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Habib Ali Zain al-Abideen al-Jifri was born into a family of noble lineage extending in an unbroken chain to Imam Hussein, the Grandson of the Prophet (PBUH). Habib Ali is from the majestic city of Tarim in Southern Yemen. Nestled in the ancient valley of Hadramout, Tarim has been a center of learning and spirituality for centuries. Habib Ali received a classical Islamic education from illustrious scholars of Hadramout, embodying a methodology which crystallizes the middle way of Islam, Islamic jurisprudence, a respect for the difference between jurists and a spiritual education drawn from the Qur’an and the Sunnah. – Yemen Times

Photo: Habib Ali Zain al-Abideen al-Jifri

 

Dr. Muhammad Tahir ul-Qadri is the Pakistani Islamic scholar who recently made headlines with the publication of his 600-page fatwa prohibiting suicide bombing. Ul-Qadri is one of Pakistan's most prominent clerics, and he believes that his fatwa represents a complete theological rebuttal of every argument used by Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations. In his fatwa, Dr. ul-Qadri asserts that terrorists do not go to heaven but instead are bound for hell, and he utilizes Quranic references, hadith, and scholarly interpretations to reinforce his opinion. Dr. ul-Qadri told Asharq Al-Awsat that he hopes his fatwa will have an affect on the ground and prevent Muslim youth from becoming brainwashed by terrorist ideology. -- Mohammed Al Shafey

Photo: Dr. Muhammad Tahir ul-Qadri

As for the repeated denunciation at our convention of the terrorism of groups such as al-Qaeda, the Taliban, the Lashkar-e Tayyeba and so on, is concerned, it is our Islamic duty to speak out against them. We Shias believe that what they call ‘Islam’ is not Islam at all. Nor are their actions that of true Muslims. They are giving Islam a bad name. They are enemies of Islam. They are also viscerally opposed to Shias — they have been responsible for the deaths of thousands of Shias in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq. -- Maulana Mirza Mohammad Athar, President, All India Shia Personal Law Board

The madrasas that were newly founded through the colonial power, the so-called "Aliya" madrasas or high madrasas, served to educate Persian-speaking civil servants so that Muslims could also later be integrated into the administrative apparatus and the English would have access to their language. As a reaction, the Muslims in Bangladesh established their own so-called "Qaumi", or people's madrasas, in an effort to provide an alternative to the British educational system. The "Qaumi" madrasas are still today the dominant tradition throughout the subcontinent. They are largely insulated from any State influence. In colonial times the English already left the "Qaumi" madrasas alone to do as they pleased. They have never been subject to any controls. The government of Bangladesh still has no control mechanisms with which to register these schools. -- Shaheen Dill-Riaz

 

I criticise Islam because I was born in it; I could observe it closer.

- Samira Makhmalbaf, Iranian film-maker

Outspoken film actress and now director Nandita Das is afraid that we’ve begun to be more fearful, and so more unwilling to say what needs to be said. We are living in fearful times, she says, and it’s not just about terrorism – people who would otherwise speak out are now afraid. We are almost tolerating more and more intolerance. We are becoming regressive by the day instead of progressing as a nation. A nation doesn’t progress by the number of billionaires in the country. We need to be really progressive, in giving freedom of thought, expression, and giving space to everyone to live the way they want to live.

You know, the Quran talks so beautifully about marriage and about relationships. I'd to love to find the day when you know, we hear an 'Obedient Husbands Club' I've never heard that one, but yes, there are women who do believe that .. I think that's down to some conservative interpretation. I think the fact that they've set it up, to prevent their men from straying, from having affairs, really is placing the onus on women, rather than saying "Look, as a man, you should be controlling your base desires, that you need to change your attitude," when really in this day and age, both men and women have the responsibility in ensuring that a marriage is a good one. And the tranquility between the hearts of a man and a woman within a marriage. And that's what should govern a marriage, it's a very beautiful way that God talks about relationships. -- Ms Sara Khan spoke to Sen Lam

We are not talking of a Bangladesh that has emerged as a cricketing nation, one with a Nobel laureate, and ironically, as one where terror is finding roots. We are talking of the 1971 war, the Mukti Bahini and the influence of Bengali culture. Tahmima Anam's A Golden Age, which won this year's Commomwealth Writers' Prize for the Best First Book, is on the phase of the country when it was finding its free soul. Aparna Nair talks to the author of A golden age.

When Tahmima Anam went home to Dhaka to cast her vote in the now-postponed election, she found a nation in chaos, tormented by corruption and brutality. We publish her impressions.

 

She's a Canadian feminist Muslim whose book The Trouble With Islam Today has become an international bestseller, but is banned throughout the Middle East. A fierce critic of her religion, she lives behind bulletproof glass. Geraldine Bedell, The Observer, London, meets the woman being compared to Martin Luther.

BJP leader L.K. Advani tells  N. Ram, editor-in-chief of The Hindu, New Delhi : "Hinduism is not the name of a religion. It’s more of a national connotation. I was just reading an old book by that famous historian of philosophy, Will Durant… For him, Hindu and Indian are totally synonymous.

I was telling you about Deendayal Upadhyaya, who has been the greatest influence on me, in terms of conduct as well as in terms of my thinking. He said: ‘In independent India, we want India to be a secular country in which all citizens are equal. Hindutva should be equated to Bharatiyata. Bharatiyat is a Hindu. Indianness and Hindutva are synonymous. Don’t make a distinction between the two. It should mean nationalism essentially.’ Therefore it is that I grew up with cultural nationalism."

 

In December 2003, Vasundhara Raje became the first woman chief minister of Rajasthan. Now in an election year, she faces perhaps her biggest challenge as administrator and political leader. The May 13 serial blasts that ripped through crowded places in Jaipur have not just announced the advent of terror in Rajasthan. They have also cast the onus on its government and people to keep the peace. In an interview with The Indian Express Editor-in-Chief Shekhar Gupta on NDTV 24x7’s Walk the Talk, Raje talks about how her government is coping with the fallout of Terror Tuesday, and what needs to be urgently done to frame an all-India response to a common threat.

 
Interview with JKLF leader Raja Muzaffar, Head of the foreign relations committee of J.K.L.F
Sultan Shahin, Founding Editor, New Age Islam
Interview with JKLF leader Raja Muzaffar, Head of the foreign relations committee of J.K.L.F
Sultan Shahin, Founding Editor, New Age Islam

Head of the foreign relations committee of the JKLF, Raja Muzaffar is a rare Kashmiri leader who has the necessary historical perspective and understanding to analyse events related to Kashmir with objectivity despite his partisan commitments. His columns published mostly in the Urdu Press reveal his insights and are therefore widely read. This columnist got an opportunity to talk to him at length in New York recently. He is based there since 1998. Though he has just suffered bereavement, with another of his nephews having been martyred for the cause of Kashmir, clearly on account of a callous attitude adopted by the Pakistan army towards the Kashmiri youth that demand the independence and reunification of divided parts of Kashmir, Raja Saheb, as this 56-year-old leader is affectionately called, has not lost his sense of balance, writes Sultan Shahin, Editor, New Age Islam

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