Books and Documents

Debating Islam

Former Union minister Arif M. Khan writes: The Kashmir Valley people seems to have sacrified their unique culture at the altar of separatism

Kaabe mein budkade mein hai yeksan teri zia

Mein imtiaze dero haram mein phansa raha

(The divine light equally illuminates the Kaaba and the house of idols (temple), but woe to me that I remained obsessed with the differences and distinctions between the two)

(Allana Iqbal)

In a separate piece Kashmiri leader Sajjad Lone calls his artricle "Kashmiri baiting at its worst"

The jihadis see it very differently: they recognise as legitimate no laws other than those sanctioned by the shariat (Islamic code). The goal of jihad is to wage a continuous war until the whole world is brought under the sway of Islam governed by the shariat. To fight terrorism it is necessary first to understand this ideology and the associated military doctrine. Terrorism is not a crime wave but an ideological war on all fronts. We will have only ourselves to blame if we fail to see this fundamental truth. ...When we come to the use of terror as an instrument of policy, we have the seminal work The Quranic Concept of War by the Pakistani Brigadier SK Malik to guide us. In his effusive foreword, the late General Zia-ul-Haq wrote that the book "...brings out with simplicity, clarity and precision the Quranic philosophy on the application of the military force, within the context of the totality that is jihad." writes N S Rajaram

Some Muslims' desire or need for defacing their handsome faces with unkempt beards is a subject fit for psycho-analysis. But Adil Salahi of Arab News discusses it here in all seriousness and with an ideological perspective. He says: I realize that there are scholars who have a different view. They consider wearing a beard obligatory. I respect their views. When we have such a difference of views, people should take the view supported by the stronger evidence. If a person cannot do that, then he takes the view of the scholar he trusts, or he may do whatever suits his circumstances.

The Gulf Times published recently an excerpt from a book titled The Righteous Wife, by Muhammad Shoomaan. It quotes Abdullah ibn ‘Amr (radhiallah ‘anhu) as saying that the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam – peace be upon him) said: “All of this world is a utility and the best utility is a righteous wife.” (Muslim). NewAgeIslam.com takes this opportunity to ask its readers: Could the Prophet call the wife ‘a utility’? And even if he did, can we treat our wives today as utilities?


A debate is opening up in Saudi Arabia as to whether or not women can become muftis, following a recent announcement made by the Grand Mufti of Syria Sheikh Ahmad Badr Al Din Hassoun. Some Saudi scholars have recommended such a move, others agree but prefer this with restrictions to issuing fatwas (religious edicts) only for women. While some others don’t approve it at all. Hassoun has said he is personally supervising a project that would make women ready to become muftis soon in Syria. According to him, tens of women of varying ages, who graduated from Islamic law school, are now enrolling in different courses that would help them issue fatwas in matter relating to women. Women who become ‘muftiya, can also be members of the Iftaa Board.

Is Islam compatible with democracy?
Afrah Jaan, New Age Islam

My question then is why aren’t all Middle Eastern nations Islamic states? Why do we need a “domino effect” geared by the West to begin the process of their version of democracy when in reality, Muslim countries already have the tools to create such an environment for their peoples? Questions posed by a fresh convert to Islam, Afrah Jaan.

So, Bamiyan's Buddhas present a conundrum. Brutal though it may have been, the Taliban legacy is an important part of Afghanistan's recent past. The empty niches of Bamiyan are testament to a ruthlessness that should not be forgotten — rebuilding the Buddhas would be a kind of erasure. "The present condition of the Buddhas is in itself an expression of our history," says Abassy. "No matter how good or bad the Taliban were, we cannot tear that page from the book." Aryn Baker reflects.

There is nothing in the Qur’an or the Sunnah to suggest that women must cover their faces in public. In fact there is evidence to the contrary. According to all four schools of thought women need not cover their faces or their hands, up to their wrists, writes Adil Salah iin his column in Arab News.

Some Muslims are troubled by the fact that Muslim ulema are vociferously disassociating themselves and their religion Islam from Terrorism while the religious leaders of other religions are not doing so. They are demanding, as is Dr.Mustafa Kamal Sherwani, that other religious leaders also do so. The question before us is: Is this the right attitude? Is this conducive to peace? Should we allow our egos to get the better of us? Can we not understand that other religious leaders do not need to do so because the terrorists belonging to their religion do not use their religion as a shield as Muslim terrorists do? Did Maulana Abul Ala Maudoodi, the chief ideologue of Jamaat-e-Islami and the chief instigator of terrorism in the world today, along with Syed Qutub, himself not say that Islam spread with the splendour of the sword that the Prophet took in his hands? Do the so-called Islamic terrorists not proclaim the award of the keys of Heavenly bliss to terrorists who are taking innocent lives in total contravention of Islamic tenets and the explicit instructions of the Holy Quran?


As for a change in the attitude of Indian Muslims towards the Hindu brothers, I agree that conciliatory steps need to be taken urgently. I have been suggesting this for no less than 20 - 25 years or so...including that we should give 12 % of our Zakat to poor Hindus. I have not asked myself yet if they are Ahl-e-Kitab...but I find it to be a question worth pondering, writes Farid Chaudhari on Muslim Agenda responding to Sultan Shahin’s essay: 'Muslim Ulema urgently need to introspect'.

Does Islam allow us Muslims to be patriotic, proud nationalists while also being good Muslims? Arabs seem to think so, as do Persians, Turks, Indonesians, Malaysians, Bangladeshis, Punjabis, Pathans, Sindhis, Balochs, Tajiks, and so on. Would it be a good idea then for Indian Muslims, for instance, to develop a sense of pride in Indian nationalism, asks Sultan Shahin, Editor, New Age Islam.

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