Friday, July 25, 2014

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Women's Status

Al Ahzab (The Confederates) - Chapter 33: Verse 35

"For Muslim men and women, for believing men and women, for devout men and women, for true men and women, for men and women who are patient and constant, for men and women who humble themselves, for men and women who give in charity, for men and women who fast, for men and women who guard their chastity, and for men and women who engage much in Allah's praise, for them has Allah prepared forgiveness and great reward."

Initially, Quranic verses used only the masculine plural form to refer to the women and men in the new faith community. For years, "believers" (al-muminun), and "the truthful" (as-sadiqun), either referred specifically to men or to the men and women who constituted the Prophet's first Companions. Once, a woman (or several, according to the different traditions) asked the Prophet why women were not explicitly mentioned in the revealed message. The Book - which, while revealing a universal message, also included responses to the questions asked by the Men around the Prophet - was later to mention women and men distinctively, as in the above verse.

This evolution of the message is part of divine teaching in the process of revelation carried out over twenty-three years: the faithful are thus led to evolve in their understanding of things and critically reconsider some of their cultural or social practices. The status of women, who were sometimes killed at birth because of the shame they might bring, was to be reformed in stages, as verses were revealed.

It thus appeared more and more clearly that the Quran's message and the Prophet's attitude were apt to free women from the cultural shackles of Arab tribes and clans and from the practices of the time. The Creator addresses women as being on an equal footing with men, their status as beings and believers is the same as men's, and the requirements of worship are absolutely identical. The Medina period helped sort out the religious principles from Meccan Arab customs and bring about changes in women's status: the reform movement was thus started and accompanied by the Revelations, by social experiments, and, of course, by the Prophet's attitude as the example the Companions were to follow.

The different verses were therefore to be read and interpreted in the light of that movement, and early readings and interpretations of revealed texts were to be viewed in the ideal mirror of the Prophet's behaviour. The inner reform movement was perceived, understood, and commented on from the first centuries, during which the text sciences was established, but it remains true that early readers were mainly men who read the Revelation through the double prism of their gender and of the culture in which they necessarily lived.

The Companions and early ulama could not but read the text in the light of their own situation, viewpoint, and context. While the Book spoke about women, their being and their heart, fuqaha set out to determine duties and their rights according to the various functions society imparted them. Women were therefore "daughters," "sisters," "wives," or "mothers"; the legal and religious discourse about women was built on those categories. It is indeed difficult for a man, and what is more a jurist, to approach the issue of women primarily as beings in their integrity and autonomy: whatever the internal process initiated by the different revelations or historical experiences, such an approach inevitably orients and restricts the reading and interpretation of texts. Their concern was to impart a function to women, to draw up a list of rights and duties. A closer reading of the texts, however, shows that the purpose of the inner evolution just mentioned, revisiting women's status step by step, is in fact to bring the believing conscience to perceive women through their being, beyond their different social functions. This inductive movement toward the primacy of being naturally involves an effect on the issue of social status; this, however, implies allowing full scope to the interpretation process and accepting all its consequences.

Compiled From:
"Radical Reform: Islamic Ethics and Liberation" - Tariq Ramadan, pp. 209-211

Learning and Teaching

It is narrated by Abu Musa that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

"The example of guidance and knowledge with which Allah has sent me is like abundant rain falling on the earth, some of which was fertile soil that absorbed rain-water and brought forth vegetation and grass in abundance. (And) another portion of it was hard and held the rain- water and Allah benefited the people with it and they utilized it for drinking, (making their animals drink from it) and to irrigate the land for cultivation. (And) a portion of it was barren which could neither hold the water nor bring forth vegetation (then the land was of no benefit).

The first is the example of the person who comprehends Allah's Religion and gets benefit from the knowledge which Allah has revealed through me and learns and then teaches it to others. The (last example is that of a) person who does not care for it and does not take Allah's Guidance revealed through me (He is like the barren land.)"


Cowardice Vs. Courage

Whenever the Quran encourages Jihad and expresses approval of it, while rebuking those who flinch from it and shirk it, cowardice is always the culprit. For the well-being of mankind, be it religious or worldly, cannot be complete without courage and generosity. The All-Glorious has explained that when someone turns his back on Jihad, God puts another in his place to perform it (Quran 9: 38-39, 47:38).

In courage and generosity for God's sake the greater merit belongs to those who take the lead (Quran 57:10). Courage does not reside in physical strength. A man may be physically strong yet faint at heart. Real courage is stoutness of heart and constancy. For fighting requires a body strong and fit for the task, but also a heart that is stout and skilful in battle. The commendable way to fight is with knowledge and understanding, not with the rash impetuosity or one who takes no thought and does not distinguish the laudable from the blameworthy. Therefore, the strong and valiant is he who controls himself when provoked to anger, and so does the right thing, whereas he who is carried away under provocation is neither courageous nor valiant.

Compiled From:
"Public Duties in Islam" - Ibn Taymiyah, pp. 105-106

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Muslim cannot be a Terrorist and a Terrorist cannot be a Muslim

"The believer in God is he who is not a danger to the life and property of any other."
Prof. Dr. Ahmet Akgunduz, Rector, Islamic University of Rotterdam Netherlands

Islam, the religion of tolerance, holds the human soul in high esteem, and considers the attack against innocent human beings a grave sin, this is emphasized by the following Qur'anic verse:
"... whoever kills a human being for other than manslaughter or corruption and mischief in the earth, it shall be as if he had killed all mankind, and whoever saves the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind. Our messengers came unto them of old with clear proofs (of Allah's Sovereignty), but afterwards lo! many of them became prodigals in the earth"

In fact, Muslims serve for life, not for death.
We must not forget what the Qur'an states: "Namely, that no bearer of burdens can bear the burden of another" . There is a universal rule of law: No one can be punished without evidence. Another important rule: Freedom from guilt is principal, i.e. everybody is innocent unless the opposite is proved. The Prophet, is reported to have said, "A believer remains within the scope of his religion as long as he doesn't kill another person illegally.

"The meaning of Islam is peace." This signifies that one can achieve real peace of body and mind only through submission and obedience to Allah, and a human being can be a perfect Muslim if he or she lives in peace and harmony with society. Such a life of obedience brings peace of heart and establishes real peace in society at large. All the Prophets of God, who guided man to the right path, preached this message.

The Prophet said: "These three things are also enjoined upon the faithful: - to help others, even when one is economically hard-pressed, - to pray ardently for the peace of all mankind, and - to administer justice to one's own self."

The Prophet said: "All mankind is a fold, each member of which shall be a keeper or shepherd to every other, and be accountable for the entire fold."

"Live together; do not turn against each other; make things easy for others and do not put obstacles in each other's way."

"He is not a believer who takes his fill while his neighbor starves. "

"The believer in God is he who is not a danger to the life and property of any other."

In short, Islam neglects neither the individual nor society - it establishes a harmony and balance between the two and assigns to each its proper due. The message of Islam is for the whole human race. God, in Islam, is the God of the Universe and the Prophet is a Messenger for the whole mankind. In the words of the Quran:

"O People! I am but a Messenger from God to you all. We have sent you only as a mercy for everybody in the universe."

In Islam, all men are equal, regardless of color, language, race, or nationality. We can not deny the fact that such barriers have always existed and will exist in the so-called enlightened age. Islam removes all of these impediments, and proclaims the ideal notion for humanity as being one family of God. Islam is international in its outlook and approach, and does not admit barriers and distinctions based on color, clan, blood, or territory, as was the case before the advent of the Prophet Muhammad.

Political problems in Pakistan


1. Introduction
2. Political Uncertainty
3. Swirling Winds of Political, Social and Economical Uncertainty are blowing globally.
4. Impact of Western Imperialism
5. World political Scenario
6. Assessment of Bard O Neil about Tumult at Global Level
7. Views of Berry Turner about Peace
8. Multi-Flarious Political problems and Pakistan
9. Samuel P. Huntington
10. The Unilateralism
11. Plight of Pakistan in Historical Perspective
12. Views of Lawrence Ziring
13. Problems and Suggestions
14. Conclusion

In this age, man is groping in the dark with no light at the end of the tunnel. Man
in his nature is an amalgamation of aggression and submissiveness, hostility, and friendliness, and love and hate. At time he appears as a Greek god of valor, and
as coward as a surrendering soldier. Everywhere in the globe, he is as crafty, as
a vamp, and as stupid, as a mermaid. At the moment winds of political uncertainty, economic instability and economic backwardness, social turmoil and tumult are blowing globally. Rage, revolt, rebellion, and revenge remain dormant in his
nature but erupt like a volcano when aroused. There is uncertain tomorrow. Cruel competitions in every sphere of life, worldly set backs, sense of insecurity and instability in society and similar incidents inject restlessness into his soul. There
is no piece of mind in society. We remain worried and perturbed. Our minds keep wandering. The political tin pot Hitler and pharaohs of the modern age want to
grab the natural resources of the poor countries. Their restlessness and turbulence within has assumed unbearable proportions. The man of today thus remains perpetually perturbed.

At the moment swirling winds of political, economical and social uncertainty
are blowing globally. Man has generated casting away basic principles of
fair play and justice. Western Imperialism is like a mad dog, let loose to kill
the oppressed nations and destroy their culture, religion just to feed its belly.
The forging of national integration is a process that needs to be kept firmly on course through diligence on the part of all citizens. Inputs like honesty, accountability and justice on the part of our governmental and other public functionaries can certainly help in this regard. Time has proved that our credo
of tolerance is a right way to attaining peace and tranquility, not only at national but international level also.

Europe has risen as an Economic Giant. Japan has appeared as Phoenix from
the debris of defect. China has risen as a modern nation which is going to
shake the global economical and political. She has emerged as the Champion
of Third World Countries.

Bard E.O. Neil rightly says in ‘Insurgency and terrorism’:
“For years now we have been faced with and unstable, dangerous, tumultuous,
and frequently violent international political environment. The United Nations
is puppet in the hands of United States and is unable to help the oppressed nations.”
He also says:
“The last chapter of 20th century has just unfolded. If past is the prologue we
are in for continuous rough time for years now, we have been faced within
unstable, dangerous and frequent violent international political environment.”

The United Nations the chaste daughter of the chaste mother has failed to achieve its aims, which were global peace, global economic prosperity and elimination of all types of economic, political, and social exploitation.
Berry Turner rightly says in ‘The Statesmen’s Year Book 2000’ that United
Nations was created to create peace but unfortunately it has miserably failed
to create peace out of tumult.

It is equally true of Pakistan; we are living in a more chaotic and fractured
world.The big powers are out to decolorize the world and these are promoting hegemonic interest to keep the poor impoverished. Political Problems, Lack of Democracy, Dictatorship, Violation of fundamental Human Rights, Preemptive Strikes by United States, menace, Colonialism, Clash of Civilization, Internal
terror and Nuclear Proliferation have made the world unsafe and dangerous.

Samuel P. Huntington rightly says in his book “The Clash of Civilizations” that
this is a period of acute economic depression, declining standards of living, civil wars between the various vested interests and growing illiteracy. There are also problems of moral decline, cultural suicides and political disunity. Manifestation
of moral decline include anti-social behavior such as crime, drug abuse and
violence generally, family decay, general weakening of the work ethics and a
rise of a cult of personal indulgence, decreasing commitments to learning and intellectual activity lower levels of scholastic achievement point to manifestations
of moral decline in our society.

The Sole Superpower of the world- The United States as infact a Unilateralism Power, Violation of Fundamental Human Rights and Unrest in Afghanistan, Iraq, Chechnya, Kashmir and Palestine depicts a gloomy picture of humanity at global level. What we need is peace and Tranquility. There are threats of Preemptive Strike. From US, Iran, Syria, and North Korea testify this fact that Might is Right.

As far as Pakistan is concerned, it past through Historical Stages.

1. Pakistan got independence in 1947 after a blob bath. After a departure
of Quaid-e-Azam we did everything to fail him and fail the great human
ideals for which he have been struggling throughout his life Pakistan was caught
in the cobweb of factionalism in the early days after his demise. This situation derived 1947
2. The period after 1958 was also horrible because President Ayub Khan
imposed Marshal Law which prevailed during 1959-1969.
3. In 1979, the cataclysmic event took place when East Pakistan was sliced
away from the motherland. Unfortunately it was all due to lack of democracy
in Pakistan.
4. During 1972-1977 again Pakistan despite democracy could not be
steered well. The Constitution of 1973 a big achievement of Zulfiqar Ali
Bhutto. Lawrence Ziring rightly says in his book ‘Pakistan: The Enigma of
Political Development’ that “The Constitution of 1973 belongs to the people of Pakistan”.
5. During 1977-1988 again Marshal Law was imposed by General
Zia ul Haq. Piecemeal Islamization process was not successful and the
dream of an Islamic Welfare State could not be fulfilled.
6. The period 1988-96 was again a period of Political turmoil and Democracy
couldn’t be strengthening in Pakistan. The Book ‘Siyasat ke Firaun’ written
by Vakeel Anjum comprising 469 pages aptly but pathetically depicts the
dismal picture of rules of feudalism, military and Bureaucracy in the
Democratize process of Pakistan. Unfortunately full blooded democracy
could not flourish in Pakistan.

After 1996 various democratize Governments were toppled. In 1999
there was coup data by General Pervaiz Musharraf who claims in his Book
‘In the line of fire’ that he is the savior of Pakistan but the fact is that
Pakistan is still ruled by Military Janta.

We are suffering from ‘Struthunian Effect’ what the economist called ‘Ostrich Syndrome’. We need self-reliance in every filed of life. We need sincere
leadership, enlightened moderation, and hard work in every field of life. Life
is not a bed of roses. 3Many a thorn pricks us and then we bleed but life has
got to be lived; realities of life have to be faced and battles for the existence
have to be fought. Let us fight them bravely and heroically, so that victory may ultimately smile upon us. Out of our stolen smiles and out of our crucified youth,
life will emerge ultimately.

Let us sing with Percy B Shelley:
“If winter comes,
Can Spring be far behind?”

There is a dire need for launching of an Alliance of Civilization to bridge over
divides to quote the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. We must bring the
world out of darkness, ignorance, oppression and tyranny and into the light
of truth, justice, fair lay, tolerance, mutual love and understanding, developing science and knowledge and peaceful co-existence. (814, words)
Let us prepare ourselves for taking upon the challenges facing us, so that we emerge as forward looking and dynamic nation dedicated towards progress,
growth, development and peace.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Islamic Calendar

  • Umar ibn al-Khattab established the Islamic Calendar uniting the different dating methods of his time by counting back to the year of the Hijrah (migration to Madina) to determine when to start.
  • 16 July, 622 CE = 1 Muharram, 1 AH
  • Islamic Calendar begins with sacrifice (hijrah of the Prophet and the Muslims to Madina) and ends with sacrifice (hajj, hijrah of Hajira).
  • Not from someone’s birthday, or some king or ruler’s orders, but from the foundation of the Islamic community - on brotherhood and unity we begin and end.
  • Lunar: Based upon the moon - accurate, close, visible, reminder of the beauty, order, submission of Allah’s creation but also its imperfection, its rise and fall, it needs the sun to shine. We interact with the signs of Allah when we look for the new moon every month, it is not passive time-keeping and time-passing, it’s natural. Animals, sea-creatures, oceans, plants, even human cycles are lunar timed.
  • We rotate through the seasons - dynamic, perpetual. Summer is not just in June. Eid is not just in winter. A nation of all times and all seasons, we remain steadfast no matter what the season.
  • Note the meaning of the names of the months:
    1. Muharram ["Forbidden" - it is one of the four months during which time it is forbidden to wage war or fight]
    2. Safar ["Empty" or "Yellow"]
    3. Rabi al-Awwal ["First spring"]
    4. Rabi al-Thani ["Second spring"]
    5. Jumada al-Awwal ["First freezing"]
    6. Jumada al-Thani ["Second freezing"]
    7. Rajab ["To respect" - this is another holy month when
      fighting is prohibited]
    8. Shaban ["To spread and distribute"]
    9. Ramadan ["Parched thirst" - this is the month of Islamic daytime fasting]
    10. Shawwal ["To be light and vigorous"]
    11. Dhul-Qida ["The month of rest" - another month when no warfare or fighting is allowed]
    12. Dhul-Hijja ["The month of Hajj" - this is the month of the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, again when no warfare or fighting is allowed]
  • Nadwi: "The Islamic Era did not start with the victories of Islamic wars, nor with the birth or death of the Prophet (peace be upon him), nor with the Revelation itself. It starts with Hijrah, or the sacrifice for the cause of Truth and for the preservation of the Revelation. It was a divinely inspired selection. God wanted to teach man that struggle between Truth and Evil is eternal. The Islamic year reminds Muslims every year not of the pomp and glory of Islam but of its sacrifice and prepares them to do the same."
  • We look at history through the life of the Prophet, peace be upon him, the greatest life ever lived, everything is either before or after Hijrah. “Allah has renewed time”, it’s a universal new beginning in the history of man and civilization with the Hijrah of the Prophet and our forerunners at its centre piece.