S Iftikhar Murshed
Seventy-six years ago the damage that clerics can do by exploiting religion was clearly understood by Jinnah. He told the students of the Aligarh University on February 5, 1938, that the Muslim League had liberated them “from the reactionary elements of Muslims and to create the opinion that those who play their selfish games are traitors. It has certainly freed you from that undesirable element of Maulvis and Maulanas.” He rounded off this impassioned speech with the words, “...may I now appeal to you to emancipate our women. This is essential. I do not mean that we are to ape the evils of the west. What I mean is that they must share our life, not only social but also political.”....
Religious schools, or madrasas, are often portrayed in the media as training grounds for extremists. But some say the institutions, if effectively regulated, could be the key to breaking the cycle of poverty and boosting literacy in underdeveloped countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh…..
Ruwayda Mustafah Rabar
Consequently, Iraqi women cannot use the current judicial system to fight for their rights and they are not protected legally. Instead, recent proposals of the Ja’fari personal status law will further regress any progress on women’s behalf in Iraq. This is because the proposed draft law is based on patriarchal religious thought, which many would argue has no place in Islam or in any civilized society…..
Dr. Adis Duderija, New Age Islam
Turath can be characterized as a cumulative religio-historic construct with a central intellectual core, primarily the Qur’an and Sunna, and a number of later developed doctrines derived from its core pertaining to philosophy, theology, ethics, jurisprudence, legal theory, mysticism as well as certain sociological and political attitudes and notions....
When cars were first introduced to Saudi Arabia as modernisation began with King Abdulaziz, people narrated a story that a man placed fodder in front of a car because he thought it was a camel or a ewe in need of food. The car was understood as such. This simple thinking is fitting with the isolation which people lived in during that time and thus the incapability to understand new technologies…..
Alawite, Sunni, Shia, Wahabi, Jafari or Muslims from all other schools should come to the realization that they are one another’s brother in religion; they should heed the cries of Muslims who are tortured and deported from their homeland, killed or mutilated, and comprehend that they have lost a great amount of time and should endeavour right away not to lose more. We should never forget that acting in unity and never separating is an obligation for every one of us as God’s commandment…..
Not all, or even most, Meos would, of course, see the external symbols of Islam that the Tablighi Jamaat provides them with as performing just a boundary-making function. Many would actually invest them with deep religious significance, for they are said to have been part of the sunnat of the Prophet. According to a Meo peasant from Ferozepur-Jhirka: “The reason why even the most irreligious Meo keeps a beard is that on the Day of Judgment at least Allah will be able to recognise him as a Muslim and thereby save him from hell-fire.”...
As the Tablighi Jamaat began to expand across the world, he says, money and wealth became a matter of increasing significance. Only rich Muslims, and not impoverished Meo peasants, could afford to travel to far off countries on long Tablighi tours or help organise massive Tablighi rallies. Even though the movement had started to grow outside India in Yusuf s time, Yusuf says Tariq, 'made the rich his companions but did not let them ride over him'. Under Enam-ul Hassan, however, Tariq claims, Yusuf s strict principles were gradually relaxed and 'wealth began receiving greater importance than ever before'. This, he says, worked to favour the new, relatively wealthier Gujaratis from merchant families with their worldwide business contacts, who were now seeking to make their way into the central leadership of the Tablighi Jamaat....
Ulema Are the Heirs of Prophets
Sheikh Abdul Bari Ath-Thubaythi
It is a distinction for the Aalim that Allah sends blessings to him; and His angels and the inhabitants of the heavens and the earth also beseech Allah to bless him. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “Verily, Allah do send His blessings to him who teaches people good. Also, the inhabitants of the heavens and the earth, even ants in their holes and fishes do ask Allah to bless him. (At-Tirmidhi) Ulema are the friends of Allah; they are the ones who really fear Allah….
In the wake of the launching of the genocide of the Meos in Rajputana, several hundred thousand Meos crossed into British India for safety, and following independence, almost a third of the community fled across the new international border into Pakistan. Several thousand Meos in Rajputana were forced to renounce Islam and accept Hinduism by undergoing the Arya Samaj's Shuddhi ceremony, to which was added a humiliating pork-eating test. In Gurgaon, fewer such conversions were reported but there too a large number of Meos lost their lives. Scores of Meo women were raped or abducted.....
Tablighi Jamaat seems to have provided the Meos who came into contact with Ilyas was the access that it provided to symbols of 'high' Islamic culture—such as religious education and literacy in the Urdu language or 'Islamic' dress—which were formerly the preserve of the local Khanzada elite. In the changed context of the early twentieth century, the Khanzadas were no longer seen by the Meos as the menacing 'Other', and adopting aspects of the 'high' Islamic culture traditionally associated with them was now seen as a channel for upward social mobility. It was, however, not simply the 'pull' of 'high' Islamic tradition that began to draw many Meos to the TJ. Equally significant were the 'push' factors that were now drawing many Meos away from popular religion. The popular Meo religious tradition, centred as it was on the shrines of the saints, had represented a steep hierarchy of roles and functions.....
After Ismail had been able to win the confidence of the Meos, he, along with some Meo disciples, began to undertake short tours of their villages. As a result of these efforts, he is said to have made 'nearly five hundred real servants of God, some of whom became Huffaz [memorisers of the Qur'an], religious scholars and missionaries who strove to spread the name of Allah throughout the world'….
With over seven billion humans on the planet earth, it is increasingly being questioned whether the planet earth is capable of sustaining the current rate of increase of human population! Religious teachings In many societies too play a major role on this particular issue. It is believed that the Creator of the universe, in his infinite capacity is able to correct on an ongoing basis all the damage mankind can inflict on the planet. And that He has put no responsibility on humans, the same as animals, to care for the earth.....
The Tablighi Jamaat (TJ) is today the single largest Islamic movement in the world, in terms both of number of activists as well as geographical spread. No study of the history of the TJ would be complete without an account of the people among whom it first took root—the Meo peasants of Mewat, a culturally distinct region in north-western India. Much of that which is unique to the TJ, particularly its method of Tabligh or Islamic missionary work and its approach to and understanding of the process of Islamisation, seems to have been moulded largely by the social context of early twentieth-century Mewat. Mewat also provides an interesting case of shifting socio-political contexts within which the TJ has been able to establish strong roots in a local environment….
....a lot of radicalised British Muslims are saying we're not British, we're Muslims first, then they have much more interest in what is going on to their fellow Muslims around the world in Syria or Iran or Afghanistan and they might in fact have no material connection with these countries - they might in fact be from India or Somalia. "Forging of faith identities is radicalising people particularly if they feel unjust policies have been imposed upon their co-religionists around the world."…
The Ethical Muslim
Mohammad N Miraly
Islam, at its core, is a system of ethics. The Qur’an never advocated any particular political system. It realised that the world is in constant flux, and that humans must continuously change and update their laws in order to keep up with the times. Laws change all the time, but ethics remain eternal. For this reason, Islam can be practiced no matter where or when a believer lives, because to be a Muslim means simply to uphold the ethics of the Qur’an….
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.....
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....
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
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....
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….
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....