Monthly Archives: April 2011

Who Is A Progressive Muslim?

A progressive Muslim is one who is firmly grounded in the Qur’anic values of truth (haq), justice (‘adl), compassion (rahmah), wisdom (hikmah) and does service to others rather than being served by others. A progressive Muslim does not believe in sectarian Islam (sunni or shi’ah or Isma’ili or Deobandi or Barelvi or ahl-e-hadith or salafi Islam but rises above all these sects and gives importance to Qur’an above everything else. A progressive Muslim is least influenced by personal prejudices and always gives more importance to knowledge than his opinion. Qur’an condemns prejudiced opinion (zan) and promotes knowledge (‘ilm). lso a progressive Muslim celebrates diversity as diversity is creation of Allah and if Allah desired He could have made entire humanity one community. (5:48). The Qur’an also says, “And of His signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth and the diversity of your tongues and colours. Surely there are signs in this for the learned.”

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Celebrating Bihar’s Birth: Will It Help Remove The Tag Of Bihari?

No amount of parade and celebration on July 14, the 1789 French Revolution day, can perhaps remove the expression ‘French leave’ from the English dictionary (or filer à l’anglaise, that is, ‘English leave’ from the French vocabulary). Similarly no grand function and musical programmes on the occasion of Bihar Diwas on March 22 can perhaps prevent senior students in the campuses outside the state from poking fun at their juniors from Bihar. They may still be addressed as Harries in their hostels in Delhi and West Uttar Pradesh. It was in 2010 that the Nitish Kumar government celebrated this occasion for the first time. Many people would argue that it took 98 years for the state to realize that this is something to observe. They would attribute this to the lack of Bihari sub-nationalism, which has kept the state backward. The slur ‘Bihari’ started causing discomfort to many educated Biharis, both Hindus and Muslims. Even if Bihar gets developed the slur Bihari would not lose its meaning. Continue reading

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India In 2011: Some Highlights

By the end of 2010, with a population of over 1210.2 million, India alone accounted for 17.5% of the world population, whereas China accounted for roughly 19.5% of the world population. The population of India is almost equal to the combined population of U.S.A., Indonesia, Brazil, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Japan put together (1214.3 million)!Pondering deeply into the facts, one can see a quite alarming sign that there has been a steep decline in child sex ratio. In the 0-6 years age group, the population comprises of 52.24% male children as opposed to 47.76% female children. The utterly distressful fact is that there are only 914 girls for every 1000 boys in the age group of 0-6 years. This figure is the lowest in recent Indian history. Except for only 7 states, rest everywhere there has been a noticeable decline in the child sex ratio. The reasons for such a low sex ratio range from illegal abortion of female child, to female feticide, to female infanticide. Thanks to the desire for male child. Continue reading

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Islam Is Not Just “Rituals”

Of course namaz and fasting are important institutions in Islam and their performance is a farz on the Muslims. But should they be treated as mere rituals? Or is there a wider meaning to them? Unfortunately, the JUH pronouncements seem to reinforce the centuries old ritualistic notion that restricts Islam to a mere belief in “five pillars” namely, faith in Allah and Prophet Muhammad, the five times prayers, the Ramazan fasting, the Hajj and the concept of Zakat. Identity markers such as a long beard for men and the hijab or burqa for women also form part of this superficial characterisation. The question is: could this have been the concept of Islam that was propagated by our beloved Prophet? Islam is actually a system of moral and legal codes which proposes to regulate society on the universal principles (termed maroof by the Quran) of justice, fairness and equity through the institutions of prayers (salaat or namaz), fasting (saum), Hajj and zakat (compulsory tax). Continue reading

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Closer Look: The Role Of Ulema

Ulema are considered as inheritors of the prophets. Ulema themselves explain their exalted position by saying that this is so because prophets didn’t leave behind any wealth except wealth of knowledge and ulema as a group have over fourteen hundred years preserving and propagating this prophetic knowledge. But what has been the role of Ulema in recent years?Flash forward to present times and you will see ulema who are related to each other through blood and marriages are fighting among themselves for their piece of Jamiat, to control Darul Uloom Deoband, or to gain some political benefits. All this is going on when just a few years ago Sachar Committee report put numbers on Muslims’ socio-economic backwardness.What we need is actually an equal partnership between ulema and the “modern-educated “both balancing out each other’s skewed world and Islamic view and learning from each other. Continue reading

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What Makes Mr. Advani Sad?

Mr. L.K. Advani, once again, describes December 6, 1992 as a saddest day of his life, not because Babri Masjid was pulled down on that day, but this day damaged the credibility of his party. Mr. Advani is not apologetic over demolition of Babri Masjid. He is not apologetic over putting blot on India. He is not apologetic over the death of thousands of Indian citizens because of his Rath Yatra and the seed of hatred he sowed between Hindus and Muslims. He is not apologetic over Gujarat genocide of 2002. He is not apologetic over damaging thousand years of communal harmony. He is not apologetic over damaging of Indian economies following brutal attack on minority communities across India. He thinks giving reservation to Muslims or allowing them to open their schools and institutions is not in the interest of the country, while he forgets Muslims’ progress is also India’s development. Continue reading

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