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

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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Education should be based on concrete facts.

Some days ago, Shri Ram Shankar Katheria, the junior minister in Smt Smriti Irani’s education ministry had stirred a controversy with his remarks that “if saffronisation of education is good for the country, it will happen”. He enlightened this vision at a function held to celebrate ‘Hindvi Swaraj Diwas Samaroh’ at the Lucknow University on Saturday.

His words : Reporters told us that some people are saying that our government is saffronising education in the country. Saffronisation will happen in both education and in the country. Whatever is good for the country will definitely happen, whether it is bhagwakaran (saffronisation) or sanghwad.He further said: “If our children do not read about Maharana Pratap or Maharaj Shivaji, then will they read about Genghis Khan?”

One wonders if it was the part of Development Agenda that BJP has recently pronounced.

That takes us to the basic dilemma – What is Saffronization?

However, as we fathom the impact of this new Indian coinage of ‘Saffronization,’ it would be refreshing to discuss about Saffron itself. It is one of the costliest spices that bears a shiny crimson color. This delicate fragrant herb or spice  is derived from the flowers of Saffron Corcus. The styles and stigmas of the flower are collected and dried. It used mainly as a flavoring, seasoning and coloring agent in food.

Recorded history of food additives inform that it was probably first cultivated in or near Greece. But now, almost 90–93% of saffron is produced by Iran. Rest of saffron comes from the belt from Spain in the west to India in the east. The saffron of Kashmir is also in demand around the globe especially in Middle East.

I have produced all these snippets about saffron so that readers must acknowledge that RSS or BJP have no ownership or nothing to do with Saffron as such. Saffron habits were introduced and popularized in this world by the Aryans of Iran.

Off late since RSS / BJP captured power, we are hearing a lot and often sensing a lot about the ISATION of Saffron. To the best of my knowledge, it only the color of saffron that matches of Bhagwa color that is responsible about this protracted dialogue. It is interesting that India media is giving equal emphasis to both ‘Saffronization’ or ‘Bhagwakaran.’

It was only a few days in power when BJP began to tinker with school textbooks to bring them in line with its Hindu-centred worldview. Smt Smriti Irani, the Human Resources Development Minister is doing a yewmen’s job to bring back the  the glories of the Hindu “golden age.’’ Undoubtely, those were the glorious chapters and recalling them is honorable deed. Though, as a poor student of school books, I have to confess that being Indian, I know more about Hindu India, present and past, than the Islamic history.

All that I’d learned from the books that were introduced by Congress oriented academics and politicians. On the face of it, there’s nothing wrong if RSS wants to give a new tinge to it. We are given to understand by RSS intellectuals that the Congress governments, all along were ignoring the contribution of Hindu culture and religion to nation-building. The RSS feels that current textbooks as Left-leaning.

Actually, the “Saffronisation’’ of education has been is a campaign to purge textbooks of “foreign’’ influences especially the Islamic period and to promote “patriotism’’ that suits to RSS’ Hindutva agenda. In the name of sentiments of majority, the RSS-affiliated Shiksha Sanskriti Utthan Nyas (SSUN)  has demanded a “total change’’ in school education. Its lead campaigner is RSS pracharak Dinanath Batra who also runs the controversial Shiksha Bachao Andolan,which has earned notoriety for seeking ban on any book it regards “anti-Hindu’’.

Dinanath Batra had earlier proclaimed that “NCERT textbooks will be rewritten according to the aim and objects of the nation so that it inculcates feeling of patriotism among children. Modernity is not westernisation. We want modernity with Indian base (marked by) patriotism and spiritualism.’’

For the nation, interested to learn the real, the writing on the wall is clear. It’s not going to end with a few bland chapters on ancient India.

However, intellectual like historian Ramchandra Guha had advised that the HRD ministry should focus on institutional reform, not communalisation of the curriculum.’’

But now the dagger is out of its sheath. No mincing of words. The waters are being tested. Member of Parliament from Agra and Minister of State for Human Resource Development Ram Shankar Katheria has boldly stated, “There will be saffronisation of education and the country” and termed the process as beneficial for the country. He was speaking at the Lucknow University on Saturday at celebrations of Hindavi Swaraj Diwas Samaroh marking the 342nd coronation year of Maratha warrior-king Shivaji. Sharing the dias with the Minister was Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik who presided over the function.

The Agra MP said: “Some journalists ask if we are we are promoting saffronisation of education. I am saying, yes, there will be saffronisation of education and of the country. Jo acha hoga, woh hoga (Whatever is good for the country will certainly happen) be it saffronisation or sanghwaad (propagation of the RSS ideology).” Elaborating on the theme, Mr. Katheria said the need of the hour was to create a curriculum that would increase the nation’s samman (honour) and swabhimaan (self-respect) in the world. “We kept silent for such a long time and never accused anybody. But today the circumstances in the country are such.”

His remarks provoked criticism on social media and across political parties calling the remarks “highly objectionable and anti-national.” Mr Katheria is not new to controversy. Earlier this year, at a condolence meeting for a murdered VHP worker in Agram, he delivered “hate-speech” against Muslims, which led to uproar in Parliament.

Finding himself in troubled waters, on Monday, while speaking to ANI, Kateria took a u-turn and said “I just said whatever is good for the nation, we’ll accept that; whether its Bhagwakaran or green or red color.” The listeners are no fools Sir!It is worn out trick.

Let the nation be informed – It wants ‘Indianisation’ or ‘Saffronization’ or ‘Polarisation?”

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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GOOD-MEN

By- Kaleem Sibtain ‘Kaleem’

Good-men do not puff by power,
Bend down trees of fruit and flower.
Do not lament for the past,
Look forward struggling fast.

Good-men are the captains of fate,
March they ever never get late.
All the fears they keep away,
No defeat stops their way.

Good-men have the clean mind,
For each in world they are kind.
Destination itself looks for them,
They sail the truth with active helm.

Good-men have the pious soul,
Their path of truth has certain goal.
They do not aspire for the wealth,
But mend the spiritual -health.

Good-men are great indeed,
Courage, honesty, truth, they feed.
Mend their ways and train the souls,
They love the Creator and created whole.

******          *******         ******

Iran dares US and Israel on Lebanese border

On the Iranian presidents visit, the people were seen waving Iranian flags and carried posters of the Iranian president and supreme leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei.

THOUSANDS OF Lebanese nationals lined the streets of Beirut on Wednesday to welcome the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on his first visit to Lebanon. Signs on billboards and banners said: “The south welcomes the protector of the resistance”.

They were seen waving Iranian flags and carried posters of the Iranian president and supreme leader of the Islamic Revolution-Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei.

In order to boost the increasing bilateral cooperation with Lebanon, the Iranian President signed 17 memorandums of understanding in various fields like energy, agriculture, health, education, and other areas.

At a joint press conference with his Lebanese counterpart Suleiman, Ahmadinejad applauded Lebanon’s continued opposition to Israel and mentioned that Iran gives its complete support to the Lebanese people. In return, Suleiman mentioned that Lebanon supports Iran’s peaceful nuclear activities.

In fact Ahmadinejad’s visit to southern Lebanon is a stern message to Israel. He told thousands of supporters, who turned out on Thursday at a rally in a south Lebanon border town that Israel would disappear, while they would thrive.

Ahmadinejad praised Hezbollah and its southern stronghold as “the foremost shield of Lebanon.” Iranian President visited the town of Bint Jbeil which was the location of fierce fighting between the Israel Defense Forces and the Hezbollah militia during the Second Lebanon War of 2006. It was also the location of a victory speech by Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah after Israel ended two decades of occupation of south Lebanon.

“You are the heroes that guard Lebanon’s sovereignty,” he told them. “You have proven that there no force in the world can beat you. The resistance of the Lebanese nation, drawn from faith in God, can stand up to any Israeli force – planes, tanks and ships.”

The U.S. and Israel have called Ahmadinejad’s visit to Bint Jbeil, located just a couple miles of the Israeli border, an intentionally provocative move.

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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