‘Asghar Ali Will Be Remembered As A Creative Interpreter Of Islam’


In a career spanning over four decades, Asghar Ali was in the forefront of anti-communal movements and upholding the spirit of our secular constitution

MUSHIRUL HASAN

May 15, 2013

Photo Courtesy: www.csss-isla.com

Photo Courtesy: http://www.csss-isla.com

He never wrote his full name. AA Engineer is how he was widely known. I wrote a column on him in the Indian Express and followed it up with another article on his 70th birthday. Now, regrettably, I write his obituary.

Like many in this country and abroad I am deeply grieved by his sudden death. He was a man of extraordinary energy and unshakable conviction. Above all, he was on a mission to reform his own Bohra community, to expose the menace of communalism and to plead for a liberal and modernist version of Islam. What is amazing is that he actually believed that these changes would take place during his lifetime. Sadly, that did not happen.

Asghar Ali Engineer’s chief mission was to make India a safer place to live in for the minorities. For this, he did not adopt the reckless course of many a protagonist of Muslim causes. Instead, he endeavoured to instill confidence in the minorities. At the same time, he argued for reforms and innovations within inherited traditions. He wanted Muslims in particular to move forward and shed their psychological inhibitions. He wanted them to remain true to their faith, because he believed that Islam, contrary to its current demonization, championed social equity, justice and tolerance. He would quote chapter and verse from the Quran to defend his position. Unlike other reformers, he was a well-read person and linguistically equipped to interpret the Quran and the traditions of the Prophet. Therefore, he consistently argued, for example, that gender justice is enshrined in the Quran.

In a career spanning over four decades, Asghar Ali spearheaded many important movements. He was in the forefront of anti-communal movements, upholding the spirit of our secular constitution. Global peace and interfaith dialogue was lately, his principal passion. He tried to work out a synthesis between different religions, traditions and underline their commonalities. In this respect, his dialogues with Christian and Hindu priests are quite important. It marked an advance on a tradition pioneered by social reformers like Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Sir Syed Ahmed Khan and Mahatma Gandhi.

When I first visited Asghar Ali at Irene Cottage in Santa Cruz East, I expected to be greeted in a large palatial house. Instead, I walked through a decrepit staircase which led me into a rather modest two-room apartment. It was barely furnished. There were only books and printed articles strewn all over the place. This is not surprising. He was a dedicated scholar who spent several hours every day writing his own books, articles and reports on communal riots in different parts of the country. Many of these were published in the Economic and Political Weekly. He will be long remembered for his bold and courageous interventions on leading public issues and in the service of communal peace and secularism. His judgement on most matters was objective and reasonable.
Asghar Ali was a reckless individual, with a junoon to transform the world. He travelled ceaselessly and kept odd hours which ultimately took a toll on his health. Whenever I asked him to take it easy, he would brush aside my suggestion. He said that he had miles to go and much more work to do.

His life offers many lessons to be learnt, of paths taken and not taken. But whatever may be the verdict of history, Asghar Ali Engineer will be remembered as a creative interpreter of Islam and as a champion of the liberal and secular values. His life clearly demonstrates that it is possible to be wedded to one’s own tradition and at the same time be a quintessential liberal. There is no conflict of vision in Asghar Ali’s public life or writings.

We will miss this enlightened and dignified man. We will miss a principled and conscientious citizen and dissenter who recognised no caste or community differences. And finally, we will miss a scholar who was relentless in his search for ideas and solutions to contemporary conflicts and divisions.

The author is Professor of History, former Vice-Chancellor, Jamia Millia Islamia and the former Director General, National Archives of India

- See more at: http://tehelka.com/asghar-ali-engineer-will-be-remembered-as-a-creative-interpreter-of-islam/#sthash.QGfpi43O.dpuf

Obituary – Asghar Ali Engineer (1939-2013)


RIP Asghar Ali (1)

MAY 14, 2013

B_-_portrait.Ashgar_Ali_Engineer-Salzb05__c__RLA_Foundation__Ulrike_AltekruseAn obituary by ZAHIR JANMOHAMED: I first met Asghar Ali Engineer in January 2002 in Mumbai. I was a fellow with the America India Foundation and a few weeks later I would be posted to work with an NGO in Ahmedabad.

A few minutes before his presentation, I noticed him standing off to the side in silence, staring at the ground. I walked up and introduced myself. I was young, in my twenties, and I did not know what to say.

As-salaam alaikum,” I said.

“Wa-alaikum salaam,” he replied.

I am not sure what response I expected but I thought that perhaps because he and I share the same faith that we might have a special bond, that my greeting would spark a conversation. After all, I always thought phrases like these serve less as greeting and more as an announcement, as in, I am part of the same religion as you.

But Asghar saab just held my hand and then put his hand on his heart. “Nice to meet you,” he said, and then stared at the ground again in silence. I thought it was odd, rude even.

As I continued to meet Asghar saab, I realized that he had very little patience for superficial connections. I witnessed this when I saw him greet crowds after his lectures. If you told him you were from the same caste or city he would not be as excited as if you told him that you also believe that we must fight patriarchy with the same vigor that we must fight communalism.

What set him apart was his fearlessness, something he showed from a young age. He was born on March 10, 1939 in Salumbar, Rajasthan to a family of priests in the Bohra community and schooled in the traditional Islamic sciences like Qur’anic study (tafseer). Islamic schooling is often based on the idea that you should teach a child as much as he/she can digest and then later they will develop the intellect to question what they have learned. The idea, as Willim Chittick writes in his book The Sufi Path of Love, is that form precedes meaning. But Asghar saab began to question at a young age, at a time when he was told he should only be memorizing. Later he would become one of the first to question the transparency of the Bohra leadership, something completely unheard of during his time.

He was effective and very hard to argue with (as I learned first hand) because he was grounded in Islamic law. When an Islamic scholar would make an argument that a particular verse in the Qur’an supports denying a woman her rights, Asghar saab would draw on his extensive knowledge of the Qur’an to argue that that very verse means the antithesis.

Each time he spoke out, the more he isolated himself but this never bothered him. Part of what made him so unique was that he never saw himself as part of a community. He believed this was the surest way to stifle your voice. Be independent, he always told me.

After I witnessed the Gujarat riots, we met on a few occasions. But he never liked hearing my stories from Ahmedabad. It was not that he was not interested but he did not want it to rattle his core belief that humans are inclined towards goodness and reason, two things he saw lacking during the 2002 carnage.

We ended up growing apart because he was so ideal about India and religion that that idealism which I always saw as his virtue I began to see as his blind spot. But I always appreciated how he never gave up and more importantly, how he was always re-examining his beliefs.

The last time we corresponded was in 2005. It was a few months after Modi was denied a visa and I was active in Washington DC in raising awareness about Gujarat. But I was burned out and frustrated by my fellow Indian Americans who could not be bothered with what happens in India. What I wanted, I told him, was more support, more people to stand with me.

“You will not find many friends on this path,” he wrote to me.

It is these words and that image of him—standing off to the side, staring at the ground as when I first saw him—that I will always remember about him. Yes he was alone, as many are who push for change, but he was also something very unique and rare. He was his own person.

(Zahir Janmohamed is a writer in Ahmedabad.)

 

#RIP- Renowned Islamic scholar, progressive thinker, author Asghar Ali Engineer no more


RIP Asghar Ali (1)

 

Mumbai, May 14 (IANS) Renowned Islamic scholar, progressive thinker, author and Dawoodi Bohra reformist leader Asghar Ali Engineer passed away here Tuesday after a prolonged illness, family members said. He was 74.

Engineer, a widower, is survived his son Irfaan and daughter Seema Indorewala. He was ailing for several months and breathed his last at his Santacruz East home around 8 a.m. The funeral is likely to be held Wednesday, Irfaan indicated.

Born in Salumbar, Rajasthan, in a Dawoodi Bohra Amil (priest) family March 10, 1939, Engineer acquired his training in Quranic tafsir (commentary), tawil (hidden interpretations of Quran), fiqh (jurisprudence) and hadith (Prophet’s teachings, sayings) during his early days.

His father, Sheikh Qurban Husain, was the Amil who also taught the young Engineer Arabic. Later, Engineer studied all the major religious works and scriptures by eminent scholars.

He graduated as a civil engineer from Indore, Madhya Pradesh, and went on to work for nearly two decades in the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).

In the early 1970s, he sought voluntary retirement from his BMC service and plunged into the reformist movement in the miniscule Dawood Bohra community, estimated at around 1.20 million worldwide.

In 1972, he assumed a leading role in the movement from Udaipur and also mobilised national and international public opinion through media articles and speeches.

In 1977, he was elected general secretary of Central Board of Dawoodi Bohra Community at its maiden conference in Udaipur and guided the reformist movement.

Later, Engineer devoted his time and energies to work for communal harmony and combat communalist forces in the country.

The recipient of several awards and honours from around the world, Engineer travelled across the globe speaking at international conferences, seminars and universities on Islam, peace, human rights and other issues.

He founded the Institute of Islamic Studies (1980) and the Centre for Study of Society and Secularism (1993), and also authored around 50 books on various topics and believed in treating all religions with equality.

According to reformists, Engineer never believed in blind acceptance of dogmas inherited from the past but strived to rethink issues and reinterpret Islam in keeping with modern times.

Asghar Ali Engineer, leader of the Progressive Dawoodi Borah movement speaks to Madhu Trehan on how priestly families in the community are distorting Islam, challenging fatwas, how Satanic Verses should be challenged but not banned & more.

 

Foster Hindu parents bring up Farzana in Islamic tradition #Sundayreading


The Hindu , By J. S. Ifthekhar

Farzana with Madhu and Laxmi Reddy.

Farzana with Madhu and Laxmi Reddy.
When they marry off their daughter Farzana on Sunday, Madhava Reddy and Lakshmi Reddy will have set a new benchmark for secularism. The couple raised Farzana, who lost her parents, from the age of four as their own child and according to Islamic traditions

Take heart. All is not lost yet. There are still people around who stand by values, pluralism and tolerance. While most cry hoarse about religious co-existence, here is a family that lives by it. Madhava Reddy and his wife Lakshmi Reddy are perhaps the best hope for humanity.

When they marry off their daughter Farzana on Sunday, they will have set a new benchmark for secularism. If you do a double-take, you must be an outsider. For the people of Gouraipally, a sleepy village 7 km from Yadgirigutta in Nalgonda district, it is nothing unusual.

They have seen Reddy and his wife raising Farzana right from the age of four as their own child. The girl, who lost her parents at an early age, could not have asked for better foster parents. When none of her relatives came forward to adopt her, Madhava Reddy took her in his care.

The Reddy couple, who have two sons, took an instant liking for Farzana.

They not merely showered love and affection on her but brought her up according to Islamic traditions. Apart from giving her modern education, they ensured that Farzana was not deprived of Islamic teachings.

“We never forced our religion on her but allowed the girl to perform ‘namaz’, read the Quran and observe fast during Ramzan,” says Madhava Reddy, who retired from the Electricity Board.

No wonder, as 22-year-old Farzana prepares for a new phase of life on Sunday, she is sad to part with her parents.

“I will miss mummy and daddy a lot,” she says in a choked voice.

A bright student, Farzana passed 10th Class and Intermediate in first division. Later, she did nursing course in Hyderabad and got a job at Yashoda Hospital, Malakpet.

Qazi Akhter of Yadgirigutta is expected to perform Farzana’s ‘nikah’ with a Nalgonda boy, Mohd. Rasheed, on Sunday. Ghiasuddin Babukhan, chairman, Hyderabad Zakat and Charitable Trust, who supported Farzana’s education, is lending a helping hand in her marriage, too.

Reddy’s two sons, who are working in the U.S., are fond of Farzana and keep in touch with her. Treat others as you would like to be treated yourself is the golden principle of the family. Sure, an ounce of practice is worth tonnes of preaching.

 

Will the Govt. imprison Pravin Togadia? #hatespeech


 

Petition filed against Togadia, Owaisi,Others – Hate Speeches

Written by Agencies | January 10, 2013 |

Hyderabad : President of Deccan Wakf properties Protection Society, Osman Bin Mohammed Al-Hajri, has failed a complaint against Praveen Togadia, International General Secretary of Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Akberuddin Owaisi, MLA of Chadrayangutta, Muneeruddin Muqtar, Convenor, Muttaheda Majlis-e-Amal and others, in the court of Sixth Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate here, on January 7, stating that they were indulging in hate speeches, and hence action should be taken against them.

Togadia, Akberuddin Owaisi
Al-Hajri filed the petition through his Advocates Syed Kareemuddin Shakeel and Mohammed Khan. The petitioner and the Advocate Kareemuddin shakeel, informed the media here today, that the Sixth chief additional Metropolitan Magistrate, after hearing the arguments, referred the said complaint to the Police Station, Tappachabutra in the city and directed the police to register the case against the above mentioned accused persons and take appropriate legal action against them.
In the complaint, the petitioner alleged that Praveen Togadia had visited Hyderabad in December last, openly threatened the Muslims of bloodshed. By making serious and highly objectionable remarks against the Muslim community, he Infused tension in both the communities, which can cause hate feelings in both the communities which is hazardous to the peace and tranquility of Hyderabad and the State.
The alleged that Muneeruddin Muqtar had conducted series of public meetings in the districts of the State, in which Akbaruddin Owaisi had made inflammatory and provocative speeches and made some derogatory and insulting remarks against the Hindu community, and insulted their religious faith and their gods. The derogatory remarks made by Owaisi are totally against the Islamic teachings. Any Muslim who has faith in Quran will not make any such derogatory remarks against the other religious faith and hurt their sentiments of other religious group. Quran says “Don’t insult other religion’s Gods and faith”, he added.

 

#Mumbai- Public hearing of victims of Oral Divorce @17dec #Vaw #Religion


 

 

 

 

 JISKI KAHAANI USKI ZUBAANI 

PUBLIC HEARING OF VICTIMS OF ORAL DIVORCE

17 DECEMBER 2012

AT THE NATIONAL ANNUAL CONVENTION OF BHARATIYA MUSLIM MAHILA ANDOLAN

Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan [BMMA] is a secular, autonomous and rights based Muslim women’s movement in india established in 2007 which works for justice, peace, democracy and development within and outside the Muslim community. It is leading movement of Muslim women in India with a membership base of 35000 women, more than 10 lakh beneficiaries and an active leadership in 12 states across the country. BMMA addresses the marginalization of the community through Muslim women’s own active leadership at the local, state and national level. It facilitates the emergence of Muslim women’s and girl’s leadership so that they can lead themselves and the larger community towards social, educational, economic and legal development.

BMMA is active in 12 states across the country and its leaders receive many cases of Muslim women who have been orally and unilaterally divorced by their husbands. Muslim husbands have evolved innovative methods of divorcing their wife. For instance one husband himself wrote the khulanama and made his wife sign it. In another instance, a father in law divorced his daughter in law on behalf of his son. There are many instances of women divorced through sms, emails, phone calls, letters and of course orally. Many qazis who are paid by the husband send divorce notices to the wife without even giving an opportunity to the wife to give her side of the story.

Although Quranic injunctions demand arbitration before divorce proceedings, this injunction is clearly forgotten by the husband and the ulemas who justify the practice of oral divorce in the name of religion. As a result Muslim women are deprived of her rights mentioned in the Quran and are subject to harassment by husband and unscrupulous qazis.

To highlight the issue of oral, unilateral divorce, BMMA through its national annual convention is holding a national public hearing of victims of oral unilateral divorce. Women from Maharashtra, Gujrat, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Bihar, Jharkhand, Rajasthan, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh will narrate the different ways in which they have been divorced by their husbands.

To put an end to this heinous practice BMMA demands that the Muslim family law must be codified. The activists of BMMA have been working on a draft law since its inception.  Many consultations have been held across the country to arrive at the various clauses mentioned in the draft.

 

Through this Convention, BMMA wants the state to hear the voices of Muslim women. The state now can no longer ignore this voice. It must treat Muslim women as citizens of this country and must put an immediate ban on the practice of oral/unilateral divorce.

 

PLEASE DO JOIN US IN THIS DEMAND FOR JUSTICE BY MUSLIM WOMEN

 

Date: 17 December 2012

Venue: Mumbai Marathi Patrakar Sangh, 2nd Floor Hall, Mahapalika Marg, Near Azad Maidan, VT, Mumbai – 1

Time: 2pm – 5pm

 

Contact:

Khatoon Shaikh : 9224313819

Noorjehan Safia Niaz: 9833072690

 

Woman’s access to Dargah –Shrines to tolerance


Mohammed Wajihuddin | November 10, 2012, Times Crest

Some Mumbai dargahs have banned the entry of women devotees into the sanctum. When the Sufi saints lying buried there didn’t discriminate between men and women, why should religious busybodies, ask liberal activists.

Covered with green chadars and rose petals, the shrines of Sufi saints are usually enveloped in a fragrant haze. And if you happen to be at there at the right time, you can catch Sama, the session of devotional music dedicated to the inclusive, tolerant character of the saints. In the durbars of the saints young and old, rich and poor, men and women are treated equally;discrimination is the antithesis of the Sufi cult.

This air of easy egalitarianism took a beating last week. Mumbai’s leading Sufi shrines, including the iconic Haji Ali and the Makhdoom Mahimi, have banned the entry of women devotees from entering the sanctum of the shrines. Leading the protest against this move are members of Bhartiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA) which, through a survey done in September this year, found that seven out of 20 dargahs in Mumbai prevent women from going closer to astana (graves of the saints).

While dargah committees cite Shariat to justify their action, scholars and activists call it an insult to the Sufi tradition which is based on a moderate variant of Islam. “We are not antiwomen. We are just accepting what many senior clerics have been demanding for long, ” says Sohail Khandwani, managing trustee of Mahim dargah and one of the trustees of Haji Ali. “Dargahs are basically premises which house graves of the saints and Shariat prevents women from visiting graves. “

Many scholars are aghast at this gross “misreading” and “misinterpretation” of the Shariat. “The Quran doesn’t say anything about visiting of graves. They call it Shariat rule just because the Prophet is believed to have asked women not to visit graves. The authenticity of this tradition is doubtful and in this case we must follow the Quran which is silent on it, ” explains Islamic scholar Asghar Ali Engineer.

Other scholars cite instances from early history of Islam when women did visit graves. “The Prophet’s daughter Hazrat Fatima visited her father’s grave. Do the dargah committees want to tell us that daughters should not visit graves of their parents, ” asks Ali. He adds that there is anyway a difference between grave of an ordinary person and that of a Sufi saint. “Sufis are sacred souls. People visit mausoleums of saints not to worship, but to pay homage to the Waliallahs, friends of Allah, ” says Ali. BMMA activist Noorjahan Safia Niaz says earlier women would touch the shrines at Haji Ali, the new rule would obviously put an end to that proximity.

However, Dr Syed Liyaqat Hussain Moini, scholar of Sufism and a khadim gaddi nashin (direct descendant ) of famous Sufi saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti of Ajmer, says Sufism doesn’t discriminate against human beings on the basis of caste, creed or gender. “At Ajmer, both men and women have visited the sanctum for centuries, ” says Moini.

Spiritual tourism is booming and many dargahs in India see a large number of celebrity devotees. Will the ban stem this flow? Moini says it will. “How will it help if women are banned? It will only discourage members of other communities from visiting dargahs. Unlike mosques, dargahs are purely secular spaces and this feature of the Sufi shrines will be affected if women are banned, ” he adds.

Dargahs are a magnet for those seeking relief from distress and grief. Devotees seek the “intercession” of the saints in their destiny. “Women dealing with emotional troubles often find solace at dargahs. This ban will seem to them like a divine rejection, ” says Mumbai-based senior Hindi commentator Feroz Ashraf.

The government is refusing to step into the debate. In Mumbai when activists of BMMA requested minority affairs minister Arif Naseem Khan to intervene, he refused calling it a purely “religious” issue. “Only muftis and clerics can decide on this, ” he says.

Urdu poet-lyricist Nida Fazli quotes a famous incident from the life of Sufi saint Hazrat Nizamuudin Aulia (incidentally women are banned from entering sanctum of Nizamuddin too). One day the saint’s disciple, Amir Khusrau, found his master watching Hindus devotees offering libation to the sun on the banks of the river Yamuna in Delhi. “What do you think of sun worship?” asks Khusrau. “Every follower has his own Kaaba and that is the right path, ” replies the saint.

“Such was the tolerance of a Sufi who was a devout Muslim as well as a great human being. Those who want to restrict women’s access to the dargahs are fanatics who are shattering the tolerant image of the saints, ” says Fazli.

 

Women are not outsiders in Dargahs #discrimination #Religion


Syeda Hameed | November 10, 2012, Times Crest

 

 

MYTH MAKING: 'La ikra fiddin', the revolutionary Quranic verse, says that there is no compulsion in religion

Men and women perform the ‘tawaaf‘ together at the Kaaba during Haj. Why then is there a debate over women’s rights to worship in the sanctum of dargahs?

The issue of women not being allowed to enter the sanctum sanctorum in dargahs is nothing new. It has been raised over ages in many parts of the world. But it is now time it is challenged and challenged on the very ground on which it has been imposed.

I have been turned away from the astana many times. The simplest question to ask is this: would the Sufi saints whose remains are buried in the astana and whose creed embraced all regardless of caste, creed, sex or even religion, ever condone that a woman is forbidden to recite the Fatiha at their grave? The answer is a resounding ‘No’.

The fact that Bhartiya Muslim Mahila Andolan has raised this issue with widespread political support is commendable. If you want to be enlightened about the spirit of Islam, dear reader, read on. If your mind is closed, stop here.
My study of the Quran the Sunnah and the Hadith has given me the confidence to claim before the world that Islam gives equal rights and status to women along with men. In pre-Islamic Arabia there was a time when the birth of a girl brought such shame that the child was placed in her living grave. This practice was prevalent then and is not unknown today in many other forms. At that time the new religion which was revealed (Islam), gave property rights to women and girls. Here begins the story of a woman’s place in Islam;a story that the gatekeepers and so-called custodians of Islam continuously abuse by issuing false and damaging fatwas. These are placed on a religion that was the first to require that women when they earn, have a right to spend their earning as they wish. How many of these custodians of Islam even know this? And how cleverly those who do know it, conceal it.

Gyanvapi Masjid in Varansi, Hazratbal in Sirinagar, Nizamuddin Auliya in Delhi, Kalyar Sharif in Roorkee, Khwaja Gharib Nawaz in Ajmer;are a few dargahs that have restrained my movements. In Srinagar I was with a group of women of all faiths. When we were prevented from entering the shrine and asked to do the tawaaf (circumabulation) ‘outside’, I protested before the guards. I asked my host family, who are among the most respected, devout people in Kashmir, why this happened. They were shocked;they had never heard of these restrictions.

The arguments raised by those who support the Mumbai shrines’ establishment – that the Sharia forbids men and women from performing rites together – negates the very basis of Haj where lakhs of men and women perform the tawaaf of the Kaaba together. They have strict instructions that when they tie their Ahraam they must leave their faces uncovered. The Ahraam is like a shroud;clothed in that one piece of garment, women and men stand equal in the eyes of God. Again, the Islamic injunction for modesty in dress, applies equally to men and women. Ayats in the Quran are clear. If men are permitted to give talaq women are free to give khula, I could go on quoting Surahs after Surahs.

During the life of the Prophet, women were free to enter mosques and question the Prophet on Quranic revelations. It was the query of his wife Umm Salama which resulted in the revelation of Surah Al Nisa, the second longest Surah of the Quran, elaborating on the rights, responsibilities, and defining the dignity of women.
The important fact which is conveniently forgotten by most patriarchs is that unlike Christianity, Islam has no organised church, no Pope, no religious head. Islam is the world’s last revealed religion. The Quran says that 1, 24, 000 prophets preceded Prophet Mohammad. But post-Islam there is no ‘guide’ for the Ummah. The Quran therefore makes the momentous statement that Allah is closer than you shehrug (jugular vein).

Therefore, as Mualana Abul Kalam Azad has said in his monumental work Tarjumanul Quran, human beings are asked to understand the religion and its injunctions according to their “own light”. With this clear direction given by the Quran, many sects, and many schools of jurisprudence came into being;each one interpreting its tenets in its own way. People were free to choose any or go their own way. Where is the place here for dictatorial muftis? La ikra fiddin is the revolutionary Quranic verse: there is no compulsion in religion.

I should have spoken up much earlier in defence of Islam which is endangered by false interpretations. To confuse archaic traditions with the religion itself is to do it huge disservice. I would rather join my voice with the poet Ghalib who has written: Hum muhid hain aur hamara kaish hai tar e rusm (We are believers in One Allah and our creed is to reject customs). 

The author is a human rights activist and member of the Planning Commission

Muslim man’s power to divorce not unrestricted: J&K High Court #goodnews


Published: Thursday, Nov 1, 2012, 15:20 IST
Place: Srinagar | Agency: PTI

The Jammu and Kashmir High Court has held that a Muslim man’s power to divorce his wife is not “unrestricted or unqualified”. Justice Hasnain Masoodi in his 23-page judgment extensively went into details of the Shariah law and Quranic injunctions to hold that a “husband cannot have unrestricted or unqualified power to pronounce the Talaaq.”

The court delved into the fundamental sources of Shariah law to understand the concept of marriage in Islam, the rights of the parties to the marriage contract and the mode and manner the contract is dissolved.

“Though Islam visualises a situation where a marriage may run into rough weather for reasons beyond control of the parties to the marriage contract, and provides for a mechanism to end or dissolve the relationship in such case, yet the device of divorce is to be used as the last option when the marital relations have irretrievably broken down,” the court said.

It maintained that in Islam divorce or talaaq by the husband may take three forms including Talaaq-e-Ahsan which is single pronouncement of divorce made during a tuhr (period between menstruations) followed by abstinence from physical relationship for the period of iddat (waiting period).

The second form is Talaaq-e-Hasan which is three pronouncements of divorce made during successive tuhrs, without any physical relationship during any of the three tuhrs.

The third is Talaaq-e-Bidhi which is three pronouncements of divorce made during a single tuhr either in one sentence or in three sentences or in any other form like in writing, indicating intention of the husband to irrevocably dissolve the marriage.

 

Pakistani-American Raps For #Malala Yousafzai #spokenword #poetry #vaw #Taliban


A man holds a candle next a picture of Malala Yousufzai at a school in Lahore. (Photo: REUTERS/Mohsin Raza)

A man holds a candle next a picture of Malala Yousufzai at a school in Lahore. (Photo: REUTERS/Mohsin Raza)

By- Suka Kalantari,  at the  theworld.org

The day after 14-year-old Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head by the Taliban for speaking out for women’s education, Zaki Syed, a 24-year-old Pakistani-American rapper from Sacramento, California, started getting a lot of phone calls asking him to write a rap about it.

“I was getting calls from people in Pakistan saying, ‘Hey, you have to do something. You have to write something.’ Even my mom was like, ‘You do a rap for everybody, you should do something for her too.’”

But Syed says he had already began writing a spoken-word poem dedicated to Malala Yousafzai, which he’s now posted on YouTube.

Syed starts the spoken-word poem saying, “All she really wants to do is read. The first verse in the Quran is to read.” He said that an important belief in Islam is to educate ones self.

“Reading and getting an education is an Islamic right,” Syed said. “This was just a way of responding to the Taliban extremists and possibly any future extremists who try to come out and justify what had been done. I wanted to make it very clear that Islam, or God, would not condone what they did. The Quran says that God is telling the prophet to read. It’s like your Muslim duty to go out and be educated and be knowledgeable.”

In both Urdu and English, Syed raps, “You sisters, you mothers, you daughters: the respect of the nation is in your hands.” He explains it’s a very old saying in Pakistan. He sang it in both languages to make sure young women in Pakistan understood the lyrics.

“It says that the nation is in women’s hands. And it’s up to them to lead the way. I was thinking of all Muslims when I wrote this. My attack was towards the Taliban, but also to tell the nation of Pakistan that literacy is something we’re suffering and she was trying to advance it. She is a representation of something that people in Pakistan desperately need, which is education.”

Syed, who is also a sociology student at Sacramento State, produced another rap video last month urging tolerance and understanding of Sikhs in the wake of the Wisconsin shootings. In an interview with The World’s Marco Werman he says he uses rap to break down stereotypes.

“I think that the media has always stereotyped – made a stereotype – that anyone who has a beard, who has a turban, must be a terrorist,” Syed said. “That’s very untrue and, in fact, most Muslims don’t even have turbans.”

Syed has also rapped about Pakistan’s earthquake, the floods in Bangladesh, and the discrimination that sometimes comes with growing up as a Muslim-American after 9-11.

Lyrics to “Malala Yousafzai”
Chorus:

All she really wants to do is Read
The first verse in the Quran is to Read
Because when you read to the people you go out and Lead
When Malala bleeds the whole country bleeds
Because she represents the seed of what we need
So many mouths and minds to feed
So when the Taliban, Yeah when the Taliban shot Malala
They shot a part of Pakistan, The Part of Pakistan
That believed in the first verse of the Quran and that is
and that is to read
All she really wants to do is Read
The first verse in the Quran is to Read
Because when you read to the people you go out and Lead
When Malala bleeds the whole country bleeds
Because she represents the seed of what we need
So many mouths and minds to feed

Lyrics:
Now Swat Valley is a beautiful place
But Swat Valley has turned into a murderous place
Swat Valley is also the same place in which Malala was born in 1998
Who would of thought a gunman would try to decide her fate
But no gunman can decide her fate, only God can
I think God had a plan for her to fight Taliban
Woman’s education was at the top of her goal
So when they banned school
They straight up crushed her soul
So she started to blog and she started to protest, and pretty soon became activists
A symbol for Pakistani people that were starting to feel repressed
Stuck in war between the east and the west
U.S. foreign policy and Taliban causing a mess
So when Malala was shot by an extremist the whole country screamed that shedidn’t deserve this
It sparked of something you wouldn’t believe
People saying the Taliban has hijacked my country
And that it is time for them to leave
Protests in Numerous Pakistani Cities
And I heard 50 Islamic clerics have issued Fatwas condemning the Talibans actions now
Wow like how could a child so young become the voice of inspiration
For everyone, like so many women who go to school and then work at night
Only to come home and prepare meals for their families at night
But one of these women told me she is no longer feeling bad about her life
No she is thinking about Malala’s sacrifice and how she herself is lucky to live in a
place where she can be independent and utilize her education right
An inspiration and Light so I use Malala’s message when I talk to Pakistani Women to Unite
Tum batia, Tum Maaou, Tum baana quam ki izzat aap ki haath main hai
You sisters, you mothers, you daughters the respect of the nation is in your hands
So don’t say we cant only say that we can, to a higher education
To a better Pakistan, my Pakistan, your Pakistan
Mera Pakistan, Tumara Pakistan, Hamara Pakistan
Yee Pyari Zameen aur yee pyara Asman
Broken into little tukra by the U.S. Drone Strikes and Taliban
And somebody better please help the Taliban understand that
The Prophet Muhammad told us that Paradise was at our Mothers feet
And to honor our daughters and to treat them with respect so tell me Tehreeki
Taliban is this how you treat your Muslim Sister with respect, by shooting her in the
head and the neck
What kind of Islam is this, what kind of Islam is this, What kind of Islam is this
Please let me know what your following cause I know its not Islam
How could you hurt a girl for trying to follow the first verse of the Quran
Because all she wanted to do was to read

Chorus:
All she really wants to do is Read
The first verse in the Quran is to Read
Because when you read to the people you go out and Lead
When Malala bleeds the whole country bleeds
Because she represents the seed of what we need
So many mouths and minds to feed
So when the Taliban, Yeah when the Taliban shot Malala
They shot a part of Pakistan, The Part of Pakistan
That believed in the first verse of the Quran and that is
and that is to read
Also if the U.S is get inspired by women rights
And wants to fight the good fight then stop the drop strikes
Because education needs to be at the core of any mission
So stop dropping bombs and start dropping knowledge
You say you are for womens rights then why don’t you build a women’s college
Because Illiteracy and Poverty is disease, and drone strikes are the propaganda
on which the Taliban feeds, people joining them because theyre angry that theyre
families have been wiped out entirely
And revenge could keep us in a mental fortitude of slavery
So I am praying really hard for Malalas recovery
Because she brought the proof to the truth, and the truth to abosolute,
And absolute to the proof, proof to the absolute, and absolute to the truth
That’s what happens when education succeeds
Iqra bismi rabbika, read, read, read