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Books and Documents

Islamic Society

Taking stock with its newfound political power, the Diyanet has begun issuing orders to introduce elements of Sharia law to the Turkish society. Recently, the directorate released a fatwa on its website suggesting that girls as young as 9 and boys as young as 12 could marry — since, according to Sharia law, adulthood begins at puberty. Only when the Diyanet faced a huge popular outcry did they revoke this fatwa — for now....

 

Most people are normally not aware of the philosophy they live by. They cannot think and argue clearly since the philosophical foundations of their thinking are not clear to them. For example, most of us are materialists but we think of ourselves as very spiritual beings. Some others know their philosophy very well but think theirs is the only correct philosophy—they become intolerant to other worldviews....

 
The Case of the Women Sufis
Chandan Gowda
The Case of the Women Sufis
Chandan Gowda

Women Sufi saints are found all over the Islamic world, including the Middle East, North Africa, the Indian sub-continent and South-East Asia. Not all of them had had formal training within a Sufi order. Several of them were locally recognized to have had spiritual merits and venerated as saints. Annemarie Schimmel, the scholar of Sufism, mentions a delightful example. Lalla Minunah, a poor woman in Western North Africa, asked the captain of a boat to teach her the ritual prayer....

 

“Muslim” society does not need anyone to remind it about Islam. A few days ago, I witnessed a charity advertisement encouraging people to donate money to convert non-Muslims in China. Despite our “very, very, very” small size compared to China, which is a great nation, we seek to change the faith of its people, as if it is our legitimate responsibility to undertake these religious duties on behalf of Muslims in China....

Imran Ali will surely be given the death sentence but Pakistan’s increasingly abnormal collective mind wants a public hanging. Political parties are blaming each other for these gruesome incidents. Sensation-hungry journalists are busy making a case of international involvement. This seems to be alluding to child-porn gangs of Europe paying Imran Ali for sending them “good video material” from Kasur....

 

“Taliban — what’s that?” asks Sultan Begum shyly from her freezing home in Afghanistan’s mountainous Wakhan Corridor, a region so remote that its residents are untouched by the decades of conflict that have devastated their country. The frail-looking grandmother is a woman of the Wakhi, a tribe of roughly 12,000 nomadic people who populate the area....

 
The Dreadful Face of Pakistani Judicial System
Dr. Ghulam Zarqani
The Dreadful Face of Pakistani Judicial System
Dr. Ghulam Zarqani, Tr. New Age Islam

It is rightly said that the existence of infidelity and misleading in the country is not as dangerous as absence of justice. Undoubtedly the act of infidelity and misleading is disliked. But despite that, it is possible to establish peace and security in the country. However, when the foundations of justice are broken apart, it leads to mutual dispute, retaliatory reaction and then to the jeopardy befalling the social security….

More than 200 royal figures, politicians and business leaders were placed under arrest at the five-star hotel last November in an anti-corruption sweep widely perceived to be part of Prince Mohammed’s efforts to consolidate his power base and shut down opposition.  The last detainees were released or moved to another location this weekend after being shaken down for $107bn (£76bn) in what the Saudi attorney general described as “lost revenue”....

 
Gaza Youth Debate Political, Social Issues
Rasha Abou Jalal
Gaza Youth Debate Political, Social Issues
Rasha Abou Jalal

He explained that the tribal system that governs Palestinian society “strengthens the idea of intolerance since the entire tribe [blindly] adopts the opinion of the tribal chief, but with technological development and social media, young people are given ample space to talk and discuss with others.”...

 

The most agonising and shameful was to learn that some Maleducated lads aggressively approaching people on the streets, following everyone irrespective of their sex, age and state. Not only this, woman were not only approached but asked very vulgar questions. “If they enjoy dressing, “sexy” for boys or because they do so for themselves”? If they know anyone who was had been raped? These are the few question rather vulgar remarks which self-proclaimed Daee posed to women on streets. This is not only wrong but a major sin according to version of Islam which I have been taught and learned since my childhood....

“All the curricula of Islamic education systems are designed with an aim to help madrasa graduates get employed in the Islamic job sector. That is a problem, since this particular job sector is not that big.”...

 

As of this year, Gazans have been able to go online before heading to the mosque and find out where their favourite Islamic preacher will be leading Friday prayers. The Ministry of Religious Affairs enabled them to do so when it launched the platform Khotaba, which in Arabic means “preachers,” on Jan. 2. The website also allows users to assess the performance of every preacher in the Gaza Strip and post feedback on his sermons....

 

At the science department, they are taught Islamic studies and physics, chemistry, mathematics, biology and ICT. The Mujabbid section teaches Tajbid along with other general subjects. The science and social science students have to learn four courses on the Quran, Hadith, Islamic laws and Arabic along with the sciences and social science subjects. The science department have students all the way up to higher secondary level, and at Dakhil and Alim levels, it does not have business studies....

 
Opportunity – from Kasur to Kabul
Mosharraf Zaidi
Opportunity – from Kasur to Kabul
Mosharraf Zaidi

Child vulnerability is rampant across Pakistan, not just in Kasur. But a window for reform was opened in 2015 with the revelations of a child rape and pornography ring. The Punjab government failed to use it, and many accuse it of having deliberately shut it. Zainab’s dead body has re-opened this window.

The Afghanistan wound has been bleeding Pakistan for four decades. Once again, warlords, mercenaries and terrorists are tearing Kabul apart. This wanton violence also opens a window, a window that has been open for Pakistan since at least 2001....

 
The Kasur Case: Addressing Abuse
Hajrah Mumtaz
The Kasur Case: Addressing Abuse
Hajrah Mumtaz

The Kasur case jolted our otherwise moribund consciences. More importantly, the countrywide outrage and the resultant hectic efforts made by law enforcement will hopefully have given other families the strength to approach the justice system. Some years ago, this pattern emerged in ‘honour’ crimes as well; it was not that the incidence of the killings had increased...

 

However, political science, philosophy and history are taught from a religious angle. On some levels, science education is absent and other non-religion subjects are vastly neglected. As an example, the syllabus, formulated by the Befaqul Madarisil Arabia Bangladesh from preschool to Class VIII, does not have science studies. Almost all of the books taught in these classes, which are formulated by the board, are based on the Quran and the Arabic language....

 

Among those detained were Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, one of the world's richest men, Saleh Abdullah Kamal and Waleed al-Ibrahim. In addition to their extensive business portfolios, the three men all had one thing in common: They head or rather headed large entertainment and media businesses....

 

Only through a reasoned and empathetic debate can we arrive at a solution to this problem of honour killings. But all such discussion will have to keep the individual’s choice at the forefront. Muslims themselves should take the lead to initiate such a discussion within their community. Democracy and secularism are not for others to practice but rather it is the minorities who should be at the forefront of all such struggles. Sadly, it is us, the Muslim minority, which has very acute deficit of democracy and choice within our own community....

When asked why he chose madrasa education for his son, Moshiur said: “I sent him there so that he is rewarded by the grace of Allah. Moreover, traditional education will be useless in the afterlife. That is why I chose madrasa-based education.” Many people associated with madrasas and mosques hold the same perception as Moshiur, particularly in the rural areas....

 

Students may earn a livelihood by providing home tuition to students of general stream, or adults who lack fundamental knowledge in Islam like the five-time prayers, reading Quran etc, he said. “They want to serve Islam and live Islam. After finishing a number of stages, they start teaching at the madrasas, preaching Islam or conducting prayers at the mosques,”...

 

Students, teachers, staff members also collect donations from the houses, sometimes railway and bus stations and give receipts to the donors. In the past, people also used to donate paddy to these madrasa and their orphanage, who now donate money generally....

 

Gold jewellery glinting, robes changing from blue to green under the lights, the diva of Timbuktu sang of Allah, salt mines and camels. Her audience sat silently around a courtyard, watching, listening, giving nothing away. Then, as she began Sourgou, her haunting Tuareg song, two men who could no longer contain their joy leapt on stage with her. They began to dance, crowns of charms around their heads, streaming turbans following their swooping movements.....

 
Urs of Sufi Saints Points to Their Relevance
Raziuddin Aquil
Urs of Sufi Saints Points to Their Relevance
Raziuddin Aquil

The Langar for the poor and dervishes at Nizamuddin’s hospice included Qorma and Roti, with occasional Tahiri (veg/chicken/meat Pulao), and sometimes Paratha, Samosa and Halwa. The idea was to feed the people to their satisfaction, which was a meritorious act. Control over physical demands meant that the Sufi master would himself maintain moderation in eating, sleeping and speaking. Less eating or fasting took care of many diseases, careful speaking was also recommended, and satisfaction of sacrificing sleep for meditation was lauded....

 

Therefore, it must be appreciated at the very outset that there has been a struggle going on within Islam for a long time on the question of reforming it. The same is true of Pakistan where both before and after its creation in 1947 an unresolved debate continues between the modernist reformers and Islamists/revivalists who want to recreate a pure Islamic utopia of the 7th century CE.....

Beyond Babri Mosque: Truce Can Only Come Through a Localised Genuine Dialogue
Arshad Alam, New Age Islam
Beyond Babri Mosque: Truce Can Only Come Through a Localised Genuine Dialogue
Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

Moreover some of his views will surely offend the Muslims. After a debate with the now infamous Zakir Naik, Sri Sri made a statement to his followers in which he underlined why he went for that debate. But in the same vein, he also said that the Kaaba is actually a Shiva temple and that Zakir Naik should be thankful that he did not raise this issue in the debate. Now, this contention about the Kaaba at Mecca is something which right wing Hindus have been saying for decades now. It tells us that Sri Sri, who claims to be above sectarian affiliations is himself deeply influenced by Hindu right wing ideology when it comes to thinking about Muslims....



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