Saturday, May 25, 2024

Dealing with Misogynistic Men: Three Approaches

By Kaniz Fatma, New Age Islam 25 May 2024 The Best of Three Approaches to Dealing with Misogynistic Men Main Points: 1. Misogynist men often treat women poorly, leading to a cycle of mistreatment and violence in the home. 2. Intolerant or losing patience women often respond to their husband's misbehaviour with increased misbehaviour, leading to a cycle of mistreatment, violence, divorce, and negative impact on children. 3. Women with internal weaknesses, tolerant of husbands' bad behaviour, but damaged in personalities, struggle to connect with positive traits and strength, leading to a lifeless robot existence, fake smiles, and fear in homes, affecting their children. 4. The third approach involves rare, daring, patient, wise, and courageous women who gently address weak men by addressing their flaws rather than engaging in combat or rivalry. 5. The third approach may be more beneficial for women dealing with inappropriate husband behaviour and potentially solve their issues. -------- A woman is a shoe for the feet; she should be maintained in her place and not put on the head, according to some misogynist men who were raised in an environment that taught them this lesson rather than respect for women. The way these men treat their wives is not at all admirable. However, women who depend on men for their financial security acknowledge that being mistreated by their husbands is inevitable and that they should put up with it all. When a husband acts inappropriately, a wife typically has three approaches: The First Approach: Women who are intolerant or who lose patience easily take this approach. These women respond to their husband's misbehaviour with even greater misbehaviour. They repay their husband's one transgression with ten more. For as long as they live with their spouses, the homes of these women remain models of misery, and because of their intolerance, they are soon divorced. Even if they stay together, the home these women share becomes a battlefield. This has an impact on their children as well. Their daughters grow up to dislike males and avoid marriage because they witnessed their father mistreat their mother, while their sons do not learn how to respect women. This approach perpetuates the cycle of mistreatment and violence in the home, affecting the overall well-being of the family. The Second Approach: The women who choose approach number two are internally weak. It seems that they tolerate every bad behaviour of their husbands silently. However, in the process, their personality is damaged. They are unable to connect with their positive traits and personality strengths, resulting in their existence as lifeless robots. Their joy is insufficient, and their smile is fake. There is always a sense of fear in the homes of these ladies. These women implant in their children their own inner horror. As a result, their children deal with this concern in real life as well. Third Approach: These are extremely uncommon women in our culture. They are daring, patient, wise, and courageous. When these ladies encounter a man with a weak personality who abuses rage and shouting to control a woman, they develop a plan to rectify him rather than run away from this weak man. Such women gently attempt to eliminate the flaws of these men rather than engage in combat and rivalry with them. These are the confident women with a strong self-belief. These women are aware that their home is harmed simply by fighting. For this reason, when their husbands lose their cool, these ladies demonstrate patience and say nothing. But at the appropriate moment, she completes the process of reforming her husband and is frequently successful in turning him into a decent husband by rationally outlining her point of view. As a matter of fact, these women instil in their children a healthy sense of balance and respect for their fathers. The path of these women is undoubtedly challenging, but it will not last forever. With time, they will be able to get over their challenges and manage to transform the home into the ideal family. Remember! When a woman observes her husband misbehaving, she has three approaches. She has the freedom to select any of them, but her decision will impact the rest of her life. It will benefit a lady more if she takes the third approach. This method might be the solution to all of her problems. ----- Kaniz Fatma is a classic Islamic scholar and a regular columnist for New Age Islam. URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Nadda On BJP-RSS Relations Is In Not The Parting Of Ways Between The Parent Organisation And Its Political Progeny

By Ram Puniyani for New Age Islam 25 May 2024 Though Nurtured And Trained In The Ideology Of Hindu Nationalism, The BJP For Electoral Purposes Put Forward “Gandhian Socialism” As Its Motto. As The Party Did Not Get Much Traction In The Electoral Arena, It Soon Shifted Gears And Took Up The Babri Mosque-Ram Temple As The Central Issue. The Accompanying Anti Muslim Violence Led To Polarisation And The BJP’s Position In National Politics Steadily Went ------- As the election season (April-May 2024) is in progress there are observations by some that this time RSS volunteers (Swayamsevaks) are not on the field to help the BJP for electoral mobilization. So far, in most elections barring the one of 1984, in the aftermath of anti Sikh pogrom. There are many guesses about the role of RSS combine in the elections this time. In this context the interview of Mr. J.P. Nadda, given to IE (May 19, 2024) claims that RSS is a cultural and social organization while BJP is a political party. Nadda claims that “… the BJP was now self-reliant and was fully capable of running its own affairs. The party has evolved over a period of time and unlike when during Atal Behari Vajpayee’s time, it was completely dependent on the RSS, this was not the case anymore.” Illustration: Pariplab Chakraborty ------ This is claimed particularly in the light of Narendra Modi’s spectacular rise, most of his decisions being made by himself and the charisma created around him by multiple mechanisms, including what is called Godi media, Controlled by his circle of corporate cronies. Some will tend to believe that BJP is now a totally autonomous party like any other party. Can this be true? As we recall RSS was formed in the context of rising ‘Indian-consciousness’ during the freedom struggle. India’s anti-colonial freedom struggle was founded on pluralism and diversity. The triggering point for formation of RSS was the rising dalit struggles for social equality. The formation of this Hindu nationalist organization was also inspired by the Nationalism of Mussolini and Hitler. Unlike another organization devoted to Hindu nationalism, the Hindu Mahasabha, RSS focused on training Swayamsevaks and Pracharaks (propagators) in the ideology of Hindu nationalism rather than jumping directly into the political arena. In due course it started throwing up different organizations, mostly formed by its trained volunteers. Interestingly the first subordinate organization was Rashtra Sevika Samiti, for women. This was guided by K.B. Hedgewar the first Sarsanghchalak, and formed by the women close to RSS Pracharaks (propagators), as women are not permitted in RSS itself. The Pracharaks in due course formed Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram, Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh, Vishwas Hindu Parishad and a bit later Bajrang Dal. Today it has over 60 organizations working on the agenda of Hindu Rashtra. The formation of the political wing of RSS came in the wake of murder of the Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi, by RSS trained Pracharak Nathuram Godse. RSS felt the need for a political party which can articulate its ideology in the political arena. So far entering the political arena was an anathema for this organization. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee of Hindu Mahasabha helped by Arya Samaj in particular took the lead in formation of BJP predecessor, Bhartiya Jana Sangh. RSS loaned three of its prominent Pracharaks to Jana Sangh: Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Lal Krishan Advani and Deendayal Upadhyay. Later with Deendayal Upadhyay becoming the President of Jana Sang- RSS control on this party became total. At the same time its Shakhas were training young boys in the ideology of Hindu nationalism, based on glorification of the ancient past and hate for the Muslims. As per Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel it was the Hate spread by RSS due to which murder of Gandhi became possible, “Sardar Patel was firmly of the opinion that the communal poison spread by the RSS was responsible for the Mahatma’s assassination. …He said, ‘As a final result of the poison, the country had to suffer the sacrifice of the invaluable life of Gandhi’ Jana Sangh -RSS eagerly joined the Jayaprakash Narayan movement 1975. Soon they came to control the movement and got respectability in public eyes, which was extremely low due to their association with Gandhi murder. Jana Sangh also merged into Janata Party which was inspired by JP. Soon many components of Janata Party asked the Jana Sangh leaders in the party to give up their association with RSS, i.e. to give up dual membership (of Janata Party and RSS). The Jana Sangh leaders owed their primary loyalty to RSS and left Janata Party to form Bhartiya Janata Party in 1980. While they were nurtured and trained in the ideology of Hindu Nationalism, BJP for electoral purposes put forward “Gandhian Socialism” as their motto! As they did not get much traction on the electoral arena they soon shifted gears and took up Babri Mosque-Ram Temple as the central issue. The accompanying anti Muslim violence led to polarization and BJP’s ascent on the political chessboard went up by leaps and bounds. The major policies of RSS Combine, of which BJP is a component, are coordinated through annually held ‘Akhil Bhartiya India Pratinidhi Sabha’ (ABPS, All India Representatives Meeting), presided over by the RSS Sarsanghchalak. As BJP became more powerful the RSS was getting more space to work and infiltrate in the state apparatus. Since 2014, the number of RSS Shakhas (Branches) has gone up in number in a big way. As per the ABPS report 22-23 “Over 8,500 new ‘Shakha’ (daily meetings) were started by the RSS in the country during 2022-23. The total number of ‘Shakha’ rose 12 per cent to 68,651 from 60,117 during the previous year. “ This shows the speed with which RSS work is expanding during present BJP rule. What prevails in RSS and BJP is a division of labour, with RSS being the parent organization and laying the broad contours of march to Hindu Rashtra. The present scenario where Mr. Nadda is making this statement needs to be understood in the context of their electoral strategy and relationship to RSS. It is in no way the parting of ways between the parent organization and its political progeny. Modi’s towering image is needed for the agenda of Hindu nation. As most of the sectarian nationalisms, which are mostly dictatorial, need a towering image to undermine and wipe out democratic freedoms. So projecting Modi as a tall figure in no way contradicts the agenda of RSS combine, as a matter of fact it aids their goals in immeasurable ways. What Mr. Nadda is stating needs to be taken in the proper context and tactical need of the RSS-BJP agenda. It in no way suggests any differences in their long term goal or relationship. ---- Original Headline: Nadda On BJP-RSS Relations: Father, Son And Political Equations ----- Ram Puniyani is president of the Centre for Study of Society and Secularism. URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Daagh Dehlvi : His Nous Touched Upon His Poetry

By Sumit Paul, New Age Islam 25 May 2024 English critic I A Richards was of the opinion that when a writer or a poet has a humongous corpus of works, one should cherry-pick a few sublime ones to have an idea of the writer's craftsmanship. Ruminate over them and then dive into the ocean of his oeuvre. Turkish poet Nazim Hikmet said the same, albeit in Turkish, "Gent Wint Key Faan Ej Mon Ember" (Choose the best one and you'll get the idea). Daagh Dehlvi was born on May 25 ------ Daagh Dehlvi, whose birth anniversary falls on May 25, is one such great classical Urdu poet whose prolific poetry runs into reams and volumes. So, it's better to pick a gem from his cornucopia that underscores his poetic genius, beauty and also wisdom. Here's one in my opinion. You've every right to find some other from the great poet's repertoire: Khabar Sun Kar Mere Marne Ki Voh Bole Raqeebon Se Khuda Bakhshe, Bahut-Si Khoobiyaan Theen Marne Wale Mein (Having got the news of my demise, she told her suitors/ God bless him, the deceased had many good qualities) This couplet expresses the common human trait. We tend to 'remember' a person only when he's no more. To quote Nawab Shefta, "Yaad Kiye Jaane Ke Liye/ Shayad Zaroori Hai Insaan Ka Marna" (To be remembered, death seems to be a sine qua non). By the way, professor Ralph Russell, who taught Urdu at British Universities, liked this couplet very much. He'd often say, 'Death often romanticizes a person but with a tinge of sarcasm.' To quote Qateel, "Jeete Ji Woh Namurad Tha/ Qaabil Insaan Ban Gaya Marte Hi" (Useless while alive, the same became a competent person after death). This couplet is also some sort of a euphemism for 'Good Riddance.' American humorous poet Ogden Nash put it so succinctly, "When you can't say, good riddance/ You say, departed one was good in every sense." Though Daagh's poetry is in a classical mould, his nous touches and refines many couplets. For example, "Baat Tak Karni Na Aati Thi Tumhein/ Ye Humare Saamne Ki Baat Hai" (You couldn't even talk properly/ I was a witness to your incompetence). Many upstarts and neo-rich who think themselves to be very important/ Were non-entities until yesterday. The young guy in Poona whose Porsche mowed down two youngsters and who splurged nearly 1 lakh in a couple of hours, cannot even talk coherently. His father and grandfather are equally unsophisticated and churlish. The family lacks class, pedigree and history. Just two generations of affluence made the entire family so damn arrogant and haughtily supercilious. Daagh's couplet applies to such people. One of Daagh's oft-quoted couplets is for those who keep praying like mendicants, "Hazaar Baar Jo Maanga Karo Toh Kya Haasil/ Dua Wahi Hai Jo Dil Se Kabhi Nikalti Hai" (A deluge of prayers will yield nothing/ A true prayer occasionally springs from the recesses of one's heart). To read Daagh's chiselled poetry is to understand life in its entirety. Daagh was a classical poet who went beyond the traditional metaphors, subjects and issues prevalent in the poetry of his era. ---- A regular columnist for New Age Islam, Sumit Paul is a researcher in comparative religions, with special reference to Islam. He has contributed articles to the world's premier publications in several languages including Persian. URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Friday, May 24, 2024

Traditional Indian Muslim Ulama on The Varied Dimensions of Human Rights

By Abdur Raheem Kidwai, New Age Islam 24 May 2024 Islam aur Insani Huquq (Islam and Human Rights) Edited by Afzal Misbahi Language: Urdu Ghazipur, India, Mah-i-Nur Publications, 2023. Pp.382, ISBN: 93-5980-620-X The issue of Human Rights has assumed greater prominence in our times. Those hostile to Islam often seeks to discredit both Islam and Muslim societies, charging them with their scant regard for Human Rights. It is most gratifying that this collection of 36 articles represents the deliberations of traditional Indian Muslim Ulema and scholars on the varied dimensions of Human Rights, reflecting as it does their admirable engagement with modernity. The editor, Afzal Misbahi, Assistant Professor of Urdu at Banaras Hindu University, India has done well to bring out this Volume, divided neatly into the following thematic sections, each containing several articles: Evolution of the concept of Human Rights, the Islamic stance on Human Rights, a comparison between the Islamic and Western concepts, right due to various sections of society, women’s rights in Islam, Islamic Law vis-à-vis Human Rights, and the perception of Human Rights in the four major Islamic schools of jurisprudence, namely, Hanafi, Maliki, Shafai and Hanbali. Among the many articles, the following ones stand out for their in-depth analysis and brilliant exposition of the Islamic stance: i) Nizamuddin Rizvi’s on the delineation of Human Rights in Hadith ii) Muhibbul Haq’s on the global scenario pertaining to Human Rights. iii) Ahmad Javed’s elucidation of the Prophet Muhammad’s stance on Human Rights as reflected in his Farewell Hajj sermon which stands out as the first pronouncement on egalitarian social justice, equality and cordial relations. iv) Ashhar Qadeer’s and Abrar Alam’s articles spelling out the rights of animals and other living beings in Islam. Equally instructive are the articles detailing obligations to neighbours, widows, orphans, parents, children, labourers, non-Muslims and the underprivileged strata. The section on women’s rights by three scholars accentuates the unmistakable note of gender justice permeating the Islamic directives for treating women. In view of the perceived plight of women in Muslim societies, these writings are highly welcome and much needed. More importantly, these life-enriching Islamic teachings should be earnestly implemented. Another area of concern, which is often neglected, is the fair treatment of non-Muslim minorities in Muslim countries. Our conduct on this count is regrettably discordant with what Islam asks us to practise. v) Akhtarul Wasey’s thought-provoking discussion on forging and maintaining warm social relations and developing better, nuanced communication and understanding with non-Muslims is highly commendable. He has sagaciously charted a road map and feasible practical suggestions for evolving rapport with non-Muslims while complying with the Islamic norms in this domain. vi) The worthy editor, Afzal Misbahi has sincerely exhorted Muslims to play a meaningful role in reinforcing amity, peace and happiness, which is an important Islamic ideal. His plea rests on the planks of the Quran and Sirah. As the editor of the Volume, Misbahi has done well to include the provisions in the four juristic schools on professing and practising Human Rights. This feature of the Volume not only displays the fecundity and diversity of Islamic jurisprudence, it also broadens the appeal of the work to readers. The inclusion of interviews with the representatives of Judaism and Christianity in India has also enhanced the value of the book, as it adds a comparative religion streak to the discourse on Human Rights. Afzal Misbahi deserves accolades for his editorial assiduity, breadth of coverage and catholicity of mind. This work would be read with much profit by all those interested in the study of the Islamic perspective on Human Rights. ---- Abdur Raheem Kidwai is a Professor of English at the Aligarh Muslim University, India and a Visiting Fellow, the School of English, University of Leicester, UK. He has published 22 books on Islam, the Quran, and English Literature. 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

Bauls of Bengal: First and Pristine Sufis

By Sumit Paul, New Age Islam 24 May 2024 Mr Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi's excellent article on the Mystic of Bengal has inspired me to ferret out my old article on Bauls of Bengal who were called Swabhabik Rahosyobadi (Natural Mystics) by none other than Rabindranath Tagore. Strange though it may sound, it's true that we are seldom aware of our own attributes and capabilities. That it needed an English scholar to enlighten us on the spiritual influence of Bauls of Bengal's Bankura district is a rather sad commentary on our apathy towards the rich and varied spiritual traditions and wealth. Professor Arthur John Arberry, a British scholar of Arabic Literature, Persian poetry and Islamic studies, wrote in 1939 that the Bauls of Bengal started and perpetuated the great (Islamic) mystic traditions of Muslim mystics in their own natural, non-denominational, non-religious and non-sectarian manner. Photo: Chaupahari.come ------ There are striking similarities in the ways of Bauls and the mysticism of Sufis. Since 1967, when Baul singers Purna Das and Luxmun Das featured on the album cover of Bob Dylan's John Wesley Hoarding, the West has been fascinated by the mystical world of the Bauls and their rejection of the mainstream (Islam/Hinduism). The Bauls subscribe to a philosophy that doesn't acknowledge caste, creed and social hierarchies. The syncretism of the Sufis is similar to Baul philosophy. Even John Lenon's famed "Imagine" (1966) was actually inspired by the Baul philosophy: "Imagine there's no god, no heaven....." British scholar of Vedanta Sir Christopher Isherwood called the Bauls 'First Sufis' and ' Spiritual world's earliest evolved souls.' Even Jalaluddin Rumi's concept of "Dancing Darvesh" has its roots and vestiges in the whirlwind dancing steps of the Bauls, which they (Bauls) call ''Alaukik Nritya" (Divine Dance). The Bauls of Bangladesh were following their spiritual tradition much before the advent of Islam, which came into existence nearly 1500 years ago. Though their devotional songs can be traced back to the fifteenth century when they first appeared in Bengali literature, Baul spiritual traditions were much older. The Bauls never called themselves Hindus or Muslims. Their only identity is Hari Das (slave to God). And their God is both Saguna-Saakaar (having a definite form) and Nirguna-Nirakaar (formless). On this front, Bauls are much more evolved (than the Sufis). Most of the Sufis were highly accomplished poets like Rumi, Attar, Sanai, Khaqani, Nizami, Bayazid Bistami and Jami, having a great command of Persian and Arabic, whereas Bauls were simple village-folks, unspoilt by bookish or scriptural knowledge. While all Sufis from Central Asia and Arab Peninsula were the devout followers of Islam, Bauls didn't tie themselves to the apron-strings of any man-made faith. To quote western Urdu scholar Ralph Russell, ' Theirs (Bauls) was a pristine spirituality, bereft of scriptural adulteration.' Bauls have never had religious trappings. They worship a God or even gods. On this count, their philosophy is much greater than all the sophisticated religious ideologies put together. Even Jesus Christ and his mother were mentioned in the folk-songs of Bauls many centuries ago in the erstwhile East Pakistan. The loftiness of their spiritual experience with no barriers of customs and rituals is incredibly fascinating. The message of Bauls is universal and is articulated in one of the songs-Je Maane Maanush Ke / Bhagban O Maane Taake (Who serves mankind / God serves him). Can anyone cite a spiritually more audacious statement than this? The disarming simplicity of the life of a Baul, the absence of social obligations and classifications, the unhesitant devotion of the music of the soil are some of the features that make the Bauls truly affable. The most beautiful thing about the Bauls is that though they are against all social and religious conventions, they are not disconcertingly iconoclastic. They welcome everyone to their fold with no pre-conditions whatsoever. "We are all offspring of the same God," intrinsically believe the Bauls and the echoes of it can be heard in the teachings of the Sufis. The egalitarian mysticism of the Bauls inspired the Sufis, who came into contact with them when they arrived from Central Asia and Arabia. But Professor Reynold A Nicholson suggested that Muslim mystics sidelined Bauls during their active period in Bengal (Read Nichloson's Notes, published by the Department of Persian, Cambridge University). If Socrates called himself 'a global citizen' almost 4, 000 years ago, Bauls considered the whole world as 'a huge family' (Brihod Poribaar) centuries ago. Just because their history is not so well-documented, Bauls have never got the much broader canvas enjoyed by the Muslim Sufis. Despite their lack of formal education, Bauls admirably believe that there's no hell or heaven. It's just a state of mind, they believe. Alas, 'educated' Muslims are still cocksure that Hell, Heaven, Afterlife and all that jazz exist and they write bogus treatises on these non-extant concepts that are actually insults to human intelligence. No last rites are performed when a Baul shuffles off the mortal coil. His mortal remains are consigned to the flowing waters of a river or sea, symbolising the continuity of life. In one of his poignant songs, Purna Das sings, "Give me a watery grave. Fire burns, lonely darkness suffocates, why shouldn't I flow with water as my whole life I have lived like a river?" This exalted philosophy of Bauls is all the more relevant in today's world of differences and discrimination. Here I must add Nirad C Chaudhury's words, " While all great Muslim mystics in Bengal had a subtle or dormant desire to convert Hindus to the fold of Islam, Bauls never had that intention as they were beyond all religious affiliations, nay afflictions '' (Courtesy, Desh, January 1970). Humanity needs the universal spirit and message of Bauls. ----- The above article first appeared in TOI's now defunct supplement The Crest (2009). Some additions have been incorporated to make it relevant for NAI. ---- A regular columnist for New Age Islam, Sumit Paul is a researcher in comparative religions, with special reference to Islam. He has contributed articles to the world's premier publications in several languages including Persian. URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Thursday, May 23, 2024

On Islamic Constitutionalism: Ideas of Hashim Kamali and Khaled Abou El Fadl

By Adis Duderija, New Age Islam 23 May 2024 In the discourse surrounding Islam and constitutionalism, two progressive Muslim scholars, Hashim Kamali and Khaled Abou El Fadl, offer insightful perspectives on the compatibility of Islamic principles with the tenets of constitutional governance. They argue that the Islamic system of rule is rooted in a commitment to fundamental principles rather than a rigid preference for a specific institutional format. It is within this context that an Islamic government can reflect the political mandate, consultative processes, rule of law, limited authority, respect for individuals’ rights and welfare, and commitment to equality and justice. Furthermore, both scholars emphasize that constitutionalism, with its emphasis on checks and balances and the restraint of power, is not only just and virtuous but also aligned with the objectives of Shari’a. This article delves into their perspectives, highlighting the importance of Islamic constitutionalism in achieving a harmonious society that upholds both religious principles and the rule of law. Hashim Kamali ------ The Principles of Islamic Government: Kamali’s perspective underscores the notion that an Islamic government is founded upon a commitment to principles rather than a specific institutional model. The crux of such a government lies in its elective and consultative nature, wherein political authority is derived from the people. This form of government recognizes the rule of law and operates within its confines. It is also limited in scope, focusing on safeguarding people’s rights and welfare while remaining a trustee of their trust. Moreover, an Islamic government upholds the principles of equality and justice, respects individual autonomy and freedom, and protects and promotes the Islamic faith. It is inclusive, embracing differences of opinion and accommodating religious and cultural pluralism, allowing non-Muslims to freely practice their own religion and adhere to their customary laws in personal matters. In essence, an Islamic government, irrespective of its organizational form, adheres to these principles and can be deemed Islamic. The Compatibility of Constitutionalism and Shari’a: Abou El Fadl further explores the compatibility between constitutionalism and Islamic principles, particularly Shari’a. He argues that constitutionalism’s primary objective, which is to curb and prevent the abuse of power, aligns with the broader objectives of Shari’a. By placing strict limits on government authority and defining the powers of rulers, constitutionalism ensures justice, virtue, and the preservation of individual rights, all of which are integral to Islamic teachings. The restraint of power not only prevents excesses and corruption but also upholds the principles of fairness and accountability. Abou El Fadl highlights that constitutionalism, when implemented justly, serves as a means to fulfil the objectives of Sharī’ah, as it safeguards the well-being and rights of individuals within a framework of moral and ethical values. Khaled Abou el-Fadl ------ The Benefits of Islamic Constitutionalism: Islamic constitutionalism offers numerous benefits to societies in Muslim-majority countries. By combining Islamic principles with constitutional governance, it creates a system that upholds fundamental rights, promotes justice, and ensures the equitable treatment of individuals. It provides a framework that allows for the peaceful coexistence of diverse religious and cultural communities, respecting their autonomy and granting them the freedom to practice their faith. Islamic constitutionalism also instills a sense of accountability and transparency, as governments are bound by the rule of law and subject to checks and balances. Furthermore, it facilitates social stability by addressing the needs and welfare of the people, making their well-being a central focus. The perspectives of Kamali and Abou El Fadl shed light on the compatibility between Islam and constitutionalism, emphasising that the Islamic system of rule is based on core principles rather than a specific institutional format. Islamic constitutionalism, when properly implemented, provides a framework that upholds the values of justice, equality, and accountability while respecting religious pluralism and individual autonomy. By combining the principles of Islam with the virtues of constitutional governance, societies in Muslim-majority countries can strive towards a system that fosters harmony, protects individual rights, and ensures the well-being of all citizens. Islamic constitutionalism, as envisioned by these scholars, presents a path towards virtuous, inclusive, and just governance that can bridge the gap between religious principles and the rule of law. ---- 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

Failure To Reform Religious Jurisprudence and Norms Allows Religious Militancy, Irrespective of Faith

By Dr. James M. Dorsey for New Age Islam 23 May 2024 Extremist Rabbis, Ultranationalist And Ultraconservative Israeli Politicians, Far-Right Evangelicals, Russian Orthodox Church Leaders, And Hindu Nationalists Have Emerged As Equally Troublesome Militant, Supremacist, And Racist Expressions Of Faith. ------ For more than two decades, jihadists took pride in place as symbols of extremism and illustrations of the need for religious reform. They made Islam the focus of post-9/11 calls for religious change and moderation. Today, Islam no longer stands alone. One of the world’s foremost faiths, Islam has been joined by most major religions that have long flown under the radar. Numerous recent examples and incidents in an increasingly polarised world that allows religion to become a clarion call for supremacy, racism, bigotry, and prejudice highlight the urgency of expanding the post-9/11 clamour for ‘moderate’ Islam to other major faiths, including Christianity, Judaism, and Hinduism. Extremist rabbis, ultranationalist and ultraconservative Israeli politicians, far-right Evangelicals, Russian Orthodox Church leaders, and Hindu nationalists have emerged as equally troublesome militant, supremacist, and racist expressions of faith. Together, they demonstrate that problematic tenets and practices of religion pose a universal threat that transcends Islam. Failure to reform religious jurisprudence and norms allows religious militants, irrespective of faith, to justify their militancy, supremacy, and violence in theology and religious law. Countering those expressions in an increasingly polarised, us-or-them world, in which religious militants’ impact or control the levers of power in countries like Israel, Iran, and India or wield significant behind-the-scenes influence as in Russia, is no mean fete. “Stop calling other people infidels. The fact that someone is not Muslim doesn’t make them an infidel.” Meme created by NU followers. Source: Bayt ar-Rahmah -------- For much of the past decade, Indonesia’s Nahdlatul Ulama, the world’s largest and most moderate Muslim civil society movement, has led the clarion call for religious reform, albeit with mixed results. Even so, Nahdlatul Ulama, a conservative center-right movement, deserves credit for leading by example, persistence, determination, and willingness to go where others have not dared to tread or did not have the clout to do so. A mass movement with 90 million followers, a five-million-strong militia, thousands of religious seminaries, hundreds of universities, and a religious authority of its own, Nahdlatul Ulama is in a class of its own. Islamic history boasts numerous forward-looking reformists. However, in contrast to Nahdlatul Ulama, they were primarily intellectuals and clerics, some with significant followings, yet none with the infrastructural and organizational backbone needed to boost their quest. In recent years, Nahdlatul Ulama’s religious scholars acted on the movement’s call for reform of “obsolete” or “outdated” provisions of Islamic jurisprudence with fatwas or religious opinions that replaced the notion of a kafir or infidel with that of a citizen and called for the elimination of the concept of a caliphate in favour of the nation-state. The problem is that fatwas are not binding. While most Nahdlatul Ulama followers may abide by the opinions, other Indonesian Muslims may not. Similarly, Nahdlatul Ulama has set an example for the Muslim world. However, the fatwas have yet to be emulated elsewhere. If anything, major status quo Muslim institutions, including Al Azhar, the more than 1,000-year-old, Cairo-based citadel of Islamic learning, Saudi Arabia’s government-controlled Muslim World League, and United Arab Emirates-sponsored religious groups have sought to co-opt the Indonesian movement. To its credit, Nahdlatul Ulama has stood its ground, insisting on religious reform that includes religious and political pluralism. In doing so, Nahdlatul Ulama challenges its major Muslim rivals’ view of moderation which emphasises religious tolerance and interfaith relations, while upholding the autocratic principle of absolute obedience to the ruler. Credit: DW ----- Arab rulers have used their concept of 'moderate' Islam to legitimize their iron fist rule and crackdown on dissent religiously. Saudi Arabia has gone as far as defining atheism as terrorism and has yet to allow non-Muslim houses of worship to operate legally. Autocrats have exploited their definition of ‘moderation’ to project an image of forward-looking societies that attract needed foreign investment and reap the economic, social, and political benefits of religious and social tolerance. “Harnessing the benefits of religion – including the considerable economic gains available – requires taming of the tendency for followers of one religion to exclude and work against non-followers,’ said Bahraini analyst Omar Al-Ubaydli. Religious tolerance and interfaith dialogue constitute a step forward. Even so, the Gaza war, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Evangelical support for Israel, rising anti-Semitism, Russia’s Orthodox Church-backed invasion of Ukraine, and anti-Muslim Hindu nationalist agitation suggest that religious tolerance and interfaith dialogue do not suffice. To structurally address a problem that feeds discrimination, racism, and polarisation, religious tolerance and interfaith dialogue need to be embedded in reforms that counter bigoted, supremacist, and prejudiced expressions of faith and promote religious, social, and political pluralism and diversity. The consequences of failure to do so are omnipresent. They dominate newscasts and online and social media with reporting from flashpoints like Ukraine and Gaza and on the rise of the far right in Europe and the United States, as well as the curbing of freedom of expression in the West when it comes to supporting the Palestinians. As a result, Nahdlatul Ulama’s call for reform is not just valid for Islam and Muslim autocracies. It applies equally to illiberal democracies that cloak themselves in religious nationalism like Hungary and India, authoritarian regimes like Russia, and partial democracies like Israel that uphold democratic principles for Jews but limit Palestinian rights. Binyamin Netanyahu addresses Christians United For Israel. Source Arab Center Washington DC ------ The urgency of religious reform is spotlighted by leaders like Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who heads the most ultra-conservative and ultra-nationalist government in Israel’s history and projects himself as the protector and spokesperson of world Jewry but has no compunction about aligning himself with Jewish supremacists who view their Jewish critics as traitors and non-Jewish figures who flaunt their association with anti-Semitism. Men like Mr. Netanyahu’s Diaspora Affairs and Struggle Against Anti-Semitism minister, Amichai Chikli, find common ground with often anti-Semitic ultra-conservatives and far-right politicians in their opposition to ‘radical Islam’ which translates into support for Israel’s effort to destroy Hamas. Earlier this month, Mr. Chikli spoke at a gathering of European far-right activists hosted by Vox, Spain's ultra-right political party that Israel once shunned for welcoming neo-Nazis and Holocaust deniers into its ranks, including Pedro Varela, an infamous Barcelona Nazi bookseller, who spent time in jail for disseminating hate speech and nominated Holocaust denier Fernando Paz as a congressional candidate in Spain’s 2019 election. Several other Netanyahu associates, including parliamentarians Amit Halevi and Simcha Rothman, the architect of the prime minister’s controversial judicial reform, and Science and Technology Minister Gila Gamliel, spoke earlier this year at influential Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) meetings in Maryland and Hungary alongside Holocaust deniers, self-identified Nazis, and Christian nationalists. Speaking in Maryland, far-right conspiracy theorist Jack Posobiec greeted participants on the first day of the gathering, saying, “Welcome to the end of democracy. We are here to overthrow it completely…and replace it with this because all glory is not to government, all glory to God” as he held up what appeared to be a cross on a chain. Congresswoman Elise Stefanik visits Israel at the invitation of Knesset Speaker Amir Ohana. Source: ------ Earlier this month, Knesset speaker Amir Ohana, a member of Mr. Netanyahu’s Likud Party, invited reformed New York Republican Congresswoman Elise Stefanic on a blitz visit to Israel. Ms. Stefanik profiled herself as a staunch opponent of anti-Semitism in the recent Congressional grilling of university presidents and a supporter of Israel. Mr. Ohana overlooked Ms. Stefanic’s failure to account for her history of anti-Semitism, including her propagation as recently as two years ago of the white supremacist Great Replacement Theory. The theory asserts that America’s elite, at times manipulated by Jews, aims to replace and disempower white Americans. The theory sparked mass shootings in the United States. A white man with a history of antisemitic internet posts in 2018 gunned down 11 people in a Pittsburgh synagogue. A year later, another white man, angry over what he called “the Hispanic invasion of Texas,” opened fire on shoppers at an El Paso Walmart, leaving 23 people dead. And in yet another deadly mass shooting in 2022 in Buffalo, New York, a heavily armed white man killed ten people in a supermarket on the city’s predominantly Black east side. “The State of Israel and the Zionist movement has actually sought the support of well-known anti-Semites as long as they are politically in their corner… People who are bigoted, anti-Semitic, who hate Jews but are willing to support the State of Israel, are welcomed by Netanyahu and his ilk,” said Jonathan Kuttab, an international human rights lawyer, board member of the Bethlehem Bible College, and president of the Holy Land Trust. Jonathan Kuttab. Credit: ----- When Mr. Kuttab recently asked the pastor of an Evangelical megachurch to pray for the children of Gaza, the cleric refused. “I don’t want to create trouble because I believe in the Prophecy. All these Jews are going to gather (in Israel),” Mr. Kuttab quoted the cleric as saying, adding that “then, with a big smirk on his face, he said, ‘they’re all going to die because (of) Armageddon, they’re all going to be destroyed except those who accept Jesus Christ as the Saviour.’” Mr. Netanyahu, who has denounced pro-Palestinian protesters as “anti-Semitic mobs.” shrouded himself in silence earlier this month as Christian prayer leader and singer Sean Feucht led his far-right followers in a pro-Israel march against pro-Palestinian demonstrators at a University of South California (USC) campus to portray the Gaza war as a harbinger of the ‘End Times’ predicted in the Bible. Mr Feucht was joined at the campus by Ché Ahn, the leader of Pasadena’s Harvest Rock Church, who defines being pro-Israel as converting Jews to his brand of Evangelical Christianity. Sean Feucht leads a pro-Israel demonstration at the University of South California. Source: Sean Feucht Facebook’s page ----- Dressed in a Jesus rocker-style black jean jacket, Mr. Feucht told Fox News, “We want Americans to see that we are fed up with this rot of anti-Semitism on the college campuses.” Fox News passed on the opportunity to question Mr. Feucht on his association with the far-right Proud Boys, QAnon conspiracy theorists, the ReAwaken America Tour, a conspiracy-laden road show, and Elijah Schaffer, a podcaster, all notorious for their anti-Semitic tendencies. “I do interfaith dialogue for a living. These people are not doing interfaith dialogue. They’re doing Christian supremacy, but they’re cloaking it in the garb of interfaith solidarity,” said Matthew D. Taylor, a religious studies scholar and expert in Christian nationalism. A retired historian warned in an email, “If the chain of apocalyptic events that the Christian Zionist expounders of bogus ‘Bible prophecy’ have conditioned millions of American Christians to believe that they are preordained by God, including catastrophic war and a second Holocaust with the Palestinians as its victims, is brought about and then Jesus does not return when their ‘prophecy’ predicts – and he will not – Christianity will become abhorrent in the eyes of the world, seen by non-Christians as a genocidal doomsday cult. And it will spark a global firestorm of anti-Semitism against all Jews.” In the spirit of Nahdlatul Ulama, Mr. Kuttab, the Palestinian lawyer, advocates engagement with Evangelical Christians and believes that effecting change is possible. Mr. Kuttab’s view implies that Evangelicals, unlike ultra-nationalist and ultra-conservative Jews, Hindu nationalists, and militant Islamists, may be low-hanging fruit, at least when it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Christian Zionists at a Day of Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem. Credit: The Times of Israel ----- “The appeal for Christian Zionism is very broad, but it’s very thin… It’s not as fundamental to their identity as issues like abortion, for example, or homosexuality. For them, support for Israel is like a default position that they haven’t thought much about because they were never asked or questioned or challenged on it… They equate the Israel of the Bible with the modern state of Israel… They sort of jump over 2,000 years of history, and they jump over most of the New Testament,” Mr Kuttab said. “So, when you sit with them and quote the Bible to them, they are very liable to change their positions, but you have to talk to them in Biblical terms. You have to quote scripture to them… You have to talk to them about Christ love, Christ compassion, Christ being the Prince of Peace, Christ being open to everybody, to salvation for God loves the world, not just the Jewish tribe, that he gave his only begotten son. So, whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life. When you talk to many Christian Zionists in that language, they say,’ Hmm, we never thought about that. Maybe you are right.’… The problem is that most people who talk to Christian Zionists don’t use that language,” Mr. Kuttab added. Earlier this month, the United Methodist Church, a mainstream Protestant church with some 5.4 million followers and 30,000 houses of worship in the United States that has lost up to a quarter of its membership because of its increasing tolerance of same-sex marriage, called on its investment managers to divest from Israeli bonds as well as Turkish and Moroccan securities. The church cited as reasons for the disinvestment Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories conquered during the 1967 Middle East war, the continued presence in Northern Cyprus of Turkish troops since Turkey invaded the Mediterranean island in 1974, and the Moroccan occupation of the Western Sahara since 1975. The rise of Israel’s far-right government shines a spotlight on problematic elements of Jewish law reflected in Israel’s Gaza war conduct, its us-or-them approach to Palestinians, and its policies on the West Bank. Early in the war, Mr. Netanyahu invoked the Biblical command to “attack the Amalekites” and destroy all that belongs to them. “Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys,” the command says. Although challenged by numerous rabbinical scholars over the centuries, Israeli politicians and military personnel fighting in Gaza echoed Mr. Netanyahu’s invocation. Ultraconservatives view Amalek, the grandson of Esau and his descendants and anyone else who lived in their Canaanite territory, as the archetype of evil symbolic of Israel and the Jews’ nemeses. Earlier this month, far-right Rabbi Dov Lior, a proponent of killing and ethically cleansing Palestinians, legitimised breaking the Sabbath to prevent humanitarian aid from entering Gaza. "We should be happy that we have a population that cares about Israel and cares about the Sabbath ... A war that takes place on the Sabbath makes it permissible to violate the Sabbath," Mr. Lior decreed. Rabbi Eliyahu Mali speaking in a conference at his Shirat Moshe yeshiva. Source: Twitter ---- In March, Rabbi Eliyahu Mali, whose government-subsidised religious seminary in Jaffa aims to dispossess Palestinians still resident in what is today a southern suburb of Tel Aviv that once was Palestine’s most populous city, issued what can only be called an incitement to genocide. A proponent of permanent Israeli re-settlement of Gaza on religious grounds alongside other ultra-conservative rabbis, including Tzvi Elimelekh Shabaf and David Fendel, Mr. Mali received US$800,000 in government support in 2023. “The basic rule we have when fighting a holy war, in this case, Gaza, is the doctrine of ‘not sparing a soul.’ The logic of this is very clear. If you don’t kill them, they will try to kill you. Today’s saboteurs are the children of the previous war whom we kept alive,” Mr. Mali, citing scripture, said in a conference at his Shirat Moshe Yeshiva. Like various forms of ultra-conservative Islam such as Wahhabism, jihadism in the shape of the Islamic State and Al Qaeda, and Hindu and Christian nationalism, militant, supremacist expressions of Judaism represented by religious Zionism in the way it is currently expressed demonstrate the risk of leaving unaltered problematic tenets in religious law. As the 9/11 attacks did with Islam, Israel’s policy towards the Palestinians shines a spotlight on problematic Jewish religious legal precepts. Common wisdom says what is needed is pressure on Israel, particularly from the United States and Europe. No doubt, pressure helps, but much like Nahdlatul Ulama has taken the lead in tackling head-on legal, ideological, and religious issues that make Islam part of the problem rather than the solution, Jews will have to do the same for Judaism. 9/11 put Islam’s problems on the front burner. Israel and Jews could face a similar situation as circumstances in the occupied territories, including East Jerusalem, as a result of Israeli policies spin out of control. ----- Dr. James M. Dorsey is an Adjunct Senior Fellow at Nanyang Technological University’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, and the author of the syndicated column and podcast, The Turbulent World with James M. Dorsey. Original Headline: The Quest For Religious Reform Goes Global 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

ISIS, Other Terrorist Groups, and Misuse of Islamic Terminologies – Part 2

By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi, New Age Islam 23 May 2024 The Distinction between Islam and Extremism Main Points: 1. When the holy Prophet was physically present, it was impossible for anybody to misuse the teachings of Islam. 2. The Farewell Sermon of the Prophet: the First Human Rights Manifesto strongly emphasises respecting human rights and dignity as well as the worth of all lives and belongings. 3. Global Violence and Corruption: Historical Perspectives 4. No Religion condones acts of terrorism, bloodshed, cruelty. 5. Despite the League of Nations and United Nations, promoting peace and maintaining law and order remain challenging. 6. The "Might is Right" principle still applies, leading to global injustice. 7. The Quran and the Prophet's teachings affirm religious freedom and the value of all lives. 8. ISIS and related groups misrepresent these teachings, misleading people. ------ (From Files) ------ During the glorious time of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him), nobody could misuse the teachings of Islam. This was for two reasons, the first of which was covered in the first part. The second reason for this was the obvious presence of the Prophet (peace be upon him). In every way, his presence was sufficient to address the problems of the Muslim Ummah. The Companions would consult the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) whenever they had a question about how to interpret a verse from the Holy Qur'an and address emerging issues. By the guidelines of Allah Almighty, the Beloved Prophet (peace be upon him) used to personally address every issue. Applying the principles of honesty and sound judgement makes it simple to understand the objectives of Islam. Islam preaches salvation and well-being for all, both on Earth and in the hereafter. The core principles of Islam are peace, harmony, fairness, and equity, ensuring success in both life and the afterlife. The life of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) ensures justice and peace. He endured suffering, torture, and atrocities for roughly fourteen years in Makkah before leaving the best system of justice and establishing a system of equality and peace, which is evident from the sermon of Hajjat al-Wada' (meaning: "Farewell Hajj"). This is the occasion on which the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "فإن دماءکم وأموالکم وأعراضکم علیکم حرام، کحرمة یومکم هذا في بلدکم هذا، في شهر کم هذا، وستلقون ربکم فسیألکم عن أعمالکم، ألا فلا ترجعو بعدي ضلالا، یضرب بعضکم رقاب بعض، ألا لیبلغ الشاهد الغائب فلعل بعض من یبلغه أن یکون أوعى له من بعض من سمعه"۔ Translation: "So your blood, your properties, and your honour are sacred to one another like the sanctity of this day of yours, in this city of yours, in this month of yours; and surely, you will meet your Lord, and He will ask you about your deeds. Beware! Do not become infidels after me, cutting the throats of one another. It is incumbent on those who are present to convey this message (of mine) to those who are absent. May be that some of those to whom it will be conveyed will understand it better than those who have actually heard it." [Sahih al-Bukhari, Book 64, Hadith 428] This was the last sermon of the Holy Prophet. The sermon of Hajjat al-Wada’ is undoubtedly the first and exemplary manifesto of human rights. According to historical data, it holds the distinction of being the first publication on human rights [Naeem Siddiqui, 1981]. Islam places a lot of significance on this sermon. It is not addressed to any specific group but to all of humanity. The lives of people, that is, all human lives, their possessions, and their honour are valued and deserving of respect, and this is made quite plain here. The books of Hadith and Siyar relate that the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) defined a Muslim and a believer as someone who promotes peace instead of causing damage to others. The vast majority of Muslims unquestionably place a high importance on providing peace and security, and they contend that in order to preserve peace, tolerance is necessary given the suffering caused by disasters. This must be acknowledged in order to bolster their stance in this regard. The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) said the following, which Imam Tirmidhi cited: عن ابی ھریرۃ رضی اللہ عنہ قال: قال رسول اللہ صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم : المسلم من سلم المسلمون من لسانه ويده والمؤمن من أمنه الناس على دمائهم وأموالهم "The Muslim is the one from whose tongue and hand the people are safe, and the believer is the one from whom the people's lives and wealth are safe." [Sunan an-Nasa'i 4995] The Prophet (peace be upon him) also said the following: “The believer is the one from whom their (people’s) wealth and lives are safe, and the Muhajir is the one who forsakes mistakes and sins.” [Sunan Ibn Majah 3934] Peace and security have been identified as characteristics of a Muslim and a believer in the aforementioned hadiths. These hadiths make it abundantly evident that the Holy Prophet's (peace be upon him) teachings and actions were primarily intended to treat everyone equally and with peace and security, regardless of their background or circumstances. But if you compare the beliefs and practices of ISIS and other like organisations to the teachings of the beloved Prophet, you will notice a stark discrepancy. These extremist groups misused Islamic terminology, which led to the killings of civilians including Muslims and disorder in their respective countries. They also increased the opportunity for Islamophobia to defame Islam, by fostering an atmosphere of insecurity and violence throughout the world. Consequently, common Muslims face severe challenges in their lives, often being labelled as extremists despite being oppressed. Extremist organizations like ISIS have significantly impacted Islamic dress, slogans, and identity, leading even faithful Muslims to be considered extremists. This is true even if the majority of Muslims think that the extremist ideologies are at odds with Islam. However, consider the irony of the situation: ever after the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Centre, there has been a stronger tendency to link Islam to terrorism. Osama bin Laden, the founder of al-Qaeda, was revealed to have previously worked for the United States. Following that, many extremist organisations arose, with ISIS being the most dangerous. While these extremist movements did harm to Muslims specifically, those harbouring hatred, and enmity in their hearts condemned all Muslims instead of justly focusing on denouncing extremist and terrorist groups. Islamophobes exploited this opportunity to include all Muslims in the extremist category, turning Islamophobia into a business and actively promoting anti-Islamic sentiment. This makes it clear that their goal is to eradicate Islamic identity, rather than stop terrorism in the name of Islam. A number of individuals who regarded themselves as reasonable and impartial also started to view Muslims with distrust. It began to be said that the verses about battle and jihad, which had to do with the end of persecution, were the root of extremism and terrorism. The resulting anti-Islamic sentiment upset and confused several non-Muslims. Given this, the great majority of Muslims across the globe were compelled to refute any link between Islam and terrorism. I am not arguing that the only groups causing trouble, violence, corruption, and brutality in today's globe are ISIS and other radical groups. The brutality of Hitler, the illegal invasion and occupation of India by the British, the ongoing oppression of Palestine by Israeli Zionism, in which women, children, and the elderly—including the oppressed—scream and cry, the United States' collaboration with Israel, the American dropping of atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which claimed millions of lives, and so on—all fill the pages of history. History is filled with accounts of several horrific incidents that have left people inconsolable. These are all illustrations of persecution. None of the perpetrators of these acts of savagery are intrinsically religious, despite their claims to have adhered to any religion. In actuality, they cannot be referred to as religious since no religion condones acts of terrorism, bloodshed, or cruelty. It is significant to remember that the globe still struggles with issues of peace and tranquilly despite living in a technologically advanced age. Human blood is still being shed carelessly today. People are not being treated with honour. Their estates are not secure. There is no protection for minorities' rights to religious freedom. Civilians are still being treated primarily on the basis of differences in race, colour, caste, class, and wealth or poverty. Thoughts such as nationalism, fascism, and socialism have been around for a while, they haven't been able to offer workable answers to issues facing humanity. Although the League of Nations and United Nations were founded with the intention of promoting peace, the issue of maintaining law and order is still very much present today. Given the circumstances, it is known that the "Might is Right" principle still applies. As a result, there is an injustice around the world. Islamophobes ought to open their eyes, exercise common sense, and present these sights to themselves, while observing the aforementioned violence. Even if they choose to ignore these occurrences, would they still use the excuse of terrorism and unjustifiable bloodshed to justify their hatred of Muslims? Do they not see that by promoting their anti-Islamic sentiment, they are advancing the ideologies of groups such as ISIS? By misrepresenting Islamic terminology and teachings—which hold that Islam is a religion of terrorism—radical organisations attempted to propagate their evil objective, which Islamophobes are also working to further. Is it their responsibility to encourage radicalism? Do they not realise that the majority determines what constitutes correctness in the Islamic faith? Hazrat Ibn ‘Umar reported the Messenger of Allah as saying, “Allah will not cause all my people (or he said, Muhammad’s people) to err. The Divine Blessing of Allah is over the community, and he who is separate from it will be separate in hell.” Imam Tirmidhi transmitted it. [Mishkat al-Masabih 173] He also reported the Messenger of Allah as saying, “Follow the main body, for he who is separate from it will be separate in hell.” [Mishkat al-Masabih 174] The hadith above declare that the overwhelming majority of the Ummah is the standard of truth, which implies that the majority of the Muslim Ummah can never agree on sin and misguidance. Not only have the majority of Muslims consistently condemned terrorism, brutality, and mischief, but they have also played a crucial role in ending injustice and establishing justice throughout history. Fighting for Jihad became a duty during the time of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) when the oppressors of Makkah went beyond the pale of cruelty and wickedness. It was decided that non-combatants, including trees, women, children, and elderly men, should not suffer harm even during battle. After the conquest of Makkah, all enemies living in Makkah were provided with amnesty and forgiveness. In Madina, to protect the non-Muslims living in the minority, the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) issued a decree saying: "Whoever killed a Mu’ahid [non-Muslim peaceful citizen] unjustly, Allah has forbidden Paradise for him." (Sunan Abu Dawud, Hadith Number: 2760) ISIS, Islamophobes, and sceptics must all learn from the life and teachings of the Prophet. His pure life, teachings, and mannerisms are outstanding models of harmony, peace and tranquillity. Briefly speaking, one verse—which Allah Almighty stated—is sufficient to gauge the value of every human life, whether it be that of a Muslim or non-Muslim. ’’ مَنْ قَتَلَ نَفْسًا بِغَیْرِ نَفْسٍ أَوْ فَسَادٍ فِیْ الْأَرْضِ فَکَأَنَّمَا قَتَلَ النَّاسَ جَمِیْعًا وَمَنْ أَحْیَاھَا فَکَأَنَّمَا أَحْیَا النَّاسَ جَمِیْعًا۔‘ “Whoever kills a soul unless for a soul1 or for corruption [done] in the land2 - it is as if he had slain mankind entirely. And whoever saves one - it is as if he had saved mankind entirely.” (5:32) The following verse is particularly useful for assessing the sanctity of a believer's life: وَ مَنْ یَّقْتُلْ مُؤْمِنًا مُّتَعَمِّدًا فَجَزَآؤُهٗ جَهَنَّمُ خٰلِدًا فِیْهَا وَ غَضِبَ اللّٰهُ عَلَیْهِ وَ لَعَنَهٗ وَ اَعَدَّ لَهٗ عَذَابًا عَظِیْمًا ‘‘ (سورہ نساء ۹۳) “And whoever kills a believer intentionally, their reward will be Hell—where they will stay indefinitely. Allah will be displeased with them, condemn them, and will prepare for them a tremendous punishment.” (4:93) The following hadith is especially helpful in determining if the life of a peaceful non-Muslim person is sacred. "The Messenger of Allah said: 'Whoever kills a Mu'ahad [a peaceful non-Muslim citizen] with no justification, Allah will forbid Paradise to him." [Sunan an-Nasa'i 4747] When someone's right to practise their religion is violated, there is an issue with the nation's peace and order. Even in a time of prejudice and narrow-mindedness, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) advanced the understanding of religious and intellectual freedom and gave the impression that coercion is a source of corruption and temptation. Allah Almighty states in the Qur'an that was revealed to him: “There is no compulsion in the Din [Religion]” [2:256] Another verse reads: “You have your Religion, and I have my Religion.” [109:6] This address was meant for those who did not believe in Islam. Allah says, “And say, [O Prophet] “˹This is the truth from your Lord. Whoever wills let them believe, and whoever wills let them disbelieve.” Surely We have prepared for the wrongdoers a Fire whose walls will completely surround them. When they cry for aid, they will be aided with water like molten metal, which will burn their faces. What a horrible drink! And what a terrible place to rest!” (18:29) These texts that guarantee religious freedom also refute and demolish the idea of forced conversion. The teachings of the Prophet and the Holy Quran, the sacred book of Islam, make it abundantly evident that all people are entitled to religious freedom and that every human life must be valued, irrespective of caste, colour, race, religion, creed, or whether they are Muslims or not. These are the Islamic teachings, the precepts of the Prophet, which ISIS and related groups consistently flout, misrepresenting Islamic terminology to mislead people. (Continued) ------ Urdu Article Part 1: ISIS, Other Terrorist Groups, and Misuse of Islamic Terminologies – Part 2 داعش جیسی تنظیمیں اور اسلامی اصطلاحات کا غلط استعمال Part One of the Article: ISIS, Other Terrorist Groups, and Misuse of Islamic Terminologies – Part 1 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

Imbibe The Spirit of Buddha: Defy, Never Deify

By Sumit Paul, New Age Islam 23 May 2024 Believe Nothing, No Matter Where You Read It, Or Who Said It, No Matter If I Have Said It, Unless It Agrees with Your Own Reason and Your Own Common Sense. The Buddha The quote by The Life Of Buddha, "Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense," emphasizes the importance of critical thinking and personal judgment. May 23 is Buddha Purnima ----- Buddha encourages individuals to question and analyse the information they come across, regardless of its source or origin. He advises that blind acceptance should be avoided and encourages people to trust their own reasoning and common sense. In doing so, one can ensure that beliefs align with their personal understanding, keeping them grounded in truth and authenticity. Ultimately, this quote highlights Buddha's profound wisdom and his call for self-reliance and independent thinking in the pursuit of knowledge. Humans, especially, the blind followers of all faiths and ideologies, need Buddha's intellectual and sagacious iconoclasm. You needn't be an anarchist or a nihilist to defy, deny and detonate what doesn't appeal to you rationally. Just stop believing blindly. Start analysing and scrutinizing. Nothing is sacred and sacrosanct. Your belief makes it so. If there's anything sacred in the world, it's the life of a human. Don't destroy it for the sake of a fictitious god. It's really strange as well as ironic that more than 2,600 years ago, Buddha doubted and defied gods, religions and scriptures. Yet, people in this 'modern' age cling on to all sorts of esoteric beliefs, faiths and superstitions. It's even more ironic that the same apatheist Buddha is 'Lord' (Bhagwan) Buddha to his followers. For all of us, it's important that we recognise Buddha's exhortations to his followers not to raise him to the level of a god, once he was no more. Unfortunately, that didn't happen and many Buddhists today 'pray' to him and some even 'worship' him. Humanity cannot become humanitarian until it follows such masters' teachings as lessons and doesn't raise enlightened mortals to the levels of divinity. Imbibe the spirit of Buddha: Defy, never deify. Discard all your 'holy' books, dysfunctional religions and decadent gods. Embrace humanity and become the Buddha. Gautam Buddha always said that every individual was a Buddha. Find the Buddha within 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

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Muslim Women Manifesto for Reform of Inheritance Distribution

By Grace Mubashir, New Age Islam 22 May 2024 A Pamphlet Is Published In The Form Of A Demand For Timely Reform Of The Indian Muslim Succession Law In Favour Of Muslim Women By The Forum For Muslim Women's Gender Justice. The Forum For Muslim Women's Gender Justice Is An Advocacy Group Based In Kerala Dedicated To Advancing The Rights And Status Of Muslim Women Through A Focus On Gender Justice. The Organization Aims To Address The Unique Challenges Faced By Muslim Women By Promoting Equality, Empowerment, And Social Justice Within The Context Of Islamic Principles And Broader Human Rights Frameworks. Forum for Muslim Women's Gender Justice – Introductory Pamphlet This is translated from the original Malayalam version with due permission. ( ----- Photo: ------ Beloved Citizens, You must be aware of the discrimination faced by Muslim women in the division of family property since time immemorial. Sometimes it doesn't really affect you, so you don't think much about it. Just because you haven't been affected yet, doesn't mean you or your children won't experience it in the future. Life is full of contingencies. If we don't remember, big crises can come in our lives due to this. Perhaps you have heard about the ordeal of a mother in Malappuram through social media. Her husband has been working hard in the Gulf for years and owns a house and a plot of land. He couldn't earn anything beyond that, probably because they had three daughters. One of them was divorced and the unlucky father died while staying at home with his children. The plight of that mother and her family is beyond words. Death can happen to anyone at any time. When he is the head of the family, his death makes the family members insecure. What if the relatives who have to stay with them in that insecure situation use it as an opportunity and make their lives like hell by colluding with the pro-male laws? The uncle's brothers took the approach that selling the house and the land paying off the loan and starting a small life would hinder their desire to start a small life. As the years passed, the loan increased, and those poor people were in the midst of helplessness. Because only girls were born as children, that mother had to suffer these sorrows alone. In fact, it is the desperation of only girls and fathers who are alive. The fear that one-third of their hard-earned wealth might be taken away by those who have shown no regard for them till then, or who are richer than them. In the Qur'an relatives are only entrusted with the task of managing the property of orphans. It is their responsibility until they reach adulthood. The Qur'an says that brothers inherit only when there are no children (4:12,176). Some scholars, though rare in Islam, say that this word was twisted and taken as the state of having no sons. The Qur'an warns us not to take the property of orphans unjustly, as it is like filling your bellies with fire. So, isn't it clear that the relatives who claimed the property of the father who suffered in the Gulf are unjustly acting against the Qur'an? It is a pity that even when the insurance amount of the father who died in the accident comes through, and the family without the father gets paid for the land given to the national road development, the relatives have to pay each share due to this distortion! Even the judgments of the judges become unjust because of the vagueness of the Muslim Personal Law which was created by the British rulers in 1937 before the independence of India. Shouldn't this law then be revised and codified and made equally applicable to all sections of Muslims? Due to the fact that it is not codified, the Qur'an, jurisprudence books and previous court rulings have to be read every time and often non-Muslim judges have to give their verdicts. Who is responsible for any defects in judgments that may arise? What is the point of defending male-dominated laws from time to time by arguing that touching the personal law is tantamount to playing with the Qur'an? Almost everyone knows that in Islam, a man's property rights are twice that of a woman's when it comes to dividing family property. When talking about the right of succession, only that one thing is generally mentioned. At a time when women had no right to property, Islam actually brought a revolutionary law. It can be understood from the basic concepts of the Qur'an that it should be modified according to the times. Such a law came into being in the era when the man himself was carrying out the expenses of the family. (Qur'an as 'because he is the steward of the family'). Times have changed today. Women also get educated, earn jobs, and share in family expenses after marriage through reforms in Islam itself. At least in some families, the man's irresponsible attitude leaves her to bear the entire cost. Even then, she is half a woman-in-law! If she owns half of her father's property if her husband dies, she will have a right to his property, and if she dies, only half of her husband's right! When a son dies unmarried, five-sixths of his property goes to his father, and the mother has to patiently take only one-sixth to bring him up. If there is more than one wife, and children, all the wives shall equally share the one-eighth right prescribed for a single wife in the property of a man. Isn't it a grave injustice to a woman who has shared the joys and sorrows of life as one, even though the two may be the same, that a single wife who has no children will get only a quarter of her husband's property and the remaining three-quarters will go to her relatives? Mehr, prescribed by the Qur'an as a woman's right at the time of marriage, has lost its relevance today. And the new practice of her entering the marriage marquee with a heavy dowry burden has become prevalent among the Muslim masses. Is it not un-Islamic to associate the Qur'an with those who do not take into account any of those things as contrary to the Qur'an in order to maintain the law of unjustly usurping women's property? Do you not think, do you not use intelligence, the question arises many times in the Qur'an? Now let's talk about another justice that acts in the name of personal law. Many of you may have gone through this situation. The plight of children who lose their father while their grandfather or mother is still alive and their mother has no right to their grandfather's property! The misfortune of losing this hereditary property right often occurs when the deceased's wife has to suffer with minor children. Which Qur'anic verse should scholars point to as the basis for this misjudgement? Many Muslim-majority countries have had and revised Sharia laws on such matters over the years. Morocco (in 1958), Tunisia (in 1957), Jordan (in 1951), Pakistan (in 1961), Syria (in 1953), Iraq (in 1959) and more than 20 Muslim countries such as Turkey, Egypt, and Bangladesh have undergone reforms in personal laws. They have no Sharia: Did Allah enjoin the responsibility of protection on Indian Muslims only? Then which model is Sharia? Recently, the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizen Act 2007 is applicable to all castes and religions in India. According to this, there is no distinction between men and women in carrying out this responsibility. The law does not allow female subjects who have received only half of their property and grandchildren who have been disinherited under Muslim inheritance law to avoid this responsibility. So which law needs to be reformed? Can't be a law to protect the elderly! The Constitution of India is a rare and beautiful constitution. The concepts of liberty, equality and fraternity are included in its preamble itself. It applies to all citizens irrespective of caste, religion, gender and language. In fact, these ideas are close to the fundamentals of Islam. The framers of the Constitution have written in it that before making any decision if doubts arise, check whether it is consistent with these fundamentals. Also, the Constitution provides freedom to practice religion and live according to religious practices in Article 25, fully recognizing the diversity of faiths in India. It is only that the customs should not be prejudicial to public morality, public health or the maintenance of law and order. Hindu and Christian labour laws have been revised and codified over time. That's not to say they're still flawless. But no such reform or codification has taken place in Muslim personal law. There have been nominal additions to Muslim law. It is also relevant to remind about some of them. One of them was the legislation enacted when the male Islam protested against the court order that a rich husband, who works as a lawyer, should pay a small monthly maintenance to his poor divorced wife (Shabanu case) for being un-Quranic. Accordingly, all she has to do is give the number fixed by the court at one time. If you want, that too can be accused of being against the Qur'an. It must have been accepted because it was masculine. While it is comforting for Muslim women who pronounce three talaqs at once, the triple talaq ban introduced by the BJP government criminalizes a man who pronounces triple talaq (3 talaqs) on his wife. It is also noteworthy that the community did not have the courage to raise its voice against it even though it was extremely inhumane. Voices against it are also raised by the democrats. Although the damage of Talaq abuse is not known in Kerala, the community leadership did not allow the personal law reform process to be carried out in a timely manner, but it created another reason to imprison Muslim men as criminals in North India. The demand for reform of the succession laws in favour of Muslim women is rising strongly in the society even in these insecure times because the judgment of a case on this issue is imminent in the Supreme Court. There are many families around us who are suffering from the Muslim Succession Act in India. Below are some of the discriminations that Muslim women are experiencing even in modern times due to the laws made on the concept that families should be under the protection of men only. Shouldn't these discriminations change in the new age when tribal social system and joint family system are replaced by nuclear families and family responsibilities are shared equally? 1. If the deceased has a son or daughter alive then only 1/3rd of the property goes to the daughter and 2/3rd to the son 2. 2. If the deceased has only one daughter, then she gets only half of the total property. For the rest of the relatives. If there are more than one daughter, 2/3rd share to the daughters and the rest to the relatives 3. If one's son and daughter die while one is alive and their children are alive, then if there are no other heirs, then only the sons' children get the right to the property and the daughters' children do not get any right. 4. If the husband dies childless, the wife gets only 1/4 of the husband's property. If the wife dies, half of the wife's property goes to the husband. 5. A woman with children has only 1/8 of her husband's property. But the husband will get 1/4 of the wife's property. 6. If an unmarried son dies, 5/6 of the son's property belongs to the father. Mother has only 1/6 part. 7. If a person dies while his parents are alive and there are other heirs, the orphaned children of the deceased will not get even a fraction of the property that the father would have had if he had been alive. Women in families with men who do not carry out family responsibilities and women who have to leave their homes when their husbands die bear the brunt of these laws. While conservative religious scholars argue that inheritance laws are not subject to any change, believers find many ways to escape from the injustices of the same law. Increasingly, religiously married couples who have only daughters are remarrying under the Special Marriage Act to pass their earnings to their children. There is a provision in Sharia law (Mulla's Principles of Mahomedan Law Section 117, 118) that heirs should not be bequeathed. In order to overcome it, there are those among the religious people who make a document that the property has been sold to the heirs. A codified Muslim Succession Act needs to be enacted in the country if Muslim women are to be guaranteed civil rights and gender justice guaranteed by the Indian Constitution. The Forum for Muslim Women's Gender Justice (FMWGJ) in Kerala demands and approaches that succession law should be codified and reformed keeping in mind the current situation in India. We also share the concerns of Muslims that their traditional religious and religious rights will be denied in a uniform civil law imposed by the central government. FMWGJ is also adamant that our interventions should not under any circumstances help a government that is aggressively anti-minority to enact an anti-Muslim law or introduce a uniform civil code that undermines democratic diversity in civic life. The Hindu Code Bill, introduced in the Constituent Assembly on 11 April 1947, was strongly opposed by Hindu nationalists, the Hindu Mahasabha and conservative Hindu religious leaders, just as conservative Muslim clerics opposed the demand for gender-justification of the Muslim Succession Act of 1937. In 1951, from the position of Law Minister, Dr B.R. Ambedkar had to resign because of the Hindu Code Bill. The Christian law of succession also changed after protracted legal battles. In 2008, a writ petition was filed in the Kerala High Court by organizations and individuals including the Kozhikode-based 'Nisa' for the rights of Muslim women. The petition was filed seeking to declare the Muslim Personal Law, 1937 under Article 13 of the Constitution relating to the Muslim Women's Succession Act as violative of Articles 14, 15, 19, 21 and 25 of the Constitution and therefore declared null and void. But the High Court decided on the petition on July 2, 2015, ruling that it is the legislature that should consider and enact legislation. Subsequently, a Special Leave Petition (SLP 9546/2016) was filed in the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court has asked the Kerala government to submit an affidavit clarifying its stand on the matter. But it was learned that the Kerala government called a meeting of some male Muslim religious scholars and they informed that neither the court nor the government has the authority to interfere in personal law. It is in this situation that Forum for Muslim Women's Gender Justice is formed. This group is formed by demanding that the government should stand with the interest of Muslim women as a group facing discrimination in property rights. The demand of this group is to ensure equal rights for women and men in the rights of succession in the Muslim Personal Act of 1937. Misogyny is still embedded in the personal laws of various religious sects in many ways. Therefore, the voice should be raised now for the equality of women's rights in the civil laws of various religious groups. Historically, women are still fighting for equal rights, even in Western societies that seem developed today. Even in the early part of the 20th century, they had to fight for civil rights including the right to vote. Therefore, we believe that it is not right to label any religious group as backward or uncivilized. Islam has been willing to recognize women's identity and give them some rights, albeit limited, during a period when women had no rights. However, it is still reluctant to embrace the modernization that has taken place in the tribal way of life and family structure. This is the background of the demand to revise the Muslim Personal Law of 1937 so as to ensure equal civil rights to the men of Islam as religious believers. The Muslim Personal Law (Shari-at) Implementation Act of 1937 was a start to reform the customary laws and traditional laws that existed among Muslims on the basis of Shari-at, although on a limited scale. Another step in the direction of codification was the Muslim Marriage Dissolution Act of 1939. In the context of not clearly defining what the laws are and many courts continue to pronounce judgments in various ways based on the books of many scholars, it has become necessary to revise and codify the law. In terms of constitutional principles and provisions, the Hindu-Christian family laws, which were backward to Islam, have been reformed. Therefore, Muslim personal law should also be reformed by ensuring the equal rights of women in order to ensure the fundamental rights in the constitution. It is the responsibility of all of us to make efforts to enact laws that establish equality before women and the opposite sex, based on the 1979 United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, which was adopted by India in 1993, in accordance with the principles of gender equality and justice of the Constitution of India, incorporating the humanity of the values, principles and injunctions of the Qur'an. But this reform and codification should not prejudice the rights of religious sects following different faiths. This group consists of people who firmly believe in Islam and stand for social welfare and human justice regardless of caste and religion. Let it be said again that the policy of this association is not religious sectarianism but the dream of an India where justice and constitutional rights prevail is shared by this association. Sincerely, Dr. Khadija Mumtaz (Vice-Chairperson), Neju Ismail (Treasurer), M. Sulfat (Convener), Adv. Ramlat Puducherry (Joint Convener) ----- 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

Kyrgyzstan Mob Violence: Kyrgyzstan Government Tramples Islamic Values As It Allows Kyrgyz Mob To Beat, Torture And Even Kill Male And Female Muslim Students Of Pakistan For Two Days

By New Age Islam Staff Writer 22 May 2024 Pakistani Students Have Even Said Some Girls Were Raped Main Points: 1. According to Kyrgyz Health Ministry, 41 students were injured in the violence. 2. Kyrgyz government terms the planned attacks on foreign students as brawl and 'spontaneous protests'. 3. According to Kyrgyz media, the Kyrgyz Parliament approved of the planned violence against foreign students. 4. Parliament members said in the Kyrgyz Parliament that the foreigners violated Kyrgyz sovereignty and broke the laws of the country and the Kyrgyz people only retaliated in defence. ----- Security officials stand guard outside the Kyrgyz embassy in Islamabad after protests against violence in Bishkek targeting international students [Sohail Shahzad/EPA] ------- The so-called Islamic republic of Kyrgyzstan, the second poorest country of Central Asia and one of the 50 most corrupt countries of the world trampled Islamic values for two days as its xenophobic government allowed its citizens to unleash a reign of terror for two and a half days with immunity as they beat, tortured and even killed foreign students and raped, molested and sexually harassed female students. Though the violence was unleashed against all the foreign students staying in the country, most of the victims were girls and boys of another Islamic country Pakistan. According to the students, the violence was not spontaneous as the Kyrgyz government claims but pre-planned in order to avenge the beating of some Kyrgyz hooligans by Egyptian students on 13th May because they had entered their hostel in an unauthorised way and sexually assaulted an Egyptian female student. The companions of the hooligans provoked the citizens of Kyrgyzstan and on the evening of 17th May, a mob of around 1000 people gathered in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan where 70 per cent of foreign students stay in hostels or private apartments. The angry mob armed with rods, chains, knives and even with firearms entered hostels and targeted all the foreign students, be it Indians, Pakistanis or Bangladeshis. They broke the doors and windows of the hostels and beat both the male and female students without showing any respect for Islamic values and morals. Many girls and boys said that the Kyrgyz did not distinguish between men and women. They kept the students beating for the whole night and went to one after another hostel looking for foreign students. Many students claim that many girls were raped, molested or sexually harassed by the Kyrgyz mob of Muslims of tribal mentality. It should be noted that Kyrgyzstan comprises 40 Muslim tribes and their tribal ego is more important to them than their Islamic ideals. That is the reason, while 'avenging' the beating of their comrades who molested a Muslim girl, they mostly targeted Muslim students. According to Kyrgyzstan government, 29 thousand foreign students stay in the country, though other sources claim a higher number. Pakistani students protest against the attacks in Bishkek [Sohail Shahzad/EPA] ------- The violence continued on 18th and 19th and the mob targeted foreign students everywhere: on the streets, in the malls, in the markets and in hostels. The students shut themselves in their hostel rooms and switched off lights and muted their phones. They could not go out to buy food or water and starved for 24 hours. The worse, on the next day, the matter was discussed in Kyrgyz parliament where the members said that the foreigners violated the sovereignty of Kyrgyzstan and broke the laws of the country and their people only retaliated in self-defence. In other words, the parliament and the government approved the mob violence against the hapless students who were innocent. The Kyrgyz government considered all the foreign students the enemy of the country and was virtually at war with India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Egypt. According to what the Kyrgyz leaders said, the Kyrgyz government was at war with foreign invaders whereas the truth was that some Kyrgyz hooligans had molested an Egyptian girl and were beaten up by her classmates. The government should have arrested the Kyrgyz hooligans and Egyptian students and initiated criminal proceedings against them. But the government and the political leaders made it a national issue, an issue of tribal pride and unleashed a reign of terror. That the government covertly allowed the violence is corroborated by the fact that the local police accompanied the mob and provided them protection. This has been witnessed by the victims. It was only on 20th May that the government realised the damage and rushed to a damage control exercise. The deputy chairman of the cabinet of ministers Edill Baisalov visited a hostel and showed sympathy to the students. He shed crocodile tears and recalled the 'great traditions' of hospitality and fraternity of the Kyrgyz people and assured the students of necessary action against the perpetrators. It should be noted here that the Kyrgyz police arrested ony four foreign students including three Egyptians. On the 20th May, the police detained some Kyrgyz hooligans involved in the 13th May incident. But those involved in vandalism, murder, rape and torture on 17th and onwards have not been brought to book. On the contrary, the police reached a compromise with the mob after which the police claimed the mob withdrew. After three days the Kyrgyz government woke up to the reality and started a damage control exercise. It realised that if the foreign students left the country, the country will lose millions of dollars annually. The government has planned to hold explanatory conversations with students. The Health Minister met 18 rectors and asked them to hold explanatory conversations with students and assure them of access to quality medical care and full coverage of medical costs. The deputy chairman of cabinet of ministers Edil Baisalov said that the government was considering paying for the damages to the foreign students. Just before the foreign minister of Pakistan Ishaq Dar arrived in Bishkek to discuss the situation, the Kyrgyz government got a few suspects involved in the mob violence detained to show to Pakistan that it was taking action against the perpetrators whereas the perpetrators were in thousands. But how will the Kyrgyz government compensate the girls who were raped? No girl will come out and tell the police about the horror because if they file a legal complaint, they will have to visit the police and the courts in Kyrgyzstan again and again and expose themselves to threats in a hostile society where the police and the government will shield and protect the accused. This is the reason that no girl has claimed she was raped or sexually assaulted though many girls and boys say they know that rape and molestation has happened. Most of the students, especially girls do not want to stay in Kyrgyzstan where it is common for drunkards, extortionists and hooligans to intrude into hostels and harass students, and those who have returned to Pakistan do not want to go back to resume their classes. 1200 students have already returned to Pakistan and the rest may also leave Kyrgyzstan sooner or later. The Kyrgyz government, therefore, will make every effort to woo foreign students and present a flowery picture of Kyrgyz society and government but the damage has been done. Kyrgyzstan will have to struggle for a long time to regain its reputation as a peace loving Islamic country. The ribal mentality it showed during the last week has not only tarnished its own image but has also tarnished the image of the Muslims across the world. Kyrgyzstan must apologise to the world. 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

Why Islam (Justifiably) Forbids Drinking

By Sumit Paul, New Age Islam 22 May 2024 "The Only Radical Remedy I Know For Dipsomania Is Religiomania Because Fire Puts Out Fire And Iron Cuts Iron. Transit From One Mania To Another Equally Powerful Mania Could Be A Potent Solution. " American Psychologist William James "Jise Kahte Hain Log Ummul-Khabais/ Rahe Un Ke Usi Se Rishte-Naate" Anwar Shuoor (Though people call it the mother of all evils/ They often hobnob with it) Two recent road accidents in Patiala and Poona in quick succession snuffed out six young lives in their early 20s. In Poona's mishap, one 17-yr-old inebriated son of an obscenely rich realtor, driving his Porsche at a breakneck speed, mowed down two motorcycle-borne youngsters. All these people had drinks while partying and behaved recklessly at the wee hours which highlights the negative influence of drinking. Alcohol has a liberating influence on the senses and neurologically speaking, it hyper-activates neurons and brain cells. You know, why is drinking prohibited in Islam? That many Muslims also drink a lot is immaterial. It's haram (prohibited) in Islam because it influences your thinking and makes you do things, which you won't do when you're in your element. There's no denying the fact that most of the drinkers lose their marbles and behave quite uncontrollably after gulping down one or two pegs. The word 'Sharaab' is an Arabic word. It's the combination of 'Shar+Aab' (Shar=Vices+ Aab=Water; water that begets vices). There's yet another term for it in Arabic: Ummul-Khabais (Ummul=Mother+Khabais=Vices and ills; Mother of all vices). We've seen how drinking has resulted in loss of lives. It also culminates in loss of self-respect. "Be-Qaaboo Ho Jaata Hoon Jab Bhi Peeta Hoon/ Go Aadat Hai Buri, Phir Bhi Ghulaam Ban Jaata Hoon" (I tend to act uncontrollably/ I know it's a bad habit, yet I'm slave to drinking). Since drinking tends to make a drinker uninhibited, he/she acts, reacts and responds in a manner that's often unbecoming of the person's dignity. You may have noticed that many people start talking too much and also incoherently after drinking. There's an old and rather condescending English adage that 'lowly people (people of England at that time) start conversing in French after consuming alcohol'. The logic behind this old English adage is that there was a time (14th to 16th centuries), when French was the language of the elites across entire Europe and English was the language of petty thieves and pirates. By the way, English is still justifiably called the language of pirates and Vikings in aristocratic French societies. And it's called a patois by the French and German snobs. People with inferiority complex tried to converse in French after getting liberated, thanks to drinking. The same happens in India. Here, many people, esp. rustic and loutish types, start conversing in English after gulping down the ' bitter ale.' Many drinkers drink to hide their deep-seated inferiority complex and there're also many, who try to caress their over-bloated ego by drinking and behaving in an unruly fashion. There's no use drinking, abusing and making a fool of oneself when hemmed in by people. As an alcoholic, you'll violate your standards quicker than you can lower them. It's embarrassing for all and it only shows the frivolity of the person and causes others to opine: 'Ise Sharaab Pachti Nahin' (this man cannot remain in senses after drinking). Remember the words of Roman statesman Seneca, " Drunkenness is nothing but voluntary madness." So, stay away from this vice. ---- 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