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  • Your Favourite Author's Page

      

    Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

    A regular NewAgeIslam.com columnist, Arshad Alam is a Delhi-based academic, political commentator and writer.


    Please read below the articles written by him for NewAgeIslam.com

     
    Radical Islamism and Jihad
    Jihad and the Allure of Balakot
    Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

    Jihad and the Allure of Balakot

    Indeed Balakot is not just the name of a place; rather it is fundamentally an idea, the dissection of which remains central to decoding the narrative of Islamists of much of South Asia. The selection of Balakot by the JeM is not just for strategic consideration, but is also a symbolic continuation of the first jihad that saw so called martyrdom in action at this place. The characters were different but the cause and the underlying motivation was the same. And this motivation was to reclaim the land of al-Hind for Islam as it was supposedly under ‘Islamic rule’ back in the historical past....

    Radical Islamism and Jihad
    Pulwama, Before and After
    Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

    Pulwama, Before and After

    There is certainly some truth in the arguments that militant groups active in Pakistan are majorly responsible for turning this young person into a suicide bomber. However, there is a need to underscore that certain theological precepts may also be responsible for what ultimately became of him. And that’s why there is an urgent need to question such theological discourses which makes someone prone to violence. Without putting an end to such pernicious reading of Islamic theology, it will be difficult to stop another Pulwama....

    Islam, Women and Feminism

    Iranian Women are Throwing off the Veil for Good

    The particular verse is interpreted as signifying the separation of spaces where the normative behaviour expected of Muslims should be different. Rather than being a separation between male and female, it is more of an exhortation to respect the private sphere such as the domestic household. Such interpretations never become the normative understanding because the conservative Ulama have institutional control of Islamic societies....

    Islamic Society

    Rahaf Mohammed’s Case Brings the Issue of Apostasy in Islam to Spotlight

    However, we need to be wary of the long arm of the Saudi state. The state has been known to kidnap its ‘problematic’ citizens residing in other countries and bring them back to Saudi Arabia. Worse still, there have been reports that its hit squads have targeted dissidents even on foreign territory....

    Islam and Politics

    Muslims Must Avoid Namaaz in Public Spaces but Such Laws should be equally Applicable to All Communities

    There is no disagreement about the fact that other religious communities also do the same things: of course they do. Therefore there is a need to debate this practice within different religious communities. Likewise, it is up to Muslims themselves to have an internal debate over the issue and chalk out a strategy which puts an end to this problem once and for all....

    Current Affairs
    You will be Missed Mushirul Hasan Sb.
    Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

    You will be Missed Mushirul Hasan Sb.

    Muslims, non-Muslims and atheists, all participated in his funeral prayer, something which is a rarity in these troubled times. Throughout his life, Mushirul Hasan Sb. laboriously wrote about the composite religious heritage of this country. In his death, he was perhaps giving us the same message....

    Islam and Politics

    Bulandshahr Reminds us that Mob Violence Scars Everyone
    Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

    The Muslim became the perpetual and potential other, always suspected of being beef eaters and therefore potential outsiders. Nothing much has changed between then and now: cow has been made as the symbol of creating difference between Hindus and Muslims. Cow has become the weapon to target Muslims. No one asks any question from those involved in lynching; rather the onus is on the Muslim to prove that they do not eat beef.....

    Islamic Society

    Why Does a Play Rile Islamists in Kerala?
    Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

    The play is about women’s right, dignity and gender justice. It is also certainly humanist in the sense that the father eventually relents and redeems his own humanity. Also, the play would have lent itself to the current Muslim women’s movement in Kerala which is demanding entry of women in mosques. But then, all good things must come to an end. And in Muslim context, many a times it ends before it even starts....

    Also Read:

    Gender Equality in Islam

    Is A Woman’s Testimony Worth Half That of A Man?

    The War Within Islam

    How the Brutal Murder of Jamal Khashoggi Exposes the Naked Interest of Many
    Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

    The criminal act of the Saudi state should have led to a larger debate about the absence of an atmosphere of liberal critique in much of the Arab and Muslim world. But then the tragedy is that most Muslim leaders themselves are so knee deep in this malice that they can only use the incident to earn some political points for themselves....

    Current Affairs

    Why the Left Needs to Be Called out for Its Role in Najeeb’s Disappearance
    Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

    But then Najeeb became the precursor of what was to come later: the system of instant justice; where mobs lynch Muslims merely on the basis of suspicion, without any regret or remorse. In most cases, the police are more than willing to dilute cases against the accused and are reluctant to bring the culprits to book. Something similar happened in Najeeb’s case. The only time they started having some semblance of seriousness was when the courts told them to double their efforts to find the missing student. Random searches were made here and there just for appearance sake....

    Islamic Ideology

    Aasia Bibi: Why Pakistan Needs to Confront Its Ideological Origins
    Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

    The roots of intolerance towards other religious traditions go very deep in its history and we must start at the time when this ‘nation of the pure’ was supposedly constructed as the new Medina. It was Jinnah and Muslim League’s articulation that they could no longer live with the Hindus which started a seemingly new narrative for the Muslims of the subcontinent. Jinnah’s obstinacy flew in the face of history: India being one of the few places where religious pluralism was a fact of everyday life rather than just a mere academic construct. In making Islam as an exclusivist religion, Jinnah wrenched the Muslims of this country of centuries pluralism and coexistence....

    Islam and Politics

    Ayodhya Can’t Be Solved By the Judiciary; Muslims Must Take the First Step to Resolve It
    Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

    This would only mean one thing: that Namaz is the name of the process and any place at which Namaz is offered temporarily becomes a mosque. Mosque is not essential but Namaz certainly is. However, this logic certainly applies for all religious traditions: that what is essential to a religious tradition is the ritual of prayer and not the place where it is offered. However, in singling out Islam for this special treatment, the Supreme Court has certainly not applied its own principle equally to all religious traditions. Some might say that the Court in this case was operating with pre-conceived notions....

    Islam and Sectarianism

    Naya Pakistan or the Same Old Bigoted Pakistan?
    Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

    Today, it is an Ahmadi; tomorrow it could a Shia. Yet another day it can be the Sufis. There is a problem at the ideological foundation of Pakistan itself. The country will continue to create enemies out of its own people, till the time it actively confronts its past. Pakistan today needs to dialogue with the ghosts of Jinnah and Iqbal and perhaps tell them unequivocally that they were wrong in ways in which they conceptualised Islam as the ideological bedrock of the state of Pakistan....

    The War Within Islam

    Why Imran Khan’s Invocation of Medina is Deeply Regressive
    Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

    The prime minister of Pakistan has to believe in the ‘unity and oneness of Allah, the books of Allah, the Quran being the last of them, the Prophethood of Muhammad as the last of the Prophets and that there can be no Prophet after him, the Day of Judgment, and all the requirements and teachings of the Holy Quran and Sunnah’. Now if this is the oath that the prime minister takes, then it is understandable why Medina would continue to appeal. After all, the first experiment to establish Islam took place in Medina and the first country which got created specifically in the name of Islam was Pakistan....

    Islamic Ideology
    What Are We Commemorating on Baqr Eid?
    Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

    What Are We Commemorating on Baqr Eid?
    Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

    More importantly perhaps, the Muslim story about Bakr Eid is a continuation of the earlier Jewish and Christian covenant with God where blood plays a very significant role. Within the Semitic tradition, it is only through blood that redemption becomes possible. The Torah is filled with passages where blood becomes important to save oneself from God’s wrath and where animal sacrifice was an important aspect of pleasing the God. And certainly, the same God would sacrifice his own son called Jesus to ‘save the humanity’. It is through the blood of Christ that humanity had to be redeemed.....

    Related Articles:

    Don’t Let Baqr Eid Qurbani Descend Into Blood Orgy

    Hajj -- Some Afterthoughts

    Contribution of Islamic Media in Educating the Public on Animal Rights

    Animal Sacrifice vs. Compassionate Eid: An Open Letter To Our Muslim Brothers and Sisters

    Eid-ul-Adha at Bhopal 2014: A Reflection

    Islamic Society

    Where is the Muslim Rage on Chinese Internment of Muslims and Saudi Killing of Innocent Children in Yemen?
    Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

    So under the pretext of fighting Iranian militias, the Saudis have not just armed the opposition but have actual military presence in that country. Its air force is free to bomb the country at will and yet there is no international outcry. More recently, the Saudis bombed a school bus carrying children which led to scores being dead. Any civilised nation would have expressed remorse for this wanton killing of children or at least constituted an inquiry committee to look into such allegations. Not the Saudis. Not only did they not express remorse, they in fact justified the killings saying that these children were enemy combatants. Compare this with the statement of Taliban militants who killed children at school in Pakistan and one finds that there is no difference between the two. And yet, we are being increasingly led to believe that Saudis want to be in the forefront of fighting terror and extremism....

    Muslims and Islamophobia
    The Bogey of Islamophobia
    Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

    The Bogey of Islamophobia
    Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

    From Saudi Arabia to Bangladesh, reformist Muslim voices have been jailed or simply eliminated. Essentially reformism seeks to challenge the stranglehold of the conservatives or radical Islamists over the community and therefore critique is nothing but fundamentally a political struggle. The bogey of Islamophobia comes handy for the orthodoxy to silence its critics, both externally but more so internally. It is time perhaps that the liberal left does rethinking about this whole issue of Islamophobia. In their defence of orthodox Islam, they are abandoning the progressives within the community and in the process ending up upholding some of the most pernicious manifestations of this religion....  

    Islamic Society
    The Myth of Jahiliyyah
    Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

    The Myth of Jahiliyyah
    Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

    And just as Enlightenment delivered Europe into modernity through the dark ages, Islam delivered geography and its people through darkness into a new dawn. In its modern reading according to Syed Qutb and Maududi, large parts of the world are still in the age of Jahiliyyah and are waiting for Islam to deliver them from their self-imposed darkness. Just as the Europeans convinced us that colonialism was good for us, Islamists are out to prove that Islam will be good for the entire world. The claim rests on the assertion that Islam brought humanity to the Arabs and one measure of that humanity was its treatment of women....

    Islam and Politics

    The Unprecedented Loneliness of Indian Muslims
    Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

    Muslims are in an unprecedented situation today. There is so much Muslim talk these days but then there is no Muslim voice. Muslims are either spoken about or spoken over. The only Muslims who get a chance to speak are the sponsored ones: made for TV mullahs. They speak on an agenda which is pre-configured to otherwise and demonise Muslims. If this cacophony of silence needs to be broken, it must be done by Muslims themselves. There is no need to wait for others to speak up. True this loneliness is killing, but silence around the issue will only allow this loneliness to rip apart our very souls....  

    Radical Islamism and Jihad

    Why Should an Academic Course on Islamist Terror Rile Muslims?
    Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

    We need to differentiate between Islamic and Islamist: the latter only attests the political use of Islam to capture state power where violence is indeed one of the many options. Isn’t this the ultimate aim of Islamists the world over and isn’t it that they have used terror as a method to achieve that end? How do we understand the Taliban and more recently the ISIS except through the lens of Islamist terror? Worldwide, even amongst Muslim scholars, there is now a consensus that it is the ideology of Islamism which needs to be resisted....

    Islamic Society

    Darul Qazas or Sharia Courts: Why both must be Opposed?
    Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

    It must be underlined though that equating this with something like a Sharia court is clearly a misnomer. Courts have the ‘power’ to adjudicate over issues; the Darul-Qaza will have no such power and as such will be more like arbitration councils. To be fair to the AIMPLB, such quasi-judicial bodies do exist in other communities, such as the Khap Panchayats in Western Uttar Pradesh and Haryana. In some tribal areas, these bodies even have legal recognition. Thus, the establishment of Darul Qaza may well within be the ambit of law. Demanding for a ban on Darul Qazas while remaining silent on Khaps is clearly hypocritical. It should also be understood that Darul Qazas have been functioning in this country since at least 1972....

    Islam and Politics

    The Jinnah Redux in AMU; This Time as a Farce
    Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

    Muslim society is increasingly convinced that it needs to police the behaviour of its members. Certainly one cannot hope for freedom and democracy within the wider society without championing these values within one’s own community. What is more worrisome is the Muslim anxiety to define itself solely as a theological community. If theology starts marking the boundaries of behaviour, the language of rights becomes the first casualty and the communities only stultify further.  There are enough problems which AMU should worry about. A few students drinking beer and showing it off during Ramzan should be the least of its worries....

    Current Affairs

    Understanding Pranab Mukherjee’s Speech as an Answer to Mohan Bhagwat is Wrong
    Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

    The speeches of Bhagwat and Mukherjee go a long way to show that there is a consensus on the question of nationalism between these two political formations. The difference is just about shades rather than of type. Thus the TV debates and the newspaper columns which seek to point out their essential difference is definitely out of proportion and a lazy reading of their viewpoints. More fundamentally, this laziness is also because of the assumptions of the liberal Hindu historiography itself. Is it simply a matter of coincidence that the RSS can switch between an Indira Gandhi and Modi with such ease? After all, Indira was hailed as the Durga by none other than the RSS and the congress had no objection at that time....

    Islamic Personalities

    Why Shah Waliullah’s Thesis should be Repudiated by Indian Muslims
    Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

    The Muslim must become puritan in order to relive the supposed lost glory of Islam. For this, purging itself of all accretions and all traces of syncretism was to become the sine qua non of Indian Muslims. As a political project, this tradition continues to this day through the activities of Deobandis, the Ahle Hadees and even the Barelwis. More than anything else, Shah Waliullah’s writings seem to be a fatal recipe for the political future of Muslims in India. ...

    Islam and Politics

    Can the Proposed World Council of Muslim Minorities correct the stereotypical image of Islam?
    Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

    Then there are Muslim minority contexts which are in the form of historically established communities who have been living together with other communities for centuries. India is an obvious example. Yet, over the years, owing to a number of factors, there has been a growing alienation of the Muslim minority communities. Some reasons for this are internal: there is increasing reliance on particular readings of religious texts which is weaning Muslims away from their shared cultural contexts. But the problem is also from the outside: increasing Islamophobia has meant that Muslims have come to be considered as untrustworthy and their religion as the epitome of backwardness....

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    TOP ARTICLE

    Radical Islamism and Jihad
    Do Not Repeat the Mistakes of 1989 in Allowing the Return of Taliban, New Age Islam Editor Sultan Shahin Asks International Community at UNHRC in Geneva

    Mr. President,

    The US is withdrawing from Afghanistan as well as from Iraq and Syria. Inspired by the Taliban declaration of victory, a radicalised terrorist in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, backed by a Pakistan-based Islamist terrorist organisation, attacked an Indian military convoy, killing 40 soldiers. Similar suicide attack killed 27 elite revolutionary guards in Sistan, Iran. Emboldened Jihadists will surely carry out more such attacks in future. The gloating in Islamist circles for having “defeated” both the superpowers, the Soviet Union and the United States, has reached its peak.

    Mr. President,

    Still fresh in our minds is what happened when the international community abandoned Afghanistan in 1989. Taliban ruled and Al-Qaeda got a safe haven. A series of atrocities including 9/11 and horrors of Islamic State followed.

     In this backdrop, the complacency of the world community in allowing Taliban to govern Afghanistan is inexplicable. Jihadist strength does not come from their soldiers and territories. It comes from an ideology and ideologies cannot be defeated militarily.

    Mr. President,

    The Jihadist ideology is based on very solid foundations in Islamic history, scriptures and theology. Moderate Muslims have not yet succeeded in evolving a satisfactory alternative theology of peace and pluralism to challenge the current theology of violence and exclusion. Even when such a theology evolves, it will take time and effort for it to be established. Mainstream Muslims should be allowed the time and space to work out and propagate a counternarrative. I would, therefore, urge the international community not to repeat the mistakes of 1989 and invite further disasters....

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