Islam and Pluralism
The Quran states in 2:183 that fasting is prescribed for Muslims now as it was prescribed for those before. One of the periods of fasting in another religion is that during Navratri, during which period our Hindu brothers and sisters do not consume certain kinds of food.
The festival of Navratri is celebrated with prayers and gaiety. It is a period for self-reflection and getting back to the Source. Likewise, Eid ul-Fitr was celebrated last week by Muslims worldwide after a period of soul-purifying fasting during the month of Ramadan.
Also: A feature on Navratri, or 'The Festival of Nine Nights'
LAHORE: While Eid is primarily an Islamic event and is usually celebrated with traditional fervour by Muslims, members of religious minorities from the city also joined hands with their Muslim brothers to mark the auspicious day. People from different faiths told Daily Times that they always celebrated Eid with their Muslim friends, adding that they would do so this year as well.
For years, Mecca was the only place in the world where Muslims from different sects offered Namaaz together. But now, it is happening in Lucknow too. It began as a gesture in 2007 and it is already almost a tradition. NewAgeIslam.com takes this opportunity to present as backgrounders views of Maulana Kalb-e-Sadiq, the architect of this show of unity, in an interview with Hindustan Times as well as with academic Yoginder Sikand. Also included are responses of common Muslims to some of his rather strong comments on how “Mullahs are destroying Islam”.
LUCKNOW: Masood Ahmad recalls the hush that fell when he went onstage to announce an unscheduled break during the raging battle between Lord Rama and Ravana, last Dussehra. The huge audience assembled at the Bakshi Ka Talaab ground was not amused. A few even began to boo, till the reason for the interruption was explained. The Ramlila cast — including Rama, Ravana and Lakshman — Ahmad explained, needed to offer namaz and break roza. Not a single protest was heard thereafter. The show resumed only after the actors rolled up their prayer mats post-Namaz and shared the iftari snacks — right on stage.
Also: For generations now, this Muslim family has been organising Durga Puja,
Hindu-Muslim love gets HC's blessing,
And Readers’ Opinions
'There is no wavering in our liberal and secular commitments. We are and will remain an indispensable part of the composite edifice called India. We embody the idea of India,' says the Academic Council of Jamia Millia Islamia in this open letter.
The struggle for Kashmir by the jihadis is thus not just for independence. By their own declaration, they want a Darul Islam there, with the state becoming a part of the Caliphate. We cannot allow, in our national security interests, such a state to emerge on our frontiers. Hence the question of parting with Kashmir cannot arise. We have to go all out to retain Kashmir as part of India wherein Hindus and Muslims can live in peace and harmony, says former Indian Union Law Minister Subramanian Swamy.
Archaeologists have unearthed a 62-foot Buddha statue along with other relics in Bamiyan, central Afghanistan near the ruins of giant statues that were destroyed by the Taliban seven years ago. A report in New York Times
Also a backgrounder: Sultan Shahin’s address to the UN Commission on Human Rights in its 57th Session at Geneva - 19 March – 27 April 2001 – on religious intolerance in the context of the destruction of Bamiyan Buddhas by the Taliban.
Scholars in the West have begun to devote time and space to anti-Western jihadism and Muslim anti-Semitism--and a good thing, too, as these are very much on the contemporary international and Middle Eastern political and military agendas and, I fear, will grow in significance during the coming decades, as the Huntingtonian "clash of civilizations" widens, writes Benny Morris in his review of The Legacy of Islamic Anti-Semitism: From Sacred Texts to Solemn History Edited by Andrew G. Bostom (Prometheus Books, 766 pp., $39.95) and Icon of Evil: Hitler's Mufti and the Rise of Radical Islam By David G. Dalin and John F. Rothmann (Random House, 227 pp., $26) in The New Republic.
AHMEDABAD: For the last 40 years, 62-year-old Malti Bhatt has been religiously fasting during the holy month of Ramzan in Ahmedabad. She began this ritual to appease 'Pak Pir Ki Dargah ' in their home. But now, her three daughter-in-laws have also adopted the practice of fasting religiously.
SANA’A, August 3—The Baha'i community in Yemen is concerned that they are being singled out by Yemeni security forces or extremist Islamic groups after four practicing Baha'i were arrested in June 2008. A report by Amel Al-Ariqi in The Yemen Times.
A Mullah refuses to grant permission for the burial of Bulha, a Syed by origin, at a Muslim graveyard, until it is established that he had died a Muslim. The crime for which he is punished posthumously is that Bulleh gave voice to the long suppressed desire of millions of people from this part of the world for peace, brotherhood and religious tolerance and because he stood for the supremacy of truth, love humanity and compassion over religious orthodoxy and dogmatism.
If class and religious divides are beginning to overlap, it’s time for India to revisit its model of secularism, writes Lord Bhikhu Parekh.
At a time when even otherwise sensible intellectuals in India are expressing a Kashmir fatigue and asking us to let it go – to where, nobody says, or, I am sure, knows – it is time for us ordinary Indians to remind them that Kashmiriyat is a prototype for Hindustaniyat. We just cannot let go of either.
But political connection is not the only or even the main connection we have with Kashmir. Kashmir’s deepest connection with the Indian nation is, of course, in the spiritual realm. Kashmir has been a permanent part of our mindscape. Where else but in Kashmir would you find Muslims prepared, not so openly perhaps in the present milieu, to claim their Vedic and Buddhist heritage.
Kashmir is important for our politicians, mandarins and intellectuals perhaps as vote-bank, or real estate, or as a debating point. But Kashmir is important for us common Indians because Kashmiriyat is a prototype for Hindustaniyat. A unique blend of unity in ideological diversity, Kashmir has survived many crises all through its history with its Kashmiriyat intact. If you know present-day Kashmir, you would have no hesitation in believing that it would survive the present one as well with its essence unharmed.
The best exponents of Kashmiriyat have been the rishi-sufis of Kashmir. It is they who have traditionally sustained Kashmir through all its myriad trials and tribulations. It’s time we once again recalled their insights and wisdom. The following is a paper by Sultan Shahin, editor, NewAgeIslam.com, on Kashmir’s Rishi-Sufi order and its precious gift known in the valley and beyond as Kashmiriyat, a unique blend of what the world today is trying to emulate as multi-culturalism, secularism, pluralism, tolerance and much more.
What is all this Shia-Sunni tensions? It is all politics. These antagonisms we have are all politics now. If a Sunni brother somewhere does something wrong you say oh the individual is not being very Islamic, he is a kaffir, But if a Shia does something wrong you want to condemn the whole Shia community, the whole nation of millions, and say they are all rubbish just because one Shias actions are not very Islamic. At the same time where we look the other way if one of your relatives does something serious because he is your father or your uncle. One group of Sunnis says to another "you are not a Muslim" another group of Sunnis says "you are not a Muslim you are a kaffir" look that's among us, and we fight among ourselves. And some of us do funny things.
From a speech By Shaykh Ahmad Deedat, who is a world renowned Sunni scholar from South Africa that was made following his trip to the Islamic Republic of Iran
Before declaring independence, though, let’s keep in mind that this is a particularly combustible country in a generally combustible planet. India gets the most terror attacks in the world after Iraq. A Kashmiri accession to Pakistan — that’s what its independence would amount to — would revive the only partially buried ghosts of partition. That isn’t something we need, please.
Let us not, therefore, speak the language of changing borders — that’s so last century. Let us, rather, speak of something that joins hearts across borders, and eschews both Hindu and Muslim chauvinism, writes SWAGATO GANGULY.