Wednesday 31 August 2022

Raising Emotionally Responsible Sons

Allah’s Messenger kissed Al-Hasan ibn `Ali while Al-Aqra` ibn Habis At-Tamimi was sitting with him. Al-Aqra` said, “I have ten children and have never kissed one of them.” The Prophet cast a look at him and said, “Whoever is not merciful to others will not be treated mercifully.” (Al-Bukhari)


Monday 22 August 2022

Dua for our children


Dear Allah,  

When I complain of my child, remind me of the test that Adam and Hawa عليه السلام faced when Qabil killed Habil,
When I complain of my child, remind me of Nuh عليه السلام as he watched his child die in the waters when Allah ﷻ sent the floods,
When I complain of my child, remind me of Hud عليه السلام whose son refused to believe in Allah and remained with the non believers,
When I complain of my child, remind me of Ibrahim عليه السلام who was asked to leave Ismail عليه السلام as a newborn infant on the burning sands between Mount Safa and Mount Marwah,
When I complain of my child, remind me of when You ﷻ commanded Ibrahim عليه السلام to sacrifice his only son after almost 100 years, for Your pleasure,
When I complain of my child, remind me of Yaqub عليه السلام whose sons left Yusuf عليه السلام to die in a well, yet Yaqub عليه السلام held on to the belief that his son was still alive,
When I complain of my child, remind me of the mother of Musa عليه السلام, who was commanded to place her newborn baby in a bassinet and in the dangerous waters of the river Nile,
When I complain of my child, remind me of our mother Maryam  عليه السلام, who gave birth to Isa عليه السلام alone under a date tree,
When I complain of my child, remind me of our beloved Prophet Muhammad ﷺ who buried all of his beloved children in his lifetime, with the exception of Fatimah  ‎ رضي الله عنه ,
When I complain of my child, remind me that until today there are people who are struggling to conceive.

🤲 Ya Hayyu Ya Qayyum, my child is an Amanah that you have blessed me with. I am grateful for this blessing, and I pray every single day that this Amanat will be the coolness of my eyes, as well as a bearer of the pillars of Islam.
Ya Allah bless my sisters who are praying for children with pious, healthy and beautiful children.
Ya Allah answer the prayer of every mother/guardian/parent for her child.
Allahumma ameen! 

Tuesday 16 August 2022

Blood Transfusion was Haram


When blood transfusion became a common medical procedure to save lives, the scholars of Islam ruled that it was haram.  It took them many years to come to their senses.  In recent centuries, in every scientific advance or social change, the scholars of Islam have been behind the curve.  The default position seems to be that everything that is unfamiliar is haram.  This is in contrast to the height of Muslim civilisation, where the scholars were the ones driving advances in thought and progress in society.

In this day and age, being a scholar, or an ustadz is no longer something that is immediately respectable.  People graduate from religious schools poorly equipped to function in society.  In effect, we are creating a beggar class.  A lot of these “scholars” are able to recite the Qur’an beautifully; not enough of them are able to derive practical lessons.  Jurisprudential edicts are anachronistic, impractical, rigid – everything the religion is not meant to be.  It makes it seem as if Muslims worship a petty god.  But it is true that limited people can only envision a limited god. 

From the blog: A Muslim Convert Once more 

Monday 15 August 2022

Why coastal Karnataka is southern India’s ‘Hindutva laboratory’


Mohammad Ismail was 21 in 2005 when he worked as a salesman at a saree store in the coastal city of Mangalore in the southern Indian state of Karnataka.

One afternoon in May that year, Ismail was on way to Mysore, a heritage city some six hours away, in a bus when he along with several other Muslims were pulled out and brutally attacked by a mob of Hindu vigilantes. Ismail suffered serious injuries and remained bedridden for months.

The reason? The group he was travelling with included Hindu girls.

“The culture at the time was such that we could not even be found near Hindu girls,” Ismail told Al Jazeera 17 years after the incident.

“Mobs from Hindu right-wing organisations would beat up and lynch any Muslim boy over the pretext of seducing Hindu girls or transporting cows for slaughter, and there would be little action against them.”

‘Karnataka model’
In the nearly 320km-long (199 miles) coastal belt of Karnataka, such attacks are no aberration. They have a steady history of more than 30 years, giving the region the notorious distinction of being southern India’s “Hindutva laboratory”.

Hindutva refers to a 100-year-old Hindu supremacist movement that aims to turn a constitutionally secular India into an exclusive Hindu state. The movement is led by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the ideological fountainhead of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and dozens of other Hindu right-wing groups across the country.

India protest
A woman holds a placard during a protest against the killing of a Muslim man in Karnataka’s Belagavi district [File: Aijaz Rahi/AP]
“Everyone talks about the ‘Uttar Pradesh model’ when it comes to Hindutva, but it is actually the ‘Karnataka model’ which has now spread to the rest of the country,” Ismail said.

Over the last few years, Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state governed by the BJP, has made headlines for its anti-Muslim policies, including extra-judicial encounters, demolishing homes and businesses, and arresting people for exercising their freedom of speech.

Before Uttar Pradesh, it was the “Gujarat model” that was widely seen as having first spread the Hindutva movement across India with its large-scale violence and apartheid-style segregation of Muslims.

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Gujarat is also Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state, which he governed for more than a decade before becoming a parliamentarian in 2014.

In 2002, Modi’s government was accused of a state-sponsored pogrom of Muslims following the burning of a passenger train, in which 67 people, most of them Hindu pilgrims, were killed. While officials said more than 1,000 Muslims were killed in the massacre that followed, activists claim the toll was twice as high.

However, the “Karnataka model” has garnered relatively less attention. Yet, since the 1990s, this highly developed and urban region has not just participated in but also led the Hindutva project nationally.

In the last two weeks alone, there have been at least three religiously motivated murders in coastal Karnataka, including two Muslim men and a member of the BJP’s youth wing.

Responding to the Hindu man’s murder, the BJP chief minister of the state said he would implement a “Yogi model” in the state, referring to his counterpart in Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath, a saffron-robed monk known for his anti-Muslim policies in India’s most populous state.

Another Karnataka minister was even more direct. He said the southern state would “go five steps ahead of Uttar Pradesh” and was ready to even carry out extrajudicial killings of the accused.

Earlier this year, the state made global headlines over a controversial ban on hijabs in schools and colleges.

The state has also banned cow slaughter and introduced an anti-conversion law that makes interfaith marriages a matter of legal scrutiny. Many BJP politicians have called for a boycott of Muslim businesses.

For close observers of Karnataka’s politics, these events are no coincidence.

“None of these issues erupted sporadically … The Sangh Parivar has worked on all of these issues meticulously over decades in this region,” Rajaram Tolpadi, retired professor of political science at Mangalore University, told Al Jazeera.

Sangh Parivar refers to India’s many Hindutva organisations controlled by the RSS.

While the Hindi-speaking northern Indian states are considered the natural support base of the BJP, electoral success in southern India had evaded the party until 2008 when it came to power in Karnataka.

Even now, Karnataka is the only southern state where the BJP is in power – a political success that came after decades of communal polarisation and Hindu consolidation.

It was in Karnataka’s Udupi town in 1985 that a “Dharm Sansad” (religious parliament) had called for the opening of the disputed Babri mosque – a 16th-century Mughal-era structure that Hindu right-wing groups claim was built on the exact site where Hindu god Ram was born.

The mosque was demolished by a Hindu mob seven years later, leading to religious violence across India in which at least 2,000 people, most of them Muslims, were killed.

In 2019, India’s Supreme Court handed over the site to a trust controlled by the federal government to build a Ram temple at the site. Muslims were given land to build a mosque 25km (15 miles) away.

In August 2020, Modi himself presided over a religious ceremony to launch the construction of the temple.

Karnataka does not fit the stereotype of backwardness, unemployment and illiteracy often associated with a “bigoted” society. The state has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, a higher-than-national average literacy rate, and boasts of Bengaluru, the Silicon Valley of Asia, as its capital.

Since the 1980s, Bengaluru’s thriving IT industry has attracted talent from across the country. Global software giants and almost half of Indian unicorns have offices there. With the first pubs in India, high-rise corporate offices and gated apartments for the city’s upper middle-class, Bengaluru is as cosmopolitan as it gets.

Even coastal Karnataka, the hotbed of Hindutva, is not particularly backwards, either. On the face of it, the region is urban, multicultural, multilingual and wealthy.

The region’s main city of Mangalore is a national education hub with some of the leading engineering and medical institutions located there.

Even during the monsoons, the city is bustling with students huddled in buses, autorickshaws, bus stands and coffee shops. Billboards advertising universities and colleges with photographs of their top-ranking students dot the busy roads.

Malls and restaurants serving Mangalorean, north Indian, Keralite, Goan and Arabic cuisines stand in seeming harmony with centuries-old temples scattered around the city.

“There is overt modernisation but underneath, coastal Karnataka is a deeply parochial society. People here are educated and settled in places like the United States and Dubai, but their worldview remains unchanged – the cosmopolitanism they bring back is limited to money,” Tolpadi told Al Jazeera.

One of the earliest signs of a more aggressive Hindutva was seen in this region in 2009 when a group of young women in a pub in Mangalore was beaten up for violating “Indian values” by dozens of activists belonging to a far-right Hindu group, called the Sri Ram Sene.

“Not just moral policing, hatred for Muslims is public culture here – one which they have successfully exported throughout the state and the country,” Tolpadi said.

The local media, for example, refers to Muslims and Christians as “anya Bharatiya” (the other Indians) or “anya komu” (the other religion).

“Some time back, a Hindu girl and a Muslim boy were attacked and handed over to the police in a case of moral policing by a Hindu group. The next day, the local media said a boy from the ‘other community’ was caught with a girl,” Naveen Soorinje, journalist and author of a book in Kannada language on communalism in Karnataka, told Al Jazeera.

“They do not even mention ‘Muslim’ because it is assumed that both the reporter and the reader is Hindu, and the ‘other community’ is Muslim.”

The Muslims of coastal Karnataka, locally known as the Byari community – a word that translates to trade or business in the local Tulu dialect – are known to have lived in this region for more than a thousand years.

Muslims constitute nearly 14 percent of India’s 1.35 billion population. In coastal Karnataka, however, they form about 24 percent of the population.

The community benefitted from the opening up of the Gulf economies to foreign workforces in the 1970s. They own businesses such as malls, hospitals, construction and educational institutions in the region.

Across the region, hijab-wearing girls and women, who recently found themselves at the receiving end of global attention, are seen driving big cars, walking on the roads alone, going to colleges, or hanging out with friends.

“Other communities also went to the Gulf, but Muslims from Kerala and coastal Karnataka went in large numbers,” Mohammad Kunhi, Karnataka state secretary of the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, a pan-Indian Muslim socioreligious organisation, told Al Jazeera.

“This brought a lot of prosperity and visibility for the Muslim community – flashy cars, new clothes, new technology, more money – which, in turn, created a sense of economic jealousy.”

Mangalore-based activist Vidya Dinaker says the Muslims of coastal Karnataka are not the quintessential oppressed community.

“They are visible, they go to restaurants and malls, they are educated, they drive good cars, they have voices in the otherwise highly communal local media …They are not powerless, so there is a pushback and therefore, there is a good fight.”

The Hindu right-wing forces here manufacture the fear of the Muslim “outsider” alleging they plan to take over Hindu land, businesses, and even their women through marriages and conversion.

The prosperity of the Byari community also caused rivalry with other trading communities, mainly the Konkanis and the Gowd Saraswat Brahmins, the two dominant Hindu castes in the region.

“Whenever there is a riot and Muslim shops are attacked, it is these people who benefit,” said Soorinje. “So, the funding and ideological leadership for Hindutva has come from them.”

Meanwhile, a parallel project to “unify” Hindus divided by castes also continued in Karnataka. Experts say the RSS since the 1940s has been infiltrating schools, colleges, media and local neighbourhoods with one clear message: “Hindu Navella Ondu”, or ‘Hindus are one’ in Kannada.

Two political developments in the 1970s helped the RSS. First, a popular movement against the imposition of the state of emergency by the Congress government in 1975 was spearheaded in the region by the RSS, which used the anger against the then-ruling party to push the Hindutva agenda.

Second, the land reforms enacted by the Congress further antagonised the dominant Hindu caste groups whose lands were taken and redistributed to people from the less privileged castes. Moreover, sustained social engineering even brought the lower castes closer to the RSS than the Congress.

“The Billavas are numerically the dominant caste in this region who have been economically, socially and educationally backward,” Phani Raj, Udupi-based professor and activist, told Al Jazeera.

“But the RSS worked on their social inclusion and they have become the stormtroopers of Hindutva who create terror in the society. For a community with little identity, being called a Hindu and given space and responsibility by the upper castes has meant largely unquestioned devotion to the Hindutva project.”

Today, it is no coincidence that a large section of local Hindu right-wing leadership is occupied by men from the Billava community. At the office of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), a far-right Hindu organisation, young boys sit idly on a breezy morning.

Most of them have not studied beyond high school and have no secure source of employment. They are drivers, medical representatives, contractual staff working in local banks, and security guards. For them, being a part of the Hindutva project is a form of identity assertion – one that hinges on Muslim hate.

A young medical representative who did not want to be identified said his job does not require him to be working all day.

“I have a lot of free time and I devote that to Hindutva … Those with 9-5 jobs cannot do what we do because the idea is to be present immediately whenever there is a case of cow slaughter or ‘love jihad’,” he told Al Jazeera.

“If we do not do this job for Hindutva, who will?”


Monday 8 August 2022

‘Deserted By Husband ’— How Triple Talaq Criminalisation Has Increased Abandonment Of Muslim Women


‘Latka ke choda hua hai’ or ‘he has left me hanging’, is a common lament among several women at the Shaheen Women's Resource and Welfare Association—a centre in Telengana’s Hyderabad which has been working for the victims of Triple Talaq for decades.

Except in the three years since the parliament passed the law to criminalise Triple Talaq on 30 July 2019, the women’s help centre hardly ever gets complaints of women being subject to Triple Talaq. Instead, all they get are grievances and appeals from hapless Muslim women who have been deserted by their husbands. The criminalisation of the Triple Talaq has given rise to a new problem: abandonment.


Tuesday 2 August 2022

Send us a man to do your job so we can sack you, Taliban tell female officials


Still so many brothers support the Taliban, and make excuses for them. Just be honest you wish to remove women from public sphere and impoverish them too.

As economy collapses, women from Afghanistan’s finance ministry say they have been asked to suggest male relatives to replace them

The Taliban have asked women working at Afghanistan’s finance ministry to send a male relative to do their job a year after female public-sector workers were barred from government work and told to stay at home.

Women who worked in government positions were sent home from their jobs shortly after the Taliban took power in August 2021, and have been paid heavily reduced salaries to do nothing.

But several women told the Guardian they had received similar calls from Taliban officials requesting they recommend male relatives in their place, because the “workload in the office has increased and they need to hire a man instead of us”, according to one woman who did not wish her identity to be revealed.

Sima Bahous, director of UN Woman. ‘An entire generation is threatened by food insecurity and malnutrition,’ she warned in May. Photograph: Rex/Shutterstock
Sima Bahous, executive director of UN Women, said in May: “Current restrictions on women’s employment have been estimated to result in an immediate economic loss of up to $1bn – or up to 5% of Afghanistan’s GDP.

“There is almost universal poverty in the country,” she added. “An entire generation is threatened by food insecurity and malnutrition.”

Maryam*, 37, received a call from the HR department of the Afghan ministry of finance, where she had worked for more than a decade. She said: “I was asked to introduce a male family member to replace me at the ministry, so I could be dismissed from the job.”

Her voice quivering with frustration, Maryam, said she had worked her way up over many years within the ministry to head of the department. “How can I easily introduce someone else to replace me?” she asked. “Would he be able to work as efficiently as I have for so many years?

“This is a difficult and technical position I was trained for and have years of experience in. And even if he could do the same work eventually, what would happen to me?

“Since they came [to power], the Taliban have demoted me and reduced my salary. I cannot even afford my son’s school fees. When I questioned this, an official rudely told me to get out of his office and said that my demotion was not negotiable.”

Several attempts by the Guardian to seek a response and clarification from Taliban officials at the ministry went unanswered. It is not clear if women from other state departments have also been asked to send male relatives to do their job. However, Maryam said she was aware of at least 60 female colleagues from the finance department who had received similar calls.

“The Taliban have a history of eliminating women, so hearing this is not surprising or new,” said Sahar Fetrat, assistant researcher with the women’s rights division at Human Rights Watch (HRW), which has documented extensively the Taliban’s atrocities against women since they took over Afghanistan.

In a report this year, HRW investigated the loss of women’s jobs and livelihoods in Ghazni province since August 2021, when the Taliban seized power in Kabul. “Nearly all the women interviewed who previously had paid employment had lost their jobs,” an interviewee said in the report.

“Only female healthcare workers and teachers can go to work. Women working in other fields are forced to stay home now.”

Fetrat said: “Within the Taliban’s misogyny, women belong to men, as a property and an object representing the honour of the family.

“Therefore, in some cases like this they give women’s jobs and titles to women’s male relatives, and in other cases like the hijab, they punish women’s close male relatives for women’s public conduct and clothing,” she added, referring to an earlier ban that criminalised women’s clothing. According to the decree, issued in May, the male “guardians” of women who appeared in public “uncovered” would be fined and jailed for the offence.

Fetrat said these policies imposed new standards of “harmful behaviour in society, and that is normalisation of the objectification of women. It has a clear message for men, and especially younger men, that they ‘own’ women in their families and they must act as a moral authority and actively police women’s conduct.”

Maryam and her colleagues are mobilising to protest against Taliban policy. “We do not accept their order and we will try to get them to change it,” she said.

“We have created a group of female employees of the ministry. We are negotiating now, and we will demonstrate if they don’t hear us,” she added, urging the international community to extend support and solidarity.

The country is in the grip of a severe economic and humanitarian crisis. According to the UN, 20 million people now face acute hunger, more than 9 million have been displaced since the Taliban took power, and severe drought has affected farming.


Monday 1 August 2022

UK’s first-ever survey details attacks on mosques, Islamic bodies


About 42 percent of mosques or Islamic institutions in a  newly released UK report have experienced religiously motivated attacks in the last three years.

The survey, the first of its kind, was jointly carried out by two British Muslim organisations – Muslim Engagement and Development (MEND) and Muslim Census.

It said that the most common form of attack experienced by mosques and other Islamic institutions was vandalism, followed by burglary or theft (34 percent), with 83 percent being attacked at least once a year.

It also suggested that nearly 17 percent of mosques have faced physical abuse directed at staff or worshippers, with one mosque reporting that a religious cleric was stabbed outside the front entrance.

Mosques officials described receiving threats of physical violence on popular social media platforms and general abuse. In the report, they have expressed their frustrations and how increased Islamophobia hate crimes are taking toll on their wellbeing.

“We have witnessed individuals breaking windows, vandalising worshipers’ vehicles, and spraying racist graffiti on the mosque building,” an unidentified mosque official was quoted by the report as saying.

Nearly two-thirds of the 113 mosques who participated in the survey reported that the attacks harmed the wider community, with 9 percent reporting that their mosques or Islamic institutions were targeted frequently, at least every three months.

The report indicated that 15 percent of mosques saw an increase in attacks during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Toufik Kacimi, the imam of Sainsbury Park mosque in north London, told Al Jazeera that religiously motivated attacks have increased over the years, with the latest incident happening weeks ago when a member of the public hurled dog faeces into the mosque.

“Just last Ramadan, one man punctured six cars belonging to worshipers; we also received threats phone calls and hatred letters,” he said.

Kacimi also said that some of the attackers pretend to be Muslim to gain access to the mosque and steal money and mobile phones from the donation box and people’s jackets.

“We can say that hate crimes against Muslims have sharply increased in the last three years, and it’s costing us more money; we have hired four security guards and deployed more CCTV cameras in the mosque premise and it’s a huge financial burden to us,” he said.

Police response
The survey also investigated the UK police response to such attacks. It said 85 percent of the mosques that have been attacked or threatened reported these incidents to the police.

About 55 percent of the mosques were satisfied with the police response, while 38 percent said that no police action was taken when they reported the incident, according to the report.

In addition, 28 percent of the respondents said that the police provided extra surveillance to the mosques due to their reports; however, 15 percent of those deemed it unnecessary to contact the police and report the attack, supposing the police would not take any action.

However, the UK national police chiefs’ council lead for hate crime, Deputy Chief Constable Mark Hamilton, refuted the allegations, saying that they take all hate crime reports seriously since they have a devastating impact on individual victims and the communities involved.

“We work hard to build confidence by engaging with affected communities at a local and national level. We are in regular contact with our partners at the charity who support Muslim communities, and I would encourage anyone who suffers hate crime to report it to the police,” he told Al Jazeera.

“Everyone has a right to live their lives and practice their religion, without the fear of targeted abuse for who they are, either physically or verbally; and we will always seek to protect that right.”

Azhar Qayum, the director of MEND told Al Jazeera that though they have documented their concerns, they have also made recommendations to the police to address Islamophobic hate crimes in the UK.

“We haven’t had a response from the government yet; but we have made some recommendations, including the police to improve links with their local Muslim community and mosques and implement swift action when such attacks occur, and a full explanation when no action is taken and we will monitor to see if they have been implemented,” he said.

Some mosques mentioned in the report also stated that they kept quiet about these attacks for a variety of reasons.

About 64 percent of mosques reported that they feared these attacks would have a negative impact on Muslim communities, with responses ranging from worshippers being discouraged from attending mosques, to causing rifts in the community to Muslims losing faith in the police.

The UK Home Office statistics record 6,377 religious hate crimes between March 2020 and 2121 with almost half of them aimed at the Muslim community in Britain, which is estimated to be about 2.8 million or 4.4 percent of the British population.