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Islamic Society

Sociologists must now expand the category of jobs for which there is no glass ceiling for capable Muslims to include the posts of President and Vice-President. But there is a difference. To earn nomination to these two posts, a candidate must have had an extraordinary career in politics or outside it; yet it is also true that his or her religious and caste identities are as vital.

 
Driving Ms Morality
Nadeem F. Paracha
Driving Ms Morality
Nadeem F. Paracha

Give them nice, feel-good lectures about the fruits of the hereafter and how the Almighty has chosen them and them alone for the honours to enter paradise; respond to their economic and civic woes by producing huge billboards with beautiful calligraphic verses from the holy book. Pat them into submission, as if suggesting, why do you care about electricity shortage, unemployment, broken roads, crime, garbage dumps and corruption. Do not think about the here. Think about the hereafter.

Who gets to be a Muslim in Pakistan?
Murtaza Haider
Who gets to be a Muslim in Pakistan?
Murtaza Haider

If Muhammad Ali Jinnah were alive today only half of Pakistan would consider him a Muslim. The ethnic, sectarian, and tribal fault lines have reached such depths that the nation once founded to be the homeland of Muslims is now bickering over who gets to be called a Muslim. The latest poll by the US-based Pew Research Center has exposed the depth of sectarian fault lines where only one in every two Sunni Muslims in Pakistan accepts Shias as Muslims.

We discussed the relevancy of Friday sermons, and honestly, the youth will get on their smart phones instead of listening to something they don’t connect with.  As someone who listens to sermons of different faiths, it was a delight to hear that Imam Birjas also listens to Joel Osteen, whose sermons can be easily converted to Friday sermons using the similar quotes from Bible that are in Quran. He summed it up pretty well; his sermons are more motivational than religious!...

 

The atmosphere at this Masjid is more like a family gathering, mixing and mingling with each other. I made it to the Mosque a minute before Iftaar as I was stuck in traffic going through downtown Dallas on a Friday night. In the Warith Deen Tradition, the men and women sit together and break the fast, indeed; it highlights the cultural aspect of Islam. It’s only in America we have come to know that Islam as practiced has the religious and cultural components in it, in most other nations, both are intertwined and hard to distinguish between the two. ...

 

The Masjid space shaped in a “T”, with the sanctuary at the top of the T and a flex hall on the vertical; on either side of the T are the class rooms. A great traditional lay out that keeps everything in sight, and offers safety for women and children being in sight. When I left the office for Iftaar, there was an unusual hesitancy in me, never felt that before, and I did not like the feeling either.  I did not know anyone at this Mosque....

God says the best among you are the ones who understand and know each other. God has not said to be mirrors or copycats of each other. Had he wanted, he would have punched all of us out of a factory with exact same specifications. Nope, he wanted each one of us to be unique with our own specific thumbprint, eye print, and taste bud, colour bud, drink bud, scent bud and rituals bud. Respecting that uniqueness amounts to appreciating the creator....

 

The instances of lack of tolerance this Ramazan have been too many to account for. Either Pakistan has glided one step further in achieving the state of ‘piety’ during this Ramazan or I have grown up enough to actually observe and notice these loathsome antics. I don’t know why this Ehtram-e-Ramazan Ordinance had to come into action all of a sudden because almost all my life I’ve witnessed instances of tolerance and forbearance during this holy month....

The massacre of Sikhs at the Gurdwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin shook the world.  No one would have expected this to happen in a suburb of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. A deranged individual with hatred walked in to the Gurdwara and opened the fire killing 6 and wounding several. One of the great outcomes of this tragedy is the sacrifice made by Police and Fire men around the world, and most certainly in Wisconsin....

Today’s destination is the Shia Masjid in the city of Irving called Momin Centre, in case you are wondering what Momin stands for, here it is: Metroplex Organization of Muslims in North-Texas. Please remember, it is a name, and not necessarily the organization of Muslims. That’s how we name things in the USA, all private entities. One of the first things I do when I visit a Mosque is check on Quran translations; One Hilali Khan’s translation is fraught with deliberate errors....

Identity Crises of Muslim Diaspora
Rashid Samnakay, New Age Islam
Identity Crises of Muslim Diaspora
By Rashid Samnakay, New Age Islam

The poet of the East, Dr Mohammad Iqbal, a century or so ago perceived the signs of stirring in the Muslim world and hoped it would wake it out of its stupor of centuries; the stirring mainly due to the turmoil that was taking place in Europe. He had hoped the coming tempest would rejuvenate the Muslims. But that perception proved to be just a dream, like many other dreams of his! He naively thought:-

Musulman’ ko Musulman’ kardiya tufaan-e-Maghrib nay,

Talaatum haa-e daryaa hee say hotee hai gohar kee seraabi.

(Muslims been forged into Muslims by the tsunami of the West

Same as the agitations of the sea help nourish the pearl.)

Judging from the events of the world that have taken place after him, it is obvious that the community on which he had pinned his hopes so positively has regressed even further back. The events may seem to have woken them, but has stirred them into actions that are taking them farther and further away from the ideals of the Islam of the poet’s vision.....

As Ramadan would approach, our burgeoning community would plan rotating Iftar open houses.  Several families would volunteer to host Iftar throughout the month, allowing people to break bread and pray together.  Occasionally our tiny community was joined by other Muslims passing through Buenos Aires. .....

 
Pakistanis and Honour Killings in UK
Shafilea Ahmed
Pakistanis and Honour Killings in UK
By J Tozer, DWilliams, I Hussain and S Malm

He also 'embraced western culture', dated white girls, loved going to discos in tight jeans and preferred to be known as 'Buzzer', his Danish ex-wife Vivi Lone Anderson has revealed. Today it emerged that the man who murdered his 17-year-old daughter because she simply wouldn't conform to the values of 'rural Pakistan’ once shunned his strict Muslim family to marry Vivi who describes 'the most liberal of husbands' as a doting father who would never raise a hand in anger....

As a member of diverse family of faiths, our efforts will be directed towards "knowing each other as guided by Quran to attain peace for the humankind with a firm grounding in commonly held values.  Insha Allah, next year, we will work on doing Iftaar at a Synagogue, Baptist Church and Catholic Church and possibly places of worship of different faiths.  Hindu teachings call it Vasudeva Kutumbukum, we are all one large family under the blue dome....

Zakat Is Being Misused
By Mohammed Wajihuddin

A religious obligation, Zakat is mandatory for every Muslim who must donate 2.5% of his/her annual savings to charity. However, unorganised Zakat collection, a lack of transparency among the individuals and institutions which receive it and unprofessionalism in its distribution are collectively causing a colossal economic loss. The major chunk of Zakat money goes to the thousands of madrasas that have mushroomed across the country....

I was looking at the name of the organization, “Islamic Association of Arabi” unlike most other Mosques that list the name of the city. But when I browsed through the website I found what Arabi meant; it is a suburb of New Orleans, Louisiana where this tradition of Mosque took root. Their website reads, “The Islamic Association of Arabi began as a small Masjid (Masjid Yaseen) and in only five years, the first boarding Islamic institute in the United States was established....

 

Inside the sanctuary, there was a senior gentleman giving a talk about Ramadan to a group of people - this is a missionary group called Tablighi Jamaat, one of the other persons met me after the prayers, he said, two couples are visiting from Saudi Arabia on a mission to talk about Islam. The missionaries whether they are Mormons, Evangelists or the Jamaatis (Muslims), they all sound alike, using similar language and too eager to sell their religion....

 
Communication Gap between Allah and Muslims
Durdana Najam
Communication Gap between Allah and Muslims
By Durdana Najam

Instead of repelling people by forcing Islam down their throats, a better idea would be to let it grow on others through its manifestation as prescribed in the Quran. It is not the first time that I have come out feeling odd from a seminary. It has been so ever since I started visiting different madrasas to understand Islam. The atmosphere always reeked tangibly, besides a stink of hypocrisy of filth and disorder....

They celebrated the interfaith movement with a unique concept - they made 4 Gold plated statues of major religious leaders; Moses, Jesus, Buddha and for Islam, they made a gold plated symbol of Quran on a pedestal and conducted their meetings under the umbrella of these.  They are very respectful of Islam, and I have opened many a sessions with interfaith prayers..... 

Scholars of Islam pointed out that there were many fatwas in favour of the use of technology. Maulana Syed Rashid Naseem Nadwi, associate professor at English and Foreign Languages University, said, "There are many fatwas, compiled by Maulana Salman Mansoorpuri indicating that scientific methods can be used. One such is the use of helicopters….

 

Allama Iqbal said it well, “Tujhe kya milega namaaz may” what do you get out of fasting and prayer, if it does not make you a humble person. Humility is the other name for Taqwa or spirituality, it broadly means treating, feeling and acting equal with your employee, spouse, kids or others; Muslim or not. How do we measure up? There were at least six or seven men in bottle green turbans, something I had seen on the great grandson (14th) of Imam Bukhari, and who and I were fellow Ambassadors for peace with UPF....

As I walked in, the volunteers gave me a Sajda-gah, a clay tablet, (Clay from Karbala City, where Imam Hussain was martyred, son of Imam Ali, the 4th rightly guided Caliph of Islam) which is placed on the floor, to rest your forehead during the prostrative posture of the prayers. This practice is exclusive to Shia tradition. Similar practices exist in Jewish tradition....

A few Arabs think that the Pakistanis are not Muslim enough, and the Pakistanis don’t see Indian Muslims to be Muslim enough, and Indian Muslims don’t think the Bangladeshis are Muslim enough and I guess they don’t think the Rohingya Muslims are not Muslim enough. I am sure most all Muslims can enthusiastically quote Prophet’s last sermon that no one is superior to the other… the question is, do we really mean it?...

 

Masjid Al-Islam follows the Warith Deen Muhammad tradition of Islam which is identical to the Sunni tradition. Did you know that the first Muslim in the United States to start the interfaith dialogue was Imam WD Muhammad?  Did you know the first man on the earth to start the interfaith dialogue was Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)?  Wherever I speak on Islam, I draw blanks on this question from Muslims for God’s sake!...

Suddenly, the sheikh stretches a hand upwards, waving it like a heavy metal fan rocking to the beat of his favourite group. Then he calls on the crowd to dance. He pulls a long face, imitating the reserved spectators. The first of these are soon jumping up and hopping around on the carpeted floor. Quran verses are written above their heads, on the ceiling. In the corner, a wooden Mehrab indicates the direction of Mecca....

 
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