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  • Your Favourite Author's Page

      

    Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

    A regular NewAgeIslam.com columnist, Arshad Alam is a Delhi-based academic, political commentator and writer.


    Please read below the articles written by him for NewAgeIslam.com

     
    Islam and Politics

    Granted that Love Jihad is a Ruse to Polarise Communities, But Can We Ask What is the Need to Convert in Inter-Faith Marriages?
    Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

    Instances like Hadiya will keep repeating themselves. And no community is free from blame of putting restrictions on movement of girls, curbing their sexuality and denying their choice of love and marriage. Caste and religious groups have all been guilty of stultifying women because they think that women become ‘astray’ and bring shame to the community and family. The honour killings witnessed in many parts of the country, and those that go unreported emanate from the same problem: viewing women as commodities and as the repository of shame. So while honour resides among men, shame resides in women....

    Islam, Women and Feminism

    Child Marriage among Indian Muslims: The Mullahs Have Brought Shame to the Muslim Community, Yet Again
    Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

    Even if we come to the conclusion that Prophet did in fact marry a minor, then a historical and contextual reading of this decision can always be done. What was right during the Prophet’s time is no longer valid. What was Sharia (the path) at the time of the Prophet is no longer the Sharia of the present. Contextualising the actions of the Prophet in its time is perhaps the only way out of the morass which we find ourselves in today. Rather than shying away from the problem, we must first have the courage to recognise it and then throw it open for debate. Pretending that everything is fine with Islam only obfuscates the problem and has already done irreparable harm to the community and the religion....

    Islam, Women and Feminism

    Hyderabad Sex Slavery: Till When Will Islam Keep Sanctioning Such Marriages?
    Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

    The first and foremost problem with such a marriage is that in a majority of cases it is driven by acute poverty. When a family, too poor to feed itself and where a girl child is understood as a burden the very idea of marriage appears appealing to the family. At least it is one mouth less to feed since the girl becomes someone else’s burden and responsibility. Scores of marriages take place because of considerations of poverty and it happens amongst all communities. Because of poverty, neither the family nor the persons involved have any real choice in such marriages....

    Islam and Politics
    No Country for Rohingyas
    Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

    No Country for Rohingyas
    Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

    The neighbouring countries have the power to bring the military junta to exercise moderation over its treatment of minority Muslims but they will not do so for a variety of reasons. The Chinese are concerned about their pipeline which will run through the Rakhine state. The Indians are concerned about strategic factors in the north eastern states. Both therefore do not want to annoy the military junta of Myanmar and want them at their side. Bangladesh has to face the brunt of refugee exodus and till date has already accommodated Lakhs of Rohingyas in their country....

    The War Within Islam

    Why the Mindless Ritual of Male Circumcision Should be Done Away With
    Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

    It is considered a Sunna but then there is no evidence to suggest that the Prophet himself was circumcised. There is a fantastic Hadis which says that he was born circumcised but then again it is not the same thing as saying that he underwent circumcision. In short, there is no religious justification also for this practice to continue amongst the Muslims. If God says that he has made man perfect and that bodily integrity should not be harmed even after one’s death, then why are Muslim hell bent to make modifications in God’s plan? Isn’t it playing with the divinity to cut a part of human body which is part of the original design of God?...

    Islam, Women and Feminism
    Instant Triple Talaq Judgment and After
    Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

    Instant Triple Talaq Judgment and After
    Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

    The statement of the Jamiat Ulema e Hind suggesting that they would not follow Supreme Court verdict only goes on to say how much faith they have in the Indian judiciary. For them, as for a majority of religious fundamentalists, the matter is very simple: if the courts rule in their favour then they would hail the verdict, but if the law goes against then, the judiciary becomes a pawn in the hands of ‘vested interests’. People like Madani bring shame to the Muslim community and people like him are responsible for making the community a sitting target for the Hindu Right wing forces who quickly announce to the world that Muslims do not believe in the Indian nation, far less the judiciary....

    Related Articles:

    1.  Triple Talaq Must Be Invalidated Constitutionally and Criminalized – Inclusion of Prohibitive Clause in Nikahnama Could Allow Its Perpetuation by Defaulters

    2.  AIMPLB Advocates Of Instant Triple Talaq Are Gender Terrorists And Traitors Of Islam And May Be Sued For Human Rights Violation Under Cover Of Religion

    3.  The Process for Divorce in the Quran

    4.  Sultan Shahin Raises Triple Talaq Issue at UNHRC, Asks Muslims to Engage In Serious Rethinking Of Islamic Theology and Bring It In Line With the Needs of 21st Century

    5. The Triple Talaq Case: The Unjust Muslim Men and Their Unjust Leaders

    Islam and Politics

    Why Patriot Tests are Designed to Fail Muslims
    Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

    As a community, Muslims in India have always been burdened to prove their loyalty to the country. They are repeatedly asked to take tests of nationalism and patriotism in order to prove their love for the country. Whether it is cricket match against Pakistan or the matter of singing the national song, accusatory fingers have always been cast on Muslims, reminding them that as a community, they will always have to go through this test of loyalty.....

    Ijtihad, Rethinking Islam

    Quran is Not the Source of All Problems but It Must Be Brought within the Ambit of History
    Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

    However, the reason that Hassan Radwan gives for historicizing the Quran is simplistic and problematic. Firstly, it is not true that one cannot beat the traditionalists in the game of selective quotation from Quranic passages supporting moderate and liberal voices. Scholars, both modern (like Amina Wadud) and traditional (like Fazlur Rahman) have shown how a different hermeneutical reading of the Quran is possible: one that is consistent with a modern and liberal worldview. It is true that in most of the Muslim countries, such interpretations have either remained marginal or have altogether failed....

    Related Articles:

    Is Islamic Reform Possible? 'Should We Just Accept That Quran Is Not Perfect, Infallible Word of God, If Nearly All Muslims Misundetstand It?'

    The Quran Is the Perfect, Infallible Word of God, Even If All the Muslims Misunderstand It

    Some Muslim Intellectuals of This Era Cry Lies or Half-Truths against Islam Creating Doubts and Suspicions against It – Ignorantly or Fraudulently - God Knows Best

    Islam and Politics

    Why General Rawat and Major Gogoi are Wrong about Kashmir
    Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

    While the section of the media which supported major Gogoi was doing so for obvious ideological reasons having thrown to the wind the cautious journalistic ideal of speaking truth to power, those who were mildly critical of major Gogoi’s action were the more interesting of the two. This later section of the media portrayed the entire incident as an exception rather than a rule and that in doing so this major had erred and deviated from the norm followed by the Indian army. ...

    Islamic Ideology

    Why the Law of Blasphemy in the Islamic World Must be Scrapped
    Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

    Laws of blasphemy only bring disrepute to the Muslim world. Given that it has no sanction in the holy Quran, Muslims themselves should protest against such a discriminatory law within their midst. After all, of they believe that they should get a free right of expression, then it is only logical that followers of other religious traditions and those having a different interpretation of Islam should also be given the same rights. ...

    Islam and Politics

    Vegetarian Iftar at Jamia: Decoding the Politics of Muslim Rashtriya Manch
    Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

    The expectations of the MRM is laden with assumptions which in themselves might be completely untrue. In telling the Indian Muslims to become nationalist, they are assuming that Indian Muslims are not nationalist which is blatantly untrue. Any scholar of Indian Islam will tell us that it was Deoband which fought valiantly during the freedom struggle. It is however true, that there are deeper differences over the meaning of nationalism itself. But those differences are not just between Hindu and Muslim groups but also between Hindus themselves. If the suggestion of the MRM is that Indian Muslims do not love their country then it is blatantly false. Similarly the assertion that Indian Muslim share the same ancestors as that of the Hindu community might be true to a large extent. But to suggest that therefore Indian Muslims should willingly subjugate aspects of their religious and cultural identity to the cultural demands of the Hindus is going too far.....

    Radical Islamism and Jihad

    London Attacks: From Extremism to Terrorism
    Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

    The teenagers involved in Dhaka attacks had named Zakir Naik as their inspiration. Now it can be very well argued that for every militant there are millions others who do not derive the same message from preachers like Zakir Naik or Omar Bakri. But this argument misses the small point that one doesn’t need an army to launch a terror attack. One or two convinced individual is enough to create mayhem. There is therefore a greater need to put on surveillance these imams who preach hate in the name of Islam or any other religion....

    Islam, Women and Feminism

    So What Is The Reason Behind The New AIMPLB Affidavit?
    Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

    Now again, what authorities do the Qazis have in contemporary India? How are they to ensure that the marriage contract expressly forbids instant triple Talaq? Given the situation that Muslim women are at the receiving end, what if there is pressure on them not to put this component in the contract. How is the Qazi then supposed to behave and act? The simple fact is that Qazis have no authority today and by invoking the institution of the Qazis, the AIMPLB is telling us that they still live in a time when the institution of Qazi was relevant. And that precisely seems to be the problem. They are living in a time warp and refuse to wake from their slumber and see the light of the day. The world has changed while they slept all this while.....

    Islam and the West

    Here Is Why Donald Trump Has No Idea about Islamist Terrorism
    Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

    In the run up to the presidency, Donald Trump, embraced a rhetoric about Muslims which put even his far right friends in Europe to shame. Calling Muslims as enemies, he told the Americans that ‘they hate us’ that ‘they’ want to overrun America and all this because there was some fundamental flaw in their religion. For some time, it looked as if Islam and Muslims became the other of America. This polarizing campaign helped him garner votes from even non republicans who were fed on a daily diet of Islamic takeover of Christian America.  The man who advocated a complete ban on Muslims entering America, today has done a complete u-turn and is now telling Muslims to dispel extremist teachings from within their societies. His speech in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia is ridden with confusion and only tells us about his ignorance of the problem that the world is confronting today in the name of Islamic terrorism.…

    Islam, Women and Feminism
    So Who Is Politicizing Triple Talaq?
    Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

    So Who Is Politicizing Triple Talaq?
    Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

    There is no dearth of educated Muslims who have researched and worked extensively on women issues within the community. They are progressives and a majority of them want the practice of triple Talaq to be removed. Yet, we do not see them representing the community on the television screens. Instead what we have are stale mullahs known for their antediluvian views which will put any community to shame. I do not believe that they are called because producers cannot find moderate progressive voices within the community. I believe that it is a well thought out strategy paint the Muslim community as backward by representing them through the mullahs....

    Islam and Politics

    The Lynching of Pehlu Khan and the New Normal
    Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

    And why just blame the ruling dispensation when cow protection has been high on the agenda of so called secular parties like the Congress.The problem is that we have never confronted the problem with all the might that is required. As I look at the responses to the murder of Pehlu Khan, I fear with trepidation at the silence of the secular parties on the issue. No candle light vigils, not even a silent symbolic protest against such a brutal lynching. I wonder whether the secular response has also reached a new normal....

    The War Within Islam

    The Lynching of Mashal Khan Proves Pakistan is Dystopic
    Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

    And yet the Prophet himself gave us a very different message. One of the stories about him is that he was daily abused by a woman when he used to preach the message of Islam. The Prophet never rebuked her but actually went to her house and inquired about her health when she fell ill. That message seems to have been lost on his followers. They want to do what the Prophet never taught. Perhaps this generation of Muslims understand Islam much better than the Prophet himself. Allah definitely warns all those who insult the Prophet, but then he goes on to say that He is the only one to judge them. But today, Muslims have themselves become the judge, the jury and the executioner in cases related to blasphemy...

    Islam, Women and Feminism

    Instant Triple Talaq: The AIMPLB Puts Muslims to Shame Again
    Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

    It is true that personal law of Muslims is protected by the constitution. But it is also true that the same constitution talks about fundamental rights and rights of equal opportunity for women. Personal laws cannot become the reason for backwardness of Muslim women just because a handful of Muslim men think that Sharia is divine which in fact it is not. Moreover, the law has to change over time and especially change when women groups have documented cases of discrimination due to the continuance of such a law. A community which does not change with the times is only condemned to be consigned to the flames of history....

    Islam and Tolerance

    Suhana, Nahid and the Curse of Muslim Intolerance
    Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

    It is not also enough to say that when Prophet of Islam went to Medina, women sang in his honour. It is also not enough to cite Hadiths where it is stated through Aisha, the Prophet’s wife that women used to come and sing in her house in the presence of the Prophet. What is required is an attempt to break this scholarly consensus which argues that music and singing is forbidden in Islam. Doing so does not require an exegetical exercise of sifting through the pages of Islamic literature, but to argue boldly and consistently that Islam needs to be one with the fundamental marker of contemporary modernity: that of expanding choice and freedom. It is up to these Mullahs and overtly sensitive Muslims to decide whether they want Islam to become an ossified, irrelevant doctrine or whether they want it to be a flag bearer of inclusivity and freedom....

    Islam and Politics
    What Explains BJP’s Win in UP
    Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

    What Explains BJP’s Win in UP
    Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

    While reams of paper have been wasted arguing the positives and negatives of demonetization, what escaped the analysts’ attention was that this was never a move about black money or to positively influence the economic order. It was a thorough political move aimed at transforming Modi into an icon of the poor. While we all saw the recalibration of ATMs to accommodate new notes, what we missed was the simultaneous recalibration of Modi’s image as the messiah of the poor. Politics is about perceptions and till the time Modi is seen as hurting the interests of the rich, he will remain the darling of the masses....

    Radical Islamism and Jihad
    ISIS in India?
    Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

    ISIS in India?
    Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

    The media overreach which happened in this case actually helps no one. Going ballistic over the ‘ISIS in India’ and coming to conclusions even before the investigating agencies have started looking into the profile of alleged terrorists only helps stoke negative fears about a section of Indian population. More so when the same media houses have maintained a studied silence on the alleged links of some members of Madhya Pradesh unit of BJP with the ISI or the recent conviction of some members of the RSS in Ajmer blast case. This hypocrisy only lends credence to the perception that the media is biased and has an agenda which makes the Muslim community nervous.....

    Islam and Politics

    Syed Shahabuddin: The Failure of a Promise
    Syed Shahabuddin

    A career bureaucrat, a politician and a chronicler of Muslim times are some of the ways in which one can describe Syed Shahabuddin. A risk taker, he resigned from his job in the Indian Foreign Service to become a full time politician, something which was a rarity those days, especially for someone who was a Muslim. A man with middle class moorings, it must have required great courage and conviction to leave his job and try to dabble in politics....

    Islam and Tolerance

    Tarek Fatah, Liberal Hypocrisy and the Limits of Muslim Tolerance
    Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

    In absolute terms, the attack on Tarek Fatah must be condemned. There cannot be any context to what was pure and simple an act of heckling, intimidation and violence.  There is simply no excuse for this kind of behaviour. Certainly there are more civil ways to air one’s differences, but then who cares to keep a tab on their own instincts of hatred. I am appalled to hear excuses like Tarek Fatah shouldn’t have been there in the first place, that his mere presence ignited the mob because of his Islamophobic utterances. This is all nonsense...

    Islam and Sectarianism

    Attack on Qalandar Shrine: Muslims Themselves are the Problem
    Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

    Isn’t it known for a fact that Salafi madrasas equate visitations to shrines as grave worship and therefore consider majority of South Asian Muslims as potential idolaters? The same hate is being peddled in the name of Islamic literature through cheap publications and sermons on televisions. Acts like bombing shrines are a direct result of what is going on in our homes, our schools and in our neighbourhood. There cannot be any dispassionate discussion on the causes of such brutality without asking tough questions about ourselves as to how our own hate mongering about different maslaks (sects) have acquired a new normality within our everyday discourses.....

    Islam and the Media
    Why Muslims Need Their Own Media House
    Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

    Why Muslims Need Their Own Media House
    Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

    Muslims are also reported in the mainstream media through their ‘peculiarities’, particularly in terms of their religion. Thus stories on triple Talaq, polygamy and such issues gain wide prominence within the mainstream media. A bit of research would tell us that polygamy is more among Hindu castes than Muslims, but when there is a discourse of relating a community to the practice of its religion, and then all facts and figures are given a go by. The problem is compounded by the well-entrenched belief among the media establishment that Muslims are best represented by the Ulema. And thus we have in television studios Muslim religious clerics who through their ignorance and trying to reduce everything to religion, end up giving a bad name to Muslims.....

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