also known as Dutt community and Mohiyals, mainly found in Punjab, are traced back to the event of Karbala which occurred in 680 AD. These Punjabi Brahmins are those whose ancestors fought for Imam Hussain in Karbala. The story goes on: Fast as wind, carving their way through the sand, dunes at lightning speed, a caravan of few Indian sons in a noble pursuit, was making its way towards Karbala to register their names in the pages of history. ’Hal Min Nasirin Yansurna’: Is there anyone who can help me? When Prophet Muhammad's Grandson Imam Husain posed this question to humanity, History witnessed that while Kalma-reciting Muslims were out there to slit his throat, far from his battlefield in Karbala, some brave Indians left their homes to support Imam Husain striving for the truth and righteousness. These were those brave Indians who travelled to Karbala to write a golden page in the history of age-old Hindu-Muslim Unity. The ongoing Islamic month of Muharram marks a turning point in our Indian history too. On the auspicious 10th of Muharram, Imam Hussain attained martyrdom and rescued the humanity from the clutches of evil. He refused to surrender to the Tyrant Yazid, who created dictatorial dynasty deviating from the consensual democracy (Shur’a) in Islam. Therefore, the noble sacrifice of Imam Hussain is looked up as the revival of the true Islamic principles of democracy, justice, fairness and mutual consensus in the matters of governance. The Tyrant Yazid, high on his power was adamant on bringing shame to humanity. But he knew as long as Imam Husain was alive, he wouldn’t succeed in his nefarious ends. It was because of this fear that Yazid cornered Imam Husain and his family at Karbala and forced him to bow down to his tyranny. A living example of valiance and indefatigable determination, Imam Husain proposed that either he would live in Madina on his conditions, or he would migrate to India (Hindustan). None of these peaceful proposals was accepted by the Tyrant Yazid. Rather, the innocent Imam and all his clan and noble family was cornered near the River of Euphrates, Dariya-e-Furat in Iraq. They were tortured and persecuted so much so that even water was denied to their little children, toddlers and their mothers. Even 6-month-old Ali Asghar, the youngest son of Imam was killed by the Tyrants in an extreme hunger and thirst for water. And all these atrocities were executed on a written order from Yazid. As they say, people remember the dearest ones and the real well-wishers in their tough times. While Imam Husain wrote a letter seeking help from his childhood friend Habib in Arabia, his elder son Ali Akbar wrote a similar letter and sent it far away from Karbala…very far to India..... to a Hindustani Sapoot and King of India, Raja Samudargupt who happened to be a cousin-brother of Ali-ibn-e Husain. Strange as it may sound, History is witness to this unlikely relationship. Over 1400 years ago, the king of Iran, a Parsi by faith, had two daughters--Maher Bano and Shaher Bano. Maher Bano was married to King Chandragupt and was renamed Chandralekha. A few years later, Canderlekha’s younger sister, Shaher Bano, was married to Imam Husain A.S. Chandralekha and Chandergupt’s son Samudargupt was the King of India when he got the letter from his cousin Ali ibn-E-Husain. King Samudargupt swiftly arranged for a group of brave Indian soldiers and ordered them to depart towards Karbala. The army commander was Rehab Dutt, a Mohiyal Brahmin. Unfortunately, by the time Rehab Dutt and his brave-heart soldiers reached Karbala, Imam Husain was killed. This news disheartened the entire Indian troupe. They decided to run their swords on their own necks. “When the one we came to help is no more, what should we do with these swords? they asked. Just then, an Arab admirer of Imam Husain persuaded them to take the swords off their necks and join the force of Janab-e-Mukhtar. Thus, these Indian soldiers fought a memorable battle, exhibiting the best of Hindustani swords in Karbala to avenge the death of Imam Husain A.S. Even today, the place of Karbala where these brave Brahmins resided is called ‘ad-Dayar-ul-Hindiyya’. Some of these Brahmins were martyred at Karbala, some stayed back, while few returned to Mother India. History remembers these Brave Brahmins by the name of ‘Husaini Brahmins’. Today, we must salute this lesser known but truly great saga of Hindu-Muslim Unity. These Rajput Mohiyals or the Dutt family from India fulfilled the sacred vision of holy Prophet when he said: I feel the fragrance coming from India. These "Hussaini brahmins" also strengthen the beautiful blend of our Indo-Islamic tradition. In the words of a Hindustani poet: Wah Dutt Sultan, Hindu ka Dharm, Musalman ka Iman, Adha Hindu, Adha Musalman! (Bravo! O Dutt, the king who follows the Hindu religion as well as the Muslim faith, and is a half Hindu and a half Musalman) Famous Indian film actor Sunil Dutt also belonged to Rahab Dutt's family, and hence was a 'Hussaini brahmin'. He used to commemorate the martyrdom of Imam Hussain by himself in the footsteps of his ancestors on the occasion of the holy month of Muharram. In this context, the Muharram processions and commemorations organized by Husaini Brahmins in memory of Imam Hussain is the best example of the inclusive of Indo-Islamic tradition. Most notably, the members of the Dutt family did not leave their religion and while being Hindus, they told the humanity that Hussainiyyat is an integral part of their faith. Besides the Indian celebrities Sunil Dutt and his son Sanjay Dutt, Hindu Urdu writers such as Sabir Dutt and Nand Kishore Vikram are also some of the notable Hussaini brahmins. ------ A Regular Columnist with, Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi is an Indo-Islamic scholar and English-Arabic-Urdu writer. He has graduated from a leading Sufi Islamic seminary in India, and acquired Diploma in Qur'anic sciences and a Certificate in Uloom ul Hadith from Al-Azhar Institute of Islamic Studies. He has also participated in the 3-year “Madrasa Discourses” program initiated by the University of Notre Dame, USA. URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Festive Spirit Replaces the Spirit of Mourning During Muharram Processions India and Pakistan

By New Age Islam Staff Writer 31 July 2023 6 Persons Die Of Electrocution In Jharkhand And Gujarat Main Points: 1. Tazia processions are taken out on the 10th of Muharram. 2. The spirit of mourning has disappeared from Muharram processions. 1. 3.Tall Tazias cause accidents. 3. Processions sometimes turn violent. 4. Shias mourn the martyrdom of Imam Hussain. ------- Three accidents of Electrocution during Moharram procession reported in Bihar, Jharkhand and Gujarat (Image Source - Gujarati Jagran) ----- In India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, the first ten days of the Islamic month of Muharram is observed as days of mourning the martyrdom of Imam Hussain and his family members in 680 A. D. at Karbala by the army of Yazeed. The two communities of Muslims Shia and Sunni mourn their martyrdom in their own ways. While Shias take mourning processions while beating their chest and singing Marsia, the Sunnis take out tazia processions while enacting the battle of Karbala. They beat drums and enact fighting scenes with swords, lathis, spears etc. Tazias are symbolic replicas of the mausoleum of Hazrat Imam Hussain situated in Baghdad. In India, the Muharram processions have gradually changed in spirit. The spirit of mourning has been replaced by the spirit of festivities. Tazias are made tall and costly in order to compete with others. People clothe in new colourful dresses and show their skills in wielding swords, spears and lathis. Nowadays, girls also take part in the symbolic battle adding to the charm of the processions. In short, it has turned into a 'Hussaini mela' as a Shia mourner described it. On the other hand, Shias hold sessions of Zikr where Zakirs narrate the tragedy of the martyrdom of Imam Hussain and his family members in Karbala. They also take out mourning processions beating their chests and wailing. The Tazia processions taken out by Sunnis sometimes causes accidents. Sometimes, tazias are very tall and touch the overhead electricity wires in the streets. This causes death by electrocution. Every year deaths by electrocution occur but precautions are not taken. People are so immersed in festive spirit that they forget about the overhead electricity wires. This year also, deaths by electrocution during Tazia procession occurred. 4 people died in Jharkhand while 2 died in Gujarat. In Delhi, the Tazia procession turned unruly and violent in Nangloi. The organisers of the Tazia procession tried to divert the procession from predetermined route. When the police objected and told the mob to follow the route, the mob turned violent and clashed with the police. They pelted stones at the police injuring 12 police personnel, according to reports. This kind of behaviour is highly condemnable and against the Islamic principles. When drums will be beaten, lathis and swords will be wielded and girls will jump and swirl while wielding lathis or swords, the spirit of mourning will naturally disappear. This is what has been observed in the Muharram processions. The tradition of making Tazia is said to have been started during the reign of the central Asian ruler Timur in the 14th century. According to the historical accounts, he visited the Mausoleum of Imam Hussain every Ashura day. But one year he could not visit the mausoleum due to his illness. He consulted one of his ministers who was a Shia and told him about his dilemma. The minister found a solution. He made the announcement to the public that whoever builds a replica of the mausoleum of Imam Hussain would be rewarded. People made one beautiful replica which was brought to Timur. He was very happy and rewarded the minister and the artisans. From then on, making a replica of the mausoleum became a tradition. Every year the replica of the mausoleum was built on 10th Ashura and kept at the palace. The king would pay respects to the replica which was named Tazia and reward the artisans. This continued till his death in 1405. But the tradition of making tazia on Ashura became popular among the Muslims of Iran, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, China and Russia. This is how a tradition started by a king spread among the Muslims of central Asia though it has no roots in Islam. People have accepted it as a part of culture, not as a religious observance. Many Muslim intellectuals and writers do not find Tazia processions wrong. They say it should not be judged from merely religious point of view but from a cultural point of view. But the basic issue remains since it has become a cultural event, people have lost respect for the month. The lack of respect for this holy month was also evident from the suicide blast in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in Pakistan on the 11th Muharram. More than 40 people have died and more than 200 people have been injured. In India, Muharram is also observed by a section of Hindus who are called Dutt Hussaini Brahmans. According to folklore popular among them, some Brahmans living in Makkah and Kufa had reverence for Imam Hussain. One of their ancestors Rahab Dutt of Makkah who was a cloth merchant was childless. He was blessed with seven sons thanks to the blessings of Imam Hussain. When he learnt that Imam Hussain had left for Kufa with his family, he feared for his life. He travelled with his seven sons to Karbala but by the time he arrived at Karbala, Imam Hussain had already been martyred. It is said that he and his sons were part of the army under Mukhtar Saqafi that avenged Hussains martyrdom and killed many soldiers of Yazeed. But Yazeed again gained hold of the situation and many of Hussain’s, supporters were killed by Yazeed. Rahab Dutt's seven sons were also martyred. Rahab Dutt and other Brahmans had to leave Iraq and came back to India. They settled in Haryana and Rajasthan. These Brahmans are called Dutt Hussaini Brahmans and they take pride in the fact their forefathers fought for Imam Hussain. Sunil Dutt belongs to the community of Hussaini Brahmans. They are spread all over India and take out Tazia processions and mourn the martyrdom of Inam Hussain. Therefore, Muharram brings Hindus and Muslims together and adds to the diversity of our culture. URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Shia Muharram Procession in Kashmir Permitted After Several Years, Passes Without Any Anti-India Slogan Shouting After Three Decades

By New Age Islam Staff Writer 31 July 2023 30,000 People Gathered to Witness the Event Main Points: 1. Shias of Kasmir had long been seeking permission to hold Ashura procession. 2. The procession was permitted on Guru Bazar Dalgate Road. 3. The LG Manoj Sharma was present. 4. The procession was permitted to show that normalcy had returned in the valley. ------ Muharram procession in Kashmir -------- Shias, one of the most persecuted Muslim communities had the reason to rejoice in Kashmir as they were allowed to hold Moharram processions on the 8th and 10th of Muharram after three decades. The organisers had sought permission every year but the situation in the valley was not conducive to such events in the backdrop of centuries of Shia-Sunni clashes in the region. Praveen Swami gives an account of the long history of Shia-Sunni divide in Kashmir where the Shias were a dominant community after the Sufi Syed Sharfuddin Abdul Rahman Shah brought Islam to Kashmir. But the Mughals turned the region into a Sunni dominated country. This sowed the seed of enmity between the two communities. The rivalry became so intense that both bayed for each other's blood. Sunnis would kill Shias and burn their villages if Shias would kill a Sunni. Not only that, they would drink the blood of their opponents. The region came under the Mughal empire during Akbar's reign and Shias became the minority community. Zadibal, a Shia majority village has been the target of Sunni aggression and has been looted and burned a number of times. Their women were raped by Sunnis. The ears and noses of Shias were cut off. There have been anti-Shia riots in Kashmir since 1793, 1801 and 1872. In 1801, Shias had killed a Sunni boy and the Sunnis had attacked Zadibal and killed Shias. The region witnessed peace only after Ranjit Singh established his rule in Kashmir in 1821. However, after the Independence, Shias were again subjected to discrimination and hostility by the Shaikh Abdullah government. He did not give them appropriate representation. In 1983, Shias were massacred in Gilgit Baltistan as well as as in Zadibal which was again set on fire. During the insurgency in the 80s, the Shias maintained distance because it was run by the Sunni Islamists though occasionally some sections of Shia showed solidarity with them to appease the minority community. For example, in 2018, some Shias showed sympathy for Burhan Wani. Shia processions on Muharram are also a cause of tension between the two communities because the Shias sing Tabarrah against some holy companions of the holy prophet pbuh whom Sunni Muslims revere. Because of this, the administration hesitates to give permission for Shia processions. Therefore, the Kashmir administration held three weeks of meetings and negotiations with all the stakeholders before granting them permission. The administration also gave the permission to show to the world that normalcy has returned to Kashmir after three decades of unrest and insurgency. Though the procession was symbolic, it marked the beginning of a new era in the history of Kashmir where stone pelting, strikes and terror strikes had become the order of the day with the Pakistan-backed political players losing control on the people of Kashmir, the valley is coming closer to normalcy. The leaders who sent their sons and daughters to study and live in Pakistan and forced the boys of Kashmir to take part in stone pelting and strikes have now gone into hiding. They sold false dreams of Nizam-e-Mustafa to the common Kashmiris while their sons got employment in the state government with the help of educational degrees from universities of Pakistan. The pro-Pakistan leaders would release monthly calendars of strikes in schools and colleges of Kashmir and deprived the Kashmiris of education. Hopefully, this Muharram ushers not only the Shias but all the Kashmiris into a new era of peace, progress and harmony. ----- Oppressed for Centuries—Kashmir’s Shias Get Their Due as Muharram Procession Restored By Praveen Swami 30 July, 2023 Lit up by the fire from torches, the majlis congregation would gather at the home of the great merchant Mirza Muhammad Ali. From there, in the darkness before dawn, the Muharram procession of Zuljanah—the loyal and courageous stallion which fought with Husayn ibn Ali at the great, tragic battle of Karbala—would slowly draw out. Ten men, or so, would lead the way, softly reciting the profession of their faith. There was no reading of Marsiyas, elegiac poems which commemorate the martyrdom of Ali, nor rhythmic beating of chests. Muharram procession in Srinagar on Thursday. | PTI ----- Then, architect and historian Hakeem Saleem Hamdani records, in his magisterial telling of the Shia community’s history in Kashmir, a defiant gesture that changed the course of history. Two mourners, Mian Ghulam Muhammad Khan and Yusuf Ali Khan, began beating their chests and reciting Noha lamentations as they reached the main road. They were joined by many others, and the procession ran to dusk. Exactly a century ago, in 1923, Kashmir’s Shia community emerged from centuries of having to cloak its faith in the cover of darkness. Late on Saturday morning, Kashmir Lieutenant-Governor Manoj Sinha waited at the home of a local notable to join the procession marking Ashura, the tenth day of Muharram, on which Husayn ibn Ali was beheaded at Karbala in 680 CE. Two days earlier, the procession of the eighth day of Muharram had been restored to its traditional route from Srinagar’s Gurubazaar to Dalgate, after 34 years—a gesture demonstrating decades of poisonous clashes and curfews surrounding congregation worship are ending. Kashmir’s small Shia minority is estimated to make up just 10 per cent or so of its population and played only a marginal role in the long jihad which began in 1988. In 2018, though, two men displayed posters of slain jihadist pop icon Burhan Wani at an Ashura procession, sparking florid speculation the community would join Kashmir’s jihadists. The irony is almost self-evident: in Kabul, an Islamist regime is savagely repressing Shia, while in Pakistan jihadists have massacred the community for decades. For historians, contrafactual speculation is not always a useful exercise. No one can know with any certainty what might have happened if humans had never tamed fire, or invented gunpowder. But in this case, it’s hard not to engage in just such idle speculation. What would the lives of Kashmir’s Shia have been like, had it never become part of the framework of Colonial India? Libel And Blood Early colonial travellers to Kashmir were often struck by the reach and intensity of communal propaganda against the Shias. Large-scale riots had broken out in 1801, Geofrey Vigne was told, when he visited Kashmir some twenty-five years later, because the Shias “compelled a boy of the Sunni persuasion to eat salt; then tantalised him with water; and when he was about to drink, they shot him to death with arrows, so that he might die like Husayn, in the desert of thirst”. The governor, Abdullah Khan, ordered Shia properties razed. Women were raped, and men killed. Later, dozens of Shia prisoners were paraded through the streets, dragged by a rope running through their noses. Late medieval accounts gathered by Hamdani, it is clear blood libels—of the kind used to malign Jews in medieval Europe—suffused popular culture. The Shia were rumoured to use the Yandir-i Sitzhen, or tip of the spindle, to draw blood from Sunni children. Faith was also, however, enmeshed with power. The Turkistani mystic Syed Sharf-Ud-Din Abdul Rehman Shah, who is said to have introduced Islam to Kashmir in the 1300s, is claimed by both Shias and Sunnis—but elites would soon instrumentalise faith. Emperor Humayun who first forayed into Kashmir in the mid-sixteenth century, through his uncle Mirza Ḥaidar Dughlat, oversaw the beginning of an effort to construct a theocratic identity for the region. Like other Mughal regions, Kashmir was to be a Sunni state, governed by Hanafi law. The chronicler Sayyid Ali smugly recorded that Dughlat had destroyed the shrine of the Shia mystic Mir Shams-ud-Din Muhammad al-Iraqi, and suppressed the community’s religious practices. Kashmiri king Ghazi Shah Chak, who ascended to the throne in 1561, a decade after Dughlat’s death, restored the Shia faith to the heart of the court—provoking the enmity of Sunni nobles. In one case, a Shia soldier, Yusuf Inder, was executed for killing a Sunni cleric. “The flesh of his body was cut into pieces which people carried as gifts for their womenfolk, and many people drank his blood as sharbat,” records the contemporary Baharistan-i-Shahi chronicle. Husayn Shah, Ghazi Shah’s successor, was however later compelled to order the trial of the cleric who sentenced Yusuf Inder for giving false judgment. Three Sunni clerics were now condemned. Elite Sunni courtiers began petitioning the Mughals for help, casting the Chaks as a threat to their religion. Liberal and cultured, the next Chak Sultan, Yusuf Shah, realised his fractured court could not survive and switched sides to Emperor Akbar. Yusuf Shah’s son, Yakub Shah, tried to rally the faithful by ordering his clerics to read Friday prayers in the name of the first Shia Imam, Ali ibn Abi Talib. The Qazi refused and was executed. Akbar’s army conquered Srinagar in 1586—extinguishing Shia power forever. Long Persecution From the middle of the eighteenth century, Kashmir fell under the power of the Durrani kings of Kandahar. Faith became a fraught political issue. Two subedars, or provincial governors, Amir Khan and Sukh Jiwan sought to secede from the court at Kabul. The fact that the first was Shia and the second Hindu did not pass unnoticed. Like the Mughals before them, the Durranis saw heresy as a political threat and worked to brutally impose religious order. Governor Buland Khan, following claims that the Shia of Zadibal had used indecent language against a Sunni preacher, ordered the neighbourhood burned down. The ears and noses of some of the survivors were cut off. Frenzied mobs attacked Zadibal again on Muharram in 1801, killing, looting and raping their way through the largely Shia neighbourhood. The provocation, by some accounts, was an effort by the Shias to take out a procession from their closed shrine and recite martyrdom elegies. A dispute between merchants in 1793 had led to similar large-scale violence in 1793. The crushing of the Afghan power by Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1821 saw Kashmir come under Sikh rule. Though the new rulers enforced several anti-Muslim measures, for the Shia this was to prove a turning point. For the first time in centuries, the state itself was no longer controlled by Sunni élites. In 1841, Sheikh Ghulam Mohiuddin, an ethnic-Punjabi Shia, was appointed to govern Kashmir by the Lahore court, followed by his son Sheikh Imam ad-Din. In spite of its expressly Hindu ideological moorings, the Dogra state which succeeded the Sikhs was nudged by British India to follow a policy of religious indifference, if not tolerance. In 1872, large-scale rioting broke out in Zaidbal again, amidst simmering tensions between Sunni shawl artisans and Shia factory owners. This time, though, Shia imam Bara in Srinagar, destroyed in the violence, was rebuilt with support from the state. The Shia, Hamdani notes, were also able to capitalise on expanding opportunities in trade that opened up during the colonial period. Early in the twentieth century, both Shias and Sunnis were able to join together, in the pursuit of independence. Then came that day in 1923, when the Shia faith revealed itself in the light of the sun. Fearful Silence Even as the long jihad exploded in Kashmir, Shias watched events across the border with fear. In Gilgit, just across the Line of Control in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq’s military regime massacred hundreds of Shia, following a rising trend of killings since 1983. Ten years later, the Taliban, backed by Pakistan, would slaughter hundreds more Shias in Mazar-e-Sharif. For the most part, Shias in Kashmir maintained a wary distance from the Islamists who were fighting to tear the state out of India. Even though Shias had limited political space in post-independence Kashmir—Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah’s governments did not include a single minister from the community—memories of life under Sunni authority tempered any enthusiasm for secession. Low-level communal did, and does, of course, survive. In the course of Akbar Jehan Abdullah’s election campaign to the Lok Sabha in 1977, her workers appealed to Sunni voters not to allow her to be humiliated by the Shia, a reference to her rival’s faith. And in 1983, some Shia homes in Zadibal were set on fire by National Conference workers, after the Congress’ Iftekhar Husain Ansari won an assembly seat from Pattan. The single Shia jihadist group, the Hizb-ul-Momineen, was set up by the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate “to claim responsibility for the assassination of pro-Indian Shiites who were actually being killed by Sunni jihadis,” journalist Arif Jamal has recorded. The last major incident of violence against Shias was carried out by one of those Sunni groups, the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, which killed twelve civilians in the course of an attempt to assassinate Ansari. Like all religious communities in Kashmir, the Shia know their long-term prospects are dependent not just on the state, but coexistence with all communities, and the construction of a durable peace. This month’s Muharram processions are a significant step in that direction. ----- Praveen Swami is National Security Editor, ThePrint. He tweets @praveenswami. Views are personal. (Edited by Theres Sudeep) Source: Oppressed for Centuries—Kashmir’s Shias Get Their Due as Muharram Procession Restored URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Syria: Resistance, Revolt and Renunciation; Struggling between Chaos and Conservation

By Mushtaq Ul Haq Ahmad Sikander, New Age Islam 31 July 2023 Revolt in Syria: Eye Witness to the Uprising By Stephan Starr London, Hurst & Company Pp 226. ISBN: 9781849041973 ------ The phenomena of what is known as Arab Spring started in Tunisia in 2011. Since then, it has spread over most of the Arab world, with dictatorships and monarchies falling apart under the mass peaceful protests of people. The Arab Spring received an arousing welcome in many Arab countries and it spread quickly to others. Wherever the Arab Spring bloomed it had varied influences, impacts and ramifications. The spring resulted in somewhat peaceful transformation of power in Tunisia; the change of guards was good in Egypt too. Libya after some reluctance and bloodshed ousted Colonel Ghaddafi. The dynamics of the Arab spring are quite different in each place and it is difficult to predict the future of these nations that came under the sway of Arab Spring. But one fact must be acknowledged that Arab Spring didn’t bring any permanent revolutionary change in its wake as most of the previous political and social institutions remained untouched. A number of reasons can be cited for the fragility of this phenomenon. The fruits of the Arab spring were temporary and, in some places, it soon lurked back to Arab winter. The fate of Syria in the wake of Arab spring that has retrograded to Arab Winter there is the best testimony of this fact. In Syria the tussle between the protagonists of Arab spring and status quo still continues at the heavy cost of millions of lives. The book under review by the freelance Irish journalist Stephan Starr documents the arrival of Arab Spring in Syria, the response of Syrians to it and how this phenomenon had a deep irreversible impact on their lives that were thrown into disruption. In his Prologue, Starr vividly describes the regime of Bashar al Assad as, “The regime has no interest in peace, only in keeping power. As with past plans, it will use this chapter to carry out further crackdowns. Thus far it has successfully faced down the international community which once proposed UN resolutions calling for Assad to step down. It routed the rebels in Baba Amr, Idlib and elsewhere around the country in February and March 2012. On a certain level, it has never felt stronger and more convinced it can win than it does in April 2012. But perhaps this arrogance will lead to its downfall” (P-xi). Despite Starr’s surmise he lambasts the apathy of world and disunity in Syrian opposition. “Neither the political or armed opposition have particularly endeared themselves to the millions of Syrians sitting on the fence or to elements of the international community keen to stop the regime’s violence” (P-x). Starr also describes his relation with Syria and how the circumstances later on forced him to leave. He ends the Prologue with a surmise about the future of Syria in these words, “In the long term the regime simply cannot win this fight. Too many have suffered too much. But nor can the opposition win outright in the near future. Syria seems set for months and perhaps years of economic stagnation, brutal repression and divisions” (P-xii). Besides the Introduction the book contains eight chapters each dealing with a different facet of the resistance, politics, protests and public life in Syria. Starr vividly describes the beginning of the waves of protests against Alawite regime headed by Bashar al Assad lead by masses who were inspired by the successful downfall of the regimes headed by monarchs and dictators in their neighbourhood. Starr very well brings forth the denial mode of the State and its authorities who were labelling these indigenous protests as being fuelled by outsiders and trouble makers who were enemies of Syria. The Alawite minority who rules and have major stakes in Syria were claiming that these protests were held at the behest of Saudi Arabia in league with U.S. The State organized parallel demonstrations in favor of regime of Bashar Al Assad and then telecasted the same giving them coverage through the state-owned media outlets, so as to prevail on the other Syrians and demonstrate that everything was fine with the regime. The propaganda and Media war thus began among the supporters and opposition of the regime. The use of social media like Facebook, Twitter and video sharing website You Tube was made to support or oppose the regime. Journalists who tried to be factual and file reports based on grassroots realities were questioned and made to toe the line of the regime, helping to drive its propaganda machine. The foreign journalists who refused to do the same were deported. It is an interesting story that Starr describes as to how he survived in such a hostile environment without being deported or assassinated. Although he acknowledges the fact that he also missed to capture various issues and things due to this mode of survival attitude. Also, the native papers had either to miss some issues or shut down due to lack of the advertisements. Only those survived that followed the regime’s dictums. Starr being a person related to media lucidly describes the impact of the tussle in Syria on media. The demonstrations and protests were held on every other day against the regime, and in some cases, they were followed by a pro regime demonstration too. The demonstrations and protests had their own peculiar characteristics too. Starr provides an insight to the same, as to how some of the protests got organized by the activists and how they were repressed by the State. He also describes the personal lives and political outlook of some of these protestors. He also makes the reader aware as to how the major demonstrations were confined to the outskirts and rural areas as Damascus being mostly inhabited by business community who didn’t want to rise against Bashar as that would hit their economic interests. He describes the impact of the situation on the business. Starr describes the reaction of rich and poor to the new situation. He describes how the poor taxi drivers were used by the regime as spies. He then tries to analyse the relationship between demographic, ethnic, religious, regional and educational levels of masses viz a viz the protests. He finds that majority of the Syrian population being below thirty years of age want the change of regime but there are others who too want change but are afraid to pay the price for change because they think that civil war will accompany the change. The threat of the civil war lurks large in Syria as it is composed of various ethnicities like Kurds, Druze and others. Also, the sectarian and religious division is strong too. The Syrian Christian minority is against any kind of change so are the Alawite sect. Most of the population of Syria comprises of Muslims, but majority of them belong to the Sunni sect who want the Shia Alawite regime to be replaced by a Sunni majority one. Thus, these contending parties are bound to clash and this clash has opted for violence to achieve its aims and goals. The State has also adopted the solitary option of Iron Fist policy to suppress these indigenous protests and they are in no way serious about conceding to the demands of the people by including permanent reforms in the working of the State through incorporating changes. Despite the fact that there are varied views about whether the regime should stay or go, but reforms that lead to better political participation and equal distribution of economic resources will surely put Syria on a path of progress instead of civil war. But the regime is depicting no seriousness for a political settlement but it uses only the language of power against its political opponents. The use of Shabiha (ghost) gangs, illegal irregular forces, non state actors by the State to torture, kidnap and kill its opponents and then put the blame on Free Syrian army is only contributing to the escalation the violence in Syria. Starr very well observes, “There is little doubt that those in power- the ministers, the presidential advisers, even the mukhabarat on the street-are little more than a cabal of gangsters who through pure guile and willingness to create fear, installed brutality over Syria. They are not well read. They did not attend college. Their mindset of statesmanship is non-existent. They will fight to the last man on the premise that those coming to take their places (Sunni, simply because Syria has a predominately Sunni population) want to kill them for being Alawite. The notion that the Sunnis were coming to take over because some Alawites have used/misused their power was never a reality for them. They will not negotiate because the concept is alien to them in their everyday lives, never mind in the game that is international politics” (P-206). Thus, due to this ‘only me’ attitude the conflict in Syria will continue without any positive breakthrough. The meticulous articulation and academic worth of the book doesn’t get diminished despite its flaw of chronicling the events till June 2012 only. This book has the privilege of being the primary source and firsthand account of the events that shaped/are shaping the contemporary history of Syria. This book traces and tracks the multi-dimensional impact of revolt and conflict in Syria has on various fields of polity, economy, ethnicity, education and public life. It is an important contribution to the studies of Arab spring in general and Syria in particular. No person having interest in contemporary Arab can afford to miss this book. It remains a recommended read on contemporary Syria and its worth in the coming years would increase with further citations and references. A powerful and welcome read indeed. ------- M.H.A. Sikander is Writer-Activist based in Srinagar, Kashmir. URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Does A Plagiarist Have a Prick of Conscience?

By Sumit Paul, New Age Islam 31 July 2023 "Adabi Sarqa Koi Nai Baat Nahin Hai. Duniya Mein Jo Bhi Likha Gaya, Kaha Gaya Aur Gadha Gaya, Woh Kahin Na Kahin Pahle Hi Kaha Ya Likha Jaa Chuka Hai. Farq Bas Itna Hai Ke Kisi Ne Kisi Ka Khyaal Churane Ke Baad Use Qubool Kiya, Kisi Ne Uski Parvaah Nahin Ki Aur Kisi Ne Bebaak Hokar Churaya Aur Khaamosh Raha. Hum Kuchh Naya Nahin Kar Rahe Hain. Kaainaat Ki Pahali Sahar Ke Baad Jo Kuchh Hota Aa Raha Hai Woh Faqat Uss Subha Ka Mukhtalif Sooraton Mein Inkishaaf Hai." Ali Sardar Jafri (Plagiarism is not something new. Whatever has been spoken, written or created is a mere repetition of things already said and accomplished. The difference lies in someone's honest acceptance of plagiarism, his/her total disregard for creative pilferage and someone's audacious act of plagiarism and his silence. We're creating nothing new. After the very first dawn of the universe, whatever is being created is just an old but different manifestation of that earliest dawn) I've always thought when writers and poets plagiarize, don't they feel the prick of conscience? Are they really bereft of even an iota of compunction? Creativity is a process and writing is an art. Only those, who write, know how a piece or a poem takes the writer's time and when it comes to completion, it gives an indescribable feeling to the creator. Can that blissful feeling be felt by a plagiarist? I still remember, years ago, when my first piece appeared in a newspaper, I was so happy that I told all my friends that my piece, a mere letter to the editor in Persian, appeared. It was all mine and I didn't plagiarize anyone's thoughts. I still feel the same manner, despite my pieces getting published in world's leading journals and periodicals in several languages. That unalloyed joy still gives me goosebumps because I've the satisfaction of not stealing anyone's thoughts and ideas. When we rack our brains and create something new, we've an experience that can be compared to that of a mother who gives birth to a child after carrying it for 9 months in her womb. And when someone plagiarizes, s/he has the feeling that's comparable to a foster mother. You don't completely own the child. Likewise, a plagiarist doesn't completely own his/her creation. After all, it's borrowed. Someone called plagiarism, ' a surrogacy of creativity.' It sure is surrogacy of creativity. 'Idhar Ki Eent, Udhar Ka Roda, Bhanumati Ka Kunba Joda' (Copy-paste everywhere / The final outcome stands nowhere). A plagiarized work cannot and doesn't survive the test of time. Because eventually the truth is bound to transpire. Plagiarism may often be 'undetected originality', but sooner or later the truth comes out. No plagiarized work has ever gone undetected. Unscrupulous writers and columnists visit obscure portals and sites and get 'inspiration' to 'create' something out of the box. But their thefts are eventually detected because they're not the only plagiarists looking for unknown and obscure sites! Readers perhaps know that when Gopal Krishna Gokhale was a student in a primary school, his teacher gave 5 difficult problems in Mathematics to crack at home. The next day, Gokhale was the only student in the whole class to solve all five problems. His teacher was very happy and praised him in front of the entire class. The young Gokhale began to cry. Surprised, his teacher asked him why he was crying. Gokhale told him that he didn't solve all the problems on his own. He took his father's help to solve the fifth problem. The teacher was all the happier and more predicted that the boy was destined to become very great in future. And true to his prophecy, Gokhale indeed became a very great man and a stalwart in India's freedom struggle. I'm unable to remember the name of a very famous English columnist. He apologized to the editor when his plagiarized piece was immensely liked by his readers and went undetected. He wrote to the editor and said that the credit should go to the original Italian writer, whose quite old column, he translated from Italian into English. The English columnist further wrote to the editor that he was just a translator, not a creator. Gokhale and that English columnist had the acute pangs of conscience. Does any plagiarist have the same smarting pangs of conscience and uneasy feeling of sleeplessness after stealing someone's ideas? ---- 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: 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, July 29, 2023

Why Islamic Calendar Started from Hijrat and Not the Day Revelations Started? Does This Mean Islam Is a Political Ideology and Not a Spiritual Path to Salvation?

By Md Salim Uddin, New Age Islam 29 July 2023 The Islamic calendar, known as the Hijri calendar, begins from the year of Hijrat (migration) of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) from Mecca to Medina. This choice has raised questions regarding why it did not commence from the day revelations started in Mecca. Additionally, some argue that Islam's relegation of pre-Hijrat Meccan verses to the end of the Quran suggests a devaluation of their teachings on co-existence, peace, fraternity, patience, and perseverance. This essay aims to reflect on these questions and explore their implications. The Significance of Hijrat The decision to start the Islamic calendar from Hijrat holds deep historical and symbolic significance for Muslims. The migration marked a critical turning point for the Muslim community and laid the foundation for the establishment of an Islamic state in Medina. The emergence of the Islamic state marked a significant turning point in history, as it gradually evolved and solidified its distinct features across various domains - geographical, social, military, and political. Prior to this pivotal development, Muslims lacked a centralized state or any cohesive political structure that could effectively unite them. By commencing the calendar with Hijrat, Islam acknowledges that its message encompasses both spiritual and worldly aspects. The migration highlights Islam's commitment to establishing just governance and fostering harmonious co-existence among believers. Furthermore, the migration to Medina brought about a new phase in the propagation of Islam. It allowed Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) to establish treaties and alliances with various tribes and communities, fostering unity among diverse groups. The Islamic state in Medina became a model for governance based on justice, compassion, and equality. By starting the calendar from this point, Muslims are reminded of the importance of community building and social cohesion. This decision was made at the time of ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him). He standardized the chronology and made a significant decision to select the year of Hijrah as the starting point, rather than the first revelation of the Qur'an. This choice symbolizes that the Hijrah marked the beginning of Islam as a comprehensive way of life that impacts all aspects of human existence. One question arises: why did Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) choose the Hijrah as the starting point, rather than the first revelation of the Qur'an? According to Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani's Fath Al-Bari, caliph Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) is reported to have made the following remark: “The Hijrah has separated truth from falsehood, therefore, let it become the Epoch of the Era.” According to Al-Haafiz Ibn Hajar, there were four significant events in the life of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) that could have been chosen as the starting point for the calendar: his birth, the beginning of his mission, his migration (Hijrah), and his death. However, they decided to start the calendar from the Hijrah because it provided a more certain and definitive year. The choice to not use his birth or the start of his mission was due to potential uncertainty regarding the exact year. Additionally, the Shura council did not want to use his death as it would bring about sadness and grief when commemorated. Therefore, the only logical option left was, to begin with the Hijrah. When we look at migration analytically, we find that the companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him) were very successful in choosing this event to mark the beginning of history. Migration was the ray of light that dispelled this darkness, the relief that came after distress, and the ease after hardship. It distinguished between truth and falsehood, as Umar ibn Al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) said. It supported the oppressed, comforted the afflicted, and opened the doors of invitation with wisdom and good preaching until Islam reached Persia and Rome. In fact, it paved the way for the beginning of revelation itself, as the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) used to seclude himself from people and migrate to Cave Hira to worship during nights with odd numbers until revelation descended upon him in this state. And just as it paved the way for revelation to descend initially, it also paved the way for Islam to spread throughout the world. Understanding Pre-Hijrat Meccan Verses Before delving into the argument regarding their relegation, it is essential to understand the context of pre-Hijrat Meccan verses. These verses were revealed during Prophet Muhammad's early years in Mecca when Muslims faced severe persecution from non-believers. Consequently, these verses often emphasize themes such as patience, perseverance, and peaceful coexistence with those who hold different beliefs. The migration marked a transition from the stage of legislative doctrine to the stage of practical legislation in order to achieve the objectives of the final message. Researchers in the history of Islamic legislation have determined that the Meccan stage focused on building and solidifying concepts of the Islamic creed. Therefore, scholars have noticed that one distinguishing feature between the Meccan and Medinan chapters of the Quran is that the verses discussing creed are predominantly Meccan, while those addressing rulings and transactions are mainly Medinan. This is due to the need of the emerging Muslim community in Medina to organize its affairs, individuals, and confront new realities. The Meccan stage was focused on building individuals, while the Medinan stage aimed at building a nation. It also marked a transition from patience and endurance to confrontation, overcoming falsehood, and eliminating it. Critics argue that by placing these pre-Hijrat Meccan verses towards the end of the Quran, their significance is diminished or overshadowed by later revelations. They contend that this arrangement may inadvertently convey a devaluation of their teachings on co-existence, peace, fraternity, patience, and perseverance. However, it is important to note that the order in which verses appear in the Quran does not necessarily reflect their importance or relevance. The arrangement follows a divine plan known only to Allah. Muslims believe that Prophet Muhammad received revelations over a period of 23 years and that he arranged them under divine guidance. The Continuity of Teachings It is crucial to recognize that while pre-Hijrat Meccan verses may be placed towards the end of the Quran, their teachings are not invalidated or diminished. On the contrary, they form an integral part of Islamic doctrine and are consistently emphasized throughout the Quran. The principles of co-existence, peace, fraternity, patience, and perseverance are reiterated in various contexts and reinforced by subsequent revelations. The Spiritual and Political Dimensions of Islam It is important to recognize that Islam encompasses both spiritual and political dimensions. The Islamic calendar's association with Hijrat does not diminish its spiritual significance. Rather, it highlights the inseparable connection between faith and worldly matters. Abul Aaʿla Maududi's perspective that Islam is synonymous with the State and primarily a political ideology rather than a spiritual path to salvation contradicts the core principles of Islam. Islam encompasses both spiritual and political affairs. It provides guidance on matters pertaining to personal spirituality, morality, social justice, governance, and the overall well-being of individuals and society. Islam emphasizes the importance of establishing a just and equitable society while also nurturing one's relationship with God. The Holy Quran contains numerous verses that address both spiritual and worldly matters. For instance, verses such as "enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong" (Quran 3:104) emphasize the importance of establishing justice within society. It encourages believers to strive for both spiritual enlightenment and active participation in shaping a just society. Therefore, Abul Aaʿla Maududi's viewpoint fails to capture the comprehensive nature of Islam as it neglects its spiritual dimensions and reduces it to a mere political ideology. URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

A New Campaign to Absolve Yazeed of the Responsibility of the Martyrdom of Hussain Has Been Intensified

By New Age Islam Staff Writer 29 July 2023 Some Ulema Give Arguments in Favour of Yazeed Main Points: 1. Yazeed was the caliphate at the time of the battle of Karbala. 2. Ibn Ziyad was the governor of Kufa. 1. 3.72 members of the prophet’s family faced Yazid's army at the banks of Euphrates. ------ On the 10th day of Muharram in 60 A.H. the family of the prophet pbuh led by his grandson Hazrat Hussain faced Yazeed's army in Karbala at the banks of the river Euphrates, Furat in Arabic meaning that which quenches the thirst. The irony is that it was prevented from quenching the thirst of the prophet's holy family. Before the arrival of Hazrat Husain a.s. to Karbala, the governor of Kufa was Noman bin Bashir, a Sahabi (the prophet's companion) and was naturally sympathetic to the Ahlul Bayt ( prophet's family). The caliph Yazeed knew it well that as long as Noman bin Bashir was the governor, his plan of executing Hazrat Hussain would not be possible. So he removed Noman bin Bashir and appointed Ibn Ziyad as the governor of Kufa. The family of Hazrat Husain a.h. comprised 40 women and children and 32 men. They had arrived at Karbala on horses and camels. On 10th of Muharram, when Yazeed was convinced that Hazrat Hussain a.h. would succumb to pressure tactics and would not accept him as the caliph, he was martyred along with other male members of his family except Ali bin Husain alias Zainul Abedin. This was not the end. Yazeed's army tied the women and children with ropes and brought them on camels and horses like prisoners of war first to Kufa and then to Damascus, the capital of Yazeed's caliphate. There they were lodged in a dilapidated building near the palace of the caliph for three days. Then the palace was decorated and announcement was made that the prisoners of war will be produced before the caliph. The prophet's family members, mostly women were produced in the court before Yazeed where Hazrat Hussain's severed head was placed on a pedestal and Yazeed was smiling. Hazrat Zainab's speech before Yazeed is recorded in the history of Islam, She warned Yazeed against showing disrespect to Hazrat Hussain's head and the women of the holy family. After that the women and children were released and they travelled back to Karbala where they mourned at the dead bodies still lying there and then travelled back to Madina. This is the history of Karbala read and heard since 61 A.H. and Yazeed is cursed for the martyrdom of Hazrat Husain a.h. and his family members. But in recent years a campaign for giving Yazeed clean chit has been intensified. Even some maulvis advised Muslims not curse Yazeed because in their view Yazeed was innocent. They only hold Ibn Ziyad responsible and argue that Yazeed was not aware of what happened on that fateful day. This campaign is run mainly by Deobandis or Wahhabis and the reasons for this is unknown. If Hazrat Hussain a.s.'s assassination was not the plan of Yazeed, why did he remove Noman bin Bashir and appoint Ibn Ziyad as the governor. A governor's duty was to execute the orders of the caliph. He could not have assassinated a very important personality like the grandson of the holy prophet pbuh without Yazid's order. And if he had ordered the assassination of Hazrat Hussain a.h. without the discretion of Yazid, Yazeed would not have ordered the bereaved women to be brought to Damascus with hands tied with ropes. He would have punished Ibn Ziyad and would have apologised not only to the women but also to the entire Muslim community. Nothing of that sort happened. On the contrary when the people of Madina revolted after the martyrdom of Hazrat Husain a.h., Yazeed's army invaded Madina and massacred Muslims and raped thousands of women, according to Engineer Md Ali Mirza. These are the facts that have been concealed from general Muslims for 1400 years only to give clean chit to Yazeed. They do not also say how some senior holy companions were forced to pay allegiance to Yazeed. They also present the argument that Yazeed was a Sahabi and therefore he should be called Yazeed Rahmatullah Alaih but they forget that the killer of the prophet's uncle Hazrat Hamza r.a. was also a Sahabi but the prophet pbuh could not forget his deed even after he accepted Islam and told him not show his face. Would then the prophet pbuh have tolerated Yazeed who killed not only killed his grandson but all the male members of his family if he were alive? Why is this happening that a man who was not a legitimate caliph in the first place and who massacred the whole family of the prophet is being defended and given clean chit but some ulema and historians of Islam? The reason is simple. Ulema in every age have supported the rulers. With the rise of the Umayyad dynasty, the ulema of the age sided with Banu Umayya for power and perks because they saw that the lobby of Hazrat Ali r.a. was not powerful. These pro- Umayyad ulema prepared literature glorifying and defending Banu Umayya. The arguments that the present day ulema give in favour of Yazeed have actually been prepared by the ulema of the Umayyad dynasty. They concealed harsh facts and made light of the wrongdoings of Yazeed and his ilk. Do whatever these Yazeedi ulema can, the Muslims know that Yazeed was behind the martyrdom of Hazrat Hussain a.s. and his family members because he knew that his caliphate was illegitimate and the Ahlul Bayt posed a threat to his political ambitions. The Muslims will curse Yazeed, Ibn Ziyad and the Yazeedi ulema till the day of judgment. The Yazeedi ulema will be raised with Yazeed and Ibn Ziyad on the Day of Judgment. URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Men Are Not Always Cruel and Women Are Not Always Oppressed

By Kaniz Fatma, New Age Islam 27 July 2023 Min Points: 1. Allah created unique skills and qualities in all living beings, with intelligence, trade, and artistic abilities. 2. Reform discussions are constructive, but discretion is needed. 3. It's important to recognize that both men and women need reformation, as three recent events demonstrate. ------ The All-Mighty Allah created the sky, the earth, and all living beings. Every species has unique, particular skills and qualities. When we think about it, we see that if Allah Almighty gave some species-particular characteristics that made them distinct, He also gave some other beings different attributes. It becomes obvious that these qualities and skills vary when one considers what constitutes a human being. Some are intelligent, others have trade or artistic skills, others are employed in the workforce, and others run their own businesses. They demonstrate their talents and expertise through their abilities; some have a greater capacity for this than others. Allah created man and woman from the same human race and gave them distinct sexual characteristics. In the Holy Qur'an, it is made very plain that men and women are each other's comforters and clothing. Both parties received specific and dissimilar obligations towards one another. If a couple is married, then they both have certain rights, and in a similar way, the rights of parents, brothers and sisters, relatives, and neighbours have also been established to ensure the happiness of the human life system. Islam has given women specific rights and obligations towards men, as well as specific rights and obligations for women. But when these two fail to respect one another's rights, trouble in the home begins to develop. The departure from religious instruction is the primary cause of this decline. One hears and reads a lot about reform talk in this area, and it is a very constructive process that ought to take place and be beneficial. On this matter, however, discretion is required. There are many feminist movements taking place now, stories about how women are oppressed are frequently told, males are constantly held accountable for everything, and reform initiatives are typically saved for men rather than women. The topic of reforming women is barely mentioned. I disagree that men are always to blame for the breakdown of the marriage; I think that women are frequently to blame as well, even if they are often unaware of it. This has been observed in numerous instances. Additionally, she files fabricated charges against her husband and every member of his family, endangering not only her own life but also the lives of her husband and his family. There is a lengthy number of these instances, and it would be challenging to mention them all. As a result, even an oppressed guy is heard in our society sighing and stating that a woman's voice is heard but a man's voice is not heard, as if he does not even trust the judicial system. Reforming bad men is unquestionably a good thing, but it's also important to change bad women. Allah Almighty intended women to be a delicate species, yet in modern culture, some women have invented tales of brutality and cruelty towards their spouses that make one's soul quake. In order to convince you that males are not always oppressors and women are not always the targets of oppression and that both men and women need to undergo reformation, I will share with you a few recent events. A heartbreaking occurrence just happened in Tunisia. A brutal wife kills her sleeping husband by setting him on fire. According to media sources, Tunisian police detained a woman in the Raoued neighbourhood after she fatally burned her sleeping husband. According to a security source, the wife doused her sleeping husband with petrol. According to the Tunisian newspaper "Sabah," the woman stated that her husband had been disloyal to her and had an affair with another woman. According to sources, "On July 8, a call from the Civil Protection was received indicating that a house had caught fire in the Raoued district and a person had been found inside with terrible burns all over his body. He was rushed to the hospital in critical condition where he succumbed to his injuries. They continued, saying that the judicial police teams started looking into the wife after finding a severe burn injury on her leg and that she later admitted to killing him by dousing him in fuel and lighting him on fire. The wife claimed to have gleaned access to the husband's alleged girlfriend's WhatsApp conversations. When he was asleep, she set him on fire, instantly murdering him. The woman's claim that she started a fire to kill her spouse is still being looked into. You must be thinking about how such violence can occur while Islam has established good rights for both husband and wife and recommended them to coexist in harmony, safety, and tolerance. The obvious answer is that it is a result of inaction and working against Islamic precepts. Islam is the subject of debate every day, and there are conversations about changing its laws. Someone seems to be waiting in the wings for a chance to capitalise on a Muslim event and prolong it over time. The reports of additional horrors are subsequently ignored. Islam never justifies cruelty or violence; rather, the offender is held responsible for his own actions. Aside from Muslims, people of other religions also indulge in evil. A similar situation to the one previously described took place in Telangana's Nirmala village on July 17, according to Urdu Leaks. According to the story, a husband had expressed scepticism about his wife's remarks, and when he became enraged, the wife and her mother violently murdered him. According to the information, Mankem, 40, of the village of Nirmala, and Jamuna, 38, got married 15 years ago. Mankem visited his in-laws' residence on Sunday night. After Mankem had slept off, Jamuna and her mother beat him mercilessly with sticks on his head and other body parts. Mankem succumbed to his wounds and passed away right there. An investigation was launched when a case was filed based on the father of the deceased, Bhumia, who filed the complaint. The third terrible incident happened in Korutla, Telangana. According to the Urdu Leaks post, which is dated July 10, a husband killed himself because he believed his wife's rebuke humiliated him. Naresh, a 25-year-old inhabitant of Korutla, married Lakshmi five years ago, according to the source. They also have two children. The two of them often engaged in conflict. The wife reprimanded him after the two of them had an argument on Sunday night. Naresh became depressed as a result and committed himself by jumping into the nearby agricultural Baoli. The role of women is oppressive in the three events stated above. But it is a big pity that one-sided conferences and programmes are created today, sometimes trying to create the idea that women are always oppressed and that all problems and oppression are the fault of males. It has a lot of detrimental impacts on our culture, and the next generation of women views men negatively. Therefore, when it comes to women's rights, we need to reform both men's and women's rights. Men's rights and marriage reform should be explored as well so that both partners can learn to fulfil their obligations and experience true love in a marriage. ------ Kaniz Fatma is a classic Islamic scholar and a regular columnist for New Age Islam. Urdu Article: Urdu Article: Men Are Not Always Cruel and Women Are Not Always Oppressed مرد ہمیشہ ظالم نہیں ہوتے اور عورت ہمیشہ مظلوم نہیں ہوتی URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Muharram Or Shia Genocide: Pakistan Recreates Karbala for Shia Muslim

By Saquib Salim, New Age Islam 29 July 2023 “The very thought that Muharram is arriving sent chills down my spine. When these terrorist organizations keep attacking the mosques and localities of their opponents (Shias) during other months, one can only imagine the terror they will unleash during the month of Muharram.” Popular Pakistani Urdu poet Jaun Elia wrote these words in May 1999. Shia Muslims protesting in Karachi, Pakistan ------ The fear that Jaun Elia, a muhajir (a person who had migrated from India after the partition), had was not unfounded. Shias in Pakistan have been facing constant sectarian attacks since the very foundation of this nation. In 1963, on the Day of Ashura (10th of Muharram) Taziya processions were attacked by extremists in several cities and towns of Pakistan. In Khairpur district a mob attacked and set an Imambargah on fire killing dozens of Shia inside it. The government admitted that more than a hundred Shias were killed that day, while non-government sources put the casualties even higher. It is needless to mention that not a single person was ever punished. Abdul Nishapuri has compiled the number of Shias killed in sectarian violence in Pakistan and notes, “militants have killed more than 23,500 Shia Muslims” between 1963 and June 2021. One can understand why Jaun Elia was so much concerned for the safety of Shias in Pakistan and why several scholars have termed this anti-Shia violence: a slow ‘genocide of Shias’. Extremists are not the only threat to the Shias. In 1969, at least 7 Shias were killed by police bullets in Jhang during the Ashura procession. There were several incidents when police or armed forces actively participated in anti-Shia violence in the month of Muharram. In 1985, Police killed at least 35 Shias in Quetta. In the same city, several other incidents of police firings on Shias have been reported. Juan Elia ----- I can safely argue that praying at Shia mosques and Imambargahs during the month of Muharram in Pakistan is the deadliest religious ritual in the world. In the 21st century, terrorists have targeted Shia mosques the most. More than 10,000 Shias have lost lives while praying in the last two decades. On 4 March 2022, at least 63 Shias were killed by a suicide bomber when they were offering Friday prayers at a mosque in Peshawar. One of the deadliest planned attacks was unearthed by police in 2008 when terrorists poisoned “water fountains (Sabîl) posted along the route of Muharram processions with cyanide” which would have been coordinated with bomb blasts. In 2006, multiple blasts hit the procession in Hangu after which several villages inhabited by Shias were attacked with rockets and mortars. The number of casualties remained disputed. In 2012, several places, Shia mosques, and Imambargahs were bombed in Pakistan. In Rawalpindi, at least 23 were killed by a suicide bomber at an Imambargah. A bomb blast at Khanpur accounted for 18 deaths. In Dera Ismail Khan at least 14 Shias were killed in a blast. The same year terrorists bombed a three-bus convoy of Shia pilgrims going to Iran in Mastung killing at least 20. Andreas T. Rieck in his book, The Shias of Pakistan: An Assertive and Beleaguered Minority, writes, “This wave of violence against Shias occurred against the background of a generalized campaign of terror by extremists in Pakistan, spearheaded since 2007 by the Tahrîk-i Tâlibân-i Pâkistân (TTP) which claimed more than 10,000 lives in the years 2009–12 alone and was closely related to the conflict in neighbouring Afghanistan. But Shias have been at risk of becoming random victims of terror more than any other group of Pakistan’s citizens. And while law enforcement agencies have often acted with resolve and courage against criminal extremists, they have not always received the necessary backing from political leaders and the judiciary. A case in point has been the release on bail of the LeJ (Lashkar e Jhangvi) hit-man Malik Muhammad Ishaq in July 2011 for “lack of evidence”, although after his arrest in 1997, he had been accused of murdering seventy people, most of them Shias, in forty-four different cases. And sometimes even convicted mass murderers affiliated to the LeJ have been allowed to escape from their prison cells.” Dr. Pervez Hoodbhoy ----- In 2012, The Dawn reported Dr. Pervez Hoodbhoy as saying, “Describing the killings as sectarian is outrageous because a conflict assumes two warring sides. But in fact, here there is just one side – the Shias – which is being massacred. Pakistan was conceived in haste with just one goal in mind – Muslims must be separated from Hindus, and then somehow all Muslims will live together in bliss. Zero thought was given to what happens when religious fervour is aroused.” Muharram is a month of mourning for Muslims in general and Shias in particular across the globe in remembrance of the martyrdom of Imam Husain and his family members at Karbala in 680 AD. But in Pakistan, thanks to terrorists, it is a month of terror and horror for Shia Muslims. Their places of worship are bombed, fired upon, burnt down, and attacked during this month. URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Listening To Mohammad Rafi on Old LP Records

By Sumit Paul, New Age Islam 29 July 2023 Poona has a sizable number of admirers of the great Mohammad Rafi whose death anniversary falls on July 31. There're many clubs of Rafi's countless fans. Here I know a few old army officers who're hardcore Rafi fans. Once in a month we meet at an officer's place and listen to Rafi's immortal numbers on old LP records. The feeling of listening to old songs on LP records is simply indescribable. July 31 is Rafi's 43 Death Anniversary. He shuffled off this mortal coil in 1980. ---- Retired Brigadier Pradeep Anand has a huge collection of Rafi's rare songs and very old LPs. The best part of this nostalgic musical experience is the anecdotes associated with the films, actors and of course Rafi. One more officer, Colonel Ranjeet Ray, who's in his 80s, twice met Rafi. One Colonel Rajbeer Singh has narrated the story ad nauseam how he bumped into Rafi in Jalandhar in 1969 and when he requested, Rafi smilingly sang, 'Ek Haseen Shaam Ko Dil Mera Kho Gaya ' from the movie Dulhan Ek Raat Ki. Rafi gave him his autograph and spoke to him in Theth Punjabi. Barring yours truly, all my much senior Army officer friends met Rafi on different occasions. An old Army officer would insist on playing Rafi's poignant number, Hai Duniya Usi Ki Zamana Usi Ka from 'Kashmir Ki Kali.' Like that Army officer in the song sequence, our old Army officer friend would cry copiously whenever he'd listen to this song. Since these records are very old, sound is often distorted. We've called an old gentleman from HMV, Calcutta, who repairs those very old LPs. A few days ago, we listened to one of Rafi's immortal ghazals, "Kitni Raahat Hai Dil Toot Jaane Ke Baad." Many officers in our group relate to this ghazal in an excessively sentimental manner and plunge into a bout of maudlin self-pity whenever they listen to it. They get transported to a nostalgic world of their own. One friend Brigadier Arif Ahmad from Rampur (UP) has Rafi's all ghazals written by Kunwar Mohinder Singh Bedi 'Sahar'. He plays them religiously on his old and rickety record player. Listening to these rare numbers and even rarer anecdotes related to the films and the great singer can make one feel very nostalgic and emotional. All these old-timers are effusive of Rafi as a great singer and an equally great human being. They remember how warmly he'd meet his fans and say, Sab Allah Ka Karam Hai. Such a nice and humble human! Rafi's seraphic smile and his helping nature will always be discussed by these officers who were fortunate enough to see the magnificent singer and a few of them even listened to him in person when he sang for them on request. The ever-humble singer never refused anyone and obliged whoever requested him to sing. We'll never have the likes of Mohammad Rafi. Let's remember him on his 43rd death anniversary. ---- 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: 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, July 28, 2023

Who Is a Muslim? Amid The Anti-Ahmadiyya Tirade, This Question Acquires Immense Importance

By Arshad Alam, New Age Islam 28 July 2023 Amid The Anti-Ahmadiyya Tirade, This Question Acquires Immense Importance Main Points: 1. The Andhra Pradesh Waqf Board passed a resolution in February, declaring the Ahmadis as non-Muslim; a resolution of the Jamiat Ulama e Hind supports that AP Waqf Board. 2. The Munir commission report interviewed various Ulama but none of them could agree on a singular definition of who was a Muslim. 3. The history of Takfirism goes back to the roots of Islam; it is very much part of the contemporary Islam. 4. Muslims need to be vigilant against such tendencies in their midst, else they might go down the Pakistan way. ------ In February this year, the Andhra Pradesh Waqf Board passed a resolution which declared that Ahmadis were outside the pale of Islam. Thankfully, the high court suspended the resolution after the Ahmadis implored the judiciary. Ironically enough, the minority affairs ministry has now jumped into the controversy by telling the Andhra government that such resolutions amount to “hate speech”, reminding the Waqf Board that “it had no jurisdiction to determine the religious identity of any community”. I say ironical because the same ministry maintains radio silence on hate speeches against the Muslim community, emanating from the Hindu right wing. Whatever the intentions of the ministry, it is a welcome step that they have intervened in favour of the Ahmadis, who are a marginalized Muslim group in India. Unlike in Pakistan where they have been declared non-Muslims, India still recognizes them as one of the many groups which comprise the mosaic of Indian Muslim society. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Also Read: Rebooting Islam: Let Us At Least Resolve the Issue - Who Is a Muslim -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- But the issue hasn’t been put to rest yet. The Jamiat, led by Arshad Madani, endorsed the decision of the Andhra Waqf Board, thereby reiterating that in their eyes, Ahmadis were non-Muslims. The Jamiat argued that on this issue, there was consensus within the Umma. A couple of months ago, the elder Madani had earned brownie points within sections of Muslims by stating that Om and Allah were one and the same. Muslims who hailed his statement as a great leap forward in inter-religious dialogue will do well to go back and listen to his speech once again in order to makes sense of what he really said and why. A man who does not tolerate Ahmadis can never be expected to make bridges with the Hindus. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Also Read: Demolish Kafir-Mushrik-Munafiq-Manufacturing Factories, Says Sultan Shahin, Defending New Age Islam against Talibani Onslaught -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The more important question though is this: Is there any way in which a Muslim can be defined? As the anti-Ahmadiyya madness gripped Pakistan, the government constituted the Munir-Kayani Commission in 1953 to look into this question. The committee asked the leading Ulama of the time “to give their definition of a Muslim, the point being that if the Ulama of the various sects believed the Ahmadis to be Kafirs, they must have been quite clear in their minds not only about the grounds of such belief but also about the definition of a Muslim.” After listening to various Ulama, Justice Munir writes in the report: “But we cannot refrain from saying here that it was a matter of infinite regret to us that the Ulama whose first duty should be to have settled views on this subject, were hopelessly disagreed among themselves.” Justice Munir further submits: “Keeping in view the several definitions given by the ulama, need we make any comment except that no two learned divines are agreed on this fundamental [definition of a Muslim]? If we attempt our own definition as each learned divine has done and that definition differs from that given by all others, we unanimously go out of the fold of Islam. And if we adopt the definition given by any one of the ulama, we remain Muslims according to the view of that alim but Kafirs according to the definition of everyone else.” -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Also Read: Why Should Any Muslim Object To Pranab Mukherjee Attending An Ahmadiya Convention? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Outlining the dangers of combining religion and politics, the report states: “The net result of all this is that “neither Shias nor Sunnis nor Deobandis nor Ahl-i-Hadith nor Barelvis are Muslims and any change from one view to the other must be accompanied in an Islamic State with the penalty of death if the Government of the State is in the hands of the party which considers the other party to be Kafirs. And it does not require much imagination to judge of the consequences of this doctrine when it is remembered that no two Ulama have agreed before us as to the definition of a Muslim.” In a nutshell, Justice Munir told us that the Ulama had failed to arrive at a consensus as to how a Muslim could be defined. Secondly, if the Ulama were to be taken seriously, then there will be nothing but bloodshed in the country. It becomes clear that there cannot a single definition of a Muslim from theological point of view. In other words, a singular theological definition of a Muslim is nearly impossible. The only way therefore is to define it sociologically. We have to take the self-definition of a person or a community and give it due legitimacy. Thus, if an Ahmadi thinks that he is a Muslim, then the wider society should not have any problem in accepting him as one. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Also Read: Sultan Shahin on Muslims and Islam: The Boy Said: “Kill Them, All Those Muslims Who Are Not Ahl-e-Hadees” -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- It is important to recall the report of Justice Munir today as we are faced with the menacing threat of Takfiri ideology. Normally, Muslims associated Takfirism as some very extreme form of Islam followed by terror groups like the ISIS. But if they look closely enough, Takfirism is rife as an everyday practice within our societies. What senior Madani is doing is nothing but indulging in Takfir. In his case, it is the Ahmadis who should be thrown out from the fold of Islam. And, he is in August company. For the longest time, the Barelvis, following Ahmad Riza, declared Deobandis as Kafirs. He even got support for his sectarian opinion from the Ulama of Hejaz. Deobandis, not to be left behind, accused Barelvis of being grave worshippers and hence compromising the cardinal principle of Tauheed in Islam. But the Deobandis and Barelwis would come together to pronounce the title of Ghair Muqallid on the Ahle Hadis as the latter did not adhere to the Hanafi Fiqh. Moreover, the Sunnis have long argued that the Shias are not Muslims because they do Tabarra of some caliphs and other companions of the Prophet. There is an active campaign in Pakistan to declare the Shia as non-Muslim. For the Shia, those who do not believe that Maula Ali should have been the successor of the Prophet does not deserve to be called a Muslim. In Pakistan though, the Sunni and Shia come together to justify the expulsion of the Ahmadis from the fold of Islam. Many of us think that this problem is of recent origin. But that’s not the case. We will do well to remember that the first civil war in the history of Islam was over the question of “apostasy”. The wars that Abu Bakr waged were not against those who had completely left Islam, but against those who simply refused to pay the new tax. This refusal in itself made them non-Muslims against whom war became permitted. After some years, the Kharajis would declare war on Ali because they believed he erred by making peace with Muawiyah. This error, according to the Kharajis, made Ali a non-Muslim and hence liable to be killed. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Also Read: The Missing Introspection -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Normally one thinks that the power to excommunicate from a religious community should be exercised by a legitimate authority. In the Christian world, the catholic church had this power. We do not have any church in Islam; organized priesthood is alien to the religion. And yet there is a clamour within Muslim societies to declare those who disagree as Kafir. One fails to understand why Muslims do not learn from their own past? Why they do not take lessons from what is unfolding in Pakistan due to this madness? ------ A regular contributor to, Arshad Alam is a writer and researcher on Islam and Muslims in South Asia. URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Pakistan Army Involved in Drug and Sex Scandal in Islamiah University of Bahawalpur

By New Age Islam Staff Writer 28 July 2023 5500 Sex Videos Of Girls Retrieved From Retired Army Major's Mobile Phone By The Bahawalpur Police Main Points: 1. The scandal is one of the biggest in Pakistan's history as an Islamic country. 2. Girls were made drug addicts and blackmailed. 1. 3.5500 girls of the university are the victims. 2. Chief Security Officer of the University is a retired major of Pak Army. 3. Retired major of Pak Army is the main accused in the scandal. 4. 113 drug suppliers were active in the university under retired major Aijaz Hussain Shah. ----- A huge drug and sex scandal has rocked Pakistan. 5500 sex videos have been retrieved from the phone of the chief security officer of the Islamiah University of Bahawalpur Pakistan and his aides. He was arrested while he was travelling in a car with a woman. Sex tablets and drugs were seized from his car. Thousands of sex videos of university girl students and women staff were found in his mobile phone. The chief security officer Aijaz Hussain Shah who is a retired army major of Pakistan is the kingpin of the drug and sex scandal along with some professors and department heads of the university. The enormity of the racket can be gauged from the fact that the Vice-Chancellor of the university was also involved in the sex and drug racket being run in the Islamiah University of Bahawalpur for the last ten years. Till now 5500 girl students were made drug addicts and forced into prostitution by the syndicate. The modus operandi of the group was that the secret agents of the security staff under CSO Aijaz Hussain Shah would film boys and girls in compromising position in the parks, bushes or isolated places. The agents produced the videos or photographs to Aijaz Shah for action but Aijaz Shah used the videos and photographs to blackmail girls. They would be made drug addicts and their sex videos were made while they were not in their senses. The videos were then used to blackmail them. Other girls were offered marks or grades in return for sex and their videos were also used to blackmail them. They also exploited the poor financial condition of some gorl students to force them into prostitution. The girls were sent to high profile personalities from all walks of life like bureaucrats, officers and businessmen. The girls suffered in silence and did not tell their parents. It is said that every three professors out of five in every department were involved in this racket. Since this had been going on for a long time, the university students had become accustomed to it. MNA Tarique Bashir Shah's son Wali Dad Shah was also found to be involved in the racket but his name was not included in the FIR. According to reports, government cars and ambulances were used to ferry girls to the clients. Unfortunately, a scandal of this scale is being suppressed because many high profile personalities including a retired major are involved in it. Instead of making large scale arrests, the police has till now arrested a few small players while professors, department heads and other staff have only been transferred or removed from service. The general insensitivity and cowardice of Pakistani people has also helped the culprits. In any other country, the common people including the guardians of the girls that were made victims would have hit the streets but the guardians of the 5500 girls in Pakistan are silent because they fear that if they protest, it will mean that their girls are the victims. Therefore, to save them from the stigma, they are silent. It is therefore, presumed that the scandal will be hushed up to save big fish. The main accused has been arrested and the Pakistan Army has reportedly told the authorities to give Aijaz Shah exemplary punishment but it appears to be mere hogwash. Though it has been reported that 113 drug suppliers were active in the campus, it has not been divulged by the university authorities or the police from where the drugs were supplied. That the drug supply network inside the university campus was run under the nose of a retired army major points the needle of suspicion towards the Pakistan Army. It is no secret now that Pakistan army has been involved in drug trade as a policy of the Pakistan Army since the 1991. In 1994, the former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had said in an interview that in 1991, the Pakistan Army Chief of Staff Aslam Beg and ISI head Asad Durrani had said to him that the army needed more money to pay for its covert operations and so they wanted to raise the money through drug sales. Actually, they had already made a blue print for the drug trade. They only needed Nawaz Sharif's approval which he refused. Those in the know of the way Pakistan Army works understand that Pakistan army executes its own plans and decisions irrespective of the approval of the government. However, the US State Department officials and Drug Enforcement Administration had said that they had no evidence that Pakistan Army is or ever was involved in Drugs trafficking. It is known to political analysts that the US admits or refutes an information according to its own convenience. Therefore, it cannot be said whether the United States was really unaware of Pakistan's involvement in drug trafficking. It is important to note here that two years before the interview and the denial of the U.S. State Department of any knowledge of Pakistan's involvement in drug trade, a consultant hired by the CIA ( a US intelligence department) said in its report that drug corruption had permeated all segments of Pakistani society and that the drug kingpins were closely connected with the country's key institutions including the President and military intelligence agencies (ISI). Now in September 2022, the NATO Defence Education Enhancement Programme produced a report titled "Narco-Insecurity, Inc, the convergence of Pakistan and Afghanistan narco-trade was made possible with the help of Pakistan's military spy agency the ISI, which launched several covert operations with sympathetic jihadist groups, all of whom relied heavily on narcotics trafficking to fund their operations. It goes without saying that NATO is headed by the United States. According to reports, 85 per cent of the total opium production of the world is comes from Afghanistan and 40 per cent of the Afghan drugs pass into Pakistan. Recently, the Indian media reported that Pakistan was smuggling drugs into India through drones. It is now clear that Pakistan army runs the drug business as an official policy and it generates 5 billion rupees revenue for them. In order to earn more revenue, they have apparently zeroed in on the universities of Pakistan. To pay for the costs of insurgency in Afghanistan and India, the Pakistan army have supplied drugs to the universities and Muslim girls studying there have been made victims. This is the level Pakistan army can stoop in order to cause damage to India. Surprisingly, the Pakistan Senate has passed the Army Act Amendment Bill in haste yesterday when a retired army major was arrested for drug supply in Islamiyah University. The Defence Minister Khwaja Asaf presented the bill which was passed. According to the bill, any one running malicious propaganda against the army on social and electronic media will be sentenced to two to five years of imprisonment and a fine. Obviously, the bill was passed a few day after the drug and sex racket had come to light to protect the army as a retired army major was arrested. The bill was brought to prevent the media from naming army in the racket. Since the army, politicians and bureaucrats are involved in the racket and the people of Pakistan have not spoken about it, the accused will be provided protection and thousands of innocent girls will have to swallow the humiliation at the cost of the 'covert operations of army' and to save the faces of the rich and the powerful of the feudal society of Pakistan. URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

What Is Arabic-Malayalam: Has It Alienated Malayali Muslims from Their Local Culture and Literature, Or Can It Be Considered an Embodiment of Syncretic Pluralism?

By Grace Mubashir, New Age Islam 28 July 2023 Arabic-Malayalam is the way of writing Malayalam language in Arabic. There are twenty-eight letters in Arabic. Only fifteen of them can be written using Malayalam script. The remaining thirteen letters cannot be written. Malayalam vowels ‘a’, ‘aa’, ‘e’, ‘ee’, ‘u’ and ‘uu’ are the only vowels that could be in Arabic. ‘Ai’, ‘ae’, ‘I’, ‘o’, ‘au’ have no similar vowels in Arabic. For example, there is no Arabic letter that can replace the Malayalam letter ‘cha’. There is an Arabic letter pronounced ‘Ja’. With the letter 'ja' which is written with one dot, two more dots were added and pronounced as 'cha'. This is how each letter is replaced in Arabic script from Malayalam. Arabic words with the same pronunciation are not available to replace Malayalam letters related to Muslim culture, so new letters were made by making minor modifications to similar Arabic letters. So, this is how Arabic-Malayalam was formed as a product of plural coexistence of Kerala Muslims. Instead of maintain separate identity through peculiar languages as in Nort India, Kerala Muslims adopted Malayalam language with modifications in Arabic script. This aspect of linguistic pluralism has been cited as a reason for unparalleled social harmony in South India. Origin The exact time when Arabic-Malayalam took shape cannot be determined. It should be understood that the Muslims of Kerala were formed as a community in the early Islamic periods and religious studies and knowledge were formed since the situation came to reach the common Muslims. Ullur S. Parameswaran Pillai, in his Kerala literary history published in 1953, dates back origin of Arabic-Malayalam to six hundred years from the present. (Volume: 1, 1953:228). Looking at some facts, it can be seen that Arabic-Malayalam emerged from the 9th century (O. Abu, Arabimalayala Sahityam, 1970:16-17). K. Abubakar writes that history has witnessed the presence of Muslims here since the 9th century AD and Arabic-Malayalam can be at least as old as that. Is Arabic-Malayalam a language? Linguist O. Abu that Arabic-Malayalam is a language and that language has its own grammar. (History of Arabic-Malayalam Literature,22). CK Karim also shares this opinion (Kerala Muslim Directory, 170). K Shamsuddin says that Arabic-Malayalam is the written form of one of the dialects of Malayalam. (Mappila Malayalam is a mixture of languages). But M N Karassery says that Arabic-Malayalam is only the written language of Malabar Muslims. In any case, Arabic-Malayalam also exhibits some grammatical and linguistic characteristics of its own while subsuming the Malayalam language in a separate script, making full use of the Arabic script. Arabic-Malayalam did not only exist through oral communication alone. The language has script as the backbone of the language, ‘Mala literature’ (traditional song literature) as the media of enjoyment and a rich literature. Ancient Arab merchants did not have imperial interests. They gave importance to broad human culture. A strong social relationship existed here with exchanges of goods and services. Therefore, many Arabic words took place in Malayalam's colloquial language. There are many Arabic words that are used in Malayalam conversation as a lingering impact of social mixture of Arabic-Malayalm in Malayali tradition. Examples are Rahmat, Manzil, Musafir, Chaya, Hamuk, Dhikr, Dars, Alif, Aadat, Muhabat, Bahr, Nikah, Mahr, Porisha, Monjatti, Manoharikka, Udakkam, Kutusha, Puthi, Beater, Bandhuka etc. Similar Experiments There had the custom of writing the local language in the Arabic script in the lands where the Muslims lived. Examples are Arabic-Punjabi, Arabic-Tamil, Arabic-Kannada, Arabic-Sindhi etc. Similarly, Spanish Muslims wrote the Spanish language in Arabic script. It was called Aljamido. Many books have been created in this script. Similar to Arabic-Malayalam, it faced government action around 1492 and many were destroyed (Syed Azizur Rahman, 2002, 491-493). When religious studies became indispensable for Muslims and Arabic letters with the same pronunciation were not available to replace some of the Malayalam letters associated with Muslim culture, Muslims were forced to use the Arabic script in the vernacular. Born as a result of a religious imperative, Arabic-Malayalam also served a cultural function. Symbol Of Resistance The Mappilas were able to create an alternative system to the language of the colonial speakers with Arabic-Malayalam. Linguistic implementations such as these can be seen in resistance societies trying to resist political and cultural colonial encroachment. Communities that believe that the land, culture, and faith they live in have their own identity and must continue to do so, resisting colonization through their own dialects. Colonization can be resisted linguistically in three ways. One is to completely reject the language of colonialism and use only the language that bears the imprint of one's own culture. An example of this is the Kenyan writer Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o, who had decided to ban English departments from his universities, which control their cultural heritage and consciousness and promote western modernity, and write in his own language, Gikuyu. I believe that his writing in Gikuyu, the Kenyan language, is an essential part of the struggles of the people of Africa and Kenya against imperialism. Second, while using the language of colonialism in an essential world context, it brings within it traces of one's own culture and land, both linguistically and thematically. An example of this is the Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe, who wrote in English but consciously expressed his own national idioms and anti-colonial themes in his novels. It is the creation of a parallel linguistic culture within the colonial language itself. Third, while being forced to use the colonial language entirely, act on the sense that it is not one's own language and culture. An example of this is the linguistic approach of Edward Said, a prominent oriental intellectual. Edward Said says that when we learn English in school, we learn their language, and when we speak English, it makes us feel like it is not my language. (Jamal Kochangadi, 2007: 144-156)33 Among these, Arabic-Malayalam is part of the first method. Through Arabic-Malayalam, the Mappilas proved that they have their own identity and can express whatever they want through it, completely rejecting the colonial language. It is worth noting that the Mappila literature expressed anti-colonial themes and their script also stood as a symbol of resistance. Communal Harmony Fostered Through Language The shared language of Hindus and Muslims helped cement communal amity. Unlike, North Indian counterpart where linguistic separatism was one of the root causes for communal tension, the absence of linguistic barriers brought communities together. Malayalam was written in Sanskrit by Hindus and in Arabic by Muslims. The similitude of oral language helped both communities share culture. This fluidity of cultural assimilation by both communities is felt even today. The historical records, produced by eminent literary historian Ullor Paramesharan has explained Hindus using Arabic Malayalam for trade and art purposes. The literary traditions of Sanskrit were munificently borrowed by Muslims and presented in Arabic-Malayalam. Though Muslim themes were introduced into Malayalam poetry by non-Muslim poets since the beginning of the 20th century, the entry of Muslims into the Malayalam literature is of late occurrence because of the attachment of the Muslim poets to Arabic Malayalam. In imitation of the Sanskrit literary tradition Maha Kavyam were composed by Malayalam poets. Rama Chandra Vilasam was written by Azakath Padmanabha. Kurp and Kattakkayam cheriyan Mappila wrote Sree Yeshu Vijayam. But Mahammadam was written only after a long period. Ponkunnam saidu Mohammad, a Muslim scholar in Sanskrit and Malayalam, wrote this Maha Kavyam in the same Snskrit metre and here the poet attempts to narrate the story of mankind in an Islamic perspective. It also contains a description of the Quran in detail. Kerala is the breeding ground of Hindu-Muslim brotherhood. In medieval period, many sailors who were traveling in revenge for the Crusades were traveling in search of the country of Muslims. When Portuguese admiral Cabral, who came to Kerala in 1600, demanded the expulsion of all Muslims from the port of Kozhikode, he opposed it and declared that he saw the Arab traders as his own subjects. This friendly atmosphere has been a boon to the Muslims who had crossed the sea for trade. Many people, who were impressed by the teachings of the Sufis and cured by their presence, made many gifts for religious institutions. Churches were built in many places with the cooperation of Hindus. Hindu kings also built many mosques. The Malappuram church was built by Paranambi, the Hindu ruler of Malappuram. The temple and the church standing next to each other is a wonderful sight in Kerala. Animal sacrifice is not performed on Ead as a sign of respect in the Shaikh's mosque near Chalat Shastra temple. Many practices of the Muslim Arakal dynasty were similar to those of the Hindu Chirakal dynasty. The royal palace and wedding traditions were full of similarities. The churches found in the coastal areas of Ponnani and Kannur are almost built in the style of temples. While the mosques, which are full of carvings, are inscribed with plants and vines, the temples contain images of deities. Poet Kambalat Govindan Nair has written Patapat (war ballad) about the Malabar War. Although many people used literary forms to express their hatred, the facts that they experienced in life were rejected by the people. Art forms play a major role in maintaining religious harmony. Mala songs (Panegyrics) which are the plot of religious harmony become a bridge between the two communities. Even in friendships between kingdoms, arts were exchanged influenced by Arabic-Malayalam. The fact that the Nawabs became the main promoters of Kalari underlines this deep connection. The fact that art and sculpture are given the same importance as literature in estimating the enlightenment and civilization of every society calls for their preservation. In short, it is our responsibility to protect such arts, literary traditions which are measures of identity. Art forms and linguistic diversities play a major role in maintaining religious harmony. The condemnation of inclusive literary tradition by Salafi puritans has to be opposed as they have the potential to rip the country across. Islam as a religion is entirely receptive to plural literary traditions and art form, contrary to modern reformists. Arabic-Malayalam in this score derives special attention as the embodiment of historical communal brotherhood and religious assimilation. ----- A regular columnist for, Mubashir V.P is a PhD scholar in Islamic Studies at Jamia Millia Islamia and freelance journalist. URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism