Islamic Voice November 2015 Issue

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  • ISLAMIC VOICE, November 2015 1In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

    32 Pages Rs. 20 Bengaluru English MonthlyNovember 2015 Vol. 28-11 No. 347 Muharram/Safar 1437 H

    Page 4Page 6

    Restoring World Kindness

    Largest Inter-Religious Gathering

    Over 10,000 participants from 80

    nations and 50 faiths, gathered in Salt Lake

    City for the Parliament of World Religions,

    2015, covering issues, from ending war, to countering

    extremism with acts of compassion.

    Thousands of people from around the world gathered at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah last month, for the opening ceremonies of the Parliament of the Worlds Religions.Welcome, welcome, welcome, said Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid, Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Parliament of the Worlds Religions to thunderous applause from the audience.With the permission of the great indigenous people of this land, with love in my heart and compassion in my mind and with smiles on our faces to reclaim the heart of our humanity, I declare the sixth Parliament of the Worlds Religions open.The inspirational evening of

    prayers and reflections from faith leaders and dignitaries began with a Grand Procession led by the indigenous nations of Utah and the Grand Basin to the pulsating beat of a tribal drum circle. This is our time, the world is coming closer in the global village. Lets bring hearts and minds together and closer. That is the interfaith movement. Our actions speak louder even if the media has difficulty hearing them.Just last week, hate-mongers demonstrated in 20 cities across America against the Muslim

    community, he added. Who outnumbered them? People of faith, people of love, people of interfaith. That is interfaith. The Parliament has been ahead of its time, always inclusive, always encouraging the understanding of the other, always humanizing

    the other, always welcoming the other. Imam Mujahid also noted that there were only few female speakers at the first Parliament in Chicago in 1893."In this Parliament, the majority of speakers are women speakers," he said to loud applause from the audience.Ten thousand people from over 80 countries and 50 different religious and spiritual traditions gathered in Salt Lake City for the Parliament, making it the worlds largest inter-religious gathering.The convention themed, Reclaiming the Heart of Our

    Humanity, was filled with programs and conversations on climate change and creation care, war, violence and hate speech, and economic inequality and wasteful living.The Governor of Utah, Gary

    UEF Trade Summit in ChennaiBy A Staff Writer

    Chennai: The United Economic Forum will hold its UEF Trade Summit on November 14 and 15 in Chennai. The summit will be held in Hotel ITC Grand Chola. Mr. Mufti Mohammed Sayeed, Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir will be the chief guest and Dr. Haseeb Drabu, the Finance Minister of Jammu and Kashmir and economic advisor to former Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh will be among the prominent speakers.In a press release, Dr. Kamal Sheriff, vice president of the UEF, said the summit is expected to be attended by about 600 delegates and several exhibitors will be setting up their stalls at the Trade Fair being held simultaneously.Prominent businessmen and entrepreneurs will speak on topics like Minority Community Status and Contribution in India and Tamilnadu, Approach towards achieving Rs. 10,000 crore enhancement by UEF, Emerging Business Opportunities in TN-Make in Tamilnadu, Successful Indian Entrepreneurs Overseas, Real Estate: Building the Nation and its Fruits, Retail Industry: The Growth Wave, Leather Industry: Opportunities in India, Woman Entrepreneurs: Shrinking the Glass Ceiling,

    Energy and Infrastructure, Healthcare opportunities for Entrepreneurs, Government of India support Schemes for Minority Entrepreneurs, Islamic Banking and Finance as catalysts for building IndiaRBIs Perspective etc.Prominent speakers would include Adil Zainulbhai, President Quality Council of India (formerly McKinsey India chief); Mr. Ahmed R. Buhari, CEO, Coal & Oil Group LLC; Dr. Habil Khorakiwala, Chairman, Wockhardt Ltd; Mr. Irfan Razack,

    Chairman, Prestige Group, Bangalore; Mr. M. A. Yusufalli, Chairman, Lulu Group, Dubai; Mr. M. Rafeeq Ahmed, Chairman, Farida Group, Chennai; Mr. A. R. Rahman, Musician, Chennai; Dr. Yusuf K. Hamied, Chairman, Cipla Ltd; Irfan Abdul Razak Allana, Chairman, Allanasons; Dr. J. Sadakkadulla, Regional Chairman, RBI, for Punjan, Haryana, Himachal region; Gholamreza Ansari, Iranian

  • ISLAMIC VOICE, November 2015 2updateBibi Ayesha Milli Hospital

    Reopened

    The Hospital is committed to providing cost effective healthcare

    and is staffed with nearly 30 personnel.

    Anti-Socials Upload Scary Videos on Social Media

    Bid to Rouse Communal Passions

    By A Staff Writer

    Bhatkal: Anti-social elements in the coastal districts of Karnataka are upto new mischief every time. On Sunday, October 4, someone from among the communal elements uploaded a message on Whatsapp showing the corpse of a police personnel in the middle of a road following a traffic mishap in Bhatkal. The accompanying message informed the social media users that the corpse belonged to a cop who was crushed under the wheels while rescuing animals from a van being driven by a Muslim driver taking them for slaughter.The photo and the message created sensation in Bhatkal and surrounding places as the entire area has been under the throes of virulent and mischievous campaign being led by the Sangh Parivar outfits for several years. They had been fanning hatred against minority communities and other marginalized groups and accusing them of engaging in cow slaughter, love jihad, desecration of others places of worship and all such activities without any evidence. As the messages and news spread,

    it was bound to create sensation and calls began to pour in the office Sahil Online, a news portal in Bhatkal which had been in the forefront of providing credible news and information from the small and otherwise peaceful town.Several reporters from newspapers in Udupi and Mangaluru also contacted the Sahil office for confirmation of the report and expressed surprise as to how such calumnious information and inciting photographs could be circulated on social media. The first call came from a Udupi based TV

    channel indicating that the source of mischief was located in the town.It was later revealed that the video clip had been transposed from a Hindi newspaper website in Uttar Pradeshs Saharanpur town to the social media with inflammatory information added locally. Undoubtedly, the message was clearly aimed at inflaming religious passions and provoking violence. Later, Prashanth Naik, Circle Inspector of the Police, Bhatkal confirmed that someone

    had taken the picture from the Hindi newspaper website from Saharanpur and uploaded it on the whatsapp to stoke communal passion in the town. It may be noted that the police officer from UP had been killed in a traffic accident on September 21.The local Majlis Islah o Tanzeem which initially decided to register an FIR against attempt by an unknown element with the malicious attention to incite communal passions, had not done so till October 16. Its general secretary Althaf Kharuri told Islamic Voice over phone

    that the Majlis had verbally conveyed its concern to the Deputy Commissioner of the North Canara district. It is the second instance of such an attempt being made by communal elements. Another inciting videoclip of a running bull on a roof had been uploaded three days before Eidul Azha with information that some elements were chasing a bull for slaughter, although the location showed in the video had no relevance to Bhatkal town. n

    Communal forces are upto new mischief over social media in coastal districts

    Rs. 1000 for the dialysis centre. Mesco President Abdul Qadir Sait donated Rs. 6 lakh for the renovation of the hospital. Dr. Matheen said the HBS Charitable Hospital in Bengaluru provides free dialysis to 50 patients everyday. He said several persons have come forward to donate money for the purpose, without revealing their names.The 30-bed Hospital was renovated and restructured at a cost of Rs. one crore. It was commissioned here in 1999

    when the Milli Council held its preliminary meeting. The hospital building was constructed on waqf property belonging to Hazrath Afzal Shah Makan on the road leading to Bengaluru. The Hospital is committed to providing cost effective healthcare and is staffed with nearly 30 personnel. n

    By A Staff Writer Mysuru: The Bibi Ayesha Hospital here was reopened here on October 11 after restructuring and change of management. Dr. Taha Matheen who is the managing trustee of the HBS Charitable Hospital will h e n c e f o r t h manage the hospital which u n d e r w e n t r e s t r u c t u r i n g during the recent months.Janab Mufti Ashraf Ali of Madrasa Sabeelur Rashad, Bengaluru inaugurated the renovated hospital. Mohamed Yousuff, Chairman, Karnataka Board of Awkafs announced funding free dialysis for 30 patients in the hospital. Karnataka Minister Srinivasa Prasad promised a lifelong monthly contribution of

    Bibi Ayesha Milli Hospital, Mysore

  • ISLAMIC VOICE, November 2015 3COMMuNItY INItIatIVe

    Young Girls Set Up A CollegeTwo girls from Kadaba village set up a degree college to allow hundreds of rural students fulfill

    dreams of higher education.

    Athoor villages in Puttur, about 100 kilometres east of Mangaluru. Not merely the rooms, they even shared concern over high dropout rate among high school students in their villages and lack of opportunities for education

    beyond Pre University stage. They decided to set up a tutorial institute for coaching in the village soon after they returned there after completion of studies.The idea bore fruit as a kind-hearted property owner from the village, Sundar Gowda offered them his building to start the proposed institute. He even waived off the rent for the initial three months. They began the work earnestly with word of mouth bringing a lot of students. The duo took up teaching with other women degree-holders

    also offering services voluntarily. Initially it was merely coaching students for preparation for SSLC and PUC exams and was named AMS College, joining initials of

    their mothers name. But soon they realized that the village held immense potential for a degree college as the nearest degree college was

    By Maqbool Ahmed Siraj

    Just imagine two fresh graduates from a college setting up a degree college of their own! It may sound incredible! But here is the duo running a full-

    fledged college in Kadaba village of South Canara district which will be sending its first batch of students for final year degree exams next May. The college which started out as a tutorial institute in 2012 for dropouts, has 180 students on its rolls today.Samira K.A. and Fouziya B.S. were hostel mates in Mangalore University in 2012 while pursuing their Masters. Samira was doing MA in Political Science while Fouziya was going MA in Kannada. They hailed from middle class families in Kadaba and

    Page 4

    in Uppinagadi, 30 kms away. Distance from the village kept the students, especially the girls, from pursuing their dream of higher

    Fouziya B.S. and Samira K.A.

  • ISLAMIC VOICE, November 2015 4SOCIetY & HuMaNItY Cataract Free Hyderabad

    ambassador to India; Dato Shaik Aqmal Allauddin, Managing director, ONE BPO.The United Economic Forum was set up in Chennai by Dr. B. S. Abdul Rahman in 1979 to bring together businessmen, industrialists and young entrepreneurs, professionals and intellectuals. It is currently headed by Mr. Ahmed A. R. Buhari, founder President of C&O Group, the second largest importer of coal

    in India. He has set up the 1,200 MW integrated power plant with a capital outlay of approximately US $ 1.3 billion. It will soon be expanding its capacity to 1,600 MW by investing another US $ 2 billion.Participation fee is Rs. 6,000 for non-member and Rs. 5,000 for members. More details can be had from www.unitedeconomicforum.org or Ph: 044-28270104 / 204. n

    UEF Trade Summit ...Page 1

    Page 3 Young Girls College ...education. Though there were many who doubted their (Samira and Fouziyas) capacity to run the college, some of the village elders encouraged them to go ahead with their plan to set up a degree college. Lo and behold! The next June saw Aims Degree College opening its portals in Kadaba village. They could enroll ten students initially. Some effort resulted in even Mangalore University giving the college recognition.Subsequent years saw the trickle becoming a torrent. They named it Aims Degree College. It admits both boys and girls, Muslims and non-Muslims. Samira told Islamic Voice over phone that students from all communities are welcome. But medium of instructions is English, although the lecturers are directed to explain the concept in Kannada too. Most Muslim families belong to Beary community, for whom Beary language is the mother tongue but generally receive school education through Kannada medium.The Aims College currently offers BA and B.Com courses and provides coaching for SSLC and PUC. Samira has pulled in her

    sister Sajida too, who is pursuing her M.Sc from Karnataka State Open University after her B.Sc and MA courses.Samira, who is the Principal of the College, says several girls from poor families are not able to pay their tuition fee which has to be compensated from donations. With nine rooms, two office rooms and a library, Aims College employs 16 teachers, 12 of them being women. Samira informs that Aims First Grade College has applied for government land for constructing the college building but there are issues to be resolved before it is allotted.The young girls who are in their mid-20s, are confident that they would overcome all the hassles. They say they have risen from humble origin but have the capacity to offset this with their passion and drive.They can be contacted at Aims First Grade College, Kadaba, Puttur taluk, D.K. Dist., Karnataka, PIN: 574221, College Ph: 08251-260299, Samira K. A., Cell: 99005-49055, Fouziya B.S., Cell: 84968-97055. Email: aimskdb@gmail.com, website: www.aimskadaba.org n

    Hyderabad: Nabila Begum and Ghulam Dastagir, from the Indo-US Eye Hospital - run by the US based Indian Muslim Relief and Charities (IMRC), in collaboration with their sister organization, Sahayta Trust, are trained paramedics deeply concerned with improving the health of the poor suburbs of Hafiz Baba Nagar in the City of the Nizams.They are part of the team for the Hospital Based Community Eye Health Project whose goal is to improve eye health and conduct screenings for cataract, diabetes, and other health ailments. Here in Hafiz Baba Nagar, with a population of 1,45 ,000 people, 90% of the people live below the poverty line. Many have never been to a doctor and are unaware of the government health services they are eligible for.

    Health Campaign by Indian Muslim Relief and Charities (IMRC)

    Nabila Begum and Ghulam Dastagir are trained paramedics, deeply concerned

    with improving the health of the poor

    suburbs of Hafiz Baba Nagar in the City of

    Nizams.

    US based President of IMRC, Maqsood Quadri says, Poor people tend to have the least awareness of the ailments they might be suffering from and often they visit doctors only when it becomes very severe. With this

    community health project, we are trying to reach out to the poor and needy so that the disease, if any, is detected at the early stage itself.A team of 20 trained paramedics and volunteers, along with Nabila and Dastagir, have been going from door to door for over a year conducting surveys and collecting

    data on the current health condition of the community. They provide basic health education primarily on eye health, but also cover diabetes, chronic disease, maternal and child health, and immunizations. Their message is one of prevention and health awareness. The study also hopes to increase patient walk-in admission to the hospital by 20% annually and so the team makes appropriate referrals when needed and explains government programs both adults and children can apply for.Explaining the aim of the project, Telkar S. Baba, Project Manager of the Hospital Based Community Eye Health Project, informs, With an aim to make Hafiz Baba Nagar cataract free,

    our volunteers have already screened over 38,000 locals in the first phase, and in the second phase, from June, we are now following up with over 1000 patients detected with cataracts or other eye diseases. In the last year, 465 cataract surgeries were performed at the hospital.

    Due to financial hardships, many of the patients are unable to pay the expenses even at highly subsidised hospitals run by IMRC. The files of such cases are forwarded to IMRC and on a case to case basis, very needy patients are helped to further lessen the burden of medical expenses.Health Clinic in Hafiz Baba NagarHyderabad based Syed Aneesuddin, CEO of the Sahayata Trust, says that they are focusing on eyes for now, but with the annual health camps, they attempt to cover all other diseases as well. In the near future, he says he hopes to start a health clinic in Hafiz Baba Nagar so that local residents can have quality medical care at an affordable price.

    In 2014 alone, the Indo-US hospital treated over 8,000 patients. They screened over 19,000 people for eye diseases and performed 2,500 dialysis sessions.The Indian Muslim Relief & Charities (IMRC) is a US based non-profit organization which began in 1981 and helps run

    several programmes throughout the country, in partnership with over 100 organizations. It focuses on providing education, emergency relief, medical and legal aid, shelter and food for the needy. IMRC has been at the forefront of providing immediate relief to affected victims

    of the 2015 Nepal earthquake, 2014 Kashmir Floods, 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots, 2012 Assam riots, and other natural/man-made calamities. n

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  • ISLAMIC VOICE, November 2015 5Putin Opens Mosque in Moscow

    Moscow: Russian President Vladimir Putin inaugurated Moscows new mosque on Eid Kurban Bairam, the Russian term for Eidul Azha which was celebrated on September 23 in

    the country. Among the invitees were President of Turkey, Tayib Erdogan and Palestinan President, Mahmood Abbas. The mosque has been constructed at the site of an old mosque which was torn down to construct a

    new. It took 10 years to build the mosque.Islam is the second largest religion in Russia, home to 23 million Muslims. The majority of them live in the country's North

    Caucasian republics of Daghestan, Bashakrstan, Chechnya-Ingushita, Tartarstan, and Kazan. Moscow has nearly two million Muslims. The $170m mosque was entirely funded by private donations. Putin, who has been fighting

    Muslim rebels in south Russia since coming to power in 1999, used his speech to emphasize the challenge of preventing Muslim radicalisation, praising the collaboration of the religious leaders of the country.

    "Muslim leaders of Russia are courageously using their authority to resist the extremist propaganda. I'd like to express huge respect to these people who are carrying out a really heroic work..." he said.The new mosque - built on the site of a smaller, more than 100-year-old mosque destroyed in 2011 - can accommodate 10,000 worshippers, but it is still one of only six mosques in the city.Calls from Muslim religious leaders to build more mosques have met with opposition from city officials and residents. "There are many Muslims and very few mosques in Moscow," said Russia's human rights movement veteran and Moscow Helsinki Group Chairman Lyudmila Alekseyeva. n

    Islamic Academy Opened in Tatarstan

    Bolgar (Tatarstan): An Islamic academy was opened in the UNESCO world heritage Site of the Bolghar historical and archaeological complex in the Tatarstan Republic of the Russian Federation, The Bolghar Islamic academy was opened at a ceremony in the presence of Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov, Turkey's Kazan Consul-General Turhan Dilma, Religious Affairs Secretary of Turkey's Moscow Embassy

    Dursun Aygn, Chief Mufti of Russia and Head of the Central Muslim Spiritual Directorate Talgat Tadzhuddin, President of Russia's Muftis Council Rawil Gaynutdin, Tatarstan's Mufti Kamil Samigullin and other religious leaders. The academy will offer six-months Quran courses. The Bolghar historical and archaeological complex went under restoration and was included in UNESCO's World Heritage Site List last year. n

    Malaysia Denounces Warped Ideology of ISISKuala Lumpur: Denouncing the warped ideology of the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), Prime Minister of Malaysia, Mohd Najib Bin Tun Haji Abdul Razak, urged the United Nations General Assembly to help spread awareness about the true nature of Islam, which is nothing like that entitythat usurps its name. We must acknowledge that we are not winning the propaganda war against the so-called Islamic State. Their twisted narrative is

    not being adequately countered to prevent many misguided people from joining or supporting from afar, he said. Speaking the truth

    about Islam is ever-more important, he said, stressing that non-State actors such as ISIL threaten to destroy sovereign States. It is sickening, and there could be no greater a slur on Islama religion of peace, moderation and

    justice. But these extremists cannot be defeated by traditional military means alone, he continued. "It

    Muslim Lawyers Fight Islamic Myths With Dialogue

    Debunking myths surrounding Islam and Muslims, Ugandan Muslim lawyers have started a new law center to advocate issues that affect the Muslim community and correct misconceptions wrongly associated with their faith. Christians fear to employ Muslims because they think they are a security threat, terrorists and extremists, Jaffer Senganda, founder and

    President of Muslim Centre for Justice and Law in Uganda, told OnIslam.net. These stereotypes

    need to be watered down because we now emphasize the good side of Muslims and Islam through dialogue. Senganda is one of the lawyers who started the Muslim Centre for Justice and Law along with

    other Muslim lawyers to advocate for issues that affect members of the Muslim community. This includes legal aid representation for Muslims without money and Muslim women. We train Sheikhs, Imams, students and community leaders on peace building, interfaith work and the dangers of domestic violence, Senganda said. (Extracted from (www.onislam.net)

    is more important than ever that we spread awareness of authentic Islam, most especially when conflicts persist and people lose hope. (Extracted from http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp)

    Why 86,000 Housemaids Ran Away From Saudi Arabia?

    Riyadh: Shoura Council members have called for an investigation into the reasons why 86,000 housemaids ran away from their employers in one year alone. This is a serious problem which has adverse effects to the local economy and security as well, the Shoura members said. Abdullah

    Al-Otaibi, vice president of the health committee, suggested the formation of a special committee to study the recruitment file and make recommendations to solve the problem. A local community leader said that they escape because of non-payment of salaries, lack of food and ill-treatment. n

  • ISLAMIC VOICE, November 2015 6

    Herbert, welcomed the delegates to the city and state during his address in the opening plenary session.I thank you all for being here, said Governor Herbert. As Governor of the great state of Utah, it is my pleasure to welcome you and the Parliament of the Worlds Religions - were honored to have you here.I see this as an example of what the world can do in coming together in peace and harmony, added the Governor. I appreciate the work of people of Faith in trying to make the world a better place; I appreciate the vision of the Parliament of the Worlds Religions.

    Restore World Kindness: Makkah ImamKindness is everything, said Shaikh Abdullah Humaid in his

    sermon. The Imam of the Grand Mosque of Makkah, Dr. Shaikh Salih Abdullah Humaid, called upon worshipers attending the Friday congregational prayers services held at the Parliament of the Worlds Religions in Salt Lake City, Utah, to incorporate kindness and ease in all matters. Our Prophet Muhammad, (Pbuh)

    states, Whenever good manners enter anything, it will beautify it and whenever it is removed from something, it will be made worse, the Imam reminded worshipers. It is kindness. It is

    controlling ones desires with patience and disciplining them away from violence.

    Special Activities and EventsMany special activities and events took place in and around the Salt Palace Convention Centre. An exhibit hall featured booths offering spiritual texts,

    original artwork, handcrafted jewelry and unique clothing items from around the world for purchase. Twelve faith spaces were set up in the convention center to provide attendees with an opportunity to meet and speak with people

    of different religious traditions. A shared central area between the rooms provides an interfaith space for conversations and connections.At the "Faith in Women" session,

    Page 1 Restoring World Kindness ...a major declaration was issued related to religious and spiritual sources of inspiration and empowerment for women, the transformative impact of women on their religious traditions, and the unique contribution of women to meeting global challenges.Primatologist and anthropologist, Jane Goodall spoke to attendees about uniting religious and spiritual communities to save the environment. More than 70 other speakers, including three Nobel Peace Laureates, covered issues from ending war to countering extremism with acts of compassion.Nearly 1,000 volunteers worked behind the scenes as attendees put their faiths activities on display. Buddhist monks worked on an intricate sand painting, as Sikhs served up to 7,000 meals at a time from their local langar a community kitchen that

    feeds people of all faiths free of charge.On the final day of the Parliament, the sand painting was brushed away to demonstrate the impermanence of this world and the Sikh langar donated thousands of pounds of unused food to a Catholic charity that feeds the poor in Utah.The Parliament is the oldest and most diverse interfaith gathering in the world, dating back to its first meeting in Chicago, Illinois on September, 11 1893. Since 1999, it has gathered people of faith together every five years.The board of trustees announced during the gathering that the Parliament would meet every two years now, instead of five.Chairman Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid closed this years session saying that participants had been telling him all week, This was the best Parliament ever. n

    Nobel Prize for Turk Scientist

    Aziz Sancar worked on how cell repair

    damaged DNA

    said in a 2005 profile published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA), but they valued the importance of education and did their best to ensure that all of their children would receive some education. He received his M.D. in 1969 from the Istanbul Medical School in Turkey. At the University of Texas at Dallas, he studied molecular biology, receiving a Master's degree in 1975 and a

    DNA repairs itself is central to the understanding of cancer and other human disease."I am of course honoured to get this recognition for all the work I've done over the years," said Sancar on October 7 in an interview with the Nobel foundation. "But I'm also proud for my family and for my native country and my adopted country, and especially for Turkey it's quite important."Sancar, 69, was born in Savur, a small town in Mardin Province, which borders Syria in southeastern Turkey. He was the seventh of eight children. My parents were both illiterate, he

    Aziz Sancar (pronounced Aziz Sanjar) is only the third Muslim to win a Nobel Prize in vital areas such as Physics, Chemistry and Medicine. There have been several who have been awarded Nobel Peace Prize, about which it is said political considerations override other requirements.Aziz Sancar is one among the three joint winners for Chemistry this year, the other two being Tomas Lindahl and Paul Modrich. The trio was awarded the Nobel for having mapped, at a molecular level, how cells repair damaged DNA and safeguard the genetic information. Mr Sancar is the first native of Turkey to win a Nobel Prize in science, and the 7th fellow of The World Academy of Sciences for the advancement of science in developing countries (TWAS) to win the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. The question of how

    PhD in 1977.He was elected to TWAS, the world's pre-eminent academy of sciences dedicated to the promotion of science in the South, in 1994. TWAS manages the worlds largest South-South PhD and post-doctoral research fellowship programme and now counts 16 Nobel laureates among its 1,134 members. It is now a programme unit within UNESCO, and was founded on the belief that developing nations, by building strength in science and engineering, could build the knowledge and skill to address such challenges as hunger, disease and poverty.Sancar's research has focused on how DNA can repair itself. He discovered enzymes which can recognize mutations caused by ultraviolet radiation and then cut the DNA to remove the damaged

    genetic code. His initial discoveries at Yale University focused on e. coli bacteria; more recently, at the University of North Carolina, he detailed the workings of this DNA repair in humans.Sharing the prize with Sancar are two chemists who have made pioneering discoveries in gene repair: Swedish native Tomas Lindahl of the Francis Crick Institute and Clare Hall Laboratory in Hertfordshire, UK, and American Paul Modrich of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Duke University School of Medicine, also in North Carolina.DNA is inherently unstable. Millions of times every day, cells reproduce; DNA is copied and shared with each new cell. But errors can occur in this process, or damage can occur from external sources such as UV radiation or carcinogenic substances. n(Source: Edward W. Lempinen, TWAS, with contribution from Gisela Isten and Sean Treacy)

    prOfIle

  • ISLAMIC VOICE, November 2015 7

    Ten Muslims Elected to Canadian ParliamentTORONTO : At least ten Muslim candidates won the election to the Canadian Parliament held on October 19 in which the Liberal Party won the majority. The Liberal Party candidates were elected from 185 districts. The Party is headed by Justin Trudeau. The cut off point for majority is 170. The Conservatives won from 97 districts followed by New Democrats who won 28 seats. The French party Bloc Quebecois won nine seats. All Muslim MPs have won on Liberal Party ticket.

    Here is a list of the Muslim MPs:

    Maryam MonsefMonsef, an Afghani-Canadian, became the first female MP in the history of Peterborough.The 30-year-old MP co-founded the Red Pashmina Campaign that raised over $150,000 for women and girls in Afghanistan. She is also the co-recipient of the Peterborough YMCA's Peace Medallion. She is the youngest ever MP at 30 years and possesses a degree from Trent University.

    Ahmed HusseinThe National President of the Canadian-Somali Congress was elected for the Liberals in York South-Weston, becoming the first Somali Canadian MP.Hussein, who earned his B.A

    (History) from York University and his Law Degree from the University of Ottawa, was recognized in 2014 by Toronto Star as one of ten individuals who have made substantial contributions to the community.The Somali-born lawyer and activist also emerged as a powerful community leader after co-founding the Regent Park C o m m u n i t y Council in 2002, as well as sourcing $500 million r e v i t a l i z a t i o n project of Regent Park. Omar AlghabraThe mechanical engineer MBA graduate was elected for the Liberals in Mississauga Centre.Serving as the Member of Parliament for Mississaug-Erindale from 2006 to 2008, Alghabra offered his constituents a strong voice on both local and national issues like the Liberal Critic for Natural Resources, as well as Citizenship and Immigration.Currently, the Muslim MP is a distinguished visiting fellow at the Faculty of Engineering and Architectural Science at Ryerson University. Iqra KhalidThe Liberal MP won a hard-fought battle to unseat Conservative incumbent.Khalid, a young Pakistani-Canadian woman, graduated from York University in 2007, with a

    double major in Criminology and Professional Writing.The legal professional in the City of Mississauga has held numerous volunteer positions including President of the Pakistani Student Association, Media Relations Ambassador for the York University Student

    Alumni, Communication Coordinator for the Council for the Advancement of Muslim Professionals, and a Director on the Board for Breaking Free Foundation. Majid JowhariThe Muslim businessman

    was elected for the Liberals in Richmond Hill, becoming the countrys first Iranian-Canadian MP.Jowhari holds a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering from Ryerson University, and an MBA from York Universitys Schulich School of Business. Yasmin RatansiRatansi, who served Don Valley East in the House of Commons from 2004 to 2011, was elected for the Liberals in the same

    riding.Being an MP for Don Valley East, she served in the House of Commons as Chair of G o v e r n m e n t

    Operations, Chair of the Standing Committee on the Status of Women and Deputy Whip and Vice Chair of Procedures and

    House Affairs.

    Arif ViraniThe Muslim rights activist was elected for the Liberal in Parkdale-High Park.Being fluent in English, French, and Hindi, Arif has worked as an analyst with the Canadian Human Rights Commission in Ottawa, and as an Assistant Trial Attorney prosecuting genocide at the UNs International Criminal Tribunal

    for Rwanda.Coming to Canada as an Ugandan Asian refugee, Arif earned a BA Honors in History and Political Science from McGill

    University, and completed his LL.B at the University of Toronto.

    Salma ZahidThe recipient of the Queens Diamond Jubilee Medal was elected for the Liberals in Scarborough Centre.Zahid, a Pakistani-Canadian mother of two, is senior advisor to the Government of Ontario in numerous portfolios ranging from Health and Long Term Care, Infrastructure, Citizenship and Immigration, and Tourism to Culture and Sports.She holds a Masters in Educational

    M an ag emen t a n d Administration from the U n i v e r s i t y of Londons Institute of Education, and

    an MBA from Quaid e Azam University in Pakistan. Ali EhsassiEhsassi, an active member of the Liberal Party for several decades, was elected for the Liberals in Willowdale.Holding a BA from the University of Toronto and a Masters of

    Science from the London School of E c o n o m i c s , Ehsassi is a lawyer by trade.He also

    obtained his LL.B. from Osgoode Hall Law School, and his LL.M. at Georgetown University Law Center. Marwan Tabbara,

    The Lebanese-Canadian p o l i t i c i a n was elected for the Liberal in K i t c h e n e r S o u t h Hespeler.The Liberal party v o l u n t e e r earned a BA from the University

    of Guelph.

    T a b b a r a currently holds two jobs, a field supervisor for Q2 m a n a g e m e n t and supervising

    production operations of Pepsico food manufacturing facility. n

    MuSlIMS IN tHe weSt

    Creating History

  • ISLAMIC VOICE, November 2015 8bOOk reVIew

    Page 9

    A Skewed Analysis of Islamophobia

    This book purports to explore the roots and manifestations of Islamophobia-prejudicial views about Islam and negative stereotypical images of Muslims that

    are now fairly widespread across the world.

    Islamophobia and the Politics of EmpireAuthor: Deepa KumarPublisher: Haymarket Books, Chicago (www.haymarketbooks.org)Pages: 238ISBN: 978-1-60846-211-7

    By a Staff Writer

    Author Deepa Kumar, an academic of Indian origin based in the USA, adopts a Marxian approach to the issue of Islamophobia, seeing it as solely a political construct. She claimssimplisticallythat negative views of Muslims and Islam are a mythical creation conjured out of the needs of empire, and primarily a tool of the elite in various societies. Much of the book is devoted to an account of lurid images about Muslims and Islam in Europe, from early medieval times onwards. Kumar argues that the Church and European ruling elites regularly marshaled images of Islam and Muslims as the enemy in order to advance their political ambitions. With the onset of European colonialism in Asia and Africa, these views were pressed into service in order to seek to legitimize the conquest of Muslim-inhabited lands. Such views, Kumar contends, are still widespread even today and are deployed in much the same way and for much the same political purposes.This book is heavy on fault-finding but remarkably thin when it comes to offering practical solutions. It is definitely true that Islamophobia is a huge problem, which has come to affect even ordinary Muslims who are seeking simply to carry on quietly with their lives. But, that said, what, one must ask, is the point of simply narrating a long list of woes and accusationswhich is what almost the whole of this book amounts toand then offering almost nothing by way of practical solutions?Several chapters of the bookspread out over almost 200 pagesdeal with Kumars understanding of the roots of Islamophobia and with various manifestations of it in the West, past and present, while, in contrast, only a single chapterand that, too, a mere seven pages long, titled Fighting Islamophobiapurports to deal with solving Islamophobia. And even here,

    Kumar does little justice to what this slim chapter claims to set out to do. The only solution that Kumar suggests here to counter Islamophobia is street marches and demonstrations of Muslims along with progressives, chanting slogans against anti-Muslim discrimination.But is this any solution at all? To my mind, it seems an entirely counter-productive recipe, guaranteed to further demonize and marginalize Muslims and exacerbate opposition to them. Surely, condemning others is no way to win their hearts and minds! Kumars failure to suggest sensible and practical steps to overcome Islamophobia could be understood, in part, as a result of her Marxian framework. Naively seeing Islamophobia as simply a result of the machinations of elites in certain non-Muslim countries, Kumar ignores the fact, too, that widely-held negative views about Islam and Muslims have much to do with fairly common behavior and attitudes at an everyday

    level of a significant number of Muslims, as well as terrorism in the name of Islam, that has now become a major threat at the global level. Muslim communal supremacism, widespread negative views among many Muslims about people of other faiths, gender injustice in many Muslim communities, violent sectarian conflicts and mistreatment of religious minorities in a number of Muslim-dominated countries, the pathetic human rights records of many Muslim states, memories of historical wrongs committed by some Muslim rulers, the absurd fatwas issued by some self-styled champions of Islam,

    and, of course, the widespread terrorism in the name of Islam, to name just a few factors, definitely impact on non-Muslims understandings of Islam and those who claim to be its adherents. It is, then, not just some wily Western elites who are responsible for Islamophobia, unlike what Kumar seems to suggest. A great share of the blame for Islamophobia goes to Muslims themselves, especially

    some of their political and religious leaders.This is something that Kumar, in her penchant to blame the West for almost entirely for Islamophobia, completely fails to recognize. In doing so, however, she does

    Muslims no favour at all. Your best friend is your best critic. If you truly care for someone and seek his welfare, you will not hesitate to point out his faultsfaults that he may not be aware of or which he, in his ignorance or pride, might even have come to regard as virtues. Kumar would have done Muslims a great service if instead of blaming others for the poor image that they have of Islam and Muslims, she had indicated to Muslims, as a sympathetic outsider, where they have gone wrong and how they can improve themselves and the image they give out to others. Sadly, despite what seem to be her

    Islamophobia can be overcome only by Muslims being givers. By becoming an asset for others.

    By following the path of the prophets. By loving and serving others. By being witnesses to God,

    by inviting others to Him and by reminding them that we must all return one day to Him.

    laudable intentions, she does nothing of the sort.It takes two hands to clap, as the saying goes. If vast numbers of non-Muslims do have negative views about Islam and Muslims, it is completely unfair to blame them alone for this, as Kumar seems to. To ignore the role of a significant number of Muslims themselves in

    generating these views, through their attitudes and behavior, is hardly just. Justice demands that Muslims recognize their own central role, through their attitudes and behavior (often a result of gross misinterpretations of Islam) in fomenting Islamophobia. Further, if many

    non-Muslims think of Muslims in negative terms, it is also a fact that significant numbers of Muslims think about people of other faiths in quite the same way, as the ravings of radical Islamist ideologues as well as some conservative ulema easily reveal. These prejudicial views reinforce each other and cannot be understood in isolation from each other. This is something that Kumar is disappointingly silent on.Blaming others for the negative views they have of Islam and Muslims, as Kumar does, may sound progressive to some ears and may warm some Muslim hearts, but it does Muslims no good at all. It only further reinforces the tendency, already deeply-rooted among many Muslims, to accuse others for their own failings, thereby seeking to obviate the need for them to look within and engage in reforming themselves. Introspection, rather than blaming others for ones woes, is the only way to change your lifethis rule applies as much to individuals as to entire communities. The conditions of people can only change if they change themselves. As the Quran (13:11) tells us: God does not

    change the condition of a people's lot, unless they change what is in their hearts.Kumar completely misses out the role of certain very narrow, intolerant and rigid (mis-)interpretations of Islam in influencing the behavior of their adherents, and, in turn, the role of this behavior in shaping non-Muslims perceptions of Islam and Muslims and thereby producing and reinforcing Islamophobia. It is a pity that Kumar completely ignores all of this. As a result of her skewed analysis, she completely ignores the need for the very vital task that Muslims must undertake of reforming themselves and of articulating authentic understandings of Islam that reflect its true spirit and that challenge the claims of the hate-driven discourses of the likes of Al-Qaeda, the ISIS and the Taliban. Without this, Islamophobia can never be overcome.Whatever misfortune befalls you is of your own doing, the Quran (42:30) says. Some such challenges that we are made to confront provide occasions for us to turn to God for help and thereby strengthen our faith and develop or deepen our trust in Him. They also help us grow in patience, a great spiritual virtue. If Kumars Marxism/ self-styled progressivism impels her to respond to Islamophobia by fighting (as she puts it) it, such as by organizing slogan-shouting street demonstrations, an Islamic spiritual response to this predicament might be completely different. Recognizing that Islamophobia is, to a great extent, a result of the Muslims own failings and misdeeds, it may seek to exhort Muslims to respond to others hostility, not by protesting against them but, rather, by reaching out to them in love and kindness and a genuine concern for their welfare, in this world and in the next, and in that way changing themselves as well as others' attitudes towards them and winning the latters hearts. The following Quranic verse (25:63) contains valuable guidance for Muslims in how they should respond to the challenge of Islamophobia:The true servants of the Gracious

  • ISLAMIC VOICE, November 2015 9bOOk reVIew

    Page 8

    Islamophobia ...One are those who walk upon the earth with humility and when they are addressed by the ignorant ones, their response is, PeaceThis verse provides a beautiful description of who the true servants of God are. They are people who are humble and who, when addressed by the ignorant, respond by wishing them peace. Can one think of any better way to respond to anti-Muslim hate than this? What more effective way to win the love of someone who hates you than to wish that he be at peace? Contrast these humble people who respond to the ignorant by wishing them

    peace with angry slogan-raising demonstrators, hollering against their detractors. What a stark contrast!You cannot force someone to like or respect you. You cannot compel people who are inimical to you to become your friendscertainly not by organizing protest marches and progressive sloganeering, as Kumar advises. Only the quiet, gentle, non-aggressive non-revolutionary, wishy-washy way of love and service can workand it does! It works wonders! You wont believe it unless your try it out yourself.

    Second Coming of JesusA Controversial Muslim point of ViewBy B. F. H. R. BijliNo. 3 Dr. Palpu road, Nalmukku, Pettah, Trivandrum-695024Baba.bijli@gmail.com, Ph: 974798109879 pages, Price: Rs. 100

    Countering a Popular Myth

    Reviewed by Maqbool Ahmed Siraj

    This tiny book by Kerala based author is an attempt to debunk the fallacy of belief about Jesus (Prophet Isa, peace be upon him) second coming. Generally Muslims believe that Jesus was lifted to the havens by Allah, is still alive and would be sent down to earth by God to complete his given tenure of life and that he would be professing Islam and would follow the remaining part of his life like Muslims do. The author describes all these presumptuous and without any basis as far as the Quran is concerned.

    However, Hadith does talk about Jesus second coming. But the accounts clearly run counter to the Quranic precepts and do not satisfy the rational standards of Islamic view of worldly life. Bijli builds his narrative on the Quranic verse that says that They neither slew him, nor crucified him, but it appeared so unto them; and lo! Those who disagreed concerning it are in doubt there of; they have no knowledge thereof save pursuit of conjecture; they slew him not for certain. (4:158). A second verse emphasizing death of Jesus appears in surah Al-Imraan (verse 55) which says: Lo! God said: O Jesus! Verily I shall cause thee to die, and shall

    exalt thee unto me, and cleanse thee of those who are bent on denying the truth; and I shall place those who follow thee above those who are bent on denying the truth, unto the day of

    resurrection. In the end unto Me you all must return, and I shall judge between you with regard to all on which you were wont to

    differ. He also clears the mist around the Quranic word rafiuka (will raise you) which has been generally taken as referring to Jesus ascension to Allah. The verb rafaa has been used to denote elevating ones stature, raising one in popular estimation and granting exalted status, rather physical lifting of Jesus up to heavens. The Quran uses

    the same verb with reference to Prophet Idris (peace be upon him), but no one has attributed this to his physical ascension.

    Theorists of Jesus second coming also seek support from yet another verse (sura Zukhraf, verse 61) which says: And lo! Verily there is knowledge of the Hour. So doubt ye not concerning it, but follow Me. This is the right path. The author opines that Muslim interpreters of the Quran have generally been guided by the mistaken notions generated by the Hadith. If indeed the

    second coming will be the sign of the Hour (the day of Judgment), why should Quran emphatically say that it will be sudden. So it looks odd that Jesus will come before this, will marry, raise a family, will embrace Islam and then die. If indeed he (Jesus) would come for this long a period and inhabit the earth, how one explains the suddenness (in Quranic words the Qiyamat would happen within the span of blinking of the eye) of its occurrence. Furthermore, there is no need for Jesus to profess Shahadah once again as he himself was a duly accredited Prophet of God and he preached the same Islam (i.e., submission of God) to the People. So where is the necessity of him professing the deen of Prophet Muhammad? Though the author has negotiated the subject with success, the book is poorly edited. Editing tools have been thoughtlessly used and leave the reader confused. Arabic terms have often been italicized as well as rendered in bold fonts and have been occasionally been underlined too. There is no standard format for references which have been provided in brackets at some places while in others they are all caps. n

    heorists of Jesus second coming also seek sup-port from yet another verse (sura Zukhraf, verse 61) which says: And lo! Verily there is knowl-edge of the Hour. So doubt ye not concerning it,

    but follow Me.

    The only way that Islamophobia can be overcome (and not fought against, as Kumar would have it) is by Muslims themselves changing their own attitudes and behaviorinstead of protesting against others for their attitudes and behavior towards them and demanding that they change these. Islamophobia can be overcome only by Muslims being givers. By becoming an asset for others. By following the path of the prophets. By loving and serving others. By being witnesses to God, by inviting others to Him and by reminding them that we must all return one day to Him. n

  • ISLAMIC VOICE, November 2015 10Wherever You Go, Be the Peace Maker

    A Letter to My Hindu Brothers

    No Scope for Intolerance Intolerance is reaching new heights across the country. An innocent man was killed in Bishara village of Uttar Pradesh merely on suspicion of eating and storing beef. Three writers have paid with their lives for their rationalist writings. Black paint was poured on journalist and intellectual Sudheendra Kulkarni in Mumbai for hosting former Pakistan foreign minister, Khursheed Ahmad Kasuri at the launch of the latters book. Ink was thrown on Pakistani cricket umpire Aleem Dar forcing the International Cricket Council to withdraw him from umpiring duties in the India-South Africa series. Pakistani lyricist Ghulam Ali is denied permission to perform in Mumbai. Two children of a Dalit family were burnt alive in Haryana. A Muslim man was killed in Mumbai by his workshop colleagues accusing him of consuming beef during Bakrid. A Union Minister makes a totally insensitive remark on the Haryana incident. An MLA is beaten up within the Assembly premises in Srinagar. Unruly elements jump onto the stage in Gurgaon and raise slogans, while a Pakistani troupe is enacting a play. A Dalit writer was assaulted in Davangere for his writings that protested against caste-based oppression.Never had the country witnessed such outrageous incidents and insensitive statements within such a short span of time. While extremist are known to harbor prejudices of the vilest kind, they were not bold and free enough to carry out what is essentially part of their conviction. They are now indulging in hate-mongering and targeting free thinkers with impunity.Freedom of expression is central to any democracy. Difference of opinion and dissent must be tolerated, for it is dissent that enables people to test one or the other form of ideas, visions and opinions. Remove dissent, the democracies would be as dreary and drab as the Petromonarchies of the Gulf, despotic Muslim states and authoritarian regimes elsewhere. India rejected that trajectory which Pakistan chose for itself as the two nation-states began their post-Independence journey. Islamic Pakistan entered the blind alley, what with some Muslim sects being excommunicated; intellectuals driven away to the West; former Presidents and Prime Ministers and Opposition leaders forced into self-exile; minorities persecuted on false charges of blasphemy; suicide bombers blowing up themselves and the congregants in mosques of rival sects; and, gun-toting Talibans targeting Malalas and Bhattis. Pakistan has undergone enough of torment to warn us against treading the path of extremism.India must thank its founding fathers for having given its diverse people a polity that tolerates even the intolerant ideologies and their practitioners. Rival ideologies have competed with each other and been accepted and rejected at the altar of elections and governance. Process of reform has had a benign face in India. There have been fewer attempts at banning, abolitions and eliminations. Reforms had its advocates as well as opponents. But atmosphere of free debates has largely obviated the scope for militias, mafias and vigilantes. Neither the niqabs nor the minarets have suffered bans. Caste monopolies operate, notwithstanding the Constitutional discouragement, official disapproval and political abhorrence. Gender discriminations are known to exist among communities, but are never forcibly erased. Results are there for everyone to see. The country has emerged as a regional power. Several new states have emerged on the map satisfying regional identities. Backward castes rule the roost in certain states. Doughty women continue to dominate parties and politics in several states. Economy is upswing with growth rate threatening to cross the eight per cent bar. Thanks to the Sachar Report, Muslims are joining the mainstream. Media screams when an Ikhlaq Saifi is killed or a Zeeshan Ali is discriminated against in matters of recruitment. Every single idea, ideal, ideology and ideologue finds scope for acceptance among people. Useful and honest ones inspire; obscurantist and orthodox are trashed; mediocre and nincompoops fall by the wayside and tested and tried ones are rejected when they refuse to renew and realign with new realities.Writings on the wall for our leaders should be clear. They must resist the temptation to kowtow to the dictates of the extremist fringe. Indias socio-historical realities should guide our way forward. The nation has never allowed extremists to occupy the centre stage of power. Liberal humanism should be the guiding philosophy of the State with individuals free to prescribe and proscribe dos and donts as per the dictates of the tenets of their faiths. n

    GlObe talk

    What a joy it was to see the God-given human balance restored at the Parliament of World's Religions, held in USA in October 2015. Over 50% of the participants were women, and nearly 30% of attendees were youth.

    By Mike Ghouse

    Congratulations to the Chairman, Trustees, Board members, staff, volunteers, presenters and attendees of the Parliament of World's Religions! The successful event was held in Salt Lake City, USA, from October 15 through October 19, 2015. Each day started at 7 AM and ended at about 11:30 PM, every minute was counted in the five days of learning and sharing. Euphoric is the best word to describe the feeling one had every moment of the day. Where else can you learn so much about a religion, particularly other's religion? I sincerely hope this was a myth-busting event. Nearly 10,000 people representing over 200 faith traditions attended the event. Our special thanks to the Sikh community for the langar (serving lunch) to the attendees for five days in a row. I met and talked with the people who drove the 18 wheeler from California loaded with food supplies and a whole team of people descended into Salt Lake City and prepared the food along with the volunteers at the Sikh Gurdwara. What a joy it was to see the God-given human balance restored at the event! Over 50% of the participants were women, and nearly 30% of attendees were youth and 60% of the comperes were women again. Finally, the right thing has happened! Now, humanity can hope for a better world with women's merciful and kind hearts overlooking the affairs of religion.The 5,200 some members who attended the packed house went home knowing that happiness is in being one, and being with every one without bias. Every faith tradition presented its prayers and songs, what a beautiful thing it was to witness! Imagine the kind of beautiful future those kids will haveknowing and respecting each other as one day when they are adults, they will work, eat, play, travel and marry each other with least conflicts. It was one of the most uplifting programs I have attended; it gave a lot of hope to the people who

    are concerned about the ongoing conflicts, every one, I believe walked out hopeful knowing fully well that the 10,000 who attended will carry the good word to all corners of the world. As a Muslim and a pluralist, I believe, if we can learn to respect the otherness of others and accept the God-given uniqueness of each one of the 7 billion of us, then conflicts fade and solutions emerge. So what is that we need to do?First thing first, go to: http://www.parliamentofreligions.org/ and become a member of the Parliament of Religions. Second thing is to reiterate your own commitment to do good, including, but not limited to speaking up against injustice, and to appropriately interrupt spreading of misunderstandings about any one.Third, gather up the courage to say, My faith is beautiful to me, as yours is beautiful to you, and I will not claim that my faith is superior to any, because it amounts to arrogance, which goes against the very teachings of my (everyone's) faith to be humble. Arrogance gives birth to conflicts, and humility builds bridges and harmony among people." Peace and harmony are the ultimate goal of all religions. Are you with me? Wherever you go, be the peace maker. Ask yourselves, are my words mitigating the conflicts and nurturing goodwill? By the way, the action of "mitigating conflicts and nurturing goodwill" can be found in all religious traditions. Remember, my peace and security hinges on the peace and security of others around me, if they are not secure, I won't be either. It is in my interest to work for peace. The future of societies rests on our attitudes of pluralism, respecting the otherness of others and accepting the God-given uniqueness of each one of us.(The writer is a social scientist, thinker, writer and a speaker on Pluralism, Interfaith, Islam, politics, human rights, foreign policy and building cohesive societies)

    Dear Friends,I read in Islamic Voice (October 2015 issue) about your brotherhood with Muslims. Due to the shortage of the space for Bakrid prayers in the mosque, the Muslims in Mumbai were worried. And you our dear brothers allowed the prayers in your Ganesha Pandal, which was a very touching gesture and which has inspired many Muslims across India a lot and also made us feel proud of us being Indians, where people are not divided by religions. What you did was not an ordinary thing. It needed a big and clean heart. It is also so good that you got to know the importance of the Eid prayers, and let the Muslims to offer it in your Pandal. My respect for my Hindu brothers has increased by hundreds and thousands of times higher after your very noble gesture. A special thanks to all Hindu brothers and sisters for allowing prayers in your Pandal.Rasheedur Rahman Shihabrasheedurrahmanshihab@gmail.com

    letterS

  • ISLAMIC VOICE, November 2015 11Vatican Christians and Muslims Bond

    Through CricketRome: In a first for world sport, the Vatican cricket team took on an all-Muslim side from England last fortnight, with the home squad clinching narrow win in the final minutes. "It is not about who wins or loses," priest Eamonn O'Higgins, manager of the Vatican team told AFP, after leading the enthusiastic players in a prayer and rousing hymn on the bus journey to the match. "It is about building bridges between different faiths through cricket," he said as they arrived at Rome's Capanelle cricket

    ground. The Muslim Mount CC team landed in the Italian capital and were treated to a tour of St. Peter's Basilica and the Vatican Museums prior to the match in hot Roman sunshine. The two teams were also set to dine together and attend mass at the Vatican on Sunday. "The hospitality has been outstanding and it is such a honour to be here," said Hanif Mayet, Mount CC's chair. He founded the club in 1976 after claims of racism in Yorkshire in northern England made, joining an all-white cricket club an almost

    impossible task. Desperate to play, Mayet put together a team with friends. French said he hoped the Vatican team would come for a return match next year, and if all goes well, it could take place at Yorkshire's home ground of Headingley. John McCarthy, Australian Ambassador to the Vatican and founder of the Vatican Cricket club, said the game met "all my expectations and all my hopes about what could be done through interfaith and ecumenical sports associations of this sort". n

    California Mosque Connects Sunnis, Shiites

    California: Building bridges between American Sunnis and Shiites, a California mosque is using art, music and celebrations to bring members of the Muslim community together, bridging a deep void between the two sects. "I think one missing thing, right now, today, is beauty really paying attention to the beauty of Islam, and its rich history," California mosque leader Ali Sheikh ul Islami said. Sheikh ul Islami, leader of the Islamic Cultural Center of Northern California (ICCNC), was talking about activities being held by his mosque to break down

    divisions between Sunnis and Shiites. In its majestic building, ICCNC tries to be a model of harmony between the two sects by hosting plays, painting and ceramics classes. Being not like an average mosque, white, black and Asian people, some in embroidered green Sufi robes, others in black Shiite turbans or flowing white Arab jalabeyas, pack ICCNC. The mosque has been favourable for many visitors, where they found rare harmony between Sunnis and Shiites. n(Extracted from www.onislam.net)

    German Mosques Celebrate Open DayCologne: Inviting non-Muslim neighbors to have a closer look at Islam, German Muslims opened the doors of their mosques, driven by hope to offer them a true image of Islam as well as to eliminate prejudices spread by media. The Muslim Coordination Council in Cologne said the open house events across the country focused on young Muslims in Germany and highlighted their stories. Thousands of visitors attended events held at hundreds of mosques in Germany last month. Germany's Muslim Coordination Council, a platform bringing together the four largest Muslim organizations in the country, expressed hope that

    with the Open mosque day they will be able to present to German society the various aspects of Muslim community life and answer questions on Islam. The Muslim Coordination Council is

    made up of a number of Muslim organizations across Germany, including the Turkish-Islamic Union of Religious Affairs (DITIB), the Union of Islamic

    Dutch Muslim Mayor Gives Refugees Hope

    Coming to Netherlands as a refugee himself, Rotterdam's first Muslim mayor is offering asylum-seekers shelter and hope, as the refugees influx continues to spark tensions in other parts of Europe. "I don't have a recipe. I have my own experiences, and I have my policy in my city," Ahmed Aboutaleb, mayor of Rotterdam since 2009, said. Born in Beni Sidel in Morocco in 1961, Aboutaleb moved to the Netherlands at the age of 15. Aboutaleb first took the helm of Europe's largest port in January

    2009, a sea-change in a city which once led a national anti-immigrant drive. With the increasing influx of refugees into Europe, the Netherlands is expected to host up to 60,000 refugees by the end of the year as an estimated 3,000 people arrive every week. "I have experienced what it is to go to bed without food,walking without shoes, I know how that feels. Living outside and it's cold and you didn't have a proper coat, I know how that is," he said. (Extracted from www.onislam.net/english/news)

    Cultural Centers, the Islamic Council, and the Central Council of Muslims. It organizes the annual open house events on October 3 to dispel common myths held against Islam. Germany has Europe's

    second-biggest Muslim population after France, and Islam comes third in Germany after Protestant and Catholic Christianity. It has between 3.8 and 4.3 million Muslims, making up some 5 percent of the total 82 million population, according to government-

    commissioned studies. n[Extracted from (www.onislam.net/english/news/europe)

    Interfaith Leaders Support Mosques at ISNA Headquarters

    Plainfield: (USA) Rejecting hate message of anti-Muslim protesters, interfaith leaders and members of the Shoulder to Shoulder campaign joined a Friday service held at the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) Headquarters in Plainfield, USA, last month, showing their support and solidarity after threat of armed protests. "We are overwhelmed by the love and support of our interfaith friends who took the time out of their day to stand by our sides," ISNA Secretary General, Hazem Bata said in a statement sent to OnIslam.net. Bata was referring to the anti-Muslim Global Rally for Humanity, scheduled for October 9th and 10th in more than 20

    cities across the US. Responding to the calls of hate groups, ISNA urged Muslims to engage with their wider society, building coalitions and relationships. Bata cited the example of the Prophet's treatment of people, including enemies, with kindness,

    and how this changed one individual from an enemy of Islam to one of its great leaders. Thankfully these protests do not represent a majority of the American public, however they do represent a national rhetoric of anti-Muslim bigotry that has grown pernicious and widespread," Catherine Orsborn, campaign director of Shoulder to Shoulder,

    said in a statement published on the campaign's website. Shoulder to Shoulder is a coalition of 31 religious denominations and organizations committed to ending anti-Muslim sentiment in the United States.[Extracted from: (www.onislam.net

    Hijab Brought Me Serenity: German Actress

    Playing the role of a Muslim student in her latest film, a young German actress has revealed that she felt a strange serenity when she put on Hijab for the first time. "When I put on my headscarf and saw only my pure face, I had initially a strange feeling," Ava Celik said. "It may have been due to the preparation for the role, because when I wore the costume, I went upright at once and had an unusual serenity. "On the road again, I saw turns and looks at me, for two or

    three times. But I could not really interpret the looks," she added. Celik, a 25-year-old young German actress, is playing the role of Sevda, a young Muslim high school student in Berlin who dons a hijab in the film produced by German official TV channel, ZDF. She plays an intelligent Muslim who has liberal, non-religious parents. This

    girl opted voluntarily for life as a devout follower of Islam. The movie tackles integration in the German community, portraying Muslim women as not the suppressed sections of society.(Extracted from www.onislam.net)

  • ISLAMIC VOICE, November 2015 12Only OBC Candidates to Fill OBC Quota Positions

    Legislature Committee Recommends Strict

    Monitoring of Compliance with reservation quota

    By A Staff Writer

    Bengaluru: The State Government has accepted the recommendation that position reserved for OBC quota should not be filled by candidates from other communities or from members of other reserved categories. The recommendation was made by a Legislatures Committee for Welfare for Backward Communities and the Minorities. The 20-member Committee was headed by Mr. Tanveer Sait, MLA. The committee had five members from the BJP, nine from the JDS, and two each from among the Congress and Independents. The Committee recommended that if suitable candidates were not available from the reserved category of OBC for certain vacancies, the position will be kept vacant and fresh applications will be called for every six

    months. The Committee found that several positions reserved for OBC were filled by members of other communities during the last 20 years. It also detected gross irregularities in recruitment of teachers in 32 universities and the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation in the State. Under the five recommendations accepted, a monitoring cell would be constituted in every department to keep any eye over compliance with reservation quota and to centralize the recruitment in each university.It was also pointed out that the dominant communities were manipulating reservation quota

    due to roster system. For instance, the members of dominant communities in recruitment committees would assign lecturers vacancies for departments like Telugu, Tamil, Music, Sanskrit etc for Muslims under IIB category under which the community was eligible for four per cent positions. This would be done knowing fully well that no such candidates would be forthcoming from among the Muslims. Hence the vacancies would be placed for general category candidates in the next round of recruitments. This led to complete denial of quota benefits to the communities concerned. n

    NCPUL shouldnt Advertise in English Dailies

    New Delhi: Dr. Athar Farooqui, Secretary General of the Anjuman Taraqqi e Urdu Hind has pleaded for stopping Government advertisement to the English dailies with immediate effect. In an appeal issued to the Union Human Resources Development Minister, Farooqui said issuing advertisement by the National Council for Promotion of

    Urdu Language to the English newspaper was an exercise in futility as these dailies do not devote space to news pertaining to activities pertaining to vernacular languages. He said the amount spent on advertisement in English dailies far exceeded the money allocated for advertising in Urdu newspaper which better deserved the Government assistance. n

    Jamea to Set Up Law, B.Ed Colleges

    Jaipur: A degree college, a law college and a B.Ed college will be set up here by the Jameatul Hedaya. This was announced by Maulana Fazlur Raheem Mujaddidi while speaking at the Annual Achievement Award ceremony of the Imam Rabbani Senior Secondary School on October 19. Maulana Fazlur Raheem who presides over the Jameatul Hedaya, which combines Islamic curriculum with modern and technical courses, said Muslims have benefitted from the Union Governments schemes like scholarships for Minority communities in considerable measures. He said, so far scholarships to the tune of Rs. 7,000 crores have been disbursed by way of scholarships to students from these communities during

    the eleventh and twelfth Five-Year Plans. The Jameatul Hedaya was founded by Maulana Shah Abdur Raheem Mujaddidi in 1976 in the outskirts of Jaipur. The Rabbani Senior

    Secondary School was started in 1996. The group set up the Crescent Academy for coaching for civil services exam in Aligarh in 2002. Around 125 boys and girls have come out successful in civil services exam of the state as well as Central Services and State Judicial Services since then. n

    Sir Syed Ahmed Khan Research Centre

    Bengaluru: Karnataka Government has set up the Sir Syed Ahmed Khan Studies and Research Centre in the city in keeping with the proposal presented in the State budget early this year. Mr. Sabir Ahmed Mulla, a KAS officer, has been appointed its assistant director, according to a circular from the Ministry of Minority Welfare

    and Waqf. Director, Directorate of Minorities Welfare will be the officiating director for the time being. The Centre would take up programmes like coaching for civil services exams, skill development, organizing seminars on higher education, technical education etc. (By A staff Writer)

    Minority Vidyasri SchemeBengaluru: The Directorate of Minorities of the Government of Karnataka has announced a stipend for food and accommodation for minority students. Under the scheme the students from Muslim, Christian, Jain, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsi communities will be offered a stipend of Rs. 1,500 per month for those who could not get accommodation in Backward Communities and Minorities (BCM) Hostels run by the Department. Last date

    for application is November 30, 2015. The stipend is permissible for 10 months in a year. The stipend would be given under the new Minority Vidyasri Scheme which has been launched this year. The applicants should be pursuing post-Matric course in a government or Private-aided or Unaided Colleges and enrolled for the year 2015-16. The application can be downloaded from the official website www.gokdom.kar.nic.in (By A Staff Writer)

  • ISLAMIC VOICE, November 2015 13

    Arsonists Selectively Targeted Muslim Businesses

    SpeCIal repOrt

    Mudhol Violence

    Use Loud Speakers Only When Required: Kerala Sunni Mahallu Federation

    A meeting convened in Bengaluru to hear the victims and a visiting delegation from Mudhol was told that some elements within the local police aided the rioters and obstructed the Fire Force personnel from carrying out its duties.

    Nov. 10 to be Tipu Day

    By A Staff Writer

    Bengaluru: Mudhol, a small town 60 kms west of Bagalkote town, witnessed unprecedented anti-Muslim violence on the night of September 23, 2015, when Ganesh procession was being taken out in the town. The anti social elements set afire 45 shops belonging to Muslims causing damage to the tune of Rs. 13 crore. The violence was sudden and totally unprovoked. There was no indication of any tension in the town and the perpetrators had planned and selected the targets with pre-planning. Besides 45 shops, 35 two-wheelers, two cruiser maxicabs, two lorries, 22 pushcarts and two houses were also destroyed in the arson. A textile mall owned by

    Akbar Hussain was completely destroyed sustaining losses to the tune of Rs. nine crores. No injuries or deaths were reported.

    While Deputy Superintendent of Police, Circle Inspector and an ASI have been suspended, the State Administration has so far maintained total silence on the violence. Minister Roshan Baig and Qamarul Islam have visited the town since then. Local BJP MLA, Govind M. Karjol had not visited the spot till these lines were written. It is said that superintendent of police, Martin, a native of Nagaland failed to control the mobsters and arsonists. Though he was not partial, he was ineffective due to difficulty in conversing

    with the men under his command in the local language Kannada. The riots which were started on the pretext of someone pelting

    stone, continued past midnight. A police detachment sent from Belgaavi could bring the situation under control. Nearly 140 people were taken into custody on the charges of rioting. Mr. A. H.

    Ambi, advocate and President of the Anjuman e Islam, Mudhol informed this paper that efforts were on to release those arrested on bail.Several teams of social workers and Muslim organizations have so far visited the town and assessed damages. According to the assessment by the Bagalkote District Relief Committee set up for the purpose of rehabilitating

    the victims, businesses belonging to 97 persons have either been damaged or sustained partial losses. The Jamaat e Islam Karnataka has released Rs. five lakh towards immediate relief

    operation in order that petty traders could be helped to reestablish their businesses.A meeting convened in Bengaluru to hear the victims and a visiting delegation from Mudhol was told that some elements within the local police aided the rioters and obstructed the Fire Force personnel from carrying out its duties. The meeting attended by

    representatives of Milli council, Jamaat e Islami Hind, Komu Souharda Vedike, Karnataka Muttaheda Mahaz, FDCA and APCR decided to represent the matter to the State Government, Home Minister, and the Minority Commission Chairperson, Bilquis Bano.Later a delegation comprising Mahazs secretary Masood

    Khader, Feroze Abdulla, Syed Iqbal Ahmed, Jamaat e Islamis Yusuf Kunnhi, activist Syed Tanweer Ahmed, Syed Irfan Bidri met officers in the Chief Ministers Office and demanded that the CoD should be asked to investigate into the violence and anti-social elements be prosecuted. They also met DIG, Om Prakash and briefed him about the situation. The Karnataka Minority Development Corporation (KMDC) Chairman Masood Faujdar informed the members that the Corporation would provide loans to the tune of Rs. 25 lakh to the people who have sustained losses in businesses. The Millat Relief Committee has decided to release Rs. 15 lakh for immediate relief to the victims. The APCR Convener Irshad Ahmed Desai and Secretary Akmal Rizvi will initiate action to get those who are innocent and arrested under false charges to be released.Earlier, nearly 350 activists of various organizations held a protest opposite the Deputy Commissioners office on October 15 in Bagalkote and demanded that those responsible for arson should be arrested immediately. n

    Nearly 140 people were taken into custody on the charges of rioting. Mr. A. H. Ambi, advocate and President of the Anjuman e Islam, Mudhol

    informed this paper that efforts were on to release those arrested on bail.

    The Government will be releasing Rs. 50,000 for official ceremonies at district level and Rs. 25,000 at the taluka level.Bengaluru: The Karnataka Government has decided to designate November 10 as Tipu Sultan Day and ordered official celebrations. However, there will be no official holiday in the State. The Tipu Sultan Day will be officially observed in Government offices all across the State, said a Government Order issued by the office of the Department of Minority Welfare

    headed by Minister Qamarul Islam. November 10 happens to be the birthday of the ruler of Mysore who died defending his Kingdom against British onslaught in the 4th Mysore War at Srirangapatnam on May 4, 1799. The official celebration will be held in the Banquet Hall of Vidhana Soudha in Bengaluru. The Government will be releasing Rs. 50,000 for official ceremonies at district level and Rs. 25,000 at the taluka level, the GO said. n

    Indian Currents, an Indian Catholic magazine, reports that the Kerala State Sunni Mahallu Federation, which has 8,000-odd mosque committees affiliated to it, has exhorted Muslim clerics to use loud speakers only for very necessary purposes, that too by controlling the volume to the minimum. Dr. Philippose Mar Chrysostom, the immensely popular Metropolitan of the Mar Thoma Church, wrote

    an article in a daily appreciating the path breaking announcement by the Sunni Federation. He

    wrote, Following the footsteps of the Mahallu Federation, if all religions curb noise pollution and

    show such initiatives to maintain communal harmony, peace, joy and mutual respect will increase. Instead of an external body imposing a ban, if the heads of all religious places themselves take an initiative to reduce the use of loud speaker, by being sensitive about the disturbances and noise pollution it creates, it will be more practical, opined the President of the Malabar Devaswam Board. n

  • ISLAMIC VOICE, November 2015 14frOM Here & tHereMuslims Lagged Behind Because They Kept Women

    Enslaved - Aligarh Muslim University V-CBy Mohd Faisal Fareed

    Aligarh: Lt Gen (retd) Zameer Uddin Shah, Vice-Chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University, said Muslims lagged behind in the development race because they kept their women enslaved. You have not utilised half of your population. Women remained enslaved. They remained inside home. Muslims have no one else to blame. You enslaved women and the result is you are enslaved, Shah said during a felicitation function of AMU Old Boys at Lucknow last fortnight. I stayed in Saudi Arabia, the situation remains the same. Women are confined. Except Turkey and Iran, women remained enslaved in all Muslim worlds. That is the reason they are backward, he added.Referring to the Muslims, he said:

    You left education. There is infighting among the community. There is division on regional lines too. This is also destroying AMU, he said. Shah also stated that there is no discrimination on religious grounds. What matters

    is only qualification and ability. I started as a madrasa student and reached here. The community just rues about discrimination which is non-existent, he said. Referring to his tenure as V-C, he said: I may be the most unpopular V-C, but I

    am not concerned. I did my bit to change the institution. Things like indefinite closure are past now, he said. Shah claimed that his decision to appoint nearly 400 competent teachers in AMU through proper general selection committee has rattled many senior faculty who earlier hired their relatives. For appointing 400 teachers, I made 4,000 enemies. Earlier the AMU schools were third-rated. We made the appointments only on the basis of competency. Many disliked it, he said. Shah also spoke about AMUs plan to establish schools through Sir Syed Education Foundation in other cities. nExtracted from: (h t tp : / / i nd ianexpres s . com/article/cities/lucknow/muslims-lagged-behind-because-they-kept-women-enslaved-amu-v-c/#sthash.nPwhZvHg.dpuf)

    26/11 Victims Mother on a Mission to Build Trust

    Hindu Man in Dharavi Reaches out to Muslim Friends

    Phot

    o by

    : Nag

    ara

    Gop

    al

    Scherrs work is built on her conviction that the world becomes a better place if peace and security is restored among children.

    By Nikhala Henry

    Hyderabad: Had Naomi Scherr, a 13-year-old U.S. national, who was gunned down at the Oberoi Trident Hotel, Mumbai, in the 26/11 (2008) terror attacks been alive, she would have gone on to study medicine as was her ambition. Now, seven years after the incident, her mother, Kia Scherr, lives at least a few months every year in the same hotel, to work on her mission to build trust and security among Mumbais children and youth. Ms. Scherr, who was in Hyderabad to attend the International conference on women in law enforcement, had also lost her husband, Alan Scherr (58), on the fateful day. While she could not get out of bed for months after the dreadful news broke, now she is an inspirational speaker and founder of One Life Alliance, an organisation working world over to harbour peace and

    decrease violent behaviour with a focus on schools, businesses and government leaders. I still feel safe in the city. My work is centred round building trust among

    children for the propagation of peace, Ms. Scherr told The Hindu. A booklet published by her organisation, Pocket Book of Peace, is circulated among children and youth round the world. The woman who issued a statement asking Mumbai to forgive the attackers shortly

    after the incident, said that she would like to work closely with the police in the country aiming at sensitization of the force and communities. She had escaped the attack as she had stayed back in Florida to celebrate Thanksgiving. Mr. Scherr and their daughter had led a team of 25 foreign nationals from the U.S., Canada and Australia, to Mumbai on a spiritual mission supported by the Synchronicity Foundation. Mr. Scherr, president of the foundation, was dining along with five others, including his daughter, while the gunmen broke in and opened fire. Ms. Scherrs work is built on her conviction that the world becomes a better place if peace and security is restored among children. When asked how she got back on her feet after the incident, Ms. Scherr was quick to reply, I never got back on my feet. I cry every day.

    (www.thehindu.com)

    In the wake of the recent Dadri incident, in which a mob of people killed a Muslim man after rumours of him storing cow meat surfaced, a Hindu man in Dharavi has succeeded in setting a good example. As a mosque in Bandra's Dharavi area is getting renovated, a Hindu shopkeeper has temporarily given the space inside

    his store to Muslim devotees to perform their daily prayers. "Five months ago, they asked me if they could pay me rent and use the space inside my shop to offer prayers. I refused the proposal and asked them to use the space free of cost, instead," recalled Deepak Namdeo Kale, the Hindu shop owner. n

    Spanish Women Knit Blankets of Love for SyriansMadrid: Working at home or huddled together in cafes, women of all ages across Spain have furiously knitted hundreds of blankets to send to war-torn Syria before cold weather begins following an online appeal for help. Every night, a team of some 20 women and girls meet in a cafe in the heart of Villaverde del Rio, a town of white-washed houses near Seville, to finish their blankets. The group sent 50 blankets of varying sizes that they had knitted to the Syrian People Support Association, a small NGO in Madrid, which will ship them to camps for displaced people inside Syria. They usually gather once a week to make blankets for local homeless people, but when they learned of the movement to knit blankets to send to Syria, they could not resist taking part, said Coral Benitez, a 59-year-old housewife who coordinates the knitting group. "We don't look at colour, nor race, nor religion. It doesn't matter if we are Catholics and they are Muslims. We have knitted for people who are sitting in the cold." Over 4,000 people signed up to a Facebook group for people interested in making blankets to send to Syria dubbed "The Blanket of Life" since it was launched at the beginning of September 2015. They knitted about 1,450 blankets for getting them to the Madrid-based association, said Marta Blanco, one of those who set up the Facebook group. Blanco, a 44-year-old Madrid architect who has a blog about knitting, set up

    the Facebook page with two other knitting bloggers on September 4, after learning of the association's appeal for donations of blankets. Television newscasts at the time were flooded with images of desperate Syrians risking their lives to try to reach Europe and she said he wanted to do something for people who had remained behind in Syria. "We could buy blankets, everyone has used blankets they could donate. But the idea is to say 'we have not forgotten you, we know there is a war and you are suffering'. It's not just about giving shelter," she said. Within days of

    being set up, the Facebook group had attracted over 1,000 members. Local chapters of the group were set up in about 50 Spanish cities, charged with collecting and sending the blankets to Madrid. "There is a lot of love delivered in each blanket that is here," said Amer Hijazi, president of the Syrian People Support Association as he stood in front of a pile of multi-coloured handmade blankets. The association, which was founded in 2011, will ship the blankets to Syria at the end of the month. They will be distributed to several camps in mountainous areas in Idlib province in northwestern Syria where little aid arrives, said Hijazi, 49, who has lived in Spain for 25 years. n

    (Extractedfrom www.timesofindia.com)

  • ISLAMIC VOICE, November 2015 15

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    BMMA Against Uniform Civil Code:

    Does Not Guarantee Freedom of ReligionBy Zeeshan Shaikh

    Mumbai: The Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan, which has been seeking reforms in Muslim personal law, has opposed the introduction of Uniform Civil Code in the country. The Supreme Court observation has emanated from the need to bring about a gender-just legal framework and not from a desire to impose or force anything on different communities. This must be read as such and not as encouragement for Hinduisation of all laws and social practices, said Dr Noorjehan Safia Niaz, co-founder, Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA).Last month, the Supreme Court had asked the government if it intended

    to introduce a Uniform Civil Code in the country. The BMMA has claimed that it is opposed to the introduction of Uniform Civil Code without taking into account the Constitutional guarantee of freedom of religion. It has claimed that the Constitution of India, under Article 25, grants the right to all, including minorities, to have personal laws based on respective tenets of different religious communities. It is also time that all religious minority and majority communities stated their positions on the UCC. A UCC is meant for all communities and not just Muslims. Are all communities willing to give up their personal laws? It is a question that all communities

    have to ask themselves and state their position in the public space, Niaz said. Rather than a Uniform Civil Code, the organisation has claimed, there is need for gender-just reform in the Muslim personal law based on the Quranic values of equality and justice in line with Article 25 of the Constitution of India. It is important to point out that national integration cannot happen by a common family law, but by treating all citizens equally. There can be no imposition of any kind as this would impinge on the religious freedom and secularism principles enshrined in the Constitution, Niaz added. She said there was a strong fear that Hindu marriage laws could be imposed on all other religious

    minorities in the name of the Uniform Civil Code. The BMMA has taken on the traditional Muslim clergy in the country and has been demanding that the Muslim Personal Law should be codified so that its provisions were clear to everyone. However, the conservative clergy has claimed that the codification and banning of practices such as oral talaq are tantamount to tampering with the Sharia and the Islamic way of life.

    Muslims in India are governed by the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1936. This law makes the application of Shariat applicable to all Muslims. However, this law is not codified and is open to interpretations by the local clergy. Womens groups have claimed that these interpretations are not gender-friendly and prone to be misused against women. n(indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai)

    Helping Hands Foundation Felicitates 104 Students in Jaipur

    Jaipur: Helping Hands Foundation Jaipur felicitated 104 students for academic excellence as part of their fifth Academic and Community Excellence

    Awards last fortnight. Speaking at the function, the chief guest, Haider Ali Zaidi, DCP (Traffic) Jaipur, said compartmentalizing knowledge in worldly and

    religious categories was not correct. If you decide that you wish to make progress only on the basis of hard work, no one will be able to stop you, he

    said.Amir Hussain of Saint Soldier Public School and Aqsa Ali of Edmund Secondary School were awarded the joint first prize

    for scoring 95 percent in their Secondary School Examination (Class 10). Shakib Khan, an alumnus of Red Rose Public Secondary School and Sana Sheikh of Kuhu International, Sawai Madhopur received the second and third prize for scoring 93.83 percent and 93 percent respectively.Apart from financial aid for the poor, the Foundation is also active in the field of health, women empowerment and skill development. Naeem Rabbani, General Secretary, Helping Hand Foundation pointed out said that the Foundation also conducts workshops for career guidance, computer education and tailoring. n

    (twocircles.net)

    Overseas ScholarshipsThe Chief Minister Mr. Siddramaiah will be distributing cheques for the students from the minority communities towards Overseas Scholarships on November 10 in the official ceremony of the Tipu Sultan Day in Bengaluru. This year, 184 Muslim students, 44 Christian

    students, 22 Jain students and one student each from among the Sikh and Buddhists will be receiving the cheques. The total amount to be disbursed will be Rs. 25.22 crore.Mr. Qamarul Islam has informed the media that 67 students from

    Minority communities have been issued scholarship towards coaching for Civil Services competitive exams. Altogether 42 students are being coached in two institutes in Delhi and 25 others in Universal Coaching Centre in Bengaluru. (By A Staff Writer)

    Muslim Woman Crowned Great British Bake Off Queen

    London: A British Muslim woman has been crowned as 'Great British Bake Off' queen after beating her two male competitors, defusing the negative s t e r e o t y p i c a l discourse surrounding Muslim women. Nadiya Jamir Hussain, won the judges' praise with her iced buns and lemon drizzle wedding cake.Naming Nadiya Star Baker,

    BBC1 judges stressed that she deserves to win. I am really

    proud of Nadiya, not so confident to start with, but over the weeks she has grown in confidence, presenter Mary Berry told Mirror. Nadiya, who is of Bangladeshi origin, feared being dismissed by viewers

    before the semi-final because of not being a stereotypical British person. n

  • ISLAMIC VOICE, November 2015 16peOple

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    Islamic Scholar Dr. Barzanji DeadNew Delhi: Internationally known Islamic scholar Dr. Jamal Barzinji associated with the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT) died on September 26 in Washington after prolonged illness. He was 76. The Institute of Objective Studies in Delhi mourned his death in a meeting on September 28.Barzinji had over four decades of experience in development and leadership of diverse organisations (business, educational, think-tanks, political and charitable), such as Mar-Jac Poultry, Safa Trust, Amana Mutual Funds, SAAR Foundation, Bank Islam Malaysia, Dean of School of Islamic Revealed Knowledge and Social Sciences of International Islamic University Malaysia and North American Islamic Trust (NAIT). He was a founding member of the Association of Muslim Social Scientists (AMSS), and the Association of Muslim Scientists & Engineers (AMSE).

    Dr. Barzinji served as advisor and consultant to various educational, charitable and professional organisations. He delivered numerous lectures and wrote articles on various topics on Islamic Thought, Banking, Islamic Movements, Current Affairs, Education and Islamic Presence in the

    U.S. and Europe.He held a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Chemical Engineering, with a minor in Management from Louisiana State University, U.S.A. (1974), and a B.Sc. in Chemical Engineering & Fuel Technology from the University of Sheffield, England (1962).Dr. Manzoor Alam, Chairman of the

    Institute of Objective Studies described some of the highlights of Dr Barzinjis 40-year leadership of the Islamic thought movement: Dr. Jamal al-Barzinji was a founding member, a Trustee and Vice President for Research & Publications of the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT).

    Obituary

    Dr. Syed Zahoor QasimHe led the first Indian expedition to Antarctica in 1981.New Delhi: Dr. Syed Zahoor Qasim, noted marine biologist and leader of the Indias first expedition to Antarctica in 1981, died on October 20 here after prolonged illness. He was 89. Dr. Qasim guided seven other expeditions to the Antarctica between 1981 and 1988 as the Director of the National Institute of Oceanography, Goa. He was vice chancellor of Jamia Millia Islamia for three years and member of the Planning C o m m i s s i o n between 1991 and 1996. Qasim began his schooling from Majidiya Islamiya Intermediate College Allahabad, and then moved to Aligarh Muslim University, where he obtained a B.Sc. degree in 1949 and a M.Sc. degree in Zoology in 1951. He stood first in the order of Merit for which he was awarded the University Gold Medal. For several years, he was a lecturer in the Department of Zoology at Aligarh before proceeding to the United Kingdom for higher studies in 1953. In 1956, he completed his D.Sc. and Ph.D.degrees from University College of North Wales. He was conferred with Padma Shri in 1974 and Padma Bhushan in 1982. He was also presented with Oceanology International Lifetime Achievement Award by the United Kingdom 1999.

    A bacterial strain isolated from a marine sediment sample collected at a depth of 200 m from Kongsfjorden, Svalbard was named in honour of Professor S. Z. Qasim, the founder of polar biology in India as "Cyclobacterium qasimii". He is survived by his wife (who was daughter of the Nawab of Rampur) and three daughters.

    Son of Poet Iqbal DeadJustice (retd) Javed Iqbal, son of renowned poet-philosopher Allama Iqbal, passed away at the age of 91 in Lahore here on October 3. Waleed Iqbal, son of Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal, confirmed the death of his father saying that he passed away at around 8 am. His funeral prayers were offered the same day in Gulberg area. Javed Iqbal served as a senior justice at the Supreme Court of Pakistan and previously as the chief justice of the Lahore High Court (LHC). He is survived by his two sons Waleed and Munib Iqbal and wife Justice (retd) Nasira Iqbal a former Lahore High Court judge. Javed Iqbal was born in October 1924 in Sialkot, Punjab province, British India. He obtained a BA (honours) degree from Government College Lahore in 1944, a masters degree in English and philosophy in 1948, and a PhD degree in philosophy from the University of Cambridge in 1954 at the age of 30. He then pursued his passion for law, graduating as a barrister in London.The former justice participated thrice as a member of the Pakistani delegation at the United

    Nations. He served as chief justice of Lahore High Court from March 1982 till October 1986 and remained a senior judge of the Supreme Court. He also served as an elected member of the Senate. Javed Iqbal penned several books on the ideology of Pakistan.

    Maulana Syed Nizamuddin Phulwari Shariff (Patna): Islamic Scholar Maulana Syed Nizamuddin, Ameer e Shariat of Bihar and Odisha passed away on October 17 after prolonged illness. He was 88.He was also general secretary of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board. Maulana received madrassa education first at Darbhanga and later at Darul Uloom Deoband and taught at several madrassas. He joined Imarat Shariia, Bihar in 1965 as its Nazim (administrator). He succeeded to the post of Ameer e Shariat after the demise of previous Ameer Maulana Minnatullah Rahmani in 1998. He was elected

    Aziza Hassan: Aziza Hassan, former director of Public Relations at the Muslim Public Affairs Council in California has been named one among the 18

    Anjuman e Islam HubliHonnali Reelected President

    By A Staff WriterHubballi: Jabbarkhan Honnali was elected President of the Anjuman Islam, Hubli for the second time in a row in the elections held on October 3.His group swept the elections in which over 86% of the 11,074 voters cast their votes. Ismail Kalebudde was elected vice president. Others who were elected office bearers are: Abdulwahab Mulla, secretary;, Ghaibu Honnali, secretary of the Hospital Board, Althaf Billoo, deputy secretary; Arif Mujawar, Treasurer. Another 52 of the Honnali group contestants were elected to the executive committee of the over century old Anjuman which runs several high schools, colleges and polytechnics and ITI and hospitals in Hubli, rechristened recent Hubballi. The elections witnessed 159 contestants filing their nominations. Yusuf Savanur and Mazhar Khan led the two rival groups against Honnali-led group which captured most of the positions.Sandesh Babu, Assistant Commissioner was the polling officer. The polling was held in Ghantikeri Maidan.Addressing the crowds that gathered to hear the results, Jabbarkhan Honnali, who earlier represented the city in Karnataka Assembly and was also a minister for a term, said the Anjuman would will construct a Samudaya Bhavan in the city after a suitable piece of land was available.

    members of President Obamas Joint Public Affairs Council of Faith based communities. She served at California from 2006 to 2012. The Council advises the President on promotion of equality among faith based communities.

    Vaniyambadi: Mr. K. M. Siraj Ahmed has been elected as the President of the Islami Baitulmal, Vaniyambadi (Tamilnadu). Mr. T. M. Abdur Rauf Khalid is the new General Secretary. Mr. Oosi Nisar Ahmed and Gundu Abdur

    the general secretary of the Personal Law Board in 1991.He was buried in Phulwari Shariff on October 18.Imarat Shariia Bihar was set up in 1921 and provides arbitration in family disputes on the basis of the Islamic Sharia. It runs several Darul Qaza in the two states it operates. He is survived by his wife, six sons and three daughters.

  • ISLAMIC VOICE, November 2015 17 tIdbItS

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    Rahman are new vice presidents. Mr. Pachur Imtiaz Ahmed has been elected Treasurer. The elections were held for the fresh three-year tenure on September 27. The members also elected 15-member Executive Committee of the Baitul Mal.

    Sacked: Delhi minister for Food and Civil Supplies Asim Ahmed Khan was sacked from the cabinet by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on October 9, 2015. Mr. Kejriwals action followed receipt of an audio recording wherein the Minister was heard receiving Rs.

    People ...

    Dr Mohammed Aslam Parvaiz Takes Charge as VC of MANUUHyderabad: Dr. Mohammed Aslam Parvaiz officially took charge as the fourth vice chancellor of Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU) on October 20. He has had an earlier stint in MANUU, serving as the regional director at the University between 1998 and 1999. With a PhD in Botany, Dr Parvaiz is also the Director of Islamic Foundation for Science and Environment, a charitable trust established with an aim to undertake studies on the interface of science/environment and Islam and to create scientific and environmental awareness. Parvaiz, an alumnus of Aligrah Muslim University, took charge from Khwaja M. Shahid, who had been working as the incharge vice chancellor since Mohammad Miyan retired in May this year. The new vice chancellor addressed a meeting organized by the Joint Action Committee (JAC) comprising MANUU Teachers Association, Officers Association

    and Employees Welfare Association. Parvaiz told the faculty, non-teaching staff and students his way will be that of justice. "With me everyone will get justice. We should keep the interests of the university above our personal preferences and

    work dedicatedly for its growth." The vice chancellor said that he had been told in certain circles in Delhi that MANUU is plagued with regionalism. "If this is true I urge you to shun it as it would cause hindrance in the growth

    of the university," he said. Addressing the students, he said that they needed to work harder and turn in extra excellent performance as the employment market is becoming more and more competitive. "So dedicate yourself to the studies from now," he said. Prior to his appointment as the vice chancellor, Parvaiz, was principal of Delhi's prestigious Zakir Husain College, with which he has been associated for the last three decades.

    6 lakh from a Builder. He has been replaced by Imran Hussain, another MLA.

    Imam from Gujarat Attends World Religion Parliament in USAhmedabad: Maulana Luqman Tarapuri, National President, Global Imam Council and Shahi Imam, Jama Masjid Anand, Gujarat, will highlight the role that religious leaders can play in addressing issues like hygiene, sanitation and

    climate change when he addresses the World Religion Parliament Forum to be held at Salt Lake City, US. The event, which starts on October 14 and continues till October 20, will see a congregation of religious leaders from around the world discuss the environment and the role of religion in it. Maulana Tarapuri, who has been actively part of such initiatives in both India and abroad, told Twocircles.net, Our message is a simple one: no

    matter what religion you follow, it is imperative that you have access to clean water and a clean environment.

    Nagercoil: The Bawa Qasim Masjid and the Masjid ul Anwar in the village of Kottar have installed large boxes outside the premises for people to deposit their unused clothes to be distributed among the poor and the needy, informs a report in Urdu daily Rashtriya Sahara.

    Court Peons Daughter is Magistrate Nagpur: In a distinguished event that brought cheer to the face of a Nagpur Court peon, his daughter cracked the competitive Judicial Magistrate First Class (JMFC) examination and is set to become a Judicial Magistrate at a court near Nagpur.Amrina Kasim, 25, who is the daughter of Ghulam Pathan, a class-IV staff in the judiciary, appeared for the competitive examination for becoming a magistrate and cleared it in the first attempt itself. The examination was held in April 2015.Before clearing this exam, she finished her five years' law degree from Dr. B. R. Ambedkar College of Law in 2011 and started practising under former judge-turned-advocate Shyamnayan Abhyankar, who also guided her for the tough JMFC selection test.She was felicitated on October 17 in Nagpur in a programme organised by the District Bar Association to felicitate newly-selected judicial officials and their families.Expressing delight after fulfilling her fathers dream she said at the podium, I used to tell my father that mujhe woh wali (judges) chair chahiye (I want that the judges chair). Today I am happy that woh wali chair is within reach now.She assigned much of the credit to her father in reaching this level and said, "My father's conversation would revolve around examinations and results and not 'rishtey' (marriage proposals) which is common for an educated woman in her 20s in our community."She received appreciation from the senior members of citys judiciary who were present during the felicitation. She is set to take her charge as one of the JMFCs in the Bhandara court later this month.

    (TwoCircles.net)

    Deadly JourneysThe daily physical abuse faced by

    Rohingya trapped on boats in the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea is almost

    too horrific to put into words", says Amnesty Refugee and Migrant Rights

    Researcher, Anna Shea.

    London: Rohingya Muslims, trapped on boats on the seas of Southeast Asia, suffer abuses as they seek to escape persecution in Myanmar. Amnesty International, a human rights group, has released a report titled "Deadly Journeys: The refugee and trafficking crisis in Southeast Asia" last fortnight, highlighting the inhumane conditions facing the minority Muslim group."The daily physical abuse faced by Rohingya trapped on boats in the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea is almost too horrific to put into words", says Amnesty Refugee and Migrant Rights Researcher, Anna Shea, underlining that although many reached Indonesia after fleeing across the Andaman Sea, "they had only traded one nightmare for another"."The shocking truth is that those we spoke to are the lucky ones who made it to shore, countless others perished at sea or were trafficked into forced labor situations", Shea said.Thailand launched an anti-trafficking crackdown in May 2015, following the discovery of dozens of bodies belonging to Rohingya and Bangladeshi migrants near the countrys southern border with

    Malaysia. Since then, traffickers have abandoned boats full of people at sea, leaving thousands of migrants without food, water or medical care."While the United Nations estimates that at least 370 people lost their lives between January and June 2015, Amnesty International believes the true figure to be much higher", the report said. "Hundreds, if not thousands of people remain unaccounted for,

    and may have died during their journeys, or been sold for forced labor".The report also highlighted the story of a 15-year-old Rohingya girl whose father had been contacted by traffickers. "They made him listen to her cries while they beat her, and

    told him to pay them about $1,700", the report said.The report also revealed that some people tricked into forced labor were abducted in Myanmar or Bangladesh, while others were promised a safe journey to Malaysia.The Rohingya are so desperate that they will continue to risk their lives at sea until the root causes of this crisis are addressed. The Myanmar government must immediately end its persecution of the Rohingya, Shea said. "Governments must ensure that initiatives against traffickers do not put peoples lives or human rights at risk, which is what happened in May 2015. They must also act quickly to implement maritime search and rescue operations".Amnesty urged Southeast Asian states to act immediately and "not wait for another human rights disaster at sea".

    First Asia-Pacific Countries Summit in Turkey

    Istanbul: In its continued effort to reaffirm the global Muslim unity, the Presidency of Religious Affairs of Turkey, in association with the Directorate General of Foreign Affairs and Department of Muslim Countries & Communities organised the First Asia & Pacific Countries Muslim Religious

    Leaders' Summit last month. This 4-day international event brought together Muslim clerics from Asian and Pacific countries in Istanbul. Aimed at establishing global unity among Muslims, the event started on October 12, in Sultan Ahmed Mosque (Blue Mosque). The summit will go down in history as the latest bid by the state-run

    organisation to enhance universal brotherhood and fraternity of Muslims the world over. The summit was titled, Unity in Multiplicity: Rethinking Hikmah (Wisdom) and Peace Together. Nearly 125 religious leaders from 37 countries, from Afghanistan to Australia and to tiny Pacific

    nations participated and presented their views and papers in this summit. Some crucial topics among them were: Muslims at Regional Level: Challenges, Solution Suggestions and The Possibility of Cooperation, The Challenges with the Religious Education and

    Services in Islamic Institutions, Solution Suggestions and the Possibility of Cooperation. The New Movements of Thought in Islamic World and Their Adverse Effects on Muslim Nations in Asian-Pacific Countries. Common Challenges Facing Muslim Minorities and the Future of the Muslim World. n

  • ISLAMIC VOICE, November 2015 18In the name of God, the Beneficent, the Merciful

    So Where Are You Going?(Quran 81:26)

    Close your eyes and think about this question for a minute...and think about Who's asking you this question

    With your eyes closed for a seconds think: Where indeed am I going?

    Ok, now open your eyes.

    "So where are you going?"

    Do you have an answer?

    You realise that God is not asking you here about where you're going to work or where you are going to study. God is asking you where are you going with your life, where are you headingwith all the ups/ downs/ hopes/ dreams/ disappointments/frustrations/anxieties/excitements/ desires/ambitions/frustrations/conflicts/confusions/missed prayers/ wasted opportunities to do good.

    Where are you going with all of this?

    Yes, So where are you going?

    Scenes of the Day of Judgement

    Ya Sin. By the Quran, full of wisdom, you are indeed one of Gods messengers, pursuing a straight way. It is a revelation by the Almighty, the Merciful.

    (Quran: Surah: Ya Sin: 36: 1-5)

    This Makkan surah is characterized by short verses and a fast rhythm. These two characteristics give the surah a special outlook. Its rhythm sounds successive beats, the effect of which is increased by the numerous images it draws, all leaving a profound impression.It shares the same main themes of all Makkan surahs, aiming to lay the foundation of faith. At the very outset, it dwells on the nature of revelation and the truth of the message: Ya Sin. By the Quran,

    full of wisdom, you are indeed one of Gods messengers, pursuing a straight way. It is a revelation by the Almighty, the Ever Merciful. It relates the story of the people of the township to which messengers were sent, using the story to warn against rejection of the message and denial of the revelation. It shows the end that befell the people of the township to emphasize the message the surah wants to deliver. Towards the end, the surah picks up this point again: We have not taught the Prophet poetry; nor is it fitting for him (to be a poet). This is but a reminder and a Quran making all things clear, to warn everyone who is alive, and that the word of God be proved against the unbelievers.The surah also discusses the oneness of God, giving the voice of denunciation of polytheism to the man who came from the farthest end of town. It is he who argues with his people about their denial of Gods messengers: Why should I not worship the

    One who has brought me into being? It is to Him that you will all return. Should I worship other deities besides Him? If the Lord of Grace should will that harm befall me, their intercession will avail me nothing, nor will they save me. Indeed, I should clearly be in error. The same point is emphasized again towards the end of the surah: Yet they have taken to worship deities other than God, hoping for (their) support. They are unable to support them;

    yet their worshippers stand like warriors to defend them.

    ResurrectionThe issue that is most strongly emphasized in the surah is that of resurrection. Mention of this is first made at the very outset: It is We who will bring the dead back to life. We record whatever (deeds) they send ahead, as well as the traces they leave behind. We keep an account of all things in a clear record. Resurrection is further alluded to in the story of the township as it mentions the reward given to the man arguing

    the case of faith: He was told: Enter paradise. He said: Would that my people knew how my Lord has forgiven me my sins, and has placed me among the highly honored! In the middle of the surah, resurrection is once again referred to: They also ask: When will this promise be fulfilled, if what you say be true? All they are waiting for is a single blast that will overtake them while they are still disputing. No time will they have to make bequests, nor will they return to their own people. And at the end of the surah, it is stated in the form of dialogue: He comes up with arguments against Us, forgetting how he himself was created. He asks: Who could give life to bones that have crumbled to dust? Say: He who brought them into being in the first instance will give them life again. He has full knowledge of every act of creation.These fundamental issues of faith are repeatedly discussed in Makkan surahs. Each time though they are tackled from a different angle, brought under new focus, and given effects that fit the overall ambience of the surah, maintaining harmony with its rhythm, images and impressions.These effects vary in this surah. Some derive from the scenes of the Day of Judgment, the scenes in the story and the positions taken in it and the dialogue it includes as also the end suffered by earlier communities. Other effects are derived from the numerous images given of the universe, each of which imparts its own message. The dead land as life begins to emerge in it; the night stripped out of the day to spread total darkness; the sun running its course up to its point of destination; the moon moving from one phase to another until it becomes like an old date stalk; the boats laden with the offspring of

    old human generations; the cattle made subservient to man; and the green tree made into a fire from which they light their own fires. It is by using all these scenes and images that the surah emphasizes its message.

    When Gods judgment befalls them.Alongside these, there are other effects made to touch our hearts and alert our minds. One of these is the image of those who deny the truth when Gods judgment befalls them. No longer can they derive any benefit from the signs and the warnings given to them:

    Around their necks, We have put chains, reaching up to their chins, so that their heads are forced up. And We have set a barrier before them and a barrier behind them, and We enshrouded them in veils so that they cannot see. Another is the fact that whatever they harbor inside their hearts and whatever they leave open are known to God; nothing is hidden from Him. A third effect is the description of the mechanism of creation as involving nothing but one short word: When He intends something to be, He only says to it, Be, and it is.

    (By Adil Salahi)

    The surah also discusses the oneness of God, giving the voice of denunciation of polytheism to the man who came from the farthest end of town.

    It is he who argues with his people about their denial of Gods messengers: Why should I not

    worship the One who has brought me into being? It is to Him that you will all return. Should I wor-

    ship other deities besides Him?

  • ISLAMIC VOICE, November 2015 19fOllOw-upFailure to Follow the Prophets (Pbuh) AdviceAisha, the Prophets (Pbuh) wife, reports: The Prophet (Pbuh) did something and indicated that it

    is permissible. Some people, however, felt that they should not do it. This was communicated to the Prophet. He spoke, starting with praising Allah, before saying: What is the matter with certain people who feel that they are above doing something which I have done? By Allah, I know Allah better than

    them and I fear Him most. (Related by Al-Bukhari, Muslim).

    We have always tried to emphasise in these columns the sort of attitude a believer should have towards instructions given by the Prophet (Pbuh). We have explained that following the Prophet is required of all Muslims. Allah tells us in the Quran. Whatever the Prophet bids you, you must do, and refrain from everything that he forbids you. (59:7) This is a basic and clear instruction from which no believer could deviate. It is true that we may default on doing something which is required of us by Islam. But that means a failure for which we can be punished unless Allah forgives us. It is for this reason that a Muslim always prays to be forgiven.If this prompts some readers to ask about the commandments given to us by the Prophet (Pbuh) and whether we should follow them by way of duty, or they are merely recommendations that we may adopt as we please, then an explanation is in order. When it is clear from the context that a particular order given by the Prophet, for example, instructs us: Pray in the manner you have seen me pray. He also said at the time when he started his pilgrimage; Learn your rituals from me. Allah does not tell us in the Quran how to pray, but he gives us clear orders that we must pray. The Prophet has shown us how to pray and given us this express order. It is obligatory for every Muslim that he should pray only in the manner the Prophet prayed. If a Muslim does not follow them, he disobeys the Prophet and, in consequence, disobeys Allah.

    Preferable Course of ActionThere are on the other hand, instructions given to us by the Prophet which merely indicate a preferable course of action. These should be taken as recommendations. It is the context which determines whether a particular order indicates a duty or a recommendation. But even when the Prophet is simply recommending to us a certain thing, we should follow his instructions. He only teaches us what is beneficial to us. Allah makes sure that we prosper when we follow the example of the Prophet and he rewards us for doing what he recommends us.

    Whether the recommendation by the Prophet relates to something of this world or to a matter of worship, we are certain to achieve the best results by following his advice. Those who do not wish to follow the Prophet can only blame themselves for the results. The following Hadith explains this in clear terms:

    Aisha, the Prophets (Pbuh) wife, reports: The Prophet (Pbuh) did something and indicated that it is permissible. Some people, however, felt that they should not do it. This was communicated to the Prophet (Pbuh). He spoke, starting with praising Allah, before saying: What is the matter with certain people who feel that they are above doing something which I have done? By Allah, I know Allah better than them and I fear Him most. (Related by Al-Bukhari, Muslim and Al-Nissai).

    In this report we are told of certain companions of the Prophet, who in their eagerness to maintain the highest standard of devotion, felt that they should not do something which the Prophet did. In this particular report, we are not told what was that thing which the Prophet indicated as permissible, but those people refrained from doing it. Some commentators indicate that this relates to a particular action of one sort or another. It is perhaps more accurate to say that this is a reference to three Companions of the Prophet who went to the Prophets wives asking them about his worship and how often he fasted voluntarily and how he treated his wives. When they were given these details, they felt that such a standard of worship was not sufficient for them, although it might have been sufficient for the Prophet who was already forgiven by Allah any sin or error he might have made. They wanted to adopt a harder course of action. One of them pledged

    himself to fast every day of his life, and another indicated that he would be standing in worship all night every night, while a third one pledged never to get married.

    Certain to Earn Allahs PleasureWhen the Prophet was told of this, he realised the danger to the community of believers and to

    future generations. It is a danger which is always associated with going to extremes. The Prophet has always indicated that Islam is an easy religion, with instructions to its followers that are easy to follow. He, therefore, wanted to make it absolutely clear that a middle course is the best course and that his example must be followed by all Muslims. When he stood on the pulpit to speak to his companions, he put the issue succinctly clear. He stated that he knew Allah better than all people and he feared Him most. To know Allah is to fear Him. For no one who has true knowledge of Allah continues to disobey Him. The better a person knows Allah, the easier it is for him to do what he is

    bidden and to refrain from what is forbidden. Therefore, the example of the Prophet shows us our best course of action. When we follow it, we are certain to earn Allahs pleasure. But those who thought little of the Prophets example could only think of ways which did not take into account all factors which influenced people. They wanted to impose on themselves a very strict course. That is why the Prophet, according to other reports of this Hadith, was very angry when he heard what they said. He told them that they must not impose their own restrictive view. They should follow his example. If he does something when he knows Allah best and fears Him most, then that which he does is certainly permissible

    and useful. The Hadith which we have quoted above lays down a fundamental principle. It applies to all situations. Failure to follow the Prophets advice will deprive the person concerned of a certain benefit. The following Hadith can be given as an example of application of the earlier one. Two men exchanged words of abuse at the Prophets place. One of them was very angry to the extent that his face swelled

    and changed colour. The Prophet said; I know a word which this man needs only say in order to be relieved of what he is enduring. A man went to him and told him what the Prophet said. He also advised him to seek refuge with Allah against the devil; The man said; Is there anything wrong with me? Do you find me insane? Go away, (Related by Al-Bukhari, Muslim and An Nassae) It is clear that this man was in the flight of anger. The Prophet wanted to indicate to his companions that if a man is overwhelmed by anger, he only needs to remember Allah and to seek refuge with Him against the devil and his instigation. However, the angry man was not prepared to listen to advice. That is why he retorted

    too violently when the Prophets Companion communicated to him the Prophets advice. His failure to follow it, however, meant that his anger got the better of him. He couldnt think clearly. He did not earn any reward which a believer would surely earn by following the Prophets advice. He must have regretted all that when he cooled down, but then regret would be to no avail. n

    (Commentary by Adil Salahi)

    When the Prophet came to know that some of his followers were planning to adopt a harder course of action in the matter of prayer and fasting than he himself was following, the Prophet realized

    the danger to the community of believers and to future generations. It is a danger which is always

    associated with going to extremes.

    Prophet, for example, instructs us: Pray in the manner you have seen me pray. He also said at the time when he started his pilgrimage; Learn

    your rituals from me.

    Jewish-Muslim Women's Network Launched

    London: A Jewish-Muslim womens network aimed at breaking down religious and cultural barriers has been launched with government backing. About 150 people attended the launch of NisaNashim meaning women in Arabic and Hebrew at the Islamia Girls school in north London last fortnight, against the backdrop of worsening violence in Jerusalem. Melanie Dawes, the senior civil servant at the department for communities and local government, told the meeting she was proud of the diversity in this countrys communities. The government has supported the network with a 30,000 grant. Julie Siddiqi, the Muslim co-chair of the network, told the Guardian: The timing makes this more important, not less it encourages and motivates us more. Laura Marks, the Jewish co-chair, said:

    Obviously there is some suspicion, when things are so awful in the Middle East. Some people will say, whats the point, but we have to try.The network has three principal aims: to bring

    women from the two communities together, to promote womens leadership and be active in wider society. Marks said: We need to show that Jews and Muslims have more in common than that which drives us apart. Women are genuinely looking for ways to engage with one another, and reach out to do something. NisaNashim gives us

    permission and confidence.Among initial activities, the network has organised educational visits to mosques and synagogues, hosted kosher-Halal meals, launched a business network and is supporting programmes to help refugees.

    (www.theguardian.com/uk)

  • ISLAMIC VOICE, November 2015 20QueStION & aNSwer

    Page 23

    My Faith is Not ConstantQ: I don't know what's been happening to me. For the past few years my faith in Islam has been shaky. Sometimes I reach very high levels where all I can think about is Allah, then sometimes I reach levels one where I am now where I begin to doubt the existence of God and the prophethood of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). I wonder "Why am I Muslim? Is there good and evil? Is there judgment?" Sometimes I get thoughts of shirk (disbelief). My faith is not constant, and over and over in the Quran it says "people who are constant in faith and do good deeds," but I am not constant. I feel so lost in life. I was reading

    this book called The Way of the Peaceful Warrior and I felt I could identify with the main character. But some of the things that he suggested, like breathing and Tai Chi bothered me. Is that OK to do? I sincerely want to know the truth. The truth of life and our Creator. It made sense submission submission to what is good, the one way. I don't want to go from it. Is this a spiritual test I am going through? My prayers feel so empty. Allah is closer to me than my jugular, but it doesn't feel that way. Is this inner jihad? If it is, I feel like I am losing the battle. I don't know who I am anymore or what I believe. I'm afraid I'll be confused all my life.

    Answered by Idris Tawfiq

    AnswerSalam Dear Sister,Thank you for your question.Insha' Allah, we can give some suggestions that might make a little sense out of what you are experiencing at the moment. It might also help others to appreciate the faith they already have.Taking things for granted is one of the worst traps we can fall into. A husband and wife, for example, can be so busy with the affairs of life that they forget about each other's needs and they drift apart, forgetting what once existed between them.A man might be so busy with his work, providing food to put on the family table, while he forgets to ask about his teenage son, who is crying out for help. We very often only realize how lucky we were after we have lost the things most precious to us. Yours is a very good question because it shows that you do not take faith for granted. It would be so easy, wouldn't it, to declare our Shahadah once and then sit back, thinking we are Muslim?To be real Muslims, we need to declare that Shahadah every day. We need, every time we prostrate

    ourselves in prayer, to declare with our lips and mean with our hearts that there is no God but Allah and that Muhammad is His Messenger.Taking our faith for granted is like telling Almighty Allah that we care nothing for the precious gift He has given us. Of all the people on the face of the earth, He has chosen us to be Muslim.Some people can spend their whole lives never doubting the goodness of Allah and never failing to see His work all around them. Many others experience doubts or a weakness in their faith at some time in their lives.This may be the result of some terrible personal tragedy that touches them, or it may be because of all the evil that seems to thrive around us. It is often difficult to be religious when the evil-doers seem to be winning.And there are others, still, who have doubts about their faith for no apparent reason. It is somehow a part of the human condition that we question. Sometimes we have no control over it. Doubts just seem to come from nowhere.There is no doubt that the society in which we live is becoming increasingly more secular, less

    religious. Television advertising is telling us all the time that having more is more important than being better.In our consumer age, we are tempted every day to acquire more and more things, whether we need them or not. New shoes, a bigger car, the latest pair of jeans

    are all presented to us as what is most important in life. They are becoming the new gods, the new idols for our age. Having things is the goal.Governments, too, encourage this trend, making those with faith seem marginal to society. The consumer is king. The one who has a deep religious faith is presented as either eccentric or extreme, a fanatic.People with religious faith are called to speak out against injustice and corruption, so society

    finds ways of silencing them and pushing them to the margins. It is little wonder that religious people have doubts when they are surrounded by people who don't have any religion and who would wish to destroy the faith of those who do.In our present age, too, there is an

    added dimension that makes faith in Allah difficult for some to hold onto. Islam is presented on television, in the news, and on the radio, as the religion of intolerance and extremism. It is portrayed as violent and aggressive, and Muslims are shown as suicide bombers, terrorists, and fanatics.With so much rubbish heaped on Islam, it is not always easy

    to keep a firm eye on what is true. Muslims are being made to carry the blame for those whose actions reflect badly on Islam, as well as for lies about Islam itself.So where is the way out of all this? If you are having difficulty holding on to faith, what is to be done?Well, first of all, we are obliged as Muslims to pray five times a day. In His wisdom, Almighty Allah has chosen this as one of the things that Muslims must do. The five daily prayers give a routine to our day, placing Allah at the center and making everything else revolve around Him. If we fail to observe these five daily prayers, it is only natural that our faith will weaken.So, a sure way of preserving one's faith is to pray. Pray more than ever, not just the five prayers. Beg Almighty Allah to accept your prayers and to open your mind and your heart to His greatness.Pray, even when you see no light. The One Who is Light itself will

    Feeling Depressed and SuicidalQ: I have spent a depressed life since my childhood as my parents separated and I was brought up by my mother only. Now I have been suffering due to the obstacles to get married, even though a lot of efforts were made by my mother to find a suitable proposal for me. I am facing taunting behavior from my family and society. Now its getting unbearable for me. Sometimes I think I will not be able to survive anymore. I think about committing suicide and getting rid of all the troubles of my life. I have no siblings and have felt lonely throughout my life. But I cannot live alone the rest of my life because being a single woman is really hard in my society. I feel vulnerable and insecure. How can I survive alone? There is no way for me.

    Answered by Aisha Mohammed-Swan

    Dear SisterI am sorry to hear about what you are going through. I can hear your pain through your question and it truly makes me sad. It sounds as if your parents separation had a huge impact on your life, your emotions as well as your mental health and your ability to connect with others. While I am not clear

    on your relationship with your dad, or if you even had one, it seems you have been missing a lot of nurturing, affection and acceptance since you were a child. This appears to have had an effect on your self-esteem, self-worth and ability to appreciate the beautiful, intelligent, pious young woman that Allah has created. You stated your family and your society are taunting you, which is a very cruel thing to do as well as un-

    Islamic. They should be ashamed of themselves.My dear sister, while we cannot go back and change the past, the abuse or trauma you might have suffered, I can only say that we have the power and ability to change our future. You are only 29 years old. While I understand that in your society that may be old, trust me sister, in other societies (many, in fact) it is not old at all.

    remove your darkness. There is an old saying that we become good by doing good things. Hold on to the five daily prayers, and your life will revolve around Allah. Fail to pray, and your faith will become weak.Another thing we can do when our faith is weak is to think about others. Instead of focusing on our own inner struggles, think about those who are less fortunate than you. Try to help others. An act of kindness to a poor person will please Allah, but it will also help you. You will find that your good deeds reflect back on you.Count all the blessings you have in life. Instead of wallowing in inner despair, look at all the good things you have. Without at first asking where they came from, count up all the blessings and favors you have every day, like good health, sight, friends, family.The month of Ramadan is a chance for you to deepen your faith, but Allah calls us to Him not only in Ramadan but every day. Be faithful to prayer, try to read and recite more of the Quran, read about Islam and the lives of its great heroes. Do deeds of charity to win Allah's favor.Cling to what little faith you might have, that Allah may bless you and increase your faith. It is in times of darkness that our faith can grow, helping us to be strong for others later on.Faith means precisely believing something we cannot see. Cling to the fact that Allah has called you to be Muslim. Allah is Merciful and Compassionate. Do what Allah has commanded and He will reward you. n(www.onislam.net) (Ask About Islam)

  • ISLAMIC VOICE, November 2015 21OpeN SpaCeLessons From My Recent Trip to the USA

    This age has given us many freedoms. It has also given us

    immense opportunities. Wise planning means

    recognizing these many opportunities-

    opportunities in various fields, including in

    business, social work, education and dawah or inviting people to

    God.

    By Maulana Wahiduddin Khan

    Recently, members of the Centre for Peace and Spirituality, including myself, went on a two-week trip to the USA. We left New Delhi on 26th August 2015 and returned on 9thSeptember. The trip was at the invitation of one of the largest Islamic organizations in the USA, the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). They were holding their convention in Chicago, to which we were invited. Besides Chicago, we also visited Washington DC, Pennsylvania, and New York.During this trip, with Gods grace, I got to speak at different venues and to meet many people from different walks of life and backgrounds. At the ISNA convention, there was one point in particular that I stressed: that today we are living in the Age of Peace. The Age of Peace is the title of my latest book, which was released during this trip at the ISNA convention as well as at the United States Institute of Peace, a centre set up by the US Congress in order to promote peaceful methods of conflict-resolution.There is a hadith, full of wisdom, that I cited in relation to this Age of Peace that we are living in today. The Prophet is reported to have said: Ala al-aqil an yakunabasiram bi zamanihi. (Ibn Hibban). From this hadith, we learn that wise is he who understands the age in which he lives.This hadith reflects the importance of something that is really crucialthe need for wise planning. Only if you properly understand and appreciate the conditions of your times, can you engage in wise planning. Planning is about availing the opportunities afforded by the age in which you live. If you have no idea about the conditions of your times, you cannot avail the opportunities that they make available.In my address at the ISNA convention, I stressed that one special characteristic of our contemporary age is freedomtotal freedom. Before this, the world never enjoyed total freedom. One major reason for this was because much of the world was then under monarchical rule, when only the monarch enjoyed total freedom while everyone else were his subjects. But today, we live in a very different age, an age of democracy, an age where it has been accepted that each individual has the undeniable right to be free. There was no such freedom in the past. When the Prophet was in Makkah, the early Muslims were prevented from praying at the

    Kaabah. Today, in contrast, there is no such restriction on people praying. Muslims and everyone else can pray anywhere in the world you like and no one is going to stop you. Isnt that amazing! The Prophet and his companions had to face opposition when they wanted to worship at the Kaabah, and today Muslims are free to build mosques in every country and worship there, without any problem. This is freedom, the freedom that we now enjoy in this new age.If, in line with the message of the hadith referred to above, you want to understand todays age, you must keep in mind that one basic feature of this age is freedom.

    And what is freedom?Basically, it is the freedom to avail or make use of available opportunities. This age is an age of an explosion of opportunities. There is a great abundance of opportunities available all around us today.On the one hand, this age has given us many freedoms. On the other hand, it has also given us immense opportunities. Wise planning means recognizing these many opportunitiesopportunities in various fields, including in business, social work, education and dawah or inviting people to Godand then using the freedom we have been blessed with to, properly avail of these opportunities. There is no restriction on your doing any of this, except for one thing: you must not harm or trouble anyone else. As long as you refrain yourself from harming others, no one will stop you from using your freedom to avail of the many opportunities that abound today.Let me cite a story to illustrate this point. When America won independence from Britain, an

    American man, overjoyed at the news, stepped out of his home and into the streets to celebrate. In his joy, he waved his hands about, and by mistake, struck a passerby on the nose. The angry passerby asked him why he had hit him. The man said to him, Weve won freedom, and Im now free! I was exercising my freedom! The second man replied, Yes, you are free, but your freedom ends where my nose begins!In my address, I related this story and talked of 9/11, the destruction of the twin towers in New York. This crime was like hitting the industrial nose of America, I saidand this is totally unacceptable. One cannot avail of existing opportunities if one misuses ones freedom in order to hurt, damage and kill others. You will have to save yourself from hitting other peoples noses if you are to be eligible to enjoy

    the freedoms and avail of the many opportunities that todays age has opened up. You will have to refrain from violence, from suicide-bombing, from the gun-culture and the bomb-culture. Only by avoiding hurting and harming others can you progress. This is another point that I stressed

    in my address.ISNA, I said, is working in a peaceful way. It is a huge organization. They are doing a lot of work, especially in the field of social service.The audience really appreciated this point. There were some 10,000 people in the audience.Near the Chicago airport, a group of Muslims of Turkish background have established a very large institutionthe Turkish-American Society (TAS). This centre is associated with the movement led by the well-known Turkish

    Muslim scholar, Ustad Fethullah Gulen. We visited the centreand this was, again, a great experience. In my interaction with the people associated with the centre, I said it was so remarkable how the movement led by Ustad Gulen had spawned an educational empirein the form of hundreds of high-standard schools across the world, in more than a hundred countries! I also remarked that the Turks had established the Ottoman Caliphate, that lasted for a long time, but then conditions in the wake of the First World War led to its collapse. In accordance with the changing conditions and demands of the times, Ustad Gulen had very rightly focused his attention on non-political workon promoting education. He caught hold of the root, as it were, education being an issue of the utmost importance. He helped set up a big number of

    good schools in many countries. Interestingly, he did not talk about establishing universities. Nothing happens through universities unless the schools that feed the universities are good. You need proper schools, schools that provide proper education and moral training. And thats what

    Ustad Gulen put so much stress on.How truly amazing it is that the Turks had established a vast political empire which came to an end in the early 20th century and then how a group of Turks set about establishing a non-political educational empire! God selected them to tell the world not to lament the passing of an age, but, instead, to recognize the new opportunities afforded by the new age and to work accordingly.So, in America today, the ISNA has established a social service

    empire and the movement led by Ustad Gulen an educational empireall using peaceful means. Muslims must reflect deeply on the hadith referred to above. They must seek to understand its contemporary relevance and its deep wisdom. From this hadith I understand that although the times or the age may change, opportunities never cease. If one age passes away, you must not think that all is lost. Instead, you must seek to understand the conditions and demands of the new age, discover the opportunities that it affords and, accordingly, work in a new way.I thought to myself, On our trip to America, my friends and I travelled more than 30,000 kms in just 15 days, doing dawah work! This is such a great blessing, isnt it? Earlier, this was simply unthinkablegoing

    to so many places, so far away, and in such a short time! It is this that is what I call a dawah empire. A dawah empire is not based in some fort or castle. Theres no role at all for a fort, for a gun, for war, in a dawah empire. The role is that of peaceful effort. On our trip, we met with many peopleChristians, Muslims, Hindus and othersand

    we talked about dawah with them. We engaged in dawah with them. And in this we faced absolutely no obstructions at all. I was so touched! Here I was, an Indian, coming to America all the way from India and engaging in dawah there, inviting people to God, and not a single person stopped me! How amazing, isnt it? Compare this with the times of the Prophet Muhammad and other prophets. The prophets had to face stiff opposition to their dawah work. But now, in our age, one can engage in dawah without any obstruction whatsoeverthe only condition being that you should have no hate, no complaint, in your heart against anyone. The origin of every evil is complaint. Complaint leads to hate; hate leads to enmity; and enmity leads to violence, to war, to suicide-bombing, to the gun-culture and the bomb-culture. And the result of all of this is nothing but destructionnothing positive at all.

    The Quran is the basis of our mission. In the Quran, God says: Read! Your Lord is the Most Bountiful One who taught by the pen

    Wherever I traveland this happened in America on our recent trip as wellI meet people who are searching for a message

    that addresses their minds. A message that addresses their innate nature. A message of spirituality. A message that has nothing to do with political wrangling and conflict.

    Page 22

  • ISLAMIC VOICE, November 2015 22SOul talk

    Being the TruthTruth is simple. But for the very reason that it is simple, people will not take it; because our life on earth is such that for everything we value, we have to pay a great price and one wonders, if truth is the most precious of all things, then how can truth be attained simply? It is this illusion that makes everyone deny simple truth and seek for complexity. Tell people about something that makes their heads whirl round and round and round. Even if they do not understand it, they are most pleased to think, 'It is something substantial. It is something solid. For, it is an idea we cannot understand, it must be something

    lofty.' But something which every soul knows, proving what is divine in every soul, and which it cannot help but know, that appears to be too cheap, for the soul already knows it. There are two things: knowing and being. It is easy to know truth, but most difficult to be truth. It is not in knowing truth that life's purpose is accomplished; life's purpose is accomplished in being truth.Sufi Hazrat Inayat Khan Hazrat Yahya Bin Muaaz (RA) said: Your brother is he who alerts you to your faults, and your true friend is he who warns you of your sins.

    Hazrat Dawood Taai (RA) said: Appoint an affectionate friend to constantly remind you of your faults. People are of two kinds, either your brothers in faith or your equals in humanity.

    - Hazrat Ali (RA) Remain silent until you are requested to speak, for that is better than speaking until you are requested to become silent.

    - Imam Ali (RA)

    Harmony is Religiousness

    Those who have imbibed the essence of religion in their

    lives will never take to violence,

    however great be the provocation, as they

    know for sure that truth can never be defeated

    by force.

    By Brahmakumar Nikunj

    We live in a world where violence has become so pervasive that most of us don't even know, or care about insurgencies and civil wars raging in different parts of the world. But this was not the case a few years back when any incident of violence on a large scale anywhere in the world received much attention and was treated as a matter of great concern. This was mainly because such incidents were very few are rare.However, today, the scenario has changed with modern armoury built up by majority of the countries who are striving hard to expand their borders or control within, as a result of which, we have been witnessing many armed conflicts that have been going on for years and have killed or maimed lakhs of people.If not the rest of the world, one would expect that those indulging in the violence would be having second thoughts about what they are doing. But that is not so. The reason is that behind most of this violence lie political, social, economic or ideological factors, and the perpetrators think it is

    Qualities to CultivateEvery virtue that we

    are to develop in ourselves through our actions towards others

    has its origin and perfection in God.

    Let us turn again to the Divine Names, this time recalling our discussion of what Islam requires of man. As we make our way through the Qur'an, we are reminded persistently of the attributes of God and the qualities that we are supposed to cultivate in ourselves. It is not long before it dawns on us that there is considerable intersection between the two, for almost every virtue that we are to develop in ourselves through our actions towards others has its origin and perfection in God. For example, we are to grow in beneficence, benignity, bountifulness, clemency, compassion, faithfulness, our willingness to forgive, generosity, gentleness, givingness, graciousness,

    justified to use it to achieve their goals. Thus they commit the most heinous crimes in the name of a just cause.It is said that religion is supposed to uplift man from the artificial divisions devised by humans and elevate him to a stage where he realises the oneness of humanity and its link with Almighty. But unfortunately, most of the people do not ponder over these philosophical matters.Their link with religion is limited to its superficial ritual aspects. As a result, they identify with people who have the same

    religious beliefs as themselves, but regard people of other faiths with indifference, suspicion or hostility.With the advent of the 21st century, many people in the world have started leading purely materialistic lives and have no link at all with the concept of religion. But they begin to identify with religion when communal divisions become heightened in a society. Thus, instead of being a unifying force, religion has become the basis of fragmentation in society and has emerged as the most potent tool for motivating violence.History has shown that since time immemorial, every religion in the world has propagated

    non-violence, because real strength lies in non-violence. Hence reacting to the slightest provocation is not considered as a sign of strength, but our inability to tolerate.Those who have imbibed the essence of religion in their lives will never take to violence, however great be the provocation, as they know for sure that truth can never be defeated by force.Remember, the essence of a religious life is soul-consciousness, or the awareness that we are all souls. Once we gain this awareness, and realise

    that we are all One Almighty's children, we would start radiating positive energy all around, thereby making the world free from the dark shadow of violence forever. n( h t t p : / / w w w .deccanherald.com/c o n t e n t / 5 0 6 3 2 2 /h a r m o n y -

    religiousness.html)

    honorableness, justice, kindness, knowledge, love of others, mercy, peacefulness, protectiveness of the weak, truthfulness, trustworthiness, and wisdom. Yet, these originate in God as His attributes of perfection. Thus, by developing these attributes in ourselves, we are actually growing nearerto use a Qur'anic termto their infinite source. Hence, the

    more we come to possess these qualities, the more we may come to know God. Since it is possible for human beings to experience and acquire these virtues at higher levels than other creatures, they have the potential to relate to God in a uniquely intimate way.(Jeffrey Lang, Even Angels Ask, Amanah Publications, USA, 1997, p.47)

    (96:3-4). In earlier times, this was possible only in a limited way. People used to write out texts by hand, and that took much time and effort. When I was studying in the madrasa, I once copied out an Arabic course book by hand! But today, in our age of the printing press and the Internet, you can produce and disseminate books at the touch of a button, and on a massive scale. This is one of the many blessings of God that have appeared in this age. Another such blessing is that no matter what your background or educational qualifications, you can devote yourself fully to dawah work. This

    Page 22 Lessons From My Recent Trip...is such a mobile age! People are constantly moving about today. You interact with many people every day. You can keep dawah-related literature with you and distribute it to people you meet. Thats an easy way to do dawah work. We should be grateful that God has blessed us with so many opportunities to do this work in this age.Wherever I traveland this happened in America on our recent trip as wellI meet people who are searching for a message that addresses their minds. A message that addresses their innate nature. A message of spirituality. A message that has nothing to do with political wrangling and conflict. A message free of hate. Everyone seems to be searching for this. But only God can satisfy this inner thirst. And that indicates the importance of dawah, of inviting people to God.

    The 20th century was an age of social movements, among Muslims and others too. There was an explosion of such movements all across the world. But all of them somewhere got stuck in politics. And where politics appears, protest, complaint and hate inevitably raise their ugly heads. These things are not innate in human beings as created by God. Rather, they are fomented by ambitious, power-hungry leaders.Today, people are thirsty for peace, for spirituality, for positivity. An entire century went off, full of political talk, of hate talk. But today, in the 21st century, people want all this to be dumpedall talk of politics, of hate, of violence. They are looking for what their innate nature wants. I see this wherever I go. If the 20th century was an age of hate, of politics and of confrontation, our age isor can betruly The Age of Peace. n

  • ISLAMIC VOICE, November 2015 23OpINION

    Dear Readers We wish to inform you that Islamic Voice takes no responsibility for the validity of the commercial or matrimonial advertisements which are published in the paper. The information and content in the advertisements has to be verified by the readers themselves if they are using the products and the services. - Editor

    What Can We Learn From Pope Francis as Muslims?

    Pope Francis, in recent times, has gained the

    admiration, love and respect of people of all faiths, including Muslims. In many

    ways, Pope Francis embodies the sunnah

    of the Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh)

    By Saud Inam

    It is in the example of Pope Francis, that we see the example of one who of another faith becoming successful in his or her life in spirituality, character and leadership. And, I believe as Muslims we can learn from the Popes successes by seeing how it mirrors the sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him),What are some lessons we can learn from Pope Francis as Muslims?

    Character is ImportantYou may not agree with Pope Francis or his positions, but you have to admire his character. Few leaders today show the character Pope Francis shows in his speech and actions. It is his character that draws people to love him, admire him and respect him so much. I am reminded of the power of character in the life of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) prior to receiving revelation from Allah.He was known as Al-Amin (The Trustworthy) and was known in Makkah for his character. It was Prophet Muhammads character that drew people close to him, drew admiration for him and increased love and respect for him. Thus, we learn that in our lives, character is extremely important in gaining the pleasure of God first, and the love, admiration and respect of people. Prophet Muhammad said: I have been sent to perfect good

    character. (Muwatta 1614)

    LeadershipIn these times where politicians speak a lot about promises and change, Pope Francis exhibits exceptional leadership and actually walks the talk. And, we are in dire need of people who walk the talk.Prophet Muhammad had many great attributes, one of which was his ability to show excellent leadership. There is a difference between being a boss and a leader. The Prophet used to lead by example, not just talk. He used to suffer with the community and used to feel their pain and also taste their success when they succeeded. Thus he was a leader who was aware of the challenges of his community and a leader who took charge of situations.The Pope does all of this in so many beautiful and humbling ways.

    Finding Confidence in FaithPope Francis finds his confidence through his faith. His faith guides his decisions, and he draws examples from the Bible to guide his decisions and actions. For some people, finding that faith is something that should be private and not discussed publicly, is irrelevant, and does not offer solutions to the problems of the world. Pope Francis is an example of how faith can be relevant and offers solutions to the world.Prophet Muhammad offered solutions to the challenges facing his community. Islam, in fact, offers solutions to many of the challenges our world faces today. Unfortunately, some Muslims are unaware of how to apply Islam

    to their lives and communities challenges. Some even shy away from their Muslim identity in public or tone it down.This is the opposite of Prophet Muhammad, who spoke with confidence about Islam and was confident in his identity, belief, values and morals. And, this is the opposite of how Pope Francis lives his life and leads his congregants.

    Taking Unpopular PositionsIn these difficult times, Pope Francis is exhibiting strength of character by taking positions on issues that many other politicians and religious leaders, who are tied down by various influences, interest groups and pressure, are unable to do. He takes unpopular positions on issues and topics, which in this day and age is extremely difficult to do while living under the relentless microscope of the media, with its power to demonize, shame or mock celebrities, politicians and religious leaders.Pope Francis speaks truth to power and does so in a position of confidence.We remember that Islam was unpopular during the life of

    Prophet Muhammad. He took popular positions on issues facing the people of Makkah including, but not limited to fighting for womens rights, the rights of the weak, human rights, environmentalism and other social justice causes.

    Make Faith RelevantLastly, Pope Francis makes Christianity and faith in general

    relevant in a significant way. He draws inspiration from the Christian faith to address the challenges facing the world. In a world that largely makes religion to be irrelevant, he has boosted confidence in the religious community to apply faith and religion to solve the challenges of the world.Prophet Muhammad made faith relevant to the challenges of his time and Muslims should start to do the same by applying Islamic principles, values and beliefs to address the challenges in their own communities.As Muslims we should be inspired and encouraged by Pope Francis and learn how a man of God in a world that seeks to make religion irrelevant is so successful in using faith as a source of good. His actions and words should push us to study the seerah and the character of Prophet Muhammad and embody his sunnah in our lives only then will we gain not only the love of the people, but also the love of Allah.(Saud Inam is a Muslim American activist, social entrepreneur, blogger and Project Manager for Discover Islam-USA a Muslim American media company dedicated to producing high quality media about Islam and Muslims. He is always on the lookout for more opportunities to help empower the Muslim American community.) Source: (http://www.patheos.com/blogs/altmuslim/2015/09/what-can-we-learn-from-pope-francis-as-) I n

    Prophet Muhammad took popular positions on issues facing the people of Makkah, including,

    fighting for womens rights, the rights of the weak, human rights, environmentalism and

    other social justice causes

    Therefore, your age is just a matter of perspective.Additionally, you have many options in life. You just need the confidence and creativity to explore them. I would kindly ask you to take an inventory of who you are! Make a list of all your good qualities; I suggest no less than 10. Then make a list of all the things you would like to learn, study. Make a third list of your dreams and aspirations and review them daily. I would like for you to insha' Allah begin to see yourself for who you truly are and not for the things that are missing (dad, siblings, etc), or the things you once wished for. Rather, create a bright new future based on what you want to do and accomplish. That is where the lists come in. The lists will help you sort out your feelings and build up your self-esteem and confidence as you write down your good attributes, your blessings and aspirations. There is something empowering about seeing all your good points and goals written out. If read them

    daily, they become part of us while the old parts from our past, which were formulated by negative messages, begin to fall away, and we can begin to shine.I realize you want to get married. However, sister, I urge you to do this self work first before pursuing a marriage. It is like when you find a lovely little flower bud, you must give it water and sunshine and pluck away the surrounding weeds in order for it to grow, open its lovely petals and blossom. People are a lot like that, too, and since it appears you were not nurtured to that point yet, you must do it yourself. Many young women such as you have had to do that. There are no perfect families. In fact, some families are downright dangerous for children and should be dismantled. You have grown into a wonderful young woman, you just need to realize it. It also seems that your mom did take good care of you, despite your need of other things to feel whole. She did her best with the circumstances

    she was given. With this said, I pray to Allah that you will begin to grow and bloom into your full purpose and internal beauty. It will take some work to develop your self-esteem and feelings of self worth, but I am confident you can do it. I believe in you. Once you begin to ignore the hurtful words of others and hold your head high, once you begin to love yourself, you will find a whole new world opening up to you. You may want to go to a university, you may want to travel or visit another country, or you may want to do charity work in your community. You may find that you want to join Islamic study groups for learning or Islamic social groups for enjoyable times. The possibilities are endless. How? Well, the fact is the more we get involved with life, with stepping out of our comfort zone and trusting Allah to guide us in new experiences, the more new doors open and the better opportunity we have to make lasting friendships, to develop new interests. Dear sister, you know suicide is not

    the answer. You know it is a sin as well. I believe you love and fear Allah too much to do such an act, and I believe you are better, stronger, and more resilient than that. You will not be alone the rest of your life. You will blossom into the beautiful flower filled with confidence and joy. Make duaa, ask Allah to guide you on this new journey, stay close to Allah for He does love you sister very much.Lastly, I kindly ask that you seek out the services of a counselor for this new journey. Counseling will help with your depression as well as helping you continue to make progress when you feel like giving up. A counselor can also be a good referral system for support groups and other needs you may have.You are in our prayers dear sister, please let us know how you are doing. Remember, you will not be alone, this is just a life test, a phase. You will emerge from this seemingly dark cocoon into the light as a beautiful butterfly strong and grateful to Allah that you passed this test of not only

    struggle, but a test of your faith as well. n(Aisha Mohammed-Swan received her PhD in psychology from the University of Integrative Learning in 2000. Aisha worked as a Psychologist for 12 years for Geneva B. Scruggs Community Health Care Center in New York with a focus on Depression, Anxiety, Marriage/Relationships, Community-Cultural Issues, and Life Stages).(www.onislam.net) (Ask About Islam)

    Page 20 Feeling Depressed ...

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  • ISLAMIC VOICE, November 2015 25MISCellaNY

    A Tale of a Leader and a RulerPope Francis and

    King Salman

    Pope exhibited extreme humility. The Custodian roamed about in luxury cars with a huge

    entourage. Pope wanted the people to give up materialism.

    Saudi royal family is notorious for its ostentations. What a contrast!

    House of Saud cloak themselves in the cloth of religion. To what extent do they embody Islamic values?The Pope conveyed the teachings of Jesus. He called on every Catholic parish to take in a refugee. To what extent do the Saudis exemplify the teachings of Prophet Mohammed? Saudi Arabia, like other Gulf States has not provided refuge to a single Syrian refugee (though others would argue that they have

    brought in Syrians and others as indentured workers).Saudi Arabia is not a signatory to the seminal treaties dealing with refugees. Giving protection to the persecuted, lies at the heart of Islam. The first Islamic

    state, inaugurated by the Prophet Mohammed was actualized after the prophet and his companions took refuge in Madinah from the oppression of the tribes in Makkah. In Saudi practice, we find a surreal version of religion.Whilst the Pope has no military divisions, Francis spoke eloquently with moral authority for an end to war and human calamity. He urged an end to the supply of weapons to leaders that kill civilians. Saudis continues to bomb Yemen and bring incredible suffering to millions of civilians. It uses it largesse not in the service of the poor. Instead, it props up authoritarian leaders like Al-Sisi in Egypt to thwart freedom.Francis called for the giving up of unbridled materialism. The Saudi Royal family are notorious for ostentation and their lavish lifestyles amidst a sea of poverty. They have transformed the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah into glitzy Las Vegas style mega

    hotels and malls on steroids largely affordable by only the rich. They reap super profits from

    the Hajj, which is increasingly beyond the financial reach of the poor.Francis called for fair treatment of all human beings including immigrants. The Saudis are served by millions of foreign workers who subsist under brutal conditions akin to slavery. Women are treated as second class citizens. The system is riven with secrecy, corruption and sloth, favoring the elite, at the apex of which is the Royal family.Members of the Royal family are notorious for their debauchery in foreign lands. Given the Saudi lack of transparency, the world might never know the actual number of deaths in this years Hajj stampede, or exactly why it happened (whether due to a convergence of pilgrims, heat or exits being blocked to accommodate a member of the Royal family).

    By Ziyad Motala Washington, D.C. played host to Pope Francis and the Chinas Premier Xi Jinping last month. Commentators made comparisons of the symbolism and the lessons to be drawn from the visits of the contrasting leaders. But here is another comparison, perhaps more worthy of consideration.A few weeks ago, the Saudi m o n a r c h K i n g S a l m a n b i n Abdulaziz Al Saud visited Washington D.C. The Pope is the spiritual leader of a billion Catholics. Salman claims to be the custodian of the two holy mosques visited by millions of Muslim (especially during the Hajj) and in the direction to which many of the 1.6 billion Muslims pray daily. Saudi Arabia is the heart and birth place of Islam.The symbolism and substance is dramatic in its contrast of the best and worse not in religion but in leadership. The optics speak for itself: Francis was driven around Washington in a small Fiat. Salman procured a fleet of luxury cars to ferry him and his entourage to the Four Seasons Hotel. The entire hotel was bought out for the duration of his visit. Red carpets were laid out

    throughout the hotel including the car park so the King would not touch the tarmac. The hotel was outfitted with gold mirrors, gold tables, gold lamps and gold hat racks. Francis mingled and inspired the crowd. He was embraced for his common touch, humanity and moral authority. His message was one of humility, peace, rejection of abject materialism and profligacy, justice, redress of economic inequality, climate change and embrace of the downtrodden including the hundreds of thousands of refugees, the overwhelming majority of whom are Muslim. Most Muslims would say these are the values of Islam, which emphasize equality, justice, truth, charity, compassion, cooperation among nations, mutual consultation in the affairs of the community and a government that operates under the rule of law. The

    Francis exhorted tolerance, religious or otherwise. The Saudi rulers show scant religious or political tolerance. They promote Wahhabism, a strict (and in my opinion, narrow minded) interpretation of Islam. Both Al Qaeda and ISIS are offshoots that emerged from distorting an already hardline Wahhabi

    ideology. The ISIS practice of destroying ancient sites, because it is associated with idolatry, finds its roots in Saudi practice.Pope Francis with moral clarity expressed concern about human behavior and its implications for human rights, poverty, refugees and a myriad other concerns affecting the powerless. We most

    certainly did not hear any words of inspiration from Salman on the pressing human rights issues confronting the world or benevolence towards the Syrian refugees.The preeminent Saudi concern remains the security of the House of Saud, U.S. supply of arms, which they now use to bomb Yemen back to the Stone Age, and ensuring the global supply of oil, which funds the vast Royal family. Francis extolled the virtue of human dignity. Saudi Arabia has sentenced hundreds of people (including juveniles) and executes those who show dissension against the

    authoritarian leaders. I believe the Saudi leadership bends religion and distorts its precepts to justify their authoritarianism.In a speech at West Point in 2014, President Obama spoke about leadership and seeing the world as it should be, where the aspiration of human beings are met. We did not hear Obama leaning on the monarch to take in Muslim refugees from Syria or Saudi human rights abuses, which plague the Muslim world and ultimately has repercussions for the international community. For short term gain, western leaders cannot continue the folly of embracing the Saudi leadership.As much as many recoil at the bigoted and anti-Muslim sentiments expressed by the leaders of Hungary and Slovakia towards the Muslim refugees, or the offensive statements of several of the Republican nominees for President, the actions of the Saudi kingdom is worse. Its bigotry and lack of humanity knows no bounds.

    Muslims in the West are constantly called upon to repudiate the savagery of extremist groups like ISIS, Boko Haram and other terrorist formations. These groups are not representative of Islam. Nor are many of the political, social and religious practices of Saudi Arabia. The Pope delivered the message of Jesus and profoundly affected millions of people across religions and nations.Does the custodian of the holy mosques represent the values of the Prophet Mohammed? n(Ziyad Motala is a Professor of Law at Howard Law School in Washington, D.C.)

    Saudi monarchys bigotry and lack of concern for humanity knows no bounds.

    Francis was driven around Washington in a small Fiat. Salman procured a fleet of luxury

    cars to ferry him and his entourage to the Four Seasons Hotel.

    While Pope urged cutting away supplies to dictators and tyrant rulers, Saudi Arabia

    remains the largest importer of arms.

    Child Rights Activist, Aziza Rahimzada Speaks up for Refugee Kids

    14-year-old Afghan girl, Aziza Rahimzada, has been nominated for the International Childrens Peace Prize. At the age of just 14, Afghan rights activist Aziza Rahimzada has already surmounted legal hurdles preventing 25,000 refugee children from attending school, and cajoled authorities into providing tap water to a camp housing more than 100 families.

    Now she has been nominated for the International Children's Peace Prize -- an award previously won

    by Malala Yousafzai -- and, like her Pakistani counterpart, hopes to spread her message of universal education and fundamental rights for Afghanistan's youth. "These children are the products of war," Aziza said during an interview with AFP from the Kabul camp for internally displaced people where she was born after her family fled fighting in the Parwan province in 2001. n

  • ISLAMIC VOICE, November 2015 26NatIONal affaIrSSustainable Development Goals

    The world nations have now chalked

    out sustainable development goals to ensure that the world is a more peaceful, prosperous place

    with equity for all.

    As the current year turns off on December 31, the nations of the world will start following a new Agenda for development which is Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with a target year set at 2030. These follow Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which were pursued since conference at Rio (Brazil). The SDGs are an inter-governmentally agreed set of targets relating to international development. The Heads of States and the members of the United Nations who gathered to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the UN at New York adopted the new 17 goals and committed themselves to achieve the target of ending poverty, hunger, improving health and education, making cities more sustainable, combating the climate change, and protecting oceans and forests. They have set 169 goals to be achieved by 2030. The Intergovernmental Negotiations on the Post 2015 Development Agenda (IGN) began in January 2015 and ended in August 2015. Following the negotiations, a final document was adopted at the UN Sustainable Development Summit on September 2527, 2015. The title of the agenda is Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

    17 Sustainable GoalsEnd poverty in all its forms everywhere. (Currently poverty is defined as people who live on an income of $1.25 (Rs. 80) a day. End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agricultureEnsure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all agesEnsure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for allAchieve gender equality and empower all women and girlsEnsure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for allEnsure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for allPromote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for allBuild resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovationReduce inequality within and among countriesMake cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainableEnsure sustainable consumption and production patterns

    Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts*Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable developmentProtect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and

    reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity lossPromote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levelsStrengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development

    Targets for 2030 AD

    HealthTo, reduce the global maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 per 100,000 live births To end preventable deaths of newborns and children under 5 years of age, with all countries aiming to reduce neonatal mortality to at least as low as 12 per 1,000 live births and under-5 mortality to at least as low as 25 per 1,000 live births To end the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and neglected tropical diseases and combat hepatitis, water-borne diseases and other communicable diseases To halve the number of global deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents

    EducationTo ensure that all girls and

    boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and effective learning outcomes To substantially increase the number of youth and adults who have relevant skills, including technical and vocational skills, for employment, decent jobs and entrepreneurship To substantially increase the supply of qualified teachers, including through international cooperation for teacher training in developing countriesTo ensure womens full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life To enhance the use of enabling technology, in particular information and

    communications technology, to promote the empowerment of women To expand international cooperation and capacity-building support to developing countries in water- and sanitation-related activities and programmes, including water harvesting, desalination, water efficiency, wastewater treatment, recycling and reuse technologies

    Energyensure universal access to affordable, reliable and modern energy services increase substantially the share

    of renewable energy in the global energy mix double the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency To enhance international cooperation to facilitate access to clean energy research and technology, including renewable energy, energy efficiency and advanced and cleaner fossil-fuel technology, and promote investment in energy infrastructure and clean energy technology

    Economic GrowthTo sustain per capita economic growth in accordance with national circumstances and, in particular, at least 7% GDP growth per annum in the least developed countries

    Infrastructure

    To Enhance scientific research, upgrade the technological capabilities of industrial sectors in all countries, in particular developing countries, including, To encourage innovation and substantially increase the number of research and development workers per 1 million people and public and private research and development spending

    Reducing Inequality

    To progressively achieve and sustain income growth of the bottom 40% of the population at a rate higher than the national average To facilitate orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration and mobility of people, including through the implementation of planned and well-managed migration policies To reduce to less than 3% the transaction costs of migrant remittances and eliminate remittance corridors with costs

    higher than 5%.

    Sustainable ConsumptionTo Implement the 10-year framework of programmes on sustainable consumption and production, all countries taking action, with developed countries taking the lead, taking into account the development and capabilities of developing countries To achieve the sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources To halve per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reduce food losses along production and supply chains, including post-harvest losses

    Conserving Ocean Resources

    To prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities, including marine debris and nutrient pollution To conserve at least 10% of coastal and marine areas, consistent with national and international law and based on the best available scientific information To effectively regulate harvesting and end overfishing, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and destructive fishing practices To significantly reduce all forms of violence and related death rates everywhere To end abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against and torture of children To provide legal identity for all, including birth registration

    (Note: We have selected only a few among the 169 targets set by the UNDP. For more log on to: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/post2015/transformingourworld)

  • ISLAMIC VOICE, November 2015 27INter-faItH HarMONY

    POSITIVE THOUGHTS

    Yet To Experience God MISCellaNY

    In an ancient temple, a number of pigeons lived happily on the roof top.

    When the renovation of the temple began for the annual temple feast the pigeons relocated themselves to a Church nearby.

    The existing pigeons in the Church accommodated the new comers very well.

    Christmas was nearing and the Church was given a facelift, All the pigeons had to move out and look for another place.

    They were fortunate to find a place in a Mosque nearby, The pigeons in the Mosque welcomed them happily.

    It was Ramadan time and the Mosque was repainted, All the pigeons now came to the same ancient temple.

    One day the pigeons on top found some communal clashes below in a market square.

    The baby pigeon asked the mother pigeon

    "Who are these people ?

    The mother replied; they are "Human beings".

    The baby asked,

    But why are they fighting with each other...?

    The mother said "These human

    beings going to temple are called 'Hindus' and the people going to Church are called 'Christians' and the people going to Mosque are called 'Muslims'.

    The Baby pigeon asked, "Why is it so?

    Look, when we were in the Temple we were called Pigeons, when we were in the church we were called Pigeons and when we were in the Mosque, we were called Pigeons.

    Similarly they should be called just

    'Human beings' wherever they go"?

    The mother Pigeon said,

    'You and me and our Pigeon friends have experienced God and that's why we are

    living here in a highly elevated place peacefully.

    These people are yet to experience God.

    Hence they are living below us and fighting and killing each other.

    The Abrahamic ReunionBringing Faiths

    Together To Bring Hope To The Holy

    Land

    The Abrahamic Reunion, a group of

    spiritual leadersJews, Christians, Muslims,

    and Druzehave been working together for 10 years promoting inter-religious harmony in

    the Holy Land.

    By Christopher E. Miller Imagine a Holy Land where all the major Abrahamic Faiths cooperated with each other respectfully and regularly held joint meetings and celebrations. What would it look like if the faiths honored their storied histories and intertwined prophetic traditions, joining forces to work for the betterment of all in the Holy Land?This is what the Abrahamic Reunion (AR) is working towards, a microcosm of what could be if the Holy Land would be what it should bededicated to its holiness rather than fixated on its distinctions. The founding principles of the AR reflect this, as they aim to share the belief in one God by understanding each others religious customs, spiritual practices, prayers and values, turn all religions into a force for people and to respond to the needs in the Holy Land by establishing ongoing projects that embody our ideals, to name a few.It is understandable that all sides have great reasons to not trust, cooperate or extend friendship to each other; there are great wounds on all sides. Yet, there are greater reasons still in the common

    bond of faiths amongst all these religions springing from the tents of Abraham, Sarah and Hagar.It was from these and the prophetic visions of Abraham that the great monotheistic religions of the Middle East were born. Did not Jesus say in the parable of the Good Samaritan to treat all with neighborly charity and kindness? Did not Muhammad live side by side with Jews, and is it not written in the Quran: To you be your religion, to me be mine. (109:6)? Does not the Torah say Love your neighbor as yourself in Leviticus?Since its foundation in 2004, the AR has relentlessly brought together Jewish, Christian, Muslim and Druze religious leadersmen and womento eat, walk and pray in friendship and peace. The AR brings a vision of harmony into the Holy Land that is a great hope for all those who see it when responding to violence with affirmations of support, unity and friendship. They remind faiths that coexistence is not only possible,

    but also fruitful.Following the 2014 Gaza War, the AR led a multi-faith peace walk through Nazareth shortly after it had faced riots. They gathered around a synagogue in the primarily Arab town of Shefaram, which had been hit with a Molotov cocktail, to gather in prayers from all the faiths to affirm its place in the city. The AR also signed a declaration of religious tolerance: Signed November 30th at the House of Hope, Shfaram:The Abrahamic Reunion, a

    group of spiritual leadersJews, Christians, Muslims, and Druzehave been working together for 10 years promoting inter-religious harmony in the Holy Land. We are women and men of the faiths of this land our land who meet together, walk together, eat together, and pray side by side in mutual respect. We demonstrate by our personal example that we can live together in peace and cooperation. At this difficult time, we want to reaffirm to the public our heartfelt conviction, that (within) our religions are the pathways of love and peace. We condemn the violence, hatred, racism, and suffering being inflicted upon our communities in the name of religion. We believe and we teach that the holy places of all the religions in the Holy Land must be respected, and not defaced in any way, for any reason.We are the Children of Adam and Eve, the Children of Abraham. To our regret, recently we have forgotten that we are from the

    same family. Arabs and Jewslet us remember that we are one family.More often than not, the media emphasises the voices of

    defamation, religious violence, and separation, and the Holy Land is very self-segregated, with walls, checkpoints and villages each holding to their own faith. It is necessary to bring down the walls of stereotype and false perception, and there are many people working

    towards this who wish for peace amongst the religions of the Holy Land. This is demonstrated by the composition of the AR. It is led by peacemakers from all over

    the world. Each event held by the AR gathers over 100 people to study each others texts, visit other religions holy places and meet other religions leaders. For many who attend it, it is their first encounter of other religions holy words, often being surprised to

    find out how much in common each scripture has.Elias Jabbour, a founding AR member, is fond of saying Give me the price of one fighter jet for

    the cause of peace!Despite the political and secular peacemaking processes stalling, the AR continues to build bridges for a religious peacemaking movement. n(please visit our website: abrahamicreunion.org)Peace, Salaam, Shalom

    We are the Children of Adam and Eve, the Children of Abraham. To our regret, recently we have forgotten that we are from the same

    family. Arabs and Jews let us remember that we are one family.

  • ISLAMIC VOICE, November 2015 28Two Beautiful Days!

    It was clearly evident from all that Sadath Sahib said and the way he spoke that he was deeply concerned for our well-being and that he saw the workshops he has been conducting for so

    many years as a spiritual mission.

    Thank you Sadath Bhai for inspiring me to be my word on that rainy day! Thats one of the many things I learnt at that wonderful workshop!

    Being My Word

    By Nigar

    Some people living in a city may never bother to visit its beautiful gardens or monuments because they assume that one day, some day they will see them, and they land up never doing so! They take them for granted and do not to value them.It was quite the same with me, working as associate editor with Islamic Voice for several years and yet not taking the trouble to discover the Discover Yourself workshop which Sadath Bhai, editor of our magazine, launched more than a decade ago. All these years, his workshops were just another page in the magazine for me to edit every month! On a few occasions, I would scamper to the workshop on the last day to collect

    some good sound-bytes from the participants for the page. That was the most that I took interest in the workshop, besides having attended it only once, many, many years ago. And so it remained till last month, when I participated in a two-day workshop that Sadath Bhai conducted at Bangalores

    Al-Ameen College.Of the many gems of wisdom that Sadath Bhai shared with us at the workshop Id like to mention two brilliant ones. One was about the

    state of Lalooking at things, situations, events, incidents and people from a state of nothingness. A second gem was Being your word. On the concluding day of the workshop, Sadath Bhai told us that putting into practice the wisdom of the workshop was the way forward. I got a chance to try to do just that the day after the workshop got over.That dayit was a Sunday--I discovered that the cat food at home was almost over. A team of cats regularly come over to our home, and I love feeding them. Being Sunday, the pet food shops I knew of were closed. I took a chance and called up another store for pets, and I was told that they were open, up to 8 pm! That was a

    By Yoginder Sikand

    Ive known Sadath Sahib for over 20 yearslong before he started the Discover Yourself workshop. I first heard about the workshop many years ago, and later had come across regular reports and raving reviews about it in the pages of Islamic Voice. I had plenty of opportunities to attend the workshop all these years, being based, off and on, in Bangalore, where Sadath Sahib also lives. Yet, I never seriously considered doing so.There were many reasons for this. For one thing, I didnt think that I needed to do the workshop. I had read I cant remember how many books about self-help and counseling, about psychology and the skills of managing ones emotions, and so what new thing could I learn from a two- or three-day workshop? Surely, I thought, the many books I had read on the subject were quite sufficient for my purposes. They certainly contained more information than what one man could convey in a workshop over two or three days!A second reason why I didnt feel enthused about participating in the workshop was that I was skeptical of the claim, made by many workshop participants, that

    it could remarkably transform ones life. How can you turn over an entirely new leaf in just two or three days, I wondered? It sounded just too good to be true! And so, I put it down as sheer exaggeration and presumed it was a publicity gimmick.How quickly we come to conclusions based on our presumptions, even if we have absolutely no basis for them! How judgmental and self-righteous we often are!A third excuse I made up in order

    not to attend the workshop was that I was just too busy with very important things to take the time off that the workshop demanded. It just wasnt worth it, I told myself.And so, for these and other reasons, each time the opportunity to participate in the workshop came my way, I turned it down.

    But guess what?Last week, I found listening in rapt attention to Sadath Sahib as he led a two-day workshop at Bangalores Al-Ameen College! And guess what else?It was one of the most beautiful and beneficial experiences Ive ever been blessed with! You really must believe me when I say this!During the workshop, Sadath Sahib reminded us about many things weve already heard or

    read about but which we so easily choose to forgetabout God, the Hereafter, and the purpose of our lives; about connecting with God and submitting to His will; about realizing or discovering ourselves; about how peace can be only be had by connecting with our Creator; about the need to introspect and to stop blaming

    others for our troubles; about accepting reality, rather than denying it; about being ourselves and accepting others just as they are, rather than judging and criticizing them; about the need to recognize that our views about things are often just opinions and that we should respect the right of others to view things differently from us; about the need to try to explore why people behave the way they do, instead of condemning them for it; about the need to move from egocentrism to genuine concern for others; about living life as God wants us to, and not as the ego urges us to; about love and compassion; about being happy and helping others be happy too; about the need to be aware, from moment to moment,

    of our thoughts and actions and the fact that we have a choice to respond positively, rather than react negatively, to challenging situations; about handling relationships in a harmonious way; about training oneself spiritually in such a way that we do not react to what others might do or say that might cause us to lose our peace; and about how it is oneself, not others, that must work on changing. And so on.All this and more you might find in a whole range of books on self-help and spirituality, but based on my two days at the workshop, I can confidently say that it is an entirely different thing being in the company of a coach (as Sadath Sahib described his role in the workshop) who has tried to put what he talks about into practice in his own life. Being in, and benefitting from, the presence of someone who seems a transformed person in many respects is a truly amazing experience. Sometimes, simply being with someone who exudes positivity and compassion can itself be a transformative experience without him or her having to utter even a single word. This importance of sohbat or sangat, spiritually-enriching company, is something that various spiritual traditions give great stress on. Spending those

    two days with Sadath Sahib were definitely inspiring.Sadath Sahibs sincerity, dedication, drive, commitment, passion and energy, so evident throughout the workshop, were truly amazing! Even as we participants were comfortably ensconced in our chairs, he was up and on his toes and speaking almost continuously, sending out powerful, infectious positive energy, peppered with brilliant humour! It wasnt a dry and drab affair at all. There was much laughing and joking! I never knew Sadath Sahib had such a wonderful, childlike sense of humour (How easily we judge people based on limited knowledge!).It was clearly evident from all that Sadath Sahib said and the way he spoke that he was deeply concerned for our well-being and that he saw the workshops he has been conducting for so many years as a spiritual mission. Even at 65 years of age, he continues to travel, around India and abroad, seeking to bring people out their self-imposed misery and into God-consciousness, and helping them pick up the broken pieces of their lives, heal their emotional wounds and mend their sundered relationships. How many of us would have the drive and zeal to do this sort of thing, month after month, year after year? Even though I am almost 20 years younger than Sadath Sahib, I dont think I have even a quarter of his enthusiasm and energy!The Discover Yourself workshop is based on an Islamic paradigm, and, typically, most workshop participants are Muslims. But in the workshop I attended, many of the participants were from other religious backgrounds. Even then, what Sadath Sahib spoke and the way he connected with us was such that it could readily appeal to people of other faiths too. He supplied the Sanskrit equivalent for certain Arabic terms, and his stress on the oneness of God and the way of life, of surrender to Gods will, that all the many messengers that God has sent to the world have taught, was something that people in the audience who were not Muslims might have easily appreciated and related to. For me, the workshop was a great blessing. I thank God for this. Those were truly two beautiful days!May God bless Sadath Sahib for his noble efforts and lead Him to be an instrument for guiding many more people in the future! n

    refleCtIONS

    Page 30

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    Page 28

    CHILDREN'S CORNER

    Enhance Your

    Word Power

    Being My Word ...great relief! I thought Id go over in the evening to pick the food up. I spent the day doing various things, and as evening descended, I felt a sense of laziness coming over me. Oh, the cats can drink milk tomorrow, instead of cat food, a voice inside me said. Why go all the way now to get the food? To add to my dilemma, clouds were gathering in the sky, heavy and dark. I knew it was going to rain. What if I dont get an auto-rickshaw? I began to fret. My mind began to swing!Just then the workshop wisdom prevailed over my reasons and excuses. I recalled what Sadath Bhai had said about being your word.Love for the innocent cats overflowed just as the clouds opened up in a heavy shower of rain! I dashed out of the house and into the lashing rain. An auto-rickshaw sailed towards me. I hopped into it, and off we went to the pet shop. I hadnt been to

    this shop before, but we managed to get there. I fetched a bag of cat food, and came back in the same auto, down roads that had turned into a sea of muddy water. I felt so joyful! I held the cat food bag close to me like a treasure, protecting it from the rain! I was joyful! God had helped me to keep the word I had made to myself! I knew the cats wouldnt growl at me for not giving them cat food for one day and giving them milk instead. Yet, I felt committed, no matter whatrain or sunshineto fill their bowls with the food they so dearly loved.When I see the cats munching their snacks up so happily and looking so content, its a slice of heaven on earth for me!Thank you Sadath Bhai for inspiring me to be my word on that rainy day! Thats one of the many things I learnt at that wonderful workshop! n

    Words Related with Election ( )

    Election: The process of choosing law-makers and their head from among a variety of candidates. ()

    Byelection: An election held in between general election to fill a vacancy in legislature caused due to death or resignation of a legislature. ( ) Manifesto: A declaration of principles, policies and programmes by a political party made prior to elections. ( )

    Constituency: The area or body of voters represented by a legislator. ( )

    Ballot: The system of voting secretly and in writing on a particular issue.

    Referendum: The system of asking people to vote on a proposal in order to determine choice of people on an issue before making law. It is also called plebiscite. ( )

    Presiding Officer: An officer who supervises the conduct of voting. ( )

    Returning Officer: The officer in-charge of counting of votes who declares the names of the successful candidate. ( )

    Countermanding: To cancel or revoke voting. ( )

    Delimitation: To establish limits

    or demarcate a constituency for electoral representation. The constituencies for Parliaments and Assemblies are freshly demarcated after every 25 years in India. This is done to ensure that these constituencies are well balanced in terms of number of voters. ( )

    Proportional Representation: This system varies from country to country. In some countries, the people vote for parties and parties in turn nominate the members to the legislature in proportion to their vote in an election, e.g., If a party gets 45% of the popular vote, and the legislature has 200 seats, this party will be entitled to nominate 90 members for the house. This system accords priority to the political party. In some places, the communities are assigned the number of seats in proportion to their share in population. ( )

    First-past-the-post system: Major democracies like the US, the UK and India follow this system. Under this system, the person who tops in matters of taking votes is elected to the legislature. It is a winner-takes-all system while all other candidates who may have together received

    more than 50% votes get nothing. ) (

    Polling Booth: The place where votes are cast. ( )

    Dual member constituency:

    A system in which the winner as well as the person who was runner-up, both are elected to represent the constituency. Some countries such as Mauritius have this system. It is done in order to ensure maximum representation. .( )

    Run-off Voting: It is a system of voting system in which voters cast their single vote for one among the many candidates. If no candidate receives the required number of votes (which is usually 50%), a second ballot is held in which top two vote gainers of the first round are allowed to run. France, Afghanistan,

    Austria and several countries elect their president via run-off voting which ensures that the elected person always gets a majority. ) 50 (

  • ISLAMIC VOICE, November 2015 31adVertISeMeNt