Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Markazi Majlis-e-Shura in my Naani ghar..!

It was a fascinating spectacle.

The Markazi Majlis-e-Shura of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind was about to begin in my grand mother's house. The atmosphere was that of bonhomie. You could find sherwani clad Moulanas everywhere. Where on earth you could find such a comraderie and mutual affection.

I was very much elated. I found myself running here and there. I was very much amused and excited. In my grandpa's room elderly Moulanas were staying. H Abdur Raqeeb Sahib's voice could be heard. I could not comprehend what is being said. Raqeeb Sahib was sitting in a chair and some Moulana was reclining in a bed. They were talking amicably.

Suddenly I found myself in the hall. It is the same hall where I used to play as a child. Grand pa used to listen BBC in his radio sitting in a easy chair in that very hall. They had converted it into a meeting hall.

Instantly I found myself moving towards the backyard. There people are taking their breakfast silently. Ameer-e-Halqa A Shabbir Ahmed was eating french toast. Somebody was placing a slice of a colourful fruit in someone's plate.

Then again I found myself in the passage between the hall and the backyard. At that instant Ameer-e-Jamaat in a bright blueish black Sherwani entered. He was moving confidantly like a bridegroom with a vibrant smile lit in his face. His steps are measured. He was flanked by two Moulanas. I could not recall their faces.

The hall is nearly full. Ameer-e-Jamaat and others were sitting in a row.

Suddenly I hear a feeble voice of my wife calling Rafia, my fourth daughter (who is doing her UKG). I look for Rafia. She was coming towards me. I move towards her to fetch her.

Just then the voice of my wife had gone shriller.


I woke up instantly.

Oh! It was a dream!
What a dream it was!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Biggest winner of the world in 2011 was Islam : Patrick Buchanan

This year, clearly, one of the world's big winner was -- Islam.

From Morocco to Pakistan, a great awakening is occurring. The most dramatic example of Islam rising again came in Egypt, with the fall of the 60-year-old military dictatorship. The West hailed the coming of democracy but democracy delivered a rude shock. In the first round of voting, over 60 percent of ballots were for the Muslim Brotherhood or the radical Islamist Nour Party. In the second round, 75 percent voted Islamist. In Tunis and Tripoli, too, the overthrow of autocrats revealed a silent majority sympathetic to Islamism.

Worldwide, the Muslim population has surpassed Catholicism as the world's largest religion, with 48 members of the U.N. General Assembly now boasting a Muslim plurality or majority.

India, with 150 million Muslims, has more than both Egypt and Iraq. Russia, with 25 million, has more Muslims than Libya and Jordan combined. China has more than Syria. Five percent of Europe is Muslim, and the numbers continue to rise.
If demography is destiny, the future would seem to belong to Islam.
Patrick Buchanan in an article titled "Second Period of Islamic Powrer" in Realclearpolitics. Here

Friday, December 23, 2011

Relating to Neighbours

Neighbours have rights, be they Muslims or non-Muslims. The Prophet of Allah, peace be upon him, said: "He is not a true Believer who eats his fill while his neighbour is hungry." (Bayhaqi.)
Thus, the quality of our Din (Faith) and fate in the Akhira (Hereafter) will also be determined by how well we fulfill your obligations towards our neighbours. In a hadith narrated by Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, a man said:
"O Messenger of Allah, such and such woman has a reputation for engaging very much in Prayers, Fasting and Almsgiving, but she hurts her neighbours with her tongue quite often." He said, "She will go to Hell." Then he said, "O Messenger of Allah, such and such woman engages in only a little Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving and gives just a few pieces of cheese in charity, but she does not hurt her neighbours with her tongue." He said, "She will go to Paradise." (Ahmad, Bayhaqi.)
One class of neighbours is our relatives. Another class are those who are not our relatives and the third class of neighbours are those who sit with us, even for a few minutes. This third class of neighbours is a very wide group and includes those who sit by our side. If we are travelling in a taxi, bus, train or aeroplane the person who is sitting by our side is our neighbour. If we are in the office, our co-worker is our neighbour. If we are at school, our classmate is our neighbour. The Prophet gave a comprehensive account of our duties towards our neighbours when requested to do so by one of his Companions:
If he asks for a loan, you should give him a loan; if he wants your help, you should help him; if he be sick, you should go to see him; if he be needy you should try to fulfill his need; if he gets good news, you should congratulate him; if any calamity befalls him, it is your duty to console him; if he dies, you should attend his funeral; you should not raise your walls to such a height that they obstruct the ventilation of your neighbour's house, even if he is willing; do not tantalise your neighbour with the smell of your delicious food unless you send a portion of it to him; if you bring fruit into your house then send some to your neighbour; otherwise, keep it hidden from your neighbour, and you should also be careful that your children do not take some out, else the children of your neighbour may feel disappointed. (Tabarani)
Compiled From:
In the Early Hours" - Khurram Murad, p.125

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Enlightened Leadership

The enlightened Muslim leadership of the early empires enabled the rise of the various golden ages. This vision of leadership, however compromised by the unavoidable human ego, institutional failings, bad luck, and corruption, managed for more than eight centuries to inspire a climate of invention and intellectual ferment that was unique and helped shape a future vision of modern leadership in Europe and other non-Muslim countries.
The leadership legacy of Abu Bakr would seem to be in creating a model of humility, compromise, incorruptibility, and a dedication to charity and public welfare. These values provided an enduring ideal of leadership in the Muslim world and beyond, an ideal often contrary to the baser instincts of men.
Ali is one of the first Muslim leaders to set down in writing a detailed template for enlightened leadership, elements of which later surfaced in the Umayyad and Abbasid caliphates, in Fatimid and Sunni Egypt, in Seljuk Persia and Anatolia, in the Delhi sultanate and Mughal India, and in the Ottoman Empire.
Evidence is included in a lengthy letter on leadership, which Caliph Ali sent to his loyal follower, Maalik al-Ashtar, appointing him as the new Muslim governor of Egypt:
... Remember, Maalik, that amongst your subjects there are two kinds of people: those who have the same religion as you have, they are brothers to you; and those who have religions other than that of yours, they are human beings like you.... Let your mercy and compassion come to their rescue and help in the same way and to the same extent that you expect Allah to show mercy and forgiveness to you....
You must always appreciate and adopt a policy, which is neither too severe nor too lenient; a policy which is based upon equity will be largely appreciated. Remember that the displeasure of common men, the havenots and the depressed persons overbalances the approval of important persons, while the displeasure of a few big people will be excused by the Lord if the general public and masses of your subjects are happy with you....
Remember, Maalik.... The thing which should most gladden the heart of a ruler is the fact that his State is being ruled on the principles of equity and justice and that his subjects love him. And your subjects will only love you when they have no grievances against you. So let them have as many justifiable hopes in you as they can and fulfill as many as you reasonably can. Speak well of those who deserve your praise. Appreciate the good deeds done by them and let these good actions be known publicly.
Compiled From:"Lost History" - Michael Hamilton Morgan, pp. 254-257

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Five deeds to heaven

Abu Dhar, states: 'I asked the Messenger of God [may God bless him and grant him peace] how the servant is delivered from the fire.' and he answered, 'By faith in God.'
'O Messenger of God, is there no deed with faith?'
He Answered, 'That you give in charity what God has put in your possession' - or 'That you give in charity what God has provided you with.'
'O Messenger of God, what if a person is poor and finds nothing to give?'
He said, 'Then let him enjoin justice and forbid wrongdoing.'
'And what if he is unable to enjoin justice and forbid wrongdoing?'
'Then let him assist some simple-minded person.'
'O Messenger of God, what if whatever he did would not help?'
'Then let him assist someone who has been wronged.'
'O Messenger of God, what if he were too weak and unable to help someone who has been wronged?'
'Do you not wish to leave your friend any good? Then let him restrain himself from harming others.'
'O Messenger of God, do you mean that someone will enter Heaven for doing thus?'
He replied, 'Anyone who manages but one of the things I have described will be taken by the hand into Heaven.'
[Bayhaqi, Suhuab al-Iman]
Compiled From:
"The Invocation of God" - Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya, p. 37

Saturday, December 17, 2011


The Prophet, peace be upon him, held one of his Companions, called Abu Lubabah, in great esteem, so much so that he had left him in charge of Medina when he had left for the first Badr expedition. Some time later, a young orphan came to Muhammad to complain that Abu Lubabah had taken from him a palm tree that had long been his. The Prophet summoned Abu Lubabah and asked him to explain. Investigations showed that the palm tree did belong to Abu Lubabah, and the Prophet judged in the latter's favour, greatly disappointing the young orphan. Muhammad privately asked Abu Lubabah, justice having now been rendered, to give the tree to the young orphan, for whom it was so important. Abu Lubabah adamantly refused: he had gone to such lengths to assert his right of ownership that to concede to this request was inconceivable. This obsession veiled his heart and compassion. Revelation was to recall, on both the individual and collective levels, the singular nature of the spiritual elevation that makes it possible to reach beyond the consciousness of justice, that demands right, to the excellence of the heart, that offers forgiveness or gives people more than their due: "God commands justice and excellence." [Quran 16:90]
It was not a question of giving up one's right (and Abu Lubabah had been justified in requiring it to be acknowledged); rather, it involved learning to sometimes reach beyond, for the sake of those reasons of the heart that teach the mind to forgive, to let go, and to give from oneself and from one's belongings, moved by shared humanity or love. The Prophet was saddened by the reaction of his Companion, whom he held in great esteem: he realized that Abu Lubabah's almost blind attachment to one of Islam's recommendations, justice, prevented him from reaching the superior level of justness of the heart: excellence, generosity, giving. Eventually, another Companion, Thabit ibn Dahdanah, who had witnessed the scene, offered Abu Lubabah an entire orchard in exchange for that single palm tree, which he then gave away to the young orphan. Muhammad rejoiced at that outcome and did not resent Abu Lubabah's attitude. He later entrusted Abu Lubabah with other missions.
Compiled From:
"In The Footsteps of The Prophet" - Tariq Ramadan, p. 133

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Things are not always as they seem

Things are not always as they seem. Let us analyse this statement from an Islamic perspective.
Noah started making his ark in a desert. His friends made fun of him saying, ‘where is water?’ ‘Are you going to sail the ship in the desert?’ He had to tolerate their taunting remarks. Who won ultimately?

Musa’s mother threw her infant son in the river. Did he die?

Yusuf’s jealous and scheming brothers threw him in a well. Was that the end of Yusuf?

Ibrahim was thrown in the fire. Did the fire harm him?

When Imran’s wife delivered the baby-girl – Maryam, she regretted for not having delivered a baby boy. Was she right? Is not Maryam one among the four great women of the world? Did she not become the blessed mother of Prophet Isa!

When Musa left Egypt along with Bani Israeel, he lost his way in the cover of darkness and had to face Red Sea, and no way to ‘escape’! Who realised that very moment that the apparent danger to Musa and his followers would turn out to be the end of the mighty Phir’oun!

Abrahah, the Christian governor, left Yemen with a huge army of men and elephants, with the evil intention of demolishing Ka’bah. Did he achieve success?

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his companions left everything behind in Makkah and migrated to Madinah. Was it an acceptance of his ‘defeat’ at the hands of the pagan Arabs?

At the Treaty of Hudaibiyyah, the companions of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) were greatly upset because the Prophet agreed to all the terms of the Treaty dictated by the enemies of Truth and the terms were seemingly unfavourable to the Muslims. What happened later?

Abu Jandal was crying as he was captured during the Treaty of Hudaibiyyah and the enemies had put chains around him. He screamed: Help! Help!! None helped. It appeared as if the Prophet was pushing his companion into the jaws of death. Who had the last laugh?

Many such situations are found in the stories of the past nations. The start of the situation might indicate the end would be unpleasing. But if you read the complete story, you will realise that Allah has a plan which brings out a fruitful result.

At times in our life we are faced with certain difficulties, it might seem that it is a punishment being given out but it actually turns out to be a blessing from Allah. Our duty is to stay patient and realize that He is the All-Knowing! Patience, courage, and determination can be gained by reading the numerous inspiring stories mentioned in the Qur’an and Hadeeth.

Let’s have a brief explanation to the three incidents quoted above.

Prophet Nuh faced taunting remarks from his nation. But he did not become discouraged. He kept on following the orders of Allah. He and his followers were saved from Allah’s punishment. As for the disbelievers among his nation, they were punished because of their arrogance. We learn from his story the importance of following the orders of Allah, making Him our priority, ignoring the pressure put by those who have a blindfold on their eyes!

Musa’s mother had faith in Allah, which gave her the courage to put her new born baby in a river. As a result Allah kept her baby safe and returned him to his mother. He also granted her son Prophethood. It is very difficult for a mother to give up her baby. Who could dare to put one’s baby in a river? But this mother did that. Her deep faith in Allah made it easier for her to accept Allah’s decision.

After Yusuf was thrown in the well by his brothers it seemed he would not have survived. But the result turned out to be different. He was afraid but then he recalled his father’s love and affection. Yusuf prayed to Allah for help. He was not afraid anymore. This incident instilled in him patience and courage.

Yunus was swallowed by a fish, Musa was puzzled at the acts of Khizer, Ja’far ibn Abi Talib had to confront Negus, Ali ibn Abi Talib had to sleep on the bed of the Prophet, risking his life on the night of migration, Prophet Muhammad had to surrender to Allah’s will while he lost his sons and consequently had to face the taunting remarks of the Quraysh calling him ‘Abtar’!

Yet look at how they turned out for them in the end. So don’t despair!
Have patience especially during difficult times. Patience is a virtue and if conquered, its fruit will be sweet.

Remember after every difficulty there is ease. Allah does not want to hurt his beloved servants. All hard times teach a lesson or two. It makes one courageous to survive in the world. It teaches one to be fearless of everything except of Allah.

Muqeet in his best. Here

Islam and European Renaissance

What are now often called ‘Western values’ – democracy, equality, toleration, freedom of speech, etc – are the products largely of the Enlightenment and of the post-Enlightenment world. Such values are, of course, not ‘Western’ in any essential sense but are universal; they are ‘Western’ only through an accident of geography and history.

Christian Western Europe rediscovered the Greek heritage, and in particular Aristotle, in the thirteenth century, a rediscovery that helped transform European intellectual culture. It inspired the work of Thomas Aquinas, perhaps the greatest of all Christian theologians, and allowed reason to take centre stage again in European philosophy.

But how did theologians and scholars in Western Europe find their way back to Greek thought? Primarily through the Muslim Empire. As Christian Europe endured its ‘Dark Ages’, an intellectual tradition flowered in the Islamic world as lustrous as that of Ancient Athens before or Renaissance Florence after. Centred first in Baghdad and then in Cordoba, in Muslim Iberia, Arab philosophy and science played a critical role not just in preserving the gains of the Greeks but in genuinely expanding the boundaries of knowledge, both in philosophy and in science.

Arab scholars revolutionsed astronomy, invented algebra, helped develop the modern decimal number system, established the basis of optics, and set the ground rules of cryptography. But perhaps more important the science was the philosophy. The Rationalist tradition in Islamic thought, culminating in the work of Ibn Sina and Ibn Rushd, is these days barely remembered in the West. Yet its importance and influence, not least on the ‘Judeo-Christian’ tradition, is difficult to overstate. Ibn Rushd especially, the greatest Muslim interpreter of Aristotle, came to wield far more influence within Judaism and Christianity than within Islam, his commentaries shaping the thinking of a galaxy of thinkers from Maimonides to Aquinas himself.

Christians of the time recognized the importance of Muslim philosophers. In The Divine Comedy, Dante places Ibn Rushd with the great pagan philosophers whose spirits dwell not in Hell but in Limbo ‘the place that favor owes to fame’. One of Raphael’s most famous paintings, The School of Athens, is a fresco on the walls of the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican, depicting the world’s great philosophers. Among the pantheon of celebrated Greek philosophers including Aristotle, Plato, Socrates, Pythagoras and Diogenes stands Ibn Rushd.

Today, however, that debt has been almost entirely forgotten. There is a tendency to think of Islam as walled-in, insular, hostile to reason and freethinking. But the fact remains that the scholarship of the golden age of Islamic thinking helped lay the foundations for the European Renaissance and the Scientific Revolution. Without the Muslim world, it is possible that neither may have happened.
 Kenan Malik in Pandaemonium. Here
Read  "Islam is the answer for the environmental crisis", says Prince Charles

Mideast uprisings: A lesson for strong men and counterfactual historians

Manipulated over the past century and a half by greedy outsiders and their own repressive leaders, many Arabs in the middle east and north Africa are saying, "Enough already!" In country after country from Morocco to Bahrain, popular uprisings are now a raging fire. The long simmering resentment of ordinary people against widespread corruption, unemployment, grotesque inequalities and curtailment of freedom which is now a growing explosive anger, is said to have been sparked by the self-immolation of a young Tunisian man who refused to be cowed down by the brutality of a corrupt police force. The wave of protests has caught the world by surprise, especially the recent events in Egypt where the stunning removal from power of Hosni Mubarak, the long time dictator and US ally was unimaginable just a few short months ago. Egyptians themselves are probably among the most surprised. This time the bogeyman for the mass demonstrators is not the US or Israel, but their own leaders who have long exploited anti-US sentiments to control the citizenry while doing the bidding of the west for their own profit. I have no special insights to add to what we are hearing in the news about the middle east. Things are in a ferment; it is hard to predict how the present and future will shape up in Egypt or elsewhere, and what the implications are for the coming trends in geo-politics. At this moment, the hottest spot in the Arab fire storm is in Libya where the crazy colonel has threatened to become a martyr while inciting a civil war among his countrymen with the help of foreign mercenaries. A map of the region shows the time line and the current status of events in the affected areas.
Ruchira in Accidental Blogger. Here.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Hukumat-e-Ilahyia se Welfare Party of India Tak

What is the reason behind the decision to launch Welfare Party of India? Has Jamaat-e-Islami Hind compromised its treasured principles? Has the Jamaat discarded its nasb-ul-ain? What about the age old cherished dream of forming the Hukumat-e-Ilahiya (Kingdom of God)? Could this be described as a turnaround by the Jamaat? Ameenul Hasan answers all the questions convincingly and patiently. You could see a different Ameen here. The vibrancy is missing. He speaks smoothly and with conviction. After watching this enlightening lecture all the doubts regarding the Welfare Party move fade away. A must watch for those who have not yet digested the major move by the oldest Islamic Movement in India.

Malappuram in Karachi

The tiny Malayali community in Karachi has shrunk over the years. Those who remain wait in vain for a passage to India
The nondescript apartment looks like an average home in Karachi. It’s the bar of Chandrika herbal soap in the bathroom and the Mathrubhoomi calendar on the wall, ubiquitous to Malayali homes, that betrays the lineage of its occupants. The flat’s octogenarian owner, BM Kutty, came to Karachi from Kerala in search of greener pastures in 1949, a time when Karachi was just a train ride away from Mumbai. Since then, the political activist has spent six decades of his life as a Pakistani national.

Kutty is part of the shrinking community of Malayalis settled in Karachi. Unlike some Muslims of north India who migrated to Pakistan during Partition, the migration of Malayali Muslims had a different context. The first exodus from Kerala to Karachi took place in 1921, the year of the Mappila Revolt, when landless Malabar Muslims (Mappilas) of Malappuram district in north Kerala launched an armed rebellion against the British and upper-caste Hindus. The uprising was brutally crushed after the British proclaimed martial law, and the Karachi chapter of Mappilas was born.

“Many Mappilas fled to Mumbai or Karachi. Here, they started from scratch with nothing but a kettle and cups, delivering tea to offices. Soon, they were running paan shops and hotels,” says Kutty. Today, most Malayalis in Karachi are small-time owners of shops and restaurants. One can find an odd Malabari restaurant in the city, the masala dosa on the menus of many non-Malabari restaurants, and Malabar betel leaves from Kerala in Karachi’s paan stalls. But few of the city’s Mappilas speak Malayalam. At schools run by the Malabar Muslim Jamaat, established in 1920, a handful of students can speak Malayalam, but second-generation Malayalis are more fluent in Urdu than in their native tongue.

According to the Malabar Muslim Jamaat, the Malayali population in the city is dwindling. From 64,000 in 1986, they are one-tenth of that figure now, living in middle-class colonies like Mahmudabad, Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Shershah and the Muslim Malabari colony.

For Karachi’s Mappilas, visiting relatives in Kerala was never a hassle, even after Partition, says Kutty. But after the 1965 India-Pakistan war, the scene changed, as ties between the two countries soured, and trade and travel links were snapped. Those who managed to get a visa went to meet their families in Kerala; some tried to stay on as fugitives in their own homeland only to be deported. “Some with wives and children in Kerala got remarried in Karachi. A few others with means managed to get Indian passports,” says Kutty, who recently published his autobiography Sixty Years in Self-Exile: No Regrets. A few hundred Pakistani Malayalis continue to retrace their steps back home, mainly to Kerala’s northern districts, and are fighting to reclaim their Indian citizenship. But they have to be content with living on long-stay visas until the Indian government decides on their fate.

Why would some of Karachi’s Mappilas want to return to Kerala? The first set of Mappila migrants and others such as Kutty had come here in search of better job prospects. In the Seventies, Malayalis on their way to the Gulf found Karachi their accidental homeland. Abdul Kadar, 54, from Tirur in Kerala, landed on the Karachi coast in 1976. “A travel agent charged me and several others Rs 700 each, promising to take us from Mumbai to Dubai by sea. Our motor launch set sail and when it finally docked, we were told that we were at our destination. I got off along with the others. I realised that I had been duped and brought to Karachi instead,” says Kadar. Stranded in a foreign land with no passport, Kadar was forced to get a Pakistani passport by claiming that he was born there.
Shalini Nair in Indian Express. Here

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

The beginning of the end of the Western hegemony

Tawakul Karman
The Arab liberation revolution will fundamentally change the Middle East. The acceleration of the West's decline will change the world. One outcome will be a surge toward China, Russia and regional powers like Brazil, Turkey and Iran. Another will be a series of international flare-ups stemming from the West's lost deterrence. But the overall outcome will be the collapse of North Atlantic political hegemony not in decades, but in years. When the United States and Europe bury Mubarak now, they are also burying the powers they once were. In Cairo's Tahrir Square, the age of Western hegemony is fading away.
Ari Shavit in Haaretz. Here and Here

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Imran Siddiqi bags Infosys Award

Dr. Imran Siddiqi, Scientist and Group Leader, Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad has bagged the Infosys award for outstanding scientists.

Dr Imran Siddiqi has been chosen for the Infosys Rrize 2011 in Life Science by the Infosys Science Foundation for his path-breaking contribution to the understanding of clonal seed formation in plants which could revolutionize agriculture for poor farmers in developing countries.

The award carries a cash prize of Rs 50 lakh, with a 22-karat gold medal, and a citation.
More Here and Here and Here

Monday, December 05, 2011

Islamic Finance in the 21st Century

It is no secret that conventional financial systems are not working and the sector is looking for alternative and responsible ways of doing business.

Islamic finance poses an ethical and non-conventional model and is currently the only area with strong growth, said Professor Ignacio dela Torre, Academic Director of the Master in Finance Programmes at Spain's Instituto de Empressa (IE) Business School last week.

Dela Torre was speaking at the relaunch of the Saudi-Spanish Centre for Islamic Economics and Finance, a partnership between IE Business School and Saudi Arabia's King Abdul Aziz University.

The relaunch coincided with a conference on "Islamic Finance in the 21st century". He said when employment levels are high in the West, it makes sense for finance students to familiarise themselves with alternative finance models that also include eco-finance and micro-finance.
"From a macroeconomic point of view it makes sense that European governments and financial markets set up Islamic windows so excess liquidity can be channelled through some European financing markets with these structures."
"There is already $1 trillion (Dh3.67 trillion) of Islamic money and it is growing at 20 per cent with $200 million of additional Islamic money coming in every year," said Dela Torre.
Students are showing interest in this area of finance and universities in the United Kingdom and France have responded to the demand early on. Over the past five years, IE has been offering Islamic finance programmes.
"When you travel to the Gulf, where 50 per cent of banking is Islamised, there are not enough people with skills and understanding of Islamic finance," he said.
He added that from a career perspective it is wise to have knowledge of this area because those who work in conventional finance will sooner or later be faced with Islamic finance.
Amelia Naidoo in Gulf News. Here

A pacemaker without wires

A pacemaker that regulates the heart by wirelessly zapping it with pulses of ultrasound from outside the organ is currently undergoing human trials in Europe.

Conventional pacemakers stimulate the heart tissue via electrical leads that are fed into the heart through a vein. But leads can fail, requiring additional surgery to remove and replace them. The conventional approach also restricts where the therapeutic shock can be delivered.

The new device uses focused acoustic waves that are picked up by a small receiver implanted permanently inside the heart, converting the energy into electricity. Unlike radio waves, ultrasound can pass through tissue at high-enough energy levels without causing any heating.

"This represents a significant breakthrough, eliminating the lead in the heart," says Paul Skjefte, marketing strategist for EBR Systems, the company that created the pacemaker. The startup, based in Sunnyvale, California, was spun out of research by founder Debra Echt, a former professor of medicine and a cardiologist at Vanderbilt University.
A report in Technologyreview. Here

Sunday, December 04, 2011

"Egypt revolution is Youthquake": Sadat Husseini

Here is the most powerful speech given by Br Sadat Husseini on "Middle East revolutions: Impacts and expectations". 
Sadat Husseini is member of Central Advisory Council of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind. In his speech he has listed out five lessons to be learnt from the Middle East revolutions. It is worth watching.
I heard the full speech in one session. This is the first time that I have spent so much time in viewing a speech. The subject is alluring and Sadat captivates you with shers, arabic slogans, Quranic verses and english quotations.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

A slap that failed to stir the nation

The day Food and Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar received ‘the slap’ I and Sharad Joshi were speaking at a national conference of farmers in Haridwar. A little after lunch, Swami Ramdev walked in to take his seat on the dais and expressed his apologies for being late. He said he was late because he had got busy responding to media questioning on the thappad.

The moment he gave out the news of the ‘the slap’ there was a round of applause. I think the clapping and cheering that followed was louder than the applause any one of us had received during and after our presentations. Meanwhile, the stream of messages on my mobile seemed never ending. My twitter too was flooded with congratulatory messages. I am aware that howsoever we may strongly condemn the incident, which was the politically correct thing to do, the fact remains that there was a sense of jubilation all around.

For a country reeling under an unprecedented price rise, corruption and economic policies that benefit only 1 per cent of the population, ‘the slap’ was an expression of the simmering anger and increasing frustration. While the more daring have picked up the gun (in the Maoist-affected areas) against the inequalities being continuously perpetuated with impunity, the liberal and the educated in the urban centres too are getting restless. I agree with Shobha De when she says ‘this is not about Sharad Pawar. He just happened to be the man at the receiving end of the most recent slap’.

Please do not get me wrong. I am not advocating throwing shoes to be a democratic form of dissent. But at the same time, I want you to think, and think deeply, as to why this democracy finds nothing disturbing when farmers kill themselves in order to draw the attention of powers that be to their plight. Such arrogance and indifference in a people’s democracy can’t go on for long. “The slap’ and the chappal cannot be simply dismissed as the work of a mentally unstable person. It is an expression of growing anger among the masses. Let us not wait for an Arab spring to force the Indian democracy to truly respond and represent the people. It is a question of the forgotten 99 per cent. #
Devinder Sharma in Ground Realities. Here.

Mohamed Badie, the man who matters most in Egypt

Who is the man at the helm of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, now poised to lead Egypt in the post-Mubarak era?

Liberals view him as an uncompromising religious conservative and even within the Muslim Brotherhood some doubt his ability to lead. Will Mohamed Badie succeed in uniting the Muslim Brotherhood and forming a parliamentary majority?

The press conference was set to start at noon, but at one the long table at the front of the tightly packed room remained empty. The cameramen were still jostling to set up their equipment, jamming their heavy tripods into what remained of the spaces along the walls.

It almost didn’t matter, everyone knew the story they were there for. It was all about the man who would finally take his seat at the table at 2 PM: The Muslim Brotherhood’s General Masul, the General Guide, Mohamed Badie. It was September 2010 and parliamentary elections, were on everyone’s minds, as they are today. Especially when it came to predicting the power of the Muslim Brotherhood in those elections.

Mohamed Badie Abdul Mageed Samy, a highly educated man with roots in labour rights and a strong commitment to outreach, is poised to become one of the most influential powers in the ‘new Egypt.’ Yet, his rise from relative obscurity to the forefront of national politics has left many Egyptians perplexed. Liberals view him as an uncompromising religious conservative and even within the Muslim Brotherhood some doubt his ability to lead. Will Mohamed Badie succeed in uniting the Muslim Brotherhood and forming a parliamentary majority?
 Maryam Ishani in Majalla. Here and Here

Friday, December 02, 2011

The Art of Asking

Remembrance has greater merit than supplication. This is because remembrance is adulation of God Almighty by the beauty of His attributes, His gifts and His names; while supplication consists in the servant asking God for something he needs. And what is this compared to that? Thus, it is stated in a hadith: 'To someone too busy with My remembrance to supplicate Me, I give what is more excellent than what I give to those who ask.' [Muslim]
This is also why the preferred form of supplication begins with praise and adulation for God, then gives blessings upon His Prophet and, finally, asks for what one needs. This follows a hadith from Fudala Ibn Ubayd. When the Messenger of God heard a man in worship supplicating God without praising Him and without invoking blessings upon His Prophet, he remarked, 'This one has rushed things.' Then he called the man over and said to him or someone else [who was with them], 'When one of you offers the prayer, let him begin with adulation for his Lord Almighty, then let him ask for blessings upon the Prophet. After that, let him ask for what he wants.' [Ahmad, Tirmidhi]
Compiled From:
"The Invocation of God" - Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya, p. 120


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