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Books and Documents

Islam and Pluralism

Holi: Anjali, You Are As Pakistani As I Am!
Hira Nisar Khan

Last night was Holi, yes the Hindu festival in which they pray for the triumph of good over evil and then celebrate the night with music, dancing and throwing colours on one another. Anjali is an engineering student at NUST who lives with us here at the hostel. She is a Pakistani Hindu and today was her day of celebration. Unfortunately, due to the hectic load of classes and our upcoming examinations, Anjali was unable to go home to her family....

Are Pakistan’s Non-Muslims ‘Dhimmis’?
Yasser Latif Hamdani

No Pakistani is a dhimmis. All of us, whatever our faith, are equal citizens with equal obligations and equal responsibilities. It is high time that we all have equal rights as well and this means absolutely no bar against any community. So long as a Pakistani — on merit — deserves a job, his or her religious beliefs should not be hindrance to him getting his fair share, be that the job of the president of Pakistan.....

Pluralistic Dimensions Of Islamic Ideologies
Ghulam Ghaus, New Age Islam
The reality is that Islam gave absolute respect and prestige to non-Muslims. Despite that if someone opposes to it in the opinion and belief, Muslims must have patience with the saying of Allah “for you your religion and for me my religion” ( Kafiroon 6). Also Allah says “To each among you have we prescribed a law and an open way, if God had so willed, he would have made you a single people, but (his plan is) to test you in what he hath given you” (Maidah 48).

In every age, we find the influence of religion on education; priests and clergymen were considered to be the most learned people in ancient times. We find such examples in the Egyptian Civilisation, ancient Iraq, Persia, and others. Even in Semitic religions, including Judaism, Christianity and Islam, priests were taken as the most learned men, while churches and mosques were referred to as centres of education....

 

The Owaisis And The Dangers Of Ultra-Wahhabism
Uday Mahurkar

Owaisi's speech was a typically ultra-Wahhabi, a religious creed that envisions the spread of Islam to the entire world at the expense of other religions, condemns moderate Muslims wanting to reach out to the Almighty through the intercession of a Muslim saint or a Guru , advocating instead direct dialling to Allah, and sees Osama Bin Laden as a hero.

 

Saying ‘Merry Christmas’ Is Permissible In Islam
Sohail Arshad, New Age Islam

“Allah does not forbid you to deal justly and kindly with those who fought not against you on account of religion nor drove you out of your homes. Verily, Allah loves those who deal with equity” (al-Mumtahanah:8). The holy Prophet (PBUH) went to do ayadat (visit a sick person) of a non-Muslim who spread thorns in his way when he came to know that she has fallen ill.

Remember that it's never about the words, but more about the context. On what basis do you reckon saying "Merry Christmas" equates to "I believe in Jesus Christ with all my heart"? Wishing others a "Merry Christmas" is the same as greeting a "Good Morning" or "Good Evening."

Solidarity Always Outdoes Divisive Conflicts
Farooq Sulehria

This is how it works: Neither the Sunnis nor Shias recite azan (call for prayers) using loudspeakers. In fact, there are no loudspeakers installed. A mosque sans loudspeakers in itself is a rarity in this country. The mosque employs two prayer Imams, one is obviously Sunni, the other a Shia. Both have been given separate Hujras (residential rooms) in the mosque. Both are Hafiz-e-Quran (one who learns Quran by heart) and live like good friends....

"We have a good friendship between Sunni and Shia followers. We respect each other regardless of our beliefs," he said. "We also frequently arrange social activities such as blood drives, helping disaster victims, etc." Conversions from one branch of Islam to the other do not arouse the sectarian ire that has erupted in some parts of the country….

 

Saif-Kareena Marriage Violation Of Shariah, Says A Maulana, Denies The Divinity Of Hindu Scriptures To Declare The Marriage Invalid
Saif Ali Khan Pataudi and Kareena Kapoor

Commenting on film Star and Nawab of Pataudi Saif Ali Khan’s recent marriage with another film Star Kareena Kapoor, a frequent contributor to Urdu Press and a syndicated columnist Maulana Abdul Hameed Nomani writes (you can read the entire article in translation in detail page as well as the original in Urdu section): “Islamic Sharia forbids marriage with any non Muslim except with pious and believing Jews and Christian women (the people of the Book). Even marriage with a member of shib’h-e-ahl-e-kitab (Hindus) is against Sharia and, therefore, invalid.

“Considering this the marriage of Saif and Kareena or for that matter between any other such persons, even if it is solemnised under Marriage Act is un-Islamic and anti Shariah. Under the Muslim Personal Law, offspring from such marriages will not get due recognition and legitimacy as the children of legitimate parents.  In this context, this is a very sensitive and serious issue from the viewpoint of Shariah.”

Not difficult to see why I consider Urdu Press in India (like its counterpart in Pakistan) as a repository of anti-Islamic formulations, un-Islamic exhortations to the gullible Indian Muslim in the name of Islam.  One of the most dastardly, mischievous innovations (bida’at) from the fundamentalist Wahhabi Mullahs who claim to be dead against any innovation in religion (bida’at) is the category of shib’h-e-ahl-e-kitab (resembling ahl-e-kitab) to describe Hindus. In religion, either some community is ahl-ekitab or it is not ahl-e-kitab. What is this silly business of shib’h-e-ahl-e-kitab?  Where does it come from? This has never been explained. Cannot be explained. It has no basis in Islamic thought.

The problem is that these Islam-supremacists know very well that Hindus are indeed ahl-e-kitab. Hindu scriptures contain verses that herald Qur’anic verses and concepts of the divine in an uncanny manner. Almost word for word sometimes. The similarity is so close, the verses, concept of God so identical that if there were any evidence of Prophet Mohammad having visited India or been in touch with Indian religious scholars, we would have surely heard of charges of plagiarism against the Prophet.

But, as it happens, this close resemblance in the primary concept of nature of God can only be treated as proof of the divinity and identical nature of the source of both Islamic and Hindu scriptures. No wonder at all, therefore, that when Mohammad bin Qasim invaded and occupied Sindh, and wanted to know how he should treat the local Hindus, he was told by the ulema that they should be treated as ahl-e-kitab. These ulema had studied Hindu scriptures before making up their mind.  

But today’s so-called ulema, under the influence of rampant Wahhabism and its extremist, intolerant concept of Islam-Supremacism cannot possibly consider any one equal to them.  Hence the need for religious innovations (bid’at) that they otherwise claim to abhor. These so-called scholars, of course, forget that a Muslim cannot be a Muslim unless he believes in all the prophets who came prior to Prophet Mohammad (saw), all 124000 of them and gives them all equal respect, while maintaining closest and most intimate personal and social including matrimonial relations with their followers.  – Sultan Shahin, Editor, New Age Islam

Eid Mubarak, Eid-Al-Adha2012 - The Festival of Sacrifices
Mike Ghouse

While entering the prayer hall for Eid at the Louisville convention centre, two police officers were at the entrance, I walked up to them and appreciated their presence in safeguarding the well being of the congregants, and said my tradition calls for appreciating all those who put their lives at risk for the sake of others.... He was moved by it, who does not want to be appreciated? How often do we thank those who care for our safety?...

Rabbi Rick Jacobs Laments the Sin of Sowing Hatred of Islam and Contemplates Its Evil Consequences
Rick Jacobs

Two weeks ago, on the morning of Sept. 11, I noticed a woman wearing a traditional Muslim head covering on the packed platform of the train station in Scarsdale, N.Y. Her attention was focused on a billboard ad that announced “19,250 deadly Islamic attacks since 9/11/01” and pre-empted those who might dispute that claim with the refrain: “It’s not Islamophobia, it’s Islamorealism.” I could only imagine what she was feeling.

On another morning commute to Grand Central Terminal, I sat on the train with Yawar Shah, a Muslim friend from Scarsdale whom I met years ago at my synagogue when he would attend a bar or bat mitzvah service of his friends’ children. Yawar told me how painful these ads are to his family and what an insult they are to our community in Westchester County and to our way of life…..

The Qur’an’s Regard for the People of the Book (Christians and Jews) And the Believing Humanity– A Living Testimony
Muhammad Yunus, New Age Islam

There are three categories of people today who are bent on giving a universal dimension to the above context specific verses of the Qur’an. I) Muslim terrorist outfits and Radicalized elements – a fractional though visible minority quote them to justify their violent agenda; ii) the Islamophobes/ anti-Islamic website, to justify their hatred and fear of Islam and iii) some among the immigrant Muslims in the West - averse to Qur’anic moral imperative and core paradigms….

‘Love in Jihad’ – Myth or Reality?
Maulana Nadeemul Wajidee, Tr. by Raihan Nezami, Ne

Are Muslim boys luring Hindu girls to love and marriage in order to convert them to Islam deliberately, on purpose, as part of a Jihad, as communal and divisive elements in India are propagating? Prominent Delhi-based Urdu columnist Maulana Nadeemul Wajidee looks at the issue, in the process revealing his own mindset and outlook, indeed a worldview widely prevalent in our Mullah class – no introspection, merely blaming others, contempt for religions brought to the world by prophets preceding Prophet Mohammad - respecting whom equally as our own Prophet is an essential, inalienable part of our Faith. I am particularly offended by the fact that Maulana Saheb shows no regard for the sentiments of our ahl-e-kitab brethren in India: he seeks God’s protection from the Satan by saying Naooz billah before relating the fact that some Muslim boys and indeed girls too are converting to Hinduism for love.

Maulana Saheb also reveals total insensitivity to the emotion of love. For his class of maulanas, women are nothing more than child-bearing machines, or at best, an object of occasional lust. Indeed he says so in so many words in this article reproduced below (Translated by Syed Raihan Ahmad Nezami). How can he possibly understand that love is the highest virtue a human can aspire to? Love is Truth. Love is God. And love is universal. It is not for nothing that couples in love are prepared to sacrifice their all for love. And they do. Everywhere in the world and in all ages. Only today I read the story of teenager Afsana and a Dalit boy Manoj, brutally killed in a Meerut village allegedly by Afsana’s brothers, with the connivance of the entire village and support of probably the majority of our countrymen of all faiths.

Of course, no Muslim is falling in love or luring Hindu girls to love and marriage and conversion as part of a Jihad or any other conspiracy. The very idea is preposterous. But, those who don’t want to see India prosper would not let go of any opportunity to divide the country. The Maulana may be right in seeking to dispel the notion, even though the idea is too ludicrous to be given such serious notice.


The Separated Brothers
Mushtaq ul Haq Ahmad Sikandar, New Age Islam

The Separated Brothers
Mushtaq ul Haq Ahmad Sikandar, New Age Islam

It was much later that I came to know about the unfortunate exodus of the Kashmiri Pandit community. Pandits were the Hindu minority of Kashmir, who had lived together with the Muslim majority since centuries. Both communities shared a common plural, syncretic and tolerant culture, known as Rishism that has now been made synonymous with the politically charged term Kashmiriyat. Rishi culture was a beautiful blend of the teachings of Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam. The Kashmiri Pandits and Muslims lived together with mutual tolerance, and love and respect for one other....

Jesus and Mohammed
Sadia Dehlvi

Jesus and Mohammed
Sadia Dehlvi

Prophet Mohammed never saw himself as the founder of a new religion, but the last in the chain of prophets from the lineage of Prophet Abraham. In the narrative of his flight to heaven, known as the Ascension, he encounters Moses, Jesus and other prophets common to Islam, Judaism and Christianity. In the various layers of heaven, they share their concerns for humanity....

 

Be Critical Of Anti-Pluralistic Society
Nadeem F. Paracha

With the ‘Afghan jihad’ raging against the former Soviet Union, Zia, his intelligence agencies, and parties like Jamat-i-Islami and Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam started embracing a narrow and highly political version of Islam. This was done to radicalise large sections of the Pakistani Muslims who had historically been a part of more apolitical strains of the faith — the kind that over the centuries had evolved within the largely pluralistic milieu of the subcontinent.....

Xinjiang: Fast and Loose
A Report in Economist

It is understandable that China is nervous about the spread of Islamist extremism. It has only to look at its own borders to see its consequences in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Central Asia. The Chinese have complained to Pakistan—a close ally—that it is not doing enough about extremist groups in its tribal areas, where China says Uighur terrorists plot mischief in Xinjiang.

 

Indonesia has been long heralded as a role model of how Islam and democracy is compatible. Dubbed the third largest democracy in the world, the country has a long tradition that promotes diversity in terms of ethnicity, race and language. It is the Indonesian language that united Indonesians.

 

New Age Islam keeps posting the views of so many sane Pakistanis that one sometimes starts wondering why should Pakistan be in the state it is in, the state that these sensible people are writing about, if so many of them are so wise and rational. Actually, the sane elements are a hopelessly small minority. This is what they keep bemoaning. The majoritarianism of the majority gets articulated in the country’s dominant Urdu media and thus remains hidden from the majority of readers of New Age Islam. Even in our Urdu section we try to project the saner viewpoints.

I came across today a quite honest, though you might like to call it shameless, exposition of the majoritarian hubris so rampant in Pakistan. This might make those Muslims who live as minorities in most parts of the world today feel a bit grateful that they are not living in a Muslim-majority country and thus cannot nurse such arrogance and stupidity. But, I know, this would also make many Muslims here in India regret their inability to be so conceited and idiotic.

Whatever your reaction, I would like to share this gem of a write-up with you. This was sent as a response to journalist Asif Daar’s latest Dateline London column in Jang: “Inteha pasand Muththi se bahar” (Extremists out of control). I am hoping that our Hindutva readers would skip this page lest they start getting ideas. -- Editor

Some Indian Muslims’ Un-Islamic Appeal to boycott Buddhists as retaliation for Rohingya killings
Aiman Reyaz, New Age Islam

Muslims are being conditioned to see only the half side of the picture, i.e., only their side of the picture. We are hypocrites; we differentiate between people only because of their belief. We have a right to demand our rights as long as we give others their rights. Our talk of religious freedom is of no avail unless we give others their freedom of religion. I would like to end by quoting a verse from the Quran: Lakum deenakum waleya deen; to you be your way and to me mine”. But the irony is that some Muslims are not willing to accept this as a valid or legitimate part of Quran. One frequent commenter on New Age Islam … says in a recent post: “What you and Janab Yunus sahib(1) and some others are expressing is based on Meccan verses. Unfortunately Meccan verses are abrogated by Medinian verses. Lakum Deenikum waleya deen does not hold water because later verses say that only acceptable religion is Islam in the eyes of Allah. I am not alone in this world to have this view. Quran is, according to Muslims, for every place and time. So are the Medinian verses.”

So, you can see, we Muslims have a long way to go in sorting out our myriad problems. As the editor of this website Mr. Sultan Shahin once told the Muslim world from the august forum of the United Nations and I am paraphrasing: “We Muslims have not done our home work for almost millennia. We better join the task with utmost seriousness and urgency.”

A Sindh without its Hindus will not be Sindh, for Hindu Sindhis, like Muslims, are the children of the soil. If the Muslim Sindhis closed their eyes and let the forced migration of Hindus continue unabated, then they, too, should better start looking for a place to migrate to. Sindhi Muslims, being Sufis by nature, are the real target. Actually, all thinking, feeling, non-conforming, people of the country are the target of discrimination.

The spirit of Idul Fitri encourages Muslims to renew their relationships with relatives. They are enthusiastic about visiting parents, siblings, friends and neighbors. Idul Fitri is believed to be a day when God Allah will erase all sins, as long as Muslims express repentance and ask for forgiveness from others. On that day, most Muslims think positively about others. They imagine that all Muslims are brothers, so that they have to love each other, regardless of ethnicity, social class, political affiliation and madzhab (school of law).

Pakistan: The Hindu Exodus is a fruit of radicalisation, a grim reminder of horrors of Partition
Ayesha Siddiqa

The migration and self-exile of a 100 Hindu families seems to have hit the headlines in both India and Pakistan. The story angered Pakistan’s Interior Minister Rehman Malik, who, as is his nature, over-reacted by trying to stop Hindu pilgrims going to India out of fear that these people were using the pilgrimage as an excuse to slip into India and seek asylum. This, according to Malik, would naturally bring a bad name to Pakistan. Hence for him, this is nothing more than a conspiracy to malign Pakistan. The Federal Investigation Agency, which comes under Malik’s ministry, and is responsible for immigration issues, reported to its boss that agents were misleading the Hindu families and encouraging them to seek asylum. But what Malik seems to struggle to hide is the fact that Hindu migration is not a new phenomenon. It is that Islamabad seems to have noticed it just now. According to civil society and human rights activists in Sindh, there has been a slow and gradual move by Hindus to migrate from Pakistan. According to one estimate, there are 4.5 million Hindus in Pakistan, most of whom are concentrated in Sindh, especially Hyderabad-Karachi, Tharparkat, Mithi, Mirpur Khas, Shikarpur and Sukkur. The more affluent ones tend to migrate legally.

Perils of intolerance: Sindhi Hindu families escaping to India should be a wake-up call for Pakistan
I.A Rehman

In any case the situation is indeed far graver than it has ever been presented in the media or elsewhere. The time for dealing with it through sermons or flat denials is past. Nothing will be gained by running news on TV to the effect that Hindus, Sikhs and Christians are buying national flags as enthusiastically as patriotic Muslims, though it may well be true. The time has come for the state to undertake a thorough reappraisal of whatever is amiss in law and social practice with regard to the right of minorities to be treated as equal citizens of Pakistan.

 
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