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Islamic Personalities

October 17 is celebrated as the great educationist and reformer Sir Syed Ahmed Khan’s (1817-1898) birthday.

Some of the products of the Aligarh movement misunderstood Sir Syed's message. Unlike Sir Syed, they used rhetoric instead of rationalism when they addressed the community. The Ali brothers (Maulana Mohammed Ali and Shaukat Ali) belonged to this group of leaders who set a bad trend. Emulating the Ali brothers, the myopic Muslim leadership of today exploits the community's fear and keeps it riveted to emotional issues. A few voices who could have been exemplars are largely isolated. Maulana Wahiduddin Khan is one of them. Khan's views, though essentially inspired from the Quran and the Hadith, are not accepted by the majority of Muslims. His much-publicised recent advice to the Muslims to relocate the Babri Mosque drew ridicule from most ulema. "He is working for the RSS and doesn't represent us. We have rejected his proposals in the past and reject this one too," declares Maulana Mehmood Daryabadi of All India Ulema Council. -- Mohammed Wajihuddin

 

In recent articles, plenty of light has been shed on the sultan’s refusal to sell land in Palestine to Zionists, prior to World War II. After turning down the offer, Abdulhamid famously refused to meet Mizray Qrasow, the Jewish banker who had offered to pay off the Empire’s debts and build a navy in exchange for the right to buy land in Palestine. Abdulhamid – according to the Arab and Turkish version of events – told one of his aides, “Tell those impolite Jews that I am not going to carry the historical shame of selling holy land to the Jews and betraying the responsibility and trust of my people!” -- Sami Moubayed

 

Perhaps no religion is more misunderstood than Islam, by those who do not follow it. In Europe, for instance, we find a deeply-rooted prejudice against Islam, which is based on ignorance of that which is disliked. It is the duty of the followers of Islam to spread through the civilised world, a knowledge of what Islam means — its spirit and message. They should spread a knowledge of the teachings of the great Prophet, and not allow the more ignorant to narrow down the limits of his teachings. Islam is misunderstood. because of ignorance; and I propose to preface my address with the nature of the prejudices requiring to be met:

1). The first objection against Islam is, that it was spread by the sword, is fanatical, leads to persecution and religious wars and causes blood-shed. Such accusations come from the Christians, who have been notorious for their persecutions. The Inquisition, the Crusades and various forms of persecution employed by the Christians deprive them of the right to attack another faith. -- Annie Besant

When the banner of the great Prophet was first carried to Europe, it came at a period of intellectual darkness. When the Roman catholic faith was a persecuting faith, and when the Moors invaded Spain and founded wonderful Universities, when they brought the light of science to Europe and for six centuries carried a torch of illumination to the European nations — in that time they were looked upon less as scientific teachers than as religious heretics; and because the Crescent instead of the Cross was blazing on their standards, their teaching was banned and they themselves were regarded as enemies.

It is well to remember that from the 8th century to the 14th it was from the Mussalman source that the light of knowledge spread over Europe, that the Muslims revived the knowledge of Greece and of Alexandria as it had been advanced and strengthened in the great University of Baghdad, sending out its messengers in all directions. From that entry into Europe there arose a prejudice against Islam as Islam which was not due to a knowledge of its religious teachings, but as a heretical faith; and therefore all its teachings of every kind were to be banned by good Christian people. -- Annie Besant

Ali’s letter to another of his faithful ally Malik bin Ashter, governor of Basra which is considered as masterpiece of principles of governance. He advised Malik ”do not say, ’I am your overlord and dictator, and that you should, therefore, bow to my commands”, as that will corrupt your heart. He further writes to him, “Let your mind respect through your actions the rights of God and the rights of human beings…for otherwise you will be doing injustice to yourself and injustice to humanity.”

 He also advises Malik Ashter to”Care for them with tenderness with which you care for your children, and do not talk before them of any good you might have done to them, nor disregard any expression of affection which they show in return…” -- Asghar Ali Engineer

 

The internationally renowned Egyptian Koran expert Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd was one of the leading Islamic reformist thinkers of our time. His discourse analytical study of the Koran paved the way for a contemporary understanding of Islam. Abu Zayd recently passed away in Cairo at the age of 66. Loay Mudhoon looks back on the life of this important man

"If the message of Islam is to be valid for all humanity, regardless of place and time, a variety of interpretations is unavoidable," said Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd

 

For Dr. Abdus Salam, his work as a scientist was entirely in obedience to the message of the Quran, and the injunctions of the Holy Prophet. He would say, “The Holy Quran enjoins us to reflect on the verities of Allah’s created laws of nature; however, that our generation has been privileged to glimpse a part of his design is a bounty and a grace for which I am my thanks with a humble heart”. He was referring, of course to the recent advances in the Theory of Relativity, and Quantum Theory, which give us a fresh insight into creation.

During his acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize, he quoted from the Quran; “Thou seest not in the creation of the All-Merciful any imperfection. Return thy gaze, seest thou any fissure? Then return thy gaze again and again. Thy gaze comes back to you dazzled, aweary.” – Asif Merchant

The assumption that Iqbal did not believe in democracy rests largely on a verse he wrote in which he said that democracy was “that form of government in which persons are counted, not weighed”. In a democracy, everyone counts for one and no one counts for more than one. This is both the most obvious advantage (in the sense that it prevents monopoly of power and privilege) and disadvantage (in the sense that numerical equality is stressed at the expense of unequal merit) of democracy. That Iqbal should have pointed out something obvious by no means indicates that he was against democracy. -- Dr Riffat Hassan   

 

Instead of colouring Iqbal red or green, Faiz has tried to contextualise Iqbal's message. Placing Iqbal among "poets of affirmation'' like Dante, Milton and Goethe, Faiz described Iqbal as a product of his period whose "work reflected all the inner intellectual contradictions, all the conflicting impulses, all the confused dreams and aspirations of the middle strata of Indo-Pakistani Muslims.'' "It is precisely because of this," says Faiz, "that his work is popular among progressives and reactionaries alike.'' -- Farooq Sulehria

 

There are different legends on how Khwaja Qutub got the title of Bakhtiar Kaki. The most accepted one narrates that his wife used to take provisions on credit from a nearby grocer to feed her starving family. One day, the grocer taunted her, saying that her family would have starved had it not been for his kindness. Khwaja Qutub learnt of the remark and forbade the taking of provisions on credit. Pointing to a niche in the wall, he told his wife to recite “Bismillah” and take bread from it. The kak, bread, continued appearing miraculously till his wife revealed the secret to others. -- Sadia Dehlvi

By Farooq Argali

By Farooq Argali

 

 

The Aligarh movement launched by Sir Syed Ahmed Khan influenced the Muslims in the country, particularly in South India. The Souvenir brought out on the occasion of the Centenary Celebration of Ambur Muslim Educational Society on 4th September 2006 mentions as follows inter-alia: Sir Syed organised the Mohammedan (later Muslim) Educational Conference. Its branches were established in cities and towns to report on the educational needs of the community. This conference used to meet annually at several important cities in the country and carried the message of modern education far and wide.  The 5th session of the Conference was held at Madras in 1901 and set in a brainwave all over the South. Like their brethren in other parts of the country the Muslims of the Madras presidency were also antagonistic towards the English education and therefore they were far behind their other fellow countrymen in public service. Nawab Mohsinul Mulk Mohsinud Dowla from Aligarh inspired the Conference. -- Azhar Mohammed K

By Farooq Argali

 

 

Following the 9/11 attacks on the United States when the world turned upside down for Muslims around the world, Dr Naik stepped up his battle of hearts and minds by travelling around the world and offering lectures, talks and interviews, to distinguish the original faith of peace from the hateful death cult championed by extremists like Osama bin Laden. He has delivered at least 1200 public talks in the US, Canada, Europe, Middle East and Asia since 9/11, not to mention countless others held in India.  Over the past few years, this one individual has done more to promote Islam and its view of a just world than numerous Muslim organisations with millions of followers and countries with infinite resources at their disposal have ever managed to. -- Aijaz Zaka Syed

Imam Ja'far Al-Sadiq was a great scholar and educationist, a man of superior thinking and superb understanding of Islam and its teachings. His heritage needs in depth study, to exclude whatever is in conflict with his attitude and scholarship. In the matter of fiqh, Imam Ja'far Al-Sadiq relied on ijtihad based on the Qur'an and authentic hadith and rejected analogy as a basis of evidence to deduce rulings. Ijtihad therefore forms a distinctive part of his school of law. -- Adil Salahi

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Imam Jafer Al-Sadiq: The Father of Modern Science and Philosophy

The grace and wisdom of Muhammad (SAW) emanates from his pure household, who we are told to follow and love to then succeed in this world. It is therefore of no surprise to see that such a household comprises some of the greatest religious leaders, philosophers and scientists the world has ever seen. -- Noor Youth Committee

 

Yes we should, every moment

And every month and every week

And every hour and every moment:

 Dr. `Isa al-Mani` al-Humayri,

Department of Awqaaf, Dubai

Emulate Prophet's Character,

Says Sultan Azlan Shah of Perak

Benazir: A song half-sung

ON a cold winter evening, an explosion from hell ushered in the permanent permafrost in ordinary lives. One assassin, one macabre moment of madness, one frightening flash and the dawn of hope faded, as her spirit sailed into the sunset. On December 27, 2007, in the blink of an eye, lives had sunk into an abyss of darkness. I mourn today a woman who to me was more than a first cousin. Hers was a presence powerful and pervasive; she remained an all-embracing blanket of security and strength. She filled so many vacuums in one’s life that the thought of life without her is yet to crystallise into accepted reality. -- Tariq Islam

Sir Syed Ahmad Khan (1817-1898), the great pioneer of Muslim reform in the 19th century is remembered every year around this time of his birthday (October 17). His contribution is all the more important, given the Muslim clergy’s utter hostility to modern education. A Tribute by former union minister Arif Mohammed Khan

SINGAPORE: Singapore President S. R. Nathan on Tuesday conferred on the former President of India, A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, an honorary degree of engineering at a solemn convocation at the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) here.

 

What is jihad?  From an India-Pakistan perspective, few people can answer this question better than Pakistani-American writer and Mary Richardson professor of history at Tufts University, Ayesha Jalal. Her latest book, Partisans of Allah: Meanings of Jihad in South Asia (2008), puts this core concept of Islam in perspective for the subcontinental audience. Jalal began her India tour last week with a talk on the subject at New Delhi’s India International Centre. By Zia Haq, Hindustan Times

 

Raising his voice amidst interruptions, Omar said: “ I am a Muslim, and I am an Indian, I see no distinction between the two……. I see no reason why, I as a Muslim, have to fear a deal (nuclear) between India and the United States……….. This deal is between two countries”. He then elaborated the point, saying the enemies of Indian Muslims are not Americans, and the enemies of the Indian Muslims are not “deals” like this.

ROKKIAH MALIK’S carefree teenage days ended years ago, when she and some friends accidentally ended up watching an adults-only Malayalam movie in the local cinema hall. She was stopped from going to school and couldn’t even step outside her home. Not many people, especially a teenage girl full of zest for life, could have endured that kind of ‘punishment’, writes M. C. Rajan in Chennai.

 

Saddam Hussein's survival instincts were not dulled by prison, according to one Iraqi judge who faced the former president in a courtroom and recalls his cunning and rhetorical posturing.

 "Are you an American or a foreign judge?" Raid Juhi Hamadi al-Saedi remembered Hussein quizzing him during a pre-trial hearing in July 2004.

 The youthful judge was unfazed by the self-styled Sword of the Arabs.

Nora Boustany of the Washington Post Foreign Service profiles the Iraqi Judge.

 

That the book has won such an overwhelming mandate flies in the face of all assumptions about what people like to read. As a fully paid-up member of the Salman Rushdie fan club I am, of course, delighted at the latest triumph of Midnight’s Children which, last week, was voted as the best of all Booker prize-winning books of the past 40 years in a global readers’ poll. But I am also a little surprised that a novel which, like Ulysses, has been more talked about and discussed than actually read should have proved such a hit with the public in a day and age when nobody, we are told, has time for “serious” literature, writes Hasan Suroor in The Hindu, New Delhi.

 
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NEW COMMENTS

  • For Hats Off this is just another opportunity to say something hateful about Muslims! The guy is obsessed with anti-Muslim hatered.
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • never mind taxila. or konark. The holy cow of monumentality - taj mahal.
    ( By hats off! )
  • Excellent article. Changed my ignorant mindset. May this idea spread to all the muslims of the world.
    ( By Sahil Raza )
  • Dear sister Teresa, Thanks for this meaningful review. I hope this review will encourage both serious readers and peace....
    ( By SAJID ANWAR )
  • The Crown Prince is only strengthening the monarchy and consolidating the anti-Iran front. He....
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Taj Mahal's deterioration is symbolic of a paradigmatic shift in our values.
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • This is so dumb really Turks, Arabs and Persians are not...
    ( By What? )
  • Dear Sister Teresa, You have wonderfully given the gist of the book and created curiosity among the readers ....
    ( By Rajat Malhotra )
  • An anti-reform AIMPLB gives Islam a bad name and is like a curse on the Muslim community. We need new leadership.
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • ully agree with this press bulletin. Indian Muslims must reject the leadership of such regressive clerics.
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Ghaus Sb says: “The way you are speaking in your comment shows you are not a Muslim.” From what I say, he can....
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • Ghaus Sb says: Those who say, fitna means “shirk” and opine that the early Muslims fought to end fitna” must have meant “to end that ...
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • Good article. The is only One G-d and Muhammad was the final messenger and prophet of G-d. As I write this, G-d is known ...
    ( By Lenny SB )
  • Please read my article on subject of "there is no compulsion in Religion...
    ( By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصدیقی )
  • Related article...
    ( By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصدیقی )
  • Naseer sb, Please read my comment again and again. You did not get my comment. I did not say both...
    ( By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصدیقی )
  • Arbitration is of two kinds - binding and non-binding. When the parties choose binding arbitration, the decision of the arbitrator is binding on the parties ...
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • All right thinking Muslims must welcome such a course. Academic independence of the Universities must be protected and respected. There ....
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • Referring to your comment: 7/18/2018 5:04:08 AM, to you both views are valid and fitna could mean “shirk or polytheism” also. The Quran clearly commands ...
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • What do I mean by acceptance? Read the Quran carefully. There isn’t any verse that calls for tolerance of the peaceful rejecter of Islam. There ...
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • The title question sums up the matter of the article. The answer is the course will discuss in detail how Muslim clerics and fundamentalists misinterpret ...
    ( By arshad )
  • Site Web Israel and Myanmar give more rights to muslims, than muslims give rights to Kafirs,...
    ( By Shan Barani )
  • Good article. The is only One G-d and Muhammad was the final messenger and prophet of G-d. As I write,..
    ( By Lenny SB (Shivarsi) )
  • I fully agree with Faizur Rahman sahib. Such "courts" should be called "Arbitration centers.
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • A course on "Uses of religions to gain political power" would be entirely appropriate. By the way, Obama refused to use the label "Islamic....
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • بہت بہت شکریہ جناب! اللہ عز و جل آپ کے مبارک کلمات کو مستجاب کرے۔ آمین بجاہ سید المرسلین صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم
    ( By misbahul Huda quadri )
  • fve questions
    ( By hats off! )
  • بہت عمدہ ۔ اللہ تعالی ہم مسلمانوں کو صوفیائے کرام کے نہج پر شریعت و طریقت کو سمجھنے اور اس پر عمل کرنے ...
    ( By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصدیقی )
  • Mushrik and muwahhid, Muslims and non-Muslims all equally need to adopt the path of tolerance. One sided tolerance is not helpful. This point should also ...
    ( By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصدیقی )
  • Naseer sb, Muhammad bin Ishaq said that Az-Zuhri informed him from Urwah bin Az-Zubayr and other scholars that (until there is no more fitnah) the Fitnah ...
    ( By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصدیقی )
  • An excellent read that contextualises many pertinent issues connected to Muslims and Islam! Your angle ....
    ( By Meera )
  • Naseer sb, Can you suggest me how many books have you read on theology? From your comments it appears you have been inspired by orientalist ...
    ( By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصدیقی )
  • Naseer sahib, What is theology? Why do you use theology in general term? In your comment you meant that those who follow theology are following ....
    ( By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصدیقی )
  • Before I say anything further, could you please explain your questions? What do you mean by acceptance?....
    ( By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصدیقی )
  • Tolerance in Muslim society earlier was because of low level of outward piety. Intolerance grows as the level of outward piety grows. Outward piety is ...
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • The Muslim nation (with the exception of one or two Muslim countries) as a whole has been blind and deaf to the above advice and ...
    ( By Rashid Samnakay )
  • I fully agree with Rashid sahib.
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • At this rate Hats Off may soon get some insight into his unquenchable hatred of Muslims.
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • This is the time when the anti-Muslim hate propaganda of the BJP/RSS is at full blast to cover up for the absence of any acchhe ...
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Excellent book review! As the reviewer says, "secularism cannot be used as a pretext to ignore discrimination on grounds....
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )