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Books and Documents

Books and Documents

The book (Inside Al-Qaeda and the Taliban: Beyond Bin Laden and 9/11 By Syed Saleem Shahzad) vividly describes the nuts and bolts of al Qaeda’s game plan like its emphasis on raising awareness in, and thus recruiting, the indigenous holy warriors or ‘ibnul balad’ (sons of the soil) from across the Muslim world, who would rally under al Qaeda’s banner and join its ‘khuruj’ — the revolt by pious Muslims against the heretical or un-Islamic regimes. The work emphasises that the centerpiece of al Qaeda’s ideology is a concept termed ‘takfeer’, which literally means declaring other Muslims as infidels and thus liable to murder and terror attacks, if they do not conform to what al Qaeda perceives as the definition of a pious Muslim. It is almost as if Saleem was on a quest to find Keyser Söze from among the line-up of the usual suspects. But like in Bryan Singer’s movie, Keyser Söze may have slipped from Saleem’s hands saying: “And like that, he’s gone.”-- Dr Mohammad Taqi (Photo: Syed Saleem Shahzad)

Criticism of Islam would appear to be blossoming into a lucrative business in Germany. How else is the abundance of books that amount to little more than a description of the deficiencies of Islam to be explained? With the publication of a book written by the Egyptian-German author Hamed Abdel-Samad, another alleged magnum opus of this genre can be added to this collection. Born in Egypt and himself a Muslim, Hamed Abdel-Samad claims that in writing this book he was on a humanistic mission; after all, he says, "anyone who really takes Muslims seriously, must criticise Islam."With untiring intensity, he repeatedly explains to his readers just why he feels the need to leap to the defence of Islam on behalf of humanity: "the downfall of the Arab Islamic world is inevitable. Two principles dominate life and nature: variety and flexibility. Anyone who goes against these principles, dies out. The Islamic world has been doing just that for some time now and will, consequently, fall apart."-- Christian Horbach

Islam Without a Veil is a notable study by an author who has a deep understanding and respect for Islam and for Muslim tradition and culture. It should be helpful reading for anyone who professes to know anything about Islam or Kazakhstan. During his assignment in Astana, Mr. Salhani interviewed most of the country’s leadership, and spent countless hours talking to Kazakhstan’s religious leaders, as well as everyday people in the streets. He discovered that Kazakhstan was very active on two fronts, two topics he had spent decades covering as a journalist with a degree in conflict resolution: religion and terrorism and how they interact and how they can be utilized to explore a solution to the current dilemma.  After the 9/11 attacks on the United States and the emergence of Islamophobia, Muslim bashing became common. -- Isidore Rogalski

 

At the heart of The Convert lie two compelling characters culled from the pages of recent history. By far the lesser known is Maryam Jameelah, a somewhat obscure author and pamphleteer whose papers Baker stumbled upon by accident in the New York Public Library. Born in 1934 to comfortable secular Jews in a New York suburb, Jameelah is drawn to Islam in her teens, converts in her twenties, and soon finds herself on a steamer on her way to take up residence in Lahore as the adopted daughter of Jamaat-e-Islami founder Abul Ala Maududi (1903-79). Jameelah’s relationship with Maududi does not unfurl as either of them intended, but over time the American convert acquires a reputation of her own as both symbol and champion of the Jamaat’s Manichaean world-view. -- Sadanand Dhume

 

Anyone abandoning themselves to the pain of love to the same extent as Nadia, heroine and narrator of Nemat Khaled's novel "Henna Night", will inevitably become a prisoner of their own emotions. Nadia's cousin Djalal was once the man of her dreams. They were together for a brief and happy period, the wedding was about to take place, but Djalal could not be faithful. And while one day Djalal leaves his city and his country behind and cuts Nadia out of his life forever, Nadia cannot forget him. She thinks about him all the time, conducts imaginary conversations as though this might be a way of calling him back, and feverishly consults her dead great aunt Hassna, who had herself been similarly unhappy in love almost 60 years previously. Instead of being able to celebrate the ubiquitous henna night, which traditionally takes place before a wedding, Nadia sinks into a desolate "henna night of desperation" from which she is no longer able to find a way out. -- Volker Kaminski

 
People Without History: India’s Muslim Ghettos
Yoginder Sikand, NewAgeIslam.com

The causes of Muslim backwardness are multiple. Some are rooted in history, while others are related to contemporary factors, such as discrimination on the part of agencies of the state and the wider society as well as the neglect of Muslim leaders of Muslim substantive interests—such as economic and educational empowerment—and an overwhelming focus on emotive, identity-related and religious concerns instead. In contrast to caste Hindu localities, the Muslim-dominated slums, the book notes, enjoy miserably low levels of public service provisioning—schools, drains, electricity, drinking water, hospitals and so on.-- Yoginder Sikand, NewAgeIslam.com

Ms Lodhi is pretty brutal in her criticism of successive governments, including the two she served in. She was at the heart of Pakistan's foreign policy establishment in the Musharraf regime in the run-up to the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, first as Ambassador in Washington from 1999 to 2002 and then in London from 2003 to 2008. Before that (between 1993 and 1996) she served Benazir Bhutto's government as its top diplomat in Washington. Yet, in her account of their failings she comes across simply as a passive bystander. Arguably one of the best pieces is historian Ayesha Jalal's, “The Past As Present”, a withering examination of what she calls the “reality deficit” of Pakistanis and their “tendency for paranoia” — a result of years of peddling of “myths” as historical truths in an attempt by the Pakistani state to assert an imagined “Islamic superiority”. -- Hasan Suroor

 
The Ban on Books
A.G. Noorani

About the only redeeming feature in the recent unseemly furore in India over Joseph Lelyveld’s book Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi and His Struggle with India is that the governments of India and of the states refused to ban it. The only and ugly exception was the government of Gujarat, headed by Narendra Modi, under whose watch a pogrom of Muslims was staged in 2002. He hoped to win kudos for being the first to ban and now finds himself alone and ridiculed. Book-banning is inspired by the same mentality which promotes book-burning. It is no function of the state to prescribe a select bibliography to its citizens and undermine the fundamentals of democracy. Before pursuing this theme, however, one must reckon with a certain trend in the West which justifies wilful intentional insult as an exercise of free speech; specifically insult to the faith of Islam and to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). In truth, the trend has only accentuated in recent months; for, as James Carrol recalled, in an article in The New York Times earlier this month, “Contempt towards the religion of Muhammad is a foundational pillar of western civilisation. That it is unacknowledged only makes it more pernicious.” -- A.G. Noorani

IS RELIGION FROM GOD OR MAN-MADE?

Fateh{puri@ believed in God, and there are various instances in his writings to prove that. However, he was not sure if God had anything to do with religion. As seen in the earlier instance, he tried to rationalize even the divine revelation, and showed that it was possible to see the Qur’an as the personal contribution of the Prophet. This was because, for Fateh{puri@, religion had a more utilitarian purpose, than spiritual. Religion, for him, was to serve as a guide for humanity, to remind them of doing good deeds, being kind to one another, and remembering God, while taking part in worldly pursuits and aiming for progress and success.

In reality, all religions of the world were made by humans and were not related to God, revelation or providence. ...

IS THE QUR’AN REALLY GOD’S SPEECH?

As mentioned above, Fateh{puri@ believed that the only thing that could be proven was that the Qur’an came from Muh{ammad’s mouth; whether it was really God’s speech is debatable. ...

STATUS OF THE PROPHET

Prophet Muh{ammad, according to him, was basically a reformer who was very concerned about the state of his society:­ its illiteracy, ignorance, social evils like polygamy, infanticide, drinking (etc.), its material culture and idol worship. After all, he sat meditating in a cave for weeks even before the advent of the revelation. --  JUHI SHAHIN

Excerpts from a newly published book in Pakistan: The War Within Islam: Niyaz Fateh{puri@’s Struggle Against The Fundamentalists by Juhi Shahin

The two best books written on Sindh in the last few years have been the works of two writers who are ‘Sindhi by option’ and not by accident. I think this term — Sindhi by option — needs to be explained because it puts the political, social and economic role of the post-partition migrants in Sindh into perspective. both books have been written by Marxist democrats, Syed Mazhar Jamil and Tanvir Tahir Ahmed. In their younger days, they had been at the forefront of the workers, democracy and provincial rights movement. Syed Mazhar Jamil wrote Jaded Sindhi Adab, which was published in 2004. It is a History of Sindhi literature. Mazhar Jamil’s researched work on Sindhi literature, which is in Urdu, has been accepted by most leading Sindhi writers as one of the best contributions. And the research dissertation of Tanvir Ahmed Tahir, Political Dynamics of Sindh, 1947-1977, , for which he was conferred a doctorate. As a true Marxist, Tanvir first dilated on the theory of ethnicity as it puts the political dynamics of Sindh in the right perspective in Pakistan-- Babar Ayaz

Madrasa Education in Modern India—A Study
Yoginder Sikand, NewAgeIslam.com

The concept of education in Islam is a deeply contested one, Jhingran argues in her conclusion, and a plurality of voices compete with each other, each claiming to represent Islamic authenticity. The traditionalist ulema, she shows, make a sharp distinction between what they regard as ‘religious’ or dini knowledge, on the one hand, and ‘worldly’, ‘secular’ or duniyavi knowledge, on the other, and they privilege the former over the latter. This notion, she indicates, is a relatively new one, which dates to colonial times, and does not apply to the pre-colonial period, when madrasas taught both sorts of knowledge, and produced not just religious specialists but also scientists and administrators. She highlights the arguments of Muslim reformists, who hark back to what they regard as the authentic Islamic notion of knowledge, one that is holistic and is, by definition, opposed to the rigid dualism that the colonial powers introduced, which, following in their footsteps, post-colonial states continue to advocate, and which the traditionalist ulema so fervently uphold in order to maintain their claims of representing Islam and the Muslims. In other words, according to these reformists, what is regarded by the ulema as ‘worldly’ knowledge is also Islamically- authentic and legitimate, and, therefore, is to be willingly embraced, even in the madrasas. -- Yoginder Sikand, NewAgeIslam.com

Book Review: Jimmy the Terrorist
Yoginder Sikand, New Age Islam.com

Sensitively crafted and deeply evocative, Jimmy the Terrorist is about the best novel I have read on the unenviable predicament of Muslims in current times. It describes remarkably realistically, and without being preachy, sensationalist or apologetic, the painful dilemmas that vast numbers of Muslims are today faced with in the wake of mounting Islamophobia and increasing anti-Muslim prejudice, on the one hand, and radicalism and hatred in the name of Islam, on the other. Focussing on the momentous transformations wrought in the lives of members of a single north Indian Muslim family in post-Partition India, Ahmad masterfully brings out the range of social, economic and cultural processes at work behind the frightening demonization of Muslims and their religion, as well as the despair and defiance that these are rapidly engendering.

Remarkably realistically, and without being preachy, sensationalist or apologetic, the painful dilemmas that vast numbers of Muslims are today faced with in the wake of mounting Islamophobia and increasing anti-Muslim prejudice, on the one hand, and radicalism and hatred in the name of Islam, on the other. Focussing on the momentous transformations wrought in the lives of members of a single north Indian Muslim family in post-Partition India. -- Yoginder Sikand, New Age Islam.com

 

In northern Nigeria, Tayler encounters Christian and Muslim extremists, whose politics of hate in the name of faith have resulted in the deaths of several thousands in the last few decades. He visits emirs, who rule over their subjects like medieval potentates. In Chad, he encounters African Muslims increasingly resentful of their Arab co-religionists for promoting Arab hegemony under the guise of Islam, and who still harbour bitter memories of being poached upon by Arab slave traders. He encounters Muslims who treat others (Christians and ‘pagans’) as despicable ‘infidels’, being bloated with an irrepressible sense of superiority. In Mali, he finds remnants of the slave trade still alive and thriving, and African customs and traditions of the local Muslims being menacingly denounced by Saudi-inspired Wahhabis, who propagate a brutal, drab and fun-less version of Islam in the name of religious authenticity. In Niger, he discovers desperate poverty, hunger and venial corruption. By the time he arrives at the Senegal coast, at the end of his journey, he seems quite glad to be going back home, although with some fond memories of a daunting journey that few outsiders have undertaken before. -- Yoginder Sikand, NewAgeIslam.com

 

Leave alone permitting ‘low’ caste Muslims to study at the Muhammadan Anglo-Oriental College (which later became the Aligarh Muslim University or AMU), such Muslims were not considered to be equal even in religious terms at the institution that Syed Ahmad established. This is strikingly brought out, for instance, in a reference to the institution by the noted Deobandi scholar Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi (d.1943) in his book Ashraf al-Jawab, where he wrote:

‘An Englishman once visited the Aligarh College where he saw the students, all sons of ra‘is, studying, and noticed their servants standing far from them. They could not sit near their masters. But when they prayed [in the mosque] they stood next to them. The Englishmen asked those sons of ra‘is if their servants, by standing together with them during prayer, were not insulting them. They replied that [the servants] dared not even in the least try to act as their equals after the prayers gave over. The rules [of prayer] required them [they said] to observe equality while at prayer, but for everything else the rules were different.’ -- Masood Alam Falahi

(Translated from Urdu by Yoginder Sikand for NewAgeIslam.com)

For Part 1 Go to: Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims - Part 1

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamBooksAndDocuments_1.aspx?ArticleID=3611

For Part 2 Go to: Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims - Part 2: Indian Muslim Society in the Shadow of Casteism

http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamBooksAndDocuments_1.aspx?ArticleID=3616

For Part 3 Go to: Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims - Part 3: The Impact of the Aryan Invasion of India

http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamBooksAndDocuments_1.aspx?ArticleID=3616

For Part 4 Go to: Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims - Part 4: Early Anti-Aryan Movements in India

http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamBooksAndDocuments_1.aspx?ArticleID=3626

For Part 5 Go to: Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims - Part 5: The Origin and Spread of Islam in India

http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamBooksAndDocuments_1.aspx?ArticleID=3630

For Part 6 Go to: Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims - Part 6: : In the Period of ‘Muslim Rule’

http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamBooksAndDocuments_1.aspx?ArticleID=3636

For Part 7 Go to: Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims - Part 7: The Role of the Medieval Ulema

http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamBooksAndDocuments_1.aspx?ArticleID=3647

For Part 8 Go to: Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims - Part 8: Firoze Shah Tughlaq’s Reign

http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamBooksAndDocuments_1.aspx?ArticleID=3656

For part 9 Go to: Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims - Part 9: Evidence From the Mughal Period

http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamBooksAndDocuments_1.aspx?ArticleID=3658

For part 10 Go to: Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims - Part 10: Transformations in the Colonial Period

http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamBooksAndDocuments_1.aspx?ArticleID=3665

For part 11 Go to: Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims - Part 11: Hindutva, Gandhism, and the Caste Question

http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamBooksAndDocuments_1.aspx?ArticleID=3672

For part 12 Go to:  Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims - Part 12: Modern Indian Ulema on the Caste Question

http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamBooksAndDocuments_1.aspx?ArticleID=3678

 

Syed Ahmad’s attitude towards the ‘low’ caste Muslims can be gauged from his description of the Revolt of 1857, in which disaffected Muslims played a major role. Syed Ahmad frantically sought to save the ashraf from being blamed for instigating, leading and participating in the Revolt, fearing that otherwise the British would take even more drastic measures against them than they already had. Recognising that the British could not now be dislodged from power, he knew that the fortunes of the ashrafcrucially depended on the goodwill of the British. Hence, he made every effort to convince the British of his claim that the ashraf had little or no role to play in the Revolt, which he blamed entirely on ‘low’ caste Muslims. The Revolt, he argued, was the handiwork of ignorant ‘riff-raff’ (jahils), and not of the Muslim ‘elites’ (ra‘is). In this way, he sought to impress on the British that the ashraf were their loyal servants. At the same time, he repeatedly appealed to his fellow ashraf to remain faithful to the British Raj. Further, he consistently defended ashraf privileges and vehemently denounced demands for equality and self-respect for the ‘low’ caste Muslims. He even sought to instigate the British against the latter by insisting that they were not faithful to the Raj. -- Masood Alam Falahi

(Translated from Urdu by Yoginder Sikand for NewAgeIslam.com)

For Part 1 Go to: Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims - Part 1

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamBooksAndDocuments_1.aspx?ArticleID=3611

For Part 2 Go to: Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims - Part 2: Indian Muslim Society in the Shadow of Casteism

http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamBooksAndDocuments_1.aspx?ArticleID=3616

For Part 3 Go to: Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims - Part 3: The Impact of the Aryan Invasion of India

http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamBooksAndDocuments_1.aspx?ArticleID=3616

For Part 4 Go to: Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims - Part 4: Early Anti-Aryan Movements in India

http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamBooksAndDocuments_1.aspx?ArticleID=3626

For Part 5 Go to: Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims - Part 5: The Origin and Spread of Islam in India

http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamBooksAndDocuments_1.aspx?ArticleID=3630

For Part 6 Go to: Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims - Part 6: : In the Period of ‘Muslim Rule’

http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamBooksAndDocuments_1.aspx?ArticleID=3636

For Part 7 Go to: Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims - Part 7: The Role of the Medieval Ulema

http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamBooksAndDocuments_1.aspx?ArticleID=3647

For Part 8 Go to: Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims - Part 8: Firoze Shah Tughlaq’s Reign

http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamBooksAndDocuments_1.aspx?ArticleID=3656

For part 9 Go to: Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims - Part 9: Evidence From the Mughal Period

http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamBooksAndDocuments_1.aspx?ArticleID=3658

For part 10 Go to: Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims - Part 10: Transformations in the Colonial Period

http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamBooksAndDocuments_1.aspx?ArticleID=3665

For part 11 Go to: Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims - Part 11: Hindutva, Gandhism, and the Caste Question

http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamBooksAndDocuments_1.aspx?ArticleID=3672

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Faced with the growing assertiveness of Dalits and other Shudras against Brahminical hegemony and with their conversion to other religions, from the early years of the twentieth century onwards increasing numbers of orthodox Sanatani Hindus began to support the Arya Samaj’s efforts to convert the indigenous Muslims to the Hindu fold and to Hinduise the Shudras so as to boost Hindu numbers and political clout. This represented a radical change in their attitude, because prior to this they had exhibited no concern at all for the despicable conditions of the Shudras. In his Presidential address to the Hindu Mahasabha in Benaras in 1923, Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya, a hugely popular Sanatani Brahmin leader, went so far as to appeal to the Sanatani Hindus to accept the Untouchables as ‘true Hindus’.[i] It is instructive to note that when Gandhi established the Harijan Sevak Sangh in 1932 in order to keep the Dalits within the Hindu fold, he arranged for Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya to preside over its first meeting. -- Masood Alam Falahi

(Translated from Urdu by Yoginder Sikand for NewAgeIslam.com)

For Part 1 Go to: Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims - Part 1

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamBooksAndDocuments_1.aspx?ArticleID=3611

For Part 2 Go to: Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims - Part 2: Indian Muslim Society in the Shadow of Casteism

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamBooksAndDocuments_1.aspx?ArticleID=3616

For Part 3 Go to: Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims - Part 3: The Impact of the Aryan Invasion of India

http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamBooksAndDocuments_1.aspx?ArticleID=3619

For Part 4 Go to: Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims - Part 4: Early Anti-Aryan Movements in India

http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamBooksAndDocuments_1.aspx?ArticleID=3626

 

For part 5 Go to: Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims - Part 5: The Origin and Spread of Islam in India

www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamBooksAndDocuments_1.aspx?ArticleID=3630

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For Part 6 Go to: Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims - Part 6: : In the Period of ‘Muslim Rule’

http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamBooksAndDocuments_1.aspx?ArticleID=3636

For Part 7 Go to: Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims - Part 7: The Role of the Medieval Ulema

http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamBooksAndDocuments_1.aspx?ArticleID=3647

For Part 8 Go to: Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims - Part 8: Firoze Shah Tughlaq’s Reign

http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamBooksAndDocuments_1.aspx?ArticleID=3656

For part 9 Go to: Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims - Part 9: Evidence From the Mughal Period

http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamBooksAndDocuments_1.aspx?ArticleID=3658

For part 10 Go to: Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims - Part 10: Transformations in the Colonial Period

http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamBooksAndDocuments_1.aspx?ArticleID=3665

 

The fact of the matter is that, despite its claims to social reform and equality, the Arya Samaj stood solidly for caste inequality, discrimination and the varnashrama dharma. In fact, Dayanand Saraswati himself showed no qualms in exhibiting his distaste for Chandals, Shudras and other such so-called ‘low’ castes. For instance, he opined that sinners of a certain sort turned into elephants, horses, lions, wolves, boars and Shudras and Mlecchas[iii], another class into trees, and yet another class into Chandals.[iv] It is true that he declared it permissible for the dwijas, the so-called ‘twice-born’ or ‘upper’ caste Hindus, to eat food cooked by Shudras, but this should not be thought of as a call for radical social equality, for the argument he gave for this was that the dwijas—Brahmins, Kshatriyas and Vaishyas—had other tasks to do. Further, it is instructive to note that this was not a blanket permission for eating food cooked by Shudras, for Dayanand added that the dwijas should desist from eating food cooked in a Shudra’s house except under dire necessity, and that too if the Shudra had taken a bath and his clothes were clean. He also insisted that if a Shudra were to cook food in an Arya’s home, he should cover his mouth to ensure that his saliva did not touch the food or else it would be contaminated. Moreover, he added, the Shudra must serve food to the Arya and then eat himself. -- Masood Alam Falahi

[Translated from Urdu by Yoginder Sikand for NewAgeIslam.com]

For Part 1 Go to: Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims - Part 1

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamBooksAndDocuments_1.aspx?ArticleID=3611

For Part 2 Go to: Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims - Part 2: Indian Muslim Society in the Shadow of Casteism

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamBooksAndDocuments_1.aspx?ArticleID=3616

For Part 3 Go to: Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims - Part 3: The Impact of the Aryan Invasion of India

http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamBooksAndDocuments_1.aspx?ArticleID=3619

For Part 4 Go to: Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims - Part 4: Early Anti-Aryan Movements in India

http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamBooksAndDocuments_1.aspx?ArticleID=3626

 

For part 5 Go to: Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims - Part 5: The Origin and Spread of Islam in India

http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamBooksAndDocuments_1.aspx?ArticleID=3630

For Part 6 Go to: Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims - Part 6: : In the Period of ‘Muslim Rule’

http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamBooksAndDocuments_1.aspx?ArticleID=3636

For Part 7 Go to: Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims - Part 7: The Role of the Medieval Ulema

http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamBooksAndDocuments_1.aspx?ArticleID=3647

For Part 8 Go to: Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims - Part 8: Firoze Shah Tughlaq’s Reign

http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamBooksAndDocuments_1.aspx?ArticleID=3656

For part 9 Go to: Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims - Part 9: Evidence From the Mughal Period

http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamBooksAndDocuments_1.aspx?ArticleID=3658

 

 

The Emperor Akbar is lionised in Indian history school textbooks as an allegedly very ‘progressive’, ‘liberal’ and ‘enlightened’ ruler, but as far as the suppressed castes are concerned he was no less oppressive than his predecessors, both Hindu and Muslim, had been. This is clearly evident, for instance, from the following edict that he issued:

‘In the towns, the low-born (arzal) should be prohibited from acquiring education, because if these communities do so, it will lead to great strife (fitna).’[ii]

It is evident from this edict that Akbar believed that if the oppressed castes took to education it would threaten the hegemony of the ashraf, who would regard them as daring to compete with them and as seeking to rise to their level.

Like Akbar, his close advisors and other courtiers, too, were also fiercely wedded to the thoroughly un-Islamic notions of caste and caste-based superiority, as were many supposedly learned ulema of this period. To cite just one instance, the noted historian Abul Fazl (d. 1602), a close confidante of Akbar, is said to have remarked, ‘I refuse to regard a statement of a mere confectioner (Halwai), cobbler (Mochi) or skin-seller (charm farosh) as evidence.’ -- Masood Alam Falahi

[Translated from Urdu by Yoginder Sikand for NewAgeIslam.com]

For Part 1 Go to: Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims - Part 1

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamBooksAndDocuments_1.aspx?ArticleID=3611

For Part 2 Go to: Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims - Part 2: Indian Muslim Society in the Shadow of Casteism

http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamBooksAndDocuments_1.aspx?ArticleID=3616

For Part 3 Go to: Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims - Part 3: The Impact of the Aryan Invasion of India

http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamBooksAndDocuments_1.aspx?ArticleID=3616

For Part 4 Go to: Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims - Part 4: Early Anti-Aryan Movements in India

http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamBooksAndDocuments_1.aspx?ArticleID=3626

For Part 5 Go to: Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims - Part 5: The Origin and Spread of Islam in India

http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamBooksAndDocuments_1.aspx?ArticleID=3630

For Part 6 Go to: Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims - Part 6: : In the Period of ‘Muslim Rule’

http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamBooksAndDocuments_1.aspx?ArticleID=3636

For Part 7 Go to: Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims - Part 7: The Role of the Medieval Ulema

http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamBooksAndDocuments_1.aspx?ArticleID=3647

For Part 8 Go to: Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims - Part 8: Firoze Shah Tughlaq’s Reign

http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamBooksAndDocuments_1.aspx?ArticleID=3658

 

Casteism Triumphant

Sultan Firoze Shah Tughlaq held the Syeds in great reverence. It is said that in order to avenge the death of three Syeds, he destroyed hundreds of families in Khattar and put to the sword literally thousands of people. He ordered the governor of the province to slay these people, and for several years he himself visited Khattar to do the same with his own hands. Farishta writes that Kharku, the Hinduchaudhri of Khattar, near Badaun, invited Syed Muhammad, governor of Badaun, his brother Syed Alauddin, and Syed Mahmud to his house and killed them. When the Sultan learned of this he was inflamed and headed for Khattar with a large army, where he ordered that every house be destroyed. He put the inhabitants of the town to the sword, and, says Farishta, ‘so many Hindus were slain that the souls of the deceased Syeds began pleading for them.’ Kharku fled to the Kumaon hills, but the Sultan’s army followed him there, destroying and pillaging on the way. Some thirty thousand Hindus, so claims Farishta, were taken as prisoners. Owing to the onset of the rainy season, the Sultan went back to Delhi, and on his return he appointed Malik Daud Afghan as governor of Sambhal, instructing him to visit Khattar every year and slay its inhabitants [mulk ko taraj karey]. This incident took place in 1380. According to Farishta, the Sultan himself returned to Khattar every year after that for the next five years to kill those inhabitants of the town whom Malik Daud Afghan had spared. In this way, thousands of innocent and hapless Hindus were slaughtered by the Sultan for the sake of the three slain Syeds. -- Masood Alam Falahi

[Translated from Urdu by Yoginder Sikand for NewAgeIslam.com]

 

For Part 1 Go to: Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims - Part 1

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamBooksAndDocuments_1.aspx?ArticleID=3611

For Part 2 Go to: Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims - Part 2: Indian Muslim Society in the Shadow of Casteism

http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamBooksAndDocuments_1.aspx?ArticleID=3616

For Part 3 Go to: Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims - Part 3: The Impact of the Aryan Invasion of India

http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamBooksAndDocuments_1.aspx?ArticleID=3616

For Part 4 Go to: Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims - Part 4: Early Anti-Aryan Movements in India

http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamBooksAndDocuments_1.aspx?ArticleID=3626

For Part 5 Go to: Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims - Part 5: The Origin and Spread of Islam in India

http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamBooksAndDocuments_1.aspx?ArticleID=3630

For Part 6 Go to: Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims - Part 6: : In the Period of ‘Muslim Rule’

http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamBooksAndDocuments_1.aspx?ArticleID=3636

For Part 7 Go to: Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims - Part 7: The Role of the Medieval Ulema

http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamBooksAndDocuments_1.aspx?ArticleID=3647

Razia Sultana had, in the brief spell of her reign, appointed a former Abyssinian (habashi) slave named Qutbuddin Yaqut as her Prime Minister. Incensed with her patronising of what they considered a ‘low-born’ man, the ashraf nobles rose up in revolt, finally succeeding in killing her. Commenting on the fall of Razia, the Mughal period historian Mullah Muhammad Qasim Farishta has this to say:

‘There is no need to ponder much on the cause of the fall of Razia. Every intelligent person can easily understand why this happened. Razia’s fall was because Yaqut habashi went beyond the bounds in his power and influence. It is obvious that a mere habashi had absolutely no right to be the amir al-umara of Delhi. How can a despicable man have any relations with the most powerful person in all of Hindustan?’.....

Syed Ziauddin Barani and Muhammad Qasim Farishta were separated by period of more than 200 years but yet they shared identical views about caste, both being utterly contemptuous of the nau-musalmans of the oppressed castes. They held the same views about Muhammad bin Tughlaq’s patronising of the oppressed castes, which was, by all counts, a truly Islamic policy but one which they fiercely condemned. They both supported the disgruntled ashraf who revolted against the Sultan precisely for this Islamic policy and finally succeeded in killing him.  

-- Masood Alam Falahi

For Part 1 Go to: Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims - Part 1

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamBooksAndDocuments_1.aspx?ArticleID=3611

For Part 2 Go to: Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims - Part 2: Indian Muslim Society in the Shadow of Casteism

http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamBooksAndDocuments_1.aspx?ArticleID=3616

For Part 3 Go to: Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims - Part 3: The Impact of the Aryan Invasion of India

http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamBooksAndDocuments_1.aspx?ArticleID=3616

For Part 4 Go to: Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims - Part 4: Early Anti-Aryan Movements in India

http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamBooksAndDocuments_1.aspx?ArticleID=3626

For Part 5 Go to: Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims - Part 5: The Origin and Spread of Islam in India

http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamBooksAndDocuments_1.aspx?ArticleID=3630

For Part 6 Go to: Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims - Part 6: : In the Period of ‘Muslim Rule’

http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamBooksAndDocuments_1.aspx?ArticleID=3636

 

Caste Struggle

It is from the reign of Sultan Shamsuddin Iltutmish (d. 1236) onwards that we get much evidence of caste-based discrimination against ‘low’ caste Muslims being actively enforced by the state. Shamelessly ignoring Islamic teachings that stress social equality, numerous Muslim Sultans very explicitly supported caste-based divisions and discrimination. They appointed only so-called ashrafMuslims (as well as ‘upper’ caste Hindus) to top posts, while strictly excluding so-called ‘low’ caste Muslims (and, of course, ‘low’ caste non-Muslims, too). A good illustration of this is provided in Ziauddin Barani’s  Tarikh-e Firoze Shahi, which relates that in the reign of both Sultan Shamsuddin Iltutmish (d.1236) and Sultan Ghiyasuddin Balban (d. 1287), who belonged to the Slave Dynasty, ‘low’ caste Muslims were forbidden from all senior government posts. Moreover, if a ‘low’ caste person was found to be occupying any such post he was immediately dismissed. These two Sultans had once themselves been slaves, and not just that—they had been slaves of slaves. Sultan Iltutmish was the slave of Sultan Qutbuddin Aibak, who was the slave of Sultan Muhammad Ghori. Balban was the slave of Iltutmish. Yet, despite this, they acted in this way. Why this was so is a question that needs detailed research. -- Masood Alam Falahi

[Translated from Urdu by Yoginder Sikand for NewAgeIslam.com]

For Part 1 Go to: Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims - Part 1

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamBooksAndDocuments_1.aspx?ArticleID=3611

For Part 2 Go to: Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims - Part 2: Indian Muslim Society in the Shadow of Casteism

http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamBooksAndDocuments_1.aspx?ArticleID=3616

For Part 3 Go to: Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims - Part 3: The Impact of the Aryan Invasion of India

http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamBooksAndDocuments_1.aspx?ArticleID=3616

For Part 4 Go to: Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims - Part 4: Early Anti-Aryan Movements in India

http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamBooksAndDocuments_1.aspx?ArticleID=3626

For Part 5 Go to: Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims - Part 5: The Origin and Spread of Islam in India

http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamBooksAndDocuments_1.aspx?ArticleID=3630

It is a well-known fact that the Arab traders, Sufis and some Muslim conquerors embraced the oppressed Shudras. Many of them kept Shudras in their employ. In many cases, as has been documented for Malabar, they took charge of the children of impoverished Shudras, and reared them as Muslims, showering on them love and care. Many Shudras, particularly the Untouchables, were overwhelmed with this behaviour of the early Muslims, which was a reflection of Islamic teachings. Consequently, they began converting to Islam in droves. After becoming Muslim they were often treated by the Hindus as of equal status as the other Muslims, certainly above that of the unconverted Shudras. This further promoted conversions to Islam among the Shudras. Immigrant Muslims did not hesitate to marry their women, and this helped further improve their social standing. The Mapilla, Labbai and Navayat Muslims of south India are products of such unions. -- Masood Alam Falahi

 [Translated from Urdu by Yoginder Sikand for NewAgeIslam.com]

For Part 1 Go to:

Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims - Part 1

URL:http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamBooksAndDocuments_1.aspx?ArticleID=3611

For Part 2 Go to: Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims - Part 2: Indian Muslim Society in the Shadow of Casteism

http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamBooksAndDocuments_1.aspx?ArticleID=3616

For Part 3 Go to: Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims - Part 3: The Impact of the Aryan Invasion of India

http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamBooksAndDocuments_1.aspx?ArticleID=3616

For Part 4 Go to: Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims - Part 4: Early Anti-Aryan Movements in India

http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamBooksAndDocuments_1.aspx?ArticleID=3626

 

Gradually, Jainism and, especially, Buddhism managed to gain such popularity that, especially in large parts of northern India, Hinduism was gravely threatened with extinction. It was at this time that the centre of Brahminism shifted down south. The Brahminists burned with the desire for revenge, to bring back the Shudras, their former slaves, under their hegemony. They plotted all sorts of conspiracies to extirpate Jainism and Buddhism and to restore Brahminical rule. Brahmins began to infiltrate the Buddhist Sangha, to Brahminise or dilute the Buddha’s original teachings and to destroy the Sangha from within. At the same time, they connived with Hindu kings to launch a slaughter, on a massive scale, of Jains and Buddhists, of both priests as well as lay persons. Jain and Buddhist monasteries and temples across the country were brutally destroyed or converted into Hindu shrines. The Brahmin king Pushyamitra Sanga announced a huge reward for every head of a Buddhist bhikku brought to him. The Shaivite king of Gaur cut down the tree in Bodh Gaya under which the Buddha is said to have attained enlightenment. As Professor R. S. Sharma very rightly notes, it must not be thought that the extermination of Buddhism from India was simply a result of the ideological or missionary counter-offensive of the Brahminical revivalists. Rather, a key role in this project was played by terror and violence unleashed against Jains and Buddhists on a very large scale, which left the remaining Buddhists with just two alternatives—to either flee to other countries or else to embrace Islam. Massive numbers of Buddhists chose both these options. – Masood Alam Falahi 

 (Translated From Urdu by Yoginder Sikand, for NewAgeIslam.com)

 For Part 1 Go to:

Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims - Part 1

URL:http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamBooksAndDocuments_1.aspx?ArticleID=3611

For Part 2 Go to: Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims - Part 2: Indian Muslim Society in the Shadow of Casteism

http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamBooksAndDocuments_1.aspx?ArticleID=3616

For Part 3 Go to: Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims - Part 3: The Impact of the Aryan Invasion of India

http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamBooksAndDocuments_1.aspx?ArticleID=3616

The Hindu scriptures are replete with many other such demeaning references to the indigenous Indians who dared to oppose the Aryans. After killing vast numbers of them, the

Aryans enslaved the rest of these people as Shudras and Untouchables. They subjected them to barbaric laws in the name of religion so that they would never dare to raise their heads again. The Aryans enslaved the Indians not just physically but psychologically as well. In order to preserve their hegemony, they devised the caste system, and sought to give it religious legitimacy through their scriptures. In this way, they were able to quash all feelings of resentment and revolt among the vanquished. They invented the theory of reincarnation through which they held out what they claimed was the possibility that ‘low’ caste people could be reborn as Brahmins in their next life but only if they strictly abided by the rules and cruelties of the caste system in their present life. Gradually, the indigenous Indians fell prey to the Brahmins’ propaganda and, taught by the Brahmins to hate their own indigenous culture, were slowly absorbed into the Hindu or Brahminical religion. The Brahmins referred to them with demeaning names, such as ‘Das’ or ‘slave’, and even today many of their descendants continue to use such titles, afraid that if they were to give up such names, the gods might be infuriated with them. -- Masood Alam Falahi

[Translated from Urdu by Yoginder Sikand, for NewAgeIslam.com]

For Part 1 Go to:

Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims - Part 1

URL:http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamBooksAndDocuments_1.aspx?ArticleID=3611

For Part 2 Go to: Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims - Part 2: Indian Muslim Society in the Shadow of Casteism

http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamBooksAndDocuments_1.aspx?ArticleID=3616

One tragic consequence of efforts to seek to wrongly legitimise the philosophy of caste division in Islam has been that when vast numbers of people who were oppressed by the Indian caste system embraced Islam, attracted by its teachings of equality and human unity, they had to face the same sort of filth and oppression here, too. After converting to Islam, they found that they still remained Bhangis, Chamars, Kunjaras, Qasais and Julahas, and were incorporated as the most ‘despicable’ classes of Muslim society. On conversion, their names changed but not the way in which they were treated by others. The Muslims were now solidly divided into ‘noble’ (sharif) and ‘despicable’ (razil). So sternly was this division maintained that it was given legitimacy even in Islamic schools. Fatwas about marriage and divorce came to be based on the caste of people and the related rules of kufu’ that were concocted. Brother Masood has provided us plenty of evidence that very well illustrates all of this. Many people may be angry with what he has written. They might castigate his writings as untimely and inappropriate. Some of them might even claim that caste-based division and discrimination are now vanishing among Muslims and that, therefore, there is thus no need to scratch old wounds. -- Dr. Fazlur Rahman Faridi (Translated from Urdu by Yoginder Sikand for NewAgeIslam.com)

For Part 1 Go to: Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims - Part 1 URL:http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamBooksAndDocuments_1.aspx?ArticleID=3611

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