Salalah – City Of The Prophets

Tomb of the Prophet Imran [PBUH]

The first time I heard of Salalah was through a friend of mine in Dubai who, like me, is very found of exploring new places. When I saw the pictures of the place I was quite impressed with the greenery. Think of Middle East and images of desert and the date palm trees comes instantly to the mind. Salalah looked different with its virgin beaches, coconut and banana trees, and some stunning views of waterfalls. That was how I made up my mind to go to Salalah.

The wait was finally over when I visited the place with my family early this month! Continue reading Salalah – City Of The Prophets

Book Review: Chasing A Mirage

Chasing A MirageChasing A Mirage: The Tragic Illusion of An Islamic State
By Tarek Fatah
Wiley, 2008, Pages: 410
Reviewed by Ayub Khan

It is a tragedy of the post-911 world that the field of Islamic concepts and terminologies have also fallen a victim to misunderstanding, misinterpretation, and plain hysteria. Continue reading Book Review: Chasing A Mirage

Indian Deobandis Against Terrorism: Reiterating A Historical Tradition

Following the massive anti-terrorism convention organized by the Dar ul-Ulum Deoband two months ago, literally dozens of such public meetings have been held by Muslim groups, particularly those led by Deobandi ulema, across India. Ulema who have addressed these rallies have insisted that terrorism has no room in Islam, some of them going so far as to issue fatwas to that effect, and also calling for inter-communal harmony. Continue reading Indian Deobandis Against Terrorism: Reiterating A Historical Tradition

Kaifi Azmi – The Poet And The Man

Kaifi Azmi“Tu jo bejaan khilonon se bahel jaati haiy

Tapti saanson ki haraarat se pighul jaati haiy
Paaon jis raah mein rakhti hai phisul jaati haiy
Bunkey seemaab hur ek zurf mein dhul jaati haiy
Zindagi jihad main hay sabar kay qabu main nahin.

Jannat ek aur hay jo murd kay pahloo main naheen.

Uski azaad ravish pur bhi machalna hay tujhey

Zeest key aahni saanchey main dhulna hai tujhey
Uth meri jaan mere saath hi chalna hai tujhey.” Continue reading Kaifi Azmi – The Poet And The Man

Politics Of Identity And Intolerance

Shivaji MaharastraOn fifth of June (2008) a group of followers of Shiv Sangram Sanghtan (SSS), led by a former MLC of Nationalist Congress party, attacked the house of editor of Loksatta, a prominent Marathi daily, Kumar Ketkar and tried to break open the house. They broke the glass panes, did other possible damage and smeared the house with coal tar, before leaving. Continue reading Politics Of Identity And Intolerance

A Great Step Towards Shia-Sunni Unity

While Browsing the net this morning I came across a piece of news in Times of India which caught my attention, It says ” Setting a new tradition in Lucknow which has a long history of Shia-Sunni riots, a handful of Muslims belonging to the Sunni sect offered namaz at a Shia mosque here this Friday.

The proposal, considered as a move to end the decades long animosity between the two sects that had clashed several times, especially during the month of Moharrum over taking out of processions and their routes, had come from noted Shia cleric, Maulana Kalbe Sadiq, who is also the vice president of the Muslim Personal Law Board.

Sadiq had proposed to offer the Eid namaz led by the Naib Imam of Idgah on Eid which is still some months away but this Friday, Padamshri Haji Kalimullah of Malihabad led a delegation of about 20 to the historical Asifi mosque to offer namaz.

The namaziz were led by, Maulana Kalbe Jawwad, who welcomed the move by the Sunnis of Malihabad.

In reciprocation, Shias would offer namaz next Friday at a Sunni mosque in Malihabad, he said.

Terming the move as a new beginning, Jawwad said a message of unity would go from here and prove a dampener on the designs of some vested interests bent upon creating rift within the community.

A Sunni scholar who also offered prayers at the Asifi mosque said when both sects offer namaz together at Kabaa why can they not do the same here” [Times Of India]

This step is certainly going to boost the efforts of those who are trying hard to bridge the gap between two sects, Lucknow has got a history of violence between these sects on many occasions and many innocent people lost their lives in such riots but I believe now the things are going to be bright, this is the second great step by the Muslim community in recent past to denounce violent activities , the first being the Fatwa from Darul Uloom Deoband to denounce the terrorists who are using Religion to justify their terrorist acts.

Lets hope and pray that this time these efforts are being held seriously by the members of both the sects and they will put an end to this conflict of 1400 years.

The Kite Runner

Cover - The Kite RunnerThere are writers and there are good storytellers. But, seldom you find a writer who is also a good storyteller. Khaled Hosseini is that rare breed of writers. With ‘The Kite Runner’ he has created a masterpiece, one that will move even the stone-hearted. The book has been on the New York Times bestseller list for over two years now and translated into 42 different languages. Unfortunately it took a while to lay my hands on a copy.

The plot revolves around Afghanistan, Pakistan and the US. The novel is a touching account of a friendship that goes beyond tribe and colour. The story of Amir the Pashtun flying kites with Hassan the Hazara, whom he ultimately betrays in a different way. It is the story of a war-torned region that forced many Afghans to leave behind their life earnings to move out of the country. It is also the story of a country’s stunning transformation from one that revelled in kite flying tournaments to one that flogged women in public if not modestly dressed. Hosseini has woven stories within the story to make it an entertaining read. His characters breathe life. At times you could actually feel the story as it happens.

The book also touches upon the plight of the hazara tribes in Afghanistan. How they are looked upon as lowly creatures by their own fellow countrymen. The coming of Taliban spelt doom for this tribe and Hosseini minced no words in highlighting this.

The author captures a rare beauty of Afghanistan as seen by his protogonist Amir. And why not, Hosseini was born in Kabul but the poilitical situation forced his family to seek asylum in US. It’s his longing for the Afghanistan of his childhood that reflects in his writing.

“The streets glistened with fresh snow and the sky was a blameless blue. Snow blanketed every rooftop and weighed on the branches of the stunted mulberry trees that lined our street. Over-night, snow had nudged its way into every crack and gutter.”

‘The Kite Runner’ is all about the pain of leaving one’s homeland, rediscovering our true selves, and a hope for a better tomorrow. The message is simple, ‘it’s never too late to start!’

And there’s no way you can’t but admire Khalid Hosseini as a storyteller. Read it!

Rajnath Singh At BJP National Executive – Two Steps Backward

Rajnath SinghBJP National Executive which was scheduled to hold its meeting in Jaipur had to change the venue to New Delhi (1-2 June 2008) because of the recent Gurjar protests. I just went through the text of Rajnath Singh’s speech on the occasion and it is a message to the party to start preparing for the 2009 parliamentary elections. Continue reading Rajnath Singh At BJP National Executive – Two Steps Backward