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  • Similar initiative has to be taken from the Muslim teaching community and Trustees of Minority institutions.'
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  • what a moving piece! hats off lady! you should write a novel. you seem to have so much material and such a fine eye for detail.
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  • جو شخص تکبر کی نیت سے پائجامہ کو ٹخنوں سے پہنے ان کے لیے یہ وعید ہے ۔درج ذیل حدیث پر غور کریں:...
    ( By GGS )
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    ( By Abdullah )
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    ( By GGS )
  • السلام علیکم ورحمۃ اللّٰہ تعالیٰ وبرکاتہ (امام شافعی کے نزدیک) ایک وقت کی نماز ترک کرنے والا کافر ہے...
    ( By Rizwan Muzawar )
  • Mr.Ghulam Mohiyuddin is hysterial about my comments on the Biography ....
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  • GM....you have a problem with reading comprehension. I did not defend any jingoistic claims. I....
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  • Dr. Anburaj, Your letter is hogwash. Nobody would reply to such a letter...
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  • Dr. Anburaj, While fake news is rampant throughout the world, all fake news in India seems...
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
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    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
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  • I hope Maria Sanchez , scholar ,would post her / his comment on my letter.
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  • Mr. Ghulam Mohiyuddin Please answer the points raised by Shan Barani.That is the real problem....
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  • Shan Barani belongs to propganda cell. This lie has been exposed by the media and even by police. '
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  • Let us now take on your objections to Hindu mps, mlas and PM speaking about things like gaumutra,...
    ( By secularlogic )
  • Your Favourite Author's Page

      

    Sultan Shahin, Founder-Editor, NewAgeIslam.com

    Sultan Shahin, Founder-Editor of this progressive Islamic website NewAgeIslam.com and President of non-profit NGO New Age Islam Foundation and its subsidiary Education for Peace, a center for preventing radicalization, established in April 2008. He has over four decades of experience in journalism, mostly writing op-eds for major Indian and international publications, specializing in Islamic theology and Muslim politics. As a human rights defender, he has been representing major international NGOs and participating in debates at the UN Human Rights Council at Geneva for over a decade. He considers Islam as a spiritual path to salvation, one of the many, not a totalitarian political philosophy to dominate the world. He founded this website, seeking to rethink Islam, in all its aspects, to adjust to the demands of changing times, and thus to encourage Ijtihad in earnest.


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

     
    Islam and Human Rights

    Why Are Muslims So Sensitive To Criticism? Don’t They Trust Their Scriptures? Asks Sultan Shahin
    Sultan Shahin, Editor, New Age Islam

    Bengalis no longer enjoy the freedom of the age of Kabeer or Raheem or our Vedic ancestors

    It is outrageous that in this day and age a respected newspaper like the Statesman cannot even publish as innocuous an article as Johann Hari’s “Why should I respect these oppressive religions?” It is being reproduced below courtesy Independent of London where it originally appeared. It seems some obscurantist Muslims had objection to it and so the Stalinist police arrested Mr. Ravindra Kumar and Anand Sinha, the editor and publisher of The Statesman, and curiously without provoking any debate or as far as I know even any coverage in secular democratic India’s independent media.

    As you will see in the article below Johann Hari is very balanced and maintains equidistance from all major religions that he mentions. He makes a plea for freedom of expression. His main point is stated in the very first paragraph: “The right to criticize religion is being slowly doused in acid. Across the world, the small, incremental gains made by secularism – giving us the space to doubt and question and make up our own minds – are being beaten back by belligerent demands that we "respect" religion. A historic marker has just been passed, showing how far we have been shoved. The UN rapporteur who is supposed to be the global guardian.”

    I am a religious person myself. But I don’t see how anyone can be religious in the true sense of the term without having ever been skeptical about religion, without having been agnostic or even atheist for a time. No truly religious person can ever question the right of others to question religion.  He would have the confidence to know that this questioning person will come to realize the value of religion in general, and maybe his religion too in course of time. He or she will see that as this fellow is questioning religion, he/she has the capacity to someday become religious. But of course those who follow their inherited religion are not going to see it this way. They are the inhabitants of the land of Jahiliya.

    Now tell me my Muslim brothers and sisters! Would there have been a religion called Islam in the world today if Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) had taken your view of his ancestral religion? Would we have had Islam in the world today if the Prophet had not questioned and rebelled against the religion of his family and clan and tribe? Indeed would we have had any religion, any science, any literature, any philosophy? All progress emanates from questioning established truths.

    However, this is no occasion for a discourse on progress. You cannot address followers of ancestral religions, followers of Abu Jahal, and discuss with them concepts of progress. You can just beat them in a war and then they will join you, as the Meccan followers of Abu Jahal joined Islam after their defeat.

    I don’t know what the obscurantist Muslims of an enlightened city like Kolakata find objectionable in Johann Hari’s article. Perhaps it is the following passage that has provoked their ire:

    Islam and Pluralism

    Darul Harb versus Darul Aman: Can Pakistan or Saudi Arabia be considered a Land of peace for Muslims?
    Sultan Shahin, editor, New Age Islam

    Pakistani blogger Mr. Aamir Mughal has raised a very important issue in a comment posted in relation to the article below: Demolish Kafir/ Mushrik/ Munafiq-manufacturing factories, says Sultan Shahin, defending New Age Islam against Talibani onslaught  http://www.newageislam.com/ijtihad,-rethinking-islam/demolish-kafir/-mushrik/-munafiq-manufacturing-factories,-says-sultan-shahin,-defending-new-age-islam-against-talibani-onslaught/d/1143

    which needs to be debated threadbare- that of Darul Harb and Darul Aman. I live in India. Suppose I were to consider it a Darul Hrab - which of course, I don’t - on the basis of the mere fact of it being a non-Muslim majority country - though it would appear that only so-called Darul Harbs are Darul Amans, lands of peace, in today's world - which Darul Aman, a Muslim country, would accept me as a full-fledged citizen, that India accepts me as? Pakistan will not even give me a visit visa, perhaps, unless I give it a host of false and forged documents. Saudi Arabia and all other countries, I can live and work there, if I find a job, for hundreds of years, but I would never get any citizenship rights. Only countries that I can think of which can give me full citizenship rights as India does would be countries of the West, like the UK,  USA, Canada, Australia, other European countries. It won't be easy but it is doable. However, according to Mr. Aamir Mughal's definition, these are all Darul-Harbs, so what would be the point of shifting from one Darul Harb to another? What kind of Islam and what kind of Darul Harbs and Darul Amans are you talking about Mr. Aamir Mughal? Do you consider Pakistan a Darul Aman for Muslims, where Muslims are killed routinely during prayers in mosques, and where even the Muslims for whom this country was created do not get even visit visas? --


    ---- Sultan Shahin, editor, New Age Islam

    Ijtihad, Rethinking Islam

    Demolish Kafir/ Mushrik/ Munafiq-Manufacturing Factories, Says Sultan Shahin, Defending New Age Islam against Talibani Onslaught
    Sultan Shahin, Editor New Age Islam

    ... As a community we are more reactionary and obscurantist that positive and progressive. We live in fear and denial. There is nothing wrong with us; it’s all Jewish conspiracy, Hindu conspiracy, Western imperialist conspiracy, etc. etc. We love living in the past, in the land of pointlessness. So our discussions too are not so much about issues of today as about the bygone past. We revel in discussing ad infinitum the dirty politics of seventh century Arabia and taking sides with one or the other party. We have no present and no plans for the future. As a community, that is. Some individuals, of course, do have plans for themselves as well as for the community and a vision of regeneration for Islam and the Muslim community. But they are reviled for thinking of this word rather than the other world where 72 houris are waiting for them impatiently in a land of milk and honey and of course, plenty of liquor. (In the case of poor women, of course, only their husbands, if any, would be waiting there, and yet some of them become suicide bombers, for some reason.) -- Sultan Shahin, Editor, New Age Islam

    Ijtihad, Rethinking Islam

    Rebooting Islam: Let us at least resolve the issue - Who is a Muslim?
    Sultan Shahin, Editor, New Age Islam

    Let us resolve to keep helping Muslims in the New Year mapping an agenda for Islam in the Twenty-first century – the task New Age Islam has set before itself.

    Islam is of course, a universal Deen, for all people in every corner of the world and for all times to come; but in order to fulfil its destiny it has to keep reinventing itself in every new age; it has to be rethought and reinterpreted in the light of the orthodox Islamic principles of Ijtihad, the gates of which were opened for us by Allah and the Prophet (Peace be upon him) and no Muslim has the right to close them down.

    The pace of change has accelerated so much in the last decades that our very way of life has become quite distinct even from the recent past. How does the Islamic way of life mesh into and cope with the demands of the New Age is the major challenge before us Muslims, that too at a time when we have not only vast numbers of Muslim societies in nearly all parts of the world varying from one another in our social norms and customs, but also a vast number of interpretations of Islam resulting in deep sectarian divisions. While for enemies of Islam in the extortionist and exploitative sections of human society Islam is one religion and Muslims are one religious community the world over, for Muslims themselves there are scores of Islams and scores of Muslim communities, nearly all baying for each others’ blood. We apparently need to reboot Islam in our systems.

    Let us at least resolve that in the New Year 2009 we will at least find the lowest common denominator or the greatest common divisor for what should have been the simplest of questions and has become a very complicated one: who is a Muslim? Let us also resolve to work in the New Year towards closing down all the Kafir-and-Mushrik-manufacturing factories that are flourishing so much in our midst. There are so many things to be done; but let us start at the easiest first step. -- Sultan Shahin, editor, New Age Islam

    Radical Islamism and Jihad

    Religion of the Jahiliya: Jihadism is Kufr, not Islam - Pakistani Jihadists Revealed Plans for Indian Muslims in 1999
    Sultan Shahin, Editor, New Age Islam

    Recent terror attack at Mumbai has reminded us once again that Pakistan Army, or one of its agencies Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) at any rate, is determined to change the very character of Islam, turning it into the pre-Islamic religion of the Jahiliya (Arabia in the Dark Ages). It had indeed given us ample evidence of its anti-Islamic character during the Kargil war by reminding us of the Battle of Uhud where a woman of Jahiliya, Hinda, had mutilated the dead body of Prophet Mohammad’s uncle, Hazrat Hamza. The Prophet [peace be upon him] had not only forgiven her but had made it a point to forbid the  practice in every Muslim gathering thereafter for fear that the Muslims, too, might do something similar in retaliation. Blood feud and vengeance was rampant in the Arab world of the Jahiliya.

    One couldn’t help being reminded of that when reports came that one of the terrorists mentioned vendetta for Gujarat and demolition of Babri masjid by Hindutva forces as the justification for the killing of innocents at Mumbai.

     Pakistani “Islam” would indeed appear to be completely unrecognisable as Islam to a Muslim in any part of the world. Slowly but surely what appears to be a completely new religion seems to have caught the imagination of many people in Pakistan.  Its followers don’t, of course, consider it a new religion. Indeed this religion insists that it is Islam; in fact it calls itself true Islam or real Islam. But it can best be described as Jihadism, as its central belief system is based on a wilful misinterpretation of the Islamic concept of Jihad. It can also be called Talibanism, as the Taliban of Afghanistan, who studied in Pakistani madrasas run by the Jamiat-ul-Ulema-e-Pakistan are its most avid practitioners.

     By and large, the western-educated liberal Pakistani intelligentsia, as I found out during several visits, hates this religion and is frightened of it. But as one by one all institutions of governance are succumbing to its growing power and its capacity for evil, they are getting scared to death. Some of them are simply planning to migrate to some non-Muslim majority country. No one is really fighting this malignant force, though some journalists and human rights activists still have the courage at least to express their horror and outrage at grave personal risk.  -- SULTAN SHAHIN, Editor, NewAgeIslam.com

    Islam,Terrorism and Jihad

    Muslim Response To Mumbai Terror In Sync With The National Mood, But What Is Wrong With Our Intellectuals?
    Sultan Shahin, Editor, New Age Islam

    From the very moment it became clear that the terrorists who attacked India recently in Mumbai were Pakistanis, Indian Muslim anger against Pakistan and the godfathers of terror in that county has been expressing itself in a variety of ways.  They are particularly angry that these marauders have been maligning the fair name of Islam and its image as a religion of peace. They seem to instinctively understand that Indian Muslims’ peaceful co-existence and continued integration in the national mainstream is not in the interest of Pakistan’s permanent establishment. It negates the Two-Nation Theory on which their country is ideologically based. They keep trying - and, fortunately for us, failing - to instigate communal violence on any pretext that may become available to them. They did that in the aftermath of Bombay riots in 1993. Dawood Ibrahim-organised serial blasts took 250 civilian lives and caused 700 injuries alongside massive economic disruption but India refused to fall in the Pakistani trap. Our country is displaying the same commitment to secularism now and thanks God for that.

    Muslims recognise the reasons behind Pakistani desperation to attack our secularism, our tolerance and national cohesion, our growing prosperity. India presents a complete contrast to their divided house, virtually every ethnic community seeking to secede, every sect bent upon destroying every other sect, killing its members in as large numbers as possible. Only the day before yesterday a Sunni suicide-bomber killed 20 Shias in a mosque in an event that has become routine in that country. Hence the Mumbai Muslims’ refusal to bury the Pakistani dead in their graveyards, refusal to mourn the loss of Babri Masjid on December 6 this year, which has become an annual event, a sort of another Muharram since 1992. Muslim fury at a clear Pakistani attempt to foment wider violence against them resulted in their participation in large numbers in fellow-citizen’s efforts to show solidarity with the families of those who had died in the latest invasion of our territory – 40 out of 172 killed were Muslims – and condemn the barbaric atrocities while paying homage to those brave policemen and commandos who laid down their lives in the service of nation.

    But as we open the Urdu newspapers on 6 th of December, we find the editorial pages recycling the same material they keep doing every year on this Moharram II day, the same bemoaning of the “shahadat”(martyrdom) of the Babri mosque, without explaining how can bricks and mortar become “shaheed”-  will they go to Jannat, one naturally wonders. You won’t  find any of these newspapers ever bemoaning the “shahadat” in Saudi Arabia of Islam’s holiest shrines and greatest heritage buildings, that were living proofs of the historicity of many events in Islam’s and Prophet Mohammad’s life (PBUH).

    Radical Islamism and Jihad

    Indian Muslim Ulema Gather In Hyderabad to Introspect: Newageislam.Com Suggests Need to Go beyond Fatwas against Terror and Tackle Deeper Issues That Alienate Muslims
    Sultan Shahin, Editor, New Ager Islam

    Six thousand Muslim clerics are set to gather in Hyderabad on November 8 to issue the “biggest ever fatwa” against terrorism. Organised by the Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind, the country’s largest Islamic body, the meet will have muftis from all states condemning the propaganda that “regards terrorism as synonymous with jihad”. The Jamiat, along with the Dar-ul Uloom Deoband, India’s oldest Islamic seminary, had issued a similar fatwa on May 31, the first of its kind in the country. “The first fatwa was signed by only three muftis. This one will be signed by 6,000 muftis, which means the impact of this will be much larger and deeper,” Jamiat leader Maulana Mahmood Madani told reporters.

    NewAgeIslam.com had welcomed the previous fatwa against terror, asked for introspection and suggested the need for going beyond statements and looking into deeper issues that inhibit Indian Muslims’ full integration into the Indian society.  

    Can Ulema save Muslims from Radical Islamism?

    By Sultan Shahin

    http://www.newageislam.com/radical-islamism-and-jihad/can-ulema-save-muslims-from-radical-islamism?/d/15

    We hope the request has been heeded and the present meet will lead to some genuine introspection. The ulema must come forward with visionary guidance for the Muslim community that will help them deal with their own inadequacies and enable them to lead the country on a path of harmony and prosperity rather than remain a community of whiners and grievance-mongers as our leaders have turned us into. It is this whining and constant grievance mongering and spinning of conspiracy theories that is also leading our youth on the path of terrorism. Let us recognise that and act to stem the tide. Blaming others is easy, but let us choose the difficult path of setting our own house in order and setting an example before the country.

    Radical Islamism and Jihad

    Jihadism Gets Sustenance from Verses of War in the Quran: Ulema Must Declare Militant, Xenophobic, Exclusivist Quranic Verses Obsolete
    Sultan Shahin, Founding Editor, NewAgeIslam.com

    Dear Aamir Mughal Sahab,

    Knowing how to Interpret Quran correctly doesn’t solve our problems regarding the Holy Quran’s war-like verses. These verses were situational. They are instructions given in a certain context. Some of them certainly are of a universal nature. But that context does not and cannot obtain today or in future.

    Time machine or not, we are not going to live in the 7th century Arabia and fight those wars again. Enemies of Islam both within and without are using these surahs to propagate that Islam breeds or justifies terrorism. A virtually new religion has come into existence that I have been calling Jihadism, but it claims to be Islam and derives sustenance from these verses. Its practitioners too are outwardly Muslim and claim to be true Muslims, indeed the only Muslims who deserve to go to Heaven. Jihadism has indeed distorted the very beautiful concept of Jihad fi sabilillah. 

    Mainstream Islam is not contradicting these claims loudly and widely enough. This inevitably creates suspicions in the minds of our neighbors, people belonging to other religions who do not understand the situational nature of Quranic verses, particularly as they are told that every word, comma and full stop in the Holy Quran is immutable and of universal significance. This also makes the task of Jihadists easier; they are able to easily brainwash our youth, even those who are highly educated and intelligent.

    Living in Pakistan, the very hub of terrorism, you have probably become inured to Qital in a way that Muslims in more peaceful societies are not. The article 'Muslims should abrogate verses of war in Islamic Law' was a cry of despair from an Indonesian Muslim who is watching his peaceful Islamic country gradually turning into an inferno of Jihadism. I made a similar plea in Indian Ulema have no time to lose, must call warlike Quranic surahs obsolete for the same reason.

     Indian Prime Minister took pride not long ago in the fact that not a sin

    Radical Islamism and Jihad

    Jamaat-E-Islami Is Welcome in Politics, But It Should Jettison Its Dangerous Ideological Baggage First

    Profiting from the sale of Maulana Maudoodi’s books, preaching the sovereignty of God on earth, spreading the poison of khilafat politics, brainwashing our educated youth with dreams of establishing Islamic Sharia rule in India and the world and at the same time seeking to help establish the rule of godless communists through Muslim vote-bank politics does not behove the biggest repositories of the highest truth. A little honesty might help. .. It must disown the heavy baggage of its past and openly recognise that the late Maulana Maududi's ideology has no raison d'être in this country or anywhere else in the world. It is this ideology that has created the now dreaded organisations like SIMI and its offshoot Indian Mujahdeen. As I have said before, a little honesty might help even the biggest repositories of the highest truth. â

    I could not help being inspired by Ameer-e-Jamaat Maulana Syed Jalaluddin Umri’s rousing words addressing the Muslim gathering: “Stand up to fight for the right of other sections of humanity, not just to beg for justice for yourself. " … Tall orders? Shouldn’t be! These are just starting points. After all fight for justice like charity should begin from home. Let us, Maulana Umri, set our houses in order. This will give us the moral strength and moral stature required to fight for justice for all the oppressed of humanity, that indeed, as you very rightly said, is the objective of Islam. –

    An analysis by Sultan Shahin, editor, New Age Islam

    Interfaith Dialogue

    Sultan Shahin responds to Dr Mookhi Amir Ali's comments on the retrieval of Babri land and the clamour “Masjid Wahin banayenge”
    Sultan Shahin, Founding Editor, New Age Islam

    “Tilting at windmills is rather futile and leads nowhere. As a Muslim I try to see what I or my community can do to ameliorate the situation we are in. Does this mean I am advocating we take no help from the system, from our fellow-citizens, the authorities, the Supreme Court? No, I am not saying that at all. What I am saying is: do not put any more strain on the system that is best for you, don’t weaken it further by demanding that it do the impossible in the present circumstances, and see if there is something you can yourself do to help yourself.  I am only saying do what Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) did in similar, though less trying circumstances.  Go to: http://www.newageislam.com/ijtihad,-rethinking-islam/taqlidi-versus-ijtihadi-approaches--the-prophet-based-his-decisions-on-what-is-possible-and-what-is-not-/d/890  and read the heart-warming story of the Prophet’s statesmanship”, says Sultan Shahin.

    ------------------------------

     “By this my humble yardstick, Mr. Sultan Shahin, you seem to be doing excellently. I like your prose. I like your ideas, mostly. The people like you are often accused of speaking the language of the critics of Muslims. Your article “Muslim Penchant for spinning state-sponsored conspiracies: Will it turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy?” was an eye-opener. I particularly liked your response to one or two rejoinders. However I cannot agree with you very much on the subject of Babri Masjid. There can be no doubt that the resolution of the Babri dispute is in the best interest of the Muslim community. However from a Muslim’s point of view the problem is not as trivial as you make it out to be. They demolished a mosque in the full glare of the television camera. There is no Muslim who won’t be seething with anger at the memory of that sight on the television. You have said that the mosque being demolished was a functioning temple! Pardon me but you have rubbed it in. You have spoken the language of the Hindu Right who have called the Masjid a “dhancha” where for over 40 years no namaz was offered. I am sure, Sultan Shahin Sahab, you know why it had become the functioning temple since 1949 and why no namaz was offered for over 40 years”, wrote Dr Mookhi Amir Ali.

    Interfaith Dialogue
    Sultan Shahin responds to Ghulam Muhammed’s nightmare vision
    Sultan Shahin responds to Ghulam Muhammed

    Sultan Shahin responds to Ghulam Muhammed’s nightmare vision
    Sultan Shahin Founding Editor, New Age Islam

    "Merely condemning the miscreants who demolished the ex-mosque and abusing them and vowing “Masjid wahin banayenge” will not serve any purpose. It doesn’t seem to me to be a good idea to get pathologically fixated on the demolition of an ex-mosque, which was actually a functioning temple at the time of demolition, and forgetting that we have tens of thousands of functioning mosques and madrasas all over the country and are building new ones all the time. The miscreants who demolished the ex-mosque claimed to be votaries of Hindutva but were not only anti-social, and anti-national but actually anti-Hindu: they gave Hinduism a bad name, sullied its image of peaceful demeanour and non-violence and tolerance built over several millennia and indeed made homeless Hazrat Ramchandra who, I understand, is now living in a tent, bereft of a roof over his head," says Sultan Shahin, editor, NewAgeIslam.com

    -------------------

    "The Mosque will never go. Take this from just one humble member of the 15 Crore of Indian Muslims. Babri Masjid has become the symbol of their freedom in India. Until they rebuild Babri Masjid at its own place, Muslims will not rest…. There can be no barter of our right to reclaim what is due to us. Shahin Saheb has every right to pursue his one-sided effort to denigrate and demonise Muslims and exhort them to accept what is on the table. But Sultan Shahin does not represent the consensus of the overwhelming majority of Indian Muslims", says Ghulam Muhammed

    Islam and Politics

    Muslim Penchant for spinning state-sponsored conspiracies:  Will it turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy?
    Sultan Shahin, Founding Editor, New Age Islam

    But do we ever come across a word of gratitude, even gratitude expressed to God, for what “in practice already had become a Brahmin-dominated state” to have not gone the Pakistan way or the Islamic way? 

    Do we ever wonder what would be our situation if we were living as a religious minority in an Islamic state? Do we ever move our lips or lift our little finger in support of the religious minorities living in Islamic states next door? Well, what to support them, we have hounded out the one Muslim lady who dared to speak for them in Bangladesh? There are so many Hindus and even Hindu ladies who fight for our causes in this country: would we like the Indian system to hound them out of the country and of course, not get any refuge anywhere else, certainly not in a Muslim country? …

    We have tens of thousands of mosques and madrasas running throughout the length and breadth of this country, but one of our mosques, a dilapidated and disused one, was demolished by people who were characterised by the Supreme Court as miscreants, and we blew that into an issue of our religious freedom in the country. We have still not solved that problem and allowed it to fester, to our nation’s detriment. Do our intellectuals take time off fighting the system and tell us it is not in our interest to allow a cancer to grow. The mosque is gone. We apparently don’t worship bricks and soil. Bricks too are gone in any case. Why can’t we initiate an amicable solution, as it would be in our own interest too? We need a plot of land to pray, we can pray anywhere in the area. Why do we need to blow it out of all proportion, make it such a big issue, when the country – the system - is allowing us to have as many mosques and madrasas as we wish?

    An analysis by Sultan Shahin, editor, NewAgeIslam.com

    Islam and Sectarianism

    The Shia-Sunni Divide: How Real and How Deep? Can We Move Towards Genuine Unity?
    Sultan Shahin, Editor, New Age Islam

    Many Muslims throughout the world, both Sunni and Shia, are working towards dialogue and reconciliation between the two sects. They argue that it is just not possible to fully comprehend and much less to judge the historical figures of Islam and their motivations today, 13 or 14 centuries after the event, which led to the schism in Islam. Indeed, it is not possible to judge people even when events take place now in full view of the world media… India’s Shia and Sunni communities can serve as a beacon of hope in this process. Let us follow up on recent initiatives by Mohtarma Syeda Hamid and Maulana Kalb-e-Sadiq and keep moving in the direction of genuine, frank dialogue leading to real unity. -- Sultan Shahin, Editor, New Age Islam

    Islamic Society

    Introspection! No, No, No, That’s Not For Us; We Are Muslims!!! Intelligence agencies should get their heads examined, the whole country should introspect!
    Sultan Shahin, Founding Editor, New Age Islam

    NewAgeIslam.com has been talking of a dangerous disconnect between the Muslim press and National media. We present below the translation of an article by an enlightened, secular Muslim, known for his belief in multiculturalism and keeping the Muslims in national mainstream. This is the least provocative of articles in the Muslim Press, but it would appear that even Mr. Zafar Agha, feels the need for reminding the Muslims that they have ruled the county before and can rule it again, mercifully using the constitutional methods of vote-bank politics. Introspection, of course, he is clear, is not for Muslims. We Muslims can do no wrong. There is no possibility of a Muslim going berserk, losing his mental balance.

     We wonder if Mr. Zafar Agha is even aware of the murderous nature of our so-called ulema (scholars and divines) under whose tutelage a large number of young Muslims are ruining their lives. If our ulema can prescribe killing a Muslim for the slightest deviation from the Islamic path that they have fixed for him, under their sectarian interpretation of Islam, what is stopping Muslims from killing other Muslims? They are doing that all over the Muslim world, in any case. What is such a big deal, if some young Muslims in India, influenced by the vicious interpretations of Islam prevalent here too, decide to do that?

    We are not saying the police or intelligence agencies can do no wrong. Of course, they can and they do. They have quite a track record actually. The courts alone can pronounce judgment. But how can someone as sensible, as we expect Mr. Zafar Agha to be, someone who keeps asking Muslims repeatedly, in the true Islamic tradition, to act rationally, can even deny the possibility of there being some crazy hotheads within our community too. He rejects even the need for introspection for the community!

     Agha assures Muslins of the possibility of their ruling over India again. What sort of rule, Agha Saheb? Will it be a return of Mughal rule or the establishment of Khilafat, of the kind the SIMI is dreaming of? You say, we Muslims have ruled India in the past and can do so again in the near future. This seems to mean that your dream is not limited to the possibility of a constitutionally-mandated Muslim Prime Minister, in which, of course, there is nothing wrong. Is this your personal dream or the dream of the Muslim community that you are articulating?

    Sultan Shahin, Founding Editor, New Age Islam

    Radical Islamism and Jihad
    Indian Muslims: Let us come out of denial
    Sultan Shahin, Editor, New Age Islam

    Indian Muslims: Let us come out of denial
    ltan Shahin, Editor, New Age Islam

    The so-called Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid -- a relic of the Mughal rule surviving on account of a strange fascination of our Hindu leaders with beards -- has called for an all-Muslim parties’ meet on October 14 to discuss the situation arising out of the Batla House encounter. All the bearded fuddy-duddies have accepted and will be deliberating their next course of action. I hope they will remember that the security and future prosperity of the Muslim community depends not so much on the shape of the next government but on the amount of goodwill we have in the hearts of our neighbours from the majority community. It is this that we have been putting at stake by refusing to accept the very possibility of a few hotheads among us taking to the route of evil. We can continue to say that this particular individual is not guilty in our estimation or that this particular police or media theory does not seem right, but if we discount the very possibility of any Muslims being involved in acts of terrorism as we are doing now, we stand to lose the goodwill of our neighbours. That is a much worse situation than that of a seemingly friendly or not so friendly government coming to power or losing power. Governments will come and go. Political parties will gain and lose power. But we have to live with our neighbours; let us not lose their goodwill through stupidity and worse. -- Sultan Shahin, Editor, New Age Islam

    Radical Islamism and Jihad

    Indian Ulema Have No Time to Lose, Must Call Militant Quranic Verses Obsolete
    Sultan Shahin, Editor, New Age Islam
    The so-called Indian Mujahedeen have used in their notorious e-mails certain Qur'anic verses to justify killing of innocent civilians. These are the same verses that enemies of Islam’s pacific and humane philosophy have been traditionally using for centuries to demonise Islam. Muslims who go berserk and want to simply smite all and sundry in their crazy stupor also routinely use these verses to justify their fanaticism and probably also to brainwash the still-not-so-crazy to their cause.

    New Age Islam urges Indian Ulema to come out with explicit, unequivocal statements that the Qur'anic verses like the following - “Therefore, when ye meet the Unbelievers in fight, smite at their necks"- are now obsolete: they were meant for a specific situation during the Prophet’s life and do not apply today.

    Also, they must clarify that the Muslim perception and belief that they alone are worthy of going to Heaven is total nonsense, according to Muslim precepts. Muslims are no better or worse than any other community. Islam has as much failed to create a New Man or for that matter a New Woman as any other reformist religion or philosophy.


    --- Sultan Shahin, editor, New Age Islam

    Islamic Sharia Laws

    India: Wahhabi Taliban onslaught on Sunni Muslims - Clean-shaven Muslim’s daughter killed, 4 injured
    Sultan Shahin, Founding Editor, New Age Islam

    In an Indian village in UP’s Saharanpur district, Mohammad Iqbal got severely beaten up for his ‘crime’ of saying Takbeer as a clean-shaven person in a mosque before Iftar. In the ensuing violence that involved the entire village his 7-year-old daughter lost her life while four people got injured.

    An eye-opening report by Saleh Ahqar of Delhi’s premier Urdu Daily Hindustan Express’ News Bureau from Saharanpur, a stronghold of Deobandi Talibani Wahhabism in Uttar Pradesh.

     ---

    Sultan Shahin, Editor, NewAgeIslam.com adds: The Wahhabi onslaught on Sunni Indian Muslims is now acquiring overtones of Talibani extremism and violence. What was considered harmless Tabligh (sermonizing) engaged in by the Tablighi Jamaat and similar Wahhabi organisations of the Deoband school of thought is asserting itself now through growing violence in its bid to acquire control of more and more Sunni Muslim mosques.

    This has already happened in Pakistan where most Sunni Muslim mosques and madrasa

    Islamic Ideology

    Geelani and his ilk misleading Kashmiris: The only kafirs in Islam today are those who call others kafir
    Sultan Shahin, Founding Editor, New Age Islam

    In the midst of protests and counter-protests in Jammu and Kashmir over a land dispute, an octogenarian Kashmir separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani has introduced a new and very volatile slogan of azadi baraa-e-Islam (freedom for Islam). He has also questioned compatibility of Islam with other faiths, reminding one of what he had written on the issue in his prison memoir Rudad-e-Qaf: 'It's as difficult for a Muslim to live in a non-Muslim society as it is for a fish to live in a desert.'

     This is completely unacceptable and doesn't correspond either with facts of history or with Islamic edicts. Throughout their history from the time of the Prophet till now, Muslims have lived well with people of other faiths. Like any other living faith, controversies abound in Islam and one of the most controversial issues is the relationship of a Muslim with people belonging to other religions. Since in India Muslims have always lived next to a very large non-Muslim community, this issue has created even deeper controversies, writes Sultan Shahin in the September 2008 issue of Asian Affairs, London.

    Islamic Ideology
    My dear Kashmiri friends, don’t let Geelani take you to Hell!
    Sultan Shahin, Founding Editor, New Age Islam

    My dear Kashmiri friends, don’t let Geelani take you to Hell!
    Sultan Shahin, Founding Editor, New Age Islam

    There is nothing one can do to Geelani. There is no way you can reach him. But his followers are young Kashmiris. They like him and listen to him. Teenager to teenager, that is not unexpected. Quite understandable! We wise parents of our teenage children are well aware of this. Teenagers only listen to other teenagers. But even when you know your advice is not wanted; is probably no going to be heard, you love your kids and you tell them things, even while they are running away from you. In this case, there is just one thing I would like to tell my young Kashmiri friends, some of whom I know personally and love immensely. You like Geelani. Quite natural! He speaks your language. Full of raw enthusiasm, sound and fury. He has always been a young fire-brand, as he was when I met him first in 1972. But just remember one thing. Syed Ali Shah Geelani is a teenager past his prime. You have a life to live. You have problems. Very real problems. Genuine problems. Solve them, in the here and now. Don’t let him take you to Hell. Take Care! Fi Amanillah!

    Sultan Shahin, Editor, NewAgeIslam.com tries to reach his young Kashmiri friends with an advice, perhaps gratuitous.

    Islam and Pluralism
    Kashmiriyat is a Prototype for Hindustaniyat
    Sultan Shahin, Founding Editor New Age Islam

    Kashmiriyat is a Prototype for Hindustaniyat
    Sultan Shahin, Founding Editor, New Age Islam

    At a time when even otherwise sensible intellectuals in India are expressing a Kashmir fatigue and asking us to let it go – to where, nobody says, or, I am sure, knows – it is time for us ordinary Indians to remind them that Kashmiriyat is a prototype for Hindustaniyat. We just cannot let go of either.

    But political connection is not the only or even the main connection we have with Kashmir. Kashmir’s deepest connection with the Indian nation is, of course, in the spiritual realm. Kashmir has been a permanent part of our mindscape. Where else but in Kashmir would you find Muslims prepared, not so openly perhaps in the present milieu, to claim their Vedic and Buddhist heritage.

     Kashmir is important for our politicians, mandarins and intellectuals perhaps as vote-bank, or real estate, or as a debating point. But Kashmir is important for us common Indians because Kashmiriyat is a prototype for Hindustaniyat. A unique blend of unity in ideological diversity, Kashmir has survived many crises all through its history with its Kashmiriyat intact. If you know present-day Kashmir, you would have no hesitation in believing that it would survive the present one as well with its essence unharmed.

     

    The best exponents of Kashmiriyat have been the rishi-sufis of Kashmir. It is they who have traditionally sustained Kashmir through all its myriad trials and tribulations. It’s time we once again recalled their insights and wisdom. The following is a paper by Sultan Shahin, editor, NewAgeIslam.com, on Kashmir’s Rishi-Sufi order and its precious gift known in the valley and beyond as Kashmiriyat, a unique blend of what the world today is trying to emulate as multi-culturalism, secularism, pluralism, tolerance and much more.

     

    URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islam-and-pluralism/sultan-shahin,-founder-editor-new-age-islam/kashmiriyat-is-a-prototype-for-hindustaniyat/d/614


    Current Affairs

    Some Indian intellectuals’ dangerous disenchantment with Kashmir continues. Jug Suraya now joins Vir Sanghavi, Swaminathan S Anklesaria Aiyar and Arundhati Roy in this list.

    Asks he in The Times of India: Is it time the K-word got out of India, and India out of the K-word?

    NewAgeIslam.com finds this line of thinking and reasoning very strange. Instead of seeing through the nefarious games of politicians who are instigating people to forego their millennia-old tradition of multi-culturalism and pluralism known as Kashmiriyat, of which not only Kashmir, but Jammu and Ladakh regions also have been a votary and practitioner, some of our stalwarts in Journalism are virtually encouraging the secessionists, leaving in the lurch millions of nationalist Kashmiris, who braved bullets and worse for decades for the sake of Jammu and Kashmir's composite identity.

    We have received desperate calls from senior Kashmiri nationalist politicians nonplussed and distressed at such write-ups from reputed and influential Indian journalists. As they told us, they are particularly upset and distraught as this is something that even Pakistan’s secular, mainstream intellectuals are not thinking and saying. Pakistan’s intellectuals know very well the fate of Kashmiris who have the misfortune of being occupied by Pakistan. Not once have they had a free and fair election or indeed any other political freedom. They cannot even apply for jobs without giving in writing that they support the idea of Kashmir becoming a part of Pakistan rather than remaining independent, as the so-called “Azad Kashmir” should have been, if Pakistan ever had any commitment to Kashmir’s identity instead of its own territorial aggrandisement.

     
    Debating Islam

    Are Hindus Ahl-E-Kitab? Farid Chaudhari's Rejoinder To Sultan Shahin’s Essay: 'Muslim Ulema Urgently Need To Introspect'
    Sultan Shahin, Editor, New Age Islam

    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'.

    Debating Islam

    Islam And Nationalism: Would It Be A Good Idea For Indian Muslims To Develop A Sense Of Pride In Indian Nationalism?
    Sultan Shahin, Editor, New Age Islam

    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.

    Radical Islamism and Jihad

    Can Ulema Save Muslims From Radical Islamism? Deoband's Anti-Terror Fatwa Is Welcome, But It Doesn't Touch The Real Issues Like Militant Verses In Quran And Fabricated Ahadees Justifying Terrorism
    Sultan Shahin, Editor, New Age Islam

    Deoband: Nudged by persistent and growing identification of Islam and Muslims with terrorism at the national as well as global levels since September 9, 2001, Indian Muslim clerics of all hues finally came together to pronounce an unequivocal fatwa against terrorism of all kinds. In an event organised by Dau-ul-Uloom, Deoband, 6,000, heads of madrasas from across the country along with the heads of organisations sponsoring their institutions, joined hands despite their sectarian differences to say with one voice that terrorism of all kinds was against the peaceful principles of Islam and to exhort Muslims to stay away from such dastardly activities as in Islam even the killing of just one innocent person amounted to the killing entire humanity.

    Indian Muslim Ulema urgently need to introspect Indian Muslims have shown they stand against terrorism, but do the ulema have the necessary vision to save them from the ever-expanding web of radical Islamism that is spawning terrorism across the country? How can we complain against our intelligence agencies discriminating against us, as the ulema in Deoband did so vociferously, if we support the massive discrimination routinely practiced against Hindus and Christians and Jews in Muslim lands? In the eyes of Islam stopping people from praying in the worship places of their choice is the worst possible crime. How come when we are in a minority we want all the human and religious rights, but the moment we are a majority of even 51 percent in some country, we declare the country to be Islamic where other religions have little right. What in Allah’s name is Islamic about this attitude, asks Sultan Shahin, Editor, New Age Islam in this widely reproduced and circulated essay.

    Islamic Ideology

    OIC statement on Kashmir hurting interests of 150 million Indian Muslims
    Sultan Shahin, Editor, New Age Islam

    New Delhi has done well to reject observations made by the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) on Kashmir calling it a burning political dispute and reiterate that ‘Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India’. It is customary for OIC to make references to the State in a rather gratuitous manner, without showing any concern for the interests of over 150 million Muslims living in India peacefully and participating in all walks of life, writes Sultan Shahin

     
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    TOP ARTICLE

    Radical Islamism and Jihad
    Indian Muslim Clergy to Counter ISIS Propaganda: But they should go beyond rhetoric to a genuine counter-narrative that refutes Jihadism based on traditional Islamic theology

    The clergy is required to counter the exclusivist Jihadi theology of violence and supremacism which is primarily based on the traditional Islamic theology of consensus of all schools of thought. This has to be done through a counter-narrative based on a new inclusivist theology of peace and pluralism. But to do that the clergy will have to work towards evolving a new theology that is different from the traditional theology taught in madrasas. It is this age-old theology that is used by Jihadis to propagate their message. 

    It cannot be stressed enough that the reason Jihadis have been able to capture the imagination of thousands of our youth the world over is that they are not saying anything new. They are simply showing a way to practice what the ulema (religious scholars) have been preaching. The Jihadi narrative is the traditional Islamic theological narrative of Islam domination over all other religious beliefs, and eradication of what it considers the biggest crimes humanity can commit, particularly shirk, polytheism or idol worship, and kufr, rejection of the prophethood of Hazrat Mohammad (pbuh). All the most eminent scholars of Islam from Imam Ghazali (11th-12th century) to Imam Ibn-e-Taimiya (13th-14th century), Mujaddid Alf-e-Saani Sheikh Sirhindi (16th-17th century), Shah Waliullah Muhaddis Dehlavi (18th century) have shown a vision of political Islam that was finally given a more definite form in the 20th century by Maulana Syed Abul A’la Maududi, Hassan al-Banna, and Syed Qutb. The Jihadi ideologues of the 21st century may be stressing some parts of this traditional narrative more vigorously and downplaying some other aspects. But they are not saying anything that is entirely new or radically different.

    Jihadi literature has not dropped from the sky all of a sudden. This is not the creation of Osama bin Laden or so-called “Khalifa” Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Their narrative of world domination, fighting those who do not accept the message of Islam is basically what is taught in all our madrasas. The definition of Jihad as fighting those who do not accept the oneness of God and prophethood of Mohammad (pbuh) is found in books of every school of Sunni fiqh (jurisprudence), be it Hanafi, Malaki, Shafei or Hanbali. Indeed, even Shia theology does not differ much with Sunnis in matters of political Islam. They too want world domination for Islam and desire to subdue all non-Muslims.

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