Books and Documents
Islamic Society

Generosity amid Want in Pakistan
Bina Shah

The focal point of philanthropy each year is the holy month of Ramadan, when Islam’s obligation to give to the poor intensifies. Those who miss the daily fast, for example, must feed a poor person. All month, organizations like hospitals, schools, associations for the disabled, education foundations and Islamic charities vie for contributions on billboards, fliers and newspaper ads. And on an announced day, the government collects 2.5 percent from most savings accounts to distribute to approved private charities. This is meant to enforce the Islamic obligation of charity, known as Zakat; in the 2008-9 fiscal year, it yielded about $167 million.....


Rein In the Saudi Religious Police
Manal Al-Sharif

The government, for its part, is wary of clamping down on the Mutaween for fear of inciting a conservative backlash and is walking a fine line between the religious police and an increasingly angry populace. While dismantling of the force is unrealistic, this delicate moment opens a window of opportunity for Saudis....

Can A Child Ever Be An Illegitimate Child?
Rashid Samnakay, New Age Islam

Supplementary question then is asked as to what part if any does a child play in the process of being born? Most ignorant, primitive and pagan Shamans and their followers out of the darkest jungle and most arid desert anywhere in the world, must reply to both as-“none at all”. Suffice it to say that it is a common knowledge today that a child, human or not is born from the union of a male and a female of its species. A natural result, that occurs of that sexual union under the universal laws of Nature. It is the “parents” who are illegitimate and totally responsible for bringing the child in the world in accordance with nature’s universal laws, but against the norms of society....

The young men let off steam with private jokes that may be only half in jest — “Don’t forget to shave!” when a friend is planning a plane trip, or a quip about government surveillance when someone mentions a chemistry class explosion or inadvertently uses the word “bomb.”…..

A Sufi Basant
Sadia Dehlvi

A Sufi Basant
Sadia Dehlvi

The Basant festivities at the Dargah of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya are something I look forward to. Basant in the courtyard of Delhi’s great Sufi saint is a 700-year-old tradition. Sufis have traditionally adapted local languages and traditions to spread their message of peace. Each year, on the eve of Basant, prior to the sunset prayer, groups of Quawwals enter the Dargah compound wearing yellow scarves. They come in holding bunches of mustard flowers and singing Basant songs, written and composed by Hazrat Amir Khusrau....


Pakistan: In Search Of an Identity
Mehr F. Husain

Nothing has helped the Pakistani people find a unifying identity, creating an existential crisis which has been exploited by those promoting an Arab identity. Conservatives have argued that song and dance are not part of Islam, while defenders of the festival were quick to argue that such traditions are better than murdering innocents in the name of Islam....

Some women even reserve places by asking some African women to bring their children and cover a larger area for other worshippers. They are paid SR200 for the whole day. This is especially the case on days when the mosque is very crowded, such as Friday nights, Mondays and Thursdays, Ayyam Al-Beed (three days in the middle of each Hijri month) and in Ramadan….


Our Fading Family Values
Juggun Kazim

One of the things that the West has always appreciated and even envied about our part of the world is the respect with which we treat our elders. Yet, as the world becomes one big melting pot, it looks like we are losing a sense of what made us unique and beautiful....


There are those who willingly discern and identify, in history, their own responsibility for what affects them and others; and then there are those who on the contrary view history, even of their own making, fatalistically to avoid taking any responsibility for its outcome. These two opposing characteristics in general might be defined respectively as the Culture of Responsibility distinguishing the West, and the Culture of Denial, which distinguishes the East, in particular the Arab-Muslim world…..


Why So Few Muslims Are IAS Officers: Poor Participation in Civil Service Exams
Aakar Patel

Some years ago I read the interview of a successful Muslim bureaucrat who had retired. His advice to Muslims in India’s professions was that “there will be not many who will go out of their way to help you. And there will be even fewer who will deliberately want to hinder you. It is up to you to make a success or failure of your career.” I think that is the right way of looking at it….

Honour Killings in Muslim Societies: the Role of Patriarchal Hadith
Adis Duderija, New Age Islam

My basic argument (or plea for understanding) is that we need to seriously examine the question to what extent, directly or indirectly, have these patriarchal Hadith ( or more specifically the socio-cultural norms and practices they  have played a role in engendering) which have penetrated the socio-cultural values and moral outlook of segments of Muslim societies as evident in the very vocabularies of the languages of Muslim cultures   are to be implicated in motivations /justifications/rationalizations behind  honour killings in Muslim contexts. If these Hadith are considered to be reflective of the Islamic teachings , as they often are, than can the views of male and female sexuality  found in these Hadith and the  socio-cultural norms and practices they give rise to, as discussed above,  be seen as creating a socio-cultural and psychological atmosphere conducive to carrying out of honour killings?  ….

The Barbarity of Blasphemy
Hayat Alvi

Laws are meant for the protection of society, not for persecution.  That’s the ideal.  These blasphemy laws and rulings resemble medieval Europe and how the Church dealt with accused “heretics” in those days.  Blasphemy laws similarly project the mentality that society cannot handle or tolerate non-conformity.  That is very dangerous, because such intolerance is the very definition of fascism.  It is also the essence of barbarism…..

The curriculum, which is taught in these madrasas, needs particular importance, as it reflects Islam as a religion of war and hate. Not only in the madrasas but also in the regular schools of the country the, Jihad-Bis-Saif, (jihad with the sword) is highlighted with particular emphasis on Islamic wars, thus neglecting the fact that Islam is a religion of peace as the word Islam itself means peace, purity and submission, and the wars fought in Islamic history had a proper context and reason…..

Related Articles:


“Madrasa Education is a Clear Violation of the Human Rights of Children”: Sultan Shahin asks UNHRC to make Muslim Countries Stick to their Pious Declarations

American Muslim Teachers In Indian Madrasas Or CIA Agents And For What Purpose: The Latest Conspiracy Theory

Evolution of Hadith Sciences and Need for Major Paradigm Shift in Role of Hadith Corpus and Scope of Madrasa Education

RESTRUCTURING MADRASA EDUCATION: Muslim Opponents of India’s 'Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act' are Enemies of Indian Muslims

Madrasa Education in Modern India—A Study

A Recipe for Madrasa Education

Madrasas Need Reform, Not Committees

Why Muslims Are Backward?
Dr. Ibrahim B. Syed

Look at the literacy rate in the Muslim Ummah. Muslim countries like, Afghanistan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan, etc. Now Afghanistan is in a hopeless situation with civil wars. Sisters who constitute 50% of the population are not allowed to go pursue education.  Rabbi Zidni Ilman, 20: 114 (Ta Ha) Oh Lord enrich me with knowledge….

…when the world celebrated its first millennium, the Muslims were at its pinnacle of achievement. Unfortunately 1,000 years later, the Muslims became backward, weak and marginalised. The Prince of Wales Prince Charles in his speech entitled "Islam and the West"….


By fate, the Sauds now run the affairs of their country, which is blessed with the most sacred places on earth. This brings on them a great responsibility to rise above sectarian lines and narrow interpretations and to show the world an image that is based on the teachings of tolerance and compassion that the faith they proclaim advocates. By not doing so they will be harming the interests of humanity, which lie in a true understanding of their faith….


Mr. Fatemi noticed a prayer rug on the floor and asked what it was. “She said, ‘It’s for me.’ That was surprising, but what was more surprising was that she’s sitting and praying in this Western outfit that’s not considered the right sort of attire for praying,” Mr. Fatemi said. “I asked her about that and she said: ‘I don’t care if this is how I want to communicate with my God. This is how I feel that I want to do it.’ ”....


Pakistani Cinema’s New Wave
Bina Shah

After years of economic doldrums and creative drought, Pakistani movies are pulling in crowds at home and garnering awards at international film festivals. It’s a miraculous restart for an industry that has seen more highs and lows than a three-hour Bollywood blockbuster. Taking the power of storytelling into their own hands, Pakistani filmmakers are fashioning much-needed, nuanced portraits of their country — and cultivating a degree of national pride that hasn’t been felt for a long time….

What I Saw in Iran
Mustafa Akyol

What I Saw in Iran
Mustafa Akyol

From the moment I landed, I inevitably compared Iran to the other “Islamic” state that I am more familiar with: Saudi Arabia. And, with all due respect to the Saudis, I must say that life in Iran looked much freer. The place of women, especially, presented a huge gap. While the sexes are strictly segregated in every public space in Saudi Arabia, Iranian women are present everywhere and look quite equal to men….

Suicide Bombings, Beheadings Savagery
Khaled Aljenfawi

No sane, compassionate and true Muslim condones suicide bombing, beheading of innocent victims. Such acts of savagery may not always originate in misinterpretation of some Quranic verses. Such barbarity derives from some individuals’ criminal inclination to cause as much harm against human civilization as possible….


The Holy Quran exalts those who have the ability to read. They are considered the cream of society having an additional responsibility on their shoulders to respond to the queries of those who do not know (10:94). For they know and comprehend matters more than others....


Persecution and Death: Legal Punishment in Islamic Societies
Michael Curtis

The report identifies 10 of the 24 countries as the worst in grossly violating individual freedom to change religion or belief.  Apostasy is a capital offense punishable by death in eight of them: Afghanistan, Iran, Malaysia, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen….

Contract Slavery in Saudi Kingdom
Vijay Prashad

Saudi Arabia’s nine million migrant workers make up a third of the kingdom’s population, but they have none of the rights of the King’s subjects. Every few years, when economic crises strike the King’s subjects, the KSA resorts to its Nitaqat, or Saudisation, programme—with the government deporting migrant workers with the empty plea that the private sector will now hire Saudi subjects to replace them. Rather than go after all the migrant workers—which would lead to the collapse of the Saudi economy…

A Murder in Makkah
Rafia Zakaria

A Murder in Makkah
Rafia Zakaria

Then suddenly, one ordinary evening, after one ordinary day, he was gone. One of his friends from Pakistan, who was in the habit of calling or texting him several times a day, later said that on one of those tries, a man speaking Arabic with a Saudi accent answered the phone. It was never answered again and was not found in his belongings. When the new friends he had made in Saudi Arabia finally found him at the hospital, authorities handed them the paperwork that listed A’s death as suicide. This apparently is how many mysterious migrant workers’ deaths are classified in Saudi Arabia; it relieves their employers and the Saudi government from having to pay blood money or indemnity to the heirs of the deceased….


A Changing Terrain of Love
Bina Shah

On a recent trip to Denmark, I experienced my first episode of culture shock in quite a while. “Do you have children?” one Danish woman asked me, making polite small talk. “No, I’m not married,” I replied. With a look of incredulity she said, “But you don’t have to be married to have children!” Another new friend, born in Iran but raised in Denmark, told me that many Danish couples, instead of marrying, show their love and commitment simply by having a baby together….


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