Thursday, February 29, 2024

Darul Uloom Deoband and the Ghazwa-e-Hind Narrative

By New Age Islam Staff Writer 28 February 2024 True, The Ghazwa-e-Hind Narrative Agenda Propagated By The Pakistani Media Has Been Debunked By Several Indian Ulama. However, Given That the Obscure Response Posted on Darul Uloom Deoband's Website Has Already Confused the Matter, Darul Uloom Deoband Must Provide A Thorough Response, Particularly In Disproving The Pakistani Narrative Of Ghazwa-e-Hind. ------ Recently Darul Uloom Deoband made headlines due to an old response regarding Ghazwa-e-Hind. The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) voiced serious concerns over the “anti-India fatwa” that was purportedly posted on the website of Darul Uloom Deoband. The Senior Superintendent of Police and District Magistrate of Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh, received a notification from the National Commission to look into the matter and file a formal complaint. The NCPCR letter claims that Darul Uloom Deoband's fatwa may 'incite hatred against the country' and justify the 'invasion of India'. Following the commission's letter, the heads of multiple Hindu organisations have demanded that Darul Uloom Deoband be shut down, causing fury in Indian media and on social media. Nevertheless, the commission noted in its letter that it had discovered more offensive content on Darul Uloom Deoband Madrasa's website. The invasion of India (Ghazwa-e-Hind) is referenced in the fatwa, and the one who is martyred in it will be known as the greatest martyr [Shaheed-e-Azam]. Since then, Darul Uloom Deoband has been trending on social media, with some demanding a bulldozer attack on the institution and others quoting Deoband principal Maulana Arshad Madani regarding the Ulama's services and involvement in India's freedom struggle. Maulana Arshad Madani, the principal of Darul Uloom Deoband and the former president of Jamiat-e-Ulama-i-Hind, responded to the media representatives over the phone that he was currently in Delhi but that he was aware that Darul Uloom had been contacted by the authorities regarding this and that they had received a written response. According to him, “Darul Alam Deoband provided an answer to a question posed in 2009, therefore this is not a recent incidence. This does not constitute a fatwa or a response to any religious inquiry. According to reports, he stated that when someone inquired about hadiths about the "Invasion of India," Deoband responded by saying that there was one and that it was found in the so-and-so book.” He said, “It is just like when someone inquiries about the platform where the train is arriving, you might respond by telling them that information about it has been displayed on the TV screen.” Darul Uloom Deoband Vice Chancellor Maulana Abul Qasim Nomani is claimed to have reacted in writing to the authorities' contact, but he was unable to make it public then. He countered that the written reply clarified the objections and stated that Muhammad Bin Qasim's invasion of India (712 AD) fulfilled the hadith's description of the "Invasion of India." It also states that this has nothing to do with the future and that children are not being encouraged in this way. In this context, Maulana Arshad Madani's previous statement, "We first fought for the country's freedom, but it appears that we now have to fight for the protection of freedom," is also being repeated. Dr. Shoaib Jami, the chairman of the Indian Muslim Foundation, tweeted his stance, saying, "Ghazwa-e-Hind is a propaganda which is spread from time to time by Hindutva organisation and Pakistani media. The circumstances of Darul Uloom's fatwa have been misrepresented. Pakistani media is mostly responsible for the Ghazwa-e-Hindi narrative.” What Is the Actual Text Posted on the Darul Uloom’s Website? Question: “Is there any reference in the Hadith to the Ghazwa-e-Hind, a battle that will occur on the subcontinent where the Ghaazi [victorious] will go to Paradise and those who are killed will be considered great martyrs? Please respond.” Darul Uloom Deoband provided the following answer to the question: Answer: “In the famous book of Hadith “Sunan Nasa'I”, Imam Nasa'i has made a permanent chapter on Ghazwa al-Hind, under which he has narrated a hadith from Hazrat Abu Huraira (may Allah be pleased with him): The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) promised us about the Ghazwa-e-Hind [invasion over Hindustan]". If I survive to witness that, I will give up both my wealth and myself. I will be among the greatest martyrs if I am slain, and Abu Hurairah Al-Muharrar if I survive.” [Sunan an-Nasa'i 3174: Book 25, Hadith 90]. This prediction is about the same Ghazwa-e-Hind.” [End of answer. Translated from Urdu] Upon scrutinising the query and its response in great depth, we are unable to identify any clear phrasing that would indicate that it refers to the future or that it occurred during the time of Muhammad Bin Qasim. According to reports, Maulana Abul Qasim Nomani, the vice-chancellor of Darul Uloom Deoband, said, “Muhammad Bin Qasim's invasion of India (712 AD) fulfilled the hadith's description of the "Ghazwa-e-Hind and that this has nothing to do with the future and that children are not being encouraged in this way." In an attempt to clear up any misunderstanding regarding the response posted on the Darul Uloom Deoband's website, Abul Qasim Nomani asserted that the prophecy pertaining to Ghazwa-e-Hind had been fulfilled and had nothing to do with what was going to happen in the future. Even so, it is odd that a website would now respond ambiguously to such a sensitive subject at this juncture, given that it is widely known that Pakistani media has been promoting the Ghazwa-Hind narrative to achieve its political objectives and enrage the youth. True, the Ghazwa-e-Hind narrative propagated by the Pakistani media has been debunked by a number of Indian Ulama. However, given that the obscure response posted on Darul Uloom Deoband's website has already confused the matter, it is necessary to provide a thorough response, particularly in disproving the Pakistani narrative of Ghazwa-e-Hind. Mr. Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi wrote a detailed article titled Pakistan's Fake Ghazwa-e-Hind Narrative Violates the Fundamental Principles of Islam. This article challenges the Ghazwa-e-Hind narrative agenda of Pakistan by looking at two types of connected Ahadith, the bulk of which are rejected Ahadith. Even if some of these Ahadith are claimed to be Sahih or Hasan, there are several arguments and convincing evidence to decry Pakistan's fake Ghazwa-e-Hind narrative. URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Spectre Of Blasphemy: Don't Wear Anything with Arabic Inscriptions and Calligraphy!

By Sumit Paul, New Age Islam 28 February 2024 Kabhi Poochha Tha Khuda Se, Bata Tera Mazhab Kya Hai Aaj Tak Uss Ka Koi Jawab Hi Nahin Aaya Dr Navroze Kotwal (I once asked god, what's your religion? / I've not received any reply thus far) Kabhi Quran, Kabhi Gita, Toh Kabhi Bible Mein Dikhta Hai Mazhabi Insaan Ko Khuda Sirf Kitabon Mein Nazar Aata Hai Unknown (God is found in the Quran, Gita or Bible / A zealot finds God only in the scriptures) A woman in Pakistan recently found herself at the centre of a dangerous situation due to a misunderstanding surrounding her clothing. While wearing a dress with the Arabic word "Halwa," which translates to "beautiful," she was confronted by an angry mob in Lahore. The crowd, mistaking the Arabic calligraphy for verses from the Quran, accused the woman of blasphemy, a serious offence in Pakistan. The situation quickly escalated, with hundreds of people gathering outside a restaurant, yelling and some even demanding her execution. This is not fanaticism. This is something else. This is stone-age primitivism. Arabic, a language that's tailor-made for calligraphy (Khattati / Fun-e-Tahreer / Qalam-Kaari in Arabic) because of the cursive loops of Arabic alphabet, is not limited to writing Quranic verses in an exquisite calligraphic form. General Arabic can also be written cursively. In Arabic, non-religious and non-scriptural words are also calligraphed. But these fools think that the Quranic verses can only be calligraphed. See the level of ignorance. None from the marauding mob could read a word of Arabic and they read the Quran, which's written in Arabic! What do these yokels and bosthoons read? The spectre of blasphemy has already taken a heavy toll in Pakistan. Giving inordinate importance to the Quran, Muhammad and Deen (faith) has blocked the progress of Islam and birthed blockheads like the Muslims of Pakistan and Talibanised Afghanistan. Hindus are at least a trifle better on this count. You can still wear clothes with the names of deities inscribed on them. You won't be lynched. However, they've also lynched many Muslims in the name of cow vigilantism, carrying beef etc. A few years ago, I saw a man in Cork (Ireland) wearing a T-shirt with Psalms (book of the Old Testament composed of sacred songs, or of sacred poems meant to be sung) written on it. He wasn't lynched and booed by anyone. I'm happy, the young woman in Pakistan was saved in the nick of time by a couple of alert cops. That such things are still happening in a 'civilized' world is all the more shocking. Humans are still slaves to antediluvian religions and their countless shibboleths. When will we come out of this morass to live and behave like sane humans? ------ A regular columnist for New Age Islam, Sumit Paul is a researcher in comparative religions, with special reference to Islam. He has contributed articles to the world's premier publications in several languages including Persian. URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

"Esurient For Knowledge, I've Not Learnt To Be Complacent Even For A Moment"

By Sumit Paul, New Age Islam 29 February 2024 "Esurient for knowledge, I've not learnt to be complacent even for a moment..." Jalandhar-born British novelist Lawrence Durrell "Wusa't-E-Samandar-E-Ilm Bhala Kya Kahoon Ek Qatrah Bhi Shayad Haasil Na Ho Saka" (How shall I explain the expanse of the ocean of knowledge?/ Even a drop couldn't be achieved out of it) "Jahaan-e-Ilm Mein Kaamyaab Ke Liye Inki Saari Shart-e-Na Guzeer Hai" Ghalib's advice to his friend and student Altaaf Hussain Hali 'Panipati' (Humility is a sine qua non to succeed in the world of knowledge) When I first came across the popular slogan, 'stay hungry, stay foolish,' it appeared to be rather preposterous to me. But when I mulled over this pithy slogan, I found it to be very meaningful. What it means is, 'stay hungry' for knowledge and learning new things. The second part, 'stay foolish' needs a little enumeration. If you think that you know a lot, you'll not learn anything further. To acquire knowledge or wisdom, one has to be humble to imbibe the spirit of Socratic wisdom that I know nothing. Those who're too clever by half, end up learning and gaining cipher. Here, the phrase 'stay foolish' connotes humility. Humility is the key to wisdom. Hubris nullifies, dilutes and finally deletes it. When the demon-king Ravan was dying, Ram urged his younger brother Lakshman to go and acquire the Swan Song of wisdom from Ravan, who was certainly a man of erudition. Lakshman went and stood near the head of the dying Ravan. Ravan said nothing and gestured to send Ram. Ram came and stood near the feet of Ravan. "This is the first lesson of acquiring wisdom: Be humble, "Ravan said to Lakshman. " I'm vanquished and mortally wounded by your elder brother. Yet, he came and stood near my feet. But you came and stood near my head. How can you expect any wisdom from me? Your arrogance is an impediment to learning. But Ram's humility is a catalyst to gaining more wisdom. He's ready to learn even from his sworn enemy." This episode in the Valmiki Ramayana explains the quote, 'Stay Hungry, Stay Fool.' Two lessons can be learnt from it. First, knowledge or wisdom can be gained from anyone even if that person happens to be your foe. Secondly, there must be a humble openness to learning and acquiring new things. Wisdom from all sources and direction is always welcome and the utmost humbleness is a conduit to learning further. So, stay hungry, stay open and stay forever willing to learn from anything and anyone. That's the crux of a meaningful and sagacious existence. By the way, Stay Hungry Stay Foolish is a 2008 book by the Indian non-fiction author Rashmi Bansal. ------ A regular columnist for New Age Islam, Sumit Paul is a researcher in comparative religions, with special reference to Islam. He has contributed articles to the world's premier publications in several languages including Persian. URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

"You Needn't Accept All That I Say. At Least, Let Me Finish My Sentence"

By Sumit Paul, New Age Islam 27 February 2024 "You don't have to love me but please throw yourself into the world with me." Turkish poet Nazim Hikmet "You needn't accept all that I say. At least, let me finish my sentence...." Sappho, Greek poetess "Zamana Meri Har Baat Maane, Ye Zaroori Nahin Meri Baat Suni Jaaye, Faqat Itni-Si Iltija Hai" (It's not incumbent upon the world to agree with whatever I say in my speech / Just listening to me is what I beseech)......yours truly's shadow-translation Ahmad Nadeem Qasmi, legendary Pakistani Urdu poet I just finished reading Hikmet's two compilations of poetry in Turkish, Sappho's 'Fragments' in Greek and Ahmad Nadeem Qasmi's poetry in Urdu. Strangely, I came across the aforementioned thoughts which, though similar, are expressed in a very unique manner by the three greats of world literature. In this quote, Nazim Hikmet beautifully encapsulates the essence of true companionship and shared experiences. He acknowledges that love may not always be guaranteed, but he implores others to embark on life's journey alongside him. Hikmet's words emphasize the importance of forming bonds and connections with one another, transcending the bounds of individual desires and instilling a sense of unity. By inviting others to throw themselves into the world with him, Hikmet beckons them to embrace all that life has to offer, together. This quote reflects the poet's yearning for genuine human connections and highlights the power of collective experiences in enriching our existence. When Sappho implores 'Let me finish my sentence' and Qasmi requests that he should at least be heard, we all find ourselves agreeing with both the greats. We may disagree with the speaker, but we must be polite as well as generous to let others present their versions of truth. All the conflicts in the world are because we're not ready to listen to the entire viewpoints of others. We butt in with our subjective perceptions of a situation or issue. Ludwig Wittgenstein says, "Truth surfaces only when you finish your whole sentence." Listening to others is an exercise in patience and compassion. You needn't agree with what others say and vice versa but you can at least show a modicum of respect, courtesy and decorum to conflicting views. To respect contrasting and contradicting views is to be respectful of people. Humanity thrives in a non-confrontational set-up. Vulgar and violent disagreements are always the wet-blankets. What a nudge serves, a knock doesn't. Too much assertiveness leads to bitterness and bad-blood. Poet Derek Walcott puts it so sublimely, "Mankind has a common destiny. When you suffer, the world suffers with you. When you rejoice, everyone rejoices with you." This brings all of us together regardless of caste, class, creed and complexion. It may sound utopian but it can be a universal reality in future when evolved humans will learn to live harmoniously, something that's not happening at the moment and we're all sparring over petty issues of religion, god, temple, politics, nation and nationalism. When people of all hues, shades and views will be able to come together, shelving all their differences and prejudices, what Hikmet, Sappho and Qasmi stated long ago, will be a reality. I'm hopeful. Aren't you? ------ A regular columnist for New Age Islam, Sumit Paul is a researcher in comparative religions, with special reference to Islam. He has contributed articles to the world's premier publications in several languages including Persian. URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Monday, February 26, 2024

Islamophobic Hatred Against Muslims In The UK, Once Known As ‘Multicultural And Ethnic Hotpot’, On The Rise

By Asad Mirza, New Age Islam 26 February 2024 Mainstream British Politicians Are Claiming That British Muslims Are Subverting British Democracy And Are A Security Threat ----- Last week two unrelated incidents once again showed how easy it is, to form a narrative against Islam in the UK. Just 20 years back described as a ‘multicultural and ethnic hotpot’ under the labour-era. The UK is once again witnessing the increasing calls against islamophobia under the conservative rule. The massive rallies against Israel’s bombardment of Gaza after 7 October, last year, were responsible for increasing threats of Islamophobia in the UK. According to TellMAMA, a public service organisation which measures and monitors anti-Muslim incidents, reported on 23 February of a more than threefold increase in the number of anti-Muslim incidents between 7 October 2023 and 7 February, compared with the same period the year before, with Muslim women disproportionately targeted. Similarly, there was a six-fold rise in anti-Semitic incidents seen in the last three months of 2023 compared with the equivalent period the year before, with a spike immediately after Hamas’s attack and before Israel had launched its military response. What is shocking, though, is that instead of sending a clear message that these forms of racism are completely unacceptable, some politicians have sought to make political capital out of the week’s events by further stoking tensions. Particularly, the Conservative politicians have intervened in the most immature manner. The former home secretary Suella Braverman claimed that “the Islamists, the extremists and the anti-Semites are in charge” of Britain. The former prime minister Liz Truss took part in an interview with the disgraced Trump strategist Steve Bannon and failed to challenge him when he called the far-right activist Tommy Robinson “a hero”. Lee Anderson MP, deputy chair of the Conservative party until he resigned last month, said on GB News that the Labour London mayor, Sadiq Khan, had “given the capital away (to) Islamists”, whom he referred to as Khan’s “mates”. But first came the remarks by House of Commons speaker and Labour leader Keir Starmer, which led to an explosion of Islamophobic hatred against Muslims protesting against Israel's war on Gaza We would not be subverting the context by saying that over the last few months a troubling narrative has steadily been gathering strength in British politics. This narrative asserts that radical Islamists are taking over the streets in Britain, using muscle to intimidate politicians, and are destroying the authority of the parliament. As a result, democracy itself is under threat. Further, the narrative that British Muslims are corrupting the British political system went viral and gained strength in just 24 hours. This shows the already prejudiced mindset of the most British politicians. Robert Jenrick, a former cabinet minister, speaking in the Commons on 22 February, said that Britain has “allowed our streets to be dominated by Islamist extremists”. He spoke of “a pattern of Islamist extremists intimidating those they disagree with, backed by the prospect of violence". Penny Mordaunt, leader of the House of Commons, proclaimed that she “could not agree more”. On 22 February, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak fanned the flames, warning that “we should never let extremists intimidate us into changing the way in which parliament works”. However, neither Sunak nor Jenrick took the trouble to substantiate their statements. Contextually, this latest episode arose in the wake of Wednesday’s (21 February) chaotic events at Westminster after the Scottish National Party (SNP) tabled a Commons motion supporting a ceasefire in Gaza. And instead of being framed in a Constitutional narrative, it was used to unleash Islamophobic rhetoric. The motion was acutely embarrassing for Labour leader Keir Starmer, many of whose MPs are deeply opposed to his support for the war. This explains why both the SNP and the Conservatives tore into Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle when he over-ruled the advice of his Commons clerks and defied parliamentary convention to allow a Labour Party amendment which got Starmer off the hook. Amidst furious calls for him to quit, Speaker Hoyle went on the record to say that when making his controversial decision he had been “very, very concerned” about the safety of MPs, their families and members of their staff. He also made clear that he had been influenced in his decision-making by Starmer’s own concern about threats to his MPs. The Speaker, however, did not explain exactly who it was that threatened the safety of Labour MPs - but obviously the finger was pointed towards Muslims. No evidence has been provided, so far, neither from the Speaker, who set the media storm in motion, nor from Starmer, who briefed him. Apparently the speaker didn’t asked Starmer’s for evidence supporting the allegations. If such threats have been made, as Starmer and Speaker Hoyle claim, then law should be allowed to investigate them. Meanwhile, mainstream British politicians are claiming that British Muslims are subverting British democracy and are a security threat. In the backdrop of this serious and inflammatory claim, the Speaker of the House of Commons and the leader of the Labour Party, both have a duty to substantiate their claims. Majorly, the Conservative party members, ostensibly keeping an eye on the upcoming parliamentary elections, orchestrated this Islamophobic campaign. Having lost the faith of most voters after the abysmal performance of the British economy post-Brexit, they don’t have any major plank to mount their electoral campaign, added by divisions within the Conservative ranks. In this backdrop creating a storm over Islamophobia helps them the most, to influence the voters. Despite the fact that under various Conservatives-led governments in the last six years, the Prevent strategy has been allowed to fail along the wayside, as the Conservatives would love to raise the Islamophobic bogey to influence the voters. But the recent episode has also exposed the Labour leadership, which continues to support the Israeli aggression in Palestine. In this backdrop the LibDems might rise again from the ashes and could become a major partner of any future government, taking over later this year. ------ Asad Mirza is a Delhi-based senior political and international affairs commentator URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Praise Shames Me, For I Secretly Beg For It!

By Sumit Paul, New Age Islam 26 February 2024 One of the most beautiful quotes that I've ever come across while diving into the ocean of world literature in several languages, is Rabindranath Tagore's 'Praise shames me, for I secretly beg for it.' While scholars of Persian mysticism find a semblance of similarity when Hafiz Shirazi says, "I ask for criticism, but long for admiration," such uncanny similarities cannot always be called plagiarism. Great minds often think alike. Coming back to Tagore's thought, juxtaposing it with Hafiz's quote for a greater impact, one must say that almost all humans secretly or blatantly ask for praise and feel snubbed even by a scintilla of criticism. "Ae Nujoomi Mujh Ko Faqat Achchhi Baatein Hi Bata/ Talkh Pesheengoyion Se Mujh Ko Na Dara" (Oh, clairvoyant, please tell me only the good things/ Don't scare me with bitter predictions), Behzad Lakhnavi is spot-on here. Even when we go to an astrologer to know our future, we subconsciously want to hear only the good things that might happen in the days and years to come. Negative predictions unnerve us. So, the whole shebang of fortune-telling is based on sugar-quoted predictions and the entire caboodle of human relationships hinges on (false) praise. Those who're conscientious like the aforementioned poets, might feel embarrassed to receive praise but they too feel good when someone admires them. The point is, should we never criticise and continue to praise even when it's not required? Tagore provides the solution: "Remove my warts and scars without hurting me." Praise is an elixir for every individual. It's an incentive to do better. While gentle criticism can bring about qualitative changes in an individual's life, genuine, not wholesome or unctuous, praise can bring about greater and more positive results. Psychologists are of the view that we want praise because that's a psychological booster for all of us. Nature has made us like that. English novelist J B Priestley aptly said, "She wasn't exactly beautiful. But she could have been prettier had someone kept telling her that she was beautiful." That's the essence of life. Praise works as a lubricant in every individual's life. It's a catalyst for growth, betterment and development. Henry Ford would always advise, "If you criticise once, praise twice." Offset criticism with praise is the golden rule that has transformed lives of innumerable individuals. Mirza Ghalib never had a mentor (Ustad) as an Urdu poet, though he had an Iranian mentor, whose name is still unknown, who 'rectified' his Persian poetry. While Ghalib was extremely confident of his Persian and even claimed that he used to dream in Persian, somewhere he knew that his Persian was a notch below the Central Asian Persian spoken and written by Hafiz, Attar, Rumi, Jami, Khaqani, Anwari among others. So, he required a mentor for his Persian poetry. That Iranian mentor praised Ghalib's Persian poetry but never forgot to add that Ghalib's Urdu was better than his Persian! "You could be the greatest in Urdu poetry but not-so-great in Persian poetry." In a calculated as well as subtle manner, he impressed upon Ghalib that he had better focus on his Urdu poetry rather than 'waste' time in writing convoluted Persian poetry, a language which didn't come to his linguistic self effortlessly the way Urdu came. By the way, the legendary British scholar of Urdu language and literature, Dr Ralph Russell shared this anecdote with me when I was pursuing my Doctoral research under his tutelage. This is the way, praise and (negative) feedback should be mixed to drive home the point. To sum it up in the words of Henry Wordsworth Longfellow, "Even when you continuously criticise, forget not to praise once or twice." ------ A regular columnist for New Age Islam, Sumit Paul is a researcher in comparative religions, with special reference to Islam. He has contributed articles to the world's premier publications in several languages including Persian. URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Saturday, February 24, 2024

Embracing Religious Pluralism: Moving Beyond Exclusive Claims

By Adis Duderija, New Age Islam 23 February 2024 “We Now Know That No Religion Can Claim An Exclusive Monopoly On Salvation And Truth. We Must Accept The Fact That Our Forebears Knew Far Less About World Religions Than We Know. Hence, We Must See Our Faith In Global Perspective As One Among Many, Each Having Its Own Spiritual Heritage And Civilization. In Light Of This, No Religious Community Or Religio-Ethnic Group Can Claim A Special And Exclusive Mission To Humankind.” Mahmoud Ayoub, The Roots Of Christian-Muslim Conflict. In an increasingly interconnected world, the above quote from Mahmoud Ayoub,(d.2021) a pioneer in Christian-Muslim Dialogue, instructs us to realise that no single religion can lay an exclusive claim to salvation and truth. He argues that we now possess a wealth of knowledge about the diverse religious traditions that exist across the globe, which far surpasses the understanding of our forebears. Consequently, Ayoub calls us to adopt a global perspective on faith, recognizing that each religious tradition holds its own spiritual heritage and contributes to the richness of human civilization. Within this context, it is crucial to acknowledge that no religious community or religio-ethnic group can assert a special and exclusive mission for all of humankind. By embracing religious pluralism and moving beyond exclusive claims, we can foster a more inclusive and harmonious world. Religion in a Global Perspective The advent of globalisation and the proliferation of information on the internet have opened doors to a deeper understanding of various religious traditions. We have access to religious texts, historical records, and the lived experiences of individuals from diverse backgrounds, enabling us to appreciate the depth and breadth of spiritual beliefs and practices. This expanded knowledge challenges the notion that any single religion possesses an exclusive monopoly on salvation and truth. By recognizing our faith within a global perspective, we acknowledge that every religious tradition has valuable insights and teachings that contribute to the spiritual tapestry of humanity. Each tradition has its own unique spiritual heritage and civilization, reflecting the wisdom and experiences of its followers over centuries. Embracing this perspective enables us to move away from a narrow and parochial view of religion, fostering a sense of humility and openness to the diverse paths that individuals undertake in their spiritual journeys. Challenging Exclusive Claims The belief in a special and exclusive mission to humankind has been a source of division and conflict throughout history. It has fuelled intolerance, religious persecution, and even violence. However, as we gain a greater understanding of the world’s religions, it becomes evident that such claims are not only unsubstantiated but also detrimental to the promotion of peace and harmony. No religious community or religio-ethnic group can legitimately claim to possess a monopoly on truth and salvation. Such claims disregard the experiences and perspectives of countless individuals who find spiritual fulfilment outside of these exclusive narratives. Embracing religious pluralism entails acknowledging the validity of diverse religious paths and recognizing that multiple routes can lead to spiritual enlightenment and moral goodness. The Importance of Dialogue and Understanding In order to move beyond exclusive claims, dialogue and understanding play a vital role. Engaging in meaningful conversations with individuals from different religious backgrounds allows us to appreciate the nuances and complexities of their faith. By actively seeking to understand one another, we can dismantle preconceived notions and stereotypes that perpetuate division. Interfaith dialogue provides an opportunity for mutual learning, where individuals can share their spiritual insights, rituals, and ethical values. Such dialogue fosters empathy, respect, and a sense of shared humanity. Through these interactions, we come to realize that the true essence of every religion is rooted in principles of love, compassion, justice, and the pursuit of the divine. Building a More Inclusive World Embracing religious pluralism and moving beyond exclusive claims is not an abandonment of one’s own faith, but rather an expansion of our understanding and appreciation for the diversity of human spiritual experiences. By recognizing that no single religious community holds a special and exclusive mission, we can foster a more inclusive world where individuals from all backgrounds are respected and valued. This shift in perspective allows us to celebrate the contributions of various religious traditions to the common good. It encourages collaboration in addressing global challenges, such as poverty, inequality, and environmental degradation, transcending religious boundaries for the betterment of humanity as a whole. Conclusion In a world characterised by religious diversity and interconnectedness, it is essential to recognise , as Mahmoud Ayoub reminds us, that no religion can claim an exclusive monopoly on salvation and truth. By adopting a global perspective on faith, we acknowledge the rich spiritual heritage and civilization of each religious tradition. Rejecting the notion of a special and exclusive mission to humankind, we can embrace religious pluralism and work towards building a more inclusive and harmonious world. Through dialogue, understanding, and mutual respect, we can transcend the barriers that divide us and strive for a future where religious diversity is celebrated and cherished. ---- A decades old patron of New Age Islam, Dr Adis Duderija is a Senior Lecturer in the Study of Islam and Society, School of Humanities, Languages and Social Science; Senior Fellow Centre for Interfaith and Intercultural Dialogue, Griffith University | Nathan | Queensland | Australia. His forthcoming books are ( co-edited)- Shame, Modesty, and Honora in Islam and Interfaith Engagement Beyond the Divide (Springer) URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Philippine Muslims Grappling With ISIS Terrorism

By New Age Islam Staff Writer 23 February 2024 ISIS Attacks Majority Christians Of Philippines Main Points: 1. On 3 December 2023, the ISIS attacked a Catholic church during a Mass. 2. 9 ISIS terrorists were killed by security forces on 24 January. 3. Philippine's Mindanao is a Muslim majority province. 4. Mindanao has been declared an autonomous region controlled by Muslims. 5. ISIS wants to establish a caliphate in Muslim Mindanao. ------ Pro Isis graffiti is seen on a wall of a back-alley as government soldiers continue their assault against the Maute group in Marawi City, Philippines.Romeo Ranoco / Reuters ----- Since the emergence of the ISIS in the Middle East and the establishment of its caliphate in Mosul in 2014, the Muslims of the small southeast Asian country Philippine are grappling with the terror of the ISIS. The terror organisation has been carrying out terrorist attacks on churches, markets and government buildings. On 3 December, it conducted bomb blasts inside a Catholic church in Marawi University killing four innocent persons and injuring dozen others. On 24 January, the Philippine security forces killed 9 ISIS terrorists in an encounter. This incident once again brought to fore the fact that the ISIS was not a flagbearer of Islamic caliphate but only a terrorist organisation created to damage Islam's reputation and obstruct the progress of Muslims, particularly Philippines' Muslims who have won the status of autonomous region for their region Mindanao after decades of struggle. Philippines is a small country with Christian majority. The Muslims form the second majority community with 6 to 12 percent population. They inhabit mostly in the southern province of Mindanao which is generally called Muslim Mindanao. After its independence from the United States, the Muslims of Philippines felt victimised and exploited by the majority community. Christians from other parts of the country would settle in their region and capture their land. They were also economically backward. Therefore, there was a deep sense of deprivation and victimisation among the Muslims of the country. But they had one advantage. They had a population concentration in Mindanao with 91 per cent population. Therefore, they launched a freedom movement in 1968. Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and other militant organisations came into existence. They demanded independence from Philippines in order to form an independent state of Philippino Muslims called Bangsamoro. Moro means Muslims. During the struggle, a section of Muslims also wanted only an autonomous region for Muslims within the state of Philippines. Finally, in 2014, the government of Philippines agreed to give autonomy to Muslim Mindanao. The representative organisation of Philippine Muslims, MILF agreed to the autonomy proposal and subsequently the two parties reached an agreement. However, in 2014, the terrorist organisation ISIS emerged and established its so-called caliphate in Mosul. It also spread its tentacles in many Muslim majority countries. Many terrorist organisations in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Middle East declared allegiance to the ISIS to win popular Muslim support. Therefore, terrorist and militant organisations of Philippines also declared allegiance to it. Abu Sayyaf group and Dawlah Islamiyyah were two such organisations. In fact, Abu Sayyaf group ran extortion, drug and kidnapping racket and had nothing to do with Islam. It had got associated with the ISIS only because the ISIS was a big organisation with its caliphate and had popularity among a section of Islamic ulema who wrongly believed that Abu Bakr Baghdadi's caliphate in Mosul was the revival of the caliphate of the initial period of Islam. Therefore, they declared that they wanted to establish an Islamic caliphate in Muslim Mindanao which was soon going to win autonomy. The ISIS-affiliated Dawlah Islamiyyah started conducting terrorist attacks in the country. In 2019, the Muslim Mindanao was formally declared an autonomous region of Muslims where they would have their self-government with a fair share in the natural resources of the region. But the Dawlah Islamiyyah and other terror organisations like Abu Sayyaf said they did not accept the agreement between the government and MILF as they did not want an autonomous region within Philippine but independence from Philippines so that they could establish a caliphate. For this reason they have been carrying out terrorist activities against the majority Christians. The December 3 bomb attack on a Catholic church was one such terror activity by Dawlah Islamiyyah. Since 2019, Muslim Mindanao has been a Muslim autonomous region where Muslims have their self government. The Philippines government does not interfere with their religious affairs or their religious education system. But the Dawlah Islamiyyah demands the establishment of Islamic caliphate in Muslim Mindanao and to press for it, conducts terror acts against the Christians of the country. Some educated Muslim youth also have fallen for their ideology and have joined the ISIS. They speak in support of caliphate. In 2020, the ISIS conducted a number of terror attacks and caused large scale destruction. The United States took advantage of the situation and offered the Philippines government military help in combating ISIS. They jointly launched operation against the I SIS and in the process destroyed a large part of Marawi city, rendering hundreds homeless. During the last ten years, the world has learnt the truth about the ISIS. It only causes harm and damage to the Muslim countries by giving the US and the NATO an alibi to attack the Muslim countries. Earlier, the Al Qaida served the same purpose of providing the US with the excuse to attack and destroy Muslim countries. Now that Al Qaida has been decimated, the ISIS has taken up the task of destroying Muslim countries. If the ISIS captures and establishes control in Muslim Mindanao of Philippines, it will destroy the province. Presently, the Muslims of Muslim Mindanao are living in peace and working for their educational and economic development. The Muslims of Mindanao should realise the conspiracy of the ISIS before it's too late. URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Don't Let The Script Of Urdu Die

By Sumit Paul, New Age Islam 23 February 2024 "I can give you several examples. Shabana Azmi and Naseeruddin Shah can't write Urdu. But Naseer, who's from Meerut, played Mirza Ghalib very effectively in my serial. Both of them speak Urdu beautifully. In modern India, Devnagari isn't a vehicle to communicate only Hindi, but also a vehicle to communicate Urdu in our country." Gulzar, in an interview to Subhash K Jha I'm rather surprised that despite being so well-versed in Urdu and au fait with its script, Gulzar is not very keen on the retention of Nastaliq, based on Perso-Arabic script for Urdu. The script of a language is a must for its survival. If you start writing Urdu in Devanagari script, you'll demean the language. Script of any language is its soul. I remember my interactions with two 'white' scholars of Urdu who mentored me. Both could read and write flawless Urdu. They were the late Tom Altar and my professor of Urdu in England, Professor Ralph Russell. By the way, the legendary Urdu poet and critic Khaleel-Ur-Rahman Azmi taught Professor Russell how to read and write Urdu. Russell went on to become the greatest western scholar of Urdu and an authority on Ghalib. Both the greats always insisted that Urdu must be written in Persian script and they rightly believed that Devnagari was not suitable for writing Urdu. When you learn the script of any language, words get embossed on your mind with their images because words are impressions. The 17th-century Maharashtrian scholar and grammarian of Sanskrit Bhattoji Dikshit wrote in his famous book Siddhant Kaumudi (Illumination of the established) that Shabd Pratiroopam Aabhasit Vadanti Prakshepan (Words have images that last as impressions on human mind). Modern neuro-linguistics also believe that words have images and writers as well as advanced practitioners of a language, see the words as neural entities in their brains. That's how a language (with the help of its script) survives. If we start resorting to Devanagari to write Urdu poetry and dialogues, how'll Urdu survive? Gulzar says, Naseer and Shabana speak beautiful Urdu despite not knowing how to read and write the language. But Naseeruddin Shah couldn't pronounce the words Ghazab and Ghaneemat (both have the letter Ghain) in the serial Mirza Ghalib that became very popular more than three decades ago. He faltered while reciting Ghalib's famous couplet, "Naghma-e-Gham Ko Bhi Ae Dil Ghaneemat Jaaniye..." He pronounced the words 'Ghazab' and 'Ghaneemat' with a Gaaf and not with a Ghain. Shabana Azmi was much appreciated for her character in the film (Muhafiz, 1994) who wants to be taken seriously as a poetess, “… Shayari Koi Mardon Ki Jaageer Nahin Hai, Aur Tumhein Bhi Man-Na Padega, Main Sahi Mayenon Mein Shayara Hoon…” she immortalized this dialogue from the film. But she fumbled while enunciating Shaan-o-ShauKat and pronounced Shaano-ShauQat. 'Shaukat' has a Kaaf, not Qaaf, a common mistake of pronouncing every Kaaf as Qaaf when the words like Sulook, Ashk, Rashk, Idraak among others are mispronounced as Sulooq, Ashq, Rashq, Idraaq by those who cannot read and write Urdu and erroneously think that every K is Q in Urdu! Ironically, Shabana's mother's name was Shaukat! Had she been able to read and write Urdu, she wouldn't have made this silly mistake. Both Naseer and Shabana mispronounced Baaqi. It has a Qaaf. They also mispronounced Bebaak and Beshak as Bebaaq and Beshaq. Naseer said Kaid whereas it's Qaid (prison). 'Kaid' beginning with a Kaaf in Urdu connotes 'deceit', 'fraud' and 'treachery' just like Qad with a Qaaf is height, stature and size, but Kad with a Kaaf is a house or a den! Lata and Asha learnt Urdu diction, but both the sisters couldn't read and write Urdu. That's why, Asha Bhonsle sang in the duet Mujhe Pyaar Ki Zindagi Dene Wale (Film: Pyaar Ka Saagar, 1961, lyricist: Prem Dhawan/ Composer: Ravi): Jo Na Ho Yakeen (the correct word is YaQeen) Toh Kabhi Aajma Le, Mujhe Pyaar Ki Jindagi !! Aazma became Aajma and Zindagi sounded Jindagi whereas Rafi sang the whole song perfectly. Lata sang, 'HargiJ (instead of HargiZ) na mit sakenge (Film: Yaqeen, 1970). Kishore Kumar's famous song Mere Mahboob Qayamat Hogi (Mr X in Bombay, 1964) was re-recorded as Kishore pronounced Kayamat (with a Kaaf) in lieu of Qayamat (with a Qaaf). Kishore couldn't read and write Urdu. He made quite a few mistakes in his songs. His Qasam would always sound Kasam! Ashok Kumar would say, Qam-sin instead of Kamsin (Kam+sin: Nubile/young; sin: Age) and Kaatil instead of Qaatil. Ashok Kumar had a command of Hindi but not of Urdu because he couldn't read and write. Throughout his career, he couldn't pronounce the words Ghussa and Qissa a la a native Urdu speaker. Rafi, Talat, Suraiya among others had an edge over others because they were familiar with the Urdu script and they could read and write it. If you cannot read and write Urdu, you cannot pronounce the word Laa'nat (Ban/ curse) correctly because it has a hidden Ain: Laam, Ain, Noon, Te. Taa'riif (Praise) also has an Ain: Te, Ain, Re....The word Taabiir (elucidation/result of deeds) also carries an Ain. The correct pronunciation is Tabii'at (TabeeAt ; not Tabiyat or Tabeeyat) as it also contains an Ain and begins with a Toye and ends with a Te. Toye is pronounced differently from Te. All these nuances come when you learn how to read and write Urdu. Gulzar should encourage people to read and write Urdu but in these times when Urdu is fallaciously associated with Muslims and people are inarticulate in all tongues, who'll go for the script of Urdu? Here, people don't even know how to write correct Hindi. ------ A regular columnist for New Age Islam, Sumit Paul is a researcher in comparative religions, with special reference to Islam. He has contributed articles to the world's premier publications in several languages including Persian. URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

The Unforgettable Voice of Iconic Radio Presenter, “Allow Ameen Sayani; Namaskar, Shubh Ratri, Shab Bakhair”

By New Age Islam Staff Writer 23 February 2024 Ameen Sayani's Legacy and Impact on Radio Main Points: 1. His show, Binaca Geetmala, had 21 million weekly listeners by the late 1970s, featuring Hindi movie tunes. 2. Sayani's voice was a powerful attraction to radio listeners, drawing them in from start to finish. 3. Binaca Geetmala's success was largely due to Sayani's captivating voice, which captivated listeners for 41 years. 4. Sayani's final program of Binaca Geetmala was presented on March 12, 1994, with the song "Jadoo Teri Nazar Khushboo Tera Badan". 5. Once Amitabh Bachchan, who was a young actor at the time, attended the test but had to leave due to Ameen Sayani's busy schedule. 6. His legacy and contributions will always be remembered in the radio industry, with his voice and contributions forever remembered. ------ “Bhaiyon Aur Behno! Aap Ki Khidmat Me Ameen Sayani Ka Aadaab [Brothers and sisters! Etiquette of Ameen Sayani at your service]”. These terms were practically a sensation fifty years ago, the most widely used buzzwords in the radio world, making people happy. Indeed! The voice was that of Ameen Sayani, who was first heard throughout India on Wednesday, December 3, 1952, at 8:30 p.m. via Radio Ceylon. His voice has now gone silent forever. Ameen Sayani is no longer with us. Ameen Sayani, whose soulful voice was immortalized in the world of radio, reminds everyone of the eras when radio was the only life of broadcast, even after the nearly fifty-year journey of Binaca Geetmala has come to an end. His voice, one of the most beautiful in history, was heard on more than 54,000 radio shows. Ameen Sayani was born in Bombay on December 21, 1932. Coming from a family with a strong literary interest, Ameen Sayani started the daily Rahbar, and his brother Hamid Sayani became a well-known English broadcaster. He shot to fame with the fabulous show "Geetmala," which aired for the first time in December 1952. He began his career as an English broadcaster before moving to Hindi following independence. His show Binaca Geetmala, which had 21 million weekly listeners by the late 1970s, featured Hindi movie tunes. Every week, it got 65,000 letters. Ameen Sayani only 30 times in 41 years denied Binaca Geetmala access to his talismanic voice, and those were the only occasions when he was not in his own country or town. No voice in Asia or India can compare to Ameen Sayani's. As a result, Binaca Geetmala's magic left a profound impression on many viewers, and even now, years after the show's 1994 conclusion, everyone can still clearly recall his words and memories. This unique musical programme held the attention of radio listeners for a significant duration. People were waiting impatiently for the broadcast of this programme. While everyone remembers this period differently, they all remember sitting in front of a radio to listen to Ameen Sayani's voice. At that moment, Ameen Sayani's voice was the only thing drawing attention to the ears as labour ceased. When this show aired at the designated hour, nobody could be away from the radio from start to finish. Ameen Sayani's captivating voice was what drew listeners into this programme. Ameen Sayani was the one who ensured this cherished program's success. For 41 years in a row, Ameen Sayani delivered this programme with success, and not even a dull period could derail it. You could say that each has its history, regardless of whether it is connected to Binaca Geetmala or Ameen Sayani. One chapter or article cannot adequately describe what they did. There was a time when radio fascinated people to the fullest. You may imagine that for 48 years, Wednesday from 8:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. was the designated day and time for Binaca Geetmala to air. On October 27, 1988, it started airing every Thursday from 9 to 10 p.m., rather than on Wednesdays. The cause for the change in time and day was "Door Darshan," which started airing its movie soundtrack-infused show "Chitrahaar" on Wednesday night. The show was scheduled to start at eight at night. Television hosts probably used movie soundtracks to entice viewers because, at the time, radio was going out of style and television had become a standard in every home owing to broadcast services. Radio had become irrelevant to the younger generation. The audience did not have to spend two and a half hours in the movie theatres to watch and hear the soundtrack. The television screen unavoidably became more appealing and pleasurable since the Chitrahaar that was heard on Vividh Bharti’s radio station was now visible. Somewhere, this had an impact on Binaca Geetmala. Because at that time, people continued to switch their allegiance from radio to television. After that, Binaca was forced to embrace the burgeoning television trend, and its forty-one-year reign came to an end. Ameen Sayani presented the final and farewell program of Binaca Geetmala on March 12, 1994, with the song "Jadoo Teri Nazar Khushboo Tera Badan" (Movie: Dar). Upon his radio comeback with his new show, "Sitaron Ki Jawaniyan," Ameen Sayani disclosed that Big B [Amitabh Bachchan] had not scheduled a vocal audition, therefore he did not have time to meet with the actor. Ameen claimed in the interview that he was involved in every facet of radio programming back in the 1960s when he was doing 20 shows a week and spent most of the day locked in the sound studio. Amitabh Bachchan, who was young at the time, showed up for the voice test one day but had to leave because of a busy schedule of Ameen Sayani. Ameen Sayani became well-known throughout the world of radio because of his melodic voice and mannerisms. His fluid Urdu and distinctive speech pattern elevated him. Everyone was moved by Ameen Sayani's voice. With this voice, "Binaca Geetmala" was assured of success and went on to captivate his audience for 41 years in a row. In the radio industry, Ameen Sayani's contributions and name will always be remembered. His legacy will live on in the world forever, as will the light of his voice. ------ The source of this data is an Urdu article by Mansooruddin Faridi. URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Hindu-Muslim Brotherhood: The Identity of The Country

By Sandesh Tiwari, Tr. New Age Islam 22 February 2024 Religion Does Not Influence Interpersonal Discrimination Between Muslims And Hindus In India. The Hindu-Muslim Fraternity, Rooted In Shared History And Cultural Merging, Promotes Cooperation And Common Culture Between Hindus And Muslims. For Example, The Police Administration In Kathara, Uttar Pradesh, Once Expressed Concerns About Security Due To The Simultaneous Observation Of Muharram And Dussehra. However, Villagers Agreed To Celebrate Ram Leela And Ta'ziya, Demonstrating A New Brotherhood. ------ It is generally necessary to admit that religion has no role in interpersonal discrimination. There are striking examples of the cordial relationship between Muslims and Hindus all around India. These are the instances that demonstrate the shared history of Islam and Hinduism. These are the reasons behind the general appreciation of the Hindu-Muslim fraternity. Future generations will be doing themselves a disservice if they forget these models and this kind of brotherhood. Islamic texts do not distinguish individuals based on socioeconomic class, in contrast to Hindu teachings. The division of Muslims into 73 sects is not the result of Islamic beliefs and practices. Although the traditional practices vary depending on a person’s location, all Muslims have the same basic beliefs. Their traditional behaviours fluctuate accordingly. These concepts of unity hold a place in the hearts of both Hindus and Muslims in rural India. You also know how the innocent Hindus and Muslims of the village share the stages of Dussehra, Ram Leela and Tazia for unity. It is so simple to say, yet reuniting these lovely examples and shared legacy may prove challenging for upcoming generations of Muslims and Hindus. In Islam, cruelty has no place. Hindu Muslim brotherhood is a key component of "cooperation and common culture." The process of combining and merging Indian cultural elements is what truly forms the unity between Hindus and Muslims. The idea of intercultural understanding revolves around this. Imam Hussain was the grandson of Prophet Muhammad. He sacrificed his family and friends to protect Islam and humanity. The Ta'zia procession is carried out by Shia Muslims as a memorial to this martyrdom. These Ta'zias are regarded as martyr symbologies. It is ceremoniously buried after being carried out in a procession. Iraq is home to Imam Hussain's tomb. Muslims around the world observe Muharram as a month of mourning. The Ashura Day falls on 10 Muharram. Today is a day to honour Imam Hussain's brave sacrifice. It is a day to remember the brave sacrifice of Imam Hussain. Even today, in the villages of India, there are examples of Muslim brothers giving their lives for such a shared tradition. Here, we are discussing the village of Kathara, next to Kanpur district, in the state of Uttar Pradesh. There are roughly 1600 Hindus and 550 Muslims residing in this village. The Hindu community celebrates every Ram Leela celebration with considerable fanfare. There was a time when numerous security-related queries were brought up with the police on Ashura Day of Muharram. The leader of the mourning procession, Muhammad Taslim, recalls a period when Ashura and Dussehra fell on the same day. The village's Muslim population presented several challenges for the police administration. The village's Hindu-Muslim population was likewise in doubt because each group had to observe their festivals. Anirudh Singh, a member of the Dussehra Ram Leela Committee, claims that Muharram and Ram Leela were to be held in his village. It was expected of the villagers to live in harmony. But the real puzzle was how this was feasible. This concerned the village's innocent residents. To resolve the matter, a peace committee meeting was arranged at the closest police station. Participants at this conference included Muhammad Taslim, Haleem, Dildar Khan, Arif, Balwinder Singh, Rathore, Kamal Singh, Anirudh Singh, and Ajay Gupta, among others. The police brought up the subject of security and requested ideas for keeping the peace during Muharram and Ramleela so that members of the two communities might easily celebrate their festivals. Following that, the villagers decided to model a new brotherhood. It was then determined that Ram Leela would begin following this Ta'zia on-stage organisation. This move shocked the police officers, but they also let the event be celebrated in this manner after the representatives of the Muslim and Hindu communities gave their approval. The Hindus welcomed the Muslim brothers of the village who arrived with Ta'zia before Ramlala was brought to the stage. Then Tazia was put on Ramleela's stage, and finally, Ramlila was put on the stage. Following that, Muslims and Hindus gave one other warm embrace and respectfully observed their festivals. Urdu Article: ہندو-مسلم اتحاد: ملک کی شناخت ہے URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Maulana Abul Kalam Azad on the Causes of The Decline of Muslim Societies Around the World

By Dr. M.I.H. Farooqi, New Age Islam 22 February 2024 “Islam With All Its Values And Qualities Became A Victim Of False Propaganda By The West. It Was Said That Islam Lives On The Booty Of Loot And Arson. Sir Syed Was Probably The First Sincere Muslim Who Confronted The Muslim Haters And Rejected All Insinuations.” ------- Maulana Abul Kalam Azad (File Photo) -------- Maulana Abul Kalam Azad was among the top builders of modern India. He was also one of the most prominent Muslim personalities of twentieth century. An Islamic thinker of international repute, he possessed good qualities of the past but with modern outlook and believed in oneness of all human beings. He advocated for learning through liberal, modern and universal education combining the rationalism of western sciences. Thoughtful and reflective, Maulana had studied in great depth the causes of the decline of Muslim Societies around the world. The main cause for the Fall of Ummah, according to Maulana Azad, was the involvement of Muslims in unproductive activities and ignoring the facts of the fast-changing world. Through his speeches and writings, Maulana repeatedly reminded Muslims that their own irrational and unislamic attitude was responsible for their decline in practically in every walk of life. He, therefore, addressed Muslims in these words: “You have spent several nights of indifference (Urdu-Ghaflat) and complacency (Urdu-Sarshari). For God’s sake, get up now and see how much the sun has risen and how far your co-travellers (non-Muslims) have gone ahead of you.” (Ghubar-e- Khatir- by Maulana Azad). Maulana felt that after 16th Century, the situation of knowledge in Muslim and European societies interchanged completely. Now Europe started to follow Muslims way of progressive thinking and enquiry whereas Muslims copied Europe way of life of Middle Ages (Dark Age) that was full of superstition, bigotry and retrograde thoughts. He says “Now (after 16th Century,) the contrast in qualities as during Crusades, became apparent. The place of Muslims (Progress) was taken over by Europe and that of Europe (Dark Ages) by Muslims.” (Ghubar-e-Khatir- by Maulana Azad). According to Maulana Azad, the success story of Muslims during Middle Ages was entirely due to their dependence on “Ilm-o-Danish (Knowledge and Wisdom). Europe, at that time, depended on invocation and benediction for all the problems of life, even for wining Wars. Muslim used to fight with Arms of Iron and Fire. Europe depended only on the Helpof God. Muslims depended on God as well as materialistic sources provided by Nature. One was the follower of only spiritualistic powers; the other was dependent on both spiritualism and materialism. One waited for Miracles to appear and the other waited for success of their sincere efforts. Miracles never appeared but the efforts provided success to Muslims” (During Crusades). (Ghubar-e-Khatir- by Maulana Azad). Maulana always believed that Duaein (Invocation) by Bey Ilm (Ignorant) and Bey ‘amal (Men with no initiative) results in escapism. To prove his point, he described the incident of Bukhara. He wrote, “During the early nineteenth century, Russian forces surrounded the city of Bukhara. Instead of confronting the enemy, Ruler of Bokhara issued instructions that in all the Mosques and Dargahs, Invocation Prayers (Khatm Khwajgan) be organized. On one side the guns were playing havoc and on the other loud calls of Invocatory Prayers were resounding. Guns versus Prayers. The obvious happened. Bukhara fell to Russian forces. Invocation does help but for those who have the courage to fight. For people without courage, Prayers become the source of escape from reality” (Ghubar-e-Khatir, by Maulana Azad). In a similar incident, the Ruler of Egypt, Murad, instead of defending against the forces of Napoleon during 1798 issued instructions to recite Collections of Prophetic Traditions in all the Mosques in order to quell the enemy. Again, the obvious happened and before the recitation could be completed, the whole of Egypt was conquered by Napoleon Forces. This attitude of Egypt’s Ruler was against the tenets and traditions of Islam, a religion of Rationale and Reason In his various speeches (Khutbat Azad –Addresses by Azad, Edited by Malik Ram, Sahitya Academy, Delhi, Fifth Edition, 1997), Maulana Azad has dealt in quite details about the Rise and Fall of Islamic Societies. In this connection, he has referred to an article written by an eminent traveller and historian Prof Armin Wembrey, published in Budapest Herald (1901). Prof. Wembrey, a national of Hungary, was a great friend of Turks. He lived with them for more than two decades and visited most of the Islamic world. After living all these years with Muslims, he was disillusioned with their behaviours and attitudes towards worldly affairs. He, therefore, left their company and went back to his native land where he adversely commented on Muslims. According to Maulana, Wembrey wrote “There is no point in supporting Muslims any more. They do not have any interest in worldly affairs and do not wish to contribute in development. They have no vision, no commitments and sense of responsibility. All that they know and do is Ibadat Guzari (prayers). They are not capable for working for the cause of humanity. The best thing for the West remains to annex their entire territories and share them amongst themselves.” Maulana Azad, pained by these comments, observed that “if such are the views of friends of Muslims, imagine what the enemies would be thinking of them”. For instance, he quoted another European Scholar, Maxin Hardin, who wrote (London Times - 1910) that “How long Muslims would be let free. Islam is a Danger. Whatever area is captured of Muslim Land, it is the rightful property of Europe. Its return is madness.” (Khutbat Azad) In spite of anti-Islamic stance of Europe, Maulana Azad was indeed great protagonist for international peace and unity but he knew that without acquiring might and fighting spirit, it was not possible to get respect and honour. He, therefore, vehemently advocated that “the hand is sacred which is holding a white flag, signifying Peace, but only those can only survive who firmly hold in their hand a deadly sword because that is the only way for asking Justice and defending themselves from the perpetrators of tyranny.” (Khutbat Azad) Maulana Azad had the genuine feeling that spreading false propaganda against Muslim had started by the West as early as 16th century. In this connection he observed “Islam with all its values and qualities became a victim of false propaganda by the West. It was said that Islam lives on the booty of loot and arson. Sir Syed was probably the first sincere Muslim who confronted the Muslim haters and rejected all insinuations.” (Khutbat Azad) Maulana Azad was against separating religion from worldly knowledge. He advised Muslims to acquire modern knowledge and, in this connection, he appealed to them to contribute large sums for the establishment of Aligarh Muslim University which till then was a College only. He observed “the day Muslim University will be established; it will be completion of the exhortation and message of our Prophet.” Maulana was an important Islamic Scholar and had great respect for the Madaris (Muslim Seminaries). However, with the changing of times, he felt that the Madaris needed to make suitable changes in their approach of imparting knowledge. He, therefore, advised “If education is meant for human beings and purpose is its applicability in daily life, then teach them in such a manner that they are not frightened. But if the education is meant for angels, then you do what you like. ...........The world has changed and in view of this fact we should have made changes in our education system hundred years back but if it was not done at that time, then at least do it now. ..........What we are teaching today in our Madaris in the name of Ma’qulat (Logic and Philosophy) is simply outdated and has no place in today’s world. ..........We should accept the ground realities and understand that in place of outdated philosophical subjects, we need to teach students the problems facing the Ummah. If you do not do it, that means you do not understand the basics of life and wish to fight with the unstoppable changing times. .......... History teaches us that in the clash between Qadamatprasti (Conservatism) and Taraqqiyat (Modernism), the loser has always been Qadamatprasti. .......... True, that Abul Fazal and Faizi were the products of Madaris and that they had done well with their administrative capabilities. But that was a long time back. That education cannot work now. Times have changed. Now you are isolated because you remain at the same place (Madaris) where you entered five hundred years back. During all these years, world has seen vast development and changes. The subjects you are teaching today have no relevance to the need of present times. The result is obvious. There is big wall between you and the World. You lag behind in all walks of life. You are supposed to be Nikamme (worthless). We must accept that we have committed grave mistakes by not reconciling with the changing times.” (Khutbat Azad) Inspite of the Fall of Islamic Societies, Maulana Azad never compromised with spirit of Islam that stressed for unity and brotherhood. Throughout his life he stood for the unity of India and its composite culture as well as cordiality between Hindus and Muslims. Once he said “If our Prophet could advocate unity between Quraish and all the communities in and around Madina (as one nation), don’t you think that it is not the religious duty to unite with the Hindus of Hindustan. “He repeatedly expressed his views that “As a True Muslim, I have inherited Islam’s glorious traditions of the last fourteen hundred years. I am not prepared to lose even a small part of that legacy. I have another equally deep realization, not hindered by the Islamic spirit, that I am an Indian, and proud being an Indian. If the whole world is my country and is to be honoured, the dust of India has the first place. If all mankind are my brothers, then the Indians have the first place.” At another occasion, he said “Today, if some Angel comes from a cloud and declare from Qutub Minar that – Swaraj can be granted within twenty-four hours provided demand (wish) of Hindu- Muslim Unity is withdrawn -, I will not accept the offer. If Swaraj is delayed, it is the loss of India but if efforts for Hindu Muslim Unity are given up, it is the loss of humanity.” (Khutbat Azad). ------ Dr. M.I.H. Farooqi (Dr. Mohammed Iqtedar Husain Farooqi) Is An Eminent Scientist Who Has Done Commendable Researches On Plant Products Of Commercial And Medicinal Value. He Retired As A Deputy Director (Scientist F ), National Botanical Research Institute, Lucknow, A Premier Institute Of India Dealing In Plant Sciences. URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Ameen Sayani: Man With a Captivating Voice

By Sumit Paul, New Age Islam 22 February 2024 Aawaaz Jo Kaanon Se Dil Mein Utar Jaaye Wahi Aawaaz Meri Rooh Ko Hai Bhaaye -Akhtar Ul Iman (Voice that descends into the heart through the ears/ That very voice appeals to my soul) There's a line, Meri Aawaaz Ka Teer, Jayega Dil Ko Bhi Cheer, in an immortal song 'Sun Le Tu Dil Ki Sada' sung by Mohammad Rafi (Film: Tere Ghar Ke Saamne, 1963). The demise of the legendary radio-announcer Ameen Sayani reminds us of this line. It was indeed a voice that warmed the cockles of hearts for decades. His signature style of saying Bahno aur Bhaiyo will remain etched in the collective memory of those listening to him since 1952 when he started presenting Binaca Geetmala on Radio Ceylon that enthralled Indians for more than four decades. What made Ameen Sayani such a popular household name? There's a Persian term, 'Khaeen'. It's specifically used in the context of a person's voice. It means, a friendly voice. Ameen Saheb indeed had a friendly and accessible voice. If you observe, he didn't exactly have a magnificent voice. There were announcers who had better voices, e.g. Mahmood Hashmi of AIR, Urdu Service, Vijay Shekhar Dubey, Gopal Sharma, Rakesh Sharma, legendary Ganjwar sisters, Vimla and Kamini, Hasan Rizvi, Sunil Dutt (all from Radio Ceylon), Yawar Abbas of BBC, Urdu Service, among others. But none had the charisma of Ameen Sayani who could strike a rapport with the listeners right from the word go. That a Gujarati-speaking and Bombay-born guy could speak almost flawless Hindustani and compere innumerable programmes in his inimitable voice must be lauded. When Ameen Sayani began his career as an announcer, he wasn't very sure of his Hindi. But thanks to his perseverance, he soon became the most sought-after Hindi announcer, producing and presenting over 54,000 radio programs and 19,000 voice-overs for advertisements and jingles. Way back in 2010, I met Ameen Saheb in Poona. He was a very accessible and down-to-earth man. A journalist friend of mine asked him, how he could relate to his listeners so effortlessly. He gave a laconic reply, "Main Dil Se Bolta Hoon" (I speak from the core of my heart). On this count, Ameen Sayani can be compared to Pakistan's finest radio women, Mohini Hameed and Satnam Mahmood. Though he acquired a unique way of addressing the listeners, he never sounded artificial like a reigning megastar whose affected baritone grates on ears. Ameen relentlessly worked on his diction and voice quality. He didn't have a baritone. He had a fine voice with a finer delivery and presentation (Adayagi in Urdu). He spoke fast but never like the RJs of FM Radio who suffer from verbal diarrhoea. Today's radio and TV announcers must learn the nuances and subtleties of announcement from Ameen Sayani who'll always be remembered as a man with a captivating voice. Au revoir, Ameen Saheb. ------ A regular columnist for New Age Islam, Sumit Paul is a researcher in comparative religions, with special reference to Islam. He has contributed articles to the world's premier publications in several languages including Persian. URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Vladimir Putin Waiting for An Inclusive Cancer Vaccine That May Establish Him as A Humanitarian Crusader

By Nava Thakuria, New Age Islam 22 February 2024 Russian President Vladimir Putin, recently while speaking in a Moscow function, announced that his country was waiting for the launch of cancer vaccines. Putin, globally condemned for invasion on Ukraine resulting many casualties and enormous property damages, announced that significant progress has been made by the Russian scientific fraternity to develop the important vaccines. The hardliner Russian leader expressed optimism that they have almost reached a significant phase for developing cancer vaccines and immunomodulatory drugs. He also hoped that these advancements will transition the way to approach the health disaster, but Putin did not reveal any specific information about the type of cancer vaccines, he mentioned. Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures as he speaks to scientists on the sidelines of the Future Technologies Forum at the World Trade Centre in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2024. (Kristina Kormilitsyna, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP) ------ Needless to say, many countries across the globe, including Bharat, have been working to find the effective cancer medicine and also vaccines for decades. World Health Organization (WHO) in its report confirmed the availability of at least six licensed vaccines targeting human papillomaviruses (HPV, that causes cervical cancer) and hepatitis B (that may lead to liver cancer). Incidentally cervical cancer is the fifth most common cancer in the world, where as it’s ranked as the most frequent cancer among Indian women. To fight against this type of cancer, Indian scientists had launched Cervavac as a preventive measure to save many lives. The vaccine is developed indigenously after rigorous research, clinical trials and necessary regulatory approvals. The central government also committed its support for the cervical cancer vaccination process. Cancer is almost a curse in our society. Numerous Assamese plays, cinemas, stories and media articles have depicted the cancer as the other name of deaths. So if any individual is diagnosed with cancer, irrespective of its stages, the family instantly presume a dark future for the patient. But the doctors always encourage the patients to face the disease bravely. They argue that with early detection and proper treatment, cancer can be cured if the patient adopts medication regularly with a positive mind enriched by physical activities. India continues to increase the number of cancer affected families. Now the projected number of cancer cases in India is estimated to be 15.7 lakh by next year. Northeast is also not legging behind; our region also increases cancer cases every year and by 2025 it may witness another 57,131 new cases. Indian Council of Medical Research reported that our region faces a high burden of cancer compared to other parts of the country. The highest cancer incidence rate among the males was recorded in Aizawl and among females in Papumpare. The tobacco-related cancer cases remain higher in the region. Any comprehensive vaccine for cancer will be a priceless gift for 60 million people living in the region, adjacent to Nepal, Bhutan, Tibet, Myanmar and Bangladesh. Often cancer is also termed as a huge global scam as many believe that the scientists have the capability to develop a comprehensive cancer vaccine, but they are being prevented by the beneficiaries of the scam including the pharmaceutical companies, private hospitals, concerned doctors and others. Once the vaccination process becomes feasible and effective, those beneficiaries would lose their business empire accounting a huge sum of money. Now Putin, who has already earned the name & fame as an autocratic and arrogant leader, has declared the invention of cancer vaccine by the Russian scientists, it may change the entire global healthcare scenario. Like many other politicians in power, Putin may not bother about the complications he would face after the invention and marketing of cancer vaccines. Putin now desperately wants to improve his image from a villain to a humanitarian crusader. If at all the Russian cancer vaccine comes out as a reality, he will be the beneficiary number one in the process. Nonetheless, an inclusive cancer vaccine should emerge out of all difficulties and complexities so that human sufferings from the disease can be minimised if not completely removed. ------ Nava Thakuria is a northeast India-based professional journalist who is an engineering graduate. URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Khul’ Or Khula, Divorce Initiated By Muslim Women: Victims Welcome Relief Offered By Kerala High Court

By Grace Mubashir, New Age Islam 24 February 2024 The Community Leadership Who Conduct Marriages Must Also Take Initiatives To Facilitate Khul’ Or Khula Divorce As Per Kerala High Court Verdict Main Points: 1. The 2023 Kerala High Court ruling related to Khul' can be seen as a positive step towards untying this tangle. According to this ruling, a Muslim woman does not have to go to court to get a divorce. It will be very helpful in avoiding delay in this matter. 2. Victims of abusive marriages have welcomed court decision. 3. Khul’ is divorce initiated by women. 4. This facility is not encouraged by community and clerical leadership causing a setback to women's rights. 5. Khula is a human right of married women granted by Islam in which community leadership and ulema routinely interfere on the side of the errant husband. ------ A few years ago, a case came to the attention of the Kerala High Court. Police had registered a criminal case against a young woman in Kollam. They want to cancel it. A case had been registered against her on the complaint of her first husband. When it became difficult to get along with her husband, she decided to leave him. She understood that the woman had an Islamic right to leave her husband because she lived by Muslim religious rules. She informed the decision to family. The matter was also conveyed in the Mahallu (local religious leadership) where the Nikah took place. Divorce was sought under the leadership of the Khadis of the Mahallu. After this, woman prepared for another marriage. Then the first husband came forward seeking restitution of conjugal rights. His complaint was that she was going to marry someone else while she was still his wife. His complaint also stated that they had not sought a legal divorce. The complainant said that there were charges of fraud and cheating. With this, the police registered a case against the woman. It took her some time to realize that she had done no wrong. Because divorce was sought following Islamic methods. Later, preparing for another marriage was also done religiously. Then the woman asked why there was a police case against her. But later she realized that according to Islamic law, divorce is only permissible for a Muslim man. If a woman seeks divorce, there is a provision to file a case against her. This woman approached the High Court to quash the case taken in such a manner. It was only when this issue came to my attention that I thought of the Fasq advertisement (dissolution of an Islamic marriage pronounced by a Sharia court, on the application of the wife) that is often seen in newspapers. In fact, some of the women announced that they had divorced their husbands according to Islamic law. But it was only when they got into some kind of legal entanglement that they themselves knew that it was not legal. Everyone had been giving such advertisements for ages, but no one had said anything about its legality. This was a major legal issue before the Kerala High Court in 2023 as well. Under Islamic law, women have the right to seek divorce. However, the Indian legal system does not recognize this. It is in this context that we should learn about the historic verdict of the High Court in relation to Muslim women. The court said that a Muslim woman can get a divorce outside the judiciary as prescribed by Islam. That means that the woman from Kollam has the right to seek divorce in the Islamic way. The 49-year-old practice has been changed with this judgment of the High Court. For 49 years, a Muslim woman should have been denied the right granted by Islam and approached the court for divorce and convinced the magistrate to seek divorce. But when both families and both mahals intervened and abolished the Islamic law of seeking divorce without complications, no one objected. It should also be read that when a judge of the Kerala High Court once remarked that it would be more appropriate to go through the Talaq court, some community leaders woke up and acted. The court itself has said that the male-centric society of the community has confined Muslim women to judicial divorce for centuries. Men used illegal systems such as triple talaq to obtain divorce. But no such system was allowed for women. It is also noteworthy that the High Court has mentioned that Muslim women are facing many hardships related to divorce despite the rights provided by the Constitution. There will be many Muslim women among us who will be comforted by this High Court verdict. A mother and daughter in Kochi is an example of that. The husband is a drunkard and wanders around without looking at the house. As her daughter grew up, the mother became more and more concerned. Their biggest wish at that time was a closed house. Some good men of the Mahallu decided to make amends for their tears. A good house has been prepared for mother and daughter. A husband who was irreconcilable in any way became a liability for that woman. The daughter was afraid of her father. What they were afraid of was what her husband would do if he came claiming the house for her and her daughter. Thus, if the husband comes claiming the right, he will have the right to it. In fact, it was impossible for the woman to go to court and get released from this marriage. This is where they thought of Islamic ruling. Problem-solving can be easily sought under the leadership of the Khadi by informing the Mahallu. Now it should be said that their matter has been resolved with the judgment of the High Court. A girl who is a doctor had approached the court to seek a divorce before the Kerala High Court verdict. She was prepared for this because of her husband's cruelty. When the harassment continued, she approached the court. However, the husband repeated that he did not agree to the divorce in court. The case dragged on endlessly without reaching a decision. The girl's position is that she does not need anything as compensation, only divorce is enough. However, it had many legal obstacles. She kept losing her job and her life. At one such stage, the girl was also thinking of an Islamic divorce. That did not happen. But the court verdict helped her get a divorce with the help of local Khadi. Often the society and family are reluctant to accept any divorce initiated by women. Especially if the girls put up with it a little bit, it's okay, the family will also want them not to seek divorce. When a girl in Kottayam found out that her husband was having affairs with many other women, she revealed it at home. But it seemed like a problem that the family could adjust to. One day this girl left home. With that, the family members also thought that the problem had worsened. After she left the house, her husband also came to the position that he did not want her. Later, the girl herself took the initiative and both of them got an Islamic divorce very easily. It was the process of divorce according to Islamic law that made it possible to seek divorce very quickly without ending up in an unwanted marriage. Muslim women used to come to the court verandah for so long when there was a good legal system that states that what is not compatible should not be added. But there are cases where Muslim women need the protection of the court. An example of this is the judgment of the Amini Sub Court in Lakshadweep regarding Talaq. A 34-year-old man from Amini divorced his 30-year-old wife. They got married nine years ago. The young man from Amini became close to the girl he was working with. This affair was known to his wife and her family. Later fights started over this. In 2019, the young man divorced his wife for the first time. Later, the second Talaq was performed strictly following the intervals prescribed by Sharia law. A divorce certificate was also obtained from the local Khadi showing that the Talaq proceedings were completed. In this case, Amini Sub Court Judge ordered that the certificate of divorce issued by Khadi is not legally valid. The husband pronounced three Talaq at regular intervals. But before pronouncing Talaq, according to the Sharia ruling, mediation should be held between the husband and wife's family first. After that, the first Talaq should be recited and again after mediation, the second Talaq should be recited. Talaq was pronounced in this case but no mediation was held at any stage. The purpose of mediation is to reconcile the relationship if it is somehow possible to go together. The finding of the Amini court was that the Supreme Court itself had clarified in the Sira Banu case that divorce without mediation is not legal. In such a situation, women have to approach the court itself. Therefore, if women seek divorce according to Islamic law, if they do not comply with all its conditions, they will be questioned in court. When Islam respects and makes Muslim women dignified, it needs to be checked whether the system here is ready for it. A society changes through its own thoughts. It is a big mistake for Muslim women to think that anyone can create a revival if they involve themselves. Muslim women's rights have been denied for so long by making false claims that the mental state of women changes and there are situations where a woman cannot make a clear decision. It is comforting that Muslim women have come out of the hypocrisy of sometimes glorifying Muslim women in speeches and reiterating that the kitchen is yours when you come home. Muslim women should understand the fact that those who protested in the courts and on the streets to restore some of the anti-feminist customs that entered Islam like triple Talaq a few days ago turned a blind eye to women's rights to move forward. The Community Should Facilitate Women-Led Divorce (Khul') Islam has given women civil rights that are surprising even in our time. They are not limited to certain religious rights. Freedom of worship, freedom of education, freedom to choose a spouse and divorce from the spouse when married life becomes difficult, freedom to earn and spend property, freedom to choose a ruler, freedom to criticize, freedom of opinion and so on. Marriage in Islam is a very sacred and binding contract. The Qur'anic verse, 'They (wives) have taken from you (men) a firm covenant' clarifies the importance given to marriage in Islam. It is a very solemn covenant in which the woman is placed under the care of the groom by her guardian in the service of the responsible men of the palace, taking into account her will. Islam insists that it should be built on feelings of love and compassion. No matter how much you try and take care, sometimes married life does not turn out to be as happy as expected. There will be cracks and friction between the couple. Reconciliation efforts may also be fruitless. It can be a man or a woman who is not ready for reconciliation. It can be male or female. A woman has the same right of divorce as a man has in such unavoidable circumstances. This legal right is given by Allah, the lawgiver. Once you hate each other, married life becomes an unbearable burden. How much better to be free than to live with that crown of thorns for the rest of your life. Allah says: “Talaq is twice. The wife can then be fairly retained or gracefully dismissed. It is not permissible to withdraw anything from what you have given them when it is sent. Unless you are concerned that both of the couples will not follow the laws of Allah. If you are concerned that both of the spouses will not follow the rules, then there is no guilt for the woman to pay the husband something and be freed." (Al-Baqarah: 229) It is interesting to note that where the divorce is mentioned, the laws related to the divorce by the woman are mentioned. This right of women is known as Khul' in technical language. But the woman must obtain a divorce from her husband in return for the dowry or other reward given by him. If the woman asks for a divorce under duress, the man is obliged to take back the Mehr and give her the divorce. A woman should not be made difficult without getting a divorce. The 2023 Kerala High Court ruling related to Khul' can be seen as a positive step towards untying this tangle. According to this ruling, a Muslim woman does not have to go to court to get a divorce. It will be very helpful in avoiding delay in this matter. Community and clerical leadership should come forward to facilitate women-led divorce. If the Mahallu leadership is responsible for the marriage of the Mahallu, they should facilitate Khil’ also. If the Mahallu leadership is ready for that, it will be a big relief for the Muslim woman. It will be possible to get justice for her. If talaq is also handled by the Mahal leadership, it will also pave the way to prevent abuse in this field. ----- A regular columnist for, Mubashir V.P is a PhD scholar in Islamic Studies at Jamia Millia Islamia and freelance journalist. URl: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

UP Muslims May Vote For BJP In 2024 Lok Sabha Elections - To Shift Loyalty From Traditional Religious Block To Sub-Caste Identities

By Syed Ali Mujtaba, New Age Islam 24 February 2024 An electoral survey Mapping Muslim voting behaviour for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, says Muslim voting behaviour is gravitating toward the BJP, and the vote share of the saffron party vis-à-vis Muslims may go up. This survey was carried out by Feyaad Allie a post-doctoral fellow in the Government Department at Harvard University. He travelled across eighteen districts in eastern, central, and western Uttar Pradesh. The sample included 1,468 Muslims who identified as Pasmanda (OBC and Dalit) and 480 who identified as General or Upper Caste. Additionally, the Hindu sample of the survey included 355 Hindus identifying as Upper Caste, 1,180 identifying as OBC, and 389 identifying as from the Scheduled Castes. The survey that was conducted in 2024, revealed that in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, Muslims are going to shift their loyalty from its traditional religious block and may vote on their sub-caste identities which may bolster the chances of the BJP in the 2024 general elections. The survey disclosed that till 2012, only a small percentage of Muslims voted for BJP candidates but by 2017, the percentage increased, with nearly 12.6% of general Muslims and 8% of Pasmanda Muslims voting for the BJP. The survey remarks that Muslim voting behaviour is influenced by the presence (or absence) of a co-ethnic representative in the electoral fray. It’s from this behaviour it can be inferred that Muslim representative can activate internal divisions among Muslims that may shape their subsequent voting pattern. These divisions can manifest along sub-identities within the broader Muslim identity, according to the survey. It says a range of factors appear to shape Muslim voting behaviour. First Muslims vote according to their state’s electoral context like how many parties are contesting. How many Muslim candidates these parties are fielding prospects to lure the Muslim votes which results in the division of Muslim votes in multipolar contests? The survey did a comparative study of Muslim voting behaviour in the state assembly elections after the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, suggesting some consolidation of Muslim votes has been registered. In the 2020 Bihar elections, about 77% of Muslims voted for the Mahagathbandhan, 75% for the Trinamool Congress in the 2021 West Bengal elections, and 79% for the Samajwadi Party in the 2022 Uttar Pradesh elections. The survey reveals that in the 2022 state elections, 9.8% of general Muslims supported the BJP, whereas 9.1% of Pasmanda Muslims supported the BJP. The entire text of the survey can be accessed from this link- ----- Syed Ali Mujtaba is a journalist based in Chennai. URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Kaif Bhopali: Remembering A Forgotten Poet-Lyricist

By Sumit Paul, New Age Islam 24 February 2024 I'm in the habit of looking for tributes and obituaries on Urdu poets on their birth and death anniversaries. So, when I didn't find even a fleeting mention of the poet-lyricist Kaif Bhopali on his birth anniversary on February 20, I felt sad. Kaif Bhopali and Asad Bhopali, yet another ill-fated contemporary poet-lyricist from Bhopal, never got the recognition they deserved. In a highly competitive world of song-writing for Hindi films when there were stalwarts like Sahir, Kaifi, Majrooh, Shakeel, Shailendra, Hasrat, among others who were getting regular works, it was indeed difficult for a simple and self-effacing man like Kaif to find a place and write prolifically. Yet, he immortalised himself by writing 'Chalo Dildaar Chalo Chaand Ke Paar Chalo,' 'Teer-e-Nazar Dekhenge, Zakhm-e-Jigar Dekhenge' (both from Pakeezah, 1972) and a rare gem of a song, 'Apne Aap Raaton Mein Chilmanein Sarakti Hain' (Lata, Film: Shankar Hussain, 1977). Kaif became more popular as a poet whose Ghazals, Nazms and couplets instantaneously struck a chord with the connoisseurs and Mubassir (discerning) readers and listeners of Urdu poetry. His poetry didn't revolve around love and beloved. Kaif also wrote serious and meaningful poetry. The following couplets will buttress my point: Mai-Kasho Aage Badho, Tishna Labo Aage Badho Apna Haq Maanga Nahin Jaata Hai, Chheena Jaata Hai (Those who're athirst, must march forward to quench their thirst, for, one mustn't beg for one's rights but snatch them). This couplet reminds you of Sahir's famous couplet, Apna Haq Sangdil Zamane Se Chheen Pao Toh Koi Baat Bane/ Sar Jhukane Se Kuchh Nahin Hoga, Sar Uthao Toh Koi Baat Bane (Film: Naya Raasta, 1970, sung by Rafi). This couplet has greater significance in these times, when there's an oppressive and despotic government at the helm. But are the masses aware of their fundamental rights like a decent life, job, house and two square meals? Do we question the current political dispensation regarding our basic rights? Alas, we're all much more concerned about temples, mosques, Ram, Sita and Hanuman. This is so sad. And Chalte Hain Bach Ke Shaikh O Barahman Ke Saaye Se Apna Yahi Amal Hai Bure Aadmi Ke Saath (I avoid the company of Shaikh and Brahman / This is how I treat dubious and shady characters). Shaikh and Brahman, the veritable contractors of faith (Mazhab Ke Thekedaar) must be avoided like pariahs. They're the people who foment all troubles and brew religious differences. Kaif once recited a couplet in a private gathering in Bombay, "Mazhab Se Khud Ko Jitna Door Rakha/ Utna Main Insaan Ke Qareeb Aaya" (The more I distanced myself from religion, the closer I came to humans). So true to the last syllable! The more you keep yourself away from religion and its murky business/ The more you align with your fellow humans. Strangely, I didn't find this couplet when I rummaged through Kaif's oeuvre in Urdu. I read this in an article in now-defunct Urdu Risala (magazine) 'Beesveen Sadi.' Kaif will remain ensconced in the hearts of people like yours truly who value perspicuous poetry, regardless of the language it's written or spoken in. ------ A regular columnist for New Age Islam, Sumit Paul is a researcher in comparative religions, with special reference to Islam. He has contributed articles to the world's premier publications in several languages including Persian. URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism