Saturday, July 13, 2024

How Did Islam Abolish Slavery?

By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi, New Age Islam 13 July 2024 Islam Abolished Slavery Through a Multifaceted Approach That Encompassed Religious Teachings, Social Reforms, And Ethical Principles. Islamic Teachings Emphasize the Importance Of Treating All Individuals With Dignity And Respect, Regardless Of Their Social Status. The Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) And His Companions (Sahaba) Set A Powerful Example By Freeing Numerous Slaves And Promoting Their Rights Within Society. Additionally, Islamic Jurisprudence Introduced Specific Guidelines For The Humane Treatment Of Slaves, Such As Encouraging Their Manumission As A Form Of Atonement For Certain Sins And Advocating For Fair Labour Practices. Main Points: 1. Prevalence of Slavery in Pre-Islamic Arabia 2. Slavery Status and Treatment in Pre-Islamic Arabia 3. Islam's Approach to Slavery Abolishing: Islam took a gradual approach towards emancipating slaves. 4. The Quran emphasizes treating slaves with kindness and fairness, freeing of slaves, encouraging slave owners to liberate their slaves willingly or by allowing a third party to purchase and release them from servitude. 5. The Quran 39:29 refers to both master and slave, highlighting equality. 6. Slave's legal status differs from free, with half the punishment for crimes. 7. Muslims interpret the Quran as gradually phasing out slavery, emphasizing freeing slaves and treating them with kindness and respect. 8. The credit for the proper abolition of slavery goes to Islam, demonstrating how compassion and justice can triumph over oppression and exploitation. ----- Slavery was a common practice in pre-Islamic Arabia and surrounding lands, playing a significant role in the economic, social, and political structures of the time. Slave labour was essential for various industries such as agriculture, construction, and domestic service. Slaves were considered property, with their owners having complete control over their lives. Islam, like many other civilizations, also grappled with the institution of slavery. However, unlike other civilizations, Islam took significant steps towards abolishing slavery in a humane and systematic manner. The prevalence of slavery in pre-Islamic Arabia can be traced back to the region's tribal society, where warfare, raids, and conquests were common. Captured enemy combatants and civilians were often enslaved as spoils of war. Additionally, debt bondage was another means through which individuals became slaves, as people would sell themselves or family members into slavery to repay debts. The status of slaves in pre-Islamic Arabia was one of extreme subjugation and exploitation. They had no rights and were subject to the whims of their owners. Slaves could be bought, sold, gifted, or inherited like any other commodity. Physical abuse and mistreatment of slaves were not uncommon, as they were seen as inferior beings without dignity or worth. Despite the harsh conditions faced by slaves, there were instances where they could earn their freedom through various means such as fulfilling their obligations, or being granted manumission by their owners. However, freedom did not necessarily guarantee social acceptance or equality, as former slaves often faced discrimination and marginalization in society. ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Also Read: Dr Morrow’s Research on Islam and Slavery Dispels the Myth That Islam Supports Slavery ------------------------------------------------------------------------ The practice of slavery continued even after the advent of Islam in the region. However, Islamic teachings sought to improve the treatment of slaves and gradually abolish the institution altogether. Islam encouraged the humane treatment of slaves, advocating for their rights and emphasizing the importance of freeing them as an act of benevolence and atonement for sins. We wonder, first of all, why Islam did not abolish slavery right away. One of the main challenges Islam faced in abolishing slavery was the fact that it was deeply entrenched in the economy of the time. Slaves were an essential part of the labour force, and their labour contributed significantly to the wealth of many powerful individuals and societies. Additionally, the sudden abolition of slavery would have led to economic upheaval and social unrest. Islam, recognizing the complexities of the situation, took a gradual approach towards abolishing slavery. Instead of outright banning slavery, Islam encouraged the emancipation of slaves through various means. One of the ways in which Islam promoted the release of slaves was by providing rewards for those who freed slaves. This incentivized people to free their slaves and helped facilitate the process of emancipation. One of the key principles emphasized in the Quran in relation to slavery is the importance of treating slaves with kindness and fairness. In Surah An-Nisa (4:36), it states, "Worship Allah and associate nothing with Him, and to parents do good, and to relatives, orphans, the needy, the near neighbour, the neighbour farther away, the companion at your side, the traveller, and those whom your right hands possess." This verse highlights the need for benevolent treatment of slaves, encouraging Muslims to extend kindness and compassion towards them. One of the key principles found in the Quran is the call for the manumission, or freeing, of slaves. This is emphasized in various verses, highlighting the importance of freeing those who are enslaved. This act of generosity and compassion is seen as a way to right a wrong and to provide those who are enslaved with the opportunity to live freely and independently. In Surah Al-Baqarah (2:177), it states, "Righteousness is not that you turn your faces toward the east or the west, but [true] righteousness is [in] one who believes in Allah, the Last Day, the angels, the Book, and the prophets and gives wealth, in spite of love for it, to relatives, orphans, the needy, the traveller, those who ask [for help], and for freeing slaves." This verse underscores the importance of freeing slaves as a means of expressing piety and righteousness. The Quran emphasizes the importance of abolishing slavery through various means. One way it suggests this should be done is by encouraging slave owners to liberate their slaves willingly or by allowing a third party to purchase and release them from servitude [The Quran, 4:92]. This act of manumission is viewed as a noble gesture in the Quran, serving as a form of benevolence and a way of seeking forgiveness for one's transgressions [2:177]. For a more detailed approach, Quran 24:33 introduces a contractual arrangement where slaves are given the opportunity to buy their freedom in incremental payments. Furthermore, the Quran promotes a sense of communal responsibility by urging believers to assist slaves in fulfilling these manumission contracts. This ethos of collective support is further reinforced by highlighting the use of zakat, one of the five pillars of Islam, to provide financial aid for the emancipation of slaves [9:60]. In various verses within the Quran, such as verse 4:92, there is a notable emphasis on the act of freeing a slave as atonement, portraying it as a significant element of spiritual redemption. This notion is further reiterated in verse 5:90, where freeing a slave is specifically highlighted as an effective form of expiation for breaking an oath, emphasizing the pivotal role this action plays in seeking forgiveness and rectifying one's commitments. Moreover, in the comprehensive discussion found in verses 90:8-18, the Quran goes even further to assert that freeing the enslaved is the higher path, emphasizing the moral and ethical significance of liberating individuals from enslavement. These distinct verses collectively underscore the Quran's profound advocacy for the liberation of human beings from physical bondage, positioning it as a paramount act within the framework of fulfilling religious duties, seeking repentance for transgressions, and attaining divine favour. In addition to calling for the freedom of slaves, the Quran also prescribes kindness towards them. Slaves are to be treated with respect and dignity, and mistreatment or abuse of any kind is prohibited. This emphasis on treating slaves well underscores the importance of recognizing the humanity and worth of all individuals, regardless of their social status. In Surah Al-Baqarah (2:221), it states, "And they who break their contracts after their confirmation and cut that which Allah has ordered to be joined and cause corruption on earth. It is those who are the losers." This verse condemns the mistreatment of slaves and underscores the importance of upholding contractual agreements and preserving social order. The Quran contains several verses aimed at regulating slavery and mitigating its negative impact. These verses emphasize the importance of treating slaves with kindness and fairness, encouraging their liberation as a virtuous act, and providing guidelines for their just treatment. According to the Quran, slaves are promised eternal life in the Hereafter and are recognised as morally and spiritually equivalent to free people. Quran 4:25 powerfully illustrates this equality by stating that "the one of you is as the other" (Ba'dukum Min Ba'din), drawing a parallel between free people and slaves Similarly, the Quran 39:29 employs the same term to refer to both master and slave, highlighting this fundamental equality. Despite this recognition, the legal status of slaves differs from that of the free; slaves are considered minors under the care of their owners. As a result, the consequences for crimes committed by slaves are distinguishable, with half the punishment applied compared to that for free persons. This legal distinction, although present, is perceived as part of the divine order and an expression of God's grace in the Quranic perspective. Many Muslim exegetes and scholars have interpreted the Quran as gradually phasing out slavery, emphasizing the importance of freeing slaves and treating them with kindness and respect. This reflects an evolving understanding of the principles of justice and compassion that are central to Islam, and highlights the ongoing efforts to address and rectify the injustices of the past. Furthermore, Islam implemented laws and regulations that limited the practice of slavery and protected the rights of slaves. One such law was the prohibition of enslaving free people, ensuring that no individual could be unjustly enslaved. This law played a crucial role in preventing the further perpetuation of slavery and laying the groundwork for its eventual abolition. Over time, Islam succeeded in eradicating slavery from its societies, setting an example for the rest of the world to follow. The Islamic approach to abolishing slavery was lauded for its compassion and pragmatism, and other civilizations began to adopt similar strategies in their efforts to end slavery. In conclusion, the credit for the proper abolition of slavery goes to Islam. By encouraging the emancipation of slaves, providing incentives for their release, and implementing laws to protect the rights of slaves, Islam was able to abolish slavery in a humane and systematic manner. The world has since followed suit, adopting the Islamic way as a model for ending the abhorrent practice of slavery. Islam's approach to abolishing slavery serves as a shining example of how compassion and justice can triumph over oppression and exploitation. ----- A regular Columnist with, Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi Dehlvi is a Classical Islamic scholar with a rich Sufi Madrasa background and expertise in English-Arabic-Urdu translation. Throughout his career, he has emerged as a prominent figure in the realm of Islamic scholarship, consistently contributing valuable insights and analysis on a wide range of crucial topics. Through his regular writings, he has delved into multifaceted subjects, including but not limited to deradicalization strategies, the promotion of moderation within Islamic teachings, counter-terrorism efforts, and the vital mission of combating Islamophobia. Moreover, he extensively addresses the urgent need to challenge radical ideologies through well-reasoned arguments and scholarly discourse. Beyond these critical issues, his work also encompasses in-depth discussions on human rights principles, the significance of safeguarding religious rights, and the profound exploration of Islamic mysticism. URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Pakistan Has Sunk Deep into The Mire of Economic Crisis Due to Extremism

By New Age Islam Staff Writer 13 July 2024 Poor Quality of Education and Low Literacy Rate Have Resulted in Extremism Main Points: 1. Extremism and vigilantism in Pakistan have scared away investors. 1. 2.Pakistan has incurred loss of $123 billion thanks to extremism and terrorism in the last one decade. 2. Pakistani politicians wrongly believe extremism to be a tool of security and diplomacy. ------- ASP Syeda Shehrbano Naqvi (left) and an image of the design that sparked the incident. — ScreengrabX/@OfficialDPRPP/@TahirAshrafi/File ------ Pakistan is going through the most severe economic crisis of its history. To wriggle itself out of this crisis, it has been seeking a bailout package of one or two billion dollars from the IMF but ironically, Pakistan has incurred a direct or indirect loss of $123.13 bn due to extremism and vigilantism during the last one decade. It speaks volumes about the damage extremism and terrorism has done to Pakistan's economy in the last ten to fifteen years. If Pakistan's successive governments had curbed the menace of religious vigilantism and extremism, the country would have prospered and flourished with $123 billion in its external reserves instead of begging for one or two bn dollars from the IMF that will not help it much because Pakistan needs to borrow more money to repay its debts. Pakistan has exhausted all its resources and has nowhere to turn to for financial help. China and Saudi Arabia, Pakistan's traditional friends have refused to help it further. The economic condition of Pakistan has come to this passé due to ever growing malady of extremism, terrorism and vigilantism. The erroneous interpretation of blasphemy and the flawed blasphemy laws have contributed to the rise of violence in the name of protecting the honour of the prophet, the Quran and Islam. The flawed blasphemy laws of Pakistan provide for death penalty to the convict but does not provide for punishment to those who make false allegations of blasphemy or take law into their own hands. As a result, incidents of mob lynching of blasphemy accused have seen a rise in recent years. In 2021, a Sri Lankan factory manager in Sialkot was lynched for alleged blasphemy. In 2023, Christian houses and churches were burnt and destroyed by mobs in Jaranwala for alleged blasphemy. In 2024, a mob attacked the house and factory of a Christian in Sargodha for allegedly desecrating the Quran. One man of his family was killed while other members of his family were removed to a safer place. Hundreds of Christian families of Sargodha have fled the area. These are some of the incidents of mob violence. Similar incidents of mob violence have occurred in Pakistan in the last two decades. This growing curse of extremism and vigilantism has not only affected non-Muslims but also Muslims who too fall into the definition of blasphemy according to some modern Islamic scholars of Pakistan. Muslims keep accusing the common Muslims or even ulema of the opposite sect of blasphemy and a number of Muslims have been killed extra judicially for blasphemy. Some ulema of Pakistan have propagated the belief that a Muslim should kill an accused of blasphemy. A renowned Islamic scholar of Pakistan, Mufti Tarique Masood recently retracted his fatwa exhorting Muslims to kill those who insult the prophet. In his new fatwa, he said that the case of blasphemy should only be decided in a court of law. But unfortunately, he retracted his fatwa after five years when many Muslim fanatics would have acted on his fatwa. Low literacy and poor quality of education has exacerbated the problem of extremism. People lynch Muslims and non-Muslims alike on mere suspicion of blasphemy due to their illiteracy. Two months ago, a Muslim lady wearing an Arabic calligraphy dress was suspected of blasphemy and was surrounded by an illiterate mob who insisted that the Arabic word printed on her dress was a word from the Quran. She was rescued by a lady police officer. But the man in Warbartan was not so lucky. He was going through a phase of depression and was accused of desecrating the Quran. The mob dragged him out of the police station, beat him to death and finally set him on fire. Another Muslim man named Md Sulaiman was accused of desecrating the Quran in Swat. He too was dragged out of the police station and burnt to death. These incidents of mob justice have scared the investors away from Pakistan causing a huge loss to its economy. Even Muslim investors who want to invest in Pakistan fear for the life and safety of their family, particularly women. They might be lynched in the street for wearing a dress with an Arabic calligraphy or killed for alleged desecration of the Quran. The worse, Pakistan's government or politicians or even religious scholars have not woken up to this crisis. The government does not have the courage to reform blasphemy laws for the fear of backlash from the clergy and religious organisations. They do not allow the government to include punishment for those involved in mob lynching on allegation of blasphemy and for those making false allegations. The country is paying a heavy price for this widespread trend of mob lynching and vigilantism. China has taken advantage of this crisis and has made huge investments in Pakistan as other countries do not want to take risks by investing in Pakistan. It provides security to its own nationals and also puts pressure on Pakistan's government to provide security to its nationals. Recently, Pakistan launched operation Azm-e-Istehkam under threat from China. In short, religious fanaticism and mobocracy in Pakistan has become a big hurdle in the path of Pakistan's progress. It will have to reign in religious extremism and vigilantism to come out of this economic crisis. ----- The Price of Extremism By Husain Haqqani March 14, 2024 After a flurry of praise for the police officer who saved her life, most Pakistanis seem to have forgotten the incident in Lahore involving the woman who was accused of blasphemy for wearing a dress with Arabic calligraphy. That a woman was almost lynched for wearing clothes that an illiterate crowd mistook for religious text highlights Pakistan’s extremism problem. Dismissing events like this incident as outliers or choosing to ignore them will not prevent them from occurring again. In December 2021, the Sri Lankan manager of a factory in Sialkot was beaten to death and set ablaze by a mob over allegations of blasphemy that turned out to be spurious. The woman in Lahore with the dress bearing Arabic language words was lucky that she escaped a similar fate. The dress worn by the woman in question bore the word ‘Halwa’ in Arabic script. The word means beautiful in Arabic, and it is not uncommon in the Muslim world for Arabic calligraphy to be used to adorn dresses, buildings, and much more. But the irrational environment in Pakistan over religious matters, especially allegations of blasphemy, put the woman’s life at risk. The international publicity over the incident ensured that everyone around the world who might be thinking of doing business with Pakistan had to think about facing similar risks. Nations pay a hefty price when the rest of the world sees them as irrational or extreme. Racist violence, for example, acts as a disincentive for business travelers belonging to different races from traveling to countries where race is an issue. In the case of Pakistan, religious extremism and vigilantism have become a factor in the decisions of potential investors and merchants. Two days after the Lahore incident, an Arab businessman remarked to me that he immediately thought of his wife and daughters. “They wear Arabic calligraphy designs as part of their dress,” he said, adding, “I was thinking of expanding my business to Pakistan, but do I want to walk through Lahore or Karachi with my wife or daughters, risking such attacks?” Pakistan already has the world’s toughest blasphemy laws and blasphemy is punishable by death after a trial. But some groups do not wait for the law to take its course and want to act as judge, jury, and executioner. Several people have been lynched before their cases go to trial and those acquitted due to lack of evidence are also attacked as if the allegation of blasphemy requires no proof other than the allegation itself. Judges, too, have to fear the backlash of those who pretend to be all-knowing while hearing such cases. Instead of making Pakistani society more religious or pious, the practice of whipping up a crowd in a religious frenzy has created situations in which mobs lose all fear of God. Even in the recent case of the woman wearing the Arabic calligraphy dress, the crowd had to be pacified with an apology from the woman though she had done nothing wrong. As Maulana Tahir Ashrafi pointed out, the men in the crowd, rather than the woman, should have been the ones to apologize. Government after government in Pakistan has appeased groups that use religious slogans to divide and scare Pakistanis. Some have even seen the extremists as guarantors of Pakistan’s security or as instruments of Pakistani influence across the border in Afghanistan or Kashmir. But the net impact of nurturing a religious outrage industry has only been to undermine Pakistan’s external relations and weaken its economy. Official data suggests that between 2001 and 2018 “the direct and indirect cost incurred by Pakistan due to incidents of terrorism” amounted to $123.13 billion. Add to it the cost of fostering a society driven by anger and unable to figure out its real place in the modern world. Since falling under Western colonial rule, the Muslim world has developed a narrative of grievance and Pakistan is no exception. Like all national and community narratives, it has some true elements. But the current weakness of the Muslim world or of Pakistan is not entirely the fault of Western colonialism or postcolonial machinations. Pakistanis must understand the consequences of low literacy rates, poor quality of higher education, and low female participation in the workforce. Instead, they are fed narratives of conspiracy theories and hate against more powerful nations and a steady diet of religious-sounding rhetoric that is more political than religious. On March 6, 1948, Pakistan’s first opposition leader, Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy (who later became prime minister for a short time) warned the country’s earliest leaders against building “a state which would be founded upon caucuses and coteries, a state which will be founded on sentiments, namely that of Islam in danger or of Pakistan in danger.” According to Suhrawardy, “a state which will be held together by raising the bogey of attacks and which you keep together by keeping up a constant friction between yourself and your sister Dominion [India], that state will be full of alarms and excursions. You think that you will get away with it but in that state there will be no commerce, no business and no trade.” Cautioning against attacks on non-Muslims in the immediate aftermath of partition, Suhrawardy said that such a course will only erode rule of law. “There will be lawlessness and those lawless elements that may be turned today against non-Muslims will be turned later on, once those fratricidal tendencies have been aroused, against the Muslim gentry and I want you to be warned in time,” he observed. Today, those words seem prescient. Even now, a comprehensive strategy of pushing back extremism is the only way forward for a country that faces a multitude of challenges. ----- Husain Haqqani, former ambassador of Pakistan to the US, is Diplomat-in-Residence at the Anwar Gargash Diplomatic Academy in Abu Dhabi and Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute in Washington DC. Source: The Price of Extremism 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

Rethinking Al-Ghazalian Views of Education

By V.A. Mohamad Ashrof, New Age Islam 13 July 2024 Knowledge Is a Pillar of Faith, Empowering Individuals to Live Fulfilling Lives According to Islamic Principles. By Promoting Education for All, Muslim Societies Can Cultivate a Generation of Informed, Responsible Individuals Who Contribute Meaningfully to The World Around Them. This Pursuit of Knowledge, grounded in The Spirit of the Quran, Is The Key to A Brighter Future for All ------- Abu Hamid al-Ghazali (1058-1111 CE) remains a prominent figure in Islamic intellectual history. However, his views on female education, as expressed in works like "Ihya Ulum al-Din" (The Revival of the Religious Sciences) (al-Ghazali, 1997), raise concerns against retrogressive interpretations of Islam. Ghazali's educational philosophies were products of his time. Similar to many 18th-century scholars, including Western figures like Rousseau, there was a greater emphasis on boys' education (Barazangi, p. 407). While Islam itself encourages learning for both genders (Quran 2:269), Ghazali's views limited women's education primarily to religious instruction within the family. (Holland, pp. 70, 92-93) The Quran emphasizes knowledge as a path to enlightenment (Q.29:69). A progressive reading of Islam encourages broader intellectual development for all, not just religious literacy. Limiting women's education hinders their participation in various spheres of life and contradicts the Quranic emphasis on seeking knowledge. Ghazali's focus on religious education for women can be seen as ensuring they possess the foundational knowledge to fulfill their religious obligations. However, this shouldn't restrict further learning. Progressive interpretations advocate for women's access to a holistic education encompassing religious studies alongside other fields. The incorporation of Ghazali's views in some educational institutions requires re-evaluation. Curriculums should be reassessed to ensure they align with the spirit of the Quran and promote equal educational opportunities for all. Modern scholarship offers valuable tools for reinterpreting historical texts, allowing contemporary Muslim societies to evolve without compromising core Islamic principles (Barazangi, p.22-47.). Ghazali's influence on educational practices limited women's access to formal education for centuries in some Islamic countries. Examples like Al-Azhar University, which only recently opened its doors to women in the 1960s (Reid, p.420-425), illustrate the historical challenges. The horrific attack on Malala Yousafzai for advocating girls' education (New York Times, October 12, 2012) tragically highlights the need for continued efforts to ensure equal access to learning for all. The story of Islam is rich with examples of women scholars and leaders. Holistic interpretations of Islam emphasize the Quran's encouragement of knowledge acquisition for all believers. By fostering a culture of lifelong learning for both women and men, Muslim societies can reach their full potential and contribute meaningfully to the world. Ghazali's views on female education, while reflecting the limitations of his era, need not define the future of Islam. Through critical reinterpretation and an emphasis on the Quran's core message of equality, Muslim societies can create education systems that empower women and promote intellectual advancement for all. Roded (1994) notes that 41% of the endowments in Ottoman Aleppo were documented as having been established by women, suggesting that Muslim women – particularly affluent ones – were committed to scholarship. These were not insignificant contributions; Roded mentions buildings and highways in several places in the Middle East named for the women who financed their construction. (Roded, 1999) British women “however were granted the right to own property independent of their husbands only in 1870.” Thus, Muslim women were exercising their rights to own and distribute property more than 12 centuries before British women. Empowering All Minds-Education and the Spirit of the Quran Islam, from its very foundation, emphasizes the pursuit of knowledge as a cornerstone of faith. The Quran, the central text of Islam, repeatedly calls upon believers to acquire knowledge, understand the world around them, and use that knowledge for good. This article explores the Quran's message on education, highlighting its emphasis on learning for all, men and women alike. The Quran doesn't mince words when it comes to the importance of knowledge. Verses like "Are those who know equal to those who do not know?" (Q.39:9) leave no room for doubt. Knowledge is equated with understanding, which allows believers to truly heed God's message (Q.20:114). This pursuit of knowledge isn't limited to religious studies; the Quran encourages exploration of the natural world and all branches of learning – social sciences, physical sciences, even professional fields. Verses urging observation, investigation, and travel (Quran throughout) speak to the importance of a holistic education. The very first word revealed in the Quran is "Iqra," which translates to "Read" or "Proclaim." This emphasis on the act of reading is no coincidence. Commentators like Ali highlight the deep connection between "read," "teach," and "knowledge" in Arabic. (Ali, A. Y, p.1672–1673) The act of reading isn't just about deciphering words, but about acquiring knowledge, understanding, and wisdom in its broadest sense. This understanding transcends the limitations of language; the Quran itself speaks of an "orchestral harmony" within these words, encompassing concepts like study, research, and self-knowledge. (Ibid.) The Quran establishes a clear link between knowledge and piety. Those who fear God and are truly obedient are described as those who possess knowledge (Q.35:28). This knowledge allows them to discern right from wrong and apply God's teachings in their daily lives. Those with knowledge are "raised in rank" by God, highlighting the value placed on learning (Q.58:11). The Quran doesn't advocate for rote memorization devoid of meaning. The story of those burdened with religious texts they don't understand (Q.62:5) serves as a cautionary tale. Muslims are called upon to "follow the best meaning" within the Quran's message (Q.39:18). This necessitates a nuanced understanding that prioritizes the spirit of the text, focusing on God's intent and the well-being of humanity (both now and in the hereafter) (Rosenthal, p.20). Interpretations that create unnecessary burdens or hinder human flourishing contradict the core message of the Quran. By emphasizing the importance of knowledge and understanding, the Quran implicitly lays the groundwork for the education of all people. The Prophet himself is referred to as an "educator" in the Quran (Q.2:151, 33:21, 3:164). This emphasis on education extends to both men and women. There's no basis in the Quran for denying women the right to learn and grow intellectually. Historically, Muslim societies have seen women excelling in various fields of knowledge, further solidifying the idea that education is a right, not a privilege, for all. The Quran's message on education is clear and unequivocal. Knowledge is a pillar of faith, empowering individuals to live fulfilling lives according to Islamic principles. By promoting education for all, Muslim societies can cultivate a generation of informed, responsible individuals who contribute meaningfully to the world around them. This pursuit of knowledge, grounded in the spirit of the Quran, is the key to a brighter future for all. The Importance of Female Education-A Hadith Perspective The pursuit of knowledge is a core Islamic principle, with the Quran itself emphasizing learning for all believers. This emphasis extends beyond scripture, as evidenced by the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad. Several hadiths, or sayings of the Prophet, highlight the importance of education for both men and women. One prominent hadith states that "the acquisition of knowledge is the duty of every Muslim man and Muslim woman" (Rahman, p.397). This clear message removes any ambiguity – education is an obligation for all Muslims, regardless of gender. The Prophet further emphasized the ongoing nature of learning, stating that "a believer is never satisfied with the acquisition of knowledge till he reaches Paradise" (Al-Nawawi, p. 235). This insatiable thirst for knowledge should motivate Muslims throughout their lives. The value placed on knowledge extends beyond the individual learner. Another hadith reports the Prophet saying, "Allah, His angels, the dwellers of the heaven and the earth, even the ant in its hole and the fish (in water) invoke blessings on him who imparts good knowledge to the people" (Al-Nawawi, pp. 235-236). Educators, who share their knowledge and guide others on the path of learning, are highly respected in Islam. These hadiths, along with the emphasis on knowledge in the Quran, paint a clear picture: education is a cornerstone of Islam, incumbent upon both men and women. The pursuit of knowledge is a lifelong journey, and those who share this knowledge are revered figures within the Islamic community. Significance of Female Education Scholars like Fazlur Rahman (Rahman, p.397) emphasize the Quran's message that acquiring knowledge is essential for both men and women. This knowledge equips individuals to understand God and His teachings, enabling them to navigate life according to Islamic principles. This responsibility for learning and accountability before God falls equally on men and women. Unfortunately, some 20th-century Muslim thinkers advocated for limiting women's education or restricting their professional options (Lang, J. 2000). However, such limitations find no support in Islamic history. Works like Annemarie Schimmel's (1997) "My Soul is a Woman" document the vibrant presence of women scholars and professionals across various fields in Islamic societies. These restrictive interpretations are often attributed to the narrowing of Quranic principles over time, sometimes due to patriarchal influences (Schimmel, p.180). A holistic Islamic education, as defined at the First World Conference on Muslim Education (1977), should promote the intellectual, spiritual, and social growth of all individuals. This encompasses various fields of study, allowing all Muslims to reach their full potential (Ashraf, p.4). Denying women education is akin to denying them the path towards righteousness (Haw, p.58). Education empowers women to participate meaningfully in society and contribute to their communities. Furthermore, as noted by Khaled Haw (1998), Islamic education should enable women to address issues that have traditionally been solely discussed by men. This includes health, personal matters, and other areas impacting women's lives. The Quran and Islamic history offer a clear message: women deserve equal access to education. The task for Muslim societies is to ensure educational institutions uphold this principle. This includes creating opportunities for women to be educated about their rights, explore various disciplines, and contribute their voices to contemporary Islamic scholarship. By fostering a culture of lifelong learning for all, Muslim societies can flourish and contribute meaningfully to the world. This requires a commitment to progressive interpretations of Islamic teachings and a dedication to dismantling social barriers that hinder women's educational opportunities. Reclaiming Education for Women Some scholars, like Al-Qurtubi (Al-Qurtubi, 1966), have used specific hadiths (sayings of the Prophet) to argue for limiting women's education. However, a closer look reveals weaknesses in these arguments. The hadith about Aisha, the Prophet's wife, discouraging girls from writing is considered unreliable by many scholars due to a weak chain of transmission (Al-Mannawi, p. 430). Furthermore, Aisha herself actively engaged in learning and teaching, even corresponding with women on religious matters (Al-Bukhari, pp. 479-480). This contradicts the notion that Islam discourages female literacy. Scholars, like Leila Ahmed (Ahmed, 1983) and Khaled Ahmad (Ahmad, p. 54), emphasize that Islam encourages the acquisition of knowledge for all Muslims, regardless of gender. Islamic knowledge equips individuals to navigate life according to their faith. Denying women education hinders their ability to live a fulfilling Islamic life and contribute to society. The historical restriction on women's education arose from cultural interpretations, not core Islamic principles. These limitations contradict the fact that women in early Islam held positions of great learning. Similarly, Islamic law has historically provided women with rights that were unavailable to women in many other parts of the world (Hurley, p. 67). For example, Muslim women had the right to own property centuries before their counterparts in Britain. Scholars like Al-Ghazali held views that limited women's intellectual potential (Al-Ghazali, pp.163-164). Recognizing these inconsistencies is crucial for moving forward. While Imam al-Ghazali emphasized religious education for women, the Taliban's interpretation goes much further, severely restricting access to education for all females. A re-examination of Islamic texts is necessary to ensure interpretations are accurate and relevant to contemporary needs. The emphasis should be on the inherent right to education for all, regardless of sex. ------- (This is an excerpt from the book “Al-Ghazali-An Enlightened Critique” available from Amazon) V.A. Mohamad Ashrof is an Indian scholar on Islam and contemporary affairs who receives his mail: 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

To Empathize Is to Universalize

By Sumit Paul, New Age Islam 13 July 2024 "Empathy Nurtures Wisdom. Apathy Cultivates Ignorance." Suzy Kassem "With A Little Knowledge, I Thought I Was Better and Different from Others. And with A Little More Realization, I Understood That I Could Relate to People. I'm Praying for The Wisdom to Dawn On Me So That I Can Empathise Even with A Branch Of A Tree And Talk To The Water And Waves Of The Sea." Rabindranath Tagore Mulling over Professor Adis Duderija's brilliant article Embracing Otherness: The Importance of Sharing Wisdom' I thought of sharing my article on empathy that appeared in The Times of India a couple of years ago. What's empathy? Empathy is to perceive the internal frame of reference of another with accuracy and with the emotional components and meanings. To put it succinctly, empathy is 'synchronized connectivity.' It's even better than talking in one language. Empathy is a wholehearted endeavour to turn otherness into oneness. It's not for nothing that empathy is known as Sartaaj-e-Jazbaat (the supreme of all emotions). It's indeed the crowning emotion that binds the world together and goes far deeper than sympathy. It encompasses humanity and pervades the world. It makes us aware of the pains of not just humans, but of all the creatures. Persian mystic Jami coined a word 'Infiziyaat' which's still used in Persian mysticism, albeit rarely. It's an equivalent of the Sanskrit word Sahmarmita (sah+marm: Co+marm); emotion that resides in the sanctum sanctorum of every heart. The sublime sense of inter-connectivity is possible when the heart is mellowed with love and elevated with empathy; when everything's your reflection and vice versa. So be an empathist because empathy exceeds mere sympathy. While sympathy helps one relate to another person, empathy dissolves that ' otherness.' In other words, empathy is alter egoism. Pakistani Urdu poet Dilawar Figar put it succinctly, " Mujh Mein, Tujh Mein Na Koi Tafawat Rahe/ Yoon Ek Hon Ke Na Koi Izaahat Rahe" (There mustn't be any difference between the two of us/Let's become one seamlessly). "Koi Khaamosh Ashk Bahaye Koson Door/ Meri Ankhein Geeli Na Hon, Mujhe Nahin Manzoor" (Someone shedding tears far away / How can my eyes remain tearless?), wrote Urdu-Persian poet Nashtar. Shed tears, but not just for a specific person. Weep for all. Remember, men have shed more tears than all the waters lying in the great oceans. Someone laughing with you is no big deal. If eyes are tearful, when you weep, rest assured, your tears haven't gone in vain. At this moment, the world is in need of Empathy more than ever. It's empathy that will enable humans to go beyond the self and merge in the sufferings of each and every individual. No one will appear an outsider or a stranger to you and vice versa. Much have we sparred over petty things like nation, colour, religion, sect and all that jazz since time immemorial. It's, therefore, time to allow empathy to permeate and suffuse mankind with a sense of Oneness. The grief of every individual can be universalized through empathy because the universality of emotions lies in one and only emotion: Empathy. It's an all-embracing human spirit. We need it (empathy) to evolve collectively. Empathy will help restore the estranged co-existence of yore. Develop, nay nurture, it for the survival of mankind. To empathize is to universalize. ------ Note: A Shorter Version of The Following Article Appeared In The Times Of India A Couple Of Years Ago. ---- 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

Jinnah, Shahabuddin & Owaisi: Tackling Muslim’s Problems in India

By Syed Ali Mujtaba, New Age Islam 13 July 2024 When the winds of democracy started blowing in 20th-century India, it became certain that power is going to be shifted to the people of the country. Since then a flurry of activity has been witnessed among numerous groups how to grab political power and become the new masters and rulers of India. With the game of numbers and the ballot box being the arbitrator of political power, many groups and specificities kindled hope that in the changed equations they can lord over India and guide the destiny of the teeming millions but at the same time some groups got ruffled by the change and the new game of electoral politics may drown their identity and they will be reduced to non-entity in such power play. Muslims were the first to fathom the depth of such development. Chaudhry Khaliquzzaman (1889–1973) the leader of the Muslim League from UP who went to London in 1930 to coax Jinnah to return to India and take up the cause of the Indian Muslims was candid when he told Jinnah ‘You care two hoots of the brass button of your black coat….. Are you going to throw the Muslims of India to the wolves’…? How prophetic were Kaliquzaman’s words, just look around and see aren’t Muslims thrown to the wolves in contemporary India? Here the effort is to underline the problems of Muslim identity in independent India. And these problems of Muslims were raised by in the run-up to the independence from 1920 to 1947. To stay on course, Jinnah saw the fate of Muslims in independent India as early as the 1920s when mass-based politics was taking shape in the country. He pleaded to the Congress leadership to safeguard and protect the Muslims from the freebooters among the Hindu majority community. As a gesture of reconciliation, Jinnah proposed 14 points to safeguard Muslims' interests at the Allahabad Congress session in 1928. This was not only shot down but he was hooted by the rouge element of the Congress party. Disgusted, by the way majoritarian politics was panning out in India, Jinnah retired from Indian politics and went to practice law in London. It was there that Kalique – u- -u-Zaman went to beg him to return and protect the Muslims from the onslaught of the majority community’s offensives. Jinnah participated in round table conferences that were held in London and again tried to influence the Congress leadership to protect the Muslim interests in India. Congress remained non-committal and took refuge in saying independence first and that the rest of the issues could wait. Congress did not give any assurances to allay the fears of Muslims in India nor it discussed the issues of their safeguards. The 1936 elections sealed the fate of Jinnah’s politics and Nehru thundered; “there are only two political forces in India the Congress and the British, rest has to pack up.” Jinnah retorted to this and said “Hang on, don’t forget there is another force and that is Indian Muslims. Since then Jinnah shunned the politics of cooperation with the Congress and embarked on the separatist path and tried to do competitive politics with the Congress. He seemed convinced that Congress would head to parity and that he had to gain by hook or crook to bargain to safeguard the Muslim interests in India. The 1946 election turned the table in favour of the Muslim League. The new electoral muscle that the Muslim league gained gave the Congress only two options; either to agree to the safeguards of the Muslims in India or to willingly approve the Partition proposal of Jinnah. In this moral dilemma, the core Hindu leadership in the Congress like Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and Shyama Prasad Mukherjee decided in favour of Partition to shed the Muslim load over India. They consented to divide the country rather than give any safeguards to the Indian Muslims. The narrative that was built was; “It’s better to cut the head than have constant headache.” The blame game started and Jinnah was held responsible for the vivisection of India. Notwithstanding the fact, the fact remains that the same set of problems that Jinnah raised in pre-independent India haunts the Indian Muslims even now. The situation of the Muslims has enormously worsened in the independent India. In contemporary India, Muslims have become a rudderless community being abused, humiliated, and bulldozed as if they are outcasts in their motherland. Good riddance the competitive religious politics ended with Partition of India. After independence, Nehru took up the cause of Indian Muslims assured them of protection, and committed to their prosperity in India. However, after Nehru the vote bank politics primed for electoral supremacy and Muslims were subsequently used as the vote bank for the electoral victory of a political party. The book titled “Jinnah, Shahabuddin & Owaisi “Tackling Muslim’s Problem in India” tries to look at the issues confronting Muslims in India. It also looks at the different styles of politics pursued by the Muslim leadership at different times and spaces in India. Under the leadership of Jinnah competitive and separatist politics were being pursued. Such kind of politics accentuated the problems of Muslims in India in the post-partition India. It was around the 1980’s when the Muslim community was subjected to all kinds of embracement that Syed Shahabuddin, an Indian foreign diplomat took upon the mantel of the Muslim leadership. Being a lawyer, he drew his political strength from the constitution and the independence of the judiciary in India. He took up issues such as Muslim personal law, Babri masjid, Salman Rushdie, etc. He started a politics of confrontation with the majority community of Muslims as an alibi. His faith in the probity of courts and justice to safeguard Muslim interests vitiated the communal atmosphere in India. He little understood the brute majority forces can have their sway not necessarily on the right side the justice. Syed Shahabuddin’s belief in the judiciary and primacy of the constitution was thrown into the wind when his campaign for the protection of Babri masjid ended up pulling down the contested structure by the Hindu fundamentalist. Posterity judges Syed Shahabuddin’s politics as one instead of mitigating the problems of the Muslims accentuating them and spoiling the social relationship in the country. Subsequently began the resurgence of Hindu nationalism. In this backdrop, Asaduddin Owaisi has emerged to take up the cause of Muslims in India. His style of politics is of ‘Protest’ against numerous injustices going on against the Muslim community in India. His brand of politics is also towards Muslim political empowerment. Such politics has yet to see any tangible results. The dominant narrative that prevails in India is the Muslim leadership has done nothing to ameliorate the ills of the community rather they are hand in glove to castigate the Muslims into oblivion blaming democracy to be ill for their problems. The purpose of the book is to look at the real problems of the Muslims in contemporary India and find the ways and means to mitigate them within the democratic and constitutional framework. The executive summary of this book is Muslims have lived after the 1857 revolt when they lost their political power to foreign invaders. They have also lived through the agony of the Partition of India. Currently, Muslims are living under the shadow of resurgent Hindu nationalism. They are being confronted by hostile forces that are bent upon dismembering their religious identity in India. In such a situation rather than feeling despondent Muslim should recalibrate their politics to the needs of contemporary India. There is little doubt that Indian Muslim are living in toroid times. They have to wake up to the reality that the ground below their feet is slipping and their hostile forces are working overtime to do this crime. They have to build a decisive response to the harsh reality surrounding them. This response should be through capacity building first through political empowerment at gram panchayats, municipal ward councils, state assemblies and Lok Sabha level. Muslims have sufficient electoral muscle to be present in these bodies and this strategy can alno regain their self-esteem in India. The other strategy is that through educational merit they can they can have visible presence in the administration in the country. Their presence in the police being in charge of police stations and upward can make a difference. The presence in administrative posts such as at block level circle officers, sub-division officers and the district magistrate post can stop of the social injustices against their community. Needless to say such change has to be brought within the democratic framework and within the constitutional parameters. This book – “Jinnah, Shahabuddin & Owaisi - Tackling Muslim’s Problem in India” can be submission to the nation that sees Muslim as an obstacle to the national growth but hardly gives any support to the nature and direction to the change. The volume is going to be self-authored as the author carries the academic baggage of PhD on the theme “The Demand of Partition of India.” The fascinating story of Jinnah is on his lips; as an eyewitness the author is witness to Syed Shahabuddin’s brand of politics. As a working journalist starting his career in Hyderabad, he is previewing the rise of Asaduddin Owaisi in Indian politics. Nationalist to the core the author holds the view that independent India promises an exciting future for the Muslim community. They only have to help themselves for their betterment. ------ Syed Ali Mujtaba is a journalist based in Chennai. He is author of five books including “The Demand for Partition of India” (Mittal, 2002). Publishers can contact him at 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, July 11, 2024

Azm-e-Istehkam Will Face the Same Face as Zarb-e-Azb

By New Age Islam Staff Writer 11 July 2024 Azm-e-Istehkam Has Put The Political And Religious Parties In Real Dilemma Main Points: 1. Religious parties resist any offensive against terrorist groups. 2. Mullahs back militant groups to get leverage in political affairs. 3. Nawaz Sharif supported Taliban to win elections. 4. Imran Khan supports TLP to get political strength. ------ The Azm-e-Istehkam military offensive against the terrorist groups active in Pakistan has caused much confusion in political and religious circles of the country. On the very first day of the announcement of the ambitious programme, some members of the national assembly vowed to oppose the operation tooth and nail. The operation has been flagged off under the threat of the Chinese government which has invested billions of dollars on CPEC and in Gwadar and under pressure from IMF and World Bank. Pakistan expects a bailout package from IMF soon. But Azm-e-Istehkam may meet the same fate as Zarb-e-Azb launched in 2014 because the whole Pakistani polity has been radicalised. Radical rebels have infested the academia, politics, military and the police. The major political parties of Pakistan vie for the support of these rebel and terrorist groups to win elections or to remain in power. Nawaz Sharif's party won elections with the help of Taliban while Imran Khan's party PTI draws its strength from its proximity to the TTP. It was Imran Khan's government that facilitated the return of thousands of armed TTP fighters from Afghanistan. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, a PTI bastion is a stronghold of TTP. This is the reason PTI has opposed Azm-e-Istehkam. The Pakistani politicians, generals, bureaucrats and other sections of the Pakistani elite have always hobnobbed with the militant or terrorist groups. Former chief minister of Punjab, Shahbaz Sharif allowed Taliban to operate in his state. Bhutto family also benefitted from these rebel groups. But they keep ranting about eradicating terorism and extremism from Pakistan. The Panama Papers exposed the double standards of the Pakistani politicians, generals and bureaucrats. Religious parties like Jamiat Ulema Islam of Maulana Fazlur Rahman draw strength from these rebel groups and therefore, Fazlur Rahman finds himself in a tough situation as he has to return the favours of these rebel groups by diluting the governments offensive. The government and the military must push for the offensive because of the pressure from the US, IMF and China. The rebel groups like BLA and TTP have intensified their campaign against the government. BLA is fighting for the independence of Balochistan due to economic exploitation of the province while the TTP aspires to establish Sharia law in the country aka Afghanistan. But fighting against the two rebel forces needs different approaches. The BLA is the outcome of decades of economic exploitation and deprivation of the Baloch people thanks to the wrong policies of the government. The repressive steps of the army and the government agencies against the general people of Balochistan has created a deep rooted sense of alienation among them. Forced disappearances, abductions and target killing of activists, journalists and political leaders has brought Balochistan to this stage. Therefore, to tackle rebellion in Balochistan, a number of economic, political and social initiatives need to be taken instead of a military offensive which will kill more innocent people than terrorists and cause further alienation of the Baloch people. To tackle TTP, a comprehensive deradicalisation plan needs to be launched along with target based operations against the rebels. The religious curriculum needs to be revised and reformed. Unless it is done, no military offensive will succeed in eradicating terrorism and extremism from Pakistan. ----- The Rise Of Radical Rebels In Pakistan By Bhopinder Singh 05 July 2024 This alarming rise in extremism has prompted Pakistan to initiate Operation Azm-i-Istehkam, an ambitious effort aimed at eradicating terrorism Clergy has always played a pivotal role in the Pakistani narrative. The indelible impact of the ‘Mullahs’ has historically cut across institutions of power like the Military ‘establishment’, political parties, civilian society, academia et al. Each has, in their own way succumbed to puritanical displays and appropriations to posture alignment befitting the “land of the pure” or Pakistan. However, it must be said that many of these institutions have also privately harboured the exact opposite instincts and preferences, from what has been prescribed by the clerical order. These institutions have pandered to religiosity only to tick in the box their own false, and publicly fronted sense of piety to legitimise their relevance, whilst indulging in vices, degeneracies, and excesses.A cursory look at the long list of the Pakistani infamous in the Pandora Papers or Panama List is a veritable who’s-who of the Pakistani elites, who posture simplicity, austerity, and god-fearing honesty in the public sphere. This has led to the elites leading notoriously duplicitous lives with ill-gotten properties and excesses across the world, whilst injecting toxic-religiosity and religious extremism back home. The bunny of religion is essentially for public consumption to be invoked whenever everything else fails e.g., beseeching Arab Sheikhs or Turkey for life-sustaining aid in the name of a “brotherly Muslim nation”. The personal lives of the ruling Sharif family and the feudal Bhuttos are hardly the modicum of religious idyls, and the same discomfort applies to the Westernised Generals who are increasingly facing the wrath of the angry, long-bearded, armed, and madrasa-educated tribals. Today, it seems the ability of Pakistan’s ruling elite to successfully play the patented double game has run its course. Not only have the radicalized masses (generously fanned by the elites in ‘Olive Green’ or Servants) refused to take orders, but far worse, they have turned on their begetters! Creations like the ‘Taliban’ which was a joint project between the wily politicians, amoral Generals, and unhinged clergy, simply refuse to take orders from their progenitor. The product i.e., Taliban, which was made for the export market, is getting unwantedly imported back to its original source. The elite finally realise that it cannot differentiate between “Good Taliban” and “Bad Taliban”, for at the end of the day it is “Taliban”, an unhinged outcome of affording extra generous space to religion in governance. Terrorism has gripped Pakistan with elements ‘within’, going rogue. Elites now sense that not only must they take on the terror elements directly (as they have done multiple times, still terrorism worsened), but it must also snuff out the oxygen that breeds and nurtures the terror industry i.e., religious insistences and outreach, in every sphere of Pakistani reality. Pakistani dispensation has come up with Operation Azm-i-Istehkam which seeks to eradicate terrorists, and religious extremism, and deradicalize society, in a holistic and comprehensive manner. It is easier said than done, given the deep-rooted grip of religiosity. This refreshing acceptance (though time will tell if it is sincere or posturing) of religious overload needs to be unloaded. For starters, it will diminish the role of Islamist political parties like Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (F), or even the various militias and formations of sectarian denominations who have contributed to the morass. Such parties have not only imported strains of alien Wahhabism or Salafism but have been instrumental in ensuring that the Pakistani ‘establishment’ goes slow on anti-terror operations in restive areas. Caught between offering perfunctory platitudes towards the integrity of Pakistan and the safety of its citizens – they are also simultaneously offering mealy-mouthed suggestions to not partake in militaristic operations. They are truly caught between the devil and the blue sea, for their wishy-washy stand will neither endear them to the frustrated Pakistani Government (which they are no longer a part of the ruling coalition), nor to organisations like Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) who would want them to be bolder and indulge in plain-speak in favour of religious and radical bodies. Nonetheless, these religious parties are mulling putting together an ostensible ‘resistance movement’ against Operation Azm-i-Istehkam, and they are unlikely to find too many partners to go along with them. Forces that are key to bailing out Pakistan economically from sure ‘failed-state’ status e.g., China, international multilateral agencies (IMF, World Bank etc), Western Powers or even Arab Sheikhdoms are pitted against the agendas and outcomes of religious parties. The so-called ‘iron brother’ Chinese have invested over $62 billion in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridors (CPEC) and they cannot allow the religio-extremist Baluch insurgents to attack Chinese interests as part of their ‘sacred’ duties. Middle Eastern countries too have had their own tryst with the likes of the Muslim Brotherhood and their offshoots from Egypt, Jordan, and Kuwait to Saudi Arabia, and have clamped down on the same. Now with the Taliban Government in Kabul thawing relations with outsiders and no longer surviving on Pakistani doles, Afghans also cock a snook at historical equations and madrasa-fed ranks from Pakistan. All this diminishes the relevance of religious parties in Pakistan and if the Pakistanis grasp the opportunity, they may just be able to overcome their history and instincts. ------ Bhopinder Singh, a military veteran, is a former Lt Governor of Andaman & Nicobar Islands and Puducherry. The views expressed are personal Source: The Rise Of Radical Rebels In Pakistan URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Supreme Court's Verdict on Maintenance for Divorced Muslim Women: Upholding Gender Equality

By Grace Mubashir, New Age Islam 11 July 2024 The Supreme Court of India's Recent Verdict Affirming the Right of Divorced Muslim Women to Seek Maintenance Under Section 125 Of The Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) Marks A Significant Milestone In The Pursuit Of Gender Equality And Non-Discrimination. This Ruling Emphasises That the Secular Nature of Section 125 CrPC Ensures Protection for All Divorced Women, Regardless of Their Religious Affiliations. The Court's Decision Highlights the Importance of Viewing Maintenance Provisions Through A Lens Of Equality And Justice, Ensuring That No Woman Is Left Vulnerable Post-Divorce. This Judgment Is Part of a Broader Legal Trajectory, evolving from Landmark Cases Like Shah Bano and Danial Latifi, Reinforcing The Principle That Personal Laws Should Not Override Fundamental Rights Enshrined In The Constitution. Main Points: 1. The decision stemmed from a case involving Mohd Abdul Samad, who challenged a Family Court's order to pay maintenance to his divorced wife. The Supreme Court upheld the Family Court's decision, emphasising that divorced Muslim women have the right to maintenance under the secular provisions of the CrPC. 2. Precedents and Arguments: The ruling builds on the precedent set by the Shah Bano case, which also supported maintenance rights for Muslim women under Section 125 CrPC. Advocates argued that the 1986 Act should not limit the rights available under the CrPC, ensuring that Muslim women are not treated less favourably than women of other communities. 3. Implications: This judgment reinforces the principles of gender equality and non-discrimination, ensuring that all divorced women, regardless of their religious background, have access to maintenance. It affirms the secular and inclusive nature of Section 125 CrPC, providing a broader protective framework for women post-divorce ------ The Supreme Court of India has once again made a significant decision regarding the rights of divorced Muslim women, reaffirming the progressive stance it has maintained since the landmark Shah Bano case in 1985. The recent ruling allows divorced Muslim women to seek maintenance under Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), emphasising gender equality and non-discrimination. This verdict is a continuation of the judicial trend to protect the rights of Muslim women, ensuring their financial security post-divorce, and challenging patriarchal norms. Historical Context and Legal Background The historical context of this ruling can be traced back to the Shah Bano case, where a 62-year-old Muslim woman sought maintenance from her ex-husband under Section 125 of the CrPC. The Supreme Court's ruling in her favour in 1985 sparked significant controversy and debate within the Muslim community and led to the enactment of the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986, which aimed to restrict Muslim women from seeking maintenance under the CrPC. However, over the years, the judiciary has interpreted this Act in a manner that ensures Muslim women are not left destitute. The recent Supreme Court decision builds on these interpretations, reaffirming that divorced Muslim women can indeed seek maintenance under Section 125 of the CrPC, which is applicable to all citizens regardless of their religion. Judicial Reasoning and Interpretation In its reasoning, the Supreme Court highlighted that Section 125 of the CrPC is a secular law meant to provide a quick and summary remedy to ensure that wives, children, and parents are not left in destitution. The Court emphasised that this provision transcends religious boundaries, focusing on the welfare of the disadvantaged. The bench, while delivering the verdict, reiterated that denying maintenance to divorced Muslim women under Section 125 would be discriminatory and contrary to the principles of gender equality enshrined in the Constitution. The Court also noted that while Islamic law provides for maintenance during the Iddat period (the waiting period after divorce), it does not preclude a divorced woman from seeking maintenance under secular laws if she remains unable to sustain herself post-Iddat. Implications for Muslim Women's Rights This verdict has significant implications for the rights of Muslim women in India. It empowers them to seek financial support from their ex-husbands, thus ensuring their economic security and dignity. The decision also challenges the patriarchal interpretations of religious laws that often leave women vulnerable post-divorce. By upholding the right of Muslim women to seek maintenance under Section 125 of the CrPC, the Supreme Court has reaffirmed its commitment to gender justice and equality. This ruling is expected to serve as a deterrent against arbitrary divorces (triple Talaq) and ensure that divorced women are not left to fend for themselves without any financial support. Broader Social Impact and Future Directions The broader social impact of this ruling is profound. It sends a strong message that gender equality cannot be compromised in the name of religious practices. The verdict is a step towards harmonizing personal laws with constitutional principles of equality and non-discrimination. It also paves the way for further reforms in Muslim personal law to ensure that women's rights are protected. Legal experts and women's rights activists have hailed the judgment as a landmark decision that will have far-reaching consequences for the empowerment of Muslim women. It is anticipated that this ruling will encourage more women to come forward and assert their rights, leading to greater gender parity in the community. In conclusion, the Supreme Court's verdict allowing divorced Muslim women to seek maintenance under Section 125 of the CrPC is a significant milestone in the journey towards gender equality in India. It builds on the legacy of the Shah Bano case and reinforces the judiciary's role in protecting the rights of marginalised groups. By rejecting discriminatory practices and upholding the principles of equality and justice, the Court has once again proven to be a guardian of constitutional values. This decision not only strengthens the legal position of divorced Muslim women but also contributes to the broader goal of achieving social justice and gender equality in the country. Conclusion The Supreme Court's affirmation that divorced Muslim women can claim maintenance under Section 125 CrPC, despite the provisions of the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986, underscores the commitment to uphold gender equality and reject discrimination. This ruling clarifies that the 1986 Act does not preclude the application of Section 125 CrPC, thereby ensuring that divorced Muslim women are entitled to the same rights and protections as women of other communities. By maintaining the secular and inclusive spirit of the CrPC, the court has reinforced the notion that maintenance is a fundamental right aimed at preventing destitution and ensuring dignity for all divorced women. This judgment not only rectifies long-standing ambiguities but also paves the way for a more equitable legal framework, reinforcing the principle that justice and equality must transcend religious boundaries ----- 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

Mahatma Gandhi to Rahul Are Giving an Inclusive and Nonviolent Meaning to Hinduism, BJP and RSS to Hate and Consequent Violence

By Ram Puniyani for New Age Islam 11 July 2024 While Leaders Like Mahatma Gandhi to Rahul Gandhi Have Expanded And Enhanced The Humane Aspect Of Hinduism, The Savarakar-RSS Have Treaded The Path Of Hate And Consequent Violence. While Ambedkar Stands To Oppose The Brahmanical Domination Of Hindu Practice, Mahatma Gandhi To Rahul Are Giving An Inclusive And Nonviolent Meaning To Hinduism. --------- Rahul Gandhi in Parliament ------ After the mandate of recent Lok Sabha elections (2024), the parliament has become a real ground where the voice of opposition also has a space. In the debate following the President’s Address, Rahul Gandhi, the Leader of opposition responded by outlining the various problems facing the country. One part of his speech, which probably has been expunged from the proceedings related to the nature of Hinduism. As per him Hinduism is based on truth and nonviolence. “India is a country of non-violence, and not of fear. All our great men have spoken about non-violence and overcoming fear.” Gesturing towards the benches of BJP MPs, Gandhi added: “Those who call themselves Hindus speak all day about violence, hate and untruth.” Since then many protests by Sadhus have taken place against Rahul’s statement. In Ahmedabad Congress office was attacked. RSS Combine is spreading that Rahul has called all Hindus violent etc. On the other side Rahul has elaborated that what he means by Hinduism is based on truth, nonviolence and love. RSS ideologues are taking a sweep that Nehru to Rahul Gandhi’s ideology is out of touch with reality. As per them they have restricted only to minority questions to preserve their vote bank. As such from the INDIA block many have stood with Rahul’s elaboration of the humanistic view of Hinduism. There is some overlap between the use of the word Hinduism and Hindutva currently. As Uddhav Thackeray said that his views on Hindutva are the same as Rahul elaborated (about Hinduism). RSS ideologues also criticize Nehru for starting his work of Sampradayikata Virodhi Abhiyan (Campaign against communalism) as being directed against RSS! They also take Nehru on for opposing President Rajendra Prasad’s inaugurating the Somanth temple. They claim that RSS Hindutva derives from Dayanand Sarasvati, Swami Vivekananda, Bankim Chandra Chatterjee and Shyama Prasad Mukerjee. As such RSS ideology does not have much to do with ideologies of Dayanand Sarswati and Swami Vivekanand, except using their names to cover their ideology. As Hinduism is not a prophet based religion many interpretations of the same have been used. The very word Hindu is missing in the Holy Hindu scriptures, Vedas, Upnishad, Gita or Manusmriti. The word was coined by those coming from West of Sindhu, for whom the word S was used in a restricted manner and for S they used to pronounce H. Sindhu became Hindu and the word initially denoted the area spread from Sindhu river to sea. The earlier religious tendencies prevalent here were Vedic religion (which also can be labelled as Brahmanism), Ajivikas, Tantra, Nath, Shaiva, Buddhism and Jainism in the main. Later the word Hindu became a conglomerate of different tendencies (barring Buddhism and Jainism) prevailing here. Except Brahmanism the other tendencies were called Shramans. The main difference between Brahmanism and Shramanism was the presence of caste and gender hierarchy in Brahmanism. The construction of the term Hinduism has been well explained by historian D. N. Jha in his Presidential address of Indian History Congress 2006. He points out “Of Course the Word (Hindu, added) was in use in pre-colonial India, but it was not before late eighteen or early 19th Century that it was appropriated by British scholars.” Since then it has found wider use. From here on the term was used for all in the subcontinent except for those who were Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Muslims and Christians. As there were no rigid boundaries, the Brahmanical stream projected Vedas and Manusmriti as sacred scriptures. The major understandings of Hinduism also varied. For Ambedkar Hinduism is dominated by Brahmanism, caste system. That’s what led him to burn Manusmriti. Mahatma Gandhi had on other hand called himself a Sanatani Hindu and wrote in Young India on 6th October 1921 “Hinduism tells everyone to worship God according to his own faith or Dharma, and so it lives at peace with all the religions.” A unique concept for interfaith relations and pluralism! Now Rahul Gandhi while talking about Hinduism harps on truth, love and nonviolence as being the core of Hinduism. The word Hindutva was coined by Chandranath Basu in 1892 and linked it with the idealism of attaining spiritual heights. At the political level of this word Hindutva was introduced and defined by Savarkar in his book ‘Essentials of Hindutva’. (1923) His Hindutva is based on Aryan race, this Holy land (from Sindhu to Seas) and Culture (Brahmanical). Savarkar was very critical of Buddhism’s nonviolence and attributed India’s weakness to nonviolence propagated by Buddhism. This is a totally warped up understanding of our History. There was no country in the modern sense, and even if we grant Kingdoms equal to country we need to remember Emperor Asoka adopted Buddhism and his empire was the largest in Ancient India. He defined Hindu as one who regarded this land as his fatherland and Holy land. RSS takes off from Savarkar and regards Islam and Christianity as foreign religions and upholds the ancient Holy Scriptures (Manusmriti e.g.). RSS has made violence as part of its creed and its head office has an exhibition of various armaments, which are worshipped on the Dussera day. RSS Shakhas have spread Hate by demonizing Muslim kings like Khilji, Babar, Aurangzeb and glorified Hindu Kings like Rana Pratap, Shivaji and Prithviraj Chauhan. It had also been critical of the national movement as people of all religions participated in it. It claims to represent the Hindus, as it takes up the emotive issues like temple destructions, Cow beef, and forcible conversions. The Hate spread by RSS was pointed out by none other than Sardar Vallabh bhai Patel after banning RSS in 1948, “All their speeches were full of communal poison, as a final result of the poison, the country had to suffer the sacrifice of the invaluable life of Gandhiji.” While leaders like Mahatma Gandhi to Rahul Gandhi have expanded and enhanced the humane aspect of Hinduism, the Savarakar-RSS have treaded the path of hate and consequent violence. While Ambedkar stands to oppose the Brahmanical domination of Hindu practice, Mahatma Gandhi to Rahul are giving an inclusive and nonviolent meaning to Hinduism. ----- Ram Puniyani is president of the Centre for Study of Society and Secularism. 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

We're Living in Terribly Bad Times with Equally Abysmal Samples from Humankind

By Sumit Paul, New Age Islam 11 July 2024 "There Was An Old And Genial Gentleman Whose Name Was Abdul Rauf. He Had A Shop In The Vicinity Of Kalighat. Never Did I See A Man Like Him Who Had Everything Necessary For Kali Pooja At His Matchbox Like Shop. His Love And Respect For Hindus And Their Deity Humbled Me." ----- "Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) secretary general Bajrang Bagra also appealed to people to remain vigilant and immediately inform the local administration if they find anyone from the minority community selling puja items near temples and other Hindu religious sites. We have recently received some information that Muslims have set up shops at some Hindu pilgrimage sites like Kedarnath and are selling Prasad and other Puja items to the devotees. Legally, nobody should have any objection to it. We also do not have,"Bagra said in a statement. "But many incidents have come to light over the years when Muslim shopkeepers spat in the food, drinks and other eatables before giving them to the customers. Therefore, Muslims running shops at religious sites and selling Prasad and Puja items is a matter of concern," he claimed. In his long essay, The Depreciated Legacy of Cervantes (1983), Czech-French novelist Milan Kundera wrote, "When traditions of thousands of years suddenly become suspicious, rest assured, those who suspect and doubt are at fault." This is so true in today's context when Muslims have suddenly become pariahs to Hindus. Are these fools aware of the tale of Lord Jagannath and his Muslim Devotee Sala Bega? Sala Bega was a 17th- century Muslim soldier who's remembered as one of the greatest Odia religious poets and a staunch devotee of Lord Jagannath. One of his Odia poems was translated by Jayant Mahaptra: "In all my lives till now and to come/ I'll serve the Lord Jagannath and sell Prasadam....." Will any sane and sensible Hindu believe that a Muslim running a shop at a Hindu religious site will stoop so low as to desecrate the Pooja items and prasad by spitting on them? A true Muslim seller of Prasad and Pooja items will be like Ahmad Nadeem Qasmi who said at the age of 19, "Go Main Koi Butparast Toh Nahin/ Butparasti Se Mujhe Shikayat Bhi Nahin" (While I'm not an idol-worshipper/I don't disapprove of idol worship either). At all religious sites of Hindus, you can see Muslim sellers having their shops showcasing all that's necessary for Pooja. Premendra Mitra described in his Bengali essay Kalighate ek din (A day at Kalighat, Calcutta), "There was an old and genial gentleman whose name was Abdul Rauf. He had a shop in the vicinity of Kalighat. Never did I see a man like him who had everything necessary for Kali Pooja at his matchbox like shop. His love and respect for Hindus and their deity humbled me." Abdul Rauf's exalted example inspired him (Premendra Mitra) to write 'Critique of Humanity' which led him to believe that for it to survive, human beings had to " forget their differences and be united." Are today's venom-spitting and morbidly prejudiced Hindus (sorry, Sanatanis) aware of all these heart-warming examples? Alas, had they been aware, they would never have made such stupid statements that Muslims are defiling food items before offering them to Hindus and their deities. We're living in terribly bad times with equally abysmal samples from humankind. ----- 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. UURL: 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, July 10, 2024

Hannibal Directive - Standing Order for The Israeli Armed Forces to Kill Their Own Soldiers & Civilians to Prevent Them from Being Taken Hostages by The Resistance

By Alon Mizrahi, New Age Islam 10 July 2024 For Long Hours of October 7, 'No Vehicle Is Going Back into Gaza' Was The Standing Order, Kubovich Reveals. IDF Forces Were Ordered to Make the Area Between Israel and Gaza a Death Zone for Everyone and Anything. ------ An Israeli soldier gestures atop a tank near the separation fence before it enters Gaza as seen from Israel, July 4, 2024 [Amir Cohen/Reuters] ------ 1. It has been my suspicion for a long time that Israel killed a great number of its own casualties on October 7. We know about dozens who died at IDF hands for certain already, but the scale of the use of Hannibal Directive is only gradually coming out. Today in Haaretz, Yaniv Kubovich, one of Israel's finest journalists, provides a peek into how extensive the use of that directive was on the day. For long hours of October 7, 'No vehicle is going back into Gaza' was the standing order, Kubovich reveals. IDF forces were ordered to make the area between Israel and Gaza a death zone for everyone and anything. 2. What does it even mean that a military has an order to eliminate its own soldiers and civilians if there's a suspicion they are being kidnapped? Has any military in history given such an order to its troops? What does it mean about the psychology of Israeli soldiers, who may be required to kill their comrades at any given moment? How can actual camaraderie develop under such conditions? Has anybody given serious thought to this lunatic policy and its devastating meaning? Or was it done, in standard Israeli fashion, as a brain fart improvisation that stuck? 3. Rules always expand and encroach, and so, inevitably, the Hannibal Directive is applied more frequently for more situations that may have been considered gray areas under the former, softer insanity. But think about the mentality of high-ranking Israeli officers, who are basically given sweeping permission to eliminate their subordinates when a kidnapping is suspected. Can they see they're soldiers as important human beings that matter under such conditions? Of course not. 4. Palestinians are said to be the religious crazies who don't value life, but we've never seen Hamas members shoot at their own to prevent them from falling into Israeli hands - even as they know what awaits them in captivity: unimaginable torture and humiliation potentially to death. Israel is always (and quite comically, at this stage) presented as a normal and life-loving vibrant democracy, but what does it say about its mental health such an order exists? 5. Can you imagine what would happen if it was discovered that American or British soldiers killed dozens or hundreds of their own service men and women, and civilians, 'to prevent them from being kidnapped'? Could you imagine the complete and devastating outrage? In Israel, it is not even news. It doesn't matter. It's a smallish side issue we don't talk about. 6. The Hannibal Directive Lets Us See The Breath-Taking Derangement Of Zionism: it creates people who would rather kill their own than have to deal with an enemy as a human equal. Once an Israeli becomes a hostage, their existence is perceived as a threat to collective pride, which is more important than life, making them an unbearable burden. I'd say there is a more pressing need to kill potential hostages than the people who took them, as they embody leverage that can potentially diminish Israel's sense of absolute human superiority. And this is so insane, so extreme, so bizarre and uncanny that no establishment can even recognize it and its meaning, so everyone acts as if this utterly clinical show of deadly exceptionalism does not even exist 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

To Relive Yesterdays May Be Like Breathing Life into Rotten Skeletons of the Dead

By Mushtaq Ul Haq Ahmad Sikander, New Age Islam 10 July 2024 While Unfolding Shrouded Events of Yesterday, I Am Afraid, I May Suffer Grievous Wounds Deep into My Soul. This Will Be Like Breathing Life into Rotten Skeletons Of The Dead. Will The Miracle Happen? May It Be So! If I Dive Deep into The Ocean of Time, What Do I Come Up with? Shells-Hallow and Valueless-No Gems and No Pearls. ------ Beyond Me: Weaving Yesterday’s Wavering with Fragile Threads into Tomorrow Author: Professor Abdul Ghani Butt Publisher: Gulshan Books, Srinagar, Kashmir Price: Rs 895, Pages: 264 -------- Autobiographies are very essential to understand the life and times of people who have contributed in shaping a society or influenced any aspect of human life. A life lived quite well certainly will help the readers to draw lessons and implement the same, if pragmatic in their own lives. Prof Abdul Ghani Butt, is a man of many shades, the prominent one being his involvement in the resistance and separatist movement in Kashmir. He is one of the stalwart leaders of Hurriyat Conference and an articulate speaker and immaculate writer. Going through his autobiography is quite a refreshing experience, because it details his childhood, student days, his job as a college lecturer and stops at the very initiation of his public life as a politician. Although, he promises to detail the same in other volume of his autobiography, that is still anticipated by the readers. The Introduction is quite powerful, that keeps the reader hooked. He very well observes about nostalgia, what it means and how reliving past may throw up emeralds for future. “It is quite heartening to witness that people who are active in any capacity in the public life are penning down their memoirs. It helps the readers, to understand the nuances, complexities and contributions of these people who have a public figure stature in the society. Kashmir was always in the grip of politics, that offered a huge propaganda potential for polarization of masses. In the process of narrative, counter narrative propaganda about Kashmir, the real narrative of Kashmir got mired into oblivion.” “To relive yesterday’s maybe nostalgic-as nostalgic in my case as it is reproachful. While unfolding shrouded events of yesterday, I am afraid, I may suffer grievous wounds deep into my soul. This will be like breathing life into rotten skeletons of the dead. Will the miracle happen? May it be so! If I dive deep into the ocean of time, what do I come up with? Shells-hallow and valueless-no gems and no pearls. That being the case I will obviously have achieve nothing except stumbled on objects of very little value or no value at all. And if I chose to gather shells, maybe a pearl accidently falls to my lot.” (P-3) Prof Butt, describes the village life of his times, and how it has changed now because of the changing trends, that has impacted the raw rural life too. He is a typical village boy born in Boitengoo, Sopore, struggling with studies and the hard work he has to put in to continue his education. It is interesting to know how he landed into choosing Persian as a subject for his study at under grad and post-graduation level that ultimately landed him into a teaching job in university. It is interesting to know that another separatist leader, Syed Ali Shah Geelani taught him Persian, although briefly. He believes that many times choices are decided by others and later are loved by the person, who initially resisted them. Being a teacher himself, he is all praises for his teachers as he is enrolled in S.P College. The teachers praised the students, instilling among them the joy of reading, and from there he lands into the prestigious Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), where he opts for dual degree in Persian and LLB. He praises Prof Hadi Hussain, Head Department of Persian for his teaching style, and how he used the pedagogy of English to teach Persian. However, Prof. Butt is critical of the gender segregation at AMU, “We got down to studies, eyes focused on books, heads bending downwards in a brooding state and hearts beating, pleasingly on desks in a room, converted by a black screen into two-a part for us and a part for girls in conformity with the traditions, being so jealously guarded at the campus. ‘Tradition’ and the force behind it could not be flouted in any case. May be, segregation between male and female members of the human hive helps promote, in observance of religious injunctions, a chaste, orderly living or maybe, in preservation of social taboos, it discourages tendencies to defile the moral fabric of a people or maybe, in terms of psychological interpretations, it breeds more curiosity to be more intensely drawn towards the opposite sex. However, co-education at the highest institutional level contradicts any rationale behind segregation between male and female student community. Co-education and girls with veils or maybe, in veils constitute a contradiction even in terms of logic. Tradition nevertheless holds sway. The girl students even at the Masters level wearing veils outside are put behind screens in the classrooms as well. It could be veils within screens, if not veils and veils concealing frailty and beauty of opposite sex.” (P-93) He further laments, about his decision of opting for LLB, then later justifies his decision. “But then, why at all did I do LLB? Gropers in educational institutions like the blind in sunshine constitute a struggling, stumbling and directionless lot, lost in fantasies. No illiterates can properly guide their offspring. I represented the first generation of my family to have been initiated into educational institutions. Don’t ask questions. Answers are not easy to flow. Look, I was apprised symbolically in the dream that the legal profession was, in spite of LLB, beyond me and that I could not become a lawyer. Pre-destination and free will are working which way, maybe difficult to spell out categorically. To my mind, however, predestination and free will seem to be operating in harmony, each partly equally to shape future. How could my future shape? I could hardly exactly predict, except put in an effort to see tomorrow shaping up to my heart’s content.” (P-108) With a chronology of his life, he relates the events in politics, friendships and fellowships that developed with colleagues, transfers and postings in different colleges. He mentions about Prof Abdual Salam Dhar, who served as Principal of Degree College Sopore, and was a disciplinarian, who took strict actions to curb the free spirit of Professors, but then Butt dissented. He informs the readers, about the relations with students, pedagogy, helping maintain sanity among them, and how to maintain discipline among students in co-ed colleges, where boys and girls fall in love with each other. However, the irony is that he does not mention about his own love story or his marriage. He also describes how he joined a literary forum (Adbi Markaz Kamraz), and his relationship with Prof Abdual Rasheed Nazki, and later he grew close to Prof. Ghulam Mohiuddin Hajni. The dates of his transfer and years served at different colleges are missing from the pages of this autobiography, as he taught for 23 years and informs the reader about what teaching involves. “A teacher is expected to put everything into teaching-his head, his heart and his soul too. He could otherwise lose grace as a teacher and even forfeit claim as the master of art of teaching. Teaching is not a dry, thoughtless occupation. It involves devotion and direction, discipline and determination to impart lessons on life.” (P-225) The autobiography is worth reading, particularly in context of pedagogy, teaching and teacher’s experience, that few among the masses know about the personality of Prof Butt. His involvement in politics from 1990s till now, is open for mass consumption, but this volume of his autobiography does not cover that aspect of his life, even if it is the dominant characteristic of his personality. In this work we come to know about Prof Butt as a teacher and employees’ leader, but the real struggle of this politician is yet awaited by the readers. The publisher too has done a commendable job; by publishing this work and we are aware about the versatility of Gulshan Books, that has bestowed a voice to many unsung heroes of Kashmir. ------ M.H.A. Sikander is Writer-Activist based in Srinagar, Kashmir URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Mohsin Zaidi: A Bureaucrat-Poet Par Excellence

By Sumit Paul, New Age Islam 10 July 2024 Mohsin Zaidi Was Born On July 10, 1935 ------ Jaan Kar Chup Hain Vagarna Hum Bhi Baat Karne Ka Hunar Jaante Hain Mohsin Zaidi (I keep mum intentionally, otherwise I also know the art of conversation) Ye Zulm Dekhiye Ki Gharon Mein Lagi Hai Aag Aur Hukm Hai Ki Makeen Nikal Kar Na Ghar Se Aaein Mohsin Zaidi (What a torture! Houses are burning but the inmates have been ordered to stay home) Libaas Badle Nahin Humne Mausamon Ki Tarah Ki Zeb-E-Tan Jo Kiya Ek Hi Labada Kiya (I've not changed apparels like the seasons / One set of clothes embellished my body) Har Shakhs Yahan Gumbad-E-Be-Dar Ki Tarah Hai Aavaaz Pe Aavaaz Do Sunta Nahin Koi (Every individual is like a dome sans pillars / Despite calling repeatedly, no one responds) Agar Chaman Ka Koi Dar Khula Bhi Mere Liya Samoom Ban Gayee Baad-E-Saba Bhi Mere Liye (If any door of the garden ever opened for me / Zephyr turned into a hot wind for me) The aforementioned couplets from the quill of Mohsin Zaidi underline the individual and existential realities of life. Mohsin Zaidi ------ Mentored by none other than Raghupati Sahay 'Firaq' Gorakhpur, Mohsin was a progressive poet who didn't dwell too much on feminine effulgence and corporeal pulchritude. Nor did he wail in self-pity over union and separation. Mohsin wrote in his book of poetry, Mata-e-Aakhri Shab, "Abhi Auron Ke Aansoo Ponchhne Hain / Mere Ashk Toh Aasteen Ponchh Dete Hain" (I've to wipe out tears of others / My tears are wiped out by my sleeves). Mohsin Zaidi wrote in simple and unadorned language. Pakistani critic Faisal Rashid wrote about Mohsin's poetry, "Un Ki Shayari Mein Husn-E-Bewa Ki Sanjeedgi Hai" (His poetry has the seriousness of a widow's beauty), though I've always believed that Rashid's statement, rather analogy, is open to a plethora of interpretations because of its ambiguity as well as sexist tone. Mohsin Zaidi's poetry had a freshness of thought, intense feelings, and dexterity of expression. Mohsin wrote at a pretty young age, "Go Gul-O-Ghuncha-E-Firdaus Dekha Nahin Maine / Ek Gul Apni Jaanib Se Khila Diya Maine" (Though I've not seen the flowers and buds of Paradise / I've blossomed one flower from my end). Mohsin indeed bloomed flowers of his refined poetry and employed novel figures of speech. Though unembellished, his poetry is aesthetically beautiful and creatively meaningful. As an economist, he was economical with (lush) words and as a bureaucrat, his poetry had a streak and stamp of palpable dignity and decorum. Yet, he humbly wrote in his book of poetry, ' Baab-e-Sukhan': Yahi Haasil Kiya Le-De Kar / Shayari Likhi Mahaul Ka Dard Samajh Kar (It's precious little that I've achieved / I've penned poetry having empathised with the ethos and pathos of my surroundings). No, Mohsin Saheb. You achieved a lot as a poet and bureaucrat. My salutations to him. ----- 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, July 9, 2024

The Maulvi of Faizabad and the Battle for Lucknow: Jihad in 1857 and Shaping New Islam in South Asia

By Grace Mubashir, New Age Islam 9 July 2024 The Siege of Lucknow Was Not Only a Military Conflict but Also a Symbol of the Broader Struggle Against British Colonialism. It Highlighted the Manipulation and Oppression Faced by Indian Rulers and Common People Alike, While Also Showcasing the Potential for Unity Across Religious and Cultural Lines in The Fight for Independence, Shaping New Religious Imaginations in South Asia and Beyond. Main Points: 1. Ahmadullah Shah is a significant yet often overlooked figure in the history of India's freedom movement, particularly in the Revolt of 1857 2. British historians have often labelled these groups broadly as jihadis, brigands, or Wahhabis, overlooking the nuanced differences among them 3. Ahmadullah Shah's ideology, while rooted in his Sufi beliefs, was inclusive, advocating for Hindu-Muslim unity against the British 4. the conflict was not merely a religious clash between Christianity and the indigenous religions but a struggle to defend territory from an alien ruler employing religious conversions to consolidate control ------ Ahmadullah Shah is a significant yet often overlooked figure in the history of India's freedom movement, particularly in the Revolt of 1857. British historians, though grudgingly, have acknowledged his valour and leadership. Shah was a multifaceted personality—cleric, Sufi saint, army general, and a visionary leader. His rise as a key figure in the 1857 Revolt is crucial, driven by religious fervour among both Hindus and Muslims against aggressive Christian proselytising. Despite his importance, confusion persists about the Muslim religious groups involved in the revolt. British historians have often labelled these groups broadly as Jihadis, brigands, or Wahhabis, overlooking the nuanced differences among them. However, modern historians like William Dalrymple have begun to explore these distinctions more deeply. Ahmadullah Shah and his followers viewed their struggle as jihad, but their motivations included resistance against coercive rulers rather than purely religious hatred for Christians. Post-independence Indian historians have largely neglected Ahmadullah Shah's contributions, which could have clarified the distinctions among various insurgent groups. Although British chroniclers like P.J.O. Taylor have recognized Shah as a capable and humane leader, he remains an enigmatic figure in Indian history, underrepresented in historical narratives and textbooks. His significant role in the uprisings around Lucknow, the capital of Awadh and the epicentre of the 1857 Revolt, underscores his impact during this critical period. The Rift Between the Ulema and The British: The Genesis Before delving into Ahmadullah Shah's role in the 1857 Revolt, it's crucial to understand the deep-seated hostility between the British rulers and the Muslim clergy in India, which peaked in the mid-19th century. The late 18th century was a period of significant turmoil for Hindu and Muslim middle-class society. Among Muslims, the call for jihad against British rule was initially raised by Shah Abdul Aziz, son of the religious reformer Shah Waliullah. Shah Waliullah (1703–1762) was a mystic, scholar, and social reformer who advocated for reform in Indian Islam. His Walliullahi Movement aimed to discard social practices influenced by indigenous and Persian traditions, which he believed conflicted with Islamic fundamentals. He promoted a rational approach to interpreting Islam, synthesizing Sufism with ijtihad (independent judgment) and emphasizing monotheism. Shah Waliullah’s son, Shah Abdul Aziz (1746–1824), continued his father's legacy. In 1803, he issued a landmark fatwa declaring British-ruled India as Dar al-Harb (land ruled by an enemy of Islam), providing religious sanction for jihad. This was a reaction to the aggressive proselytizing by Christian missionaries, supported by the British East India Company, which threatened both Hindu and Muslim religious beliefs. Shah Aziz's fatwa described the pervasive control of Christian officers over Delhi and the systematic erosion of Islamic authority, marking British rule as a land of conflict for Muslims. Although the fatwa did not incite immediate action, it sowed seeds of discontent among Muslims. This simmering discontent eventually culminated in the widespread participation of Muslims in the 1857 Revolt against the British. Shah Abdul Aziz's fatwa became a foundational document for those advocating jihad, highlighting the deep-rooted religious and social tensions that fuelled the insurgency against British colonial rule in 19th-century India. The 1857 Siege of Lucknow was a significant episode during the Indian Rebellion of 1857 against British rule. It unfolded in a city with a rich historical and cultural backdrop shaped by the events and personalities leading up to it. The Rise of Lucknow Lucknow's transformation into a major cultural centre began in 1775 when Prince Asaf-ud-Daula ascended the throne of Awadh, succeeding his father Shuja-ud-Daula. Asaf-ud-Daula moved the capital from Faizabad to Lucknow, laying the foundation for its development into a hub of art, culture, and architecture. Under his reign, Lucknow became known for its luxury, fine arts, and syncretic culture where Hindus and Muslims coexisted harmoniously. Despite his contributions to the cultural enrichment of Lucknow, Asaf-ud-Daula's rule was marred by political weakness and indulgence, which the British East India Company exploited. The British forced him to sign a treaty that ceded half of his kingdom, diminishing his power and revenues significantly. This set a precedent for British manipulation in Awadh, leading to further treaties and power grabs. After Asaf-ud-Daula's death in 1797, the British continued to interfere in Awadh's succession, installing puppet rulers like Sadat Ali Khan. This undermined the autonomy of Awadh's native rulers and increased local resentment. By 1856, the British decided to abolish the Nawabship entirely, exiling the last Nawab, Wajid Ali Shah, and declaring Awadh under direct British rule. This act of annexation deeply humiliated the people of Awadh, setting the stage for widespread discontent. Ahmadullah Shah and the Call to Revolt Amidst this atmosphere of distress, Ahmadullah Shah emerged as a significant revolutionary figure. A Sufi mystic known as the "Maulvi of Faizabad," Shah began advocating for jihad against British rule. His spiritual gatherings in Lucknow attracted a large following, where he combined religious teachings with calls for political action. Tensions in Awadh escalated when Ahmadullah Shah, imprisoned in Faizabad for his anti-British activities, was freed by a mob in June 1857. This act galvanized the local population, and Shah quickly became a key leader of the rebel forces. The Battle of Chinhat On June 30, 1857, British forces led by Sir Henry Lawrence attempted a pre-emptive strike against the rebels near Chinhat, just outside Lucknow. Ahmadullah Shah's forces, strategically positioned, launched a surprise attack, resulting in heavy British casualties and forcing them to retreat to the Residency in Lucknow. This victory for the rebels marked the beginning of the Siege of Lucknow. The siege itself was marked by intense fighting and a protracted defence by the British garrison in the Residency. The initial victory at Chinhat imbued the rebels, under Ahmadullah Shah's command, with a sense of invincibility. The siege continued for months, becoming one of the most notable episodes of the Indian Rebellion of 1857. Ahmadullah Shah's ideology, while rooted in his Sufi beliefs, was inclusive, advocating for Hindu-Muslim unity against the British. His approach contrasted with the British strategy of divide and rule, which aimed to exploit religious differences to maintain control. The unity displayed by Hindus and Muslims in Awadh during the rebellion was a precursor to the secular foundations of modern India. Conclusion Ahmadullah Shah, facing mounting pressures, withdrew from Lucknow and moved to Bari near Sitapur with his loyal supporters. There, he allied with Begum Hazrat Mahal, who led the forces loyal to the deposed Nawab Wajid Ali Shah. Initially reluctant, Ahmadullah Shah was eventually persuaded by Birjis Qadr, the Nawab's successor, who became his spiritual disciple. At this point, Ahmadullah Shah became the de facto ruler of Awadh. However, the British enlisted the Gorkha army of Nepal to counter the rebels. Despite demonstrating bravery in skirmishes, Ahmadullah Shah was betrayed by some officers loyal to Birjis Qadr who preferred plundering over consolidating control. This betrayal led to a critical defeat at Bari, forcing Ahmadullah Shah to retreat to Mohammadi near Shahjahanpur. In Mohammadi, Ahmadullah Shah solidified his support, culminating in his formal coronation on 15 March 1858, where he was declared the ruler of Awadh and issued coins in his name. He forged alliances with the Rohillas of Bareilly, led by Nawab Bahadur Khan, and rebel leader Azimullah Khan. Despite initial success, his efforts to change the course of history were thwarted by further betrayal. The Raja of Pawayan, at the behest of the British, invited Ahmadullah Shah into a trap, leading to his death. The British rewarded the Raja with a sum of ₹50,000 for his treachery. Ahmadullah Shah's story highlights the complex dynamics of the anti-colonial uprising in India. As a religious scholar, Sufi, and jihadi, his struggle was infused with religious fervour, invoking jihad to inspire Muslims. However, the conflict was not merely a religious clash between Christianity and the indigenous religions but a struggle to defend territory from an alien ruler employing religious conversions to consolidate control. ----- 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