Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Salman Rushdie, Freedom from insult and Islam

“I wrote this biography of Muhammad just over ten years ago at the time of the Salman Rushdie crisis. For some time, I had been disturbed by the prejudice against Islam that I so frequently encountered, even in the most liberal and tolerant circle. After the horrific events of the 20th century, it seemed to me that we simply could not afford to cultivate a distorted and inaccurate view of the religion followed by 1.2 billion Muslims who make up a fifth of the world’s population. When Ayatollah Khomeini issued his infamous fatwah against Rushdie and his publishers, this Western prejudice became even more blatant.

“In 1990, when I was writing this book, nobody in Britain wanted to hear that almost exactly a month after the fatwah at a meeting of the Islamic Congress, forty-four out of the forty-five member states condemned the Ayatollah’s ruling as unIslamic––leaving Iran out in the cold. Very few Western people were interested to hear that the Sheikhs of Saudi Arabia, the Holy Land of Islam, and the prestigious al-Azhar madrasah in Cairo had also declared that the fatwah contravened Islamic law. Only a handful of people seemed prepared to listen sympathetically to the many Muslims in Britain who dissociated themselves from the Ayatollah, had no wish to see Rushdie killed, but who had felt profoundly distressed by what they regarded as the blasphemous portrait of Prophet Muhammad in his novel. The Western intelligentsia seemed to want to believe that the entire Muslim world was clamouring for Rushdie’s blood. Some of the leading writers, intellectuals and philosophers in Britain described Islam in a way that either showed astonishing ignorance or a quite horrifying indifference to the truth. As far as they were concerned Islam was an inherently intolerant, fanatical faith, it deserved no respect; and the sensitivities of Muslims who felt hurt by Rushdie’s portrait of their beloved Prophet in The Satanic Verses were of no importance.

“I wrote the book because it seemed a pity that Rushdie’s account of Muhammad was the only one that most Western people were likely to read. Even though I could understand what Rushdie was trying to do in his novel, it seemed important that the true story of the Prophet should also be available, because he was one of the most remarkable human beings who ever lived. It was quite difficult to find a publisher, since many assumed that Muslims would be outraged that infidel woman like myself should have the audacity to write about their Prophet, and that if they publish this book I would soon be joining Rushdie in hiding. But as it turned out, I was greatly moved by the warm and generous reception that Muslims gave my book in those difficult times.”
- the first few paragraphs of the Introduction to October 2001 edition (just after 9/11) of book Muhammad, A Biography of the Prophet written by former Roman Catholic nun Karen Armstrong.

Karen Armstrong was motivated to study Islam so thoroughly and come out with this biography only after the protest by Muslims following the publication of The Satanic Verses about two and a half decades back.
Soroor Ahmed in Two circles. More Here

Salman Rushdie is a third class writer: Justice Katju

Salman Rushdie is a “poor” and “sub-standard writer” who would have remained largely unknown but for his controversial book ‘Satanic Verses’, according to Markandey Katju, till recently a judge of the Supreme Court.

Katju, who is now the Chairman of Press Council of India, criticised the admirers of India-born author based in Britain, saying they suffered from “colonial inferiority complex” that a writer living abroad has to be great.
From a report in Hindustan Times. Here

Slamming the Jaipur Literature Festival's focus on the Indian-origin British writer, Justice Katju, a retired judge of the Supreme Court, criticised “so-called educated Indians” who “suffer from the colonial inferiority complex” and believe that writers living in India are inferior to those living abroad.

“Salman Rushdie dominated the Jaipur Literature Festival. I do not wish to get into the controversy whether banning him was correct or not. I am raising a much more fundamental issue,” he said in a statement issued on Wednesday. “I have read some of Rushdie's works and am of the opinion that he is a poor writer, and but for The Satanic Verses would have remained largely unknown. Even Midnight's Children is hardly great literature.”
From a report in The Hindu. Here

Islam emphasises on 'Freedom from insult'

Well, whether or not freedom to insult is a Western value, Islam has nothing to do with it. It lays emphasis on its exact opposite: the freedom from insult. 

It values human dignity, decency, and harmony in the society. The freedom of religion it ensures includes freedom from insults. While it does not shy away from academic discussion of its beliefs and showing the falsehood of non-Islamic beliefs, it makes sure that the discussion remains civil. In those discussions it wants to engage the intellect of its opponents; in contrast those who itch to insult their opponents are interested in satisfying their vulgar emotions.

Thus while its most important battle is against false gods it asks its followers to refrain from reviling them. (Qur’an, Al-anam, 6:108). It also reminds them to stay away from harsh speech. “Allah loves not the utterance of harsh speech save by one who has been wronged.” (Qur’an, Al-Nisa, 4:148). Prophet Muhammad, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, who is being reviled by the scum of the world, taught Muslims to never let the low moral standards of their adversaries dictate theirs.

As a result of these teachings Muslims can never even imagine insulting any Prophet --- from Adam to Moses to Jesus to Muhammad, peace be upon them all. Even when they ruled the world, Muslims treated the religious leaders of non-Muslim also with respect – even during battles. In the Baghdad court Jewish and Christian scholars engaged in open discussions with the Muslim savants.

Needless to say they had not been attracted by the freedom to insult but its exact opposite. Freedom from insult is a fundamental value that assures peace and harmony. It leads to healthy societies. And Muslims are very proud of their impeccable record here.
A earlier post in Luthfispace Here and More by Khalid Baig Here

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The arrest and ordeal of Ghulam Azam Sahib

Veteran leader of the Islamic Movement in the Indian sub-continent Janab Ghulam Azam Sahib is languishing in jail for the past eighteen days. He is 89 years old and affected with age related complications. The attitude of the Bangaladesh Government is depressing, agonising and shameful. What does it want to achieve by torturing a 89 year old leader? The silence of the world community is deafening.

Ghulam Azam Sahib moving with the help of two policemen

Ghulam Azam Sahib waiting for help

Ghulam Azam Sahib - prison van

Inside the prison van
Ghulam Azam getting down from the prison van

Yet you can make a difference. Just click the link How can you help and do the needful. More Photos Here

“I am worried about my husband’s life”

“After seeing him today, I am worried about my husband’s life. At 10.30 am on Friday, the prison authorities agreed 3.30 pm for me to meet my husband at the prison cell. When I arrived there on time, the authorities of the prison cell made me, an 80 year old woman, wait for an hour without even having the courtesy to give reasons. The man (my husband) who left the house for court 16 days ago on 11 January 2012 walking was almost unrecognizable today. He was so weak that he could merely sit on his bed with the help of two people. He is not able to have a single meal in peace. “

“An 89-year-old man needs constant care and support,, whereas he even has to [perform menial tasks such as] washing his own plate. The inhuman behaviour towards him shown by the hospital and prison authorities is a gross violation of human rights. After many oral and written efforts, we could not yet provide him with Qur’an, Hadith, Qur’an Translation and Tafsir (commentary) for the last 17 days that could keep him going in his solitary life. In spite of trying for two weeks, no barber was arranged for him. After the specialist’s recommendation and many oral and written applications, he was allowed some additional foods on Thursday. He is not getting the types of food he needs. There have been around 10-12 applications to the hospital and prison authorities most of which have not even been replied. The way both the authorities are trying to avoid our family is hurtful and extremely discourteous. “
More Here.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Divine Measurement

Islam divides daily life into two spheres: what we have control over and what we do not. We have no control over the circumstances developing around us. The car breaks down; we get laid off at our job; an earthquake topples the city; we bump into a long-lost friend; and so on. These things just happen. We couldn't prevent them because we didn't know they were coming. Islam says all of these things are a test for us. They were predetermined challenges or merely things that, because of a complex confluence or events, just happened. They were a part of our Divine Measurement (Qadr).
Even though we often have no control over what happens to us, we do have control over how we feel and respond. When a tragedy strikes, do we blame God? When we see a diamond, does covetousness well up within us? When someone does evil to us, do we reciprocate or forgive? When we are alone, do we feel lonely or jubilant? Islam says we have control over our feelings, emotions and personal actions. Our test lies in how we respond to what happens around us. Do we exercise patience with life's challenges or do we panic and create disorder in our lives and in others? Now if we really think of the complex web of actions and reactions that go on every day in all of our lives, we can begin to appreciate how little our capacity is compared to God's.
Compiled From:
"The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Islam, 2nd Edition" - Yahiya Emerick, p. 103

Monday, January 23, 2012

Selfless or Selfish

Imam Sirr al-Saqati narrates:
— For thirty years I have been asking God's forgiveness for an Alhamdolillah (Thanks and praise be to God) which I uttered with joy thirty years ago. When asked if it was a sin to praise and thank God, Sirr al-Saqati explained:
— In the Mosque of Baghdad, even as I was teaching the Prophetic Tradition, 'The one who does not feel troubled because of the troubles of Muslims', a man came rushing in and said that a great fire had broken out in the Baghdad market burning all the shops to ashes, but adding: ‘Nothing has happened to your shop'. Glad that my shop had been saved from the fire, and not remembering that all the other shops had not, I happened to utter 'Alhamdolillah'. That was clearly a selfish act. While the shops of all other people were burnt, I should not have been rejoicing over mine being saved. It is for that selfish act of mine that I have been asking God's forgiveness for thirty years and praying to God that He may not make me a selfish one.
Sirr al-Saqati continued to repent of that act until his death. Before he died, he asked to be buried in a solitary place no one knew of, and explained why:
— It sometimes happens that earth throws out the dead bodies of some sinful ones so that the living ones may take a lesson. If I am a selfish one who does not feel troubled because of the troubles of other Muslims, the earth may throw me out. So [bury me some unknown place so that the people do not know me as one wicked and sinful to that degree. 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Bade be-aabru hokar...

Hazaaron Khwahishein Aisee ki Har Khwahish Pe Dam Nikle
Bohot Nikle mere armaan lekin Phir Bhee Kam Nikle
Thousands of desires, each worth dying for...
many of them I have realized...yet I yearn for more...
Nikalna Khuld Se Aadam Ka Sunte Aaye The Lekin,
Bade Be-Aabru Hokar Tere Kooche Se Hum Nikle.
We have heard about the dismissal of Adam from Heaven,
With a more humiliation, I am leaving the street on which you live...
Ghalib Mirza Asadullah Khan. Here 

Friday, January 13, 2012

India and China to build largest telescope

China and India are catapulting to the forefront of astronomy research with their decision to join as partners in a Hawaii telescope that will be the world's largest when it is built later this decade.

China and India will pay a share of the construction cost - expected to top one billion US dollars - for the Thirty Metre Telescope at the summit of Mauna Kea volcano. They will also have a share of the observation time.

It is the first advanced telescope in which either nation has been a partner.

"This will represent a quantum leap for the Chinese community," Shude Mao, professor of astrophysics at National Astronomical Observatories of China, said in a telephone interview from Waikoloa on the Big Island, where he was attending a meeting of the telescope's scientific advisory committee.
A report in Press Association. Here

Indians in Norway aborting girls : Study

Norwegian-Indian woman give birth to abnormally high numbers of boys, a study has shown, sparking fears that families are deliberately aborting female foetuses.

“Our study seems to indicate that some parents of Indian origin are practising sex-selective abortion,” said researcher Are Hugo Pripp at the national hospital (Rikshospitalet) to newspaper VG.

The study, which looks specifically at the third and fourth children born to mothers of Indian and Pakistani origin from 1969 to 2005, shows that the ratio of girls to boys changed dramatically among Indian-Norwegian mothers after ultrasound scans became available in Norway in 1987.
A report in The Local, Norway's newspaper in English. Here

India's bureaucracy is the worst!!

India's bureaucracy is the worst in Asia, according to a report.

The report by Hong Kong-based Political and Economic Risk Consultancy ranks bureaucracies across Asia on a scale from one to 10, with 10 being the worst possible score. India scored 9.21.

India fared worse than Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines and China.

The report said India's bureaucracy was responsible for many complaints businessmen had about India, like lack of infrastructure and corruption.

It also said that Indian bureaucrats were rarely held accountable for wrong decisions.

"This gives them [bureaucrats] terrific powers and could be one of the main reasons why average Indians as well as existing and would-be foreign investors perceive India's bureaucrats as negatively as they do," said the report, quoted by the Press Trust Of India news agency.

India's government has not reacted to the report.

Singapore remained the country with the best bureaucracy, with a rating of 2.25. It was followed by Hong Kong, Thailand, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea and Malaysia.
A report in BBC. Here and Here and Here

Lokpal, shopping malls and an ordinary hawker

Contrary to Gandhiji's ideas about the decentralisation of power, the Jan Lokpal Bill is a draconian, anti-corruption law, in which a panel of carefully chosen people will administer a giant bureaucracy, with thousands of employees, with the power to police everybody from the Prime Minister, the judiciary, members of Parliament, and all of the bureaucracy, down to the lowest government official. The Lokpal will have the powers of investigation, surveillance, and prosecution. Except for the fact that it won't have its own prisons, it will function as an independent administration, meant to counter the bloated, unaccountable, corrupt one that we already have. Two oligarchies, instead of just one.

Whether it works or not depends on how we view corruption. Is corruption just a matter of legality, of financial irregularity and bribery, or is it the currency of a social transaction in an egregiously unequal society, in which power continues to be concentrated in the hands of a smaller and smaller minority? Imagine, for example, a city of shopping malls, on whose streets hawking has been banned. A hawker pays the local beat cop and the man from the municipality a small bribe to break the law and sell her wares to those who cannot afford the prices in the malls. Is that such a terrible thing? In future will she have to pay the Lokpal representative too? Does the solution to the problems faced by ordinary people lie in addressing the structural inequality, or in creating yet another power structure that people will have to defer to?
Arundhati Roy in The Hindu. Here

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Hijab is the height of intellect and sophistication: Tawakkol Karman

The 2011 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Yemeni activist Tawakkol Karman poses with her medal and certificate during the Nobel Peace Prize award ceremony at the city hall in Oslo. The international community has not provided enough support for the uprising in Yemen, “Arab Spring” activist Tawakkol Karman lamented after receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo on Saturday.
Journalists asked Tawakkol Karman with suprise whether she does not see her mode of dressing as something which contradicts her education and intellectual level as the hijab is viewed as oppression of women and backwardness.

Karman answered them : “The human being in early times was almost naked with the development of his thought over time he began to wear clothes.What I am today and what I wear Is the height of intellect and sophistication reached by man through the ages, not backwardness.Unclothedness is a sign of backwardness and human thinking going back to early times”.
From Humanitarian endeavour. Here

Sunday, January 08, 2012


Bilal Habashi was among the pioneers of Islam. He was a slave of Umayya ibn Khalaf, one of the leading figures of the polytheist Quraysh. Since he accepted Islam in its very early days, he was made to suffer unbearable tortures. They made him lie on burning sand in the desert and put very heavy stones on his chest, leaving him in the sun for long periods. They also whipped him frequently but every time he was subjected to such tortures, he declared 'One, One, God is One!' After years of torture, Abu Bakr, may God be pleased with him, bought him from his master and emancipated him immediately.

After the Hijra, the great migration of Muslims to Madina, God's Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, made Bilal his mu'adhdhin—the caller to prayer. He was so esteemed among the Companions that 'Umar, the second Caliph, said of him: 'Bilal is our master and our master (meaning Abu Bakr) emancipated him.'

The ideal of equality and human brotherhood is explicitly enjoined in the Qur'an and discrimination on the basis of nation or race (tribe) is explicitly rejected: O mankind! We created you of a man and woman and made you into nations and tribes so that you may know one another. The best and most honoured of you in the sight of God is the most pious and God-fearing among you. Surely God is the All-Knowing, the All-Aware.

Abu Dharr, the leader of the tribe of Ghifar, and one who accepted Islam in its early days, narrates:

Once I was conversing with Bilal. Our conversation gave way to a dispute. Angry with him, the following insult burst from my mouth: 'You cannot comprehend this, O son of a black woman!'

As Islam expressly forbade all kinds of racial, tribal and colour discrimination, Bilal was both upset and greatly angered.

A while later a man came and told me that the Messenger of God, upon him be peace and blessings, summoned me. I went to him immediately. He said to me:

'I have been informed that you addressed Bilal as the son of a black woman.'

I was deeply ashamed and could say nothing. God's Messenger continued his reprimand: 'This means you still retain the standards and judgements of the pre-Islamic days of ignorance. Islam has eradicated all those false standards or measures judging people by blood, fame, colour or wealth. It has established that the best and most honourable of men is he who is the most pious and upright in conduct. Is it right to defame a believer just because he is black?'

Abu Dharr felt profound remorse. He went straight to Bilal's house and, putting his head on the threshold, said: 'This head will not rise from here until the blessed feet of Bilal tread on the face of foolish, impolite Abu Dharr.'

Bilal responded: 'That face deserves to be kissed, not trodden upon', and forgave Abu Dharr.

Friday, January 06, 2012

FJP's twelve steps to a new Egypt

There are many challenges facing the Egyptian society, at the present time, which the FJP seeks to remedy in the coming period, through the objective visions detailed in the party’s program. The most important of these challenges are as follows:

First, the principles of liberty and equality: the FJP emphasizes that it seeks to grant citizens the freedoms they deserve, to safeguard the fundamental rights of every Egyptian, and change all practices or legislation that challenge or restrict these freedoms or violate these rights. Freedom is one of Islam’s duties. “Indeed We have honoured the Descendants of Adam” (Quran, 17:70).

Second, security: Since the revolution, Egypt suffers an almost total lack of security. On the other hand, security is essential for life, work and production. The FJP, therefore, stresses the need for restructuring the Ministry of Interior, purging it of all officers who were involved in the oppression of the people and the practices of corruption, and changing the prevailing strategic doctrine – starting with students of the police academy and honorable officers; to provide security and protection for people, not for the ruler alone; to prepare and adopt a security policy for the protection of all national institutions; to raise the financial standard of soldiers and low-income people, and to put a cap on the remuneration of senior officers; and to monitor the ministry through the parliament to ensure good performance.

Third, high-priority economic problems: The FJP believes that the Egyptian citizen is both the basis and the target of Egypt's development. Hence, it is essential that extricate the people from the mire of poverty, poor health and deficient educational services.

The party believes that human dignity and freedom depend on the citizen earning a decent living with freedom from exploitation and poverty.

The party emphasizes that response to the unemployment problem requires the concerted efforts of many of society's institutions to provide employment opportunities, such as the banking system, educational institutions, civil society and the business community, as well as the adoption of large national projects, and at the same time motivating and supporting young people to develop their own small business projects. Thus we can increase rates of economic growth to absorb entrants to the labor market, so that we can provide jobs to the jobless and adequate remuneration for every worker, and social security for every disabled person.

Fourth, social problems: The FJP bears in mind that there are members of the community whose material resources prevent them from fulfilling the needs of dignified living. The party’s economic program, therefore, suggests that – in addition to what is now available in the community of charitable organizations and solidarity among its citizens – there is need for activating the mechanisms of Zakat (giving of alms) to address aspects of deficiencies in economic and social life. Waqf (endowment) mechanisms should be utilized side-by-side with mechanisms of Zakat.

Fifth, treatment of the imbalance in the structure of wages: The FJP attaches great importance to the issue of wage structure imbalance in the Egyptian market. The party will endeavor to set minimum and maximum wages to ensure a decent life for the Egyptian citizen, with increase in wages linked to inflation rates, and to prevent senior management personnel from taking more than one job or being on the boards of more than one company or Fund, to give the opportunity for others to benefit from remuneration made for those posts.

Sixth, the issue of environmental pollution: With regard to the problem of environmental pollution, the FJP believes that the ecological balance between man and what he builds in his urban environment on the one side and between God's creation in the natural environment on the other, is the basic framework that should govern and control the process of populating the world. Hence, the party has set priorities and policies to deal with all types of environmental pollution, from reducing the impact of pollution, to treatment mechanisms, and safeguard policies to prevent recurrence. This is to be achieved through the establishment of a national council for the protection of the Nile River, bringing together all relevant bodies to allocate responsibilities and avoid conflicts of authority and work to enact a package of legislation, laws that criminalize contamination of this great river, with firmness in the implementation of this legislation.

Seventh, the housing issue: The FJP believes that this critical issue is of major concern to every family and every young person. Therefore, the party was keen to find a viable solution to it through geographical re-distribution of construction development and population, to match human resources quality and quantity with development essentials and national security requirements, through the division of the state into development regions, and working to attract people and talent from regions with denser populations and less resources to regions with the less dense populations and greater resources.

Eighth, the problem of transportation: In its program, the FJP adopts the concept of integration of the four methods of transport: road, river, sea and air, so as to raise the performance efficiency of this sector domestically and internationally, through the Ministry of Transport playing a key role in overseeing all the various activities of the sector, setting the necessary policies for this sector to efficiently play the role it is entrusted to do, to avoid conflicts among the different bodies currently overseeing the sector, including the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Environment, local authorities... etc.

Ninth, the issue of education and scientific research: The FJP has paid special attention to human development that ensures human dignity and recognizes the right of every citizen to education, so as to build a generation capable of carrying the banner of progress and development of this homeland.

The party believes that reforming and developing education, research institutes and scientific institutions will strengthen national unity and deepens the Arab and Islamic identity, because that is the way to intellectual and cultural unity within Egypt and among the Arab and Muslim countries, as it maximizes development in order to achieve progress and leadership and puts the nation at the forefront of the world.

The party aims to make education and scientific research the main tool to meet the needs of the community and the nation and to achieve its ambitions and progress at home and abroad, through various programs and mechanisms, including: providing education for all members of society, injecting moral values into education at all stages, expanding education quantitatively, qualitatively and geographically using ‘open’ learning and distance education as well as e-learning etc, providing training and ‘continuing education’ to keep abreast of accelerating scientific and technical progress, focusing on the development of innovative thinking and building skills, and developing and updating curricula and activities commensurate with the era, developing capacities and talents and achieving the required goals and specifications with the adoption of an approach of thinking, dialogue, research and discussion in education, instead of the rote alone.

In the same context, the party has prepared solutions for the treatment of the problem of illiteracy, which is an affront to the community, through the following means: development of a national project to completely eliminate illiteracy within a few (5) years, while stimulating all resources for its implementation, adoption of a budget commensurate with this project, compelling large companies and factories to organize literacy classes for their employees, and giving adequate tax breaks for the purpose, and encouraging children, especially in the countryside, not to drop out of education, providing special care for poor families so they would not be forced to withdraw their children from education and into work in order to bring in money.

Tenth, the development of the health sector: The FJP has prepared an ambitious program for the development of the health sector’s conditions through the provision of mechanisms for health care for all citizens, regardless of their financial status or place of residence, to ensure the citizen's freedom to choose where to receive medical treatment and service, with emphasis on those who cannot afford medical costs, to improve the quality of health service and ensure fair distribution so as to provide access to adequate health care for low-income families, and to expand health insurance coverage to include all Egyptians within a specified period of time.

Eleventh, the development of tourism: Tourism occupies its rightful place in the party platform, as Egypt's cultural and historical, Pharaonic, Grecian, Roman, Coptic, Islamic heritage as well as its temperate climate and the charming and hospitable nature of its people are all unrivaled in the whole world. Tourism, as an industry and an export activity, is a very important source of foreign currency, an essential component of national income, and a key component for the creation of productive employment opportunities for hundreds of thousands of our youth, through the protection of tourist areas in ancient Egyptian cities, and on the coasts of the country’s Mediterranean and Red seas, on modern tourism bases, and the prevention of unplanned urban growth in these areas, encouraging the private sector and attracting foreign investments in the tourism industry, and directing all service ministries related to tourism – such as Ministries of Aviation, Transport, Media, Culture, Environment and other ministries and agencies concerned with tourism activities in Egypt – to support promote tourism amongst the most important objectives of their annual plans. All this, necessarily, requires better care for workers in this area and for tour guides as well as public and private tourism companies and adoption of their problems and finding substantive and comprehensive solutions to such problems.

Twelfth, deepening of cooperation with Arab countries: The FJP has stressed that it seeks to support plans and mechanisms for integration and joint Arab action in all areas, and emphasized the right of the Palestinian people to liberate their land and the right of peoples to obtain their rights and to have free will to govern themselves in the way they consider appropriate. The nation must truly be the source of authority and power.

In conclusion, we hope that with the brief outline above we have succeeded in answering some questions raised in the minds of everyone, asserting that the FJP will work with diligence and dedication during the coming period to turn their hopes and aspirations for the great people of Egypt to a practical reality that benefits everyone, without discrimination, for the rejuvenation and advancement of Egypt and the establishment of the modern Egyptian civic, constitutional state, based on freedom and democracy – a truly new Egypt.
Mohamed Morsi, President Freedom and Justice Party in ikhwanweb. Here

Honoring Orphans

The Prophet, peace be upon him, said: "Make the orphan come close to you, and be nice to him, and wipe his head, and feed him from your food. That will cause your heart to be soft, and your needs to be fulfilled." [al-Tabarani]
Also Prophet, peace be upon him, said: “The most loved homes to God, Al-Mighty & Sublime, are homes in which the orphan is honored.”
According to Islamic law (shari’ah), Muslims have a responsibility to show benevolence and care for orphans.  Orphans according to the Islamic definition are those children, who are left with no protection from their fathers due to death.  Traditionally in the history of humanity, men have been the maintainers of their families not only monetarily but also in providing physical protection.  In this context, orphans are vulnerable and need aid and protection from the community even if their mothers are still living.
God says in the Qur’an (2:83):
[and be good] to the orphans and the very poor, speak kindly to men, make prayer, and give in charity.
In the sense that the key posture toward orphans should be kindness, orphans belong to the entire community, and everyone takes responsibility for their welfare. Perhaps this can be attributed to a deep spiritual morality that demands Muslims be charitable toward less fortunate others, but the state of being an orphan takes on an even more profound meaning in the Islamic religion.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Reporter's story, Editor's story and Anna Hazare

The Indian news media generate public interest through two distinct kinds of stories — the reporter’s story and the editor’s story. In 2005, when Parliament passed the Right to Information Act, which gave any Indian citizen access to most government documents, it was the result of a long and difficult process of influencing public opinion by reformers and persistent reporters. It was never a sexy story. Beat reporters kept pushing the many aspects of the idea of right to information, and the story slowly made its way from the inside pages to the front pages, from the periphery of television reportage to prime-time discussions. It was the reporter’s story, and at the end of it, all the public was reasonably well informed about the act, why it was important and how they could use it.

The anti-corruption movement, on the other hand, was an editor’s story from the very beginning, from the moment Mr. Hazare arrived in New Delhi in April, sat on a wayside with his supporters and threatened to starve to death if the government did not create the Lokpal.

Television news quickly converted Mr. Hazare into a saint who had arrived from his village to fight the corrupt authorities in New Delhi. On the first day of his fast, there were no more than 300 people around him, but the cameras framed the fast in such a way that it gave the impression that something big was going on.

Among his core supporters there were several impoverished poets whose laments were chiefly against “people who go in cars” and “people for whom there are big shiny roads while the poor have nothing to eat.” In short, their laments were not only against politicians, but also against the newly prosperous middle class.

At the time, the television news media, which are largely headquartered in New Delhi, had very little understanding of Mr. Hazare, who is from the western state of Maharashtra. Until last April, his influence was confined to rural parts of Maharashtra. By the time the anchors asked the important question — “Who exactly is Anna Hazare?” — it was too late. They had already proclaimed him a modern saint, and he had amassed millions of supporters in a matter of days. As it turned out, Mr. Hazare is not a man the urban middle class would normally call a saint.
Manu Joseph in The New York Times. Here

Do not be SAD

When you experienced sadness yesterday, your situation didn't get any better by you being sad. Your son failed in school, and you became depressed, yet did your depression change the fact that he failed? Your father passed away, and you became downhearted, yet did that bring him back to life? You lost your business, and you became saddened. Did this change your situation by transforming losses into profits?
Do not be sad: You became despondent due to a calamity, and by doing so, created additional calamities. You became depressed because of poverty and this only increased the bitterness of your situation. You became gloomy because of what your enemies said to you; by entering into that mental state, you unwittingly helped them in their attack against you. You became sullen because you expected a particular misfortune, and yet it never came to pass.
Do not be sad: Truly a large mansion will not protect you from the effects of depression; and neither will a beautiful wife, abundant wealth, a high position, or brilliant children.
Do not be sad: Sadness causes you to imagine poison when you are really looking at pure water, to see a cactus when you are looking at a rose, to see a barren desert when you are looking at a lush garden, and to feel that you are in an unbearable prison when you are living on a vast and spacious earth.
Do not be sad: You have the true Religion to live by, a house to live in, bread to eat, water to drink, clothes to wear, a wife to find comfort with; why then the melancholy?
Compiled From:
"Don't Be Sad" - Aaidh ibn Abdullah al-Qarni


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