Wednesday, April 10, 2024

The Logical Fallacy Of “Appeal To Authority”

By Naseer Ahmed, New Age Islam 10 April 2024 The earliest evidence of religious thought is based on the ritual treatment of the dead. Most animals display only a casual interest in their species' dead, so ritual burial represents a significant change in human behaviour. The Quran talks about Adam and his progeny and the guidance sent to them or instructions on Allah’s religion. Is it a coincidence that it deals explicitly with guiding one of Adam’s sons on the burial of the dead, considered the first evidence of religious thought? ------- The appeal to authority fallacy is the logical fallacy of claiming that because an expert said something is true, it must be true. However, it's crucial to understand the context in which the expert's opinion was formed, as this can significantly impact the validity of their statement. Russell was a mathematician and logician, not a moral philosopher. Experts need to stay within their field of expertise, as venturing into unfamiliar territory can lead to the expression of misguided opinions, as Russell did in his quote below: "Those, blinded by god and religion, will never concede that morality evolved without any god, religion and scripture." Think of it this way: You wouldn't ask a plumber for advice on your car's engine, would you? Just because they're skilled in one area doesn't mean they're an authority in everything. Similarly, a wise layman wouldn't consult Russell on religion and moral philosophy, just as he wouldn't go to a cobbler to get a haircut, no matter how skilled the cobbler may be in repairing shoes. As discussed in Bertrand Russell’s Error, he formed his opinion about religious morality from Christian moral rules that disallow divorce and other inflexible regulations that can cause avoidable human suffering and on the view of the Church that “morality has nothing to do with human happiness or suffering”. It's important to note that the function of morality in both religion and philosophy is to promote the greatest happiness, which the Church dismisses as irrelevant. Let's take a deeper look at Russell's critique. Had he delved into the teachings of other religions, he might have discovered that divorce is not universally condemned. For instance, in Islam and Judaism, it is permissible. This raises an important point: when evaluating an expert's opinion, it's crucial to consider multiple perspectives. The answer to why divorce is regarded as a sacrament in Christianity lies in the transition of the Romans from Paganism to Christianity, a process that incorporated many Pagan customs and rituals. Even their festivals have pagan origins. Therefore, Russell's critique is not on a divine law but a man-made custom – not on divine wisdom but on human stupidity. Russell, however, is unaware of his blunder. Russell's critique of Christianity was not without personal bias. His frustration with the Church's Commandments, binding on the faithful, was evident. This starkly contrasts Islam, where a fatwa is considered no more than a non-binding human opinion. His narrow focus on Christianity, a religion that directly affected him and his immediate society, led him to overlook the broader context of religious practices. His attempt to generalize from his particular experience is a common failing, even among wise men. Evidence That Religion Began With Adam The earliest evidence of religious thought is based on the ritual treatment of the dead. Most animals display only a casual interest in their species' dead, so ritual burial represents a significant change in human behaviour. The Quran talks about Adam and his progeny and the guidance sent to them or instructions on Allah’s religion. Is it a coincidence that it deals explicitly with guiding one of Adam’s sons on the burial of the dead, considered the first evidence of religious thought? (5:27) Recite to them the truth of the story of the two sons of Adam. Behold! they each presented a sacrifice (to Allah): It was accepted from one, but not from the other. Said the latter: "Be sure I will slay thee." "Surely," said the former, "Allah doth accept of the sacrifice of those who are righteous. (28) "If thou dost stretch thy hand against me, to slay me, it is not for me to stretch my hand against thee to slay thee: for I do fear Allah, the cherisher of the worlds. (29) "For me, I intend to let thee draw on thyself my sin as well as thine, for thou wilt be among the companions of the fire, and that is the reward of those who do wrong." (30) The (selfish) soul of the other led him to the murder of his brother: he murdered him, and became (himself) one of the lost ones. (31) Then Allah sent a raven, who scratched the ground, to show him how to hide the dead body of his brother. "Woe is me!" said he; "Was I not even able to be as this raven, and to hide the dead body of my brother?" then he became full of regrets- (32) On that account: We ordained for the Children of Israel that if any one slew a person - unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land - it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people. Then although there came to them Our messengers with clear signs, yet, even after that, many of them continued to commit excesses in the land. The verses above underline man’s dependence on guidance from Allah right from the time of Adam. Allah sometimes guides us by the example of a creature like a raven, as in the example above. Man has learnt many things by copying from nature. The verse 5:31 shows that Allah’s instructions are not only in the form of the revealed scriptures but also in the examples Allah has provided in nature for man to learn from. Man has not learnt anything from any source other than from a study of his universe and revealed scriptures. Yet, he is ungrateful to Allah and considers himself self-sufficient, which is why Allah says in the very first revelations to Muhammad: Surah 96 (1) Proclaim! (or read!) in the name of thy Lord and Cherisher, Who created- (2) Created man, out of a (mere) clot of congealed blood: (3) Proclaim! And thy Lord is Most Bountiful,- (4) He Who taught (the use of) the pen,- (5) Taught man that which he knew not. (6) Nay, but man doth transgress all bounds, (7) In that he looketh upon himself as self-sufficient. (8) Verily, to thy Lord is the return (of all). (9) Seest thou one who forbids- (10) A votary when he (turns) to pray? (11) Seest thou if he is on (the road of) Guidance?- (12) Or enjoins Righteousness? (13) Seest thou if he denies (Truth) and turns away? (14) Knoweth he not that Allah doth see? (15) Let him beware! If he desist not, We will drag him by the forelock,- (16) A lying, sinful forelock! (17) Then, let him call (for help) to his council (of comrades): (18) We will call on the angels of punishment (to deal with him)! (19) Day, heed him not: But bow down in adoration, and bring thyself the closer (to Allah)! Some animals also display extraordinary cognitive powers and problem-solving skills. Still, man alone can learn cumulatively by recording what he has learned and passing it on to others. Is it, therefore, a coincidence that Allah should mention the gift of writing to man? The Unique Gift Of Human Speech Also, consider the verses: (55:1) (Allah) Most Gracious! (2) It is He Who has taught the Qur´an. (3) He has created man: (4) He has taught him speech. Speech is not unique to humans. Why does the Quran, therefore, mention speech? What is unique about human speech/languages that Allah should mention the teaching of speech as a special favour to mankind? The following is from Noah Harari’s book “Sapiens”: “What was the modern man’s secret of success? How did we settle so rapidly in many distant and ecologically different habitats? How did we push all other human species into oblivion? Why couldn’t the strong, brainy, cold-proof Neanderthals survive our onslaught? The debate continues to rage. The most likely answer is the very thing that makes the debate possible: The modern man conquered the world thanks to its unique language. The internal structure of the brains of the previous human beings before the “Cognitive Revolution” probably differed from ours. They looked like us, but their cognitive abilities – learning, remembering, communicating – were far more limited. Teaching such humans English, persuading them of the truth of Christian dogma, or getting them to understand the theory of evolution would probably have been hopeless undertakings. But then, beginning about 70,000 years ago, Homo sapiens started doing extraordinary things. Around that date, Sapiens bands left Africa for a second time. This time, they drove the Neanderthals and all other human species not only from the Middle East but from the face of the earth. Within a remarkably short period, Sapiens reached Europe and East Asia. About 45,000 years ago, they crossed the open sea and landed in Australia – a continent hitherto untouched by humans. The period from about 70,000 years ago to about 30,000 years ago witnessed the invention of boats, oil lamps, bows and arrows and needles (essential for sewing warm clothing). The first objects that can reliably be called art date from this era, as does the first clear evidence for religion, commerce and social stratification. Most researchers believe that these unprecedented accomplishments were the product of a revolution in Sapiens’ cognitive abilities. They maintain that the people who drove the Neanderthals to extinction settled in Australia and carved the Stadel lion-man were as intelligent, creative and sensitive as we are. If we were to come across the artists of the Stadel Cave, we could learn their language and they ours. We’d be able to explain to them everything we know – from the adventures of Alice in Wonderland to the paradoxes of quantum physics – and they could teach us how their people view the world. The appearance of new ways of thinking and communicating, between 70,000 and 30,000 years ago, constitutes the Cognitive Revolution. What caused it? We’re not sure. The most commonly believed theory argues that accidental genetic mutations changed the inner wiring of the brains of Sapiens, enabling them to think in unprecedented ways and to communicate using an altogether new type of language. We might call it the Tree of Knowledge mutation. Why did it occur in Sapiens DNA rather than in that of Neanderthals? It was a matter of pure chance, as far as we can tell. But it’s more important to understand the consequences of the Tree of Knowledge mutation than its causes. What was so special about the new Sapiens language that it enabled us to conquer the world?* It was not the first language. Every animal has some language. Even insects, such as bees and ants, know how to communicate in sophisticated ways, informing one another of the whereabouts of food. Neither was it the first vocal language. Many animals, including all ape and monkey species, have vocal languages. For example, green monkeys use calls of various kinds to communicate. Zoologists have identified one call that means, ‘Careful! An eagle!’ A slightly different call warns, ‘Careful! A lion!’ When researchers played a recording of the first call to a group of monkeys, the monkeys stopped what they were doing and looked upward in fear. When the same group heard a recording of the second call, the lion warning, they quickly scrambled up a tree. Sapiens can produce many more distinct sounds than green monkeys, but whales and elephants have equally impressive abilities. A parrot can say anything Albert Einstein could say, as well as mimic the sounds of phones ringing, doors slamming, and sirens wailing. Whatever advantage Einstein had over a parrot, it wasn’t vocal. What, then, is so special about our language? The most common answer is that our language is amazingly supple. We can connect a limited number of sounds and signs to produce infinite sentences, each with a distinct meaning. We can thereby ingest, store and communicate a prodigious amount of information about the surrounding world. A green monkey can yell to its comrades, ‘Careful! A lion!’ But a modern human can tell her friends that this morning, near the bend in the river, she saw a lion tracking a herd of bison. She can then describe the exact location, including the different paths leading to the area. With this information, her band members can put their heads together and discuss whether they ought to approach the river to chase away the lion and hunt the bison. A second theory agrees that our unique language evolved to share information about the world.” From the Quran we learn that Indeed Adam Had A Lot Of Information To Share In the creation of the modern man, Adam, the Quran speaks of all these unique gifts that make them exceptional. The gift of speech, the gift of writing, the gift of learning from nature, and the sudden broadening of his vocabulary to include everything around him, which Harari calls “The tree of knowledge mutation”. (2:31) And He taught Adam the names of all things; then He placed them before the angels, and said: "Tell me the names of these if ye are right." (32) They said: "Glory to Thee, of knowledge We have none, save what Thou Hast taught us: In truth it is Thou Who art perfect in knowledge and wisdom." (33) He said: "O Adam! Tell them their names." When he had told them, Allah said: "Did I not tell you that I know the secrets of heaven and earth, and I know what ye reveal and what ye conceal?" (34) And behold, We said to the angels: "Bow down to Adam" and they bowed down. Not so Iblis: he refused and was haughty: He was of those who reject Faith. Conclusion: Science is unable to explain what caused the Cognitive Revolution. The Quran speaks about the creation of a man with the Cognitive abilities that science describes as caused by the Cognitive Revolution. The Quran proves that the required guidance to mankind, or “Allah’s Religion,” began with Adam. Scientific studies also confirm that religion is as old as the “Cognitive Revolution.” Therefore, religion and its morality are as old as Adam or as old as the “Cognitive Revolution.” Russell’s statement, “Those, blinded by God and religion, will never concede that morality evolved without any god, religion, and scripture," is, therefore, counterfactual and a result of his ignorance of the subject. He probably thinks religion started with Jesus (May peace be upon Jesus)! ----- A frequent contributor to NewAgeIslam.com, Naseer Ahmed is an Engineering graduate from IIT Kanpur and is an independent IT consultant after having served in both the Public and Private sector in responsible positions for over three decades. He has spent years studying Quran in-depth and made seminal contributions to its interpretation. URL: https://newageislam.com/islam-west/logical-fallacy-appeal-authority/d/132114 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

Eid-ul-Fitr, A Day Of Joy In Islam That Promotes Brotherhood, Love, And Unity

By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi, New Age Islam 10 April 2024 Eid al-Fitr and Sadaqah al-Fitr: Some Important Issues Main Points 1. What is the meaning of Eid al-Fitr? 2. Why is Eid al-Fitr regarded as a day of joy and happiness? 3. When did Eid Salah become obligatory? 4. What is the virtue of praying on the night preceding Eid ul-Fitr? 5. What is Sadaqat al-Fitr, or Fast-Breaking Charity? 6. Why pay Sadaqah al-Fitr? 7. When should a Muslim pay Sadaqah al-Fitr? 8. Whom to Pay Sadaqah al-Fitr? 9. What is the purpose of Sadaqah al-Fitr? 10. An extremely crucial thing to remember about Sadaqah al-Fitr ------ What Is The Meaning Of Eid Al-Fitr? The term "Eid," originating from Arabic, signifies a feast, festivity, celebration, and recurring happy occasion. Fitr means the conclusion of fasting. Eid al-Fitr is a yearly celebration that brings renewed happiness at the end of Ramadan, symbolizing the end of the fasting month. The celebration of Eid brings joy, social bonds, and compassion among Muslims, demonstrating their unity through festive celebrations that ease life's burdens. Why Is Eid Al-Fitr Regarded As A Day Of Joy And Happiness? Eid al-Fitr is a conglomeration of numerous joys. One is the pleasure of observing a fast throughout Ramadan. The delight of standing in prayer at night throughout Ramadan is the second. The revelation of the Qur'an this month is the third source of happiness. The Night of Qadr is the subject of the fourth joy. The fifth is the happiness that comes from fasting, followed by divine mercy, forgiveness, and protection from the vengeance of Hell. Subsequently, it is mandated to convey all these delights through almsgiving, or Sadaqat al-Fitr, to establish a connection between prayer and charity. For these reasons, Eid al-Fitr is referred to as a "day of joy" for the believers. When Did Eid Salah Become Obligatory? It was narrated that Anas bin Malik said: "The people of the Jahiliyyah had two days each year when they would play. When the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) came to Madinah, he said, ‘You had two days when you would play, but Allah Almighty has given Muslims something instead that is better than them: the day of Al-Fitr and the day of Al-Adha’." [Sunan an-Nasai 1556 (Book 19, Hadith 1)] The hadith of Anas bin Malik explains that the Prophet Muhammad introduced Islamic holidays, Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, in substitution of pre-Islamic days of play. Eid al-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan, while Eid al-Adha commemorates Hadrat Abraham's sacrifice of his son at God's command. This is how the prayers for Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha started in Islam. Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, a famous historian, states that the first Eid prayer led by the Messenger of Allah took place in the second year of Hijra. [Taarikh al-Tabari] What Is The Virtue Of Praying On The Night Preceding Eid Al-Fitr? Praying the night before Eid is far more virtue-filled than worshipping during regular days. This night is called Laylat al-Jaiza, or Night of Rewards. Laylat al-Jaiza is one of the five nights during which prayers and supplications are not rejected. The Messenger of Allah is reported to have said, “There are five nights on which du’a is not rejected: the first night of Rajab, the fifteenth night of Sha’ban, Thursday night, the night before Eid al-Fitr, and the night before Eid al-Nahr (al-Adha)’. [Mundhiri, al-Targhib wa al-Tarhib, 1/182] The Messenger of Allah used to spend this night in prayer and supplication. He would read the Quran, offer up Nafil prayers—which are optional—and ask God for forgiveness. He would also offer optional Tahajjud prayers, which are best offered in the later hours of the night. As Muslims fast during the month of Ramadan, this is a significant night when they can receive blessings and rewards from God. They must maximise this night by performing acts of prayer and supplication. It is a time for introspection, self-improvement, and asking God for forgiveness. The following hadith also addresses the merits of praying on this night: It is narrated on the authority of Abu Umama that the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said, “Whoever stands up (in worship) in the nights preceding the two Eids expecting rewards from his Lord, his heart will not die when the other hearts will die.” [Ibn Majah, Al-Sunan, Kitab al-Sayam, 2:377, Hadith 1782] What is Sadaqat al-Fitr, or Fast-Breaking Charity? Sadaqat or Sadaqah means charity, while Fitr means breaking the fast. Hence, Sadaqat al-Fitr means charity for breaking the fast of Ramadan. Zakat al-Fitr, or Zakat of Breaking the Fast, is another name for this. This is sometimes referred to as the Alms of Human Nature or Zakat al-Fitrah. This is also known as Fitrah. Islam requires all eligible Muslims to do the great duty of Sadaqah al-Fitr, or an act of charity that Allah loves, at the end of Ramadan. The purpose of Sadaqah al-Fitr is to enable the poor to meet their needs and be happy on the day of Eid. A Muslim can obtain acceptance from Allah for his fast, atone for any transgressions committed during the fast, and be saved from the torment of the grave and hellfire by paying Sadaqah al-Fitr. Why Pay Sadaqah al-Fitr? Sadaqah al-Fitr is compulsory (Wajib) for every free Muslim who owns an amount equal to the Nisab in excess of what is necessary for the satisfaction of the primary necessities of life (Haajah Asliyyah). According to Hanafis, three conditions are stipulated: the giver must (1) be free, (2) be a Muslim, and (3) own a Nisab. The obligation is due to the words of the Prophet (peace be upon him), “Pay for each free person and slave, minor or major, one-half Sa’ of wheat, or one Sa’ of dates, or one Sa’ of barely." (Sunan Abu Dawud, vol. 2, p. 406) It is reported by Abdullah Ibn Umar that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) enjoined the payment of one Sa' of dates or one Sa' of barley as Zakat-ul-Fitr on every Muslim slave or free, male or female, young or old, and he ordered that it be paid before the people went out to offer the 'Eid prayer. (Bukhari and Muslim) It is narrated that Abdullah ibn Abbas said at the end of Ramadan, “Pay Sadaqah for your fasts, for this Sadaqah has been stipulated by the Messenger of Allah, which is one Sa' of dates or one Sa' of barley, or half Sa’ of wheat." (Abu Dawud and Nasai) It is reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) sent a person into the neighbourhoods of Makkah and said, “Announce that the Sadaqah al-Fitr is waajib (compulsory). (Tirmidhi) It is reported from Ibn Abbas that the Prophet (peace be upon him) stipulated the Zakat al-Fitr so that the fasts may be purified from shameless and vulgar utterances and so that the needy (Miskeen) may be fed. (Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah, Haakim) It is reported from Hazrat Anas that the Messenger of Allah said, “The fasts of a servant remain suspended between the skies and the earth until he does not discharge the Sadaqah al-Fitr. (Dailami, Ibn Asaakir) With the aforementioned narrations, Sadaqah al-Fitr, according to Hanafis, becomes compulsory (Wajib) and not a definitive obligation (Farz) due to the absence of definitive evidence (Dalil Qati’i). Imam Shafei and Imam Hanbal consider it Farz-like Zakat, whereas Imam Malik believes this act to be Sunnah Mu’akkadah. Sadaqah al-Fitr is compulsory for every free Muslim who owns the Nisab which is more than the primary necessities of life (Hajah Asliyyah). There is no condition of sanity (aqil), puberty (Baaligh), and productive wealth (Maal Al Naami). (Durre Mukhtar, vol. 2, p. 99) It is compulsory for a father to pay the Fitra on behalf of his children as well if the minors themselves do not own the Nisab. However, if the minors own the Nisab, the fitra should be paid up from their wealth. Fasting is not conditional on Fitra becoming compulsory. If a person did not fast due to some valid reason, such as travelling, illness, or old age, it is still compulsory for him to pay it. (Raddul Muhtar, vol. 2, p. 101) A Muslim is not obliged to pay the Fitra on behalf of his wife due to inadequate authority and liability of burden, for he does not have authority over her beyond the rights of Nikah. He also does not bear her burden, except in the case of prescribed matters like medical treatment. Similarly, he is not liable for the Fitra of his children who have attained the age of majority, even if he is responsible for their provisions and they are still part of their family, due to a lack of legal authority. However, if he does pay it on behalf of his children and his wife without a request on their part, it will be counted as valid based on Istihsan due to the confirmation of permission in practice. [Hidaya, chapter Sadaqah al-Fitr/Durre Mukhtar, vol. 2, p. 10] If the wife paid the Fitra of her husband without his authority, it would not be deemed valid. (Alamgiri, vol. 1, p. 193; Raddul Muhtar, vol. 2, p. 102/103, etc.) One is not obliged to pay the Fitrah on behalf of his mother, father, paternal grandfather, paternal grandmother, and his Na-Baaligh brothers, nor on behalf of his other relatives, and he cannot do so without their authority. [Alamgiri, vol. 1, p. 193] When Should A Muslim Pay Sadaqah Al-Fitr? A Muslim should pay Sadaqah al-Fitr on the day of Eid after the true dawn (Subh e Sadiq) appears. It is recommended to pay the Fitra on the day of Eid before going towards the place of Eid prayer because the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to pay it before moving towards the place of prayer (Hidaya). If he has not paid it in the stipulated period, he should pay it now as he has his entire life to pay it, and this will be regarded as ‘on time’ (Ada) and not Qaza, though it is Sunnah to do so before the Eid prayer. (Durre Mukhtar) Whom to Pay Sadaqah al-Fitr? The recipients of Sadaqah al-Fitr are the same as those of Zakah. In other words, you may give Fitrah to those to whom you may give Zakah, and you are not permitted to give Fitrah to those to whom you are not permitted to give Zakaat, except an ‘Aamil’ (Zakaat Collector appointed by the Islamic Ruler), because he is permitted to accept Zakaat but not Fitrah. (Durre-Mukhtar, Raddul Muhtar, vol. 1, p. 108; Bahare Shariat, p. 148) The categories of recipients who deserve to receive the Fitra, as mentioned in Surah Tawbah (9:60), include the poor (Faqir), the needy or indigent (Miskeen), reconciliation of hearts, freeing captives and slaves, debtors, in the way of Allah (fi Sabilillah), and the traveller. As for the Zakah collectors mentioned in this verse, they deserve to accept Zakah but not Fitrah, as mentioned above. Sadaqah al-Fitr is offered out of four substances: (1) wheat (Genhu), (2) barely (Jau), (3) dried dates (Khujur), and (4) raisins (Kishmish). In the case of wheat, the amount due is one-half Sa’ per person. In the case of barely dried dates and raisins, one full Sa’ is due per person. According to in-depth research, the weight of one Sa’ equates to the weight of 351 rupees, and half a Sa’ equates to the weight of 175 rupees (Fatawa Razviyya, Ala Hazrat). According to Mufti Jalaluddin Amjadi, the quantity of one Sa’ in today’s measurement is approximately 4.94 kilogrammes, and half a Sa’ is 2.47 kilogrammes (Anwar-e-Shariat). There are differences regarding the exact measurement; however, this view can be taken as preferable. Thus, any one of the following substances can be given as Fitrah; (1) Dried dates: one Sa’ = 4.94 kg (2) Barely: one Sa’ = 4.94 kg (3) Raisins: one Sa’ = 4.94 kg (4) Wheat: one half of one Sa’ = 2.47 kg It is also permissible to calculate the amount of Sadaqah al-Fitr due based on the substance’s value and to offer its value in money instead. This is considered preferable because it is of more benefit to the poor. It is permissible to pay Sadaqah al-Fitr on behalf of a group to a single needy person or to pay it on behalf of a single person to several needy people. What Is The Purpose Of Sadaqah Al-Fitr? There are two basic purposes behind paying Sadaqah al-Fitr. (1) It should be paid as a levy on the fasting person. This is based on the Hadith in which the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) is reported to have said, “The fasts of a servant remain suspended between the skies and the earth until he does not discharge the Sadaqah al-Fitr” (Dailami, Ibn Asaakir). (2) The second basic purpose is to meet the needs of the poor so that they can celebrate Eid al-Fitr with others. The Prophet (peace be upon him) is reported to have stipulated the Zakat ul Fitr so that the fasts may be purified from shameless and vulgar utterances and so that the needy (Miskeen) may be fed. (Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah, Haakim) An Extremely Crucial Thing To Remember If one can pay the amount of dried dates or raisins, he should pay the same instead of paying the quantity or amount of wheat, which is cheaper and not more beneficial for the poor and needy people. While planning to pay any type of Sadaqah, one should adopt the means that can be more helpful for the needy, as the main objective of Sadaqah al-Fitr, in the words of a Hadith, is “to liberate the needy from the humiliation of begging and walking around on this day (Eid al-Fitr)”. ----- A regular Columnist with NewAgeIslam.com, Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi Dehlvi is a Classical Islamic scholar with a Sufi background and an English-Arabic-Urdu Translator. URL: https://newageislam.com/islam-spiritualism/eid-fitr-joy-brotherhood-peace-love-unity/d/132117 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

When Will Humans Apply Their Innate Rationality?

By Sumit Paul, New Age Islam 10 April 2024 The whole country is shocked after reading in newspapers that an educated Kerala couple along with their friend were found dead in Arunachal Pradesh hotel room. The deceased were identified as Arya B Nair from Thiruvananthapuram, and Naveen Thomas and his wife Devi Thomas, both residents of Kottayam. Their bodies were discovered inside a hotel room in Arunachal Pradesh's Hapoli. Belief in the afterlife led to their death as they looked for YouTube videos describing the life after death. Their suicide was part of this belief. (L-R) Naveen Thomas and his wife Devi Madhavan and Arya Nair. Special Arrangement ----- This morbid fascination for a terra incognita serves as a stark reminder that education alone cannot inoculate against the seduction of superstition. Forsaking this world for an imagined one shows the powerful grip of superstition on the human psyche. All these superstitious beliefs are perpetually fuelled by religions with their otherworldly promises. Islam's otherworldly promises have assumed legendary status. IIT-Guwahati student, Tauseef Ali Farooqui, joining ISIS and intending to court martyrdom for a perpetual life in heaven is yet another example of a superstitious belief, strengthened by religion. In fact, all man-made bogus and murderous faiths institutionalize superstitions and justify them. All superstitions are offspring and offshoots of faith. From uttering a prayer before boarding a plane, train or a bus, to exploring past lives through hypnosis, superstition has become pervasive in contemporary culture. Read Robert L Park's 'Superstition: Belief In The Age Of Science.' Park sides with the forces of reason in a world of continuing and increasing superstition. Chapter by chapter, he explains how people too easily mistake pseudoscience for science. He discusses parapsychology, angel therapy, Feng Shui and acupuncture; he questions the existence of souls, the foundations of intelligent design, and the power of prayer; he asks for evidence of reincarnation and astral projections; and he challenges the idea of heaven. Throughout, he demonstrates how people’s blind faith, and their confidence in suspect phenomena and remedies, are manipulated for political ends. Park shows that science prevails when people stop fooling themselves. Everywhere and in every culture, religions and superstitions are subverting the natural human intelligence. Religions with their innumerable superstitions have hijacked the human brain's innate capacity to think rationally. We're still unable to come to terms with the fact that science has answers to all our questions and doubts. At the moment, science may not have the explanations to all natural phenomena but sooner or later, it'll have the answers to all human queries. You've glaring examples of two state-sponsored sanctimonious Babas, Ramdev and Jaggi. Both the superstitious 'gurus' have eggs on their faces. Ramdev would claim that Go-Mutra (cow's urine.....yuck!) could cure all diseases, even all types of cancer! He'd sprinkle cow's urine on all things. Hindus thought that he was modern Hakim Luqman and god's personal physician. Now our modern Hakim Luqman ji and his equally dubious Nepali partner are facing the wrath of the Supreme Court for their outlandish claims which they have been making ever since the current political dispensation came into power. Jaggi (why is he called Sadguru?) used to say that when body was in tune with nature, it needed no medicines. He underwent emergency brain surgery and is now swallowing all sorts of allopathic medicines! We need to develop scientific temperament and do away with all superstitions. But before that, mankind shall have to dispense with two of its biggest superstitions for thousands of years: Religion and god. Are you ready to jettison them? Yuval Noah Harari says that humans still require crores of years to evolve. But the human civilization will end much before that. So, we all will die as unevolved and crawling creatures, wallowing in the muck of irrationality, religiosity and superstitions. It seems to be our inexorable and ineluctable fate. ---- A regular columnist for New Age Islam, Sumit Paul is a researcher in comparative religions, with special reference to Islam. He has contributed articles to the world's premier publications in several languages including Persian. URL: https://newageislam.com/spiritual-meditations/humans-apply-innate-rationality/d/132113 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, April 9, 2024

Indian Muslims Are Forging A New Path Towards Secularism Within The Framework Of Indian Democracy

By Grace Mubashir, New Age Islam 9 April 2024 As They Navigate Through A Post-Islamist Phase, They Are Blending Constitutional Principles Of Freedom, Justice, And Equality With Their Religious Beliefs. Main Points: 1. Despite facing increased marginalization and dwindling political representation, Indian Muslims have largely resisted radicalization. Instead, they are embracing a rights-based approach, prioritizing socio-economic concerns over religious reform 2. Even Islamist groups are adopting a rights-centred vocabulary, albeit with a preference for religious morality in certain areas such as personal law and religious practices 3. In essence, Indian Muslims are redefining secular politics by integrating constitutional values with religious beliefs ------- Protests against initiatives such as the Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Register of Citizens have reinvigorated secularism in India's political discourse. Led initially by the Muslim community, these protests have gained traction among students, civil society groups, and political parties. What's noteworthy is the language employed by Muslim activists, which predominantly revolves around Constitutional rights guaranteed to all citizens, rather than religious rhetoric. Despite facing increased marginalization and dwindling political representation, Indian Muslims have largely resisted radicalization. Instead, they are embracing a rights-based approach, prioritizing socio-economic concerns over religious reform. This shift is evident in various spheres, including education, where most Muslim children attend secular schools rather than religious institutions. Even Islamist groups are adopting a rights-centred vocabulary, albeit with a preference for religious morality in certain areas such as personal law and religious practices. This shift is reflected in the transformation of organizations like the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, which have moved from rejecting secular democracy to embracing religious pluralism and democratic principles. Moreover, Muslim groups are forming alliances with other marginalized communities, exemplified by the support for leaders like Chandrashekhar Azad of the Bhim Army. However, the alliance between Muslims and Hindu Dalits remains somewhat tenuous due to disparities in socio-economic interests. In essence, Indian Muslims are redefining secular politics by integrating constitutional values with religious beliefs. Their rejection of mainstream liberal secularism, which often disregarded their socio-economic concerns, has breathed new life into the concept of participatory democracy. By asserting their rights within the democratic framework, they are shaping a more inclusive and equitable future for India. People usually think that when majoritarian politics take over, Indian Muslims will become more extreme. But this focus on basic rights goes against that idea. Every day, the government is becoming more hostile toward Muslims because of the communal policies. It makes their social and economic exclusion worse. It is not only clear that cops are biased against Muslims when they break the law, but it is also written into the law. For example, to "maintain demographic equilibrium," the Disturbed Areas Act in Gujarat makes it very hard for Hindus and Muslims to buy and sell land in urban Gujarat. In addition, the number of Muslim MPs in the Lok Sabha is the lowest it has been since independence. Out of the 543 MPs, only 25 are Muslims, which is six more than in the last Lok Sabha. In spite of the fact that Muslims only make up 14.2% of India's population, this gives them just over 4.5% of the Lower House. In January 2018, only four of the BJP's 1,418 MLAs were Muslims. However, the party's strength in Northern and Western Indian states has decreased since then. Even so, the fact that Indian Muslims are becoming less visible (they are the "fifth column" of Indian society for Hindu nationalists) has not led to radicalization, except in a few isolated cases in Jammu and Kashmir and Kerala. In fact, the most recent pro-democracy protests show that India's Muslims are creating a new language of secularism through civil symbols and sometimes creatively mixing them with religious themes. Constitutional Language Based On Rights This shows a big change in the Muslim community's political strategy over the years: Indian Muslims now value a language of rights more than the religious and moral tasks that Islamic reformists stress. Almost all of the time, Muslim female groups have used human rights knowledge. One example is the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan, which has spoken out against women not being able to enter Dargahs and for women to have the freedom to make their own choices in life. A lot of work has been done by "non-religious" Muslim groups, like Pasmanda, which is short for low-caste and Dalit Muslims, in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, and Maharashtra to fix the problem of caste-based socioeconomic backwardness among Muslims through representative politics. Protests for democracy are happening now in many parts of India, mostly by Muslim women who don't have a leader. In public, holding portraits of BR Ambedkar, MK Gandhi, and Savitribai Phule, reading the Preamble of the Indian Constitution, and flying the national flag have become more important than religious beliefs. There's no doubt that the "storm of West" inspired Mohammad Iqbal's poetic discovery, but the "storm of Hindutva" is turning Muslims into secularists. It's not that Indian Muslims didn't support secular goals before; what this means is that active support of constitutional and secular symbols is something new and different that they bring to the table. To speak this rights-based language with more confidence, Muslims are focusing less on moral change and more on social, political, and educational ways to make progress. In India, most Muslim kids go to open schools, despite what people think. In 2006, only 7% of Muslim kids ages 7 to 19 who were old enough to go to school went to a madrassa. Half of the people who went to a madrassa also went to a regular school and took religion classes on the side. Even Islamists are starting to use language that focuses on rights, even though they often value religious morals over constitutional ideals, especially when it comes to personal law and religious practices. New Signs And A New Name My study on two Islamic reformist groups that work in Gujarat, a state that was the testing ground for Hindu nationalist politics, confirms this clear shift toward putting economic issues ahead of reformist activities. For example, these groups run Muslim charity schools that have separate classrooms for boys and girls and a part-time religious education. These schools follow the state-mandated curriculum, so they are kind of like a mix between a regular school and a part-time madrassa. Their goal is clear: to help Muslim children learn new skills and improve their ability to learn because the government has been ignoring them for so long. This way, these Islamic radicals deal with secular modernity on their own terms, using Islamic reasons to back them up. By giving up some of their beliefs about how religious truth is always right, they find a new moral reason to take secular views. My results are similar to those written by Irfan Ahmed in his 2009 book Islamism and Democracy in India. Ahmed's book is about how the values of the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, an Islamist group that was founded in 1941, have changed in a very interesting way. The Jamaat used to be against secular democracy and nationalism around the time of the Partition of the Indian subcontinent. But starting in the 1990s, they started to believe religious freedom, tolerance, and a democratic system. As Jamaat has a history of supporting the Pakistan movement and is thought to have been involved in terrorist actions through its student group, the Students' Islamic Movement of India, these changes in ideology are very important. In India, the Jamaat has given up on its goal of creating an Islamic state and encourages its members to work in the social sciences, journalism, and the public service, often with the help of civil society organizations. This trend can also be seen in the way that political groups that focus on the Muslim issue, like the Welfare Party of India and Asaduddin Owaisi's All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen, work. Asaduddin Owaisi's All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen is one example of a changing Muslim-centred political party. This change in the way people talk about things is slowly letting Muslim groups build relationships with other disadvantaged groups that face the same threats and worries. In the past few years, this trend has been shown by the fact that most Muslims have supported Chandrashekhar Azad as head of the Bhim Army. However, the partnership between Muslims and Hindu Dalits is still not completely clear-cut because Muslim groups are dominated by upper Ashraf castes whose social and economic goals are not aligned with those of Dalit-led groups. All of this makes it clear that Indian Muslims are now in a post-Islamist era, where Islamic ideas are mixed with constitutional ideas of freedom, justice, and equality. Many people have lost faith in the mainstream liberal brand of secularism because it either didn't like religious symbols or didn't like seeing religion in public at all. This has made them more open to this localized form of secularism. At best, liberal supporters of secularism didn't pay attention to the economic problems of Muslims, especially low-caste and Dalit Muslims. Instead, they rallied behind meaningless arguments in support of secularism that didn't have much of an impact on the public. At its worst, Muslims were called a group of people who believed in things from prehistoric times. Indian Muslims' pro-democracy movements have given both secular and participatory democracy a new lease on life by bringing these flaws to light, though it is too early to say for sure. ----- A regular columnist for NewAgeIslam.com, Mubashir V.P is a PhD scholar in Islamic Studies at Jamia Millia Islamia and freelance journalist. URL: https://www.newageislam.com/islam-politics/indian-muslims-path-secularism-indian-democracy/d/132108 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

Maugham And Shaikh Saadi On Dietary Etiquette

By Sumit Paul, New Age Islam 9 April 2024 In Islamic Countries Like Iran And Turkey, Serving Food And Partaking Of It Is Ritualistic Like Serving Tea In Japanese Culture. Arabs Believe That Eating And Light-Hearted Bantering Should Go Hand In Hand But Serious Discussions Must Be Avoided. ------ "At a dinner party one should eat wisely but not too well, and talk well but not too wisely." William Somerset Maugham "Talk a little but observe more, finish your meal before you belch." Shaikh Saadi, Gulistan Both the quotes are all about having balance when it comes to dinner party etiquette and when one's eating with others. Maugham and Saadi exhort us to enjoy the meal that has been served, but not to overindulge. It is also important to hold up one’s end of the conversation by contributing interesting and thoughtful ideas, but also to be mindful not to talk too much and dominate the conversation. To make sure we adhere to these quotes, it is important to be mindful and savour the moment of good food and good company. Food may be a serious business, it must never be accompanied by anything serious. That's why, religion and politics are always avoided on the dining table because both the subjects invariably degenerate into something ugly, awkward and embarrassing. Once Dara Shikoh invited a few Brahmin scholars from Kashi and while eating with them, those Pandits started comparing food with Brahma-Gyaan. Though always enthusiastic about such profound and recondite discussions, prince Dara Shikoh avoided philosophy during eating and famously said in Sanskrit: Darshan Varjyate Athapi Bhojanam-Kaamam (Avoid philosophy during eating and love-making: Dastar Aur Bistar Pe Falsafe Se Parhez Keejiye). A man is known by the way he eats is an old Scottish proverb. It applies to a woman as well. The way you eat shows your pedigree. Food is a part of culture if not culture itself. "Dastar-Khvaan Pe Insaan Ki Parvarish Ka Suraagh Milta Hai" (One's upbringing becomes obvious on the dining table) is a famous Urdu saying. In Islamic countries like Iran and Turkey, serving food and partaking of it is ritualistic like serving tea in Japanese culture. Arabs believe that eating and light-hearted bantering should go hand in hand but serious discussions must be avoided. Now modern findings in medical science have also confirmed that serious discussions during eating may cause indigestion and leave a bitter taste in the mouth, to use an idiom. Nowadays, eating and drinking gel well and people after gulping down a few glasses of bitter ale, start talking uncontrollably. In both the quotes on dietary etiquette, one thing is clear that one should be a gourmet and not a gourmand. While the former is a connoisseur of food, the latter is a glutton. One should be an observer and refrain from talking too much. This shouldn't be practised during eating only but in all situations and circumstances of life. An observer is a silent spectator who is a witness to the cavalcade of time. He doesn't talk, He observes. "Saahil Pe Baith Ke Lahron Ko Dekhte Hain / Saakit Khade Hum Door Se Chehron Ko Dekhte Hain" (Sitting on the shore, I look at the waves/ Standing silent and alone, I observe people from a distance). An uncontrollable itch to talk and spread verbal dysentery should be eschewed at any cost. Life is not perpetually serious and sombre. Enjoy it without being too serious and wise. ----- A regular columnist for New Age Islam, Sumit Paul is a researcher in comparative religions, with special reference to Islam. He has contributed articles to the world's premier publications in several languages including Persian. URL: https://newageislam.com/spiritual-meditations/maugham-shaikh-saadi-dietary-etiquette/d/132107 New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

What “Ishq” is in Sufism is “Hubb” in the Qur’an!

By Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi, New Age Islam 8 April 2024 Ishq-e-Haqiqi (Divine Love) is the Sufi Interpretation of the Broader Qur’anic Notion of “Hubb-e-ilahi” ----- In the Indian subcontinent, the word Ishq in the pop culture and Urdu and Punjabi literature has been much misconstrued. The meaning of Ishq has been borrowed from the medieval Arabic poetry, in which it was extensively used for something melancholic and romantic and sometimes complete madness and craziness for a human being. For instance—going by the authentic Arabic lexicon, Lisan Al-Arab, “Ishq is an excessive Hubb, an abundance of it to the extent of excess. It says: Abu Al-Abbas Ahmed bin Yahya was asked about the distinction between Ishq and Hubb and was questioned: Which one is better? He said: Hubb because Ishq is replete with madness. Ibn Faris, the eminent Arabic philologist and lexicographer said: "Ishq" is an adoration of someone particularly a female, to the extent of being excessive in her love in complete blindness from realising her flaws. However, all this in Sufism is called “Ishq e Majazi”, the state of love which is always a pseudo-love and is meant to end in abandonment or desolation, as it is a material love and not an eternal affair. The mystical understanding of Ishq in Sufism is that it is a deeper state of love, and it is indeed the excess of it, the full indulgence in it, not for material love, but rather for real and esoteric love (Ishq e Haqiqi). The Arabic word “Hubb” which entails the vast meanings of affinity, longing and love, has been used in the Qur’an for the same meaning that Ishq connotes in Sufism. In fact, the Arabic-origin term “Ishq” is the ultimate and highest culmination of Hubb which leads to self-annihilating surrender and complete submission to the Will of the Beloved Divine. Thus, viewed from this perspective, Islam in the sense of “submission to the will of Allah“ is all about unconditional and infinite divine love for the sake of Allah in which there’s no space for hatred or prejudice for anyone. This has been systematically expounded in the famous Hadith e Jibril which is also called “Ummul Ahadith” (The Mother of All Hadiths) in which Ihsan (spirituality or mystical Islam) has been rendered as the utmost perfection of Imaan and Islam. However, the holy Qur’an only uses the Arabic term “Hubb” but not the word “Ishq” famously known in Urdu poetry and Persian literature to denote the divine love. In many of its verses which talk about love for Allah including the below-mentioned two pieces of long verses, the Qur’anic term of “Hubb-e-ilahi” has deep connotations. Let us take a cursory look at them as follows: (1) قُلْ إِن كُنتُمْ تُحِبُّونَ اللَّهَ فَاتَّبِعُونِي يُحْبِبْكُمُ اللَّهُ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ذنُوبَكُمْ ۗ وَاللَّهُ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ Translation: Say, [O Prophet pbuh], "If you should love Allah, then follow me, [so] Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. And Allah is Moat Forgiving and Most Merciful. (3:31) (2) وَٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوٓاْ أَشَدُّ حُبًّا لِّلَّهِ Translation: “And the (true) believers are those who love Allah more than anyone or anything else…..” (02: 165) In both the above crucial places, the Arabic term “Hubb” not “Ishq” has been used in the Qur’an. Hence, the greatest Sufi mystic and propounder of Wahdat ul Wajud (Unity of the Being) Sheikh e Akbar Muhaiyudden Ibn ul Arabi and later his Arabic-speaking adherents among the Sufis frequently used “Hubb” in his footsteps. For instance—Ibn ul Arabi compiled an anthology of his poetry on the Divine Love (Ishq-e-Ilahi) and named it “The Translation/Translator of the Desires (ترجمان الأشواق ). In this book, Sheikh e Akbar makes use of the Qur’anic term “Hubb” in an unconventional way which goes against the mainstream hermeneutical theological tradition of Islam. He expands the meaning of “Hubb” to the Unconditional Love and thus incorporating the elements of “Ishq” in it. Look at the following Arabic couplet attributed to him: أدين بدين الحب أنَّى توجهتْ ركائبه، فالحب ديني وإيماني Translation: I follow them the Religion of Love. Wherever its caravan goes, that’s my law, there’s my faith) However, the Persian-speaking Sufi poets and philosophers especially Maula e Rum Jalaluddin Rumi and many others who adopted his school of Sufi mysticism in the Indian subcontinent in Persian and Urdu poetry have employed the romantic term “Ishq” for myriad reasons and their interpretations of Ishq. For instance—Sultan ul Ashiqin Hazrat Sakhi Sultan Muhammad Najeebur Rahman q.s writes in his book “Shamsul Fuqara” in an explanation of the above Qur’anic verse: “Hubb is the hallmark of a true believer, but Ishq is the beginning and the source of all creations. When the souls were created by the Light of the Prophet (Noor Mohammadi), Ishq e Ilahi was ingrained in the human souls as an integral part.” He then refers to the prophetic tradition where he is reported to have said: لا يؤمن أحدكم حتى أكون أحب إليه إلى آخره One can’t be a believer unless s/he loves the Prophet more than everyone. Sakhi Sultan further says: Hubb or Muhabbat can occur with anyone but Ishq is not possible except for Allah. When Hubb intensifies, it turns into Ishq, which is only for Allah. It is this Ishq e Haqiqi which makes you restless and you willingly bear and enjoy all pain and sufferings unless you achieve the union or merger with the divine. Jalaluddin Rumi R.A beautifully elucidates it: عشق آں شعلہ است کہ جوں بر فروخت ہر کہ جز معشوق باشد جملہ سوخت Translation: ‘Ishq’ is such a flame of desire that when it intensifies, it sets everything ablaze except the Beloved. Here I’m reminded of an Urdu couplet, unmindful of the poet who said it (perhaps Jigar Muradabadi): عشق معشوق، عشق عاشق ہے یعنی خود آپ ہی میں گم ہے عشق Ishq Mashuq, Ishq Ashiq Hai Yani Khud Aap Hi Mein Gum Hai Ishq It denotes that Allah is Himself Ishq (Love), Ashiq (Lover) and Ma’ashooq (The Beloved). Thus, He is actually immersed in Himself. Now contrast the above Urdu couplet with the following Arabic couplet which has a historical significance: هذا حبيب الله مات في حب الله Translation: He was a Habib ul Allah (The Beloved of Allah) who died in the love, Hubb of Allah. The context of this couplet is that someone said it when the greatest Sufi saint of Indian Subcontinent Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti R.A passed away. This makes it patently clear and easier to understand that “Hubb Fil-Lah” leads to “Fana fil-Lah (Immersion and self-annihilation in the Divine) and “Baqa bil-Lah” (immortal existence with the Divine) which is the ultimate reality of Ishq-e-ilahi in Sufism beautifully embodied by the Divine Lovers like Mansoor Hallaj in Iraq and Sarmad Kashani (more popularly known as Sarmad Shaheed) in India. They truly attained the Union with the One in an abundance of Divine Love. ---- A Regular Columnist with Newageislam.com, Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi is an Indo-Islamic scholar and English-Arabic-Urdu writer with a background in a leading Sufi Islamic seminary in India. URL: https://newageislam.com/islam-spiritualism/ishq-sufism-hubb-quran/d/132099 New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Monday, April 8, 2024

What “Ishq” is in Sufism is “Hubb” in the Qur’an!

By Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi, New Age Islam 8 April 2024 Ishq-e-Haqiqi (Divine Love) is the Sufi Interpretation of the Broader Qur’anic Notion of “Hubb-e-ilahi” ----- In the Indian subcontinent, the word Ishq in the pop culture and Urdu and Punjabi literature has been much misconstrued. The meaning of Ishq has been borrowed from the medieval Arabic poetry, in which it was extensively used for something melancholic and romantic and sometimes complete madness and craziness for a human being. For instance—going by the authentic Arabic lexicon, Lisan Al-Arab, “Ishq is an excessive Hubb, an abundance of it to the extent of excess. It says: Abu Al-Abbas Ahmed bin Yahya was asked about the distinction between Ishq and Hubb and was questioned: Which one is better? He said: Hubb because Ishq is replete with madness. Ibn Faris, the eminent Arabic philologist and lexicographer said: "Ishq" is an adoration of someone particularly a female, to the extent of being excessive in her love in complete blindness from realising her flaws. However, all this in Sufism is called “Ishq e Majazi”, the state of love which is always a pseudo-love and is meant to end in abandonment or desolation, as it is a material love and not an eternal affair. The mystical understanding of Ishq in Sufism is that it is a deeper state of love, and it is indeed the excess of it, the full indulgence in it, not for material love, but rather for real and esoteric love (Ishq e Haqiqi). The Arabic word “Hubb” which entails the vast meanings of affinity, longing and love, has been used in the Qur’an for the same meaning that Ishq connotes in Sufism. In fact, the Arabic-origin term “Ishq” is the ultimate and highest culmination of Hubb which leads to self-annihilating surrender and complete submission to the Will of the Beloved Divine. Thus, viewed from this perspective, Islam in the sense of “submission to the will of Allah“ is all about unconditional and infinite divine love for the sake of Allah in which there’s no space for hatred or prejudice for anyone. This has been systematically expounded in the famous Hadith e Jibril which is also called “Ummul Ahadith” (The Mother of All Hadiths) in which Ihsan (spirituality or mystical Islam) has been rendered as the utmost perfection of Imaan and Islam. However, the holy Qur’an only uses the Arabic term “Hubb” but not the word “Ishq” famously known in Urdu poetry and Persian literature to denote the divine love. In many of its verses which talk about love for Allah including the below-mentioned two pieces of long verses, the Qur’anic term of “Hubb-e-ilahi” has deep connotations. Let us take a cursory look at them as follows: (1) قُلْ إِن كُنتُمْ تُحِبُّونَ اللَّهَ فَاتَّبِعُونِي يُحْبِبْكُمُ اللَّهُ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ذنُوبَكُمْ ۗ وَاللَّهُ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ Translation: Say, [O Prophet pbuh], "If you should love Allah, then follow me, [so] Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. And Allah is Moat Forgiving and Most Merciful. (3:31) (2) وَٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوٓاْ أَشَدُّ حُبًّا لِّلَّهِ Translation: “And the (true) believers are those who love Allah more than anyone or anything else…..” (02: 165) In both the above crucial places, the Arabic term “Hubb” not “Ishq” has been used in the Qur’an. Hence, the greatest Sufi mystic and propounder of Wahdat ul Wajud (Unity of the Being) Sheikh e Akbar Muhaiyudden Ibn ul Arabi and later his Arabic-speaking adherents among the Sufis frequently used “Hubb” in his footsteps. For instance—Ibn ul Arabi compiled an anthology of his poetry on the Divine Love (Ishq-e-Ilahi) and named it “The Translation/Translator of the Desires (ترجمان الأشواق ). In this book, Sheikh e Akbar makes use of the Qur’anic term “Hubb” in an unconventional way which goes against the mainstream hermeneutical theological tradition of Islam. He expands the meaning of “Hubb” to the Unconditional Love and thus incorporating the elements of “Ishq” in it. Look at the following Arabic couplet attributed to him: أدين بدين الحب أنَّى توجهتْ ركائبه، فالحب ديني وإيماني Translation: I follow them the Religion of Love. Wherever its caravan goes, that’s my law, there’s my faith) However, the Persian-speaking Sufi poets and philosophers especially Maula e Rum Jalaluddin Rumi and many others who adopted his school of Sufi mysticism in the Indian subcontinent in Persian and Urdu poetry have employed the romantic term “Ishq” for myriad reasons and their interpretations of Ishq. For instance—Sultan ul Ashiqin Hazrat Sakhi Sultan Muhammad Najeebur Rahman q.s writes in his book “Shamsul Fuqara” in an explanation of the above Qur’anic verse: “Hubb is the hallmark of a true believer, but Ishq is the beginning and the source of all creations. When the souls were created by the Light of the Prophet (Noor Mohammadi), Ishq e Ilahi was ingrained in the human souls as an integral part.” He then refers to the prophetic tradition where he is reported to have said: لا يؤمن أحدكم حتى أكون أحب إليه إلى آخره One can’t be a believer unless s/he loves the Prophet more than everyone. Sakhi Sultan further says: Hubb or Muhabbat can occur with anyone but Ishq is not possible except for Allah. When Hubb intensifies, it turns into Ishq, which is only for Allah. It is this Ishq e Haqiqi which makes you restless and you willingly bear and enjoy all pain and sufferings unless you achieve the union or merger with the divine. Jalaluddin Rumi R.A beautifully elucidates it: عشق آں شعلہ است کہ جوں بر فروخت ہر کہ جز معشوق باشد جملہ سوخت Translation: ‘Ishq’ is such a flame of desire that when it intensifies, it sets everything ablaze except the Beloved. Here I’m reminded of an Urdu couplet, unmindful of the poet who said it (perhaps Jigar Muradabadi): عشق معشوق، عشق عاشق ہے یعنی خود آپ ہی میں گم ہے عشق Ishq Mashuq, Ishq Ashiq Hai Yani Khud Aap Hi Mein Gum Hai Ishq It denotes that Allah is Himself Ishq (Love), Ashiq (Lover) and Ma’ashooq (The Beloved). Thus, He is actually immersed in Himself. Now contrast the above Urdu couplet with the following Arabic couplet which has a historical significance: هذا حبيب الله مات في حب الله Translation: He was a Habib ul Allah (The Beloved of Allah) who died in the love, Hubb of Allah. The context of this couplet is that someone said it when the greatest Sufi saint of Indian Subcontinent Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti R.A passed away. This makes it patently clear and easier to understand that “Hubb Fil-Lah” leads to “Fana fil-Lah (Immersion and self-annihilation in the Divine) and “Baqa bil-Lah” (immortal existence with the Divine) which is the ultimate reality of Ishq-e-ilahi in Sufism beautifully embodied by the Divine Lovers like Mansoor Hallaj in Iraq and Sarmad Kashani (more popularly known as Sarmad Shaheed) in India. They truly attained the Union with the One in an abundance of Divine Love. ---- A Regular Columnist with Newageislam.com, Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi is an Indo-Islamic scholar and English-Arabic-Urdu writer with a background in a leading Sufi Islamic seminary in India. URL: https://newageislam.com/islam-spiritualism/ishq-sufism-hubb-quran/d/132099 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

Bertrand Russell’s Error

By Naseer Ahmed, New Age Islam 4 April 2024 "Those, blinded by god and religion, will never concede that morality evolved without any god, religion and scripture." Bertrand Russell That is a counterfactual statement because religion and religious morality have always existed. Russell's dismissal of religious morality was rooted in his belief, which I heartily agree with, that critical thinking and empirical evidence are crucial in comprehending the nature of morality and ethics. There can be no quarrel with this. However, in stark contrast, the theologians defined morality as 'what God commands', with nothing to do with pursuing the greatest good or happiness. This fundamental difference in approach led to a stagnation in the theologian's willingness to reform despite mounting evidence of its necessity. “I say quite deliberately that the Christian religion, as organized in its churches, has been and still is the principal enemy of moral progress in the world,” he said. He cited the following example: “Supposing that in this world that we live in today an inexperienced girl is married to a syphilitic man; in that case the Catholic Church says, 'This is an indissoluble sacrament. You must endure celibacy or stay together. And if you stay together, you must not use birth control to prevent the birth of syphilitic children.' Nobody whose natural sympathies have not been warped by dogma, or whose moral nature was not absolutely dead to all sense of suffering, could maintain that it is right and proper that that state of things should continue.” He goes on to say, That is only an example. There are a great many ways in which, at the present moment, the church, by its insistence upon what it chooses to call morality, inflicts upon all sorts of people undeserved and unnecessary suffering. And of course, as we know, it is in its major part an opponent still of progress and improvement in all the ways that diminish suffering in the world because it has chosen to label as morality a certain narrow set of rules of conduct which have nothing to do with human happiness. When you say that this or that ought to be done because it would make for human happiness, they think that has nothing to do with the matter at all. 'What has human happiness to do with morals? The object of morals is not to make people happy.” In my articles, I have explained why moral rules from religion had to be a list of do’s and don’ts without a rational explanation because every rule is counterintuitive. The good they promoted did not become evident until after they were practised for an extended period. Since religion did not justify its moral laws, the theologians understood the rules as commands to be obeyed without asking why. They incorrectly assumed that morality was divorced from human happiness. The attitude of the theologians is understandable. They are not philosophers and thinkers. Theologians' conservatism and “blind” obedience to God's commands in the scriptures ensured that the rules were obeyed, although every rule was counterintuitive. It pays to lie, cheat, and steal if one can get away with it, and therefore, people had to be made to pay dearly for breaking the rules, which they could not for a long time understand as promoting their good and that of their society and therefore follow willingly. Morality is also about how we deal with the “other”. Religious bigotry has distorted the religious morality about dealing with justice and kindness the “other”. Theologians need to become thinkers and philosophers if they are to remain relevant. The following is an excerpt from my article: The Progression from Religious Morality to Secular Laws and the Danger of Regression of Religious Morality into Bestiality. “A more comprehensive liberal education, including the study of philosophy, is essential to realize that the object of morality is to please God by promoting the greatest happiness for all in this world. This is a truism, and yet, most religious persons are oblivious to it, which is why they are easy prey to the preaching of anti-social radicals. A religious person, while seeking to please God, should ensure that he does not end up incurring God’s wrath instead. He can avoid acts that incur God’s wrath by checking whether the act will also promote the greatest happiness for all, and avoid anti-social acts. Bigotry and extremism have become so common that religion, which gave the world its morality, is today more often associated with what is bestial and immoral. “ The article The Contribution of Atheists to Moral Philosophy and the Practice of Morality concludes with: “Religion undeniably had a civilizing influence on society; without it, we would have remained barbarians. The weakening of the influence of faith and the absolute moral values that go with it, as well as the growing trend of moral relativism, will lead us into an enlightened form of barbarianism, but barbarianism nevertheless. Technology may help us with surveillance and to ensure compliance with manmade laws, but can it be a substitute for voluntary compliance with absolute ethical and moral values, to the inner peace and serenity that goes with it, and the higher meaning it gives to life? There is a good side to atheists, which has contributed immensely to promoting moral values, and there is a destructive part, which is bent upon destroying the very foundations of morality. There is a good side to religion, which makes the sincere followers who are also sensitized by philosophy and great literature among the best, and there are the unthinking bigots who have made immoral principles their religion and have become a threat to peace and harmony. Good people must learn to work together and espouse good causes rather than be at loggerheads with each other. While atheists can excel in giving voice to the oppressed, it is only the theists who excel in the practice of morality simply because their threshold for resisting pain and suffering while espousing moral causes is far greater than that of atheists. This is because their values are absolute and not negotiable for them. The atheists are more pragmatic and have a point beyond which they will not go for their values. This is why it would be difficult to find a counterpart to Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa or Martin Luther King among atheists.” Bertrand Russell's error is that he conflates the religion of Christianity with the theologian’s false argument. Premise: “Religious morality has nothing to do with human happiness and therefore with critical thinking and empirical evidence.” What follows logically from the premise is that religion has nothing to do with morality. However, since the premise is false, the conclusion is also false. He is conflating the defective view of a theologian with religion. This error blinds him to religion's foundational role in articulating a moral code and ensuring this is internalized. ----- A frequent contributor to NewAgeIslam.com, Naseer Ahmed is an Engineering graduate from IIT Kanpur and is an independent IT consultant after having served in both the Public and Private sector in responsible positions for over three decades. He has spent years studying Quran in-depth and made seminal contributions to its interpretation. URL: https://newageislam.com/islam-west/russell-atheist-morality-quran-religion-scripture/d/132100 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

"He Who Can, Does. He Who Cannot, Teaches"

By Sumit Paul, New Age Islam 8 April 2024 I've always loved Leonardo da Vinci's famous quote and pasted it on the wall of my pad: "He who can, does. He who cannot, teaches." The famous quote by Leonardo Da Vinci, "He who can, does. He who cannot, teaches," encapsulates a common perception that skill and knowledge are often mutually exclusive. Da Vinci, renowned for his genius in multiple disciplines, implies that those who possess true capability and talent often prefer to dedicate their energy towards active pursuits rather than simply imparting knowledge to others. While this quote may be seen as somewhat disdainful towards teaching, it underscores the idea that true mastery often lies in practical application rather than theoretical instruction. However, it is important to recognize the invaluable role of teachers who guide and inspire students, cultivating a new generation of capable doers and thinkers. This sarcastic quote also applies to most of the critics who failed to become poets and writers of repute. Though there've been famous poets, writers and critics like Shamsur Rahman Faruqi, Ahmed Nadeem Qasmi, Khaleel-ur-Rahman Azmi in Urdu and Dr Matthew Arnold and William Hazlitt in English, most of the Naqqaad (critics) tried to 'teach' poets and writers how to write! In Delhi and elsewhere, often the failed UPSC aspirants open a coaching centre and 'teach' those who want to join IAS, IPS and IFS. Da Vinci's quote has a much deeper meaning. It doesn't criticise teachers. Rather, it makes fun of those who talk too much and do precious little. Radeef Barabankwi, a humorous Urdu poet from Barabanki in UP, aptly illustrated Vinci's quote through his couplet, “Hua Jinhein Irfaan, Woh Khamosh Ho Gaye/ Baaqi Bache Log Baba Ban Gaye" ( Those who had self-realization, became silent/ The remaining ones became 'spiritual' gurus). Our garrulous national 'spiritual' gurus Jaggi and Ravi Shankar are the perfect examples. Qurban Bhagalpuri added to it, "Bolne Wale Mudarris Ban Gaye/ Bahut Bolne Wale Siyasat Mein Chale Gaye" (Those who talked, became teachers/ Those who talked a tad too much, eventually joined politics!). Our political leaders, with dubious academic credentials, teach students how to study and clear exams. You may have got the insinuation. Richard Bach famously put it, " You teach best what you most need to learn." Empty vessels make the most noise and coins are always noisier than the currencies. Naatiq Lakhnawi aptly said, "Kah Raha Hai Shor-e-Dariya Se Samandar Ka Sukoot/ Jis Ka Jitna Zarf Hai Utna Hi Woh Khamosh Hai" (The tranquillity of the sea tells the noisy river/ One with a higher and nobler character is always equally silent). All the political leaders busy in election campaigns and ranting non-stop, must mull over Naatiq Lakhnawi's couplet. But do they understand these subtleties? Had they understood, they would not have become politicians! ---- A regular columnist for New Age Islam, Sumit Paul is a researcher in comparative religions, with special reference to Islam. He has contributed articles to the world's premier publications in several languages including Persian. URL: https://newageislam.com/spiritual-meditations/leonardo-da-vinci-jaggi/d/132098 New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Saturday, April 6, 2024

How Mohalla System Can Improve The Life Conditions Of Muslim Women?

By Grace Mubashir, New Age Islam 6 April 2024 The Mohalla System, A Community-Based Approach To Governance And Social Organization, Has The Potential To Significantly Improve The Life Conditions Of Muslim Women In Several Ways Main Points: 1. Increased Community Support: The Mohalla System fosters a sense of community and solidarity among residents. By promoting mutual support and cooperation, it can provide a safety net for Muslim women who may face various challenges, including economic hardships, domestic violence, or discrimination. 2. Empowerment and Participation: In many traditional societies, women may have limited opportunities for participation in decision-making processes or community affairs. However, the Mohalla System emphasizes inclusivity and grassroots democracy, offering avenues for women to actively engage in local governance and community initiatives. By involving women in decision-making bodies and leadership roles within the Mohalla System, their voices can be heard, and their perspectives considered in shaping policies and programs that affect their lives. 3. Access to Resources and Services: Muslim women, particularly those from marginalized backgrounds, often face barriers in accessing essential resources and services, such as healthcare, education, and employment opportunities. Through the Mohalla System, community members can collectively address these challenges by mobilizing resources, advocating for improved services, and implementing community-based programs tailored to women's needs. This can lead to better access to healthcare facilities, educational institutions, vocational training programs, and other support services that enhance women's quality of life. 4. Promotion of Women's Rights and Gender Equality: The Mohalla System can serve as a platform for promoting awareness and advocacy on women's rights and gender equality issues within Muslim communities. By fostering dialogue, education, and awareness campaigns, the Mohalla System can challenge harmful norms and practices that perpetuate gender-based discrimination and violence. Community leaders and members can work together to promote gender-sensitive policies, enforce legal protections for women, and create a culture of respect and equality within the community. 5. Social Cohesion and Solidarity: Strengthening social cohesion and solidarity within neighborhoods through the Mohalla System can contribute to the overall well-being of Muslim women. By building networks of support, fostering positive social interactions, and celebrating diversity, the Mohalla System can create a more inclusive and cohesive community environment where women feel valued, respected, and empowered to lead fulfilling lives. ------ (Representative Photo) In Islamic history, mosques were more than just places for worship. They were also places where people learned personal, family, educational, economic, and social issues and where community problems were talked about and solved. People could no longer use the Mohalla system, which had clear and precise legal protection and redress processes for individuals, families, and communities, after it lost its power and vitality. When the Mohalla system was limited to officiating at certain ceremonies, like weddings and funerals, the community lost its leadership and a place to talk about Islamic solutions to its issues. The women of the Muslim society paid the most. Because problems with women are the community's biggest problems that can't be solved. Marriage Problems People in the neighbourhood mostly use the Mohalla system when they are married. Getting permission for marriages, collecting money for girls' weddings, and holding ceremonies are the only things that most Mohalla groups do. What does it mean from an Islamic point of view for mosque imams to be ready to watch expensive weddings with lots of guests? Tens of thousands of girls cry because of people who silently allow the evil practice of dowry to happen in the Mohallas. If the Mohallas are brave enough to say that cash marriages and expensive weddings will not happen, it will be a revolutionary move and the most important religious service of our time. Part of the deal is that the wedding price is set, and the father of the girl is asked to pay it. On the other hand, whatever is seen as Mehr is given to the girl as a gift, regardless of how good the girl is or how good the man is. Mehr is not really kindness. A woman should be able to get it when she gets married. Due to the fact that her Wali (parent) can ask for the amount that is fair and appropriate for her, there should be a way for him and the Mohalla officials to agree on and purchase the Mehr that is hers. Mohallas should also help people get married by setting up pre-marriage counselling. A lot of young women in our community get married without having any clear ideas or plans for their new life together. As a result, more and more educated people are getting divorced these days. So, pre-marriage training should happen in the Mohallas so that people can get a good idea of what married life is like. Just Divorce With the understanding of the Mohallas, divorce and having more than one wife are very common today. In Islam, Talaq is not as easy or smooth as it is in the West. There are many steps that need to be taken to make it work. If, after all your efforts, you still can't get back together, a third Talaq ends the split. However, this must be done before the shameful and against Islam act of performing Triple Talaq at once can continue unchecked in the community. The Mohallas should be very against acts of defiance that go against what Allah says, and they shouldn't be ready to finish these kinds of divorce procedures. What is the right thing to do about Mata'in (alimony), which is the right of a divorced woman? It is the goal of Islam to protect women everywhere. That she can have Mehr if she gets married and Mata, if she gets divorced, are rights that Islam gave her. In this community, it is usual to say three Talaq at once and send the woman away without giving her anything. It should also be up to the Mohalla to buy a divorced woman fair alimony. Khul’ Khul’ isn't the only marriage dissolution process besides Fasq. In Islam, women can use the Fasq and Khul’ methods, which are much easier and less complicated than Talaq. To get Khul’, a woman doesn't have to go through any of the trouble that a guy does. If her husband doesn't give her the safety, justice, and rights she needs, she can leave him by going to court or giving back the Mehr. Which court will she go to, though? The Mohalla Courts should be used in this case. There are tens of thousands of people who don't even know about this right given to women and live a hellish life of unfair treatment, neglect, and torture. The learned community should remember what the Prophet said to the crowd at Hajjatul Vidah (Farewell Speech): "Beware of Allah when it comes to women." The teachers and leaders who follow the Prophet are in charge of making sure that women have the rights and justice that Islam gives them. Multiple Marriages Today, the law of polygamy is also being abused. This law was made to protect widows and children. "Marry two, three, or four women if you're afraid you won't be able to make things right for orphans." If you think that justice can't be done between them, just pick one. The Qur'an gives very clear and strict instructions on this subject. People who want to get married and say they are descended from the "Prophet's example" should be asked: Is it possible to have a good marriage like the Prophet's first marriage? When Muhammad is young, he falls in love with Khadija, a 40-year-old widow and mother of two. They get married at the age of 25. Khadija was married to Muhammad three times. People who want to stay virgin and say they are doing it to protect orphans are being completely honest when they say they want a second bond while having a happy family life with their wife and kids. In the time of the Prophet, polygamy wasn't secret like it is now. At certain points, they were done while the first wife and family knew about them. In that way, the women of those times were smarter than the men. Because they got the same justice from their believing husbands. Otherwise, there was a court and a way to file complaints and get justice. Mohalla courts should be set up to protect women who are being denied justice in divorce and marriage cases. How to get into the mosque The mosque is in the middle of the Mohalla, so getting into it is the first right that a Muslim woman should set up and get. History shows that women used to speak up for their rights, air their complaints, and get them fixed in the mosque congregations during the time of the Prophet and the Caliphs. Another place where a woman asked Umar (RA) about Mehr was in the mosque. The women learned about the past of the prophets and felt like they had a right to be there through worship in the mosque, the congregation of knowledge, and the Khutbahs. Because they were able to go to these places, men began to admire, respect, and recognize them as well. Women lost places to talk about their problems when they were not allowed to go to church or knowledge rooms. The Mohalla Samiti Following the rules of the Islamic Sharia is safe for a Muslim woman. As things stand, the Muslim Personal Act in India does not give her that security. For women to get equal justice through Sharia law enforcement, it would be better to set up Mohalla Redressal Committees with women as members. When dealing with women's problems, it's important to have female minds that are aware of how serious they are. Don't even bother with the stupid and pointless claims that bad things will happen if women go into the masjid yard. Today, she works as a teacher. She is much smarter than the men in the neighbourhood when it comes to schooling. Mohalla Samitis should use the ideas and opinions of Muslim women who are smart and skilled. In summary, the Mohalla System has the potential to improve the life conditions of Muslim women by fostering community support, empowering women's participation, enhancing access to resources and services, promoting women's rights and gender equality, and strengthening social cohesion and solidarity within neighbourhoods. Through collaborative efforts at the grassroots level, the Mohalla System can contribute to positive changes that positively impact the lives of Muslim women and their communities. ----- A regular columnist for NewAgeIslam.com, Mubashir V.P is a PhD scholar in Islamic Studies at Jamia Millia Islamia and freelance journalist. URL: https://newageislam.com/islam-women-feminism/mohalla-system-life-conditions-muslim-women/d/132093 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

Morality Evolved Without Any God, Religion And Scripture

By Sumit Paul, New Age Islam 6 April 2024 "Those, blinded by god and religion, will never concede that morality evolved without any god, religion and scripture." Bertrand Russell's aforementioned statement from his book 'The Value of Philosophy' discards religion and god's role in shaping humankind's morality. Mind you, Russell was not an outright atheist. He was an agnostic. Yet, he totally pooh-poohed the belief, held by religionists and believers, that religion and god helped humankind evolve morality. Here, I don't want to dwell upon the morality of an atheist as I've discussed this subject ad nauseam in New Age Islam and several other publications and portals. The advent of collective morality took thousands of years to evolve. Morality is not a capsule or a commandment sent by an imaginary god, propounded by man-made religions and spread by antediluvian scriptures. In other words, it never had a definite esoteric template (for further moral development). Morality is conscientious behaviour, rather spirit, that developed with human consciousness and conscience. It evolved with humans' collective sense of propriety and cognitive skills. And don't ask foolishly as to who gave conscience and consciousness to humans? No; no god gave this to humans. We developed this during our long and arduous process of evolution. Humans are constantly evolving and we have always been in the process of evolution. That we still need the help of god and religion to understand our morality is proof that we're not yet fully evolved. If you believe that morality came from religion and god, will you emulate certain actions of your revered characters? Will anyone, let alone Muslims, marry his son's wife just because Muhammad married the (former) wife of his son Zayd? Will you still have a retinue of slaves just because all three Semitic faiths and their gods justified slavery? Will you kill a Dalit for reciting Vedas just because Ram beheaded Shambuk for reciting verses from the Vedas? Shambuk was a Dalit. Will you approve of killing Bali and Meghnad / Indrajit (Ravan's son) on the sly? Would all women follow Draupadi's example of living with five husbands despite opting for Arjun? Will you approve of the 'enlightened' Buddha's action when he refused to initiate his step-mother Mahaprajapati Gotmi when she wanted to join Buddha's Sangh (order) because the 'enlightened' Buddha was against women's entry into the religious order? It was Ananda, Buddha's favourite disciple, who convinced Buddha to accept his old step-mother as a monk. Buddha apologised and had the magnanimity to admit that he was far from being enlightened. When Jain Agamas repeatedly state that women are incapable of salvation and create a kind of equivocal scriptural morality, will any sane individual accept that? Should women accept it as their 'flawed' spiritual fate? All these instances have been culled from mankind's utterly bogus faiths and from the 'teachings' of equally useless so-called 'prophets'. Can such instances from religious books form a platform on which humanity's model of morality will ever be able to stand firmly? Never. Morality is zeitgeist. It's the spirit of times. Morality also evolves with the passage of times and is never static. Nietzsche said the same thing. He didn't offer or postulate any new or alternative morality. Nor did Ayn Rand claim to give a new set of morality to the world as if it were a pair of clothes. They urged us to rejig our sense of morality. Nietzsche's Ubermensch (Superman in German) didn't give birth to caste system, apartheid, slavery etc. Caste system in Hinduism is more than 2 thousand-yr-old. Poor Nietzsche was born in 1844 and died in 1900. Apartheid and discrimination between the blacks and whites have always existed. It still exists. Nietzsche said, "New humans, with a new morality and new sense of awareness, will be above all man-made discrimination." Please read his two books, 'Thus Spoke Zarathustra' and 'The Dawn of the Day.' He exhorts humans to question the turbid and ambiguous morality that came from religions. "What your conscience approves without qualms and scruples is your morality, " he stated in his book 'On Truth and Lies in a Non-moral Sense.' Morality as a religious debris must be thrown away. He talked of rationality and non-religio-spiritual goodness of mankind. Yuval Noah Harari also says the same thing. Ayn Rand may be a populist philosopher, she developed a philosophical system, known as Objectivism. Remember, morality is distilled and filtered spirit extracted from the accumulated human wisdom over an inordinately long span of time. Lastly, "We also know that modern man was at constant war with the other species of humans until they completely genocided every other species about ten thousand years ago." Who were the other species of humans the writer is talking about? Let me quote Salman Rushdie, "Religion and god indeed befuddle the most intelligent of humans. But are they really intelligent is the question that remains to be answered. " I've nothing further to say. ---- A regular columnist for New Age Islam, Sumit Paul is a researcher in comparative religions, with special reference to Islam. He has contributed articles to the world's premier publications in several languages including Persian. URL: https://newageislam.com/spiritual-meditations/morality-god-religion-scripture/d/132092 New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Friday, April 5, 2024

What is Quds Day? Shia religious scholar Maulana Javed Haider Zaidi explained

By Maulana Javed Haider Zaidi 5 April 2024 To understand the significance of Quds Day, it is crucial to first recognize that in 1979, during the Islamic Revolution in Iran, the leader Ayatollah Imam Khomeini declared that the last Friday of Ramadan should be observed globally as Quds Day. Quds has a direct connection to Muslims' first Qibla, the Al-Aqsa Mosque, located in Palestine, which Israel illegally occupied 75 years ago in 1948 and continues to control. In Islamic history, Al-Aqsa Mosque was the initial Qibla before the Kaaba in Mecca was designated as the current Qibla by divine command. Apart from being the first Qibla, Al-Aqsa holds special significance for Muslims as it was visited by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) during his Night Journey (Isra and Mi'raj). Similarly, according to a Hadith attributed to Imam Jafar Sadiq, Al-Aqsa is described as a highly important mosque for Muslims, where prayers and worship hold great rewards. It is regrettable that this sacred mosque remains under the unlawful control of oppressors. The history of this conflict dates back to 1917 when Britain's then Foreign Secretary James Balfour proposed creating a Jewish state in Palestine, leading to gradual Jewish migration and, ultimately, the establishment of Israel as a state in May 1948. Subsequent wars between Israel and Arab nations resulted in Arab defeats and significant losses, leading many Arab countries to remain silent out of fear of further consequences. However, amidst this silence, resistance emerged, notably personified by Ayatollah Khomeini, known worldwide for his steadfastness against oppressors. "Shia Cleric Maulana Javed Haider Zaidi says," The observance of Quds Day serves as a reminder of the ongoing struggle for justice and the reclaiming of Al-Aqsa Mosque and Palestine as symbols of resistance against oppression. URL: https://newageislam.com/islam-spiritualism/quds-shia-religious-scholar-haider-zaidi/d/132085 New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

The Prohibition Against Women Holding Authority Positions in The Ahadith Is a Subject That Requires Responses from Ulema and Experts

By Kaniz Fatma, New Age Islam 5 April 2024 The author questions why Muslim women are not allowed to hold authority positions under Islamic law, referring to two specific Ahadith, and seeks clarification from Islamic academics, Ulama and religious authorities. ------- Honourable Ulema-e-Kiraam, Islamic academics, and religious authorities, I recently read a hadith that covers several topics, but I'm curious to know from all of you why women aren't allowed to hold positions of authority. Why is it forbidden for Muslim women to be in positions of authority under Islamic law? In this regard, Ulema-e-Kiraam cite a number of Ahadith. I'll just mention two of them here: Abu Hurairah narrated that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ "‏ إِذَا كَانَ أُمَرَاؤُكُمْ خِيَارَكُمْ وَأَغْنِيَاؤُكُمْ سُمَحَاءَكُمْ وَأُمُورُكُمْ شُورَى بَيْنَكُمْ فَظَهْرُ الأَرْضِ خَيْرٌ لَكُمْ مِنْ بَطْنِهَا وَإِذَا كَانَ أُمَرَاؤُكُمْ شِرَارَكُمْ وَأَغْنِيَاؤُكُمْ بُخَلاَءَكُمْ وَأُمُورُكُمْ إِلَى نِسَائِكُمْ فَبَطْنُ الأَرْضِ خَيْرٌ لَكُمْ مِنْ ظَهْرِهَا ‏"‏ "When your leaders are the best among you, the richest among you are the most generous, and your issues are consulted among you, then the surface of the earth is better for you than its belly. “And when your leaders are the worst of you, the richest are the stingiest among you, and your affairs are referred to your women, then the belly of the earth is better for you than its surface." Which category does the hadith that I cited above fall in, please? This hadith appears to provide moral guidance to leaders so they can treat their citizens with kindness and justice, and to the wealthiest so they can spend to meet the needs of the poor and needy. However, of greater significance is its insistence on consulting in all matters, which suggests that consultations must be applied in any decision pertaining to political, social, economic, or other matters. The hadith makes it very clear that the surface of the earth will be a better place for humans to live than the belly or the grave of the earth if your leaders treat people with justice and kindness if the wealthiest are generous and spend in the cause of the needy people, and if consultations are made in all worldly affairs. The hadith makes it quite evident that treating people well, being kind to the poor and in need, and consulting one another while making decisions are all factors in happiness in this world. The hadith goes on to say that if the leaders are the worst, if they mistreat the population, if they commit crimes against humanity, if the wealthiest people turn prickly and refuse to lend a hand to those in need or those who are less fortunate financially, then none of these circumstances will result in a happy environment in the world. We can clearly understand every message in the hadith up to this point. However, I have a major query with the following line: “And when your leaders are the worst of you, the richest are the stingiest among you, and your affairs are referred to your women, then the belly of the earth is better for you than its surface”. "When your affairs are referred to your women, then the earth's belly is better for you than its surface," is what needs to be answered. Ulema-e-Kiraam uses this passage from the hadith to demonstrate that Islamic law forbids women from holding positions of authority. They also cite the following hadith reported by al-Bukhari: The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "A people who make a woman their ruler will never be successful." My query is now directed towards Islamic academics and Ulema-e-Kiraam, particularly the hadith specialists. It is rightly said that the speeches of God and His Prophets (peace be upon them) are full of wisdom and better for all mankind. Sometimes we succeed in understanding that wisdom through Allah's blessings and sometimes we do not. Based on the apparent meaning of these Ahadith, my question is: Should we spread the idea that women are less valuable than men? Or were these Ahadith intended exclusively for a select group of women who lived during the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him)? Or do they hold for every woman? Do these Ahadith have an authentic chain of transmission? Does the Prophet's intended meaning align with the apparent interpretation of these Ahadith? Or was it meant in a certain context? Do these Ahadith prohibit women from holding positions of authority due to their gender-based characteristics? There is no inequity between the rights of men and women in Islam. Islam gives both genders enough rights. Rather, we believe that women occasionally possess greater rights than men. But these Ahadith have compelled me to look for the answers to the aforementioned queries. I hope my questions are not offensive. I have faith in Ulema-e-Kiraam. I have a religious obligation to show them respect. However, I'm curious to know the rationale and wisdom of these Ahadith. I don't understand why the Ahadith forbid women from holding positions of authority, so please respond. ----- Kaniz Fatma is a classic Islamic scholar and a regular columnist for New Age Islam. URL: https://newageislam.com/islam-women-feminism/prohibition-authority-ahadith-ulema/d/132084 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, April 4, 2024

God And Religion Are Not A Figment Of Our Imagination

By Naseer Ahmed, New Age Islam 4 April 2024 The Atheists Will Argue That God And Religion Are The Most Fantastic Fictions Invented By Man To Achieve All That Was Achieved Through Religion. However, The Believers Know That The Moral Rules Would Not Have Taken Several Millennia To Become Normative If This Were So. The Rationale Would Have Been Provided Right In The Beginning. ----- (Representative Photo) ------ Undoubtedly, every major religion and all the scriptures are primarily about teaching men to live moral lives. They are about what mankind could not have known by themselves, which is why the Quran says in verse 96:5, “Taught man that which he knew not”. Arabia, once a fragmented tribal society of little consequence, experienced a profound transformation with the emergence of Islam as a unifying force. In a remarkably concise 80-year span, it ascended to become the preeminent power on earth, surpassing the Roman Empire at its zenith. This swift rise of the Muslims, achieving in about 80 years what took the Romans a millennium to accomplish, highlights the transformative power of religion. The Romans, with their multitude of cults and mystery religions, faced a challenge as the Roman Empire expanded. A need arose for a unified belief system to bind the entire population. With its cohesive belief system and hierarchical church structure, Christianity offered a solution. It could unite the empire religiously and empower the emperor with more control over the population. Emperor Constantine I (r. 306-337) embraced Christianity after his victory at the Battle of Milvian Bridge in 312, which he attributed to the Christian God. His alignment with this burgeoning faith not only consolidated his power but also united the empire under a single religion, underscoring the social and political impact of religion. It is undeniable that religion has played a crucial role in fostering cooperation among large groups of people. This cooperation is based on the shared moral values that religion instils, creating a sense of unity and common purpose. From the history of modern man, which began an estimated seventy thousand years ago with the “Cognitive Revolution,” we know that he was surrounded by other species of humans that were numerically and physically much stronger. The modern man could have survived only through cooperation among his kind. A common religion with shared values was sorely needed to build their trust. We also know that modern man was at constant war with the other species of humans until they completely genocided every other species about ten thousand years ago. The enemy kept them united by a common religion until ten thousand years ago. Once the enemy was annihilated, the modern man broke up into several sects/religions from envy of one another and began to fight among themselves. Sixty thousand years of being united by a common religion made everyone internalise the moral values that helped them build cooperation and preserve their group. These moral values became second nature to man and survive to this day among all people, irrespective of their religion and even if they are atheists. Therefore, the moral values from religion are as old as the appearance of modern man. The atheists will agree with all of the above but argue that religion is man-made. That begs the question - why have all the subjects of human endeavour, such as philosophy, literature, and psychology, failed to contribute a single original moral precept? Moral Philosophy is about developing theories of ethics/morality to explain why people follow moral rules. Still, none of these theories have helped generate any new moral rule, nor can they do so. Moral philosophy only studies what exists and what properties and relations can be attributed to it. None of it is about creating anything new. Religious morality, on the other hand, is prescriptive and focuses on the moral duties and obligations that individuals have to follow without explaining why. It lays down the rules. The earliest moral rules from religion are a list of dos and don’ts, and only the later religions provide a rationale. The evidence, therefore, is that: 1. The earliest religions laid down the rules without giving the rationale because the rationale was not apparent and even counter-intuitive. These rules are counter-intuitive because man is, by his basic instincts for self-preservation, greedy, niggardly, impatient, ungrateful, contentious, acquisitive, envious, jealous, fearful, and suspicious. The moral virtues of recognizing the rights of others even at cost to self, therefore, have to be learned. Even once learnt, these are easily disregarded unless there is an unacceptable price for breaking the rules. 2. Later religions could provide limited rationale because, after centuries of practising the rules as a religious duty, the benefits to the individual and society were becoming evident and the people could now understand the why part. 3. Moral Philosophy took this process a step further, examined the prevailing moral rules, developed theories of ethics/morality to explain them, and helped to make them normative. In other words, philosophy provides a rational explanation for following the moral rules. Moral rules, because they initially made no rational sense and were counterintuitive, had of necessity, to be laid down by a higher authority (God) for them to be followed as a religious duty and have come only from religion. Many millennia later, philosophy helped the moral rules of religion become normative which formed the basis of secular laws. Now armed with the rational basis for the moral rules and the fact that the rules are accepted by all without question, although largely flouted, the atheists ask, “Couldn't mankind have developed these on their own”? If they could, there was no need for religion and God. We, however, know how great a role religion has played throughout human history in all of mankind’s most outstanding achievements. Without religion, mankind could not have taken a step toward civilizational growth. On the contrary, modern man would have quickly become extinct, faced with their formidable enemies. The atheists will argue that God and Religion are the most fantastic fictions invented by man to achieve all that was achieved through religion. However, the believers know that the moral rules would not have taken several millennia to become normative if this were so. The rationale would have been provided right in the beginning. This subject has been covered in detail over the last decade in my following articles: 1. Religion as a Civilizing Influence 2. Science and Religion 3. The Progression from Religious Morality to Secular Laws and the Danger of Regression of Religious Morality into Bestiality 4. The “Natural Law of Morality” Has Come From Religion The Contribution of Atheists to Moral Philosophy and the Practice of Morality The need for repetition is because atheists keep repeating their old arguments. ----- A frequent contributor to NewAgeIslam.com, Naseer Ahmed is an Engineering graduate from IIT Kanpur and is an independent IT consultant after having served in both the Public and Private sector in responsible positions for over three decades. He has spent years studying Quran in-depth and made seminal contributions to its interpretation. URL: https://newageislam.com/debating-islam/god-religion-figment-imagination/d/132081 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