Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Silk Letter Movement Can Not Be Compared with Jihadist Movements of India

By New Age Islam Staff Writer 31 October 2023 Silk Letter Movement Was Commemorated by Indian Government by Releasing a Postage Stamp In 2013. Main Points: 1. Silk Letter Movement was a freedom movement launched by Deoband school. 2. Its leaders were Ubaidullah Sindhi, Maulana Mahmudul Hasan and Abdul Haque among others. 3. The movement died with the seizure of the silk letter. 4. It was the second movement by the ulema of Deoband after the defeat in Shamli. 5. SIMI and PFI cannot be clubbed with Reshmi Rumal movement. ----- Photo Courtesy Wikipedia ----- Praveen Swami recounts the history of Reshmi Rumal or Silk Letter Movement which was launched by the leaders of Deoband school, Mohammad Mian Mansoor Ansari, Ubaidullah Sindhi and Mahmood Hasan in 1913. But after giving a detailed account of the movement, he finds ideological links of SIMI and the PFI with the Silk Letter Movement. In reality, there is no link, ideological or political whatsoever between the Silk Letter Movement and SIMI or PFI or for that matter ISIS and Al Qaida. The maulanas of Deoband were nationalists and planned to overthrow the British government with the help of the Emirate of Afghanistan, Ottoman Empire and German Empire. The leaders of the movement have been recognised by the government of India as freedom fighters. The former President of India even unveiled a postage stamp commemorating the sacrifices of the leaders of Deoband for the Independence of India in 2013. In 1857, the first generation of the Deoband school had the battle of Shamli against the East India Company under the leadership of Imdadullah Mohajir Makki and defeated East India Company. This battle was a part of the Revolt of 1857. They had established the first government of free India. The head of the state of Shamli was Maulana Qasim Nanotawi while Maulana Rasheed Ahmad Gangohi was appointed its Qazi. But the East India company reclaimed the territory with the failure of the revolt led by Bahadur Shah Zafar. But Mr Praveen Swami writes: "Even if the silk letter movement was extinguished by blood, the millenarian impulses that powered it didn't go away. Following the savage anti-Muslim communal pogroms that took place under Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's watch in 1980s, a new generation of young Islamist radicals was drawn to SIMI. The rapid growth of the organisation represented a breakdown of faith among young Muslims in India's democratic promise and the ability of state institutions to protect them". The author seems to be adopting a selective approach. SIMI came to existence in the 80s but PFI came to existence in the 21st century when Indira Gandhi was not the prime minister. Silk Letter Movement ended in 1920 and Indian freedom movement gained momentum even after that. It means that the fire of nationalism and patriotism that was ignited by the Silk Letter Movement or by the victory of 'Mujahideen' in Shamli, no matter how short-lived, charged the overall atmosphere and Indians nurtured the belief that the British government was not invincible. Therefore, the Maulanas of Deoband did not inspire and influence the radical Islamists of SIMI or ISIS or PFI but Maulana Abul Kalam Azad who formed a similar revolutionary group called Hezbollah but this time the leaders of Deoband did not join the group because they did not accept Abul Kalam Azad Amirul Hind (the leader of the Indians). The leaders of Reshmi Rumal inspired and influenced Khilafat Tehreek which won the support of both Hindus and Muslims but this time, the ulema of Bareilly did not join the movement on the ground that Hindus had also been roped in. The birth of SIMI, PFI or other radical Islamist organisations has its roots in the global extremist ideas and organisations like the Muslim Brotherhood, Al Qaida, Taliban and other sectarian ideology among the Muslims. The organisations followed a supremacist interpretation of Islam and exploited the frustration of Muslims under social and political circumstances. Mr Praveen Swami observes that the communal pogroms in the country resulted in the loss of faith of the Muslims in the democratic institutions of India. But that is half-truth. Al the Muslims did not join the SIMI or the PFI. Therefore, it cannot be said that the entire Muslim population of India lost faith in India's democratic system. Some disgruntled and frustrated youth radicalised by the extremist ideology of foreign Islamic scholars joined these organisations in the false hope of establishing a shariah rule in India where they will not be subjected to oppression and injustice. That's why new organisations like PFI emerge and gain popularity among the youth. The problem with the Muslims of India is that they believe in politics of alienation and isolation, not in the politics of assimilation. In the recently concluded Moon Mission, many Muslim scientists contributed to its success. Maulana Abul Kalam Azad's contribution to the shaping up of the country's education system putting special emphasis on science and technology is immense though he was a religious person. The leaders of the Silk Letter Movement made contacts with the Ottoman Caliphate, Emirate of Afghanistan and even with the German Empire o garner global support for their ambitious plan. They were not narrow minded though they were religious persons. Today's Muslim scholars cannot see outside their sect or school of thought. They form religious organisations without any vision only to radicalise people and teach them o slit the throats of those who do not subscribe to their ideology. SIMI did not achieve anything other than putting a stigma on the foreheads of hundreds of Muslim youths. PFI also jeopardised the youth. They did not contribute to the educational and economic progress of the community. ------ Gaza’s Islamist Wave Can Fuel Jihadism in India—Don’t Forget The ‘Silk Letter Movement’ By Praveen Swami 29 October, 2023 Elegantly written on yellow silk, sewn into the waistcoat of a new convert to Islam, Shaikh Abdul Haq, the words were to be carried across the Khyber Pass, and set India on fire. From his desk in Kabul, the cleric Ubaidullah Sindhi had laid out his plans for a war against English rule in India, involving a revolt by the tribes of Pakistan’s northwest, backed by the emirate of Afghanistan and the rulers of the Hejaz, as well as the guns of imperial Germany and Turkey. A rocket fired by Palestinian militants into Israel, in Gaza City | Reuters ------ Like so many insurrectionary fantasies, this one was “crazy in the extreme,” one colonial civil servant noted, even “pathetic.” For reasons that have never become entirely clear, Haq handed the letters over to Khan Bahadur Rab Nawaz Khan, a one-time major in the British Indian Army, whose sons had left their studies to join the would-be insurrectionaries in Afghanistan. Khan’s third son was a police officer, though, and the family remained loyal to the Empire. The district commissioner in Multan, to whom Khan handed over the letters, deemed them “childish rot.” The Lieutenant-Governor of Punjab, Michael O’Dwyer, was less sure and handed the documents over to the Punjab Police’s Criminal Investigation Department. The translators opened the doors to one of the most incredible stories of the freedom movement. For Indian security services examining the fallout from the murderous Israel-Hamas war, the story of the so-called Silk Letter Movement should be a cautionary tale. The Islamic State and its Tehreek-e-Taliban allies are resurgent across Pakistan’s northwest. Local communal hatreds, of the kinds that drew some Indians into the Islamic State, have often been kindled by wider geopolitical events: The triumph of the Taliban gave birth to jihadist movements like the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), and 9/11 fired the minds of a new generation of jihadists. A hundred years ago, imperial intelligence services worked adroitly with stations in the Hejaz, Kabul and Istanbul to extinguish the threat. There are real questions, though, over whether modern Indian intelligence services have the skill and sophistication that’s needed. The Dawn of Danger Like so many stories about complex political struggles, the Silk Letter Movement doesn’t have a neat beginning. Every story has to have a beginning, though, and this one could start with the teenage Buta Singh Uppal, who converted to Islam in his teens. Later, as he studied at the Dar-ul-Uloom seminary in Uttar Pradesh’s Deoband, Ubaidullah attached himself to Mahmud Hassan, the institution’s first student and mentor to generations of anti-colonial clerics. Historian Shehroze Ahmed Sheikh has noted in an unpublished journal that, from at least 1912, the iconography of Turkish power being martyred at the hands of predatory European powers had embedded itself in religious processions in India. The globalised Muslim identity, which emerged as a consequence of imperialism, was considered a potent threat. Like his ideological predecessor, Syed Ahmad, Ubaidullah turned to the Afghanistan-Pakistan borderlands as base for revolution. The insurrection against Sikh power led by Syed Ahmad had been crushed in 1842, historian Ayesha Jalal has recorded. Learning from that bitter defeat, Ubaidullah sought to create a disciplined army with the support of Afghanistan’s emir, Habibullah Khan. From Peshawar, Chief Commissioner George Roos-Keppel informed his government that some 15 students—most from the prestigious Government College in Lahore—had joined Ubaidullah in Kabul. The group was joined by Mahendra Pratap, third son of the ruling family of Hathras in UP, graduate of the Aligarh Muslim University, and self-appointed revolutionary envoy to Emperor Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany and Sultan Mehmed Rishad of Turkey. Mohamed Barakatullah Bhopali, after whom the Barkatullah University in Bhopal is named, was appointed prime minister of the Indian state-in-exile, while Pratap was president and Ubaidullah home minister. The Empire Strikes Back Through sub-inspector Muhammad Sheikh of the Mumbai CID, colonial authorities succeeded in mounting undercover surveillance of the operations of the cell in Hejaz by 1916. The sub-inspector searched the baggage of the cleric Mahmud Hassan as he carried Ubaidullah’s message to Hejaz. The sub-inspector found nothing—and the cleric made no anti-British speeches—but, as per historian Saul Kelly, the British deported them from Suez to Malta, where they were held until after the end of the war in 1919. King Hussein bin Ali, the notionally independent ruler of the Hejaz, stonewalled efforts by the British to crush the anti-India movement, rejecting a proposal to allow Mumbai Police inspector Hamid Said to stay in Mecca and surveil pilgrims, traders, visitors and political emissaries. Together with his colonial superiors, Kelly has recorded, Hassan continued to regularly intercept Silk Letter missives. The authorities also stepped up surveillance of the Anjuman-i Khuddam-i Kaaba, or the Society of the Guardians of the Kaaba, through military officer Khan Bahadur Mubarak Ali. The organisation, set up in 1912, was funnelling funds to Turkey through the First World War, colonial spies came to believe. Eventually, the course of the First World War shattered the Silk Letter revolutionaries’ hopes. The Hejaz rulers decided to sit out the conflict. Turkey, faced with successive defeats, was barely in a position to protect itself, let alone provide assurances to arm Afghanistan. King Amanullah Khan, who took power in 1919, saw no reason to confront England’s might. Thousands of Indian Muslims who sought to migrate from the Land of the Infidels to join the anti-English jihad Afghanistan, scholar Dietrich Rietz records, were set on by tribespeople and left to die on the wastes of the Khyber Pass. Ignoring Dangers Even if the Silk Letter movement was extinguished by blood, the millenarian impulses that powered it didn’t go away. Following the savage anti-Muslim communal pogroms that took place under Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s watch in the 1980s, a new generation of young Islamist radicals was drawn to SIMI. The rapid growth of the organisation represented a breakdown of faith among young Muslims in India’s democratic promise and the ability of State institutions to protect them. Since the demolition of the Babri Masjid in 1993, SIMI’s language became increasingly pro-jihadist. The organisation’s jihadist ambitions were also powered by the triumph of the Taliban in Kabul, which brushed aside its opponents to form the First Emirate in 1996. At SIMI’s Kanpur convention in 1999, seven-year-old Gulrez Siddiqui was held up before an estimated 20,000 cheering members: “Islam ka ghazi, butshikan, mera sher, Osama bin Laden [warrior of Islam, destroyer of idols/My lion, Osama bin Laden],” the child intoned. SIMI called for a caliphate, claiming democracy had failed India’s Muslims, and even appealed to God to send an avatar of the temple-pillaging 11th-century conqueror Mahmud of Ghazni. Large numbers of former SIMI members would later form the Indian Mujahideen terrorist group with the support of the Lashkar-e-Taiba, seeking to avenge the post-2002 riots in Gujarat. The Indian Mujahideen was eventually crushed by police, but fresh jihadist networks formed—again inspired by global events. Ever since 2016, members of the now-banned Popular Front of India (PFI) joined the flow of foreign fighters for the Islamic State. Kerala resident Shajeer Mangalassery Abdulla, accused by the National Investigation Agency of recruiting for the Islamic State in Afghanistan, was a supporter of the PFI’s political wing, the Social Democratic Party of India. Safwan Pookatail, a graphic designer with the PFI house journal Thejas, is alleged to be among Shajeer’s recruits, along with Manseed Bin Mohamed, who researched Hindutva for the now-banned group. Elements of these networks also joined al-Qaeda, as well as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Even though politicians often promise to annihilate terrorist threats, the ideas that power them are remarkably hard to kill—especially in the absence of deep political action to transform the conditions that empower them. Every past wave of Indian jihadist mobilisation, inspired by events thousands of kilometres away, was ignored until bombings began at home. This time, India’s intelligence and police services ought to see the distant rising of the bloody tide—and prepare for it to wash up on shores near home. ----- Praveen Swami is contributing editor at ThePrint. Views are personal. (Edited by Zoya Bhatti) Source: Gaza’s Islamist Wave Can Fuel Jihadism in India—Don’t Forget The ‘Silk Letter Movement’ URL: https://newageislam.com/islam-politics/silk-letter-movement-jihadist-movements-india/d/131015 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

So Much Hue and Cry Was Not Made Over ISIS Because Israel Was Not Involved

By New Age Islam Staff Writer 31 October 2023 Why Don't Muslims Learn from Their Past Mistakes? Main Points: 1. Rallies in support of Palestine are being held all over the world. 2. Rallies in support of Palestine were held in the state of Kerala in India. 3. Jamaat-e-Islami affiliate SYMO played a pre-recorded address by Khalid Meshal in rally in Malappuram. 4. Indian Union Muslim League held a pro-Palestine rally in Kozicode. 5. Hindutva organisations protest Khaled Meshal's participation in the Malappuram rally. 6. Hindutva groups agitated over the tagline 'Bulldozer Justice" in the rally in support of Palestine. ------ Damage in the Gaza Strip during the Israel-Hamas war. Photo: Palestinian News & Information Agency (Wafa) in contract with APA images/Wikimedia Commons. CC BY-SA 3.0. ----- The war between Israel and Hamas has been raging since 7 October in which more than 9000 people including children and women have died on both sides. Though this series of hostility was initiated by Hamas on 7 October 2023, the UN Secretary General said that the 7 October attacks did not happen in a vacuum and that 56 years of suffocating occupation was behind it. Though Hamas also killed hundreds of innocent civilians on the other side of Gaza, the retaliation by Israel was more savage. It has been bombing civilians mindlessly and has been attacking hospitals by giving advance notice. It bombed the Baptist Hospital run by the Baptist Church. Its authorities said they had no links with Hamas. Israel has attacked other hospitals apart from schools and UN shelters and giving collective punishments to the innocent civilians which is a violation of international law. It also committed war crimes by cutting off electricity, water, food supply and internet to the people of Gaza. Therefore, condemnations of Israel's war crimes have poured in not only from the outside world but also from inside Israel. There have been protests against Israel's barbarity on Palestinians and meetings expressing solidarity with them in Europe, America and South Asia were held. In India too, rallies in support of ceasefire and Palestinians have also been held in different cities and towns. The world is demanding a ceasefire in Israel and Palestine and people of the world are denouncing genocide and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians. Hamas fighters are also being killed or abducted by Israeli forces which is a part of any war. No one is criticising Israel for killing Hamas militants. The world only demands that innocent civilians should not be deliberately attacked. However, in India where there is a tradition of supporting extremist or militant Islamic organisations, a pro-Palestine rally in Malappuram in Kerala state which was organised by an affiliate of Jamat-e-Islami, an Islamic organisation of the sub-continent, turned into a pro-Hamas rally in practice. According to media reports, a pre-recorded speech of Hamas founder Khalid Meshal was played to the audience. According to some other reports, Khalid Meshal virtually addressed the audience narrating Israel's occupation of Palestine and recounting its oppression of Palestinians. The speech reportedly did not contain any anti-Hindu and anti-India statements. A similar pro-Palestine rally was organised by Indian Union Muslim League in Kozicode on the same day, Friday. The rally was addressed by Congress leader and former Union Minister Shashi Tharoor who called Hamas a terrorist organisation. IUML leaders criticised Tharoor for calling Hamas attacks on Israel a terrorist act. Tharoor had actually called Israel's mindless attacks on civilians also terrorism and denounced it. The Hindutva organisations have protested against the participation of Khalid Meshal in a pro-Palestine rally saying that the Jamat-e-Islami has tried to glorify a terrorist organisation in India. The organisers argue that the Indian government has not designated it a terrorist organisation as of now. The point is that Hamas is a militant organisation at loggerheads with Israel but one cannot say what policy it will adopt in future. Political situations keep changing and take unprecedented turns. When in 2014, the ISIS had captured power in Mosul, many Islamic scholars, intellectuals and journalists and Islamic organisations of India had supported it because they considered it an extension of the Islami caliphate. Many youths were misled and some even went to Iraq to fight with ISIS. Many girls from European countries had joined them only to realise later that the ISIS were actually terrorists. But after a couple of years, when it was uprooted from Iraq and Syria, it started terrorist strikes in Sri Lanka, France, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Philippines etc. When the Muslim intelligentsia was glorifying the ISIS, it was New Age Islam that had demanded on September 15, 2014, that Indian government should ban it as its activities were against the principles of Islam. The government of India had banned it belatedly in February 2015 after much damage was done. Since the ISIS was designated as a terrorist organisation, many youths were arrested for having linked with the ISIS. Muslim youth are still arrested for having links with it. The Muslim scholars, journalists and intellectuals have realised now that they are responsible for misleading the Muslim youth and ruining their lives and career. Earlier it was SIMI, the student wing of Jamat-e-Islami. The Jamat disowned it after it was reportedly found involved in subversive activities. The Muslims carried the stigma of SIMI for about two decades. Recently, People's Front of India was designated a terrorist organisation and many youths were arrested for having links with PFI. Therefore, from time-to-time religious organisations promising moon to the Muslims come into existence and after a few years they are banned for having extremist views and for being involved in militant activities. Instead of contributing to the welfare and progress of the Muslims of India, these religious organisations become a curse for the community. Muslims do not have much interest in establishing schools, colleges and hospitals but in establishing religious organisations spreading extremist and sectarian views among the Muslims. SIMI, ISIS and PFI have caused a lot of damage to the Indian Muslims. In spite of all this, the Muslims of India have not learnt from their past mistakes. They have started showing their love for Hamas unaware of the fact that Israel created Hamas to counter Yasser Arafat's group Fateh. Fateh is still popular in West Bank. Hamas may not be a terrorist group by the book but the Israeli government has put pressure on India to designate Hamas a terrorist group. An IAS trainer Ankit Awasthi said that for a group to be designated as a terrorist group, it should have conducted terrorist acts in other countries. Since Hamas has not conducted any subversive activities at least against India, India has not banned it. But as bizarre incidents like the IED blasts in Kerala are unfolding, the Muslims should have a cautious approach. In the Kerala blast, the perpetrator has surrendered to the police and confessed to his crime but the TV channels are still trying to link the blast to Hamas. They might wish the name of the perpetrator had been Mateen not Martin. Dominic Martin is a member of a 19th century Christian religious organisation Jehovah's Witnesses which does not believe in Trinity. That is, it is a puritanical sect in Christianity and has some intolerant views and practices. Martin most probably conducted the blasts due to intolerant beliefs as the extremist sects in Muslims do. If the name of the perpetrator had turned out to be Mateen, the Hindutva organisations, particularly the media would have by now started 24-hour campaign to ban Hamas in India. Interestingly, in 2014, such an intense media campaign against ISIS was not run though it was practically a terrorist organisation perhaps because Israel was not involved. Only some Muslim platforms like New Age Islam ran a campaign against it and a couple of sensible journalists wrote against it inviting criticism by majority of so-called Islamic scholars and journalists. Since, the ISIS killed or it only Muslims, the Indian TVs or Hindutva groups did not care. Therefore, the love of Israel and not the hatred of Hamas is at the root of this campaign during the Israel-Hamas hostility. It is also a fact that Many Hindi YouTube channels are giving a regular account of the Hamas-Israel war with special emphasis on Hamas. If the war escalates and Iran and other countries get involved, tensions between Iran and India may rise. Since Hamas is an ally of Iran and Hezbollah, any hostility between Iran and India will affect Hamas' attitude towards India and vice versa. In that case, India may designate Hamas a terrorist organisation putting Indian Muslims who are showing solidarity with Hamas now in trouble. Therefore, Muslims of India should learn from their past mistakes and adopt a cautious approach vis a vis Hamas. URL: https://newageislam.com/islam-politics/isis-israel-palestine-hamas-genocide/d/131014 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

India Should Not Follow The Policy Of Savarkar Or Kissinger But Of Buddhism's Middle Path

By New Age Islam Staff Writer 30 October 2023 The West Has Approved Aggression And Even Genocide For Geo-Political Interests Main Points: 1. The US has always been exploited the weakness of nations for its own interests. 1. 2.The US supported Pakistan's genocide of Bengalis diplomatically and militarily. 2. The West supported Indonesia's genocide in East Timor to occupy oilfields. 3. The West has supported Israel's genocide of Palestinians militarily and diplomatically. 4. Savarkar and Kissinger were influenced by mythologised historiography of Hindu and, Muslim India. ------ (Picture, left) V.D. Savarkar; (Picture, right) Henry Kissinger. Sourced by The Telegraph ------ Asim Ali analyses the role of the United States and, the West in general in the subordination and suppression of Asia and Africa after the second world war. The US emerged as a world power after the war and established its military and diplomatic superiority over the developing and poor countries. It pursued a policy of ruthless suppression of political opponents and exploitation of poor but resource rich countries. It followed the principle of 'the end justifies the means' while India followed the principle that the means should be noble like the end. Savarkar and Kissinger however, held the view that Buddhism's passivity was not the right policy in the fast changing world. Their world view was influenced by the mythologised colonial historiography of Hindu and Muslim India. The West exploited the racial, communal and linguistic diversity of South Asia, particularly India to further its geopolitical interests. It supported militant jihadism and genocide for its own political benefits. In 1971, the US not only refused to intervene in the genocide in East Pakistan by the Pakistan army but also helped it militarily because India, Russia's close ally, was supporting the revolutionaries. More than 5,00,000 Bengalis were massacres in the genocide. In 1975, Australia and the West got involved in the East Timor genocide to occupy oil fields. In this genocide, 2,00,000 people were killed. Currently Gaza is witnessing ethnic cleansing by Israel. The conflict between Israel and Palestinian resistance forces have continued since Israel's birth in Palestinian land. Laila Khalid and Yasser Arafat led the resistance movement. The ongoing hostility between Hamas and Israel has led to 9000 deaths on both sides. Israel has continually bombarded civilians in schools, hospitals and shelters and has defied even UN resolution on ceasefire. The US, the UK, Germany, France and Italy have expressed their overt support to Israel's genocidal intent in Gaza. The US bolstered Israel's defence by sending its air craft carriers while threatening Iran not to intervene in the genocide. The British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak described Israel's bombardment of civilians as its self defence exercise. The whole world has called Israel's mindless attacks on civilians a genocide. Even genocide and holocaust scholars Omer Bartov, Marion Kaplan and Raz Segal have called it genocide. It bombed the Baptist Hospital in Gaza killing more than 500 innocent people. It has also warned other hospitals to evacuate. Israel has not also cared for protests in Israel and across the world. Asim Ali, therefore, says that India should not be carried away by what the US and the world do to fulfil its geopolitical interests. India should follow the Middle Path of Buddhism and the principle of non-violence followed by Mahatma Gandhi. ------ A Crooked Lens By Asim Ali 28.10.23 “The horror! The horror!”: these were the memorable last words of Kurtz, an enigmatic ivory trader, in Joseph Conrad’s novella, Heart of Darkness. Kurtz had gone rogue (‘gone native’) and lorded ruthlessly over a “devilish” fiefdom of Africans in King Leopold’s Congo. The young narrator, Marlow, a captain in Kurtz’s former trading company, witnessed first-hand the brutal savagery of Belgian colonial domination and became entranced with Kurtz’s ambiguous rebellion against it. Marlow confesses to being faced with a terrible “choice of nightmares” as he is drawn to submit his loyalty to the more ‘honest’, but nightmarish, savagery of Kurtz rather than the naked hypocrisy of European imperialism, an imperialism based on systematic exploitation, steeped in the darkest of horrors, bearing the mantle of Enlightenment. The Heart of Darkness is remembered by many Western intellectuals as the “epitaph of the entire 20th century and the West’s uneasy and exploitative relationship with Africa.” Yet, as we see in the near-apocalyptic bombing of defenceless Palestinians in Gaza as well as in the blood-curdling, indiscriminate slaughter of 1,400 Israelis that preceded it, the horrors of the 20th century are hardly behind us. Neither are the structural causes that precipitated them. The difference is that we now see it in images and videos in high definition, superimposed with running commentary. Moreover, we find that this fine-grained, troubling public consumption of televised massacres does not seem to rouse any shared human capacity for empathy. Often, the visceral experience of violence only serves to harden stereotypes and reinforce divisions. For two weeks, Israel’s defence forces have rained down righteous fire on a tiny, besieged Mediterranean strip sheltering several generations of occupied non-citizens. Israeli analysts have long compared bombing blockaded Gaza to “shooting fish in a barrel”. Over 7,000 Gazans have perished so far; over a million have been displaced (roughly half of the population). Almost half of Gazans are children born into, as per the descriptions of the former British prime minister, David Cameron, an “open prison” or “prison camp”. Unicef has called the deaths of nearly 3,000 children a “stain on our conscience”. In Israel and the War in the Balkans, Igor Primoratz studied the Israeli television coverage and popular reception of the early 1990s conflict between Serbian nationalists and Bosnian Muslims. Primoratz described how the Israeli media portrayed war crimes, such as the ethnic cleansing of the Bosnians, based on the (correct) assumption that its target audience would vicariously identify with the role of the oppressive Serbs. “Collective repression and denial of these facts [of Israel’s violent history of establishing a settler-colonial domination over the Palestinians] help explain the unwillingness or inability of Israeli society and its political establishment to condemn the Serbs’ war of expansion and ‘ethnic cleansing’”, wrote Primoratz. One leaves it to the judgement of the reader as to whether the testosterone-fuelled fixation on Israeli mass violence, on display on television and social media, and the freely-pressed justifications for dehumanisation form some kind of a ‘premonition of a nightmare’ that should fill one with dread. An increasing number of genocide and Holocaust scholars, such as Omer Bartov, Marion Kaplan and Raz Segal, are saying that we are indeed witnessing genocide taking place before our eyes. The Western response has been atrocious. The United States of America has unconditionally backed its closest ally in the Middle East, not just bolstering the Israeli Defense Forces’ weapon supplies but also shielding it diplomatically. This included employing a crucial veto on a resolution in the United Nations Security Council that called for a ceasefire. On Wednesday, Joe Biden informed the world that he had lost confidence in the Palestinian-supplied death count. This was perhaps a clumsy attempt to hold on to the last vestiges of shame or, more cynically, an invitation to surrender to what Hannah Arendt called “animal pity”. One can take some morbid relief in the fact that such Western behaviour is true to its historical form, especially during episodes of conflict in arenas of geopolitical interest. In 1975, the Australian ambassador to Jakarta, Richard Woolcott, advised his government to go along with the Indonesian invasion of East Timor, citing the compelling factor of exploitable oil reserves in the Timor Gap. The Indonesian military invasion, supported by Western arms and diplomacy, led to widespread bloodletting and, ultimately, turned genocidal, wiping out an estimated 2,00,000 people, almost a quarter of East Timor’s population. Woolcott had advocated his course as “a pragmatic rather than a principled stand,” noting “that is what the national interest and foreign policy is all about.” That statement, unfortunately, is still a fairly accurate descriptor of the strategic thinking of the Western Establishment. “The well-being of the state justified whatever means” — Western Statecraft’s deathly doyen, Henry Kissinger, distilled it down in his book, Diplomacy. In The Blood Telegram: Nixon, Kissinger, and a Forgotten Genocide, Gary J. Bass, a professor of politics at Princeton, marshalled a wealth of sordid evidence describing the complicity of Richard Nixon and his foreign policy czar, Henry Kissinger, in the genocide of Bengalis that accompanied Bangladesh’s painful birth. The Nixon administration ignored the repeated warnings of its diplomatic officials and declined to intervene in the massacres committed by the Pakistani military, while stepping up the supply of arms and ammunition. The White House’s decision-making in such an episode is, of course, theoretically presented as a cold, rational calculation of neutral interest: a realist approach towards maintaining the regional balance of power. But it was also quite clearly based on a stunning level of neo-colonial racism and an absurdly primitive view of South Asia. “Nixon and Henry Kissinger… were driven not just by such Cold War calculations, but a starkly personal and emotional dislike of India and Indians,” writes Bass. Both Nixon and Kissinger shared, to varying extents, the colonial-era, racist view that “Bengalis are not fighters” and, hence, “30,000 troops” of Pakistani military would eventually subdue the “75 million” people of East Bengal. Bass records Kissinger’s response to the news of the murder of a Muslim Bengali professor, a former student of his — “Henry Kissinger, seemingly referring to past Muslim rulers of India, replied, ‘They didn’t dominate 400 million Indians all those years by being gentle.’” In Essentials of Hindutva, V.D. Savarkar launched a frontal attack on the “mumbos and jumbos of universal brotherhood” that was supposedly found in the Indian philosophy of history, especially relating to Buddhist passivity. “As long as the whole world was red in tooth and claw and the national and racial distinction so strong as to make men brutal, so long as India had a will to live at all a life whether spiritual or political according to the right of her soul, she must not lose the strength born of national and racial cohesion,” he wrote. We can notice a striking similarity in the understanding of the human world in the two thinkers cited above. On South Asia, both Kissinger and Savarkar were heavily influenced by mythologised colonial historiography of Hindu and Muslim India. This makes not just for an archaic, impoverished view of history but also bad policy. The pro-Pakistan realist approach of the US, including sponsoring militant jihadism in Pakistan in the 1980s as an instrument of the Cold War, finally boomeranged in the 9/11 bombings, spurring further disastrous blunders. Pakistan’s realist approach of centralised, military-based foreign policy led to a resounding defeat, followed by the splitting up of territory. Perhaps India can demonstrate in the future a better approach to realism and global conflicts. Of Gandhi’s romantic patriotism and Tagore’s humanist universalism, rejecting the deterministic framework of the Western nation-state; of peacefully carved linguistic states; of the ‘middle path’ of the ancient philosopher, Nagarjun; of Madhyamaka Buddhism. India had shown the way in the past, not entirely for moral reasons, of course. But its principled stands on Vietnam and Bangladesh earned it enormous soft power and elevated its moral place in historical memory. Even if there is no foreordained global order, in a world of fast-increasing nuclear flashpoints, a socially constructed world of empathy and mutual understanding might just present some hope of salvation. ------ Asim Ali is a political researcher and columnist Source: A Crooked Lens URL: https://newageislam.com/islam-politics/india-policy-savarkar-kissinger-buddhism/d/131002 New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Why Is Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani Considered The Greatest Muslim Sufi Saint? – Part 1

By Kaniz Fatma, New Age Islam 30 October 2023 Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani, Known As Ghaus-e-Pak Or Ghaus-e-Azam, A Spiritual King Of All Sufi Saints, Reintroduced The Core Teachings Of Islam And Encouraged Moral And Spiritual Growth. He Addressed Contemporary Issues, Examined Suffering, And Offered Solutions. His Spiritual Sermons Benefited Both Humans And Jinn, Leading To Their Conversion Into His Disciples. When He Said, "My Foot Is On The Neck Of Every Sufi Saint Of Allah," All The Sufi Saints Who Were Alive Presented Themselves Physically And Those Who Had Passed On, Their Souls Were Present, And The Angels Adorned Him In Hallowed Attire In This Magnificent Assembly Main Points 1. Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani, known as Ghaus-e-Pak or Ghaus-e-Azam, is considered the king of Sufi saints by many followers worldwide. He achieved spiritual perfection and is highly respected by Awliya and Great Sufis from various Sufi chains. 2. Over forty years, he performed the Fajr prayer with the same ablution as the Isha prayer, spending the entire night reciting the Holy Quran, sometimes going without food or drink and struggling to sleep. 3. Ghaus-e-Pak's discourses, inspired by higher sources, depict love and Oneness of the Divine Being, characterized by sincerity and enthusiasm, are found in Futah al-Ghaib, al-Fath al-Rabbani, and Jila'l-i Khatir. ------ A large number of followers of Sufism around the world consider Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani known as Ghaus-e-Pak or Ghaus-e-Azam the king of Sufi saints [Sultan al-Awliya]. According to Sufi theologians, Ghaus-e-Azam has attained the zenith of spiritual perfection, which was appreciated by a large number of Awliya and Great Sufis from a number of spiritual Salaasil [sing. Silsila, chains or Paths] of Sufism. Allah Almighty gave him a higher respect among the ordinary Muslims as well as the Sacred spiritual Muslim personalities. Many people had their lives revived by the spiritual words of Ghaus-e-Azam. He was actually a blessing to the Islamic world since he brought back to life the core teachings of Islam and opened up new avenues for moral and spiritual development. Shaikh 'Amr al-Kaisani asserts that Shaikh Abdul Qadir rarely preached a sermon that did not lead numerous Christians and Jews to become Muslims, raiders and thieves to acknowledge their wrongdoings, and heretics and apostates to renounce their false beliefs. [Muhammad Ibn Yahya al-Tadifi, Qalaid al-Jawaahir, Cairo, AH 1303, p.8] According to Al-Jubbai, Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani once told him that although he wanted to live a solitary life in the desert, God Almighty had desired that others should benefit from him. Furthermore, he was blessed with the fact that over 5,000 Christians and Jews accepted Islam and that over 100,000 sinners and criminals repented for their wrongdoings as a result of him. [Muhammad Ibn Yahya al-Tadifi, Qalaid al-Jawaahir, Cairo, AH 1303, p.8] Akhbar al-Akhyaar by Sheikh Abdul Haq Muhaddith Dehlvi states that one day when a reciter recited a verse from the holy Quran, Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani described the first, second, third, fourth, and so on meanings of the verse until he presented forty interpretations from a spiritual and scholastic perspective. Meanwhile, he gave valid proof for each interpretation, explaining it in a way that stunned the assembled audience. He offered a number of interpretations before concluding that we should prioritise a spiritual state of mind over complex academic answers. He then recited La Ilaaha Illallahi Muhammad ur Rasoolullah. The audience was so overcome with the intoxicating power of divine love as soon as he recited this Kalima from his glorious tongue that they hurried to the woodlands to engage in deep meditation and take in the realities of the outside world. He once narrated to have avoided worldly affairs for almost forty years while trekking through the Iraqi deserts that no one else could recognise. He used to counsel and direct the Great Men of Spirituality and the Jinn along the Way of Truth when they came to him. He has performed the Fajr prayer with the same ablution [Wuzu] that he made for the Isha prayer over his nearly forty years of faithful service. After the Isha prayer for around fifteen years, he would stand on one foot and hold onto the wall while reciting the Holy Quran. This was how he was going to spend the entire night until he finished the Quran. Every now and then, he went without food or drink and could not sleep. Hazrat Ghaus-e-Pak was a wise and divinely gifted person who propagated real religious teachings in accordance with the legal principles of Hanbalite Sunni theology, emphasising moral rectitude and spiritual cleansing. The discourses of Ghaus-e-Pak had a magnetic effect. In describing the love and Oneness of the Divine Being he appears to be inspired by higher sources. The reader can still find the spirit of sincerity and enthusiasm running through these sermons in Futah al-Ghaib, al-Fath al-Rabbani and Jila'l-i Khatir. In the footsteps of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and the enlightened saints, Ghaus-e-Pak addressed contemporary issues, examined the reasons behind people's suffering, and offered solutions to allay their fears and shortcomings. His captivating and impassioned attitude was driven by his honesty and fervour for well-being. Ghaus-e-Pak attended daily classes on traditions, jurisprudence, and Quranic interpretation. After midday prayers, 'Abdul Qadir listened to the Quran and dictated fatwas on religious or legal matters. He mainly followed Shafi’ite and Hanbalites school legal theories. Iraqi jurist-scholars highly regarded his legal opinions, demonstrating his sharp intelligence. [Abdul Wahhab Sha’rani, Tabaqat al-Kubra, Egypt, AH 1305, Vol.1, p.126] A man took an oath to perform a religious observance that nobody else could share, but failure to do so would result in irrevocable separation from his wife. Scholars were amazed by this oath and couldn't suggest an observance that could be performed alone. Ghaus-e-Pak suggested that the man circumambulate the Kaaba alone seven times to perform the lesser Hajj, which was considered the only authorized religious observance he could perform alone at a time when nobody else would be engaged in the same act of worship. [Abdul Wahab Sha’rani, Tabaqat al-Kubra, Egypt, AH 1305, Vol.1, p.126] Ghaus-e-Pak, a great spiritual theologian is reported to have discovered the mysteries of the celestial world. He came to a point when he developed the ability to distinguish between the truth and lies, divine intuition, and Demoniac imposition. He was convinced that the Last Prophet's Shariah was true and that any assertion that went against divine decree was a proposal from the devil. He says: "I once saw a bright light that filled the whole sky." Then, from within, a human body appeared and said, "0 'Abdul Qadir, I am Lord, thy God. I have rendered everything that is forbidden to you legal." "Go away from me, Devil," was my response. I said these words and the brightness of the sky turned to darkness, and the human form began to disintegrate into smoke. "Abdul Qadir, I had misled seventy mystics with this device, but God saved you on account of your knowledge and piety," "No, it was just Allah's grace," was my reply. After Ghaus-e-Azam had explained what had happened, someone asked, "How did you know that it was Satan?" In response, Ghaus-e-Azam said, "Since he informed me that he had made the prohibited thing legal for me,'' [Abdul Wahab Sha’rani, Tabaqat al-Kubra, Egypt, AH 1305, Vol.1, p.127/] He used to advise his followers that if they did anything that went against Allah's commands, it was undoubtedly Satan's doing. In such circumstances, it is best to go back to the principles of Islam, cultivate an unwavering faith, and adamantly resist the allure of self-indulgence. After all, everything that the Shariah forbids is manifestly false. [Abdul Wahhab Sha’rani, Tabaqat al-Kubra, Egypt, AH 1305, Vol.1, p.127] (Continued) ------ Kaniz Fatma is a classic Islamic scholar and a regular columnist for New Age Islam. URL: https://newageislam.com/islamic-personalities/shaikh-qadir-jilani-muslim-sufi-saint-part-1/d/131009 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

'Cricket Was Concocted To Wean Humans From Jehovah'!

By Sumit Paul, New Age Islam 30 October 2023 An explosion at a Christian prayer meeting in the southern Indian state of Kerala claimed the lives of two individuals and left over 50 people injured, according to authorities. The blast took place as hundreds of followers of the Jehovah’s Witnesses denomination gathered for prayer on Sunday morning at a convention centre in Kalamassery town in Ernakulam district. Photo: CTV News ----- Now the question arises, who're these people who call themselves Jehovah's Witnesses? This Nontrinitarian denomination of Christianity is of rather recent origin; circa 1870. They worship Jehovah and despite being a sect of Christianity, it's quite different from mainstream Christianity in the sense that Jehovah's Witnesses prefer door-to-door preaching, distributing literature such as The Watchtower and Awake!, and for refusing military service and blood transfusions. They consider the use of god's name vital for proper worship. They reject Trinitarianism, inherent immortality of the soul, and hellfire, which they consider unscriptural doctrines. They do not observe Christmas, Easter, birthdays, or other holidays and customs they consider to have pagan origins incompatible with Christianity. They prefer to use their own Bible translation, the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures, although their literature occasionally quotes and cites other Bible translations. Witnesses commonly call their body of beliefs "The Truth" and consider themselves "in the Truth". They consider human society morally corrupt and under the influence of Satan, and most limit their social interaction with non-Witnesses. In short, this denomination is known for the religiously eccentric behaviour of its followers. They can sacrifice their lives for Jehovah, a concocted god (for that matter, all gods are concocted) who's the one and only god according to these quixotic worshippers. Have you heard the name of Adrian Barath? Well, he was a West Indian cricketer, a child prodigy who chose Jehovah as he was a member of this bizarre sect. The attacking opener was already the youngest West Indies Test centurion (at 19), had the stamp of approval from Windies legend Brian Lara, a US$75,000 Indian Premier League (IPL) contract under his belt and was driving a Range Rover– when he seemingly had an epiphany in 2014 and walked away from the game! Doesn't the Bible say, it's easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of god? A strict interpretation of the New Testament verse 'transformed' his life upside-down! The Gleaner from Jamaica reported that one day, an elderly Jehovah's Witness told the young cricketer that, 'Cricket was concocted to wean humans from Jehovah.' That 'profound' statement of 'divine wisdom' made the talented young cricketer leave the game! Hallelujah! This is the long and the short of a clownish sect which is extremely clannish, stupid and reticent. The members of this sect are convinced that one day, the whole world will accept Jehovah as the Supreme Being and Universal Sovereign just like Muslims labour under the misconception that one day, the entire world will worship their Allah and slavishly follow Muhammad. Alhamdulillah! Likewise, rabid Hindus have begun to believe that their Sanatan Dharm will be the only faith in future. Jai Sri Ram! That in this age of scientific advancement, space travel and AI, we still believe in all sorts of religious and sectarian eccentricities and irrationalities is proof of our absolute primitivism. This is a throwback to our prehistoric existence. Why are most of the humans so asinine and god-fearing is a question that will keep intriguing all those handful of rationalists who still apply their brains and reasons. ------- A regular columnist for New Age Islam, Sumit Paul is a researcher in comparative religions, with special reference to Islam. He has contributed articles to the world's premier publications in several languages including Persian. URL: https://newageislam.com/spiritual-meditations/cricket-barath-jehovah-witnesses/d/131004 New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Why No Mention Of Engineer Muhammad Ali Mirza In “The 500 Most Influential Muslims”

By Bilal Bashir Bhat, New Age Islam 30 October 2023 Every year since 2009, the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre in Amman, Jordan in collaboration with Prince Al-Waleed Bin Talal Centre for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University in the United States publishes a report titled “The 500 Most Influential Muslim” to rank the most influential Muslim personalities in the world. Pakistani cleric Ali Mirza, who supported Nupur Sharma, is now being accused of blasphemy for quoting a Hadith ------- The influence can be of a religious scholar directly addressing Muslims and influencing their beliefs, ideas, and behaviour, or it can be of a ruler shaping the socio-economic factors within which people live their lives, or of artists shaping popular culture. Undoubtedly, the list aimed to acknowledge the influence and contribution of Muslim personalities across the globe is received well by the Muslim World particularly. The mammoth publication covers personalities in almost every field including Arts and culture, Administration of Religious Affairs, Political, Preachers and spiritual Guides, Scholarly, Business, Media, Science and Technology, Philanthropy, Charity and development, Social Issues, Celebrities and sports, Quran Reciters, etc. The list even has a category of the most influential Muslim extremists in the world. This year (2024 Edition), the publication has listed around 60 Islamic scholars from the world, besides a handful of scholars are listed among the top 50 influential personalities including Muhammad Taqi Usmai at number 8, Maulana Mehmood Madni at number 16, Tariq Jameel at 34, Muhammad Ilyas Qadri at 47. Surprisingly in the whole list of 500 influential Muslims, there is no mention of Engineer Muhammad Ali Mirza aka EMAM, a great reformer and moderate voice of the Muslim world with an ideology of non-violence. Today when we see a shift in paradigm from book-reading culture to visual learning, every single video of Muhammad Ali Mirza with authentic references and logical sounds are most watched compared to any Islamic scholar of the world. This tells us about EMAM’s influence over Muslims globally; however, ironically not all this has motivated the publishers of “The 500 Most Influential Muslim” to enlist him in the publication. Giving to the circumstances on a global level, the stress on unity, tolerance, busting of myths, peace, and non-violent communication has become extremely important, Muhammad Ali Mirza has emerged main player in addressing these issues. Against Sectarianism Engineer Muhammad Ali Mirza in his speeches often claims that he does not belong to any sect, and he is just a Muslim. He reads scriptures from both factions of Islam and quotes them widely in his speeches. He preaches Islam which is free of any sectarian ideology, which indeed is a need of the hour. Tolerance In June 2022, Engineer Ali Mirza criticized panellist Taslim Rehmani for badmouthing Hindu gods in front of BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma on a TV Debate. He said Nupur Sharma abused Muhammad in reaction to that. Journalist Rubika Liyaquat praised Ali Mirza for his stand with Nupur Sharma on her Twitter account. Against Extremism Engineer Muhammad Ali Mirza in loud and clear has been an advocate of dialogue to any pertaining issues around the Muslim world. He advocates peace and reconciliation rather than engaging in armed conflict. Preaching Islam In Its Real Form Some people (who unfortunately are on the 500 list) have aimed at causing religion to deviate from its essence, preventing religion from being practiced by attempting to add on many difficult practices and superstitions to it. Such practices have sadly resulted in people deviating from Islam. Engineer Muhammad Ali Mirza through the authentic reference to Quran and Sunnah has busted such myths and complications to make it in its real essence. No More Fairy Tales Unlike illogical stories and charisms attributed to saints by most of scholars these days, Engineer Muhammad Ali Mirza’s speeches are based on the concept, which constitutes the essence of the teachings of Islam. He gives references from the Quran and mainstream books, particularly Bukhari and Muslim. Indeed, Engineer Muhammad Ali Mirza serves as a source of inspiration for millions of Muslims across the globe, and when such a deserving person is overlooked, it robs people of the opportunity to be inspired by their achievements and contributions. Let’s assume skipping Engineer Muhammad Ali Mirza could be due to oversight or a lack of awareness and if at all it is a bias then obviously the list is shady and it is crucial for publishers to be thorough, impartial, and well-informed when creating lists of influential personalities for the sake of maintain its impartiality and justice. Promoting transparency and diversity in the selection process can help ensure that influential personalities are recognized based on their merits and contributions to society. ------ Bilal Bashir Bhat is a Kashmir-based journalist . URL: https://newageislam.com/islam-politics/ali-mirza-influential-muslims/d/131007 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

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Do International Laws Only Give Israel The Right To Defend Itself, Not Palestine?

By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi, New Age Islam 25 October 2023 On October 7, Hamas Targeted Innocent Israeli Civilians, Breaking International Law And Has Been Condemned Universally. But Where Is The Condemnation For The Mostrous Acts Israel Has Been Perpetrating Every Day Since. Not Only Has It Bombarded Homes, Killed Over 5,000 Palestinians In The Last Fortnight, But It Has Been Regularly Breaking International Laws For Decases By Seizing And Occupying Palestinian Territory, Constructing Unauthorised Settlements, Maintaining An Apartheid Regime, And Deliberately Attacking And Killing Palestinian Civilians Almost Daily? Israel Claims The Right To Defend Itself After Each Attack, Which In Practice Gives It A License To Bomb Civilians, Schools, Hospitals, And Other Civilian Infrastructure. Despite Numerous Israeli Attacks On Gaza And The West Bank, No Western Leader Or Representative Has Said Even Once: "Palestine Has The Right To Defend Itself". The Question Arises Whether International Laws Can Prevent Israel From Killing And Torturing Palestinians, Despite Repeated Violations Main Points 1. The Israeli-Hamas conflict has resulted in over 5,000 Palestinian and 1,400 Israeli deaths, with over 500 killed in just one targeted Israeli bombing of a Christian hospital in the Gaza Strip. 2. The origins of the Jewish arrival are at the heart of the current persecution in Palestine. 3. Israel is intensifying its attacks on Gaza, causing significant disruptions to residents' access to water, electricity, and other essential resources. 4. Leaders and intellectuals, including Irish Sinn Féin leader Matt Carthy, expressed support for Gaza and disapproval of Israel in a Dáil Éireann debate, highlighting the powerlessness of public and political voices in addressing these issues. 5. The strength of international laws in stopping Israel's violent actions is now in question, with some questioning if they serve solely as a means of condemnation. ----- File Photo ------ In the Israeli-Hamas conflict, countless women, children, and innocent civilians have perished. More than 4,000 innocent Palestinians have reportedly been martyred, while more than 1,400 Israelis have also reportedly died. A major Christian hospital in the Gaza Strip was targeted, and more than 500 people—including sick women, children, their relatives, and medical personnel—were murdered in just one targeted attack by Israel. This bloody conflict did not originate in Palestine for the first time. It has been going on for generations. Israel killed roughly 3000 Palestinians in 1948. A tiny Palestinian village was attacked by ten Israeli bombers in 1956, which resulted in the deaths of roughly 100 individuals. Fifty students were killed in an Israeli attack on a small primary school in Egypt in 1970. 3500 campers were murdered at the Sabra and Shatila camps in 1982. In 1988, dozens of Palestinians were martyred by military action in Al-Aqsa Mosque. How do the American and Canadian governments categorise Palestinians as terrorists in the face of all these facts? Even the UN gives Occupied people right to resist occupation even by armed struggle. Initially, the West claimed that Israelis were subjected to oppression, but as people become more aware of the reality, they realise that the advent of Jews in Palestine is the true origin of this catastrophe, what Palestinians called Naqba in 1948. Jews were displaced after the First World War. Europe and Britain believed that the Palestinians had more land than they needed. The former Palestinian territories were governed by Egypt and Jordan when Britain was given the order by the League of Nations to assume authority. The Arab nations were not prepared to host Jews after the First World War. However, Jews were transported to and settled in the Palestinian areas as a result of international pressure. This was the beginning of settler colonisation of Palestine. This was the settler colonialism of the 20th century by Europeans, not dissimilar to settler colonialisms of America, Canada and Australia several hundred years ago, in all of which millions of indigenous people were brutally massacred. Ghettos have since been occasionally established in Palestinian territories as a result. What would the resolution to this case be, then? Most countries, including the US, believe two separate states should be created. Israel, on the other hand, is unprepared. Israel doesn't even take into account United Nations resolutions. The leadership of Gaza, Hamas, is reported to be tired of being persecuted by Israel and has made the decision to take one final stand. In other words, they attacked Israel in a fashion that made headlines around the world. Israel had incurred considerable losses by the time they had recovered after two days. Israel began a retaliation that has not yet halted. The Israeli Prime Minister seems to want to kill all Palestinians to exact revenge for Israelis who died in the Hamas attack, and it appears that his plan worked. Some are perplexed as to why Hamas felt the need for this attack so urgently. Did it have the strength to withstand Israel's expected harsh response? Hamas lacked both tanks and bombs. What then was the competition's preparation like? Where are the other friendly nations that it might have anticipated would assist it now? They include those who support Israel's recognition and those who are prepared to mend fences with Israel. Since numerous nations, notably the United Arab Emirates, have established diplomatic ties with Israel, it appears that the United States is also being accused of doing so. Hamas then started a war to thwart these initiatives. The fact that Palestinians are fighting among themselves is another issue. There are two factions among the Palestinians. Fatah, which is led by Mahmoud Abbas, often known as the President of Palestine, governs the West Bank. This organisation favours using discussions to further the liberation struggle for Palestine. Hamas, however, wants to use force to resolve this issue. The Hezbollah of Lebanon backs Hamas. The United States has sent its fleet to the area in anticipation of a potential Hezbollah attack to prevent Iran and Hezbollah from joining the conflict. Israel is currently continuing to strike Gaza, and even the inhabitants of Gaza no longer have access to water or electricity. Israel intends to seize power in Gaza and appoint Mahmoud Abbas as ruler. The ironic part is that it was once said that Israel founded Hamas during a time when it was concerned about al-Fatah. Additionally, despite the US President's assertion that Hamas does not speak for Palestinians, Hamas is the party chosen by the residents of Gaza to serve as their elected representative. Since most Muslim nations are in the process of forging relations with Israel, it is clear that none of them are courageous enough to engage in combat with Israel and Hamas. The Muslim countries have only condemned Israel's terrible attack on Gaza. Worldwide protests against Israeli aggression are planned, particularly in America and Europe, although they don't seem to be very effective. The majority of people are powerless to do anything other than pray for the safety and security of the Palestinian people since they have witnessed that despite huge protests against NATO forces' wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya in both the US and Europe, there was little effect on the US or its allies. Not just the general public, but also leaders and intellectuals are powerless to do much more than voice sympathy for Gaza and disapproval of Israel. Several leaders and politicians attended a Dáil Éireann debate on October 18, 2023, and most of what they said was simply words of support for Gaza and disdain for Israel. In his speech, Matt Carthy, the leader of the Irish Sinn Féin, presented some convincing points that helped the world hear the voice of truth: Let us be very clear. Hamas breached international law on 7 October. It targeted innocent civilians in the most callous and inhumane manner and its actions have been rightly condemned by right-thinking people around the world. We should also be very clear, however, that Israel has breached international law, not just every day since 7 October, but virtually every single day for decades. Israel occupies Palestinian land, blockades Palestinian territory, builds and expands illegal settlements, enforces an apartheid system that restricts the movements of Palestinians and denies their fundamental rights, and regularly and systematically attacks and kills Palestinian civilians, all against international law. "The question that must be answered by all of us in political life is this. How does the world respond to flagrant abuses of international law? When it comes to the horrendous war crimes of Hamas, the response was very clear and consistent. World leaders queued up to say "Israel has the right to defend itself". One after another the great and the good, including our Government, repeated the words, "Israel has the right to defend itself". That was repeated in statement after statement and tweet after tweet, despite the full knowledge that those words have become contaminated. The words "Israel has the right to defend itself" mean in practice that Israel takes that right as a licence to bombard civilians and to bomb schools, hospitals and other civilian infrastructure. It has now been taken as a licence to enforce the displacement of 1 million people from one end of an open-air prison to another, to deny food, energy and medical supplies to a besieged civilian population and to deny them water to ensure that children, and the sick, disabled and elderly, will literally die of thirst. "Israel has the right to defend itself" has now become cover for Israel having the right to commit genocide right in front of our eyes. "How come we never hear the words "Palestine has the right to defend itself"? We did not hear that when a humanitarian flotilla bringing essential supplies to Gaza was met with a military assault and the murder by Israel of nine unarmed activists, or when Palestinians marched in peaceful protest against an illegal blockade and were again met with a military assault and the murder of 300 of them, or after the countless bombings of Gaza by Israeli forces. We do not hear that even when Israel targeted and murdered four little Palestinian boys playing football on a beach or when Palestinians were dragged from their homes and forced to watch as those homes were destroyed to allow for new illegal Israeli settlements on lands that are clearly defined in international law as part of Palestine. Not after the countless offensive attacks by Israel against the people of Gaza or the West Bank have, we heard anybody in this House or any Western leader utter the words, "Palestine has the right to defend itself". Why not? "I am not asking the Tánaiste to say those words. In fact, it is just as well he does not because we all know that the people of Palestine cannot defend themselves against one of the most powerful military forces in the world that is backed up by even more powerful military forces. The truth is the people of Palestine, just like the innocent people of Israel, do not need the international community to tell them that their leaders have the right to inflict more bombings, pain and suffering. They need the international community to say stop, to say release the hostages, and to say stop the bombings, siege and slaughter. They need the international community to tell Israel to stop the blockade, the apartheid, the annexation and the genocide. They need countries to lead the way. "Ireland should be one of those countries that leads the way. We know colonialism, oppression and conflict but we also know conflict resolution, peacebuilding and nation-building. Due to what we know, and what our history has taught us, our call must be clear: immediate, full and unequivocal ceasefires and a decisive international intervention that leads to negotiations, a lasting and just peace settlement and, at long last, to a free, sovereign and independent Palestine." [https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates/debate/dail/2023-10-18/19/] Israel consistently violates all international laws, as this speech demonstrates. However, it is now questionable whether international laws still possess the force and strength necessary to stop Israel from acting violently and monstrously, or if they will only serve to express condemnation of Hamas. ----- A regular Columnist with NewAgeIslam.com, Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi Dehlvi is an Alim and Fazil (Classical Islamic scholar), with a Sufi-Sunni background and English-Arabic-Urdu Translator. He has also done B. A (Hons.) in Arabic, M.A. in Arabic and M.A. in English from JMI, New Delhi. He is interested in Islamic Sciences; Theology, Jurisprudence, Tafsir, Hadith and Islamic mysticism (Tasawwuf). URL: https://newageislam.com/islam-politics/international-laws-israel-right-palestine/d/130971 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

Islam Needs Renewal: Muslims Need to Save Themselves from Intolerance and Dogmatism

By Moin Qazi, New Age Islam 25 October 2023 In recent years, clichéd calls for reform of Islam have acquired more stringent tones. "We need a Muslim reformation." "Islam needs reformation from within." Such headlines keep flashing in the media. Yet if Muslims are true to themselves and their scriptures, Islam doesn't need a reformation. Muslims need to save themselves from intolerance and dogmatism. The vision of some reformers asks Muslims to abandon fourteen hundred years of accepted dogma in favour of a radical and demanding new methodology that would set them free from the burdens of traditional jurisprudence. In recent years, an enormous industry of reform-minded interpreters has arisen to explain, contextualize, downplay, or ignore them, often quoting the well-known verse that says there is "no compulsion in religion." Islam is worlds apart from Christianity. The two faiths aren't analogous, and it is deeply ignorant to try and impose a neatly linear, Eurocentric view of history on diverse Muslim-majority countries in Asia or Africa. Each religion has its dissent and culturally evolved through uniquely distinct traditional paths and each religion's followers have been affected by geopolitics and socio-economic processes in myriad ways. The theologies of Islam and Christianity are far away: the former, for instance, has never had a Catholic-style clerical class answering to a divinely appointed pope. The truth is that Islam has already had its reformation, in the sense of stripping cultural accretions and a process of supposed “purification”..”. The truth is that Islam has already reformed in the sense of stripping cultural accretions and a process of supposed "purification." Wasn't reform precisely what was offered to the masses of the Hijaz by Muhammad Ibn Abdul Wahhab, the mid-18th century itinerant preacher? He provided an austere Islam cleansed of what he believed to be innovations, which eschewed centuries of mainstream scholarship and commentary. He rejected the authority of the traditional ulema or religious leaders. The idea of the reformation of Islam can be better understood if we explore how close Wahhabism is to Protestantism or Catholicism is highly complex and paradoxical. In Islam, there has always been the argument that Wahhabism arose directly as an imitation of Protestant Christianity. And some Wahhabis do make this comparison. They say, "We are creating a Protestant Islam." But many Catholics respond to this by saying to Wahhabis, "If you're looking for models from the Christian world, the Catholics are much better models. There is one significant difference, however. Protestantism did not attempt to enforce conformity. Protestantism fostered pluralism. Wahhabism does not promote pluralism, unlike traditional Islam, which is pluralistic and non-conformist and allows for diverse opinions. And that's why, in the end, I now essentially reject the parallel. Abd al-Wahhab was the most significant reformist who believed that Islam had been corrupted and weakened by the Ottomans and needed to return to its roots. But his brand of an original, authentic Islam was harsher and more stripped down than the religion that the Prophet Muhammad had founded centuries before. Al-Wahhab forbade many practices and traditions that were an established part of Muslim culture, such as the celebration of the Prophet's birthday, the decoration of mosques, and the use of music in worship and daily life. People must realize that Wahhabism embodies violence because Wahhabism begins by saying that everybody who isn't a Wahhabi who calls himself a Muslim isn't a Muslim. And that is, in essence, a violent proposition. Some Wahhabis are not directly involved in going off and killing people, but they support the ideology that supports the people who are going off and killing people. The difference is that the Wahhabis have a religious dispensation that creates a totalistic sense of self-righteousness. Nazism and Stalinism didn't have this. Renewal and reform are the essential components of the new learning methodology of the Qur'an. The Salafis lead the most influential movement in this direction. They signify a stripping away of accumulated misreading and wrong or lapsed practices, as in the Protestant Reformation, and a return to the founding texts of the Qur'an and the Sunna—guidelines based on the recorded words and deeds of the Prophet Nearly a century after it emerged in Egypt, political Islam is redefining the Muslim world. Also called Islamism, this potent ideology holds that the billion-strong global Muslim community would be free and great if only it were pious—that is, if Muslims lived under state-enforced Islamic law, or sharia, as they have done for most of Islamic history. Islamists have long been confronted by Muslims who reject sharia and non-Muslims who try to get them to reject it. Salafism, imported into Egypt from Saudi Arabia and publicized around the world thanks to petrodollars, is the enemy of anything moderate and tolerant. The Salafis believe that the only true path is to follow the practices of the early generations of Muslims – literally. Although most Egyptians do not identify as Salafis, their thinking has been greatly influenced by Salafism, especially the younger generation. Much effort is expended in public displays of religiosity, such as beards, prayer beads, prayer calluses and women's clothing. At the same time, the spiritual aspect of religion and the proper ethics Muslims should adhere to take a back seat. Reforms are, of course, needed across the crisis-ridden Muslim-majority world: political, socio-economic and, yes, religious too. Muslims need to rediscover their heritage of pluralism, tolerance and mutual respect – embodied in the Prophet's letter to the monks of St Catherine's monastery or the "Convivencia" (or co-existence) of medieval Muslim Spain. Responding to those who claim that sharia fuels much of the violence and political instability in Muslim countries, several scholars argue that Islamic law is the key to rebuilding the political order in the country. They point out that sharia is invoked to justify misogyny and human rights abuses but that it has also been it is not sharia but struggles over the legal system that has been the primary source of contention and conflict going back to the beginning of the colonial era .it is. We must try to understand how successive national states grappled with integrating Western jurisprudence, customary law, and sharia. x WE cannot judge the era of the founding of Islam by the values of our own time: and, indeed, what we understand as the emancipation of women was never really considered by any of the great monotheistic religions. Some of the West's Christian establishments have accepted relatively equal rights, abortion and divorce only under pressure from women's associations and after long battles. Islam is aware of these changes. And it is inclined to blame the commentators of the Qur'an or canon law for the prevailing repression of women. Westerners think of Islamic societies as backwards-looking, inhumanely governed, and oppressed by religion, comparing them to their enlightened, secular democracies. But measuring the cultural distance between the West and Islam is a complex undertaking, and the reality is that the distance is narrower than they assume. Islam is not just a religion, and indeed not just a fundamentalist political movement. It is a civilization and a way of life that varies from one Muslim country to another but is animated by a common spirit far more humane than most Westerners realize. How did a religion that initially offered women greater freedom than they had known in traditional societies come to be associated with their repression? Muslim feminists have begun to reclaim the independence and respect accorded to women during the early centuries of Islam. The problem is less religion itself than the way commentators have interpreted it. The Qur'an has multiple teachings with many meanings, and Muslims have always been free to comment on them according to circumstances. The texts have been interpreted over centuries to endorse conservatism and intolerance and promote openness, freedom, forgiveness and intellectual revival. There is plenty of historical evidence for the servitude of women and the contempt and hatred they have suffered. Women's inequitable legal and social situation in most Muslim countries is deplorable. But is this situation directly attributable to a religion that is seen as sexist, or is it the result of religious or civil authorities interpreting that religion according to a male desire to dominate, despite Islam's insistence on the eq Unlike Christianity, Islam was concerned with politics and governance from the start. The Muslim rule that developed in the lifetime of the Prophet required attention to principles of community life, justice, administration, relations with non-Muslims, defence and foreign policy. The main new ideas were a vision of what constitutes good governance, law and just society. The Prophet came not to protect the status quo but to reform and change. Women, for instance, were given legal status (where they had none before) and concrete legal protection within society. If Prophet Muhammad's life were revolutionary, its aftermath would have seen a monological recital of Hadiths and inflexible analyses of Qur'anic verses, where historical context is taken up or ignored to suit the interpreter. Memories of early Islam have hardened into dogma, and many scholars have taken the Hadiths as stone tablets. Islam received the unique stamp of Prophet Mohammed's success. Unlike earlier prophets, Prophet Muhammad lived for some years as the head of a state of his creation and to which he gave laws. He shaped laws about marriage, inheritance, divorce and similar matters, aiming to reform generally recognized customs. He restricted the number of wives a man might have to four—imposed an almost impossible f; fulfilment of a condition that equality is maintained among them. Women had no inheritance rights; the new code granted them the request for half of the men's share. Slavery was widespread; Islam outlawed it except for captives taken in war, and for these, it introduced reforms and ways of regaining freedom. Wine drinking was gradually controlled, and usury was forbidden. The caste system, which was still in vogue, was abolished, as was the cruel practice of burying unwanted female babies alive. We need to understand every religion from its primary scriptures and not from secondary sources, which are unfortunately prone to many interpretations that may be erroneous or deceptive and are usually representative of a particular school of thought. The only lasting solution will be to liberate society from manmade religion and return to the pristine message of the scriptures. These scriptures had a simple, straightforward and plain-speaking message for all humanity, which got distorted at the hands of the modern tools of intellectual sophistry and sterile polemics. We need to sanitize our bodies, environment, minds, and intellect. The great modern reformist thinker Fazlur Rahman firmly believed that one of the primary purposes of the Qurʿān was to create a justice-based society. He saw the Prophet Muḥammad as a social reformist who sought to empower the poor, the weak, and the vulnerable. He viewed the Qurʿān as a source from which ethical principles could be derived rather than a book of laws. He played the role of father, husband, chief, warrior, friend and Prophet. His respect for learning, tolerance of others, generosity of spirit, concern for the weak, gentle piety and desire for a better, cleaner world would constitute the main elements of the Muslim ideal. For Muslims, the life of the Prophet is the triumph of hope over despair and light over darkness. For instance, Rahman argues that the practice of family law in Islamic history had not accorded females the equal rights to which they appear to be entitled based on the Prophet's example and teachings of the Qurʿān. Earlier attempts were made to create new ideologies promising rejuvenation. Jamal al-Din al-Afghani and Muhammad Abdouh led attempts to make Islam more legible by calling for adapting Muslim life to the West's views on economic and political modernity. They never called themselves Salafists (for them, it was about returning to the sources to find compatibility with these new challenges). Fazlur Rahman writes in his book Islam and Modernity: "A historical critique of theological developments in Islam is the first step toward a reconstruction of Islamic theology. This critique should reveal the extent of the dislocation between the world view of the Qur'an and various schools of theological speculation in Islam and point the way toward a new theology." This is a significant suggestion that should have been considered seriously and would have benefited the Islamic world immensely. For him, it was the intellectual ossification and replacement of scholarship based on original thought by one based on commentaries and super-commentaries, the closing of the gate of ijtihad, and establishing of the Islamic method solely on taqlid (blind imitation) which led to the decline. Fazlur Rahman's goal was to reassess the Islamic intellectual tradition and provide a way forward for Muslims. In his view, re-examining Islamic methodology in the light of the Qur'an was a prerequisite for any reform in Islamic thought. Rahman says, "Muslim scholars have never attempted ethics of the Qur'an, systematically or otherwise. Yet no one who has studied the Qur'an carefully can fail to be impressed by its moral fervour. Its ethics, indeed, is its essence and is also the vital link between theology and law. The Qur'an tends to concretize the ethical, clothe the general in a particular paradigm, and translate the ethical into legal or quasi-legal commands. But it is precisely the sign of its moral fervour that is not content only with generalizable ethical propositions but is keen on translating them into existing paradigms. However, the Qur'an always explains the objectives or principles that are the essence of its laws." At the same time, there needs to be abundant caution. Reform is an unruly horse that can go berserk unless adequately saddled. In several societies, the hardliners have served as vigilantes and sentinels of their faith. Their resistance has helped winnow the weaker strands in the formulation of new trajectories of thought and discourse. The bigoted and intolerant forces can acquire aggressive postures to suit their distorted understanding and ideological positions. Akbar is considered a great liberal king. However, we must not forget that he made extraordinary efforts to subvert Islam by attempting to reinvent the faith. Shaykh Ahmad Sirhindī, the great mystic and theologian, was primarily responsible for the reassertion and revival of orthodox Sunnite Islam as a reaction against the syncretistic tendencies promoted by Akbar. It was a serious attempt to dilute Islam and reinterpret its original philosophy. Persecuted for his outspokenness and straightforwardness, he is today revered as a saint and saviour of Islam. Similarly, Darah Shikoh was not just a great liberalist of his times but was charged with blasphemy by clerics. Both Akbar and Dara Shikoh were secular individuals. Still, their creative efforts had much to do with power and politics. Nothing by way of communal harmony and interfaith cordiality eroded some of Islam's most cherished values and traditions. Hardliners have their unique place in all discourses and their presence helps redefine unchecked and anarchic impulses. Always delay judgment no matter who you are, how experienced, and how knowledgeable you think. Give others the privilege to explain themselves. What you see may not be the reality. Never conclude for others. This is why we should never focus only on the surface and judge others without fully understanding their perspective. This requires an enormous amount of tolerance. All scriptures are, above all, a spiritual and moral resource that, if they are correctly understood and internalized both in letter and spirit, provide the reader with helpful guidance through the complexities of modern life. It is the nature of the human dialogue that finally culminates in the direction one is seeking for his salvation. Human perversity and ignorance can turn this overtly benevolent and benign exercise into intricate, complicated means to divide people. Instead of divine consciousness and guidance being the moral principles that bring people together, it becomes the embodiment of the most fundamental differences. They should be seen as a training manual for human nature. Submitting ourselves to their wisdom should mean testing and interrogating all our ideas and experiences afresh in the light of the fresh dose of thinking ingrained during the dialogue. We must all teach ourselves to read these divine and holy books liberated from the weight of tradition and classical commentaries. The real wisdom that we can glean from them is the one that ignites our spirituality when we constantly think outside the box of our earthly concerns by keeping in mind the intersection of time and timelessness. While several reformist thinkers continued their creative work in the last two centuries, it was the great poet Muhammad Iqbal. He conceived a very coherent and inspiring philosophy that crystallized around Islamic ideals. His Islam is not the Islam of primitive punishments, the veil and bigoted mullahs, but the Islam which provided a new light of thought and learning to the world and of heroic action and glorious deeds. He was devoted to the Prophet and believed in his message. Iqbal regarded as 'nullification' the search for 'inner meanings' or 'hidden meanings' in either the code of Muhammad (peace be upon him) or in his way of life, which he found not only satisfying but also convincing. He blamed the Persian poets for confusing the message of Islam. As he put it, "The Persian poets tried to undermine the way of Islam by a very roundabout, though apparently heart–alluring, manner. They denounced every good thing of Islam and made contemplation in a monastery the highest crusade in the way of God." Iqbal preached action. He was a rebel against all the accretions that had gathered around Islam due to the Hellenic and Persian influences and wanted to cleanse it so that the world could, once again, witness the glory of Islam in its pristine form. For the laziness and lethargy that had gripped the Islamic fold, Iqbal blamed the Sufis. They, with their Iranian background and Greek ideas, had corrupted the religion of Muhammad (peace be upon him). As Iqbal explains, "it is surprising that the poetry of Sufism in Islam was produced during the period of political decline. The nation which exhausts its fund of energy and power, as was the case with the Muslims after the Tartar invasions, changes the outlook. The weakness becomes an object of beauty and appreciation, and resignation from the world is a source of satisfaction." Iqbal's poems reflect the pain and agony he felt at the degeneration of Islam. This feeling is patent in every couplet. Muslims are repeatedly asked to go back to the early era of Islam when the spirit of Muhammad (peace be upon him) goaded his followers to conquer half the world and brought enlightenment to people of various regions and colours. While Iqbal retained his admiration for the otherworldliness of Sufi mystics. He rejected their belief in the world's transitoriness and the unreality of life. He was appalled by western commercialism and greed, lamented the loss of the Muslim empire, and was saddened by the decadence of Islam. A legacy can be preserved only if it is honoured and respected by its custodians. We must try to understand and delineate those attributes that aided the personalities of yesteryears to attain those levels of glory. At the same time, we have to examine the social and cultural factors that enabled them to use their talents to their farthest value and harness their energies toward the goals fruitfully. Some Muslim countries have seen the emergence of leading politicians who have unfortunately not been able to live up to the ideals of the early women and have done significant damage to the reputation of an Islamic female. Islam is at crossroads today and Muslims are poised at a critical juncture in their history. The stagnation in Islamic thought is patent in the couplets of Muhammad Iqbal: You are one people. You share in common your weal and woe. You have one faith, one creed and to one Prophet Allegiance owe. You have one sacred Ka'aba, one God and one holy book, the Qur'an. Was it so difficult to unite in one community every single Musselman? ----- Moin Qazi is the author of the bestselling book, Village Diary of a Heretic Banker. He has worked in the development finance sector for almost four decades. URL: https://newageislam.com/ijtihad-rethinking-islam/reformation-intolerance-dogmatism-muslim/d/130967 New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Despotic, Hereditary Khilafat Or Western Democracy: What Political System Is Closer To Islamic Ideals?

By Grace Mubashir, New Age Islam 24 October 2023 According To Quran And Hadeeth, Islam Is Not A Political Ideology. Thus, In Contemporary Conditions Democratic Governments Are The Veritable Embodiments Of Islamic Ideals. Main Points: 1. Quran and Hadeeth don’t provide fixed forms of political system. They demand to follow any system as long as Muslims are safe to practice Islam. 2. Islam specifies Muslims should not revolt against their established governments even if the rulers are unjust and despotic. This is why brutal and despotic Khalifas continued to rule Muslim countries throughout Islamic history. 3. Islam allows complete freedom of expression, so peaceful protests would be part of the norm, but not violence and revolt. 4. Despotic Khalifas in Islamic history did not allow freedom of expression, though this was against Islamic norms. They do not allow that even today, as in Saudi Arabia or Gulf Emirates or Afghanistan under Taliban. Even Iran, which is a Mullahcracy in the name of democracy doesn't allow any kind of freedom, while calling itself an Islamic country. So Muslim countries don't have a history of even peaceful protests. 5. Islamists use religious scriptures to argue for Caliphate in order to accumulate political power. 6. Modern Democracy as in the West is the culmination of Islamic ideals of rule by consensus, equality before law, welfare state, caring for the poor and needy, freedom of expression, freedom of religion, gender justice, etc. 7. Had Islam not been taken over by the scions of inveterate enemies of Islam during the time of last of Rashidun Khalifa, Hazrat Ali (AS.), and Muslim ulema and fuqaha not closed the doors of Ijtihad, it is the Muslim world which would have evolved these systems of democratic rule long ago. We would have been the Vishva Gurus for centuries. But now the West has taken the lead, and we should firmly follow them in this respect, while trying to correct the flaws in their systems. 8. Those among us who call for the return of brutal, despotic Khilafat of yore are enemies of Islam and humanity. We must fight them tooth and nail, ideologically, with the help of Quran and Hadith, as well as physically, if need be. ----- The Quran and Hadith do not explicitly lay down specific political frameworks or prescribe fixed forms of governance for Muslims. Instead, they emphasize the overarching principles of justice, peace, and the safety of practicing Islam. This absence of a detailed political blueprint allows flexibility and adaptability for Muslims to operate within various societal structures. According to Quran and Hadeeth, Islam is not a political ideology, hence it does not specify any political system, except saying ‘Amruhum Shura Bainahum’ (42: 38), meaning Muslims should resolve their issues through consultation or consensus. Thus, in contemporary conditions democratic governments are the veritable embodiments of Islamic ideals. Quran teaches ‘Amruhum Shura Bainahum’ demands consultation and choose the best kind of politics for humankind. It’s a clear remark that Quran does not support the Caliphate as is argued by modern Islamists. According to Quran, the political arrangement should be based on consultation; and hence democratic political governments qualify for this character. So democratic government systems is better suited to Islamic teachings rather than despotic, authoritarian and autocratic Islamic Caliphate as demanded by modern Islamists and supported by vested interests. The primary concern highlighted in Islamic scriptures is the ability of Muslims to practice their faith freely and without fear. As long as the basic rights and safety of the Muslim community are ensured, the political system in place is considered acceptable. This stance encourages Muslims to coexist peacefully within diverse political environments, ranging from monarchies to democracies and from autocracies to democratic secular states. The emphasis on the protection of individual rights and religious freedom reflects the Quranic emphasis on justice and equity. Prophet Muhammad's teachings similarly underscore the importance of maintaining a just and fair society, where all individuals, irrespective of their faith, are treated with respect and dignity. This flexibility in political interpretation within Islamic teachings allows for the accommodation of various cultural and social contexts, acknowledging the dynamism and diversity of the societies in which Muslims live. It encourages the integration of Islamic values and principles within existing political systems, promoting a harmonious coexistence that is rooted in mutual respect and understanding. Islam Demands Adherence To Ruling System And Forbids Violent Subversive Activities In Islam, there is a strong emphasis on maintaining social order and stability, even in the presence of unjust and despotic rulers. The teachings encourage Muslims to adhere to established governments and authorities, provided that practicing Islam remains feasible and the fundamental principles of the faith are not compromised. This principle has led to the continuation of despotic rulers in Muslim countries throughout history. The rationale behind this concept lies in the understanding that uprisings and revolts can often lead to chaos, instability, and potential harm to the community. Consequently, maintaining the existing order, flawed as it may be, is considered preferable to the potential anarchy that could result from the overthrow of a ruling authority. The focus is on preventing societal breakdown and preserving the basic functioning of communities. However, this does not imply an endorsement of oppressive or unjust actions by rulers. Instead, it highlights the importance of pursuing non-violent and constructive means to address grievances and bring about positive change. Islamic teachings encourage dialogue, peaceful advocacy, and the pursuit of justice through legal and ethical channels within the framework of the existing governance structures. While the emphasis on obedience to established authorities remains, there is also a parallel emphasis on the promotion of justice and the protection of human rights. The aim is to encourage communities to work towards positive transformation through constructive engagement and advocacy, seeking to uphold justice within the confines of the law and ethical principles. This delicate balance between obedience to authority and the pursuit of justice has been a central theme in the political history of many Muslim nations. It is reported in one Hadeeth in Sahih Muslim: “It is obligatory for you to listen to the ruler and obey him in adversity and prosperity, in pleasure and displeasure, and even when another person is given (rather undue) preference over you.” Again “It has been narrated on the authority of Abu Dharr who said: My friend (i.e., the Holy Prophet) advised me to listen (to the man in position of authority) and obey (him) even if he were a slave maimed (and disabled).” Islam does not support coups and sabotage that might cause chaos. Throughout Islamic history, there have been instances where despotic rulers have continued to hold power, often causing significant harm and suffering. Despite this, Muslim scholars and communities have sought to navigate these challenges by advocating for ethical leadership and advising rulers to adhere to the principles of justice and fairness outlined in Islamic teachings. Islamists Use Religious Scriptures To Argue For Caliphate In Order To Accumulate Political Power Quran and Hadeeth don’t provide any particular political system. They demand to follow any system as long as Muslims are safe to practice Islam. So Islam could be accommodated in any political set-up as long as Muslims are free to pursue their religion. Islam does not specify any particular political system of governance. This is attested by the twin lives of prophet at Makka and Madina. In Makkan life, Muslims had no political power, but Islam thrived there too. So, the political power is not intrinsic to Islam’s survival. Even the concept that Caliphate is compulsory for Muslims arose in the wake of colonialism by regressive pan-Islamist who used religion to restore their hold on power. Islamists use religious scriptures to argue for Caliphate in order to accumulate political power. They use religion to enjoy power and the government they espouse is entirely against Islamic ideals. They don’t allow freedom of expression and peaceful protests for the sake of human rights. The Caliphate, sold by Islamists, is despotic, authoritarian and arrogant theocracy. Islam allows complete freedom of expression, so peaceful protests would be part of the norm, but not violence and revolt. Despotic Khalifas in Islamic history did not allow freedom of expression, though this was against Islamic norms. They do not allow that even today, as in Saudi Arabia. So Muslim countries don't have a history of even peaceful protests. Such a political arrangement is alien to Islam, as Prophet and revered companions allowed to question the rulers including themselves. As Hazrat Umar (R.A) rose to lead prayers one Friday, at the peak of his power, a woman got up and, asked him how come he was wearing a shirt from the piece of cloth distributed the day before to all Muslims, which was too short for a shirt. Hazrat Umar's son then got up to say that as his father's shirt was torn from many places, he gave his piece to him and thus his shirt could be stitched. That was the glory of true Islam. Any ordinary Muslim could question even the integrity and probity of the most powerful Khalifa in Islamic history who conquered almost half the then civilised and known world. Prophet himself took all decisions in consultation with people. He gave all freedom to non-Muslims to live according to their ideologies. These Quranic and prophetic teachings are spurned by modern advocates of Caliphate. Western secular democratic system is the modern-day embodiment of Islamic ideals for governance. Modern Democracy as in the West is the culmination of Islamic ideals of rule by consensus, equality before law, welfare state, caring for the poor and needy, freedom of expression, freedom of religion, gender justice, etc. In practice, it may be flawed in many instances, nevertheless, several elements inherent in modern democratic systems align with the values and teachings of Islam, reflecting a shared emphasis on ethical governance and the well-being of society. 1. Rule by Consensus: The Islamic concept of Shura, or consultation, emphasizes the importance of mutual decision-making and consensus-building within the community. Similarly, modern democratic practices often prioritise the involvement of citizens in decision-making processes, reflecting a similar emphasis on collective participation and representation. 2. Equality Before Law: Islam advocates equal treatment of all individuals before the law, irrespective of their social or economic status. This principle aligns with the democratic ideal of equal rights and protections under the law, fostering a system where all individuals are subject to the same legal standards and safeguards. 3. Welfare State and Social Justice: Islamic teachings underscore the importance of caring for the less privileged and ensuring the welfare of society as a whole. Modern democratic societies often incorporate welfare state policies, aiming to provide social safety nets, healthcare, and education, reflecting a commitment to social justice and the well-being of all citizens. 4. Freedom of Expression and Religion: Islam promotes the importance of freedom of expression and the right to practice one's religion. Similarly, modern democracies uphold the principles of free speech and freedom of religion, recognizing the significance of individual liberties and the right to express diverse viewpoints and beliefs. 5. Gender Justice: Islamic teachings emphasize gender equity and justice, advocating for the rights and dignities of women within society. Many modern democratic societies similarly strive to uphold gender equality and promote the empowerment of women, reflecting a shared commitment to ensuring equal opportunities and rights for all genders. While modern democratic systems are not directly rooted in Islamic principles, they often echo core values and ideals that resonate with Islamic teachings. This intersection highlights the potential for shared goals of justice, equality, and collective well-being across different cultural and historical contexts. By recognizing these parallels, societies can work towards the development of governance systems that prioritize the welfare and rights of all individuals, irrespective of their backgrounds or beliefs. For Indian Muslims, Indian Secular Democracy Is The Only Legitimate System Of Governance We should not forget the fact that there is also an attempt to establish a nation and become a king under the guise of a caliphate. No Muslim has been told that Islam should take over foreign lands and make them a Muslim nation; Even the Caliph of Islam has not been given such an instruction by the religion. At the same time, peaceful Da'wat (preaching) should be done in every country. It should be in a peaceful manner. Islam does not argue that Da’wa and Iqamatuddin (religious activity) can only be done through the institution of the state. It's politics not taught by Islam. While Islamic politics is very clear, those clamouring for a religious state from India can be called the enemies of Islam and the nation. The constitution gives freedom to every citizen to embrace and propagate Islam and live according to religion. Despite some malignant anti-democratic voices, calling for genocide of Muslims, amplified 24/7 by the powerful mass media, the government has not yet formally taken away such values from the Constitution. So, according to Islamic theology, Muslims have to accept and follow the dictates of the government, no matter how repugnant in their eyes. This is what Islamic theology as well as history teaches us, as shown above. Muslims can under no circumstances play any role in destabilising an established system of governance. No wonder, Muslim scholars and the general public have always accepted India's secular, democratic politics. There is no instance in Islamic history of attempts to dethrone a ruler even by treachery. Islamic scholars would never support it. It should also be remembered that Muslims were far ahead in power at that time. Powerful Army chiefs and Navy chiefs were often Muslims. Yet they did not attempt to destabilise even a despotic caliphate. Conclusion The Caliphate ideas being sold by Islamists are not true Islam. This concept is motivated by vested interests to capture power using religion. Modern Democracy as in the West is the culmination of Islamic ideals of rule by consensus, equality before law, welfare state, caring for the poor and needy, freedom of expression, freedom of religion, gender justice, etc. Had Islam not been taken over by the scions of inveterate enemies of Islam during the time of last of Khalifa Rashidin, Hazrat Ali (AS.), and Muslim ulema and Fuqaha not closed the doors of Ijtihad, it is the Muslim world which would have evolved these systems of democratic rule long ago. We would have been the Vishwa Gurus for centuries. But now the West has taken the lead, and we should firmly follow them in this respect, despite the many flaws in their practice. Those among us who call for the return of brutal, despotic Khilafat of yore are enemies of Islam and humanity. We must fight them tooth and nail, ideologically, with the help of Quran and Hadith, as well as physically, if need be. ----- A regular columnist for NewAgeIslam.com, Mubashir V.P is a PhD scholar in Islamic Studies at Jamia Millia Islamia and freelance journalist. URL: https://newageislam.com/islam-politics/despotic-hereditary-khilafat-western-democracy-islamic/d/130961 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