Islam and Pluralism
Last night was Holi, yes the Hindu festival in which they pray for the triumph of good over evil and then celebrate the night with music, dancing and throwing colours on one another. Anjali is an engineering student at NUST who lives with us here at the hostel. She is a Pakistani Hindu and today was her day of celebration. Unfortunately, due to the hectic load of classes and our upcoming examinations, Anjali was unable to go home to her family....
No Pakistani is a dhimmis. All of us, whatever our faith, are equal citizens with equal obligations and equal responsibilities. It is high time that we all have equal rights as well and this means absolutely no bar against any community. So long as a Pakistani — on merit — deserves a job, his or her religious beliefs should not be hindrance to him getting his fair share, be that the job of the president of Pakistan.....
The reality is that Islam gave absolute respect and prestige to non-Muslims. Despite that if someone opposes to it in the opinion and belief, Muslims must have patience with the saying of Allah “for you your religion and for me my religion” ( Kafiroon 6). Also Allah says “To each among you have we prescribed a law and an open way, if God had so willed, he would have made you a single people, but (his plan is) to test you in what he hath given you” (Maidah 48).
In every age, we find the influence of religion on education; priests and clergymen were considered to be the most learned people in ancient times. We find such examples in the Egyptian Civilisation, ancient Iraq, Persia, and others. Even in Semitic religions, including Judaism, Christianity and Islam, priests were taken as the most learned men, while churches and mosques were referred to as centres of education....
Owaisi's speech was a typically ultra-Wahhabi, a religious creed that envisions the spread of Islam to the entire world at the expense of other religions, condemns moderate Muslims wanting to reach out to the Almighty through the intercession of a Muslim saint or a Guru , advocating instead direct dialling to Allah, and sees Osama Bin Laden as a hero.
“Allah does not forbid you to deal justly and kindly with those who fought not against you on account of religion nor drove you out of your homes. Verily, Allah loves those who deal with equity” (al-Mumtahanah:8). The holy Prophet (PBUH) went to do ayadat (visit a sick person) of a non-Muslim who spread thorns in his way when he came to know that she has fallen ill.
Remember that it's never about the words, but more about the context. On what basis do you reckon saying "Merry Christmas" equates to "I believe in Jesus Christ with all my heart"? Wishing others a "Merry Christmas" is the same as greeting a "Good Morning" or "Good Evening."
This is how it works: Neither the Sunnis nor Shias recite azan (call for prayers) using loudspeakers. In fact, there are no loudspeakers installed. A mosque sans loudspeakers in itself is a rarity in this country. The mosque employs two prayer Imams, one is obviously Sunni, the other a Shia. Both have been given separate Hujras (residential rooms) in the mosque. Both are Hafiz-e-Quran (one who learns Quran by heart) and live like good friends....
"We have a good friendship between Sunni and Shia followers. We respect each other regardless of our beliefs," he said. "We also frequently arrange social activities such as blood drives, helping disaster victims, etc." Conversions from one branch of Islam to the other do not arouse the sectarian ire that has erupted in some parts of the country….
Commenting on film Star and Nawab of Pataudi Saif Ali Khan’s recent marriage with another film Star Kareena Kapoor, a frequent contributor to Urdu Press and a syndicated columnist Maulana Abdul Hameed Nomani writes (you can read the entire article in translation in detail page as well as the original in Urdu section): “Islamic Sharia forbids marriage with any non Muslim except with pious and believing Jews and Christian women (the people of the Book). Even marriage with a member of shib’h-e-ahl-e-kitab (Hindus) is against Sharia and, therefore, invalid.
“Considering this the marriage of Saif and Kareena or for that matter between any other such persons, even if it is solemnised under Marriage Act is un-Islamic and anti Shariah. Under the Muslim Personal Law, offspring from such marriages will not get due recognition and legitimacy as the children of legitimate parents. In this context, this is a very sensitive and serious issue from the viewpoint of Shariah.”
Not difficult to see why I consider Urdu Press in India (like its counterpart in Pakistan) as a repository of anti-Islamic formulations, un-Islamic exhortations to the gullible Indian Muslim in the name of Islam. One of the most dastardly, mischievous innovations (bida’at) from the fundamentalist Wahhabi Mullahs who claim to be dead against any innovation in religion (bida’at) is the category of shib’h-e-ahl-e-kitab (resembling ahl-e-kitab) to describe Hindus. In religion, either some community is ahl-ekitab or it is not ahl-e-kitab. What is this silly business of shib’h-e-ahl-e-kitab? Where does it come from? This has never been explained. Cannot be explained. It has no basis in Islamic thought.
The problem is that these Islam-supremacists know very well that Hindus are indeed ahl-e-kitab. Hindu scriptures contain verses that herald Qur’anic verses and concepts of the divine in an uncanny manner. Almost word for word sometimes. The similarity is so close, the verses, concept of God so identical that if there were any evidence of Prophet Mohammad having visited India or been in touch with Indian religious scholars, we would have surely heard of charges of plagiarism against the Prophet.
But, as it happens, this close resemblance in the primary concept of nature of God can only be treated as proof of the divinity and identical nature of the source of both Islamic and Hindu scriptures. No wonder at all, therefore, that when Mohammad bin Qasim invaded and occupied Sindh, and wanted to know how he should treat the local Hindus, he was told by the ulema that they should be treated as ahl-e-kitab. These ulema had studied Hindu scriptures before making up their mind.
But today’s so-called ulema, under the influence of rampant Wahhabism and its extremist, intolerant concept of Islam-Supremacism cannot possibly consider any one equal to them. Hence the need for religious innovations (bid’at) that they otherwise claim to abhor. These so-called scholars, of course, forget that a Muslim cannot be a Muslim unless he believes in all the prophets who came prior to Prophet Mohammad (saw), all 124000 of them and gives them all equal respect, while maintaining closest and most intimate personal and social including matrimonial relations with their followers. – Sultan Shahin, Editor, New Age Islam
While entering the prayer hall for Eid at the Louisville convention centre, two police officers were at the entrance, I walked up to them and appreciated their presence in safeguarding the well being of the congregants, and said my tradition calls for appreciating all those who put their lives at risk for the sake of others.... He was moved by it, who does not want to be appreciated? How often do we thank those who care for our safety?...
Two weeks ago, on the morning of Sept. 11, I noticed a woman wearing a traditional Muslim head covering on the packed platform of the train station in Scarsdale, N.Y. Her attention was focused on a billboard ad that announced “19,250 deadly Islamic attacks since 9/11/01” and pre-empted those who might dispute that claim with the refrain: “It’s not Islamophobia, it’s Islamorealism.” I could only imagine what she was feeling.
On another morning commute to Grand Central Terminal, I sat on the train with Yawar Shah, a Muslim friend from Scarsdale whom I met years ago at my synagogue when he would attend a bar or bat mitzvah service of his friends’ children. Yawar told me how painful these ads are to his family and what an insult they are to our community in Westchester County and to our way of life…..
There are three categories of people today who are bent on giving a universal dimension to the above context specific verses of the Qur’an. I) Muslim terrorist outfits and Radicalized elements – a fractional though visible minority quote them to justify their violent agenda; ii) the Islamophobes/ anti-Islamic website, to justify their hatred and fear of Islam and iii) some among the immigrant Muslims in the West - averse to Qur’anic moral imperative and core paradigms….
‘Love in Jihad’ – Myth or Reality?
Maulana Nadeemul Wajidee, Tr. by Raihan Nezami, Ne
Are Muslim boys luring Hindu girls to love and marriage in order to convert them to Islam deliberately, on purpose, as part of a Jihad, as communal and divisive elements in India are propagating? Prominent Delhi-based Urdu columnist Maulana Nadeemul Wajidee looks at the issue, in the process revealing his own mindset and outlook, indeed a worldview widely prevalent in our Mullah class – no introspection, merely blaming others, contempt for religions brought to the world by prophets preceding Prophet Mohammad - respecting whom equally as our own Prophet is an essential, inalienable part of our Faith. I am particularly offended by the fact that Maulana Saheb shows no regard for the sentiments of our ahl-e-kitab brethren in India: he seeks God’s protection from the Satan by saying Naooz billah before relating the fact that some Muslim boys and indeed girls too are converting to Hinduism for love.
Maulana Saheb also reveals total insensitivity to the emotion of love. For his class of maulanas, women are nothing more than child-bearing machines, or at best, an object of occasional lust. Indeed he says so in so many words in this article reproduced below (Translated by Syed Raihan Ahmad Nezami). How can he possibly understand that love is the highest virtue a human can aspire to? Love is Truth. Love is God. And love is universal. It is not for nothing that couples in love are prepared to sacrifice their all for love. And they do. Everywhere in the world and in all ages. Only today I read the story of teenager Afsana and a Dalit boy Manoj, brutally killed in a Meerut village allegedly by Afsana’s brothers, with the connivance of the entire village and support of probably the majority of our countrymen of all faiths.
Of course, no Muslim is falling in love or luring Hindu girls to love and marriage and conversion as part of a Jihad or any other conspiracy. The very idea is preposterous. But, those who don’t want to see India prosper would not let go of any opportunity to divide the country. The Maulana may be right in seeking to dispel the notion, even though the idea is too ludicrous to be given such serious notice.
The Separated Brothers
Mushtaq ul Haq Ahmad Sikandar, New Age Islam
It was much later that I came to know about the unfortunate exodus of the Kashmiri Pandit community. Pandits were the Hindu minority of Kashmir, who had lived together with the Muslim majority since centuries. Both communities shared a common plural, syncretic and tolerant culture, known as Rishism that has now been made synonymous with the politically charged term Kashmiriyat. Rishi culture was a beautiful blend of the teachings of Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam. The Kashmiri Pandits and Muslims lived together with mutual tolerance, and love and respect for one other....