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Islamic Society

Atheism is not illegal in Egypt or Iraq, but officials often level blasphemy or other charges against atheists in those countries. Those rejecting the faith face the death sentence in Saudi Arabia, Iran, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan and Mauritania.

“When we talk about renewing religious rhetoric, we mean the main content [of their teachings],” he said. “If al-Azhar created these kiosks while thinking that this is renewing religious rhetoric, then they don’t get it. They are doing this to evade making any real changes.”...

 

There are two sub sects of Sufism – Naqshbandi and Qadiriyya. While Naqshbandi strictly forbids music, Qadiriyya uses it as a tool to spread the message of peace, love, harmony and the deity of the Lord. Many famous Sufis have used music as a medium to spread their teachings, namely, Baba Bulleh Shah, Ameer Khusro, Sachal Sarmast, Shah Hussain and Shah Abdul Latif Bhatai....

 

There is also a new movement of atheists in countries such as Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, which takes the form of secret societies. A 2012 WIN/Gallup International poll showed that 5 percent of Saudis identified as atheists — more than in the United States — while 19 percent did not consider themselves religious, in a country that punishes unbelief with death. An average of 22 percent expressed doubts about religion elsewhere in the Middle East....

The Ummah At War With Itself
Pervez Hoodbhoy
The Ummah At War With Itself
Pervez Hoodbhoy

If Muslim states have paid no attention to the Ummah, non-state actors have paid even less. They have slaughtered tens of thousands of co-religionists. The Afghan Taliban and the Pakistani Taliban are like two wings of the same bird. One kills Afghan Muslims, the other kills Pakistani Muslims. One finds shelter in Pakistan, the other in Afghanistan. The militant Islamic State group seems to be everywhere and kills with even less concern....

Sufi orders formed in the ninth and tenth centuries as spiritual movements to bypass the legalism of the Ulema and the worldliness and luxury of the caliphate. At a time when Islam was becoming dogmatic, claiming that Muhammad’s religion was the only true faith and that the Qur’an was the only valid scripture, Sufis saw God everywhere, even in pagan traditions. At a time when the Ulema had closed the gates of Ijtihad, regarding revelation as complete, Sufis sought new revelations from God. At a time when the Ulema preached a God of law, Sufis spoke of God as love....

 
Muslim Community’s Missed Chances
Fauzan Alavi
Muslim Community’s Missed Chances
Fauzan Alavi

Now imagine a student from a madrasa who began his education with an amount raised through Zakat and ends up earning his livelihood through Zakat. I personally know of several madrasas in Delhi who, due to the delay in payments from various boards, call and ask for help. Is this the society we want to make? The importance of a Hafiz-e-Quran (one who remembers the Holy Quran by heart and implements it) is mentioned with the highest honour and reverence in both the Quran and Hadiths. Now, what is the average salary of a Hafiz — not more than Rs 10,000 plus food through Tiffins....

Often students of Madaris participate in public meetings/protest of their affiliated political parties to help perpetuate their political pursuits. It also impinges on cognitive development of young students. This needs to be restrained. Some Madaris have links with proscribed militant organizations. This linkage is dangerous and needs to be broken ruthlessly. ..

 

Following the introduction of the Qisas and Diyat law the crimes affecting human body are no longer considered offences against the society or state, but are now considered offences against an individual. Thus, if these individuals so decide, offenders can walk free even after committing heinous crimes like murder. The legal heirs of a deceased have the right to make a compromise with the offender under section 309 and 310...

 

Ismat Chughtai (1915–91), one of the most powerful voices in Urdu literature of the 20th century, was known for her free and fearless explorations of feminine sexuality and middle-class morality in her writing, and for the fierce determination with which she defended her right to express herself. While she wrote prolifically, her best-known work is the short story Lihaaf (Quilt), which explores the theme of homoeroticism and for which she was brought before a judge on charges of obscenity – along with Saadat Hasan Manto, who was being tried on the same charge for his story Bu (Odour)....

 

In the Islamic faith, five foundational goals – known as Maqasid al Sharia – include the protection of faith, life, progeny, intellect and wealth. Much of the SDGs – goals to alleviate poverty and hunger, improve health, education and access to water and sanitation, reduce inequality and protect the environment – are reflected in these Islamic values. As one of the five pillars of Islam, Zakat is mandatory giving; all Muslims eligible to pay it must donate at least 2.5% of their accumulated wealth...

 

So being a revert without a Muslim family means no community. Ramadan often felt more like a punishment rather than a celebration. Ramadan is a time of community; and joy and after returning to the United States after almost five years of living in the Gulf, Ramadan in the US was a culture shock. Add in a divorce and being in a new community, Ramadan was proving to be a challenge for practical and logistical reasons for both my children and me....

 
Memories of Eid Overseas
Dr. Ali Al-Ghamdi
Memories of Eid Overseas
Dr. Ali Al-Ghamdi

Among the unforgettable Eid feasts is the first Eid I celebrated in Japan. There was only one mosque in Tokyo and the number of Muslims was small. I was staying in an area which was comparatively far from the mosque. However, I was keen to perform Taraweeh prayers three days a week in the only mosque in Tokyo during those days. It was built in 1938 and supervised by the Turkish community. The imam was also a Turk. He used to make the Friday sermon in three languages. He started with Turkish language, then Japanese and finally in Arabic.....

 
Eid Day: A Time to Rejoice
Anver Kamal Siddiqui

Ramadan emphasises noble actions and deeds – not just remaining hungry. To be honest, fasting and Namaz (prayer) which is absolute submission to the Creator of all things existing, seen or unseen, are both morale boosters as well as physically gainful exercises coupled with spirituality....

 

Pir Munawar, like Nanak’s ascetics, also only ate when offered food and engaged in physical hardship to attain spirituality. This is a feature of folk Islam, which borrows heavily from the diverse spiritual traditions of this land. It does not adhere to any strict notions of exclusivity, leaving room for even non-Muslims to engage in its practices. There is room for Nanak and his Gurudwara in this religiosity. One of the men in the grove said his elders, who used to live with Sikhs before the Partition, held Nanak as a holy figure and his Gurudwara sacred....

 

When I mentioned to Ambassador Chaudhry the irony of Bill Maher’s remarks in the context of the interfaith conviviality around us as we broke our fast, the Ambassador smiled broadly. Perhaps he was thinking that for the interfaith Iftar next year he would request Bill Maher to come and see for himself how Pakistan and other Muslim countries, in spite of the serious challenges they face such as terrorism, can be great centres of bridge building and dialogue between faiths....

The most important message of Ramadan is that we are not just body. We are body and soul. And that what makes us human beings and that determines our value as human beings. During Ramazan we deprive the body to uplift the soul. This is all simple and familiar. But we can understand its significance if we remember that the message of the materialistic hedonistic global culture that has engulfed every Muslim land today — just like the rest of the world— is exactly the opposite.....

 
Islam’s Modesty Is for Both Men and Women
Moin Qazi, New Age Islam
Islam’s Modesty Is for Both Men and Women
Moin Qazi, New Age Islam

In the context of proper attire and conduct, the Quran enjoins modesty on men too and only when the men have attained that level of modesty should they feel justified in talking about the modesty of others. “Tell the believing men to lower their gaze (avoiding its concentration on a person’s body, or a certain part of it) and to be mindful of their chastity; in this they will be more considerate for their own well-being and purity, and surely God is fully aware of all that they do (Q24: 30-31)." From certain imams insisting that earthquakes are caused by women not wearing proper dresses to muftis excommunicating Muslim women, the intellectual level of discourse that surrounds Muslim women is excruciating....

When the first ever offender fell under the trap of Satan, and all goodness abandoned him and all evil surrounded him, only you were with him. Only you saved him from his abject dejection. Only you saved his bereaved heart from total annihilation. Only you brought him out of his humiliation and gave him his high position again where angels had once prostrated before him....

 

Given the high level of pride Muslims have for the Golden Age, it is surprising how little examination or even awareness Muslims give to this early decline. This decline coincided with fundamental changes in religious doctrines reflected in the decline of a rationalist school of thought (the Muatazilites) and the rise of a traditionalist one (the Ashaarites) whose influence continues to dominate till this day. A fact that eludes most Muslims today is that the majority of the star scientists and thinkers of the Golden Age were followers of the rationalist school of thought.....

Instead, you ask me to denounce – even apologize for – the horrors of Manchester, Nice, Orlando, Paris and Berlin, as if I were a silent accomplice cheering softly behind the garb of my faith. You mistake my silence for duplicity, my shock for deceit, and my choking inability to comprehend for disloyalty. But have you asked me how I feel instead of how you feel about me? Well, I feel morally and psychologically exhausted....

The ISIS is a manifestation of the intellectual bankruptcy of the Muslim ruling elites. The real challenge thus is not the expansion of the group in physical spaces, but the mindset of the ruling elites and their partners, ie the clergy, which is scared of new ideas. They don’t realise that their traditionalism and orthodoxy are eroding their own foundations....

 

Is polygamy widely prevalent among Muslims? The only report on the subject is that of the Committee on the Status of Women in India, 1974, which revealed that polygamy was not exclusive to Muslims but was prevalent among all communities of India: tribal (15.2), Buddhists (9.7), Jains (6.7) and Hindus (5.8). Muslims were, in fact, found least polygamous (5.7)....

 
Charity and Terror Financing
Dr Huma Baqai
Charity and Terror Financing
Dr Huma Baqai

The link between charity and terror financing is also a phenomenon which jelled in the eighties. Many charitable and service organizations emerged that served as fronts for international terrorist groups, providing them funding, material, recruits and more. Authorities globally have failed to take decisive action against the vast network of charities identified as tied to terrorist groups. For countries like Pakistan, it is an even more difficult to address....

 
A Diverse World: Diversity Is Something Natural
Kashif Shahzada
A Diverse World: Diversity Is Something Natural
Kashif Shahzada

It was revealed to the Messenger (PBUH) that everyone is responsible for his own conduct and is answerable to God on his own; therefore if people are not receptive to the message then he should not despair. Under no circumstances are people to be compelled to follow the course of righteousness. And his job was only to deliver the message, while it rested on God to hold the people to account. This standard is in stark contrast to the holier-than-thou mindset that prevails in many who think that they are on some sort of a divine mission to compel the people towards ‘righteousness’....

 


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