Saturday, December 30, 2023

Superiority and Inferiority Complexes: Islamic perspective

By Kaniz Fatma, New Age Islam 30 December 2023 Either A Superiority Complex Or An Inferiority Complex Has A Detrimental Effect On An Individual's Personality. Both Circumstances Seriously Impede Human Development. A Person Who Is Arrogant Loses Respect And Social Standing. Respect For Him Is Limited To What Occurs In Front Of Him. People Frequently Make Fun Of Him Or Mistreat Him When He's Not Around. Comparable To This, A Person Who Harbours An Inferiority Complex Withdraws From Society And Fears Meeting New People. ------ Many people around us experience feelings of superiority, or it can even affect us occasionally. Individuals who have a sense of superiority believe they are better than everyone else and wish to use their speech to demonstrate this belief. Quite the reverse—many people experience inferiority complexes. When they attend a gathering or party, they start to believe that everyone else is superior to them and that they are the worst. Their depression makes them feel that it would be best to quit the celebration. In this group, they begin to feel suffocated. There needs to be moderation and balance between these two psychological scenarios because they are both extreme. ---------------------------------------------------------------- Also Read: Superiority Complex Is A Virus Islam Warns Against ---------------------------------------------------------------- A feeling of superiority is a state that forms a wall or barrier between you and other people. Not only do they not like to listen to others, but they disagree with everything others say. They believe others have poor speech. They believe that they are the only ones with any worth. Because they built a solid wall around themselves, the drawback is that their personality does not change. Those with the superiority complex have those who, upon receiving a blessing from Allah Ta'ala, claim that it was the product of their own work rather than expressing gratitude to Allah for it. Because of their accomplishments, individuals start to think of themselves as superior to other people. Their tendency to treat people poorly and with contempt becomes ingrained in them. There are a lot of these people all around us. Wealth, high status, ancestry, and—above all—knowledge and religiosity are the primary sources of arrogance and pride. Caste and ancestry pride have diminished somewhat in contemporary metropolitan society, but discrimination based on them is still evident in rural areas. Even now, people still take great pride in their money and status. Extremist religious thinkers typically experience pride in their piety and knowledge. Some people who possess less information regard themselves as superior to others, despise them, and treat the term "ignorant" with extreme hate and disdain. After participating in religious activities for a few days, some people declare everyone to be a sinner. They brand everyone as heretics, infidels, idlers, impudent, and lie behind them with sticks. Islam vehemently condemns all of these viewpoints, declaring that "Allah does not like the arrogant" (16:23). Those who tread arrogantly on the earth are said to, "Do not walk stubbornly on the earth." (17:37) On the other hand, some people have an inferiority complex and think that everyone is superior to them. The drawback is that, even when they have a good idea, they won't provide it out of concern that someone else will make fun of them. Make sure that your sense of inadequacy prevents you from submitting your proposal, as this will result in the loss of many excellent concepts. People who experience feelings of inferiority are usually those who have had a major setback. Children who grow up with high levels of stress are more likely to develop an inferiority complex. People who suffer from this ailment usually lack self-control and determination. Either a superiority complex or an inferiority complex has a detrimental effect on an individual's personality. Both circumstances seriously impede human development. A person who is arrogant loses respect and social standing. Respect for him is limited to what occurs in front of him. People frequently make fun of him or mistreat him when he's not around. Comparable to this, a person who harbours an inferiority complex withdraws from society and fears meeting new people. Islam instills in us the values of humility and modesty in place of pride and arrogance, as well as the values of self-respect in place of an inferiority complex. To be humble is to acknowledge one's lowly status before Allah, not to feel inferior. A humble individual bows before his Lord, considering all of his accomplishments to be the consequence of His grace rather than his own ability. He accords everyone the same standing as himself. Mutual respect is mandated by Islam. In the Farewell Sermon, the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) compared the honour of a human being to that of the Sacred Kaaba. A person with an inferiority complex should consider the fact that, despite one failure, they have achieved numerous triumphs in life. He is living this life because of Allah's favour. It is wisely advised by Shaykh Saadi that the person without shoes should look at the person without feet rather than at the person wearing shoes. The sufferer of the superiority complex can receive treatment if he so desires. However, individuals who are feeling inferiority might also get assistance from friends and family. Give your friend or family member who is going through this hope for a better future in order to encourage them. The life of a human being will be enlightened, and your goodness will never be squandered. Remember that rude behaviour must never be accepted; instead, this treatment must always be provided with love and compassion. As a result, you should be aware of who you are, embrace it, and develop your personality every day. Don't think of yourself as better or worse than anyone else; instead, concentrate on your personality and keep going. Escape these two situations and take up a moderation attitude; moderation is excellence. ----- Kaniz Fatma is a classic Islamic scholar and a regular columnist for New Age Islam. URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

A Sane New Year Resolution: Talk Less About God And Religion And More Of Love And Understanding

By Sumit Paul, New Age Islam 30 December 2023 “If The Concept Of God Has Any Validity Or Any Use, It Can Only Be To Make Us Larger, Freer, And More Loving. If God Cannot Do This, Then It Is Time We Got Rid Of Him.” ― James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time The great American novelist James Baldwin's idea of god as an embodiment of love must be measured and contextualized in today's times and esp. in the context of India. Has the so-called god been able to make us larger, freer and more loving? Has this god, at any point in time, been able to intervene and stop bloodshed, cruelty and all sorts of violence in ITS name? When most of the humans are unloved in this unloving world, how can we think of a loving god (who created us)? In fact, the very concept of god has terribly limited us. Visit Ayodhya and see it for yourself, how the god of a specific community and religion has made an entire community so damn parochial and unloving. Hinduism, which believed in Universalism, is now monomaniac, monolithic, hidebound and extremely touchy about its plethora of gods and deities. "Jisne Iss Daur Ke Insaan Ko Kiya Ho Iss Qadar Mahdood/ Wahi Mera Bhi Khuda Ho Mujhe Nahin Manzoor" (Who made the humans of this age so limited in vision/ Should also be my god is not acceptable to me), Pakistani Urdu poet Rehaan Layalpuri's couplet is an inspiration from Abdul Hamid Adam's famous couplet, "Jisne Iss Daur Ke Insaan Kiye Hon Paida/ Wahi Mera Bhi Khuda Ho Mujhe Manzoor Nahin" (Who has created these people/ Can never be my god). Mystics, Sufis and those who're evolved souls, consider god as a metaphor for all-encompassing love and don't see IT as an object to spar over and create differences. But unfortunately, all man-made faiths have neutralized and nullified the very concept of god and have relegated it to a bone of contention. I'm told, a grand mosque (Dhannipur Mosque) is also being built in Ayodhya, 22 km from the swanky Ram Mandir, to assuage the wounded sentiments of Muslims. Alas, humans are so primitive and religiously envious! We're trying to confine god's all-pervasiveness to enormous structures called temples and mosques. Just the way, kids fight over the size of their toys that mine is bigger than yours, we're fighting over the grandeur of our respective shrines. Where's love? Where's the idea of freedom and where has gone our breadth of vision? In the name of god and religion, humans have shed more blood than all the waters lying in the great oceans. Let's love each other and bury the hatchet. But will that be possible? We tend to make New Year Resolutions. Let this be our New Year resolution that in 2024, we'll talk less about god and religion and more of love and understanding. Do I sound utopian? ----- A regular columnist for New Age Islam, Sumit Paul is a researcher in comparative religions, with special reference to Islam. He has contributed articles to the world's premier publications in several languages including Persian. URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Friday, December 29, 2023

Islamic Terrorism In Cyberspace: Changing Frontiers Of Global Muslim Terrorism

By Grace Mubashir, New Age Islam 29 December 2023 The Ever-Changing Landscape Of Terrorist Communications Implies A Continual Evolution In The Nature Of Terrorism Itself. While The Specific Forms And Dimensions Terrorism Will Take In The Remainder Of The 21st Century Remain Unpredictable, This Evolutionary Process Will Undoubtedly Be Influenced—And Hastened—By Emerging Communications Technologies, As Has Been Observed Over The Past Decade Major Points: 1. Extremist groups, often driven by radical ideologies, have adeptly harnessed the power of online platforms to disseminate their messages, recruit followers, and coordinate activities 2. Efforts to counter the use of the Internet by Islamic extremists involve a multi-faceted approach. Governments, tech companies, and civil society organizations collaborate to develop strategies to identify and remove extremist content, enhance online security measures, and address the root causes of radicalization 3. The growth of al-Qaida and affiliates shows the manipulation of cyberspace by radicals ------ The utilization of the Internet by Islamic extremists has become a subject of growing concern in recent years. Extremist groups, often driven by radical ideologies, have adeptly harnessed the power of online platforms to disseminate their messages, recruit followers, and coordinate activities. This phenomenon poses significant challenges to efforts aimed at countering terrorism and promoting online safety. The internet serves as a potent tool for Islamic extremists to reach a global audience. Social media platforms, websites, and forums provide a virtual space where extremists can share propaganda, disseminate radical ideologies, and recruit individuals sympathetic to their cause. The ease of communication and anonymity afforded by online platforms facilitate the rapid spread of extremist content, enabling like-minded individuals to connect and organize. One notable aspect of the internet's role in the activities of Islamic extremists is its role in recruitment. Online platforms allow recruiters to target vulnerable individuals who may be susceptible to radicalization. Through the use of persuasive narratives and carefully crafted propaganda, extremists seek to attract individuals to their cause, exploiting the internet's reach and accessibility. Additionally, the Internet serves as a tool for the planning and coordination of extremist activities. Secure communication channels, encrypted messaging apps, and online forums provide a means for extremists to organize and coordinate their efforts, making it challenging for law enforcement and intelligence agencies to monitor and disrupt their activities. Efforts to counter the use of the Internet by Islamic extremists involve a multi-faceted approach. Governments, tech companies, and civil society organizations collaborate to develop strategies to identify and remove extremist content, enhance online security measures, and address the root causes of radicalization. Counter-narratives and online campaigns are also employed to challenge and discredit extremist ideologies. Despite these efforts, the dynamic nature of the internet poses ongoing challenges in the fight against online extremism. Striking a balance between preserving freedom of speech and preventing the spread of harmful ideologies remains a complex task. Ongoing research, international cooperation, and technological innovations are essential components of a comprehensive strategy to address the use of the Internet by Islamic extremists and mitigate the associated risks. Cyberspace Manipulation By Extremists The advent of the Internet and the World Wide Web stands as one of the most transformative technological developments in recent history. Unquestionably, in a relatively brief period, it has revolutionized global communication, allowing for the swift (often real-time), ubiquitous, and, notably, cost-effective exchange of information on a global scale. Within the realm of political activism, it has proven to be a valuable asset, serving as a facilitator for what some analysts describe as a "global dialectic." This dynamic allows for the initiation of awakening, awareness, activism, and radicalism at a local level, subsequently mobilizing these sentiments into a broader process of dissent and protest. The internet provides an efficient means for groups to advance their causes. Professor Dorothy E. Denning of Georgetown University aptly notes that "Groups of any size, ranging from small clusters to millions, can connect and utilize the internet to champion their agendas. Their members and supporters can be located in any geographical region accessible on the internet, enabling them to endeavor to influence foreign policy on a global scale." The online environment allows for the seamless connection and collaboration of individuals across borders, fostering the dissemination of ideologies and the coordination of collective efforts. In essence, the internet serves as a catalyst for a decentralized form of activism, enabling the rapid dissemination of information and the fostering of connections among like-minded individuals. This interconnectedness has profound implications for the dynamics of political engagement, as groups leverage the internet to initiate and amplify their messages, transcending geographical limitations and influencing global narratives. Apart from its widespread availability and real-time capabilities, the internet possesses several other advantages for various actors, including the ability to bypass government censorship. Messages can be transmitted anonymously, swiftly, and with minimal effort, making it an exceptionally cost-effective medium for mass communication. Notably, the internet empowers terrorists to engage in what Professor Dorothy E. Denning terms "perception management." This refers to the ability to present themselves and their actions precisely as they wish, free from the filtration, screening, and spin often applied by established media. Additionally, it facilitates what is known as "information laundering," involving the promotion of compelling video clips or sound bites to generate an "Internet buzz" with the hope of transitioning into mainstream media coverage. Furthermore, the internet brings forth new and significantly enhanced fundraising capabilities for entities that may be otherwise illegal or underground. Financial contributions are now just a click away, with numerous websites providing banking details for cash transfers. Consequently, the internet has proven to be a highly advantageous communication medium for terrorists, serving as a crucial tool for both external purposes such as propaganda and internal functions like command and control and information dissemination. In contemporary times, virtually all major (and many minor) terrorist and insurgent groups maintain websites. As a researcher at the U.S. government's Foreign Broadcast and Information Service (FBIS), now known as the Open Source Center (OSC), noted six years ago, "These days, if you're not on the web, you don't exist." According to Professor Gabriel Weimann, a leading expert in the field of terrorist communication and the internet, "The story of the presence of terrorist groups in cyberspace has barely begun to be told." In 1998, less than half of the 30 groups designated as 'Foreign Terrorist Organizations' (FTOs) by the U.S. State Department had websites, but by the end of 1999, nearly all of them did. This underscores the pervasive and transformative influence of the Internet on the communication strategies of terrorist organizations. Radical Islamic terrorist organizations are widely recognized for being at the forefront of organizational networking, showcasing a remarkable ability to leverage information technology not only for propaganda, fundraising, and recruitment but also for offensive operations. Despite the diversity of terrorist websites, they often share common characteristics. These sites are frequently distinguished by their vibrant, well-crafted, and visually captivating graphic content. This design seems specifically tailored to resonate with a computer-savvy, media-immersed, and video game-engaged generation. A U.S. government observer of the phenomenon in the context of radical Islamic websites aptly noted, "Never in history has there been an opportunity where propaganda is so effective." The visually appealing and technologically sophisticated nature of these websites contributes to their potency in reaching and influencing a broad audience. Al-Qaida And Affiliates In Cyberspace Al-Qaida stands out among terrorist groups due to its early recognition of the significant communicative potential offered by the Internet. The growth of al-Qaida and its affiliates shows the use of cyberspace by radicals. Right from the beginning, its leadership demonstrated an intuitive understanding of the immense power of online communication. They actively sought to leverage this power to advance the movement's strategic objectives and streamline tactical operations. The emphasis placed on external communications by al-Qaida is evident in its pre-9/11 organizational structure. Among the original four operational committees, one was exclusively dedicated to media and publicity, with others overseeing military operations, finance and business, and fatwa and Islamic study. Notably, Egyptian computer experts, who had previously fought alongside Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan during the 1980s, were specifically recruited to establish and maintain an extensive network of websites, email capabilities, and electronic bulletin boards. Remarkably, this digital infrastructure continues to function today, despite al-Qaida's expulsion from Afghanistan, the destruction of its operational base in that country, and the ongoing efforts of the U.S.-led global war on terrorism. Over an extended period, the Internet has played a crucial role in enabling al-Qaida to perform three essential functions: 1. Disseminating propaganda to recruit and raise funds, as well as influencing public opinion within the Muslim world. 2. Conducting terrorist training and providing instructions. 3. Facilitating operational planning for attacks through email communication and leveraging its access to a diverse range of valuable open-source information. In the post-9/11 era and following the loss of Afghanistan as a physical sanctuary, each of these functions has gained even greater significance for al-Qaida. Consequently, the Internet has transformed into a virtual sanctuary for the group, providing an efficient, swift, and anonymous channel for communication with its fighters, followers, sympathizers, and supporters worldwide. Prior to 9/11, al-Qaida operated solely on one website: However, today, the movement has expanded its online presence to encompass more than 50 different sites. A statement posted on in 2002 encapsulates the sentiment within the jihadist community: "The more websites, the better it is for us; we must make the Internet our tool." Initially, alone served this purpose. Published exclusively in Arabic (a common trait among hardcore jihadi sites), the website highlighted three fundamental messages that continue to form the cornerstone of al-Qaida and other jihadi websites: 1. The West is inherently hostile to Islam. 2. The only effective response to this threat, comprehensible to the West, is through violence. 3. Therefore, jihad remains the sole viable option. To support these assertions, the theory of jihad was meticulously expounded upon with thorough theological and legalistic detail. Online treatises specifically emphasized the obligation for all Muslims to both protect and propagate Islam through the use of force. On the websites, one could find summaries of news relevant to the Islamic struggle against the West, al-Qaida's own accounts of ongoing conflicts with American and allied forces in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and suggested readings, including books by authors approved by al-Qaida theoreticians. The site featured extensive justifications for the 9/11 attacks, including video clips and messages praising the operation, accompanied by Islamic juridical arguments sanctioning the killing of innocents. Like other terrorist websites, poems glorified the sacrifices of al-Qaida martyrs and eloquently depicted the unwavering defensive struggle against Islam’s enemies. During the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, when al-Qaida faced significant setbacks culminating in the loss of Afghanistan as a base, served a crucial morale-boosting role. It aimed to lift the spirits of al-Qaida fighters and strengthen support among sympathizers. Conclusion In conclusion, the ever-changing landscape of terrorist communications implies a continual evolution in the nature of terrorism itself. While the specific forms and dimensions terrorism will take in the remainder of the 21st century remain unpredictable, this evolutionary process will undoubtedly be influenced—and hastened—by emerging communications technologies, as has been observed over the past decade. What is evident, however, is that the U.S. lags dangerously behind in addressing the terrorist exploitation of the Internet, particularly by radical jihadists. As detailed in this testimony, the Internet currently serves as a platform saturated with messages of hate, intolerance, violence, and unmitigated enmity towards the U.S., a void effectively occupied by terrorists and radical jihadists. It is imperative that we take immediate action—swiftly and with adequately allocated resources and strategic direction—to engage in the virtual battleground of cyberspace and reclaim control of this crucial information source from our adversaries. ----- A regular columnist for, Mubashir V.P is a PhD scholar in Islamic Studies at Jamia Millia Islamia and freelance journalist. URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

From Babri Masjid Demolition to Ram Temple Inauguration: The Trajectory of Indian Politics

By Ram Puniyani, New Age Islam 29 December 2023 When India gained independence, Nehru’s ‘Tryst with Destiny’ speech set the tone for the future courses that India planned to undertake. He pledged, ‘The service of India means the service of the millions who suffer. It means the ending of poverty, ignorance, disease, and inequality of opportunity… The ambition of the greatest man of our generation has been to wipe every tear from every eye. That may be beyond us, but as long as there are tears and suffering, our work will not be over.’ He articulated this vision for the temples of modern India during the inauguration speech of the Bhakra Nangal Dam. Babri Masjjid (File Photo) ----- A report in Hindustan Times archives describes it thus: “With great feeling the prime minister described these sites as “temples and places of worship” where thousands of human beings were engaged in great constructive activity for the benefit of millions of their fellow beings.” The phrase ‘Temples of Modern India’ served as the underlying theme for conceptualising public sectors, educational institutions promoting scientific temper, health facilities, and academies for the promotion of culture, among other aspects. The nearly four to five decades’ journey with this undercurrent of ‘Modern Temples’ took a significant turn in the 1980s. On one side, the response to the Shah Bano fiasco in dealing with minorities opened the floodgates of divisive politics, as communal forces unleashed a massive propaganda war against religious minorities. Simultaneously, the affirmative action for the downtrodden, with the implementation of the Mandal Commission, gave impetus to temple politics, already a strategy in the playbook of Hindu nationalists. In contrast to Nehru’s vision of ‘Temples of Modern India,’ the quest for ‘temples underneath the mosque’ brought to the fore the Babri Masjid dispute. The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s (RSS) progeny, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), came into existence in 1980, donning the cloak of ‘Gandhian Socialism’ with the moderate Atal Bihari Vajpayee at the helm. Despite his moderate image, Vajpayee was deeply rooted in RSS ideology. He authored Hindu Tan Man-Hindu Jeevan (Hindu soul and body-Hindu life), and masked his Hindu nationalist politics. Vajpayee later made way for Lal Krishna Advani, who came up with the slogan ‘Mandir Vahin Banayenge’ (We will build the temple where the Babri mosque is located). The RSS Combine was able to create a perception that Lord Ram was born precisely at the spot where the mosque was located. The Ram Rath Yatra gained momentum following the implementation of the Mandal Commission recommendations. However, this Yatra left a trail of violence in its wake. Around 1990, in the aftermath of L.K. Advani’s Rath Yatra, nearly 1,800 people lost their lives in different parts of India. The Yatra was eventually halted when Lalu Yadav arrested Advani. The mosque was demolished on December 6, 1992, by the Kar Sevaks, some of whom had planned the demolition. During the event, leaders like Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, and Uma Bharati were seated on the stage, where slogans like “Ek Dhakka Aur Do, Babri Masjid Tod Do” (Give one more push, break the Babri Mosque) and “Ye To Kevel Jhanki Hai Kashi Mathura Baki Hai” (this is just the beginning, Kashi Mathura will follow) were raised. After the demolition, violence erupted in Mumbai, Bhopal, Surat, and various other locations. In summary, the legal system bent over backwards to give the verdict of the case based on ‘faith’, and not giving any punishment to those who led the demolition. In its judgment, the judiciary, for better or worse, awarded the entire Babri Mosque land for the construction of the temple. In the glee of this ‘success’ by the RSS combine, large funds were collected from home and abroad and now, a huge temple is ready to be inaugurated by the prime minister himself, with all Hindu rituals. This will be a ceremony undertaken by the head of a ‘formally secular’ state. Babri Masjid was a regular election plank till it was demolished and after that, the building of the grand Ram temple was part of the BJP’s election manifestos and electoral promises. The communal violence shot up on a regular basis along with the ghettoisation of Muslim community, the polarisation and the rise of the electoral might of the BJP. According to A.M. Singh, a research scholar at the Department of Political Science, Manipur Central University, “Since coming to power, much of the BJP’s political discourse has exacerbated communal tensions between Hindus and Muslims. Their actions have followed suit, with the abrogation of Article 370 in the Indian Constitution and the passage of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in 2019… By redefining and remanufacturing Indian citizenship on the principles of Hindutva, the BJP government has broken the fate and legacy of India’s secularism enshrined in its constitution.” Now a ghettoised Muslim community has been pushed to the margins as second class citizens. Now, as the temple is set to be inaugurated, efforts are underway to mobilise a large section of Hindus for this occasion. In countries like America and others, a significant number of NRIs are preparing for the event by organising various programmes. Back home, all the affiliates of the RSS have been activated to mobilise Hindus for the occasion, encouraging them to either visit the new temple or participate in rituals at local temples. There are minor controversies about who has been invited and who has been left out. Advani, the chief architect of the demolition movement, and his close aide Joshi were initially advised by the temple trust not to attend the inauguration due to their old age and the biting cold in Ayodhya. On second thought, the VHP, the overarching organisation, has invited them. As the Babri demolition helped sectarian politics come to power, the inauguration of the temple seems to be yet another mechanism to consolidate polarisation and reap electoral dividends. A large number of special trains and buses are being planned for the occasion. Temple politics has reached its zenith. It is time to recall Nehru’s concept of ‘temples of Modern India’ with the promotion of scientific temper. Currently, religiosity and blind faith are being heightened. As India started coming out of the colonial darkness, it also ensured a direction where the ‘last person in the line’ was to be the primary focus. With the politics revolving around Ram Temple, to be followed by temples in Kashi and Mathura, the deprivations of ‘last person’ and Nehru’s ‘Tryst with Destiny’ promises have been dumped along with holding him responsible for all the ills of the country. ------ Ram Puniyani is president, Centre of Study of Society and Secularism and has written several books including Communal Politics: Facts Versus Myths (Sage, 2003), Deconstructing Terrorist Violence (Sage 2015), Indian Nationalism versus Hindu Nationalism (Pharos 2014) and Caste and Communalism (Olive 2013). URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Musings on the New Year: Forget Negativity, Embrace Positivity

By Sumit Paul, New Age Islam 29 December 2023 "Kisi Ko Saal-E-Nau Ki Kya Mubarakbad Dee Jaaye Calendar Ke Badalne Se Muqaddar Kab Badalta Hai " Aitbar Sajid (What's the use of new year greetings? Change of a digit on a calendar doesn't change one's fate) Though it might sound cynical but it's a matter-of-fact statement. A New Year is often our inadequate attempt to segmentise time which's a perception, not an entity; an illusion, not a reality. A New Year, therefore, is a ridiculous simplification of time. Time is a relative phenomenon, not a static concept. So, it has always amused me when people say that the ensuing year is going to be good or bad for a person. Does destiny change with a mere digital change on a calendar or an almanac? To quote Ahmad Faraz, "Na Shab-o-Roz Hi Badle Hain Na Haal Achchha Hai/ Kis Brahman Ne Kaha Tha Ki Ye Saal Achchha Hai (Neither the day and night have changed, nor is anything good/ Who said that this year would be great?). I don't want to dampen the zeal of those who look forward to a New Year. Let them enjoy. But if the truth must be told, there'll never be a significant change with the arrival of a New Year. What has been going on since time immemorial will go on till the civilization ceases to exist. I remember Faiz Ludhianvi's flippant couplet in Urdu, "Tu Naya Hai Toh Dikha Subha Nai, Shaam Nai/ Varna Inn Aankhon Ne Dekhe Hain Naye Saal Kai" (If indeed you're new, show an altogether new dawn and a completely new evening/ Otherwise, I've seen a number of so-called New Years). Marcel Proust would often say that waiting for a new year reminded him of the degeneration of time and life, "Ek Patta Shajar-E-Umr Se Lo Aur Gira/ Log Kahte Hain Mubarak Ho Naya Saal Tumhein" (Yet another leaf has fallen off the tree of life/ Yet, people say, Happy New Year to you!). It also amuses me when people consult astrologers/palmists and ask them how the new year will turn out to be. I smile and think of Qateel Shifai's famous couplet: Jis Brahman Ne Kaha Hai Ki Ye Saal Achchha Hai/ Uss Ko Dafnao Mere Haath Ki Rekhaon Mein (The 'soothsayer' who predicted that this year would be propitious/ Entomb him in the lines of my palm). Remember, "Phir Naye Saal Ki Sarhad Pe Khade Hain Hum Log/ Raakh Ho Jayega Ye Saal Bhi Hairat Kaisi" (Standing again on the fringe of a new year/ No wonder, this too will be reduced to ashes). So, the only positive thing we all can do: "Naye Saal Mein Pichhli Nafrat Bhula Dein/ Chalo Apni Duniya Ko Jannat Bana Dein" (Let's forget all past bitterness and turn this world into a heaven). My wishes to all the esteemed readers, friends and well-wishers (I've no enemies but I may have detractors) as 2024 is on the anvil. Forget all negativity and embrace positivity. ----- A regular columnist for New Age Islam, Sumit Paul is a researcher in comparative religions, with special reference to Islam. He has contributed articles to the world's premier publications in several languages including Persian. URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Thursday, December 28, 2023

Are The Muslims Facing the Wrath of God in The Same Way as The Jews Did in The Past?

By New Age Islam Staff Writer 28 December 2023 Like The Jews in The Past, The Muslims Today Face Massacre, Life in Ghettoes and Expulsion Main Points: 1. The Jews faced the wrath of God for sectarian bloodshed, sins, disobedience to God and persecution of their own people. 2. The Jews were expelled from various countries. 3. They were massacred by hostile communities. 4. They were forced to live in ghettoes. 5. Muslims are also facing expulsion. 6. Muslims of Myanmar, Palestine and China are forced to live in ghettoes. ------ The Muslim community more often mentions the Jews as a religious community that has faced the wrath of God in every age. They have been massacred, forced to leave their homeland and live in ghettoes for the sins they have committed and for dishonouring the favours of God upon them. They are seen by the Muslims as a community that commits mischief, spreads evil in the society and oppresses the weaker communities. The Quran also testifies to their sins and the punishments they were inflicted with for their mischiefs and sins. "And remember We took your covenant that you would neither shed each other's blood nor will you expel each other from their homes, you gave your pledge and bore witness. But here you are killing each other and expelling some of your people from their homes, aiding one another in sin and aggression and when those expelled come to you as captives, you still ransom them --- though expelling them was unlawful for you. "(Al Baqarah:84-85). These verses mention the sins and mischiefs the Jews committed to their own people. The verses tell us that the Jews expelled their own people and shed their blood in olden times but this is true in the current situation as well. They expelled the Palestinians from their homeland and still want to drive them out. They are shedding their blood and holding them captive. Another sin the Jews committed was that they were divided in sects. The Quran despises sectarianism. The Quran says about the sectarian differences among Jews. "Yet their various groups have differed among themselves, so woe to the wrongdoers when they face the torment of painful day."(Zukhruf:65) God gave the Jews power, prosperity and honour in the world but they became ungrateful to God. God reminds the Jews of his favours upon them in following words: "O children of Israel, remember my favours of you, fulfil your covenant and, I will fulfil mine and stand in awe of Me alone, Believe in My revelations which confirm your scriptures. Do not be the first to deny them or trade them for a lasting game. And be mindful of Me. Do not mix truth with falsehood or hide the true knowledge. Establish prayers, pay alms tax, and bow down with those who bow down."(Al Baqarah:40-43) They forgot the true teachings of God and ignored some basic tenets of their faith. Still they believed that they were chosen ones and that they will not be thrown into the fire of Hell and even if they are sent to the Hell, they will be taken out after a short while. The Quran rejects their claim: "The Jews and Christians each say, "We are the children of God and His most beloved. Say O Prophet, Why then does He punish you for your sins? No! You are only humans like others of His own making. He forgives whoever He wills and punishes whoever He wills. To Allah alone belongs the kingdom of Heavens and the earth and everything in between. And to Him is the final return,"(Al-Maidah:18) Because of their sins, mischiefs, bloodshed and disobedience, the Jews invited the wrath of God. The Quran says: "And remember O Prophet, when your Lord declared that He would send against them others who would make them suffer terribly until the Day of Judgment. Indeed your Lord is swift in punishment. He is certainly most forgiving and most merciful."(Al Araf:167) The truth of this verse was proved by the persecution of Jews in every age or century. They were expelled from various countries, were massacred and forced to live in ghettoes as punishment for their sins, disobedience, bloodletting and mischiefs. In 1182, Philip Augustus expelled them from France. In 1290, Edward I banished them from England. Philip IV drove them out of France again in 1306. In 1492, they were massacred in Spain at the order of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. During the second World War, Hitler killed about 6 million Jews in Germany. He confined them in concentration camps and forced them to live in ghettoes. Therefore, the Jews have faced expulsion, massacre or persecution because of their sins in every century. However, the Muslims do not realise that they have also invited the wrath of God in different periods of history. Halaku Khan massacred millions of Muslims in Baghdad and destroyed the Abbasid caliphate in the 13th century. In the 21st century, the Muslims have faced the same persecution, massacre and ghetto- like life in various parts of the world because they committed the same sins, mischiefs and bloodshed the Jews committed. God called the Muslims the best people on earth because they were supposed to spread the word of God but they committed mischiefs, ignored basic tenets of Islam, created sects and shed the blood of each other. The extremist scholars presented violent and intolerant version of Islamic teachings and spread extremism and terrorism in the name of spreading Islam. The extremists and terrorists among the Muslims drove their own people from their homeland. Due to the sectarian bloodshed in the Middle East during civil war, millions of Muslims were forced to leave Iraq and Syria. 2.2 million people of Palestine are living in ghettoes. They are facing massacre by Israel. 1.1 million Muslims of Myanmar had to leave Myanmar and living in open air jails in Bhashan Char Island and refugee camps in Cox Bazar of Bangladesh. An equal number of Muslims are living in detention centres in China for years. Muslims in many other countries have also been facing persecution and massacre. Recently, the Prime Minister of Netherlands, Geert Wilders told Muslims to 'get out' of Europe. This is an indication of more difficult days for Muslims in future. Therefore, the Muslims should learn a lesson from the fate of the Jews and do introspection. URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Farewell Sermon of Prophet Muhammad: A Groundbreaking, Historic Declaration of Universal Human Rights

By Kaniz Fatma, New Age Islam 28 December 2023 The Farewell Sermon Delivered By The Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) To A Sizable Crowd In The Area Of Arafat During His Final Visit To The Holy Ka’ba, A Few Months Before He Passed Away, Eloquently Demonstrates How He Established The Concept Of Universal Human Rights And Contributed To The Advancement Of Human Rights In A World Where Tribalism Had Previously Prevailed. ----- During his Farewell Sermon, the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) imparted universal lessons and values founded on the dignity, respect, and rights of humankind. However, this is not the only document from the Prophet's life that addresses human rights. The lessons of human dignity and respect permeated the entire life of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him). However, regarding the protection and practical implementation of human rights, the Fateh Makkah Sermon and the Hajj Farewell Sermon play a crucial role. At the beginning of his Farewell Sermon, the Prophet (peace be upon him) stated that there is no God but Allah and that He has no partners. Then he says, “O People! Your lives and your property, until the very day you meet your Lord, are as inviolable to each other as the inviolability of this holy day you are now in, this holy month you are now in, and in this holy city you are now in. have I conveyed the divine message? —O Allah, be my witness”. -------------------------------------------------------------------------- Also Read: Messages from the Last Sermon of Prophet Muhammad Pbuh - An Elixir for a Decaying Human Society -------------------------------------------------------------------------- This sermon makes it very evident that human lives and possessions are holy and sacred. The Arabic word used in this sermon for sacred or inviolable is "haram." Even in pre-Islamic times, this word was used to refer to people, places (like Makkah), dates (like months and days), and things (like the idols in the Kaaba). As an illustration, al-Masjid al-Haram means "sacred Masjid," and al-Shahr al-Haram means "the sacred month." The Arabs observed Muharram, Dhil-Qa'ada, Dhil-Hijjah, and Rajab as four sacred months even before the coming of Islam. According to Arabic custom, people were considered sacrosanct throughout these months. Similar to this, the Kaaba was also revered as a sacred location. It might be argued that human respect and sanctity were limited in terms of time and location during the pre-Islamic era. This restriction resulted from a departure from the precepts established by the Kaaba's builder, Hazrat Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him). The Arabs had to uphold such a stringent rule of law, security, and peace to facilitate the Hajj and business in Makkah, which they needed to generate cash. People were only revered during the four holy months and while they were at the Kaaba. This granted the powerful Arab clans the legal and moral license to do as they pleased for the rest of the year. But they also kept four holy months, when people could go about their business and practise their religion in peace, as total turmoil would have caused the economy to implode. -------------------------------------------------------------------------- Also Read: The Last Sermon of the Prophet Muhammad -------------------------------------------------------------------------- The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) eliminated these restrictions on time and location when he gave his Farewell Sermon, establishing human sacredness and respect everywhere. Given that this uprising violated Arab traditions at the time, Arab society might have readily rejected it. The Prophet Muhammad emphasized the time and location of his utterance, as well as the phrasing of his injunction. He repeated his command multiple times on multiple occasions during the sermon, which was delivered during the Hajj, which was held at a sacred time and location. It was also made clear by him that God was the witness when Prophet Muhammad gave the people this admonition and that God was the source of it. This farewell was interpreted slightly differently once it gained popularity among the succeeding Muslim generations. Several Muslim jurists state that the Prophet Muhammad included everyone when he said, "O People," regardless of their ethnicity, gender, religion, creed, or colour. According to this viewpoint, the Prophet laid the groundwork for universalism. The universalist jurists who supported the universal sacredness of human beings, especially those from the Hanafi school of law, embraced this point of view. Since this is the law that the lawgiver, Prophet Muhammad, has revealed, they believe that every human being's life, property, and honour are sacrosanct and sacred. Conversely, some contended that the Prophet referred to the Muslim community alone when he said, "O people." This argument is communalist as opposed to universalist. However, modern Muslims have uncovered and repurposed the farewell sermon to promote the 1948 United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. From a contemporary standpoint, the earliest human rights declaration was presented by the prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). This is now highly well-liked among Muslims. Muhammad Hamidullah was one of the pioneers who promoted this idea. An Indian Muslim professor of Islamic law named Tahir Mahmood also interprets the parting sermon in light of contemporary events. The translation of "Ya Ayyuha Al-Nas" as "O mankind!" reflects his universalistic viewpoint: O mankind! There is no superiority between Arabs and non-Arabs, between white people and black people, or between rich people and the poor. Neither does white people have better status than black people or vice versa. You are all descended from Adam, and Adam was formed of soil. Prof. Tahir Mahmood refers to the last sermon as "a Declaration of the Equality of Mankind". The Farewell emphasized several rights and significant issues, such as the equality of all people, respect for human rights, the eradication of lawlessness and ethnicity, the right to life and property, social rights, cultural rights, labour rights, women's rights, and inheritance rights, among other things. The Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) Said: “O people, lend me an attentive ear for I know not whether, after this year, I shall ever be amongst you again. Therefore, listen very carefully to what I am saying to you and take these words to those who could not be present here today. “O people, just as you regard this month, this day, this city as sacred, so regard the life and property of every Muslim as a sacred trust. Return the goods entrusted to you to their rightful owners. Hurt no one so that no one may hurt you. Remember that you will indeed meet your Lord and that He will indeed reckon your deeds. God has forbidden you to take usury (interest), therefore all interest obligations shall henceforth be waived. “Your capital, however, is yours to keep. You will neither inflict nor suffer any inequity. God has judged that there shall be no interest and that all the interest due to Al-Abbas ibn Abdul Muttalib shall henceforth be waived… Beware of Satan, for the safety of your religion. He has lost all hope that he will ever be able to lead you astray in big things, so beware of following him in small things. “O people, it is true that you have certain rights about your women, but they also have rights over you. Remember that you have taken them as your wives only under the trust of God and with His permission. If they abide by your right, then to them belongs the right to be fed and clothed in kindness. Do treat your women well and be kind to them for they are your partners and committed helpers. And it is your right that they do not make friends with any one of whom you do not approve, as well as never to be unchaste. “O people, listen to me in earnest, worship Allah, perform your daily prayers, fast during the month of Ramazan, and offer Zakat. Perform Haj if you have the means. “All mankind is from Adam and Eve. An Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab, nor does a non-Arab have any superiority over an Arab; a white has no superiority over a black, nor does a black have any superiority over a white; (none have superiority over another) except by piety and good action. Learn that every Muslim is a brother to every Muslim and that the Muslims constitute one brotherhood. Nothing shall be legitimate to a Muslim which belongs to a fellow Muslim unless it was given freely and willingly. Do not, therefore, do injustice to yourselves. Remember, one day you will appear before God and answer for your deeds. So, beware, do not stray from the path of righteousness after I am gone. “O People, no prophet or apostle will come after me, and no new faith will be born. Reason well, therefore, O people, and understand the words which I convey to you. I leave behind me two things, the Quran and my example, the Sunnah, and if you follow these, you will never go astray. “All those who listen to me shall pass on my words to others and those to others again, and it may be that the last ones understand my words better than those who listen to me directly. Be my witness, O God, that I have conveyed your message to your people.” (Excerpts Taken From: The Final Sermon Near The Summit Of Mount Arafat] ---- Kaniz Fatma is a classic Islamic scholar and a regular columnist for New Age Islam. URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

"Run Parallel Like Train Tracks"

By Sumit Paul, New Age Islam 28 December 2023 “I've always been interested in people, but I've never liked them.” This famous quote of W Somerset Maugham reminds me of Nida Fazli's famous ghazal, "Badla Na Apne Aap Ko Jo Thay Wahi Rahe/ Milte Rahe Sabhi Se Magar Ajnabi Rahe/ Apni Tarah Sabhi Ko Kisi Ki Talaash Thi/ Hum Jiske Bhi Qareeb Rahe Door Hi Rahe" (I never changed myself and remained what I was/ I met all, yet, remained a stranger/ Like me, everyone was in search of something/ Whoever I was close to, I also kept a distance from). Dosti Sab Se Rahi, Adavat Kisi Se Nahin/ Phir Bhi Koi Mere, Main Kisi Ke Qareeb Nahin (All have been friends; I had enmity with none / Yet, no one's close to me, nor am I close to anyone). This is not narcissism or megalomania. Nor does it smack of contempt and disdain for people. Psychologists have found that even the most gregarious people are also disenchanted with others. After a certain period, they too find social intercourse fatiguing and seek one's own company. All those noisy and convivial company of friends in life are actually failed and miserable attempts to run away from oneself and drown the depression with the cacophony of the world. Famous composer Ravi once told yours truly that the gentlest soul Muhammad Rafi was friendly with all but overfriendly with none. He interacted with all but was never hail-fellow-well-met with any person in the film industry. That way, Rafi could retain his sanctity and serenity in a mad world of Hindi cinema. This also helped him remain focused on his objective in life. Our involvement with people often degenerates into over-involvement and that validates Shakespearean wisdom: Familiarity breeds contempt (...and children, Mark Twain's witty addition). So, it's always better and advisable to keep a measured distance from all those who come into contact in your life's sojourn. Be respectful to all. But retain your individuality. Come close but never too close for comfort. Life is all about meeting (even mating!) sans getting involved. To quote my favourite writer Albert Camus, " Run parallel like train tracks." Yes. Meet all. Greet all. But finally retreat to the solitude of four walls. ----- A regular columnist for New Age Islam, Sumit Paul is a researcher in comparative religions, with special reference to Islam. He has contributed articles to the world's premier publications in several languages including Persian. URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Nonviolent Interfaith Solidarity Jihad—An Autobiographical Account

By Adis Duderija, New Age Islam 27 December 2023 Most People Yearn For A World Of Love And Real Human Connection And To Live Meaningful Lives That Transcend Material Well-Being, That Tie Us To The Ongoing Unfolding Of Spirit And Consciousness, And That Connect Us With The Inherent Interdependence And Love That Permeates And Inspires All Being. ------ My involvement in interfaith dialogue in Australia goes back to my undergraduate days during the late 1990s. At the age of eighteen, I settled in Perth, Western Australia, as a Bosnian refugee, with my parents and older brother. Over time, I became active in the Muslim Student Association at the University of Western Australia and various interfaith initiatives at the local level. My involvement in interfaith activities intensified after 9/11. While engaging in my postgraduate studies in contemporary Islam with an emphasis on interfaith and gender-related issues, I co-founded a local inter-faith group called Abrahamic Alliance (AA) in 2005. I co-led this for five years until the completion of my Doctor of Philosophy. During that time, with my Christian, Muslim, and Jewish colleagues, we engaged in a variety of interfaith solidarity-based jihad activities, including organizing regular monthly meetings that attracted groups of twenty to thirty people, to larger and more official gatherings that attracted 150–200 people including religious leaders and clerics. In the spirit of nonviolent interfaith solidarity jihad, the main aim of these initiatives was to bring Jews, Christians, and Muslims to meet face to face and eventually develop sufficient levels of trust that would enable the participants to discuss a variety of sensitive topics of both religious and political/activist nature. My own interfaith solidarity jihad has been underpinned by the theory of progressive Islam that I have been developing in an academic setting for about fifteen years. This has resulted in many publications, most notably two sole authored monographs on the subject (Duderija, 2011, 2017). The main pillars of progressive Islam can be summarized as follows: 1. creative, critical, and innovative thought based on epistemological openness and methodological fluidity; 2. rationalist and contextualist approaches to Islamic theology and ethics; 3. a human rights-based approach to Islamic tradition; 4. contemporary approaches to gender justice; 5. affirmation of religious pluralism; 6. Islamic liberation theology; and 7. Islamic process theology. These pillars of progressive Islam align closely with the philosophy, vision, and mission of the Network for Spiritual Progressives (NSP) described below. I left Australia in 2011 due to professional and personal reasons and upon my return, in 2017, with my co-author of this chapter, Dave Andrews, we co-founded an Australian chapter of the Network of Spiritual Progressive or NSP-Australia (The Network of Spiritual Progressives, 2022a). The mission, visions, and principles of NSP-Australia were adopted to our own local context. The NSP’s philosophy is succinctly described as follows: Most people yearn for a world of love and real human connection and to live meaningful lives that transcend material well-being, that tie us to the ongoing unfolding of spirit and consciousness, and that connect us with the inherent interdependence and love that permeates and inspires all being. To achieve this world, we need a multifaceted revolution—political, moral, cultural and spiritual—that awakens us to the dignity and value of all peoples, regard-less of race, creed, gender, religion, class, where they’ve come from or what they’ve done, and helps us connect with the beauty and awe of the universe. This revolution must be grounded in love for all people, for life, and for the planet. (The Network of Spiritual Progressives, 2022b). NSP’s vision is described in the following manner: Our well-being depends on the well-being of everyone else on the planet and the well-being of the Earth. We seek a world in which all of life is shaped by peace, justice, environmental stewardship, love, care for one another, care for the earth, generosity, compassion, respect for diversity and differences, and celebration of the miraculous universe in which we live. (The Network of Spiritual Progressives, 2022c) Its mission statement says: To build a social change movement—guided by and infused with spiritual and ethical values—to transform our society to one that prioritizes and promotes the well-being of the people and the planet, as well as love, justice, peace, and compassion over money, power and profit. (The Network of Spiritual Progressives, 2022d). NSP’s intellectual outlet is the magazine, Tikkun Olam, edited by Rabbi Micheal Lerner, to which I have had the pleasure of contributing on two occasions (Duderija, 2018a, 2018b, 2018c). Although the magazine is ‘Jewish’ in its core, it has a strong interfaith orientation and most of its contributors and editorial board members are not Jewish. The magazine is published by Duke University Press and has already reached thirty-five volumes and over 100 individual issues. The aim and nature of the magazine is described on its website as follows: ikkun is the voice of all who seek to replace the materialism, extreme individualism and selfishness of Western societies by creating the psychological, spiritual and intellectual foundations for the Caring Society: Caring for Each Other and Caring for the Earth. Tikkun offers a lively and easy-to-read critique of politics, mass culture, many of the debates in academia, and the still-deepening environmental crisis. And it is the preeminent North American magazine providing analytical articles on Israel and Palestine, latest issues in Jewish, Christian, Muslim and Buddhist religious theory and practice, and the intersection of religion and poli-tics in Western societies, as well as the inheritor of the hopefulness and commitment to an end to racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, xenophobia and anti-Semitism. We seek inner healing and radical nonviolent transformation of our globalized capitalist society. We are the magazine of liberal and progressive Jews, but also of every religion or none (atheists welcomed)—a universalism of the Judaism we affirm leads us to embrace all humanity—and that is reflected in the wide diversity of our readers and authors. (Tikkun, 2011) Given the above, we consider the philosophy, vision, and mission of the NSP and Tikkun as exemplars par excellence of nonviolent interfaith solidarity jihad. These tenants of progressive Islam as I theorize (Duderija, 2018a, 2018b, 2018c) are also in harmony with the fundamental premises of process-relational, open-relational theology that I will discuss next. Since 2019, my interfaith solidarity jihad has been increasingly influenced by processes—relational and open theism-based theologies associated with the schol-arship of scholar-activists including John Cobb Jr, David Ray Griffin, Jay McDaniel, Patricia Adams Farmer, Bruce Epperly, Thomas Jay Oord, and Andrew M. Davis (Centre for Open & Relational Theology, 2022; Center for Process Studies, 2020b).1 On its main website the Centre for Process Thought (CPS) lists religion and interfaith dialogue as one of its areas of focus and describes its approach as follows: Process thought has had a significant impact in the area of theology, religion, and spirituality. From the work of theologians like John Cobb and Marjorie Suchocki, and the emergence of Process Theology (as well as Open-Relational Theology), the process worldview has inspired new formulations of the nature of God—including special attention to notions of power, love, and God’s relation to the world. As an organization committed to the promotion of the common good, CPS also has a long history as a leader in interreligious dialogue; understood as a practice toward mutual transformation and peace. (Centre for Process Studies, 2020a) This description is consistent with the definition of nonviolent interfaith solidarity jihad with its focus on interfaith-based commitment to solidarity, peace-making and the common good. ----- Taken from a recently published academic chapter as per this link- ---- A decades old patron of New Age Islam, Dr Adis Duderija is a Senior Lecturer in the Study of Islam and Society, School of Humanities, Languages and Social Science; Senior Fellow Centre for Interfaith and Intercultural Dialogue, Griffith University | Nathan | Queensland | Australia. His forthcoming books are ( co-edited)- Shame, Modesty, and Honor in Islam and Interfaith Engagement Beyond the Divide (Springer) URl: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Time: The New Physics and The Qur’an

By T.O. Shanavas, New Age Islam 27 December 2023 Human Beings Since The Beginning Of Civilization Have Pondered The Concept Of Time. The Unyielding Irreversibility Of The Passage Of Time Is Borne In Human Beings By The Certainty Of Death. Unlike Other Life Forms, We Know That Our Life Could End At Any Moment, And Even If We Attain All Our Earthly Expectations, Our Success Is Inevitably Followed By Eventual Decay And Death… ------ This enquiry focuses on the key role of time in reconciling the scientific theories regarding the universe and life with religious beliefs about divine creation. It suggests that a thorough exploration of the nature and characteristics of time could provide insights into how the gradual process of evolution of life and the narrative of divine creation might coexist or be understood in relation to each other. Time can be a bridging concept between the scientific and religious narratives of the time-lapsed origin and evolution of the universe and life. Human beings since the beginning of civilization have pondered the concept of time. The unyielding irreversibility of the passage of time is borne in human beings by the certainty of death. Unlike other life forms, we know that our life could end at any moment, and even if we attain all our earthly expectations, our success is inevitably followed by eventual decay and death. The notion of time in ancient civilizations was much different from that of today. People did not perceive time as a linear continuum that stretches into a continuous future. They pictured it as cyclical in nature and therefore believed that historical events also followed a cyclical pattern. Greek philosophers, including the Orphics, Pythagoreans, and Plato, held the view that people are reborn in the flow of time. They taught that our perception of one lifetime per human being is an illusion due to the loss of memory about past lives upon rebirth. Greek philosophers, such as Pythagoras and Empedocles, were said to be able to recollect their previous lives. Buddha also recollected all his previous lives. Hindus believe that people repeat cycles of birth and death until they break the succession through their vigorous ascetic performance. On observing repetitive earthly phenomena such as rotation of day and night or the four seasons, the ancients inferred that time and everything else, including human birth and death, is also cyclic. Pre-Islamic Arab pagans considered time a deity (ad-dahr) that exists from eternity to eternity and dispenses good and ill fortune to humankind. The monotheistic religions--Judaism, Christianity, and Islam--led the way to the concept of linear time. The chronology in the Jewish and Christian scriptures implies that the universe was created in 4,004 BC.1 The Muslim scripture does not reveal a specific time for its creation, even though Westerners hold that the Muslims also believe in a young universe. For example, Professor Stephen W. Hawking, one of the greatest minds of the twentieth century--hailed as an “equal of Einstein” by Time magazine--states: “According to a number of early cosmologies and the Jewish/Christian/Muslim tradition, the universe started at a finite and not very distant time in the past.”2 Hawking accurately reads the three monotheistic religions when he declares that the universe was created at a finite time, but he errs in assuming that the Muslim estimation of the age of the universe is the same as that held by the Jewish and Christian traditions. Muslims believe that the universe was created in a finite distant past, but they also believe that it will be destroyed sometime in the future. The agreement among the three monotheistic religions on the concept of resurrection, whereby humans live from eternity to eternity, is based on a linear rather than a cyclical chronology. The invention of the clock in the thirteenth century reinforced the notion of linear time. Since then, time has been broken down into units of hours, minutes, and seconds, and conceived of as something that progresses from the past to the future. Measuring time affected the lives of people of all faiths. For example, during the fourteenth century, workers in the cities set up specific times for the beginning and the close of a workday. Isaac Newton believed that he knew what time was. At the beginning of his Principia Mathematica, he wrote: Absolute, true and mathematical time, of itself, and from its nature, flows equably without relation to anything external.”3This was the dominant belief among scientists until the twentieth century. Today we know that Newton was mistaken on several grounds. Time is not absolute or universal but relative. As physicist Paul Davies observes: “Einstein demonstrated that time is in fact elastic and can be stretched and strung by motion. Each observer carries around his own personal scale of time, which does not agree with anybody else’s. Our individual perception of time does not appear distorted to us, but for observers who move in different time frames than ours, we seem to be out of step with their time.”4 The time between two events at two different locations is greater for the earthbound observer, but for space travellers moving at speed of the light would the events appear as happened at same time. The Theory of Relativity states that one day for a space traveller, depending on his velocity, can equal a few years or more for an earthbound person. This startling prediction of relativity can be illustrated by the following science fiction anecdote: A twenty-year-old astronaut takes a trip to a faraway star in a spacecraft that can fly close to the speed of light. His twin brother remains on the earth. After fifty years on earth, the earthbound twin goes to the spaceport to receive his astronaut brother. Both brothers are amazed and startled. The earthbound brother is aged fifty years. He now has grey hair and wrinkled skin. But the astronaut brother has aged only one year. The clock, the calendar, and the biological aging process on the spacecraft slowed down to one-fiftieth of its normal speed. The twins agree that the adventurous space traveller is now forty-nine years younger than his earthbound twin is!5 Carl Sagan, an eminent astrophysicist, comments on the twin paradox as such: “This is not an experience of our everyday life, but it is an experience of nuclear particles, which have clocks built into them (their decay time) when they travel close to the speed of light. Time dilation is a measured and authenticated reality of the universe in which we live.”6 The US Naval Observatory in Washington D.C. is responsible for maintaining our time standard. In 1972, a physicist evaluated the concept of time dilation by carrying along four cesium-beam atomic clocks during his round-the-world trip on a scheduled airline. These clocks could be trusted to a few billionths of a second over the time span of such a voyage. When compared with matching ones that remained in the observatory, the clocks lost time. The lost time agreed exactly with Einstein’s predictions.7 Until few years ago, scientists thought that protons and electrons were indivisible 'elementary particles,' but when the particles collided at high speeds, scientists discovered that they were made up of yet smaller units. In particle-physics laboratories, the time interval for short-living particles like muons to decay into electrons and neutrinos can be recorded. Experiments have shown that the faster muons take longer to die than the slow-moving ones. This is precisely what the special theory of relativity states. Based on such experiments, the twin paradox will not be a paradox at all when we are able to travel close to the speed of light. However, the theory of relativity also suggests that nothing can travel faster than light. According to the general theory of relativity, in a field of extremely high gravity, time will grind to a halt. Such high gravity exists in black holes and their peripheries. A black hole is formed when a dying star implodes or shrinks into itself under the relentless and unforgiving influence of gravity, becoming smaller and smaller until the entire star is crushed out of existence at a single point. Physicists refer to this point of extinction as a Singularity. At this singularity, the density of matter becomes infinite, and space-time is reduced to a mathematical point. During the shrinking process, the gravity around the imploding star becomes so strong that even the rays of light cannot escape. As a result, the star disappears from our vision as it vanishes from the universe, leaving behind what is called a black hole. The periphery of the black hole is called the event horizon. We have no way of knowing what occurs inside the event horizon.8 Theoretically, time would be frozen for a person in an extremely high gravitational field such as the event horizon, while events continue to unfold in time for the observer on the earth. The gravitational freezing of time could have interesting effects. Suppose, for example, that an astronaut started to sing the US national anthem while entering the event horizon of a black hole. According to the general theory of relativity, observers on Earth (and anywhere outside the event horizon) would perceive the astronaut as singing the first note of 'The Star-Spangled Banner' indefinitely, even after billions of years have passed. However, this prediction is flawed because time dilation would slow the sound vibrations to such an extent that observers outside the event horizon would no longer be able to hear the note.9 While time appears frozen for the astronaut, events would continue on Earth and elsewhere. The astronaut would be unable to leave the event horizon, as from his perspective, history outside has already advanced beyond his own space and time. He would be, in a sense, coming out before he went in. Similarly, according to the theory, two spatially separated events may be perceived differently by observers traveling at different speeds. One observer may claim Event A happened before Event B, another might assert Event B occurred first, while a third could argue that Events A and B happened simultaneously." The astronaut near a black hole’s Event Horizon elaborates on the theoretical implications of time dilation. It explains how these extraordinary gravitational effects would impact the perception of events, both for an astronaut near the event horizon and observers far from it. The passage also touches on the relative nature of event sequencing in different frames of reference, a fundamental aspect of relativity theory. The Qur’an and Time When the Qur’an was revealed fourteen hundred years ago, people did not measure time as we do today. They did not wear watches that divided the day into time units, because clocks had not yet been invented. Their lives were not regulated by hours and minutes in abstract time but by the natural rhythms of nature, such as the changes in the seasons and the position of the sun. A day was the shortest span of time that had meaning and importance in the lives of the early Muslims, although the length of a day varied. Work began at sunrise and ended at sunset. Before the invention of the modern clock, water clocks, sundials, and other devices divided the day into five variable periods to mark the time for mandatory prayers. The study of the Qur’an guides us to understand the concept of time among early Muslims. Muslims believe that God is timeless. For example, Muhammad Asad, a contemporary Muslim scholar, states: 'What men conceive as time has no meaning with respect to God because He is timeless, without beginning and without end, so that “in relation to Him a day and a thousand years are alike.”10 This Muslim belief is based upon the verses: “This is God, your Lord; there is no god but He, the creator of all things. So, pay homage to Him for He takes care of everything.” (Qur’an 6:102) “He begets not, nor has He been begotten.” (Qur’an 112:3) “Originator of the heavens and the earth...”(Qur’an 2:117) Time as a separately identifiable entity within the framework of the universe came into existence with the beginning of the universe. If God is the only entity that has no beginning, God exists without a clock that divides time into past, present, and future. Muslims posit that God sees, hears, and knows all things in a perpetual Now or timeless state . This conclusion is supported by the Qur’anic verse: “Verily a Day in the sight of thy Lord is like a thousand years of your Reckoning.” (Qur’an 22: 47) Therefore, the Qur’anic description of time and the Muslim concept of time are that time is relative." The human understanding of time in the Hereafter Universe (Al-Akhirah) also suggests a relative nature of time. The Qur’anic verses depict a paradox of the twin like the twin astronaut scenario described earlier. The person resurrected in Al-Akhirah feels that their earthly life and the time between death and resurrection have condensed into a moment. The Qur’an illustrates this concept with verses such as: - “The day these people see seems to them as though they had stayed (in the world or in the state of death) only for an afternoon of a day or its forenoon.” (Qur’an 79:46) - “On the Day when He shall gather them, it will seem to them as if they had not tarried longer than an hour of a day, knowing one another...” (Qur’an 10:45) - “On a Day when He will call you, and you will answer by praising Him, thinking all the while that you tarried but a little while.” (Qur’an 17:52) Upon resurrection, humans will perceive their lives on Earth as lasting only a day or part of a day, indicating a dissolution of the earthly concept of time. This is expressed in the verse: - “Then Allah will inquire from them, ‘for how many years did you live on earth?’ They will say, ‘We stayed there for a day or part of the day; but ask those who count time.’” (Qur’an 23:112-113) Like the astronaut twin, resurrected beings will feel that earthly time has shrunk to a moment known only to God. They will feel to exist in a state beyond conventional time-space relationship, challenging the very notion of expressing time in Hereafter Universe (Al-Akhirah). Thus, the Qur’anic portrayal of time presents the idea that time, as understood in the afterlife, transcends conventional measurements, aligning with the notion that time is relative and subjective, where each observer experiences time differently. Why Did God Create Time Relative? Why did God create time with the material universe? Why did He make time relative? In the construction of a rational universe for humankind, God knew the logical problems worldly existence would cause for His intelligent creature, the human being. The major logical problem is the appearance of a contradiction between attributes such as God’s Omnipotence and Omniscience, and His Will to create humans with the faculty to discriminate and choose either goodness or evil. For example, if God chooses to alter the future course of an event, do not His omniscience and omnipotence stand in the way of human free will? Omniscience is a tribute of God according to the Qur’an. For example, chapter 2:255 states: “God, there is no God but He, the Living, the Eternal Sustainer. Neither slumber takes Him, nor sleep. His is what is in the heavens and what is on the earth. He knows what lies before them and what is behind them. And they grasp naughty His knowledge, but of what He wills. His Throne embraces the heavens and the earth, and it tires Him not to uphold them both. He is the Sublime, the Grand.” The verses like this and many more suggest that God always knows all things. Hence, atheists and logicians may argue that God’s knowledge, being absolute, cannot go wrong. He knew what Timothy McVeigh was going to bomb Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995, even before he was created. In short, they posit that God “programmed” Timothy McVeigh to kill innocent Americans in Oklahoma City. They argue that McVeigh and other evildoers cannot be considered guilty of any sin because they are only pre-programmed machines. Because All-knowing God anticipated these logical problems for humans, He created time as a factor in our universe. He made time relative for all earthly creatures, including humankind; but all events in all time-frames, from the beginning of Creation to the end of the current universe are current events as far as God is concerned. Jewish physicist-theologian Gerald L. Schroeder clarifies the above scenario using the true story of a star that exploded, producing a sudden burst of light 170,000 light years from the earth. Astronomers call such a sudden burst of light from an exploding star a supernova. The world came to know about the supernova when a Chilean astronomical laboratory recorded the arrival of the light on earth after 170,000 light years of travel. Between the time of the supernova and the arrival of light from it, a multitude of events occurred. Neanderthals came and went; we, modern Homo Sapiens, took control of the earth; Indus valley, Maya, Greek, Roman, and other civilizations peaked and vanished; the Qur’an was revealed; Muslims developed the scientific method and trained European scientists, ending the Dark Ages and engendering the Renaissance; the Muslim empire crumbled; and the United States of America took the leadership of the world--all before the arrival of the light from the supernova on earth. Schroeder describes an imaginary consciousness without mass that travels with the light from the supernova. Let us assume also that our super consciousness carries an internal clock with no mass as its companion. How long of a time would this super consciousness have experienced? How many ticks would the super-consciousness’s clock have made? Schroeder answers: “No time would have passed. Not a few years, not a few hours, or a few seconds. Zero time.”11 In this scenario there is no lapse of time for the super-consciousness, in spite of 170,000 years of recorded history. An analogous situation of Perpetual Now or Present exists in an environment with extremely high gravity, as in the case of a black hole. The 170,000 years of the earth, its epics, individual events, Timothy McVeigh and his atrocious bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building as well as your and my life histories are experienced simultaneously by the super-consciousness. The super-consciousness would reject our claim that there is a history as well as a past and future series of events on earth. He would say that he sees everything that the primitive twenty-first-century human described as the past and the future. All happened in no time in his frame of reference. There is no post- or pre-knowledge for the super-consciousness, only omniscience, because all knowledge occurred at the same time. Physicist Gerald L. Schroeder freely admits, “I don’t pretend to understand how tomorrow and next year can exist simultaneously with today and yesterday. But at the speed of the light, they actually rigorously do. Time does not pass.”12 If gravity, speed, black holes, and other material factors can affect and freeze time, is it conceivable for human beings to perceive the timeless world of God, who created the universe and time from nothing with His Enormous Infinite Power? A reasonable person would not deny the absence of time in the presence of God, the source of all forces of the material world. Accordingly, Islamic theology describes a perpetual Now that pervades in the spiritual domain of God, a state of being/consciousness that is more accurate than the “now” of our super-consciousness. Allah experiences all events of the material world in a perpetual Now without the linear flow of time that pervades the material world. God eternally knows all events as well as all their potential directions, deviations, and modifications occurring in the time-frame of the material world. Until we fully understand physics’ mathematical mystery of a concurrent yesterday, today, tomorrow, and next year, existing together at the speed of light as described by Schroeder, the coexistence of human free will and omniscience of God will remain incomprehensible because humankind has no experience of timeless existence. According to the theory of relativity, nothing can travel faster than light; the theory negates any physical communication at a speed faster than light. This limitation in communication between two points is irrelevant from the Qur’anic point of view. The Qur’an states: “To God belong the East and the West. Wherever you turn the glory [face] of God is everywhere: All-pervading is He and all-knowing” (Qur’an 2:115). 40 God, being “All-pervading,” is present at all points and at all events. He is present in every frame of reference, whether on the earth, in the light from a supernova, in black holes, or in the time-frame of the astronaut of the twin paradox. God extends His presence even to our subconscious mind, as made clear in the verse “Whether you loudly avow the utterance (or not), surely, He knows the secret and what is concealed behind that. (Qur’an 20:7)41 God’s pervading presence in all frames of reference implies instant communication at any point we can imagine. When God comes through a particular frame of reference--for example, the earth--human beings experiences that He is communicating in our local time. Based on the physical characteristics of time, the harmony of the Quranic narrative of creation with the theory of evolution can be depicted in this figure. It highlights the integration of the perspective of an earth-bound scientist who perceives the creation of the entire body of life as a process spanning billions of years with the creation. A decree from the timeless reign is appears as events happened over billions of years for a bound. A diagram of a graph/Description automatically generated ---- Notes 1. Morris, Richard. Time’s Arrows. New Yorks: Simon and Schuster, Inc. 1986. Page 66-67 2. Hawking, Stephen W. A Brief History of Time. New York: Bantam Books. 1988. Page. 7. 3, Morris, Richard. Time’s Arrows, p. 27., In. 4. Davies, Paul. God and the New Physics, Simon and Schusterp. 1990. Page 120. 5. March, Robert H. Physics for Poets, Chicago: Contemporary Books, 1978. Page. 124. 6. Sagan, Carl. Cosmic Connections, p. 246. 7. March, Robert H. Physics for Poets, p. 125. 8. Morris, Richard. Time’s Arrows, p. 66-67. 9. Ibid. 180-181 10. Asad, Muhammad. The Message of the Qur’an. Gibralter; Dar Al Andalus. 1980. Page . 513. 11. Schroeder, Gerald L. The Science of God:: the Convergence of Scientific Biblical Wisdom. New York: Free Press. Page. 164. 12. bid. p. 164 ---- T.O. Shanavas is a native of Kerala, but is now based in the USA. He is the author of “Islamic Theory of Evolution The Missing Link Between Darwin and The Origin of Species.” Co-author of the book, And God Said, "Let There Be Evolution!": Reconciling The Book Of Genesis, The Qur'an, And The Theory Of Evolution. Edited by Prof. Charles M. Wynn and Prof. Arthur W. Wiggins. URl: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Growing Incidents Of Violence Among Muslims Of Rural Bengal

By New Age Islam Staff Writer 27 December 2023 Lack Of Islamic Education And Culture The Main Reason Behind The UnIslamic Way Of Life Of Rural Muslims Of Bengal Main Points: 1. In March 2022, 8 members of a family in rural Bengal were burnt alive due to political rivalry. 2. On December 22, 2023, a court sentenced 12 TMC workers for life for killing a CPM worker Humayun Mir. 3. On 22 December, a TMC worker Shaikh Mateen was killed by two Muslims due to political rivalry. 4. On February 5, TMC workers Newton Sheikh and Laltu Shaikh were killed due to political rivalry. 5. Muslims of rural Bengal are aggressive and hot-headed. 6. Only 3.6 per cent Muslims in villages have completed secondary education. 7. Only 1.7 per cent Muslims in villages are graduates. ------ The outrage over a cartoon has resulted in violence in Baduria, Basirhat and Tentuliya towns ----- On December 22, 2023, two news reports in West Bengal indicated a disturbing trend in the Muslim society of West Bengal. A court in West Bengal sentenced 12 TMC workers to life imprisonment for killing a CPM worker Humayun Mir in Rampurhat in Birbhum district. Mir was killed after the results of the Panchayat elections of 2013 came out. On the same day --- December 22, 2023, a TMC worker named Shaikh Mateen was killed by two Muslims reportedly associated with the BJP following some dispute. On February 5, 2023, two TMC workers Newton Shaikh and Laltu Shaikh were killed by unknown assailants. On 21 March 2022, one of the worst cases of massacre and arson took place in a village named Bugtoi, about 250 kilometres from Kolkata in West Bengal. Ten people including a 7 year old girl were burnt alive after the deputy Pradhan Bhadu Sheikh was killed by unknown persons. The family of Mahilal Sheikh were killed in retaliation. One year ago, Bhadu Shaikh 's brother was also killed. The accused in the massacre was Anarul Hussain, who was a TMC leader of the area and wields political clout. The massacre was said to be a fall out of political and business rivalry. These are only some of the incidents of violence and bloodshed among the Muslims of the rural areas of West Bengal. Most of the killings of Muslims by Muslims are the fall out of political differences and rivalry. Birbhum is the district where most of the political violence takes place among the Muslims. It is to be noted that Birbhum has 37 per cent Muslim population while 67 per cent are Hindus. In rural Bengal, both the Hindus and Muslims are Bengali speaking. People of both the communities earn their livelihood through agriculture, domestic industries or are daily wage earners. If unemployment, poverty and hardship was the reason behind the violence and bloodshed, then more incidents of bloodshed and violence would be reported from.the Hindu community of rural Bengal. But it seems that there are other reasons behind the violent behaviour of rural Muslims of West Bengal. The Muslims of rural areas of Bengal are Bengali speaking. Therefore, they are cut off from the Urdu speaking Muslim community living in urban areas. The rural Muslims send their children to the Bengali medium government schools. Since there are very few madrasas in rural areas, the children from the Bengali speaking families do not get religious education and lack the knowledge of Islamic culture. In urban areas, children from Urdu speaking families study in Urdu medium schools and simultaneously acquire religious education either at home or in local madrasas. Due to the poverty and unemployment, many children in rural Bengal can't study in schools or don’t pass school final examinations. The population of the Muslims in the villages in West Bengal is 37 per cent but unemployment and illiteracy rate is high among the Muslims of the village. The village falls under Birbhum district in which the famous Visva-Bharati University. The population of the Muslims in West Bengal is 30 per cent but 80 per cent of the Muslims live in rural areas. Literacy in rural Muslim community is lower than in cities and towns. In rural areas literacy rate in Muslims is lower than that of the Scheduled Castes, a fact mentioned in Sachar Committee report. In rural areas, only 3.6 per cent have completed secondary education as compared to 4 per cent among the Scheduled Castes. Only 1.3 per cent Muslims are graduates as compared to 1.7 among Scheduled Castes. Birbhum district is an economically and industrially backward district in West Bengal. Opportunities for employment and livelihood are scant and so the Muslim community is steeped in poverty. Due to poverty, the parents can not support the studies of their children. Many drop out after primary level. Even where madrasas and mosques exist in some villages, there is a lack of Islamic education in the village. The imams of the mosques do not have any influence in the village as their job is limited to leading the prayer. There is no reform work among the Muslims. Dirty politics is what most of them are involved in. The lack of religious or secular education is not the problem of one village. It is the general phenomenon of the rural Muslim community of West Bengal. Due to poverty, the Muslim children can not go for higher studies and are compelled to work as hawkers or labourers. Since, most of the Muslims in Bengal villages are Bengali speaking, they are not aware of Islamic teachings due to unavailability of Islamic books in Bengali. Bankura is another backward district of West Bengal where the Bengali speaking Hindus form the majority. But reports of violence and bloodshed do not come from the district very often. This indicates that the Muslims in villages of West Bengal are hot headed and inclined towards violence. The villages of West Bengal have Hindu population in majority and there is also political and business rivalry among them but they do not fight among themselves or kill one another as much as the Muslims do. They are more educated than the Muslims and know about the repercussions of violence. For Bengalis, violence is the last thing they will resort to but the Muslims in villages are ever ready to resort to violence giving little thought to what the results may be.. During the last days of the Left rule, it was the Bengali Muslims of Medinipur and other districts who had been involved in political violence against the Left Front government and most of the people killed in the anti-Left violence were rural Muslims. The root of the problem lies in the fact that all the work of educational and religious reform of the Muslims are based in towns and cities of West Bengal where Urdu speaking Muslims are in better condition both in terms of education and livelihood. Since the majority of Muslims in rural areas are Bengali speaking Muslims, they are cut off from the educational and religious movements of the state carried out by Urdu speaking Muslims. Very few Bengali speaking educationists are working among Bengali speaking Muslims. Therefore, the educationists, reformers, social workers and intellectuals of West Bengal, particularly Bengali-Muslim intellectuals of the state should take the issue seriously and speed up reform among the Muslims of rural Bengal. URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Dinosaur Eggs As Deities!

By Sumit Paul, New Age Islam 27 December 2023 In Madhya Pradesh's Dhar, the Mandaloi family has been worshipping palm-sized "stone balls" for generations. A resident of the Padlya Village, 41-year-old Vesta Mandaloi was following in his forefathers' footsteps, worshipping these balls as "Kakar Bhairav" — or lord of the land. As per a Times Of India report, Vesta and his family believed that the stone balls were a 'Kuldevta' or a totem that would protect their farmland and cattle from problems and misfortunes. Like the Mandaloi family, others in Dhar and in adjoining areas too had similar totems they worshipped for protection. Photo: The Times of India ------ However, a team of researchers revealed that these balls turned out to be something else. Experts from Lucknow's Sahni Institute of Palaeosciences during a field visit determined that these stone ball totems were actually dinosaur eggs from a bygone era. After an analysis, they came to the conclusion that these balls were fossilised eggs of the Titanosaurs species of dinosaurs. This is how faith works and the mind plays tricks. This is the basis of humans' faith in a fictional god and all sorts of inane religious practices. Fashionable votaries of idol worship, Amish Tripathi and his sister Bhavna Roy, must read this. These dinosaur eggs were deities for the villagers for centuries. After becoming 'deities', those eggs started 'protecting' the people and cattle of the village! Without criticising these rustic people or even 'educated' ones who believe in all sorts of rubbish prevalent not just in Hinduism but in all faiths, I must say that it's our uncritical and sheepish belief in all esoteric objects and totems that yields ' results.' This is the basic psychology that works in faith healing. There's actually nothing beyond what we see, experience and discern. Sigmund Freud called it, ' Superimposition of Belief. ' Humans superimpose their beliefs on an object and start believing in the transformation of that thing and simultaneous transformation of their own lot. Eventually, they (humans) fall into the pits of their own beliefs and succumb to their (own) collective lies. Religious faith is a viciously circular process in which one comes back to the same point from where the 'lie/s' originated. Faith is a deceptive business. Religion is a humongous lie and god is an illusion. We love to live in an illusory world. That's why, we don't want to question and break our myths. The simple villagers who had been worshipping those dinosaur eggs as deities are still not disillusioned, but sad because you're disillusioned only when you've a semblance of sense. These people, including all faithfuls, are sad because of the detonation of a comfortable myth, which had been providing a psychological basis for their survival, sustenance and mere existence. In fact, many of us know in their heart of hearts that what they believe in is actually bullshit but they continue to believe because they begin to feel at home with their preposterous beliefs and ramshackle myths. How will we survive without our religious myths, prehistoric totems and silly beliefs is a profoundly existential issue for most of the humans. They, therefore, continue to believe in this and that god, a shapeless stone, an idol, an imaginary god or Allah in a far away universe. Didn't former British PM, Benjamin Disraeli aptly say, " Who has deceived thee as often as thyself ? " ----- A regular columnist for New Age Islam, Sumit Paul is a researcher in comparative religions, with special reference to Islam. He has contributed articles to the world's premier publications in several languages including Persian. URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Tuesday, December 26, 2023

New Peace Plan Prepared by Qatar and Egypt Seeks to Eradicate Hamas from Gaza Diplomatically

By New Age Islam Staff Writer 26 December 2023 Israel Will Withdraw from Gaza and Hamas-PNA Will Share Government in Gaza Main Points: 1. The plan is in its initial stage. 2. It will be discussed by Israel's war cabinet. 3. Hamas and Israel will abide by a month-long ceasefire to exchange captives and prisoners. 4. The two parties will then jointly appoint a government in Gaza. 5. The deal will go through in three phases in a month's time. ------ A demonstrator holds a placard with a painting of the Palestinian flag and a peace symbol during a demonstration on July 17, 2014 in Madrid, Spain. ----- The Mossad, CIA, Qatar's Prime Minister and Hamas' top leadership had been holding negotiations for a truce between Israel and Hamas for about two weeks and it was obvious that the negotiations were beyond mere prisoner swap. The seven-day truce during the last week of November provided some respite to the besieged people of Gaza and to the relatives of Israeli captives but did not provide any lasting solution to the people on both sides because of the adamant posturing by Netanyahu who is in a confused state of mind. His obstinacy resulted in the killing of some Israeli captives by IDF. At the end of the 7-day ceasefire, Mossad and CIA joined the negotiations and surprisingly, the ceasefire came to an abrupt end, leaving the rest of the Israeli captives left in the lurch. Both Hamas and the US blamed each other for the end of the ceasefire. It gave the hint that Israel and US had included other points apart from prisoner release in the agenda of the negotiations. Now the actual purpose of the negotiations has come to light. According to Al Jazeera and Times of Israel, Egypt and Qatar have prepared a comprehensive plan for a lasting peace in Gaza. If agreed upon, the peace plan will be executed in three phases extending over a month's ceasefire. In the first phase, Israel and Hamas will release hostages and prisoners during a 7-to-10-day truce. In the 2nd phase, Hamas will release female soldiers in exchange for more Palestinian prisoners during a week. In the third truce of over a month, Hamas will release Israeli soldiers in exchange for the rest of Palestinian prisoners. During this period, Israel will withdraw from Gaza and go to the pre-7 October position. Hamas and rival Palestinian Authority controlled by Fatah will jointly run a government until elections are held in Gaza. Netanyahu's war cabinet is supposed to discuss the proposal. The war cabinet is under pressure to get the release of 129 captives. Israel's problem does not end with the release of 129 captives. More than 50,000 people from border towns of Sderot, Ashkelon, Kiryat Shmona etc have been taking shelter in temporary camps and guest houses. As Israel is at war and its towns have been regularly attacked by Hamas and Hezbollah, economic activities have come to a standstill. Due to the economic losses, the Netanyahu government has decided to shut down ten ministries to minimise expenses. The displaced Israelis cannot return to their homes as long as hostilities continue. Netanyahu, therefore, wanted to 'eradicate' Hamas to ensure the safety of illegal settlers of border towns. He had thought that if the Hamas is eliminated, all will be hunky dory in border towns. He had also planned to drive all the people of Gaza to a desert town of Al Mawasi spreading over 4 kilometres and capture the entire Gaza to explore natural gas and construct the ambitious Ben Gurion canal through Gaza. But all this was easier said than done. Israeli forces could not dismantle Hamas, nor could it rescue a single captive from Hamas captivity. Netanyahu, then wanted another 'cessation of hostilities' to seek the release of the remaining 129 captives with Hamas and then continue the massacre of Gaza people. But Hamas was once bitten twice shy. This time, it said it was not interested in a temporary truce. It will only agree to release Israeli civilians if Israel agreed to stop its offensive permanently. Though Netanyahu assumed a tough posture, in reality he had no other options. Withdrawing Golani Brigade from Gaza was the first indication that Netanyahu was contemplating a ceasefire. The decreasing number of casualties in Gaza strip was another indicator that he was inching towards a compromise. Though the new peace plan has been presented as prepared by Egypt and Qatar, it looks like a plan prepared by Mossad and CIA. The plan envisages to extend the authority of its puppet Palestinian Authority led by Mahmoud Abbas to Gaza. Though initially, the government will jointly be run by Hamas and Palestinian Authority representing Fatah popular in West Bank but gradually, Fatah will be strengthened in Gaza and Hamas will be sidelined. Fatah will be made to win in the next elections and Hamas will be pitched against Fatah. Therefore, after failing to physically eliminating Hamas by bombarding Gaza for two months and killing more than 20 thousand innocent people, Israel and America plan to weaken it politically and diplomatically. Any government in Gaza that is run by Mahmoud Abbas will be a weak government giving Israeli army authority to interfere in the law and order of Gaza as it has in West Bank. Mahmoud Abbas remains a helpless spectator of killing and abduction of Palestinians of West Bank. If he is made the head of a government in Gaza strip, he will not be able to prevent persecution of Gaza people by Israeli forces and illegal settlers. The people of Gaza will regularly be killed, abducted and harassed and made to live the life of a ghetto. Therefore, given the tough posture adopted by Hamas, Netanyahu may be compelled to agree to Hamas ' condition of a ceasefire and withdrawal of IDF from Gaza. Netanyahu has destroyed not only Gaza but Israel's economy except Hamas. Secondly, this war has brought Israel's atrocities in Palestine to light and to the centre stage of world politics. Now, Israel can no longer play the victim card. Netanyahu has no option but to agree to a ceasefire and the withdrawal of its forces from Gaza. URl: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism