Thursday 31 December 2020

Yusuf/Cat Stevens: “There Is No Education Without the Creator”

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Monday 28 December 2020

One Year After Mass Protests, India’s Muslims Still Live in Fear


One year on, the anti-CAA movement has receded into the background, its anniversary barely remembered: Delhi police stopped a candlelight march led by students on Dec. 15. In March, the mass protests were cut short by the coronavirus pandemic, but it is hard to say how long they would have survived anyway, given the movement’s vilification by BJP leaders, hostilities from Delhi residents over blocked roads, and the lack of support from India’s so-called secular parties.

The movement has suffered from its own limitations. It failed to engage a larger cross-section of society, building bridges with other distressed communities such as farmers and Dalits, and to counter the BJP’s messaging that it was stirred by Pakistan. The arrests of the anti-CAA movement’s leaders, as well as others who have decried the BJP’s virulent Hindu nationalism, mark the decline of India’s inclusive and consensus-building democratic ethos. Indian Muslims remain in the same precarious situation they found themselves in 2019: living in fear of becoming second-class citizens.

The anti-CAA movement challenged not only the BJP’s Hindu majoritarianism but also the Modi government’s authoritarianism, apparent in its moves to ram through laws such as the CAA or its sudden announcement in 2016 that it would replace certain Indian rupee notes with new ones, causing chaos and lasting economic damage. Using the language of the 1949 constitution, the movement was a tribute to the idea of an India built on secularism and pluralism, an appeal for practicing tolerance.

But it’s clear that the anti-CAA protests did not resonate much beyond an urban, liberal segment of Indian society. Much of the media and the Hindu middle class—the country’s largest demographic—remain solidly behind the prime minister and his politics. Even so, the large numbers of people who joined the movement served as a rude awakening for a leadership confident that it had stamped out dissent. The protests, coupled with a shift in international perceptions, seemed to push Modi’s government to take a step back and soften its tone.

The mothership of the anti-CAA movement was in Shaheen Bagh, a Muslim-majority neighborhood in Delhi. Muslim women led a sit-in there for three months, joined by Muslims and non-Muslims alike. “I sat for 101 days, but no one [from the government] came to meet or speak with us,” said Bilkis Bano, 82, one of the most famous faces of the sit-in. “What could we do when no one came to speak with us?”

Even before the full onset of the pandemic, the anti-CAA movement came to a halt after religious violence ravaged parts of Delhi in February, killing 53 people, mostly Muslims. The students and activists who led the anti-CAA protests—mostly young women and men—were blamed. A Delhi Police investigation, which critics have called biased, concluded that the protests were part of a conspiracy to overthrow the Modi government. In two separate bail hearings for jailed activists, the judges said the terrorism charges were seemingly “targeted” and “vindictive.”

Despite a few political setbacks, the BJP’s brand of Hindu nationalism is gaining strength in the Modi government’s second term.

The arrests of anti-CAA activists and students reflect a narrative that pins blame for the riots on the protesters, and by extension the Muslim community. Delhi police have called activist Umar Khalid, 33—one of the most vocal critics of the Modi government—the “mastermind” behind the Delhi riots. “He has been targeted because he refused to be silenced,” Banojyotsna Lahiri, his partner, said.

Despite a few political setbacks in state elections, the BJP’s brand of Hindu nationalism is gaining strength in the Modi government’s second term. In addition to the passage of the CAA, it has stripped Muslim-majority Jammu and Kashmir of its constitutional autonomy and prompted fears of demographic change in the region. And in November 2019, after decades of litigation, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of building a Hindu temple on the site of a 16th-century mosque destroyed by Hindu extremists in 1992.

The CAA grants citizenship to non-Muslim minority groups from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. The Modi government maintains that the law won’t affect Indian Muslims. But some fear that coupled with the National Population Register, a data collection exercise, and a proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC) aimed at identifying those living in the country without the proper documents, the CAA will be used to target Muslims who can’t produce documents and strip them of the right to call India home.

One year after the Indian parliament passed the CAA, the Modi government says it is still drafting the rules to enforce it, and the Supreme Court has yet to hear more than 140 petitions challenging its constitutional validity. Home Minister Amit Shah, who has described undocumented immigrants as “termites,” backtracked on the plan for a nationwide citizens’ register last year, after 11 states not governed by the BJP refused to implement it. But while the government may have put the NRC on hold, it has not ruled out implementing data collection, which some argue is a surreptitious way of reintroducing the NRC.

The stripping of Kashmir’s protected status, the passage of the CAA, and the subsequent crackdown on anti-CAA students at two predominantly Muslim universities have offended Islamic countries that are friendly to India. Iran, Turkey, and Malaysia condemned the Delhi riots in February. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation has called on Modi to ensure protection for Muslims and Islamic holy places in India. And after a year of lobbying, Pakistan managed to get the organization to pass a strong statement on Kashmir.

India’s CAA push has even put off friendly Bangladesh, which has refused to accept the return of any Indian residents left out of the NRC. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has called the CAA unnecessary, and three of her ministers canceled trips to India amid the protests. The Modi government will likely tread forward carefully, given that Islamophobia in India has become somewhat of a liability—and could be a thorny issue with U.S. President-elect Joe Biden.

With state elections due next year in both Assam and Bengal, the BJP is now letting the CAA issue simmer.

The issue is already playing out in Assam state, home to many Bengali-speaking Hindus and Muslims who have immigrated from Bangladesh over many years. The state government prepared a list of citizens in August 2019. But the BJP suffered a setback: Of the 1.9 million people found to be living in Assam without documents, over 500,000 were Hindus who would effectively have to claim they fled religious persecution in a neighboring country to gain their citizenship. BJP leaders have said that Hindus left out of the NRC would be covered under the CAA, and Shah said last year that the NRC would be repeated in Assam. This month, the Assam government said that the list it had declared final in 2019 was not final after all.

With state elections due next year in both Assam and Bengal, the BJP is now letting the CAA issue simmer. In Assam, the BJP’s attempt to make the NRC a Hindu-Muslim issue—rather than one tied to local differences in language and ethnicity—hasn’t quite worked. Winning Bengal, which also has a sizable population of immigrants from Bangladesh, would be a milestone for the Hindu right wing. There, the BJP has tapped into Hindu conservatism dormant among upper-caste communities and worked hard to polarize the base of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who took power after three decades of Communist Party rule in 2011.

“The BJP is in a legal bind when it comes to Assam. But wherever there is some space in the communal game, they are playing it,” said Sangeeta Barooah Pisharoty, the author of Assam: The Accord, The Discord.

In the anti-CAA movement, progressive forces couched their pleas to uphold the rights and freedoms of minority groups as a call to defend the constitution. They now recognize the BJP government’s unwillingness to even pay lip service to India’s constitutional values—and the not-so-silent majority’s antagonism toward these calls.


My Journey to Islam [Part 1/3] - Uncomfortable Beginnings

Thursday 24 December 2020

Solution to every problem in this world. POLYGYNY 😂😅


From The Ideal Muslimah Fb page.

Q - How can we solve patriarchy?
Muslim men - Polygyny
Q - How can we lower global warming?
Muslim men - Polygyny
Q - How can we better the education of our Children?
Muslim men - Polygyny
Q - How can we solve the Muslim prisoners issue?
Muslim men - Polygyny
Q - How can we help Syrians and Palestinians?
Muslim men - Polygyny
Q - How we better our food habits?
Muslim men - Polygyny
Q - How can we erase Capitalism?
Muslim men - Polygyny

Poly the supposed answer for men for everything evil in this world lol
I have been working towards helping poor Muslim women and orphans for past 5 years and when I say this I speak from my personal experience and talking to countless women about their hardships and not based on some report.
And the reason for their state is no education, early marriage, No skill to earn a living, absolute financial dependency on male members, abusive husbands or abusive male family member who failed at being a Qawwam.

Or a good male who is in need of support that is not being provided to him. Since my NGO is geared at helping widows, children and women in general I cannot go ahead and help men.
Aaj kal ke so called mardon ke liye har mushkil ka hal second marriage hogaya hai. And poly seems to be the only way to serve Islam and bring about some magical change.
Even if men have money they do not have the emotional intelligence, rehma or patience. They end up abusing first wife psychologically, physically and with the threat of talaq and literally force her to accept second wife.

99% women are not okay with their husband sleeping with another woman. They would rather give in charity and help a sister in need than have to share their husband and their husband's time.
If you want to save and 

serve widowed, single women help them with money and introduce them to other bachelor men.
Don't go ahead and offer yourself, especially when it will break your first wife emotionally and scar her for life with hurt and pain.

Change the mentality of bachelor men and let them marry older, divorced or widowed women.
Disturbed by the idea of men suggesting poly as a solution to everything. Polygyny is not the problem or disagreeable here, the issue is with many emotionally immature men who feel entitled because it's allowed when they can't even manage ONE wife fairly.
Many brothers use spiritual abuse and use the idea of getting another wife as a sort of threat to his present wife (so that she will "fall in line") then he already does not understand enough to manage two households/wives, let alone the one he already has.

BUTTTT The Sunnah is to get married multiple times!
So is serving your family.
So is donating half of your wealth to those in need.
So is helping out in the house.
So is being romantic & attentive to the wife you already have.
So is being tolerant & empathetic not complaining in tougher times to the wife you already have.
So is maintaining good ties with in-laws you already have!
The Quran is the only holy book to state "marry only one" - the explicit condition of polygamy in Islam is to fear injustice between the women involved. That includes hurting the first wife or acting deceitful in order to get a second wife.

The best example, The Prophet ﷺ, was a bachelor who made the habit of marrying divorced and widowed women, only one of his wives - not his first - was a virgin.
Quran doesn't order marrying 4 , it is actually limiting it to 4 , then putting condition of Justice and adding marry only 1.

Tuesday 22 December 2020

It is time to talk about caste in Pakistan and Pakistani diaspora

On September 29, Manisha Valmiki, a 19-year-old Dalit girl succumbed to her injuries from a gang rape committed by four Thakur (upper-caste) men in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. News of the incident caused outrage across India and the rest of the world, including in Pakistan and the diaspora.

I and many fellow Pakistanis have actively participated in social media campaigns demanding justice for Valmiki. But few of us have said much about another horrendous death of a Dalit woman.

On September 30, just a day after Valmiki’s death, 17-year-old Momal Meghwar took her own life in the village of Dalan-Jo-Tarr in Sindh province, Pakistan. A year earlier, she had been brutally raped and filmed by three men who have remained at large.

Meghwar was the 58th woman to take her own life this year in Thar alone. There is a multitude of reasons for this macabre statistic and all are at the intersections of gender, religion, class, and caste.

Yes, caste – a word which many of us Pakistani feminist scholars and organisers, especially those with sectarian, caste, and class privileges in the diaspora, remain unfamiliar with, whether willfully or out of ignorance.

Of course, due to the untiring work of mostly (but not exclusively) Indian-origin Dalit feminists and organisations such as Equality Labs, those of us Pakistanis who have not thought about caste before are learning about caste in India and its diaspora.

However, concerns raised by Dalit and anti-caste thinkers from Pakistan often remain ignored and outright dismissed, especially by caste and class privileged Pakistani Muslims who refuse to see caste, let alone the caste dominance and caste terror prevalent in Pakistan and its diaspora.

Pakistanis need to stop believing that Dalits live only in India. There are about 40 castes, 32 of which were listed as scheduled castes under the November 1957 Presidential ordinance of Pakistan. Meghwars are one of these listed castes, along with Bheels, Kolhis, Baghris and others.

While there are Dalit Muslims in Pakistan, because of the belief that there are no caste hierarchies among Muslims, the castes mentioned as scheduled are necessarily read as Hindu only. It is important to point out the infusion of upper-caste Brahmin supremacy that has coerced and contained lower-caste people into the category of Hindu. Many Dalit-Bahujan people see themselves as part of Indigenous cultures and traditions and reject Hinduism as their religious identification.

Moreover, the majority of Christians in the country are also Dalit – pejoratively labelled as Chuhra. As a recent New York Times article on Dalit Christians taking up scavenging jobs in Pakistan notes, according to the 1998 census, Christians made up only 1.6 percent of the population but filled 80 percent of the sweeper jobs. This caste apartheid is prevalent in Pakistan and yet there is no authentic caste census available.

Just like in India, Dalits face discrimination by society at large and by the state. In a 2007 report on the condition of scheduled castes in Pakistan, journalist Zulfiqar Shah points out that a 6-percent government job quota for scheduled castes from urban and rural areas put forward in 1948 was never ethically implemented and was simply scrapped in the 1990s.

In other words, no political or economic security measures are extended to scheduled caste people who continue to be seen simply as “religious minorities” in Pakistan and marked for violence with impunity.

That is why it is important to call Momal Meghwar’s rape and death by suicide what it is: caste-based sexual violence. While Pakistani mainstream media has mostly stayed silent, in some instances where the incident was discussed, it was made into a case of her being Hindu, a religious minority, effectively erasing caste which is also one of the main factors legitimising violence against lower-caste people by both upper-caste Muslims and Hindus.

The murder of social media celebrity Qandeel Baloch in 2016, which was widely covered by the media, was also linked to caste, but journalists and scholars overwhelmingly ignored that aspect. One of the people who drew attention in public to the role caste played in the killing was anti-caste activist, Auwn Gurmani.

As he explained in a July 2020 tweet: “We remember Qandeel and we also remember she was killed because of her gender, class and most importantly caste background: Qandeel’s caste was Mehra (ماہڑا in Siraiki). Mahar, Mehra, Mehar, Mahara – all these castes have the same origin, scheduled caste in Madhya Pradesh.”

Caste dismissal in Pakistan often comes from the belief that because we are Muslim, caste does not exist in our communities and societies. Unlike Hindu scriptures, the Quran does not establish and condone a caste system. Moreover, unlike India, Pakistan does not have Brahminical cis-heteropatriarchy and Islamophobia governing the nation-state.

The ritualistic, religious, familial, social, economic, political and gendered aspects of caste have their own tones in Pakistan. It is not saffron-tinted, as Hindu nationalism is, but rather it takes a green, Islamic traditional, hue. This is not to say that the importation and translation of Hindutva ideology are not happening across the border and do not affect Pakistani Muslims’ conception of caste.

As Sindhi anti-caste scholar Ghulam Hussain, who has contributed ground-breaking work on caste relations in Sindh, notes, Sayedism and Brahminism are infused with each other. Sayed supremacy – which Hussain labels as Sayedism – comes from the (unproven) belief that Sayeds are genealogical descendants of Prophet Muhammad and therefore have a more authentic grasp on Islam and all social and political matters.

Another anti-caste researcher, Haris Gazdar, points out that “the public silencing on caste contrasts with an obsession with it in private dealings”. There is always violence attached to caste hierarchies of which Gazdar names several examples, such as having pejorative labels to strict taboos around eating and drinking together and sharing of utensils to stealing land to beatings and rapes of men and women of lowered caste people with impunity, all to “keep them in their place”.

Islam is often evoked by upper-caste Muslims as the reason for some of these practices. Pakistani Muslims would argue that lowered caste people from Hindu and Christian minorities eat “haram” (forbidden by Islamic law) food. However, eating with upper-caste Hindus and Christians is not frowned upon.

These Brahminical notions of ritual purity become aligned with concepts of “paak” (pure/clean) and “naapak” (impure/unclean) under Muslims’ casteist interpretations of Islam. Even when lowered caste people from religious minorities convert to Islam, they continue to meet with the same caste-based violence. Conversion to Islam in Pakistan does not de-casteise the lowered caste people who continue to be treated as “untouchables”.

There is also the commonly circulated argument that caste exists only in rural areas of provinces like Sindh and Punjab. But caste dangerously circulates as common sense in large cities as well.

A recent example of this, even among young people who are usually understood as more progressive than their parents’ generation, is a student-led survey at the University of Lahore in Punjab in which students were asked on camera questions about how caste informs choices they make about romantic relationships and friendships. Every single one of these students knew their caste from Sayeds to Arains (a predominantly agricultural caste) to Sheikhs (a lower caste stereotyped as having a business acumen). In the almost nine-minute-long video, it is quite clear that caste is an active and everyday experience for university students in an urban setting.

More survey work needs to be done in urban and rural areas, as well as in the diaspora to fully understand the forms which caste takes at our dinner tables, in our kinships, our attachments, workplaces, and every other aspect of our lives.

As many of us diasporic Pakistanis become invested in liberatory projects of Black Lives Matter and Indigenous sovereignties in the west and educated about caste politics in India, it appears that this is indeed the right time to turn inwards and explore our own experiences with caste. Sayedism – a prime example of upper-caste dominance and hegemony – is quite prominent among us and should be studied both in Pakistan and in the diaspora.

In our pursuit of understanding caste, however, we also need to be very careful, particularly us western-educated, class- and caste-privileged diasporic scholars. Some of us go to Pakistan to focus on caste violence in the menial jobs lower castes are relegated to, such as scavenging or sanitation work.

While I think these anthropological studies have their place and must be done, I am also reminded of scholar Joby Mathew’s remarks in the book Hatred in the Belly: “If any intellectual wants to emphasize the pathetic condition of Dalits through these derogatory images [of scavenging], that itself amounts to symbolic violence”.

Furthermore, when looking into caste-based, gender-based violence and trying to understand a figure such as Baloch in all her complexities, our analysis needs to move beyond the binaries of lower-caste women as either vulnerable victims or heroes. Therefore, it is urgent that we engage with Dalit feminist theory.

And finally, we also have to remain aware and mindful of how Islamophobia and anti-Pakistan violence can be disruptive in our critical work on complicity in various structures of domination. To talk about violence in Pakistan is difficult because of how quickly nationalist non-Muslim Indians – and even those Indian Muslims invested in the idea of Brahminical India – latch onto our critiques to further malign Pakistan as a terrorist Muslim state.

But the intense Islamophobia, casteism, and colonial violence – in relation to Kashmir, for example – in India should not be a reason not to have these important conversations and studies in Pakistan and the diaspora. After all, these violent paradigms are interconnected and know no borders.


Tuesday 8 December 2020



The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: "[The angel] Gabriel continued to recommend that I treat neighbors kindly and politely so much so that I thought he would order me to make them my heirs."


The Prophet also said: "A believer will not eat his [or her] fill while [that] neighbor is hungry."


 Sahih Al-Bukhari

Wednesday 18 November 2020

Are you Following The Crowd?


When Umar bin al-Khattab (رضي الله عنه) was walking in the market, he passed by a man who was supplicating,
اللهم اجعلني من القليل اللهم اجعلني من القليل
“O Allah, make me from the few!
O Allah make me from the few!”
So ‘Umar said to him;
“Where did you get this du`a’ (supplication) from?”
And the man said;
“Allah in His Book says:
و قليل من عبادي الشكور
‘And few of My servants are grateful.’
(Qur’an 34:13)”
So ‘Umar wept and admonished himself;
“The people are more knowledgeable than you, O Umar!
O Allah make us from Your ‘few’ servants.”
Sometimes when you advise someone to leave a sin, they respond with “But everybody does it, it’s not just me!”
But if you look for the words “most people” in the Qur’an, you will find that most people -
ولكن اكثرهم لا يعلمون
“And however most people do not know” (7:187)
ولكن أكثرهم لا يشكرون
- “and most people do not show gratitude” (2:243)
و لكن اكثر الناس لا يؤمنون
- “and most people do not believe” (11:17).
And if you look for “most of them”, you will find that most of them are
و آن أكثرهم فَاسِقُون
- “definitely disobedient” (5:59)
و لكن أكثرهم يجهلون
- “ ignorant” (6:111)
بل أكثرهم لا يعلمون الحق فهم معرضون
- “turning away” (21:24)
So be of the “few”, whom Allah says about them:
و قليل من عبادي الشكور
- “And few of My servants are grateful.” (34:13)
و ما امن معه الا قليل
- “But none had believed with him, except a few.” (11:40)
في جنات النعيم ثلة من الاولين و قليل من الآخرين
- “In the Gardens of Bliss, A [large] company of the former peoples, And a few of the later peoples.”
❝Go on the path of truth and do not feel lonely because there are few who take that path, and beware of the path of falsehood and do not be deceived by the vastness of the perishers.❞
- Ibn al-Qayyim رحمه الله
Found in Kitab al-Zuhd by Ahmad bin Hanbal (رحمه الله), and also in the Musannaf of Ibn Abi Shaybah.
🤲 May Allah make us of His few who are grateful, obedient and believers till our last breath - Allahumma ameen!

From Ideal Muslimah

Tuesday 17 November 2020

Domestic Abuse: What You Need to Know (Podcast)


 “This is not a Muslim issue, this is everywhere. But, we need to seriously address this issue…There needs to be an awareness of working together.”

 On this week’s TMV Podcast, Cheif Editor Salim Kassam speaks to Canadian psychotherapist and counsellor Berak Hussain on domestic abuse and everything you need to know about a topic that is often labeled as ‘taboo’, and why the Muslim community must step up with this issue.

Listen to the full podcast below:


Tuesday 10 November 2020

“Do you apologise for the killings of the Charlie Hebdo staff and police?”


Habib ‘Ali Zayn al-‘Abidin ibn ‘Abd ar-Rahman al-Jifri was asked, “Do you apologise for the killings of the Charlie Hebdo staff and police?”  Charlie Hebdo is the magazine that ran cartoons denigrating the Prophet (s.a.w.), and routinely insults Muslims, immigrants and minorities.

He replied, “We condemn the crime that was committed, we regret that it happened, and our condolences go to the families of the victims.  But we will not apologise for something we did not do.  This is a battle of which we have no part.

If the above question was asked because the perpetrators were Muslim and, therefore, Muslims should apologise, then we must also remember that among the victims was a Muslim policeman, and there was a Muslim store worker who helped save the lives of a number of hostages.

If the above question was asked because the perpetrators and those who claimed the attack justified it as being for the defence of Islam, and, therefore, this somehow implicates the Muslim community, then we must also remember that thousands of Palestinian civilians and children were killed in the name of the ‘Biblical right’ of establishing a Jewish state and Palestinian civilians were killed in the name of ‘self-defence’, yet we do not hold all Jews responsible for the crimes of the occupier.  Iraq was obliterated in the name of a ‘crusade’, ‘democratisation’, and the promotion of ‘human rights’ while thousands of Afghan and Iraqi civilians were killed as ‘collateral damage’.  Despite this, we do not accept that the people of West carry the blame and responsibility for these crimes.

There is a difference between our responsibility and duty to expend our efforts in explaining truth, and clarifying wrong, erroneous ideology; and responding to the lies that today’s Khwarij present as being Islam, and; attempts to place responsibility for what happened on Islam and its scholars and preachers.
What we need, and what the world needs, is to stand side by side in facing up to the terrorism perpetrated by organised movements, and the terrorism that is committed by states.  The killing of innocent civilians will always be a crime, even if a state is the one doing it.

In closing, we will not accept the attempts of some people to make us feel shame at our religion nor will we accept being put in positions where we are expected to take responsibility for the actions of extremist movements.”

From A Muslim Convet Once More

Thursday 5 November 2020

WHAT WAS OUR PROPHET صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ LIKE?


• He was the mildest of people and also the warmest and most generous of them.
• He would fix his own sandals, patch his own clothes and help his family with the daily errands.
• He was very shy; shyer than a virgin in her chamber.
• He would respond to the invitation of slaves.
• He would visit the sick.
• He would walk alone [without guards].
• He would allow others to saddle-up with him on his mount.
• He would accept gifts.
• He would eat food that was sent as a gift; but he never consumed anything that had been given as charity.
• He did not have enough dates with which to be satisfied, nor was he satisfied with barley-bread for more than three consecutive days.
• He would eat whatever food was readily available.
• He never criticized food.
• He never ate lying down, and ate whatever was closest to him.
• He loved perfumes and disliked foul odors.
• He honored people of virtue, and kept affectionate ties with nobles and dignitaries.
• He never rejected anyone and would accept the excuse of those who presented excuses.
• He would joke, but never would he utter anything untrue.
• He laughed, but not loudly.
• He would not let any time pass without being in the service of God or being engaged in whatever was essential for his own self-development.
• He never cursed women, nor abused servants.
• He never hit anyone, except for in jihad in God’s cause.
• He did not perform revenge for his own sake, but did so when God’s limits had been transgressed.
• If he was presented with two options he took the easier of the two, unless it entailed disobedience or the severing of ties – in which case he would be the furthest away from it.
• He would sit in an assembly wherever it was convenient and would mingle among his Companions as one of them, so much so that when strangers came, they couldn’t tell him from others, except after inquiring as to who he was.
• He would take to long periods of silence, but when he did speak he did so slowly and clearly, repeating himself so that he would be understood.
• He used to pardon, even when he was in a position to punish.
• He wouldn’t confront anyone with what they did not like.
• He was the most truthful of men.
• He was the one who most fulfilled his trusts, pledges and commitments.
• He was the easiest going of people; the most affable; and the most generous in friendship.
• Whoever looked at him unexpectedly, was amazed by him.
• Whoever knew him, loved him.
• His Companions, whenever they spoke about worldly affairs, he would join in with them; and when, in recollecting their pre-Islamic days, they would laughed, he would simply smile.
• He was also the bravest of men. One of his Companions recounts: When the fighting grew intense, we would seek shelter behind God’s Messenger.

Source: Summary of Mukhtasar Minhaj al-Qasideen by Imam Ibn Qudamah (pp. 157-158)

Wednesday 4 November 2020

Extremism/Exaggeration (الغلو في الدين) - 10 Ayat & Hadiths

Religion is like Medicine:
- An Overdoses will KILL you.
- The right amount will SAVE you.
- Without it you'll SUFFER in illness.

1- The Prophet said:
‏ أَلاَ هَلَكَ الْمُتَنَطِّعُونَ
"Beware! The extremists perished!", saying it three times.
["Abu Dawud", 4608 - authentic صحيح]

2- It says in the Qur'an:
لَا تَغْلُوا فِي دِينِكُمْ
"Do not go to extremes in your religion." [Qur'an 4:171].

3- The Prophet said:
وَإِيَّاكُمْ وَالْغُلُوَّ فِي الدِّينِ فَإِنَّمَا أَهْلَكَ مَنْ كَانَ قَبْلَكُمُ الْغُلُوُّ فِي الدِّينِ
"And beware of going to extremes in religious matters, for those who came before you were destroyed because of going to extremes in religious matters."
["Nasai", 3057 - authentic صحيح]

4- It says in the Qur'an:
يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ بِكُمُ الْيُسْرَ وَلَا يُرِيدُ بِكُمُ الْعُسْرَ
"God wants ease for you, and wants not hardship for you." [Qur'an 2:185].

5- The Prophet said:
إِنَّ الدِّينَ يُسْرٌ، وَلَنْ يُشَادَّ الدِّينَ أَحَدٌ إِلاَّ غَلَبَهُ
"Religion is very easy and whoever overburdens himself in his religion will be defeated by it."
["Sahih Bukhari", 39].

6- It says in the Qur'an:
وَمَا جَعَلَ عَلَيْكُمْ فِي الدِّينِ مِنْ حَرَجٍ
"[God] has not laid upon you any hardship in religion." [Qur'an 22:78].

7- Aishah said:
 مَا خُيِّرَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم بَيْنَ أَمْرَيْنِ إِلاَّ أَخَذَ أَيْسَرَهُمَا، مَا لَمْ يَكُنْ إِثْمًا
"Whenever God's Messenger (ﷺ) was given the choice of one of two matters, he would choose the easier of the two, as long as it was not sinful to do so."
["Sahih Bukhari", 3560].

8- It says in the Qur'an:
وَكَذَٰلِكَ جَعَلْنَاكُمْ أُمَّةً وَسَطًا
"This is how We made you a moderate nation." [Qur'an 2:143].

9- The Prophet said:
‏ يَسِّرُوا وَلاَ تُعَسِّرُوا، وَبَشِّرُوا وَلاَ تُنَفِّرُوا
"Facilitate things to people (concerning religious matters), and do not make it hard for them and give them good tidings and do not make them run away (from Islam)."
["Sahih Bukhari", 69].

10- The Prophet said:
خيرُ دينِكم أيسَرُه
"The best of your faith is the easiest."
["Ahmad", 15371 - authentic إسناده صحيح]. 

Monday 2 November 2020

Our Mothers, Our Role Models


Virgin Mary عليها السَّلام miraculously bore Jesus ﷺ, one of the most incredible men to walk the planet, but she was never married. 

Ayesha رضي الله عنها had an incredible marriage, but she was never a mother. She was also a widow. 

Asiyah عليها السَّلام was an adoptive mother to Mosesﷺ, but was married to a tyrannical husband.

The blessed Prophetic father ﷺ of Hajar's رضي الله عنها son Ismail ﷺ was alive but physically separated from them and so she essentially raised her son as a single mother.

Eve عليها السلام had one child who was committed to morality, and she another who must have torn her heart out when he murdered his own brother. 

Zaynab bint Jahsh رضي الله عنها was divorced, but then remarried the best man on earth 

Fatima رضي الله عنها was repeatedly described as the most devoted daughter in addition to her roles as wife and mother. 

Khadija رضي الله عنها had the most amazing husband ﷺ with the most amazing children and the most compassionate, passionate marriage.

The Queen of Sheba  رحيمها الله is described in the Quran in connection with her position, but not explicitly in connection to marriage or motherhood.

God gave us examples in history of some of the most spiritually elevated women in different types of single/married or motherhood/less situations.

It is unjust for our community to portray a woman's piety being connected solely to her marriage or motherhood status when even some of the most important figures of our history did not fulfill some of our community's contemporary expectations. Yes, marriage and motherhood are so important. But not every woman will experience them, nor find happiness in them. That is not commentary on her worth or the level of her connection to Allah. 

Sisters: God knows your life circumstances, even when everyone looking in from the outside have no idea of your pain, of your frustration or your confusion or your burning duaa. And I know many of you deal with pressure constantly. But instead of feeling crippled when you're overwhelmed, focus on these women. God gave us their myriad of examples for a reason. Let's draw our strength from them and renew our commitment to Him and to working for His sake regardless of our status.

From the FB of Maryam Amir 

Tuesday 27 October 2020

Do American Muslims Still Care About Palestine?


In July 2014, I wrote about the quasi-clandestine program called the ‘Muslim Leadership Initiative’, run by the Jerusalem-based Shalom Hartman Institute (which now also has an office in New York). In the piece — and subsequent pieces that followed, written by myself and others — ample evidence and connections were shown to make it more than apparent that the purpose of the program was to deputize Muslim American “leaders” in various fields to undermine the growing tide and strength of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. MLI wasn’t a lone endeavor on this front, but it seemed to be the one to stick and show some success. The program targeted people in close proximity to students: writers, (aspiring) media personalities, Muslim chaplains; professors.
I genuinely didn’t see the 2014 expose having the impact that it did. I had hoped that the piece would spark a productive communal conversation on the sort of politic we needed to unify around. I had hoped it would be a corrective, reconciliatory moment. Instead, a deep-rooted fissure was not only revealed but has since deepened and widened, illustrating a blueprint of what the future of Muslims in the United States can and likely will look like.
And a lot of this hinges on Palestine.

For the first time, Palestine has become a negotiable issue in the American Muslim public community. When our communities disagreed on everything else, we could agree on Palestine. There were always individual exceptions, but generally, at the level we were able to have public conversations as a community, Palestine was long integral to and front and center of the American Muslim politic. The freedom of Palestine was Sacred — and convincing people to not work with those whose ideology explicitly relies on the violent erasure of Palestinians wasn’t controversial ..or in need of mass debate.
Not so much anymore.
In recent years, the centrality of Palestine to the American Muslim politic has been chiseled away — through both design and inevitability.
You don’t need to go full Netanyahu, but undermining the single most powerful and effective protest tool supported by Palestinians under direct occupation and in the diaspora — BDS — seems to be pretty okay.
And it’s especially okay if you’re doing it in the name of building relationships, inter-communal strategies and fighting Islamophobia — the same Islamophobia that is largely upheld by narratives about Muslims as pathologically and inherently violent, savage; incapable of self-governance and thus in need of control.
The same narratives that are used to justify the continued occupation, ethnic cleansing and apartheid against Palestinians. The same narratives that are used to justify a foreign policy that is the greatest expression of systemic anti-Muslim violence this country has to offer.
And we’ve come to a point where if you disagree with strategies, groups and individuals who undermine an international political protest of ethnic cleansing and apartheid, you stand accused, by many in our community, of sowing discord, fitna — of dividing our power. Maybe even of voter suppression and enabling President Donald J. Trump’s fascism.
This is a strange (and not new) point that doesn’t see how powerful, money-injected institutions and individuals claiming to work for Muslims, under the opportune guise of a ‘Muslim American’ identity, betray the very principles and safety of the affected communities. Our institutions, that claim to represent us and gladly will take our money, are held to a far lower standard than those they claim to be working on behalf of. And our spiritual leaders, who we have long trusted as guiding lights, have embraced regimes that spill our kin’s blood and shake hands with oppressors.
How did we get here?
Pretty easily.

We Shall Return by Imad Abu Shtayyah
At some point, our conviction to principles causes us to hit a glass ceiling in pursuit of not just community power but personal career growth. How far can a Muslim working in the American empire, sustained on myths about itself in opposition to ‘the Others’, get by holding onto the very principles and beliefs that make her/him the ‘Other’?
And how far can any Muslim organization go, in achieving its stated goals and pushing back against rampant anti-Muslim hate, without having to make some concessions along the way in order to ‘play the game’?

In the last six years, it has become apparent that there are four major political categories in the American Muslim public: Professionals, Expedients, Principlists and Determinants.
And here’s what I mean by those terms:
The Professionals are those for whom the identity of ‘Muslim’ and the community that buttresses this identity serve as a means to an end. Religion, in and of itself, is irrelevant as is the material betterment of the community. The Professional Muslim class has zero interest in the creation and empowerment of a Muslim politic, instead its interest is only in exploiting superficial representational politics which allow them space in white institutions, space they use to stomp around on ‘their own’. This in turn functions as a sort of native informancy, signaled through how they speak to their communities of origin and happily echo the accusations of those who suppress those communities. Steven Salaita, who has come to embody what cost Palestinian Americans in particular have had to incur for their commitment to their existence, comments a bit on a related phenomenon quite well here.
The Expedients are those who seize opportunity for political expediency. In their view, in order to have political power in a country such as the United States, as a community or as an individual, it is necessary to participate in some (maybe all) systems of power and politics: including those which may be antithetical to one’s personal or communal interests and principles. The stated goal, usually, is that to build power we need to build relationships with those who are “on our side”, even if we have some disagreements. For this group, political expediency and opportunity trump principles for sake of political representation and power. Political power is best (but not only) exercised within established systems of power: media and party-centric politics. Think your typical ‘seat at the table’ politic.
The Principlists are those for whom principles are non-negotiable. Political power for this group isn’t built on short-term opportunities but long-term strategic building. The greatest political power, in this group’s mind, is one that is built through community and that remains unwavering on principle and demands concessions from the Establishment (media, party-centric politics). In other words: people power over establishment power, resistance over representation. Any representation that comes at the cost of principles that are seen to define the power and moral anatomy of the community — principles for the betterment of the Ummah, for example, versus just simply the US-centric community — is not representation worth having. Think your standard ‘turn the table over, we’re on the menu’ politic.
Finally, The Determinants. Generally speaking, this group is interested in Muslim American civic, creative and grassroots engagement at every level but isn’t committed to access to power at any cost and also isn’t committed entirely to making all principles non-negotiable. The organizations that fall under this group will have a mix of individuals who fall into either the Expedient or Principlist camps. Those of which are more rooted in Islamic practice and ethos, explicitly so, tend to fall in the Principlist camp on many, but not all, critical issues. I think this group, which admittedly isn’t yet as well defined as the others, makes up a large cross-section of the American Muslim community. There is a process of learning happening that has been accelerated in the last four years, and it finds itself torn between expediency and principlism. The benefits of expediency are palpable, but it’s hard to argue why some principles can be negotiable and others can’t be. This group, in my opinion, are critical in determining the route the American Muslim politic will take and look like over the next few years. Think a ‘we can’t turn down all the invites but the food on the table does look kinda poisonous. Risk it?’ type of politic.

Think of these labels as classifying emerging, sometimes porous, trends versus solely (and strictly) certain individuals and organizations. I want these to be open to debate, discussion and evolution because we need to, collectively, start critically engaging with what the public face and politic of our community is.
Because, everything is at risk right now.

When we make the one non-negotiable position negotiable — what else is up for the taking, the bending, the “we can talk about this later”? Where is the line? And I want to be clear: we’re not talking about a political position- we’re talking about a moral, ethical, spiritual position that speaks to our role in defending human life, sacred ground and resisting colonization.
Here I want to take a moment to dispel not a myth but an ahistorical, anti-decolonial perspective that has emerged in recent years. The myopic view laments that the preponderance of Palestine as an issue for Muslims is in large part due to ‘Arab supremacy’ both in American Muslim communities and the Ummah. This perspective ignores the following:
Jerusalem is the third holiest site for Muslims, in Islam. It was the site of the first direction of prayer and destination for pilgrimage. Would we argue that the importance of Mecca/Medina in Islam is also …Arab Supremacy?
The centrality of Palestine in anti/de-colonial resistance. Palestine is one of the last colonial fronts of the 20th century — while countries across the world, including what’s referred to as the Middle East, were gaining ‘independence’ from European colonial reign, Palestine‘s colonization, also a violent European erasure, was just beginning. Anti-colonial figures and groups have long not only shown solidarity with Palestinian liberation but recognized it as central to international decolonizing efforts — especially today.

‘Islamophobia’ (a term we need to revisit) in the United States is largely rooted and sustained by efforts by pro-Israel groups and is sustained through pro-Israel narratives that dehumanize ‘The Arab’ and ‘The Muslim’. Even the vocabulary and discourse surrounding “Muslim terrorism”, that pathologizes violence by Muslims as especially noteworthy, dangerous and apart from other forms, is rooted in the same industry that exists to build the case for Israel’s violent dominance over Palestinians. This, however, benefits the United States more so than Israel because…
Israel is of geo-strategic importance to the United States and thus to American taxpayers and citizens. Its central location in the so-called Middle East makes it integral to the American project in the direct region and the neighbouring regions. There’s this (anti-Semitic) misnomer that Israel controls the United States. This line of thinking makes the world’s most powerful, cunning and violent country and military somehow suddenly meek and naive to the whims of..uhhh…‘The Jews’? Israel — like KSA, UAE, Bahrain, etc — is a client state of the United States. The survival and legitimacy of Israel is sacrosanct for American dominance in the region — why else does ‘normalization of relations’ between Arabs states and Israel matter?s
This needs to be said here: none of what I’ve said above is to undermine or ignore how our communities inflict and deal in anti-Blackness at a mass scale — because Black issues are Muslim issues and it’s taken too long for us, here, to move away from respectability politics and towards solidarity with our brothers and sisters, who make up one-fifth of our population in the US. Instead, for decades, we have been separated and there is a problem when all “our” issues are only abroad in solidarity with Muslims and never where we’ve settled and grown at the systemic expense of a population of people, many of whom comprise of our community. This is ironic given how Black/African movements for liberation have stood in solidarity with Palestine and Palestinians for decades, and still today.
That was long, but I wanted to list these out to really underscore that the presence of Palestine as a political priority in our communities can’t just be chalked up to ‘Arab supremacy’ — it is a systemic priority that stems from a long history and the heavy residue of geopolitical realities for many in our communities “back home”.

This frustration — that I’ve heard a lot in recent years — has also been used to undermine BDS.
That because of the centrality of ‘Arab politics’, we can’t create strategic relationships with certain temples or organizations that lean slightly or entirely Zionist; that strict and rigid adherence to Palestine is getting in the way of building an American Muslim politic.
But what good is any power and politic built at the expense of people in our community? What good is any power and politic that is built by standing on the wrong side of justice? One of the most basic ethical premises in our faith, for day to day and greater political conduct, is to enjoin the good and forbid the evil — so why are we negotiating with the boundaries of evil?
Because this is an issue of faith.
And here I want to dispel another ahistorical talking point: that Palestine is not a “Muslim issue”. Yes, being Muslim does not make you the authority on Palestine, to decide what is best for millions of people. Being Muslim isn’t a card for you to use to barter Palestine and Palestinian humanity for the sake of your career.
But given the sacredness of Jerusalem in Islam, given that members of our communities are directly impacted by a multi-state supported occupation and system of apartheid and given how decolonization and anti-imperialism are (/should be) paramount to Muslim societies and their histories, Palestine and its liberation are a ‘Muslim issue’. And it is that connection that creates one major form of solidarity — across sect, ethnicity and region — with Palestine (though, forget our criminal governments). And that solidarity, when utilized and empowered, can wield influence.
So, do American Muslims still care about Palestine?
I think everyday people, those who are disconnected from the spheres of influence and power, do.
But this is not a battle we can or will win in our institutions, in our organizations; perhaps even in our representations. Because the fight for liberation must be absolute, otherwise it isn’t liberation — it’s politics.

And for the future of this community’s survival, for the growth of its power — however fickle such a hope maybe whilst living in an Empire built to tear it away from you — I hope we can see what is at stake.

You must come to understand things as they should be understood. I know that one day you’ll realize these things and that you’ll realize that the greatest crime any human being can commit, whoever he [sic] may be, is to believe for one moment that the weakness and mistakes of others give him [sic] the right to exist at their expense and justify his [sic] own mistakes and crimes.” — Ghassan Kanafani, Returning to Haifa.


Tuesday 20 October 2020

Extremism/Exaggeration (الغلو في الدين) - 10 Ayat & Hadiths

Religion is like Medicine:
- An Overdoses will KILL you.
- The right amount will SAVE you.
- Without it you'll SUFFER in illness.
1- The Prophet said:
‏ أَلاَ هَلَكَ الْمُتَنَطِّعُونَ
"Beware! The extremists perished!", saying it three times.
["Abu Dawud", 4608 - authentic صحيح]

2- It says in the Qur'an:
لَا تَغْلُوا فِي دِينِكُمْ
"Do not go to extremes in your religion." [Qur'an 4:171].

3- The Prophet said:
وَإِيَّاكُمْ وَالْغُلُوَّ فِي الدِّينِ فَإِنَّمَا أَهْلَكَ مَنْ كَانَ قَبْلَكُمُ الْغُلُوُّ فِي الدِّينِ
"And beware of going to extremes in religious matters, for those who came before you were destroyed because of going to extremes in religious matters."
["Nasai", 3057 - authentic صحيح]

4- It says in the Qur'an:
يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ بِكُمُ الْيُسْرَ وَلَا يُرِيدُ بِكُمُ الْعُسْرَ
"God wants ease for you, and wants not hardship for you." [Qur'an 2:185].

5- The Prophet said:
إِنَّ الدِّينَ يُسْرٌ، وَلَنْ يُشَادَّ الدِّينَ أَحَدٌ إِلاَّ غَلَبَهُ
"Religion is very easy and whoever overburdens himself in his religion will be defeated by it."
["Sahih Bukhari", 39].

6- It says in the Qur'an:
وَمَا جَعَلَ عَلَيْكُمْ فِي الدِّينِ مِنْ حَرَجٍ
"[God] has not laid upon you any hardship in religion." [Qur'an 22:78].

7- Aishah said:
 مَا خُيِّرَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم بَيْنَ أَمْرَيْنِ إِلاَّ أَخَذَ أَيْسَرَهُمَا، مَا لَمْ يَكُنْ إِثْمًا
"Whenever God's Messenger (ﷺ) was given the choice of one of two matters, he would choose the easier of the two, as long as it was not sinful to do so."
["Sahih Bukhari", 3560].

8- It says in the Qur'an:
وَكَذَٰلِكَ جَعَلْنَاكُمْ أُمَّةً وَسَطًا
"This is how We made you a moderate nation." [Qur'an 2:143].

9- The Prophet said:
‏ يَسِّرُوا وَلاَ تُعَسِّرُوا، وَبَشِّرُوا وَلاَ تُنَفِّرُوا
"Facilitate things to people (concerning religious matters), and do not make it hard for them and give them good tidings and do not make them run away (from Islam)."
["Sahih Bukhari", 69].

10- The Prophet said:
خيرُ دينِكم أيسَرُه
"The best of your faith is the easiest."
["Ahmad", 15371 - authentic إسناده صحيح].

Monday 19 October 2020

Destruction of Islamic architecture in China


The reserachers using satellite imagery, have estimated that approximately 16,000 mosques in Xinjiang (65% of the total) have been destroyed or damaged as a result of government policies, mostly since 2017. An estimated 8,500 have been demolished outright. A further 30% of important Islamic sacred sites (shrines, cemeteries and pilgrimage routes, including many protected under Chinese law) have been demolished across Xinjiang, mostly since 2017, and an additional 28% have been damaged or altered in some way.

The report outlines the deliberate erasure of tangible elements of indigenous Uyghur and Islamic culture in Xinjiang appears to be a centrally driven yet locally implemented policy, the ultimate aim of which is the ‘sinicisation of indigenous cultures, and ultimately, the complete ‘transformation’ of the Uyghur community’s thoughts and behaviour.

The report also lists media and non-government organisation reports, which have unearthed individual examples of the deliberate destruction of mosques and culturally significant sites in recent years. The reserachers found out that such destruction is likely to be more widespread than reported, and that an estimated one in three mosques in Xinjiang has been demolished, mostly since 2017.

Interpreting the datasets acquired through satellite images, the reserachers concluded that this equates to roughly 8,450 mosques (±4%) destroyed across Xinjiang, and a further estimated 7,550 mosques (±3.95%) have been damaged or ‘rectified’ to remove Islamic-style architecture and symbols. Cultural destruction often masquerades as restoration or renovation work in Xinjiang.

The report says that mosques across Xinjiang were rebuilt following the Cultural Revolution, and some were significantly renovated between 2012 and 2016, including by the construction of Arab- and Islamic-style domes and minarets. However, immediately after, beginning in 2016, government authorities embarked on a systematic campaign to ‘rectify’ and in many cases outright demolish mosques.

Besides mosques, Chinese Government authorities have also desecrated important sacred shrines, cemeteries and pilgrimage sites. The report provides photographic evidence of how mosques have been redesigned or decreased in size and the same techniques have been applied to cemeteries and other religious places in Xinjiang.

Although other religious minorities weren’t the focus of the report, still the reserachers checked several Christian churches and Buddhist temples across Xinjiang and found that none of those sampled had been damaged or destroyed. 


Friday 9 October 2020

Israel founders were ‘thieves’, Israeli historian says


Early Jewish settlers in Palestine “looted Arab property”, a new book by an Israeli historian has said, adding “authorities turned a blind eye”.

In what has been described as the “first-ever comprehensive study” by Israeli historian Adam Raz described “the extent to which Jews looted Arab property” during the Jewish gangs’ attack in 1948 on Palestinians and their homes, and explains why Ben-Gurion said “most of the Jews are thieves.”

Writing in Haaretz, Ofer Aderet’s review of Raz’s book was entitled: “Jewish soldiers and civilians looted Arab neighbors’ property en masse in ’48. The authorities turned a blind eye.”

Another senior writer at Haaretz, Gideon Levy, commented that the words “most of the Jews are thieves”, “wasn’t uttered by an antisemitic leader, a Jew hater or a neo-Nazi, but by the founder of the State of Israel, two months after it was founded.”

Levy said that the Israeli authorities “turned a blind eye and thus encouraged the looting, despite all the denunciations, the pretense and a few ridiculous trials.”

The looting served a national purpose: to quickly complete the ethnic cleansing of most of the country of its Arabs, and to see to it that 700,000 refugees would never even imagine returning to their homes he explained.

The Israeli writer added: “Even before Israel managed to destroy most of the houses, and wipe from the face of the earth more than 400 villages, came this mass looting to empty them out, so that the refugees would have no reason to return.”

Levy also said that the looters “were motivated not only by ugly greed to possess stolen property right after the war was over, property belonging in some cases to people who were their neighbors just the day before, and not only by the desire to get rich quick by looting household items and ornaments, some of them very costly…, but they served, consciously or unconsciously, the ethnic purification project that Israel has tried in vain to deny all through the years.”

“Almost everyone took part” in the looting, he added, which “was the small looting, the one that proved if only for a moment that ‘most of the Jews are thieves,’ as the founding father said. But that was mini-looting compared to the institutionalized looting of property, houses, villages and cities – the looting of the land.”

“Denial and repression” were part of the reasons why heads of Jewish community allowed the looting of Arab property in Palestine. He said: “Thirst for revenge and drunkenness with victory after the difficult war might perhaps explain, even partially, the participation of so many.”

Levy said that “the looting reflects not only momentary human weakness but is intended to serve a clear strategic goal – purifying the country of its inhabitants – words fail.”

Concluding his article, Levy said: “Anyone who believes that a solution will ever be found to the conflict without proper atonement and compensation for these acts, is living in an illusion.”

He asked Israel to “think about the feelings of the descendants, the Arabs of Israel and the Palestinian refugees, who are living with us and alongside us. They see the pictures and read these things – what crosses their minds?”

He answers: “They will never be able to see the villages of their ancestors: Israel demolished most of them, to leave not a shred,” noting that “one small stolen souvenir from the home that was lost might cause a tear to fall.”

Adding: “Just ask the Jews enraged over any stolen Jewish property.”


MY JOURNEY TO ISLAM IN 2020! British Revert Story





Monday 5 October 2020

The role of women in Islam | DW Documentary

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Thursday 1 October 2020

Backbiting and finding fault in others: Hadith


Abu Barzah al-Aslami reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “O you who have faith with their tongues but faith has not entered their hearts! Do not backbite the Muslims or seek their faults. Whoever seeks their faults, Allah will seek his faults. And if Allah seeks his faults, He will expose him even in the privacy of his own house.”

Source: Sunan Abī Dāwūd 4880

Mu’awiyah reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Verily, if you seek out the faults of people, you will corrupt them or nearly corrupt them.”

Source: Sunan Abī Dāwūd 4888

Monday 28 September 2020

How to pray, talk and act across faiths without betraying your own


I can’t pray in Jesus’ name, but I say “peace be upon him” when I hear it. For though he is one of Islam’s greatest prophets, referenced throughout the Quran and praised with lofty virtues, to pray in his name would be a violation to my faith’s tenets.

In a recent conversation with two friends, a rabbi and a Baptist minister, the rabbi jokingly asked me, “Do you also hold your breath at times while a Christian minister prays, wondering if you’re going to be able to say ‘Amen’ at the end?”

Considerations such as this come with the territory when you do interfaith work. The occasional interfaith vigil after a national tragedy doesn’t normally warrant concern, though there are examples of conservative ministers facing discipline for praying with other clergy, and some traditional faith leaders prefer to abstain from such events.

But when interfaith understanding is not only necessary to connect with your wider community but part of the dissolving of differences you believe faith can achieve, the question becomes, at what point is making adjustments to accommodate the other still fruitful? As an orthodox Sunni imam from Louisiana who now lives in Texas, I too have struggled with these questions.

There are two basic ways to encounter a person of another faith seriously. One, which is engaging with another’s Scripture, will inevitably reveal expected differences, as well as some surprising similarities. In an effort to harmonize, it can be tempting to depart from one’s own understanding of Scripture to demonstrate an added layer of sameness that just isn’t there. But that would remove the richness of the study, and potentially compromise the authenticity of it as well.

There is also multifaith community work — when we form coalitions with other faiths to make a meaningful difference in society. This shouldn’t be a problem: You don’t have to shred your faith identity or Scripture; just champion its elements of service. Come to the table in the fullness of yourself, and demonstrate how you’re going to enrich that table with your faith-inspired work. Easy, right?

Not always. For instance, inevitably there are common prayers said over our common efforts, or introductory remarks that suddenly turn into prayer. Some faith traditions see the divine as more abstract, and an invocation — a prayer that calls upon God for relief or change — can be grasped by members of those faiths even if the prayer is calling upon different deities.

To others, the divine is personal and fixed and can only be invoked in specific ways. It should never be an expectation that a faith leader pray or say amen to anything that would violate that leader’s creed or traditions, but the onus should probably be on those who can adjust without violating to accommodate everyone in the room.

Perhaps, for example, if a Christian minister feels uncomfortable omitting “in Jesus’ name” when among colleagues of different faiths, the minister can offer a reflection instead or give a courteous disclaimer that “I will be offering this prayer as such” that at least gives the others a chance to respectfully abstain. To make fellow faith leaders uncomfortable with your invocation could compromise the very unifying spirit that calls us all together in the first place.

In the same way, we should be careful not to assert that those who believe in an exclusive route to salvation are necessarily unable to work with a diverse group of people.

Southern Baptist Convention President J.D. Greear, left, and Yaqeen Institute founder Imam Omar Suleiman participated in a conversation at North Carolina State University. Courtesy photos

One of the most fruitful dialogues I’ve had in years came in March at North Carolina State University with the Rev. J.D. Greear, who serves as president of the Southern Baptist Convention. At an event convened by Neighborly Faith, Greear and I founded a friendship on our ability to speak faithfully and honestly about our differences, even with a crowd of more than 1,000 looking on.

Five years earlier, three young Muslims had been murdered in nearby Chapel Hill. Some of the family members of those victims were present. Our topic was hope and uncertainty, and we expressed hope that we could work together against hatred and polarization. As a start, Greear, one of the most prominent evangelicals in America, openly condemned anti-Muslim bigotry.

Pastor Greear and I also spoke about religious freedom not being restricted to one religious group, without either my or his concept of salvation being compromised or made ambiguous. I was and am fine with his vision of the hereafter not having space for me, so long as it doesn’t become an obstacle to me having space in the here and now.

Often the obstacle to interfaith communication is not between faiths but within them. I often joke about my relationship in New Orleans with a Reform rabbi and Orthodox rabbi who seemed to view me as a safe mediator regarding some of their core disagreements. While their disagreements were friendly, sometimes our internal disagreements as faith communities are more intense than our larger disagreements with different faith communities altogether.

It can be so much easier to unite with an outsider than an insider who you feel threatens the foundations or trajectory of your shared faith. Indeed, a theological progressive may have a harder time with a traditionalist of the same faith than a traditionalist of another faith.

But it’s a mistake to think that the divisions in our faith give us implicit insights into those of other faiths. Each faith’s factions have their own unique political and scriptural considerations in their internal debates. The basis of our broader cooperation is not what we share as believers, but instead shared community goals.

As our country becomes further polarized into a secularized left and right (white nationalism is no less secularizing than any “ism” on the left), it is imperative that as religious people we don’t merely dress political slogans with religious scripture. We must instead model for the broader society what it looks like to work on shared goals despite our different beliefs.

We can talk openly and honestly with one another without shying away from our disagreements. And we can work, proudly anchored in our different faith traditions, with similar goals through recognition of our full shared humanity.


Wednesday 23 September 2020

How Zia ul Haq Demonised Rape Survivors Instead Of Punishing Rapists

Whether it is a former president of Islamic Republic of Pakistan or the current CCPO of the capital of Pakistan’s largest province, the mindset of our male dominated society hasn’t changed in the last four decades.

In 2005, President Musharraf made comments in the context of a question about the treatment of a rape survivor Mukhtar Mai whose case gained international attention.

“You must understand the environment in Pakistan … This has become a money-making concern. A lot of people say if you want to go abroad and get a visa for Canada or citizenship and be a millionaire, get yourself raped.”

The president said that the newspaper had misinterpreted what he had said and that he was misquoted. But co-author of the Washington Post article, said: “The president’s comments were tape recorded and they were quoted verbatim and in context.”

On September 9, 2020, a woman was gang raped in front of her children during a robbery bid in Gujjarpura along the recently inaugurated Lahore-Sialkot Motorway.
Lahore Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Umar Sheikh blamed the victim of gang-rape incident instead, for taking the route that she had chosen and said that she should have checked her petrol tank before getting on the said route. Umar Sheikh added that the woman had left Lahore’s Defence area at 12:30am for Gujranwala.
“I am surprised that a mother of three, a lone driver after leaving Defence should have taken the straight route from GT Road — a generally well-populated area.”

Did public hangings in Zia era stop rapes?

A false and deceptive claim has been circulating on social media by many accounts since the rape incident last week to justify public hanging of rapists: “During 1981 — in late Gen Ziaul Haq’s tenure — the public hanging of a killer and rapist of a young boy, had effectively worked as a deterrent for the next 10 years.

“The abductors and killers were arrested and executed in public and their bodies remained hanging till the sunset. This stern punishment served as an effective deterrent as no child was reportedly molested and murdered in the next decade or so. And Islam closes the door to the criminal who wants to commit this deleterious and truculent crime. The laws of Islam came to protect women’s honour,” they say.

On February 10, 1979, General Zia ul Haq promulgated four ordinances, collectively referred to as the Hudood Ordinance. The intent of the ordinances, as stated by him was to bring Pakistan’s legal system closer to the precepts of Islam.

Four years after the Zina Ordinance was adopted, a law of evidence was promulgated that did not allow women to testify at all in certain cases and in others considered a woman’s testimony irrelevant, unless corroborated by that of another woman. This essentially gave men and women different legal rights, underscoring that the state did not regard women and men as equal actors.

In 1983 Asma Jahangir and other women rights activists from the Women’s Action Forum organized a protest against Zia’s proposed law of evidence stipulating that the value of a woman’s testimony was half that of a man. This was the first time Zia’s laws and his regime was publicly challenged. In 1987, she co-founded the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, the only independent watchdog for human rights with a nationwide presence.
Following are the few examples of rape victims who suffered for years because of the Hudood Ordinance:
Rafaqat Bibi applied to the martial law authorities to instruct the police to file an FIR against influential people in her village who raped her. She was arrested by the police and in 1984 the court convicted her of Zina for being pregnant without proper explanation.

Safia Bibi, a blind girl, was convicted of Zina by a court in Sahiwal. Her confession was her unexplained pregnancy. The alleged rapists were given the benefit of the doubt and acquitted.

Tasleem Bibi was sentenced to five years’ rigorous imprisonment and awarded 30 lashes in public by the Federal Shariat Court in 1985.

Jehan Mina, who gave birth to a still-born child, suffered the rigours of imprisonment and went mute with the shock of her experience. Her uncle had filed a report with the police, alleging that his orphaned niece had been raped by his brother-in-law and nephew. The trial court convicted Jehan of Zina, as she was pregnant. She was awarded 100 stripes in public. Later the Federal Sharia Court reduced her sentence to three years of rigorous imprisonment and an infliction of 10 lashes in public.

In 2002, Zafran Bibi went to the police to register a case of rape, but she herself was instead charged with having an adulterous affair. A court sentenced her to stoning by death under Pakistan’s Hudood Ordinances, which effectively equate rape with adultery. Despite Bibi’s repeated charges that her brother-in-law had raped her on multiple occasions, the presiding judge convicted her of Zina. She gave birth to a son. She remained in jail with her seven-month-old baby until 2005, when a judge in Peshawar suspended the sentence and allowed her appeal to be heard by a full bench of the Sharia court in Islamabad.

In 1996 Benazir Bhutto’s government brought the Abolition of Whipping Act, forbade sentences/punishments of whipping offenders except when imposed as a Hadd punishment. Those aligned with the clerics argued that the Hudood are God’s law and term any tampering of them un-Islamic.

On 15 November 2006, National Assembly of Pakistan passed Women Protection Bill to amend the heavily criticised 1979 Hudood Ordinance laws. Under the new bill, death penalty for extramarital sex and the need for victims to produce four witnesses to prove rape cases were removed. Death penalty and flogging for people convicted of having consensual sex outside marriage was removed. However, consensual sex outside marriage was still treated as a criminal offense with a punishment of five years in prison or a fine. The punishment for rape under 2006 Women Protection Bill is either death or imprisonment of between ten and twenty-five years. For cases related to gang rape, the punishment is either death penalty or life imprisonment.

On 7 October 2016, Pakistan’s parliament unanimously passed new anti-rape and anti-honour killing bills. According to the new anti-rape bill, DNA testing was made mandatory in rape cases. According to the new law, anyone who rapes a minor or a mentally or physically disabled person will be liable for the death penalty or life imprisonment. Recording of statement of the female survivor of rape or sexual harassment shall be done by an Investigating Officer, in the presence of a female police officer, or a female family member of the survivor.

Despite the revisions of laws over the period of time, we are not getting anywhere because of non-implementation of laws. Until and unless there are serious reforms in Police and judiciary, nothing is going to change. Pakistan’s social structure is not accommodating women as equal citizens. Women in Pakistan live within an environment of retrogressive cultural practices that are often viewed as religious mandates. Progressive voices are often labelled as radical because of Pakistan’s legacy of conscious Islamisation. From Benazir Bhutto to Asma Jahangir to Mukhtar Mai and thousands of unnamed women made it possible to force the successive parliaments to make changes in Hudood Ordinance. Whatever rights they have now, because of their own struggle. There are no contributions of men I am afraid.

Let me quote Asma Jahangir to close the long timeline of women’s struggle in Pakistan:
“You cannot have human rights in a society if you do not have women rights”