Karbala – a symbol of resistance against tyranny

The Islamic calendar corresponds to AD 622. During that year, the Prophet of Islam (PBUH) and his followers had migrated from Mecca to Yathrib (now Medina) and established the first Muslim State.  The Islamic, Muslim, or Hijri calendar is a lunar calendar consisting of 12 months in a year of 354 or 355 days. The first month of Hijri Calendar begins with Muharram, and in a few days, the moon of Muharram is upon us.

The Muslims, especially the Shia Muslims mourn in this month and recall the Message of Karbala, the martyrdom of Imam Hussain (as) and his family members and companions. Despite all the channels of information available today, non-Muslims particularly those living in the West generally have very little knowledge of the tragedy of Karbala.

It was deserted place in Iraq that was the site of the battle on 10 Moḥarram 61/10 October 680 between Imam Ḥussain (as) and the Omayyad army. Imam Hussain (as) with a party of seventy-two armed men and some women and children, was on his way from Medina to Kufa, whose inhabitants had invited him to lead the Islamic community there.

Before reaching Kufa, the caravan of Imam was intercepted by an Omayyad forces, On 2 Moḥarram his party reached the plain of Karbala, where they were surrounded by another 40,000-strong Omayyad force sent by ʿObayd-Allāh b. Ziād, the governor of Kufa, and led by ʿOmar b. Saʿd b. Abi Waqqāṣ, who had been instructed not to allow Imam Hussain (as) to proceed unless he would sign a pledge of allegiance to the caliph Yazid b. Moʿāwia. On 10 Moḥarram, known as ʿAshurah, the uneven battle took place in which all of Imam’s able male companions were slaughtered.

The Ommayad army looted Imam Hussain’s camp, decapitated the bodies of all his companions, and took prisoners all the women and children. Among them was Imam Hussain (as) surviving son ʿAlī, who became the fourth Shiʿite Imam, Zayn-al-ʿAbedin. The Karbala tragedy became the constitutive event of Shiʿism as a religion and the symbol of the victory of the righteous few over an oppressive majority. It was the backdrop of whatever went wrong in Islamic history.

Going in to the backdrop of this tragedy, let us recall that Imam Hasan (as), the older grandson of Prophet (PBUH) was earlier poisoned at the instance of Amir Muawiya – the ruler of Syria who had rebelled against the fourth Caliph of Islam Hazrat Ali (as). Imam Hussain (as) was the younger brother of Imam Hasan (as). Imam Hasan (as) had succeeded his father Imam Ali (as) as caliph.

The wily governor of Syria, Amir Muawiyah had eyed the caliphate for a long time. At one point, he went to battle with Imam Ali (as) and upon his death, persuaded his son Imam Hasan to abdicate in his favour.  Short of another war and the blood-letting that goes with it, Imam Hasan (as) saw no alternative.  He abdicated on condition that Amir Muawiyah would not appoint anyone as caliph after him.

But Amir Muawiyah reneged on his promise and appointed his hard-drinking son  Yazeed as caliph. Yazeed was the complete opposite of what a religious leader should be – fond of the pleasures of the world. Imam Husain declared “A man like me would never pay his allegiance to a man like Yazeed.

Imam Hussain (as) kept his pledge and sacrificed all that he had in the battle field of Karbala. As the tragedy of Karbala took place in the month of Muharrum, the Muslims recall his sacrifice in this period to revive the spirit of Islam. Karbala was the battle between justice and falsehood, the battle between freedom and slavery, the battle between humanity and oppression.

It is found in traditions that when the Prophet Muhammad [PBUH] informed Lady Fatima [a] of the martyrdom of his son, she burst into tears and asked “O my father! when would my son be martyred?” “At such a critical moment,” replied the Holy Prophet, “when neither I nor you, nor Ali would be alive.”

This accentuated her grief and she inquired again, “Who then, O my father, would commemorate Hussain’s martyrdom?” The Holy Prophet said, “The men and the women of a particular group of my followers, who will befriend my Ahlul-bayt, will mourn for Husayn and commemorate his martyrdom each year in every century.”

What is the lesson of Karbala? Apart from the physical suffering in martyrdom, and all sorrow and suffering that claim our sympathy, it give strength to withstand against tyranny – of any kind, It inspires the humanity to resists against all odds. It gives us courage to oppose the criminal prosecution; it gives us strength to set a bold front against injustice whether committed by Law of the Time, the State and the ruler or by our own people.

In Karbala we see a valiant soul standing against the power; when the noblest motives are reviled and mocked; when truth seems to suffer an eclipse.

Karbala reveals that “Truth after all can never die.” As Moulana Mohammed Ali Johar has said:

“Qatl-e-Hussain asal men marg-e-Yazid hai, Islam zinda hota hai har Karbala ke baad.”

The murder of Imam Hussain, in reality, is the death and defeat of Yazid. Islam is revived after every recurrence of the tragedy of Karbala.

The whole battle Karbala is for keeping hold of truth and righteousness. Imam Hussain (as) demonstrated in Karbala how the conduct – spiritual striving and suffering enduring firmness of faith and purpose. His act beacons that patience and courage goes a long way where ordinary mortals would give in or be cowed down.

Karbala gave the deathblow to the politics of Damascus and Yazid and all it stood for. The month of Muharram has the power to unite the different schools of thought in Islam, and make a powerful appeal to non-Muslims also.

On the eve before the massacre, the Imam Hussain (as) had asked everyone to leave – “The enemy is only after my blood. I would plead with you to leave “. But far from leaving, they exclaim in chorus ” even if we were to be killed 70 times, brought to life and killed again, we would still not leave you”.

Imam Husain (as) has been honoured by non-Muslims all over the world, especially in countries with a sizeable Shia population.

A Hindu poet Jai Singh has paid his tribute to Imam Hussain (as) in the following poem:

Hai  Aaj bhi Zamaay  Maeyn charcha Husain ka
Chlata hai kayenaat maeyn sikka Hussain ka
Bharat maeyn gar wo atay Bhagwan kahtay hum
Harr Hindu naam pooja maeyn japta Hussain ka

Sarr apna peet-ti hai jo pyason ki yaad maeyn
Layti hai naam Gunga o Jumna Husain ka
Is maeyn naheen kalam ke hum but parast haeyn
Ankhon se apni chhomeyn gay rauza Husain ka

Hum Paapion ke wastay Hurr ki mithaal hai
Chamkata hai naseeb ishara Husain ka
Jai Singh panaah manay gee mujh se narad ki aag
Maeyn Hindu hoon magar hoon maeyn Shaida Husain ka


Husain’s name lives on to this day
Husain’s currency is valid the world over
Had he but come to India
Every Hindu would have worshipped him in his devotions

There s no doubt that we (Hindus) worship idols
We will kiss his grave and rub our eyes lovingly on it
For us sinners is the example of Husain
Husain’s call can change man’s destiny

Jai Singh, the fire of hell will not touch me
I am a Hindu but I love Husain

Sikh poet Kunwar Mahinder Singh Bedi ‘Sahar’ said:

Lubb pay jab Shah-e-Shaheedaan tera naam aata hai
Saamnay Saqi-e-Kauthar liay jaam ata hai
Mujh ko bhi apni ghulami ka sharaf day dijio
Kota sikka bhi to aaqa kabhi kaam ata hai


O Prince of Martyrs, when your name comes upon my lips
I can see the Saqi-e-Kauthar (Imam Ali) offering me the drink of Paradise
Take me into your service as your slave
Surely a fake coin can also be useful

Zinda islam ko kiya too nay
Haq o batil dikha diya too nay
Jee ke marna to sabko aata tha
Mar ke jeena sikha diya too nay


You gave a new lease of life to Islam
You showed the difference between the truth and falsehood
Everyone must see death after life
But you taught us how to live after death

In fact, it is not just Hindus & Sikhs who have lavished their praises on our Imams. As just one example, the Christian scholar George Jordach says about lmam Ali as follows:-

“All the treasures of the world cannot match the strap of his shoes”.   [source : The Voice of Human Justice]

Naim Naqvi

Naim Naqvi

Did his graduation in Science discipline from AMU in 1972-73. He was Secretary of University Ali Society in 1970 and M.M. Hall Literary Society in early 70 's and member of Tayyabji Literary Society. Did his Diploma in Bakery Administration from HTT College Oxford Street London in 1987. Worked with National Herald - Delhi, Blitz - Bombay as Trainee Journalist and in Production Department with 'Naya Sansar Pictures' of Khwaja Ahmed Abbas at Bombay in early 70's. Traveled for study and training purposes to Germany, U.K., Switzerland, France, Dubai, Oman, AbuDhabi, Bahrain and Philepines.

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Have we given them proper sanctity or not ?

As a student of social sciences I can easily discriminate between a sympathetic comment and a snobbish, supercilious attitude that explains the motivational dynamics which underlie RWA. Please don’t confuse this RWA with ‘Resident’s Welfare Associations’ or the body of parvenu fortresses of new Indian culture. I’m talking about ‘Right Wing Authoritarianism’ that is trampling underfoot the secular democratic traditions of Mother India.

Minorities are disrespected in any country whenever they are treated merely as the addressees of the majority rules constraining the formulation and pursuit of their life-plans. An impression is created that being minority, the treatment meted out to them in politics and society is legitimately influenced by the majority judgment. A sense of helplessness prevails among them. It is understood that there is a group in the country that is superior and merciful and the other inferior groups – the receptor of mercies.

The message that the RSS wants to send to Minorities is that you are at the mercy of majority. And since the coming to power of the Modi-BJP government in May 2014 this RWA has emboldened its ambit which is a part of the RSS strategy to convert Secular India into a Hindu Rashtra.

The latest salvo is fired by fired by no other but the Union Minister Union Ravi Shankar Prasad who was responding to a question related to development having an impact on culture and diversity. The honorable minister enlightened the country with the following stately message at the annual ‘Mind Mine Summit’ organized by the ‘Hero Group’ in New Delhi:

“We salute diversity and culture of India. There are two ways of looking at it. Let me be very frank today. There has been campaign against us for a very long time, but today we are here because of the blessings of people of India. We have got 13 Chief Ministers of our own. We are ruling the country. Have we victimized any Muslim gentleman working in industry or service? Have we dismissed them? We don’t get Muslim votes.

I acknowledge very clearly, but have we given them proper sanctity or not? We have a problem with some of our friends. Mostly, the Leftist friends and journalists who entertain a pathological hatred against Narendra Modi. Good luck to them.””
It’s not that Indian Muslims are unfamiliar with such benign blathering at their expense but earlier such efforts were being pushed through at medium pace and into a limited space.

Now the magnitude and speed of such favors have stepped up exponentially. That RSS does not believe in diversity outside the majority compass and their underlying theme is that India belongs to the Hindus alone and so they dub Christianity and Islam as ‘foreign’ religions is now open in Indian skies.

This attitude and the supportive propaganda has relentlessly fueled violence, from the brutal burning of Pastor Graham Stewart Stains on January 23, 1999 in Manoharapur, Orissa, the honorific Kandhmal violence in Orissa 2008 to the introduction of the ‘Freedom of Religion’ Acts in states like Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh to the recent Gau Raksha victims at Muzaffarnagar and Alwar.

Responding to the minister’s remarks, the AIMIM chief and Lok Sabha MP from Hyderabad Asaduddin Owaisi on Saturday hit back at Union Minister for Information Technology and Law Ravi Shankar Prasad for his comments that the BJP has given Muslims ‘sanctity’ despite not receiving votes from the community.

“We (BJP) gave them sanctity? Who are ‘we’? It is the constitution that has given rights, our rights are protected under that,” Owaisi was quoted as saying by ANI. Also, the senior Congress leader and former union minister Salman Khurshid said: “I see no reason why someone should feel that a particular segment of society is unable to vote for them.

We should see who does not vote for us & find why and see if it can be addressed. Don’t know from where has ‘sanctity’ come in.”

I think the political patients of ‘foot n mouth disease’ and loose cannons of Indian RWA are hell bent to undo what PM Narendra Modi has been trying to do since he came to power!

Naim Naqvi

Naim Naqvi

Did his graduation in Science discipline from AMU in 1972-73. He was Secretary of University Ali Society in 1970 and M.M. Hall Literary Society in early 70 's and member of Tayyabji Literary Society. Did his Diploma in Bakery Administration from HTT College Oxford Street London in 1987. Worked with National Herald - Delhi, Blitz - Bombay as Trainee Journalist and in Production Department with 'Naya Sansar Pictures' of Khwaja Ahmed Abbas at Bombay in early 70's. Traveled for study and training purposes to Germany, U.K., Switzerland, France, Dubai, Oman, AbuDhabi, Bahrain and Philepines.

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The Martyrdom of Karbala and our ‘Attitudes’

Don’t waste your time chasing things that will never be beneficial to your future.

………..April Mae Monterrosa

But the moot point is – How do we conceive our future – the materialistic future or the spiritual one?

If you are sitting with a religious zealot without a rational attitude, he would advocate a future in Black and White. All sermons and advice would he shower about the nothingness and emptiness of this world and promises of heaven where you might be allowed many of the luxuries (of course chaste and pristine) that you have been looking in this world and didn’t enjoy. May be he would enlighten with the verses of the Holy Book and Holy Traditions like the following:

Surah At – Takathur, 102:1-8
(In the name of Allah – the most Beneficent, the most Merciful)

  1. You are obsessed by greed for more and more.
  2. Until you go down to your graves.
  3. Nay, in time you will come to understand!
  4. And once again: Nay, in time you will come to understand!
  5. Nay, if you could but understand (it) with an understanding (born) of certainty,
  6. you would indeed, most surely, behold the blazing fire (of hell)!
  7. In the end you will indeed, most surely, behold it with the eye of certainty:
  8. and on that Day you will most surely be called to account for (what you did with) the boon of life!

And for an unripe mind, it leads to a thought of giving up all the attractions, magical spells and allurement of this world. And the next streak leads to ASCETISM – the renouncing of this world.

Does the religion of Islam demand that situation?

Indubitably, we as Muslims have a clear purpose in our lives and that is to earn the pleasure of our Creator. The positive feelings such as inner peace, joy, gratitude and hope all devolve around that very concept.

“And I created not the jinn and mankind except that they should worship Me (Alone).”

The Holy Quran Chapter 51:56

This Surah is one of the most powerful and prophetic passages of the Qur’an. It illuminates man’s unbounded greed and tendencies which have come to dominate our societies. We jump with indiscrete to increase in benefits, be they tangible or intangible, real or illusory. It denotes man’s obsessive striving for more and more comforts, more material goods, greater power over his fellow-men or over nature, and unceasing technological progress.

However, it is imperative here to understand the concept of worship. As we understand, the worship of God is not only ritualistic akin to some choreographed acts of gymnastic. Worship of Almighty includes seeking knowledge, fulfilling the family, social, political and state responsibilities, helping others and performing the regular prayer rituals. And to conform to all those duties, tasks and avocations one has to wade through the rough and tough of hard practical life with all its pathos and privations.

The Holy Quran Chapter 67:2

“And We have not created the heaven and earth and what is between them in vain. That is the opinion of those who disbelieve. And woe to such disbelievers, because of the Fire. Shall we treat those who believe and do good deeds as those who spread corruption on the earth? Or shall we treat the pious as sinners?”

Allah wants us to perform good deeds and be honest. Corruption and Islam can never go parallel. We have to strive to do hundred percent justice to all the activities which are entrusted to us. And to perform good deeds we have to be both materialistic and spiritual. Islam proscribes and prohibits ‘asceticism.’ While the religion wants us to live within our means and be content with the modicum of comforts, it exhorts to improve our economic and social conditions by all fair means.

The conventional wisdom suggests that a materialist wants to change the present for a better future. He deals with the unpleasantness of life with intelligent and self-willed efforts and works hard to attain a standard happy life and prosperous life by creating conditions within himself and his environment. He goes by his past experiences and relies upon his strengths and abilities to safeguard his / her interests. While doing all that he prays the Supreme Authority for a positive response.

The problem with the so called-religious-spiritual zealot is that he thinks more about the rituals and prayers and feels that spending most of the time in these activities would entitle him for Allah happiness. He inadvertently ignores his family, social, economic and educational tasks and indulges in the practices that relate to outward show of sainthood and religious paraphernalia. Those errands and engagements hardly make any difference in his attitudes and dealings. On the contrary, this kind of excessive devotion leads to PRIDE in one’s own piousness and importance which is not what the Islam expects.

From an ordinary Muslim, Islam expects the golden mean where there is fine balance in his spiritual activities and his professional responsibilities. The true worship is if we are honest in all the dealings of life; if we lead a simple life without conceit and arrogance; if we take care of our social responsibilities as a good citizen; if we’re to ready to allow our resources to be availed by our needy neighbours; if we give real respect to our elders and lead a life without hate and work hard for a better tomorrow for us and for those who connect us.

As the famous Urdu poet Jigar Moradabadi has said:

“Mehav-E-Tasbeeh To Sab Hain, Magar Idraak Kahan,
Zindagi Khud Hi Ibadat Hai,…….. Magar Hosh Nahi.”

Most of us busy with the prayer string beads without knowing the Real Truth. Are We but conscious and aware that all the activities of our (honest and diligently lived) LIFE itself are PRAYER….Nay, but we are not sentient!

A few weeks later the Mourning Period of Moharrum is approaching when we would recall and remember the Martyrdom of Karbala. I believe the best tribute of Imam Hussain (AS) and his mission would be to fulfill all the responsibilities of life, especially for the youth, to spend time in their studies along with the traditional rituals and prayers in just proportion. The Holy Imam would also never approve our display of wealth, pomp and power in his name. He would love to see his followers taking lead in the world in all positive fields. He would love to see the youth engaged in activities that would enhance their character. Wasting time is never part of worship or mourning of martyrs of Karbala!

Naim Naqvi

Naim Naqvi

Did his graduation in Science discipline from AMU in 1972-73. He was Secretary of University Ali Society in 1970 and M.M. Hall Literary Society in early 70 's and member of Tayyabji Literary Society. Did his Diploma in Bakery Administration from HTT College Oxford Street London in 1987. Worked with National Herald - Delhi, Blitz - Bombay as Trainee Journalist and in Production Department with 'Naya Sansar Pictures' of Khwaja Ahmed Abbas at Bombay in early 70's. Traveled for study and training purposes to Germany, U.K., Switzerland, France, Dubai, Oman, AbuDhabi, Bahrain and Philepines.

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The frequent unpleasant, unfortunate and avoidable controversy of Moon Sighting

It is in the domain of  the religious scholars to decide what procedure and process is to be adopted to make sure that moon indicating the arrival of Eid-ul-Fitr is sighted or not.

I’m an ordinary Muslim and I find myself at my wit’s end when once in few years we encounter the same controversy, same confusion and same inconsistency of the decision maker. We find our Ulemas measuring swords against each other about a simple physical appearance. We fast and pray the whole month and I’m sure none of us wants to shorten the period of 30 days fast to 29 dys. We have had enough of food festivals in the holy month.

Our refrigerators were filled with Seher and Iftar essentials. We have had ensured the finest of Eid dresses that were ready on time, and we had occasionally thought of our poor relatives also arranging Iftars in mosques, social and political gatherings so that people must realize and accept our status in society. Allah has showered His bounties upon us and we are thankful to Allah Almighty for that. We think of poor sometimes in this month.

But one suspense that fails the imaginations of Ibne Safi, James Hadley Chase and Agatha Christi hangs like Domocle’s sword – Tomorrow there would be Eid or not?

For many of us the celebration of Eid al-Fitr should be tied to the sighting of the moon in each country and should not be linked with the celebration of Eid al-Fitr in Saudi Arabia. It is Moon Sightingone issue where there is emphasis upon the disunity as the time difference is vital. But there should be unity in every country until and unless is too large like a continent. Between the cities and town situated in the neighboring provinces there should be no differences.

What does the Muslim unity mean? It means that all Muslims should treat each other with brotherly sympathy and affection and should not spread disorder and dissention among them. Nor should they invent new ideas foreign to the teachings of Quran and the Sunnah which may lead to division and conflict among Muslims.

We have evolved the idea of Central Ruet-i-Hilal Committee (the official body for moon sighting and the authority which declares the official start of Islamic months) or some Moulana from Lucknow with their bloated egos but we always juggle with their ability or inability to see the moon. We blame the poor weather, the absence of evidence and some strange undecipherable politics of Moulanas and Ruet-i-Hilal Committee. It is pathetic that in modern times when the other races are conquering the journey of Moon we’re fighting about the sight of moon.

We, the Muslims, in all of our communities and sects are blessed with Scientific Scholars who can help us to reach upon a reasonable conclusion about the sighting of moon. Isn’t possible for our Ulemas to sit together with the scientific gentry and understand this moon business?? There are plenty of modern scientific tools that can help us resolve this issue.

If we shed our ego and meet with open mind and honest approach then it is not an issue at all. Science has no prejudice. It is based on proven facts. A section of Islamic scholars believe that seeing the moon with the naked eye should be the criterion for declaring the start of a new month. A smaller section advocates that we can rely solely on the calculations, and there is no need to visually see the moon. The official and unofficial moon sighting committees ask people to testify if they have seen the moon.

Today, astronomy can accurately establish the time of birth of the new moon with the accuracy of seconds, and its likelihood of being visible. So, what is the harm in using this astronomical basis to reject a claimed sighting which could not possibly be correct? Can’t we sit together – our Shia and Sunni Ulema with the Muslim’s Scientific Community before the final declaration of moon sight in evey specific region at least, and save ourselves from becoming the but of jokes before other advance people?

Naim Naqvi

Naim Naqvi

Did his graduation in Science discipline from AMU in 1972-73. He was Secretary of University Ali Society in 1970 and M.M. Hall Literary Society in early 70 's and member of Tayyabji Literary Society. Did his Diploma in Bakery Administration from HTT College Oxford Street London in 1987. Worked with National Herald - Delhi, Blitz - Bombay as Trainee Journalist and in Production Department with 'Naya Sansar Pictures' of Khwaja Ahmed Abbas at Bombay in early 70's. Traveled for study and training purposes to Germany, U.K., Switzerland, France, Dubai, Oman, AbuDhabi, Bahrain and Philepines.

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Stop ‘Cruelty’ in the name of ‘Religion’

Whoever digs a pit will fall into it; if someone rolls a stone, it will roll back on them. If you set a trap for others, you will get caught in it yourself. If you roll a boulder down on others, it will crush you instead.

The Frankenstein West has created with the help of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, other Middle East royals and Israel is seeking the blood of its creators. It has now gone totally out of control and taking the toll of the innocent lives around the globe without discrimination and with impunity.

In Qatif, a famous oasis mainly populated by Shia minority of Saudi Arabia,  two suicide bombers blew themselves up one after the other outside the Faraj Al-Omran Mosque. No casualties were reported. A witness said a car bomb was detonated near the mosque, which was followed by a suicide attack just before 7 p.m. Police have launched an investigation into the attack.

It would be interesting to recall that Daesh had carried out a series of bombing and shooting attacks in Saudi Arabia since 2014 that have killed scores of people, mostly Shiites and members of the security services. In January, a suicide bomber attacked a mosque in Al-Ahsa, killing four people before worshippers disarmed and tied up an accomplice who had shot at them. In October last year, a gunman opened fire on worshippers in Qatif, killing five people before he was shot dead by police.

The attacks against Shia Minority continue with the connivance of WAHABI establishment that is the running the country.

And in Jeddah,before that at 2:15 a.m., a suicide bomber blew himself up near the US Consulate in Jeddah. Security officers confronted him as he moved suspiciously at a parking lot of the Dr. Soliman Fakeih Hospital. Two policemen were wounded lightly in the attack. The bomber was name as Abdullah Qalzar Khan, an expat from Pakistan, who lived in Jeddah with his wife and her parents and came to the country 12 years ago to work as a private driver. Photos taken from the scene showed the bomber’s body dismembered by the blast.

After, Istanbul, Dacca and Baghdad, the Daish, Al Qaida or any other name of terrorists outfits you may recall, have targeted the holiest site of Islamic world. Four policemen were killed and five others were injured in Madinah when a suicide bomber struck in the vicinity of a police post outside the Prophet’s Mosque, according to the interior ministry.

The bombing took place in a parking lot between the city court and the mosque, visited by millions every year. When security officials became suspicious of an individual who was heading to the Prophet’s Mosque they approached him resulting in him triggering his explosive belt killing four of the officers and injuring others. Saudi-owned al-Arabiya television said an initial death toll from the Medina blast included three suicide bombers and two security forces officers.

A video sent to Reuters by a witness to the aftermath of the Medina bombing showed a large blaze among parked cars in the fading evening light, with a sound of sirens in the background. Videos circulated on social media showed a car burning and at least two security officers lying on the ground and two others lay crumpled near a burning car. The bomber also died in the attack, which took place at the time of iftar. No worshipper was injured in the attack, said a press correspondent from the scene. The blast came after mosques were targeted in both Jeddah and Qatif.

It seems to be coordinated campaign of attacks by the so-called Islamic Terrorists around the globe to revenge heir defeat in Iraq and Syria. The attacks all seem to have been timed to coincide with the approach of Eid al-Fitr, the holiday that celebrates the end of the fast.

Naim Naqvi

Naim Naqvi

Did his graduation in Science discipline from AMU in 1972-73. He was Secretary of University Ali Society in 1970 and M.M. Hall Literary Society in early 70 's and member of Tayyabji Literary Society. Did his Diploma in Bakery Administration from HTT College Oxford Street London in 1987. Worked with National Herald - Delhi, Blitz - Bombay as Trainee Journalist and in Production Department with 'Naya Sansar Pictures' of Khwaja Ahmed Abbas at Bombay in early 70's. Traveled for study and training purposes to Germany, U.K., Switzerland, France, Dubai, Oman, AbuDhabi, Bahrain and Philepines.

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God doesn’t play dice with the Universe

On 19th March, 2016 my wife met a road accident. She was coming down from a chemist shop with her friend. Both of them were hit in the rear by a juvenile driving the bike. Both of them fell down unconscious on the road for minutes. The driver escaped. My wife got compound fracture in her feet. Her friend got internal injuries in neck and back. Exactly one month later, near the same spot, I was hit by another juvenile driver and got identical fracture in my foot. It was real pain. According to the Orthopedic surgeon, mine is a bit more serious injury it would take longer to heal.

The saving grace was that boy who hit me didn’t run away. He behaved responsibly and was there with me till I came back home. He had also apologized sincerely and I refused to accept any financial assistance despite his insistence. Usually I don’t share the personal physical eventualities to bother others but as so many of my friends are inquiring about my relative absence from Facebook and other social media, I have to keep them abreast. I’m a strong believer of the cliché – ‘whatever happens, happens for the best.’ Allama Eqbal has said –

“Mout to zindagi ka waqfa hai, yani aage barhen ge dum dekar.”

Death is only a stop gap moment in the continuity of Life. It connotes that we have to move ahead after a pause. I believe also – if something is lotted in the scheme of God, I can’t blot it. Albert Einstein had famously said “God does not play dice with the universe.” Despite what we have been led to believe about coincidences and synchronicities (namely that they are little more than chance), is not quite the whole picture. The fact of the matter is that these serendipitous events hold much more meaning than we often give them credit for. We live in an intelligent, responsive, multidimensional universe.

A synchronicity is more than just a coincidence, it is divine providence and a little hint from the cosmos that there is more going on than meets the eye. At some time or another it’s happened to all of us. For most mainstream scientists, experiences like this, however strange and recurrent, are nothing but lawful expressions of chance, a creation — not of the divine or mystical — but of simply that which is possible. Ignorance of natural law, they argue, causes us to fall prey to superstitious thinking, inventing supernatural causes where none exist. Many see coincidences as embedded in a higher, transcendental force, a cosmic “glue,” as it were, which binds random events together in a meaningful and coherent pattern. Mathematician Warren Weaver, in his book, Lady Luck: The Theory of Probability, recounts a fascinating tale of coincidence that stretches our traditional notions of chance to their breaking point. The story originally appeared in Life magazine.

Weaver writes:
“All fifteen members of a church choir in Beatrice, Nebraska, due at practice at 7:20, were late on the evening of March 1, 1950. The minister and his wife and daughter had one reason (his wife delayed to iron the daughter’s dress) one girl waited to finish a geometry problem; one couldn’t start her car; two lingered to hear the end of an especially exciting radio program; one mother and daughter were late because the mother had to call the daughter twice to wake her from a nap; and so on.

The reasons seemed rather ordinary. But there were ten separate and quite unconnected reasons for the lateness of the fifteen persons. It was rather fortunate that none of the fifteen arrived on time at 7:20, for at 7:25 the church building was destroyed in an explosion. The members of the choir, Life reported, wondered if their delay was “an act of God.”

Naim Naqvi

Naim Naqvi

Did his graduation in Science discipline from AMU in 1972-73. He was Secretary of University Ali Society in 1970 and M.M. Hall Literary Society in early 70 's and member of Tayyabji Literary Society. Did his Diploma in Bakery Administration from HTT College Oxford Street London in 1987. Worked with National Herald - Delhi, Blitz - Bombay as Trainee Journalist and in Production Department with 'Naya Sansar Pictures' of Khwaja Ahmed Abbas at Bombay in early 70's. Traveled for study and training purposes to Germany, U.K., Switzerland, France, Dubai, Oman, AbuDhabi, Bahrain and Philepines.

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Overt Show of Rituals,Traditions and Absence of Essence Is Failing Us

I’m not a religious scholar and I don’t want to be one. ‘Religion,’ to me, is a very personal matter.



It was not my choice to be born in a certain family and I’ve not studied enough to go through all contemporary religions to make a choice once again. What I am as in my birth certificate is the description of an accident of birth. Today if I’m to explore the deeper truths of creation and existence, one life or several lives won’t suffice to find the ultimate truth. So, I’m contended with the set of beliefs I’ve received from my parents, relatives, neighborhood and the society I lived in. Good luck to deeply religious, passionate and sincere souls and no argument with those who believe otherwise. Everyone has to bear his own cross. I’m what I’m.

I know the religion sometimes motivates people to do good things, but that is far outweighed by the misery, death, and divisiveness produced by religions since it arose thousands of years ago. It was religion that crucified (or seemingly) Jesus and it was also religion that caused the martyrdom of KARBALA. Whose faith was the ‘force of good’ and who was following SATAN is an argument that is pregnant with the side you stand, by choice or accident of birth. And certainly, the argument continues. It is the religion that is causing bombs to explode in mosques, imambargahs and hospitals and it is religion that is dividing one human being from others. So, could we simply say – Religion is the cause, reason and effect of the negative developments today or yesterday or yonder?

No sir!

The beneficial effects of religion far outweigh the negatives it has caused. Let me be honest – I’ve no airtight case for it. If you look around, you will find that religion does indeed motivate people to do good things. If you can get people to behave better by making them believe in things that inspire them you are on the right track. You may call it religion. Isn’t better to base your actions and philosophy on things you know? That defines your background. For if you participate in good deeds because your trust in a faith and you think that this is what God wants, you’re a happy and contended man and in hopes of having a nice afterlife.

But many are not gifted with that deep, unshakable resolution. They are the victim of Universal Sense of CURIOSITY. It is often the scientific penchant for wanting to know what’s true that makes one an atheist. It is what challenges the basics of life. Here are two diametrically opposite opinions:

Anon: “There can never be a conflict between true science and true religion, because they both describe reality.” Excerpt from a posting to a religious mailing list.

Peter Atkins: “Science is almost totally incompatible with religion.”

While, religious wars, barbarism, coercion, discrimination and nepotism, desire to subjugate fellow human beings and lord over others point towards the flip side of religion, the good side is that religion promotes charity, altruism, compassion, discipline and total surrender to Universal Power who is always RIGHT and that has been given different names.

With religions come the religious books and faith-soaked literature that wield their long term and short-term effects. One can’t dare to question the claims of Holy Literature. Religion is out domain of criticism. The society and religion are too powerful to crush the dissent in any form slowly and surely without much ado. Religion, as a system of dictatorship was seen when Popes had total control over the lives of their subjects and the Arab countries where even today they exploit religion and religious book to perpetuate their cruel dynastic rules. Egypt, once a cradle of Islam, the oldest seat of religion is the latest example of failed understanding or no understanding of religion. There is bloodshed and death on either side of river Nile.

But, on the other side, if one goes to an Utopian society where all the better rules could prevail without religion, you would end up in a desert where even the psychological palliation is not available when you are in doldrums. All new ISMS have flopped. The best examples were the worsening social, economic and political conditions of Communist, Scandinavia and Western European countries that had, by and large, rejected religion but were certainly no better or worse as societies than the highly religious states.

One can’t deny, if you’re not a religious zealot that secularist societies in the West have often shown, in 20 the century more “well being” than religious ones. This reflects a negative correlation between the religiosity of a country and its well being. The sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East are places where many countries are both highly religious and deeply dysfunctional.

Let us go back to the fundamental question – What is religion and why do we need it?

“Religion is a divine law that enables people with intelligence to attain goodness and happiness in this world and the next with their own desire.”

Here I am quoting some lines of Albert Einstein. The following article by Albert Einstein was appeared in the New York Times Magazine on November 9, 1930 pp 1-4.

Everything that the human race has done and thought is concerned with the satisfaction of deeply felt needs and the assuagement of pain. One has to keep this constantly in mind if one wishes to understand spiritual movements and their development.

Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein

A little consideration will suffice to show us that the most varying emotions preside over the birth of religious thought and experience. With primitive man it is above all fear that evokes religious notions – fear of hunger, wild beasts, sickness, death. Since at this stage of existence understanding of causal connections is usually poorly developed, the human mind creates illusory beings more or less analogous to itself on whose wills and actions these fearful happenings depend. Thus one tries to secure the favor of these beings by carrying out actions and offering sacrifices which, according to the tradition handed down from generation to generation, propitiate them or make them well disposed toward a mortal. In this sense I am speaking of a religion of fear. This, though not created, is in an important degree stabilized by the formation of a special priestly caste which sets itself up as a mediator between the people and the beings they fear, and erects a hegemony on this basis. In many cases a leader or ruler or a privileged class whose position rests on other factors combines priestly functions with its secular authority in order to make the latter more secure; or the political rulers and the priestly caste make common cause in their own interests.

The social impulses are another source of the crystallization of religion. Fathers and mothers and the leaders of larger human communities are mortal and fallible. The desire for guidance, love, and support prompts men to form the social or moral conception of God. This is the God of Providence, who protects, disposes, rewards, and punishes; the God who, according to the limits of the believer’s outlook, loves and cherishes the life of the tribe or of the human race, or even or life itself; the comforter in sorrow and unsatisfied longing; he who preserves the souls of the dead. This is the social or moral conception of God.

The Jewish scriptures admirably illustrate the development from the religion of fear to moral religion, a development continued in the New Testament. The religions of all civilized peoples, especially the peoples of the Orient, are primarily moral religions. The development from a religion of fear to moral religion is a great step in peoples’ lives. And yet, that primitive religions are based entirely on fear and the religions of civilized peoples purely on morality is a prejudice against which we must be on our guard. The truth is that all religions are a varying blend of both types, with this differentiation: that on the higher levels of social life the religion of morality predominates.
Common to all these types is the anthropomorphic character of their conception of God. In general, only individuals of exceptional endowments, and exceptionally high-minded communities, rise to any considerable extent above this level. But there is a third stage of religious experience which belongs to all of them, even though it is rarely found in a pure form: I shall call it cosmic religious feeling. It is very difficult to elucidate this feeling to anyone who is entirely without it, especially as there is no anthropomorphic conception of God corresponding to it.

We thus arrive at a conception of the relation of science to religion very different from the usual one. When one views the matter historically, one is inclined to look upon science and religion as irreconcilable antagonists, and for a very obvious reason. The man who is thoroughly convinced of the universal operation of the law of causation cannot for a moment entertain the idea of a being who interferes in the course of events – provided, of course, that he takes the hypothesis of causality really seriously. He has no use for the religion of fear and equally little for social or moral religion. A God who rewards and punishes is inconceivable to him for the simple reason that a man’s actions are determined by necessity, external and internal, so that in God’s eyes he cannot be responsible, any more than an inanimate object is responsible for the motions it undergoes. Science has therefore been charged with undermining morality, but the charge is unjust. A man’s ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties and needs; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hopes of reward after death.

It is therefore easy to see why the churches have always fought science and persecuted its devotees. On the other hand, I maintain that the cosmic religious feeling is the strongest and noblest motive for scientific research.

Let us move to the works of another famous philosopher Bertrand Russell.

Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell

The Wikipedia article on Russell describes his view on religion as agnostic or atheist, concluding: “For most of his adult life, Russell maintained that religion is little more than superstition and, despite any positive effects that religion might have, it is largely harmful to people. He believed that religion and the religious outlook serve to impede knowledge and foster fear and dependency, and are responsible for much of our world’s wars, oppression, and misery.

He was often asked the question of whether he was agnostic or atheist. In his replies he typically said that he was an agnostic. I think the reason for that was that he had very high standards for knowledge. The atheist would be someone who claims to know there is no God. That for Russell would require a proof. He always said he denied that he could prove that God didn’t exist, but he thought that there was no evidence whatsoever to support the view that God did exist.

Russell did think that religion was responsible for a great deal of harm. He was acutely aware of historical religious wars, he was acutely aware of religious oppression, of the horrors of the inquisition and the ongoing horrors of religious oppression in everyday life. He was living in the 1920s and 30s when religion was in retreat but it still had a very substantial hold on people’s lives, especially on matters of sexual morality that he was concerned with.

From Bertrand Russell we switch over to our own backyard. According to the second Indian President, scholar and philosopher Dr Radha Krishnan, life of strenuous endeavor for human betterment is not possible, if we are not persuaded that life has a meaning. Many of our popular writers today seem to be possessed by the one desire to escape from the world of meaning and teach us the essential purposelessness of life. They make us believe, with a good deal of cleverness and sophistry, that life is infinitely complicated and totally inexplicable. Many of our students are taught to assume that free-will and personal responsibility are illusions, that human beings are conditioned almost wholly by their physical make-up and the society in which they live, and that the only sense that the religious statements make is emotional and subjective. This is a generation which knows how to doubt but not how to admire, much less to believe. This aimlessness, this indifference to basic issues, is to no small extent, responsible for the decline of standards, for the fading of ideals, for the defeat of human endeavor.

For Dr Radhakrishnan, religion was not about path to salvation.

Dr Radha Krishnan

Dr Radha Krishnan

He says, “For me the road to salvation is through incessant toil in the service of my country and humanity.” Religion is neither about set of concrete dogmas defining its identity, as he argues that “There are some things which are more important that our particularistic allegiances: truth and humanity and that universal religious consciousness which is the common possession of all human beings by virtue of their spiritual endowment. Only such recognition of universal values can secure the fate of civilization and humanity on this earth, for a ‘civilized society is possible only in an ordered community, where there is a rule of law before which the poor man and the rich, the weak nation and the strong are equal, which believes that the world belongs to all’

As a person who believed in evolution of religion according to changing times, Dr Radhakrishnan argued that there is nothing called “irreligion”. Atheism is a quest for higher religion compatible with the increased knowledge. Secularism itself is a spiritual construct. He explains: “There is no state religion. All the different forms are given equal place, provided they do not lead to corrupt practices. Each one is at liberty to approach the unseen as it suits his capacity and inclination. If this is the basis of our secular state, to be secular is not to be religiously illiterate. It is to be deeply spiritual and not narrowly religious”. Dr Radhakrishnan believed that religion and science can not only coexist but one is incomplete without the other. Acquiring knowledge involves devotion/discipline (Bhakti) and Faith (Shraddha). It must be complimented by other process like Hearing/Listening (Shravana), Reflection (Manana) and Contemplation (Nididdhyasana).

Today, many of the thinkers blame Islam’s indifference rather its supposed hostility towards science. Let us remember that between the eighth and the 13th centuries, while Europe stumbled through the dark ages while science thrived in Islamic states. Irrespective of their style and antecedents, the Abbasid caliphs showered money on learning. The 11th century “Canon of Medicine” by Avicenna (pictured, with modern equipment he would have relished) was a standard medical text in Europe for hundreds of years. In the ninth century Muhammad al-Khwarizmi laid down the principles of algebra, a word derived from the name of his book, “Kitab al-Jabr”. Al-Hasan Ibn al-Haytham transformed the study of light and optics. Abu Raihan al-Biruni, a Persian, calculated the earth’s circumference to within 1%. And Muslim scholars did much to preserve the intellectual heritage of ancient Greece; centuries later it helped spark Europe’s scientific revolution. Science and Islam were compatible.

In the last few centuries, while the other Christian states compromised between religion and science, the myopic rulers or Muslim world refused to change. While the science was taking the man to moon they were fighting about the sighting of moon. It was the political attitude and ignorance of Muslim rulers and not the set of belief that brought the down fall of once leading society of the world.

According to Rana Dajani, a Jordanian molecular biologist,

Rana Dajani

Rana Dajani

The Koran is not a science textbook. It provides people with guidelines as to how they should live their lives.” Interpretations of it, she argues, can evolve with new scientific discoveries. Koranic verses about the creation of man, for example, can now be read as providing support for evolution.

To me, the spirit of religion is to serve the mankind. Unfortunately, the new movements in Islamic world are closing the windows of fresh air of thoughts. The kind of freedom that science demands is not to be found in the fanatic fringes of Muslim world. With the rise of political Islam, including dogmatic Salafists who espouse a radical version of Islam, in such important countries as Egypt, some fear that it could be eroded further still. Let us pray God that the political storms shaking the Middle East could promote not only democracy, but revive scientific freethinking also. Amen

Naim Naqvi

Naim Naqvi

Did his graduation in Science discipline from AMU in 1972-73. He was Secretary of University Ali Society in 1970 and M.M. Hall Literary Society in early 70 's and member of Tayyabji Literary Society. Did his Diploma in Bakery Administration from HTT College Oxford Street London in 1987. Worked with National Herald - Delhi, Blitz - Bombay as Trainee Journalist and in Production Department with 'Naya Sansar Pictures' of Khwaja Ahmed Abbas at Bombay in early 70's. Traveled for study and training purposes to Germany, U.K., Switzerland, France, Dubai, Oman, AbuDhabi, Bahrain and Philepines.

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Hijab -A matter of discussion

Let us try to understand the word Hijab (veil) before going in to further details. Many people like to refer to Hijab as a “personal choice”. Yes. It is a personal choice. It is a personal choice to submit to God rather than the fashion of society. It is a choice to be beautiful to God, rather than to people.Hijab However, Hijab should not just be seen as a cloth one puts on the head. Rather Hijab is a symbol of our worship and servitude to God. It is a symbol of modesty, that is not just about our attire; it extends to our whole demeanor. Let us turn our attention to The Holy Qur’an.

Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): 

“And tell the believing women to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things), and protect their private parts (from illegal sexual acts) and not to show off their adornment except only that which is apparent (like both eyes for necessity to see the way, or outer palms of hands or dress like veil, gloves, head cover, apron), and to draw their veils all over Juyoobihinna (i.e. their bodies, faces, necks and bosoms) and not to reveal their adornment except to their husbands, or their fathers, or their husband’s fathers, or their sons, or their husband’s sons, or their brothers or their brother’s sons, or their sister’s sons, or their (Muslim) women (i.e. their sisters in Islam), or the (female) slaves whom their right hands possess, or old male servants who lack vigour, or small children who have no sense of feminine sex. And let them not stamp their feet so as to reveal what they hide of their adornment. And all of you beg Allah to forgive you all, O believers, that you may be successful”

[Al-Noor 24:31] 

My personal experience

I am a girl who born and bought up in Delhi, still putting my Hijab on wasn’t actually a hard decision for me.
For some Muslim women, it is a real jihad as they can’t imagine themselves wearing a Hijab and covering their hair. I met many Muslim women who were praying, fasting, going to religious meetings, seeking Islamic knowledge, yet they always found excuses why not to wear their Hijab.

Few couplets on Hijab by my father “Sikandar Amrohvi”:

Daur-e-hazir mein taraqqi kar rahi hain aurtein,
Dekho parde mein bhi rehkar har amal mein saath hain

Ye kaun keh raha hai rukawat Hijab hai,
Parde mein bhi jahaz udati hain aurtein

During my school days, I just felt it is impossible to walk in with Hijab in hot summer days, at that time I used to wear Hijab just in winters to protect myself from cold wind. I used to wear my Hijab only during our visit to my Hometown, Amroha but I was always thinking of wearing it outside as well.
After high school Allah responded to my supplications and helped me to finally accept the Hijab completely. When I joined Delhi University, apart from choosing so called happening life style of DU campus I choose to wear Hijab to retain my dignity and to protect myself from shaitan. Most of the friends accepted me with Hijab in fact some of them support and appreciate me while some of them demoralized me with some hurtful comments. I would like to tell my sisters that it’s not as hard to wear Hijab as it seems, it’s just to take a challenge, and accept the reality, try to live a life the way we have learnt from Qura’n.

I do wear trendy clothes and a scarf/Hijab. My clothing is modest. Allah makes Islam easy and tells us to do everything in moderation. Looking presentable and neat is also important especially if you are a Muslim because you are representing Islam.

When we are discussing Hijab, it might come to one’s mind that it’s a kind of marginalization of women, who have to preserve their beauty away from the eyes of all the people except the woman’s husband or some of her relatives. But is it really true that Hijab causes women to be suppressed or marginalized? To be able to answer this question we may look at the advantages of its wearing.

Benefits of Wearing Hijab

Wearing Hijab has being observing a modest Muslim style of dressing offers these benefits:

Represent Purity
Hijab is an indication of dignity and purity. It highlights women as chaste and pure women. I think, the Hijab acts like a shield between chaste Muslim women and the World’s evil.

Protect from male harassment
Research shows that one of Hijab’s most important advantages is the security of the society that clears it from crimes, rape, incest, harassment in daily life, etc. looking at this advantage affirms the idea that by taking off their Hijab social crimes are increasing. I personally feel that if Hijab is observed in true sense by all of us, half of the problems existing in our society related to women will be solved. Maybe we can create a better society for coming generations by opting for Hijab.

Scientific Benefits Of Wearing Hijab:
Protecting the head is very important from a health perspective. Results Of medical tests show that 40-60% of body heat is lost through the head during winters and in summer hijab protects our head from direct sunlight and heatwave, so persons wearing head coverings are protected from cold and heat about fifty-percent more than those who do not.

All these are my personal opinions and feelings about Hijab. Please leave your feedback/comments.

Nuzha Fatima

She was born and bought up in Delhi. Graduated from Jamia Millia Islamia Sr. Sec. School in 2011 and received an undergraduate degree in 2014 in Botany from Delhi University. She earned a degree Bachelor of Education in 2015 from Indraprastha University. She started writing diary at very early age.

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“Shia-Sunni Unity” – a must for survival

This author belongs to a Floral SuShi Family, a very common old tradition among Muslim society all over the world. Our family life is a glittering example of Shia-Sunni Co-existence and Cooperation. In my childhood, the differences between the two major Muslim sects were more dealt in theological gatherings and masses were not deeply involved. With the advent of ‘Petro Dollar’ and boost of New Ideologies more than seventy sects of Islam began to assert their separate doctrines and got actively engaged in the deadly internecine fight that is forcing the tears of our existence at the seams. Now every sect calls the other sects as INFIDEL with a difference of degree and intensity. I worked through my life to understand this cleavage and discover the reason but miserably failed to decide the side which is RIGHT in absolute terms. My feeling of being torn between the Doctrines of Shia Islam and Sunni Islam has often driven me to despair and nervous breakdown. And every new quest for truth leads me sadder, to an even worse condition. Ironically, several individual leaders, form both the major Muslim sects sincerely seek to please God at the expense of other sect with expedition.

Since the inception of Islam, the history of Muslim rulers is drenched in the blood of its followers, leaders and friends – both political and spiritual as well. How agonizing that the second, third and fourth Caliph of Sunni Islam were massacred while many Imams and scholars of Shia Islam were mercilessly killed by the followers of Islam. They  were all martyrs. Violence ran deeper in its anatomy of our progress and the tradition is still adhered in terms of words and spirit as blood spills in mosques and Imambargahs. However there is one incontrovertible truth that stands out in the sorry tale – the Shias, the minority if Islam had always been at the receiving end of violence.
Is it not the time ripe for the silent majority of both the communities to come together through dialog to defeat the terrorists who have been responsible for these madness and heinous killings?

Friday is the auspicious day for all Muslims – Sunnis and Shias both. On this day of the last week around 150 Shias were killed, 360 injured in Sanna, Yemen and 2 Shias were done to death and several others injured in Karachi, Pakistan. For the Muslim Ummah it’s a Black Day.
According to press resources, in the mosques of Sanna, suicide bombers entered pretending to be disabled and hiding explosives under casts. Pictures of people removing bodies from one of the mosques where a carpeted floor was littered with debris were seen all over. In the assaults at Al Badr mosque and Al Hashoosh mosque in Sanaa, the first blasts happened inside the buildings, followed two minutes later by explosions outside. At Al Badr mosque, the outdoor explosion was another suicide bombing; at Al Hashoosh mosque, the exterior blast was a car bomb. The mosques serve members of the Zaidi sect of Shiite Islam, the sect to which the rebel Houthi militants belong.
The blood of tourists killed at the museum in Tunisia by ISIS on Wednesday was not yet dried. The recent suicidal attack at Sanna illustrates the expanding focus for ISIS, which controls parts of Syria and Iraq. It proves the solid support they are getting from their backers. A written statement, purportedly from ISIS, claimed that ISIS executed Friday’s attacks, calling them “a tip of an iceberg.” The statement, posted on a site that previously carried ISIS proclamations, said five suicide bombers targeted Houthis in Sanaa. A separate audio message, also posted on ISIS-affiliated websites, claimed five ISIS suicide bombers killed dozens of “Houthi infidels.”
Among those killed in Sanaa was prominent Houthi religious leader Murtatha Al Mahathwari.

The Al Houti Tribe had long felt marginalized by the majority Sunnis in Yemen and have battled the central government for more than a decade. They finally decided to take up the matter to decisive end and gradually took control of the presidential palace in January and forcing President Hadi to resign.The mosque attacks came six months after the Houthis had entered Sanaa. Hadi was initially put under house arrest but escaped and flew to Aden declaring himself still President.
Just to carry forward my argument I’m quoting a portion of famous Islamic Scholar Sheikh Ahmed Deedat’s speech:

“I say why can’t you accept the Shia brothers as a fifth Fiqh. And the astonishing thing is that he (Ayatullah Khomeni) is telling you that he wants to be one with you. He is not talking about being Shia. He is shouting “there is no Sunni nor Shia there is one thing, Islam.” But we say to them “no you are different you are Shia.” This attitude is a sickness of the devil. He wants to divide us.
Can you imagine we Sunnis are 90% of the Muslim world and the ten percent who are Shias want to be partners and brothers with you in faith and the 90% are terrified. I can’t understand why should you the 90% be so terrified. They should be the ones terrified. And if you just knew the feelings that they have for you. During Jummah prayers in Iran, there are a million people. And you should see the way they look at you when you pass by, they recognize that you are a foreigner and not one of them and tears start rolling down their cheeks. This is the feeling that they have for you, but you say no, you want to keep they out, afraid that they will absolve you. You can only be absolved if there is something better than what you have. I don’t know, maybe some of you think I am a Shia, but I’m still with you all here.
What is all this Shia-Sunni tensions? It is all politics. These antagonisms we have are all politics now. If a Sunni brother somewhere does something wrong you say oh the individual is not being very Islamic, he is a kaffir, But if a Shia does something wrong you want to condemn the whole Shia community, the whole nation of millions, and say they are all rubbish just because one Shias actions are not very Islamic. At the same time where we look the other way if one of your relatives does something serious because he is your father or your uncle. One group of Sunnis says to another “you are not a Muslim” another group of Sunnis says “you are not a Muslim you are a kaffir” look that’s among us, and we fight among ourselves. And some of us do funny things.” End of the portion of Ahmed Deedat’s speech.

It is so heartrending to observe that Shia-Sunni violence has been on the rise in the last few years in Middle East and Pakistan.

Can’t we say – Now enough is enough? There is a silver-lining to these darker clouds. In Iraq, it is estimated that up to 30 percent of marriages are between Shias and Sunnis; victims of violence between the two groups frequently attend each other’s funeral prayers; one group often helps the other’s victims after an incident.

Even a green horn of Islamic Theology knows that the differences between Shia and Sunni are more political in nature while basic tenets of both are identical. Can’t we just leave them, forget them and wait for the Day of Judgment; these are better left for God to judge, as He knows best and has said in the Quran that ‘He is the final judge of religious disagreements.’

The killing of Shias or Sunnis will not resolve these disputes. The principle of “no compulsion in matters of faith” (Quran 2:256) is not just limited to Muslim-non-Muslim relations. It applies to Muslim interpretations of Islam as well. This instruction of God serves as a guideline for the Muslim community to not impose one’s interpretation on others. That is why throughout history, not only have Hanafis and Shafis worked with each other despite differences, but Shias and Sunnis have lived and worked side by side with each other as well.
Can’t we come closer and be decent and respectful to the thinking of each other? When human beings sit down and talk to each other, they learn to respect each other. Dialog allows parties to understand each other better by allowing participants to acquire direct knowledge about beliefs instead of relying on propaganda and stereotypical images. (Quran 49:6-12)
Serious and sincere exchange of thought, dialogues would isolate the extremist fringe. By talking to each other, Shias and Sunnis will be able to save lives, which is like saving the whole of humanity.
Even if some Shias and Sunnis consider each other enemies, the Quran asks us to be just even toward one’s enemy “O you who believe! Stand out firmly for God, as witnesses to fair dealing, and let not the hatred of others to you make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just: that is next to Piety: and fear Allah. For Allah is well-acquainted with all that you do.” [Quran 5:8]
It is hard reality that the Shia community like Sunnis is also diverse. There are many differences between one Shia group and another. This is why it is important that dialog between Sunnis and Shias becomes a movement and a process throughout society instead of everyone waiting for one high powered dialog to yield some results at the leadership level.

Naim Naqvi

Naim Naqvi

Did his graduation in Science discipline from AMU in 1972-73. He was Secretary of University Ali Society in 1970 and M.M. Hall Literary Society in early 70 's and member of Tayyabji Literary Society. Did his Diploma in Bakery Administration from HTT College Oxford Street London in 1987. Worked with National Herald - Delhi, Blitz - Bombay as Trainee Journalist and in Production Department with 'Naya Sansar Pictures' of Khwaja Ahmed Abbas at Bombay in early 70's. Traveled for study and training purposes to Germany, U.K., Switzerland, France, Dubai, Oman, AbuDhabi, Bahrain and Philepines.

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Moharrum, Marsiya and Deccani Bharat

Slowly and sadly, our new generation is distancing away from our rich, cultural and linguistic past. The period and spirit of Mourning of Ashoorah and the following weeks that were known for austerity, devotion and sacrifice of mourners – the azadars of Imam Hussain (AS) are fading into memories. The occasion of AZA is now gradually turning into the mere rituals and traditions. We use these occasions of sorrow to show our status, prosperity and clout to impress the society we live in. In the name of Ghum-e-Hussain we show our fines sherwanis and our ladies are not far behind. They do follow as the best of the Black Fahion Dress which is kept for social gatherings for this period. But this is not the subject of this article. Neither, it is the whole story.
In a majlis, sometime ago, after the Marsiya, I found a boy wondering about the meaning of MUJRAYEE and Zaigham. I wasn’t shocked as even the elders there were ignorant about these words. We have been sliding past down the escarpment of our heritage unknowingly and we all should collectively take the blame.

The recitation of Marsiya has become more like a formality with a few in the audience following what is being narrated. Our children read the BAYAZ with NOHAS scribbled in Hindi and we have our Zakirs with the notebook of Majlis in English Script for Urdu delivery. Times have changed and what is there in store for us in future, only Almighty Allah knows.

Marsiya was the integral part of Azadari-e-Imam-e-Mazloom. It is not a new creation. Long before its induction in Urdu, it existed in Arabic as well as in Persian poetry. The word Marsiya is derived from an Arabic word ‘Rasa’ which means to cry and grieve. The purpose of Marsiya was to mourn over the dead people and to describe their deeds to make people realize their loss. There are a number of Marsiyas in Arabic literature, but the Marsiyas written by Mutumum lbn Navera and Hanfa are considered to be outstanding. Marsiya, in Persian literature was borrowed from Arabic. The first Marsiya was written by Muhtasham Kashi during the Safawid period (1523-1578). The most popular Marsiyas, both in India and Iran, were written by Mulla Hussain Kashifi called Rawzat ul-Shuhada. Earlier Marsiya were recited only for selective audience of aristocrats. Then, as the next step and natural culmination of the literary efforts, it was to make popular in masses. The poets of marsiya went to majalis and soon it was considered to be a religious duty as well as an honor to recite in public. The Marsiya in Dakni literature, therefore, became exclusively a poem in which the tragedy of Karbala was described. Much of the tragedy of Karbala has been Indianized in that period. The Dakni poets have described the engagement of Hazrat Qasim in pure Indian setting. All the ceremonies and costumes they have mentioned are Indian. This goes to show that culture plays a vital part even in religious traditions. Indianization of the ceremonies connected with the Muslim festivals was aimed and practiced by the Qutb Shahs of Deccan.

The Marsiyas are now purely religious in nature. They are written to identify oneself with the martyrs of Karbala. Therefore, they express deep devotion and sorrow of the poet. This genre of poetry is a valuable source of information also. They describe the deep human emotions, pathos, sufferings, sacrifices and ceremonies of Muharram. You find in Marsiya the details of the articles used in the times of Imam, the costumes worn, the jewelry used and the customs.

The earlier form of Marsiya was not the same as it is today. The poets of the Qutb Shahi period wrote Marsiya in the form of present Salam. The length of the marsiyas used to be much shorter. It generally had seven to nine couplets, with a Maqta as the last couplet.

The Qutb Shahs of Deccan not only patronized the Marsiya writing, but themselves wrote Marsiyas. Qutub Shahi dynasty were Shias but they encouraged the poets of other sects to participate in the literary exercise. There were as many as twenty one poets, during the Qutb Shahi period, who wrote Marsiyas and they were not all Shias – many Sunnis and some of them belonged to Silsila-e-Qadria.

In Ashoorkhanas (Imam Barahs or Imam Bargahs), the people irrespective of their status were made to sit on the floor, covered with Daries or Qaleen. The poet or the Marsiya Khawn then climbed the scaffolding platform called ‘Minbar’ and recited in tune, as the practice was during the later period, or just read. But it is certain that there was no Majlis, in which Marsiya was not recited and the view gets its confirmation as the Marsiyas address the people directly.

The first poet of Golconda who wrote the first Marsiya in the Deccan was Wajihi. But it was Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah, who gave a set form to the Marsiya and helped in its progress. There are five Marsiyas in his Kulliyat, four are in the form of Salaam and one in the form of Masnavi. Beside Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah, Abdullah Qutb Shah also wrote Marsiyas. Marsiya writing was considered a great honour. Beside Marsiya, there are three more forms of poetry which are connected with the Majlis. They are Salaam, Nowha and Soz. Nowha, unlike Marsiya does not contain any description or the details of the events. It is simply meant to express the feelings of sorrow and perform Matam.

Naim Naqvi

Naim Naqvi

Did his graduation in Science discipline from AMU in 1972-73. He was Secretary of University Ali Society in 1970 and M.M. Hall Literary Society in early 70 's and member of Tayyabji Literary Society. Did his Diploma in Bakery Administration from HTT College Oxford Street London in 1987. Worked with National Herald - Delhi, Blitz - Bombay as Trainee Journalist and in Production Department with 'Naya Sansar Pictures' of Khwaja Ahmed Abbas at Bombay in early 70's. Traveled for study and training purposes to Germany, U.K., Switzerland, France, Dubai, Oman, AbuDhabi, Bahrain and Philepines.

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