Ignorance is a bliss

“No Muslim should attend the funeral or even try to pray for Salmaan Taseer,” a statement from Jamaate Ahle Sunnat Pakistan, one of the biggest organisations of the Barelvi, representing 500 religious scholars, said. “We pay rich tributes and salute the bravery, valour and faith of Mumtaz Qadri.”

“The supporter is as equally guilty as one who committed blasphemy,” the Jamaate Ahle Sunnat Pakistan statement said. It added that adding politicians, the media and others should learn “a lesson from the exemplary death”.
Read the whole story in Guardian.

I must say I am not surprised at this reaction from the (self-proclaimed) ‘religious’ scholars in Pakistan. Some of the (slightly more) educated are also behind Qadri’s actions, there is a facebook page paying tribute to this barbarian. I wonder how many of them actually understand Qura’an as most of the people ‘endorsing’ Qadri on Facebook are undergraduates. The interesting fact though is that many of them are foreigners ‘not’ Pakistanis. Goes to show Mullah has been at work outside of Pakistan too.

All of this, in defense of the draconian and controversial blasphemy law which has nothing to do with Islam in the first place! None of these (so-called) scholars or their followers have researched or consulted others on the issue of blasphemy. Those scholars who oppose the implementation of this law are silenced and blamed for apostasy. The first lesson of Islam is tolerance, but situations like these cause many other Muslims to re-evaluate their religion, but there is no other source for them except for these intolerant clerics. Since when Islam became so complicated? Every cleric is a vatican on Islam in his own domain and the ignorant masses have no where else to go besides them for ‘religious teachings’.

It is time for all of us, to make a choice. Either embrace the religion of sword, or come towards the religion of peace. Why is it that we cannot learn religion ourselves? God has given us brains, which is more open to facts than those of the clerics. Religion is something that is an individual’s attribute, it has no impositions, especially Islam.

The mullah has his own agenda, he has distorted Islam to gain power both politically and psychologically over the masses, cashing in on the most fundamental attribute of life, religion. The apprenticed masses blindly follow the word of the mullah, they are completely unaware of the fact that what they think is Islam, in reality it is anything but Islam. They are unaware of the fact that their actions are hurting the cause of Islam and strengthening its enemies. But I guess for them, ‘ignorance is a bliss’.

An apology letter for Quaid-e-Azam on his 134th Birthday

Dearest Father of the nation,

Quaid-e-Azam, Muhammad Ali Jinnah

May your soul rest in peace. Today on your 134th birthday, I wish I could give you something. I know what you wanted from your nation, but I am sorry we as a nation have let you down. I know we didn’t live up to your expectations as much. I understand, the Pakistan today isn’t what you dreamed of. I am sorry about that.

I am sorry we made corrupt people as our leaders, who robbed us and took everything away. I am sorry we didn’t find any leader like you in the past 62 years, so we had to settle for the feudal ones. I am sorry for the fact that we failed to ensure security of each and every individual living here. I am sorry we failed to preserve the rights of the minorities, instead we persecuted them. I am sorry we don’t have any Pakistanis here, but we do have Sindhis, Punjabis, Pushtoons, Saraikis, Baluchis, Mahajirs etc. I am sorry we don’t have any Muslims here either, but we do have Sunnis, Shias, Deobandis, Barhelvis etc. I am sorry we failed to develop like India or China, but the good thing is (I hope you will be thrilled to hear that) we still have IMF supporting us.

I am sorry we cannot reduce poverty, hunger, illiteracy and lawlessness because we have to spend the money we have on our leaders, parliamentarians and the military. I am sorry we let our talented youth go to waste due to our ignorance. I am sorry we let the illiterate religious leaders use us for their interest, sorry that we have to follow those who called you an infidel and Pakistan an abomination. I am sorry no place of worship is safe here and I am dearly sorry that we are now listed among the top 10 dangerous countries in the world. I am sorry that this country which was meant to be the fort of Islam, is a disgrace to the very cause.

Dear Quaid-e-Azam, on your 134th birthday, I am sorry we are even worst than what we were, back when you gave us the most cherished gift of all, ‘freedom’.

I am sorry.

An example of how to use blasphemy law

KARACHI: A doctor has been arrested on charges of blasphemy in Hyderabad, police said on Sunday.

Naushad Valiyani was detained on Friday following a complaint by a medical representative who visited the doctor in the city of Hyderabad.

“The arrest was made after the complainant told the police that Valiyani threw his business card, which had his full name, Muhammad Faizan, in a dustbin during a visit to his clinic,” regional police chief Mushtaq Shah told AFP.

“Faizan accused Valiyani of committing blasphemy and asked police to register a case against the doctor.”

Shah said the issue had been resolved after Valiyani, a member of the Ismaili community apologised but local religious leaders intervened and pressed for action. – Express News

This is what I have been bragging about. This is exactly why blasphemy law is not Islamic. A fine example how in Pakistan, one can cause distress to their foes on the basis of blasphemy law. This will be one of the many cases as the name ‘Muhammad’ is very common in the Islamic world.

What’s more alarming is that there are many manufacturing industries which are named Muhammad. Let’s assume for a moment there is a candy manufacturer named as ‘Muhammad industries‘, now a kid who is going to eat that candy from ‘Muhammad industries‘ and throw the wrapper away (which has the name of the company printed at the back), doesn’t know he is going to be accused of blasphemy and will be put into confined prison for God knows how many months.

Does Islam allow such lunacy and shallowness? All those who are for the blasphemy law “Do you still think it is Islamic?”. It doesn’t bring any glory to Islamic traditions, rather it deteriorates the image of a peaceful and tolerant religion.

Pakistan and the dehumanisation of minorities – Ishtiaq Ahmed

(The following article was written by Ishtiaq Ahmed, it was published in Daily times on 7th December 2010.)
How do we explain that despite several Sufi shrines being targeted by suicide bombers, the Ahle Sunnat ulema are demanding that Aasia Bibi should be executed? How can the Ahle Sunnat ignore that fact that they themselves are on the hit list of extremists who consider them guilty of crimes no less serious than blasphemy?

Professor Brij Narain was a famous Lahore-born academic whose books on economics were on the required reading list of the curricula of pre-partition universities. Enamoured by Jinnah’s English lifestyle and mannerism and himself strongly secular and idealistic, Brij Narain underestimated the morbid impact of the rabidly anti-Hindu and anti-Sikh rhetoric of the 1945-46 election campaign in Punjab. He developed a strong set of arguments to prove that Pakistan was economically feasible and viable. When partition took place in mid-August 1947 and Lahore was burning, he continued to believe that Hindus like him could be Pakistanis like any other community. A mob arrived at his door and mercilessly killed him notwithstanding his pleas that he supported Pakistan.

Miss Ralia Ram was a Lahore-born Christian lady who wrote letter after letter to Quaid-e-Azam warning him about Congress machinations. She too believed in the righteousness of Pakistan. Her letters are easily accessible in the several volumes of the Jinnah Papers. Fortunately in 1947, Christians were not a target group. Many Hindus and Muslims saved their lives by faking a Christian identity. Both in Amritsar and in Kasur thousands of Muslim refugees received medical aid from Christian volunteers.

Even more interesting is the fact that the majority of Punjabi Christians supported the Muslim League’s case for Pakistan before the Punjab Boundary Commission. Their leader, S P Singha, argued that the Christians would rather have a united Punjab, but if Punjab were to be divided they could expect better treatment in Pakistan than in caste-ridden India. The leader of the Anglo-Indians Mr Gibbon informed the Punjab Boundary Commission that the Anglo-Indians were happy to be in Pakistan. They regarded Lahore and West Punjab as their homeland.

I have already mentioned in an earlier op-ed that the leadership of the Ahmediyya community was deeply worried about persecution in a sectarian Pakistan. However, just before the partition of India it was decided to support the Pakistan movement (Munir Report 1954: 196-7). Thereafter the Ahmedis put all their efforts behind the Muslim League’s campaign. Sir Muhammad Zafarullah Khan, a leading member of the Ahmediyya community, presented the Muslim League case before the Punjab Boundary Commission with sterling competence. The counsel for the Congress Party, Mr Setalvad, could not restrain himself from publicly paying compliments to Zafarullah during the proceedings. In 1947, the Ahmedis were still included in government statistics among Muslims, and that alone had inflated the Muslim percentage of the Gurdaspur district to a bare majority of 51 percent.

All such stories sound unreal in the light of the Pakistan experience. The Hindus were naturally the first to flee from Pakistan. The next to exit were the Anglo-Indians. The Ahmedis started seeking refuge in the west in the 1980s. Only in Sindh a Hindu minority survived while in the rest of Pakistan mostly the poorest Christians stayed put because they had nowhere to go.

Ridiculing Sikhs as simpletons is a prejudice that still survives in Pakistani Punjab, but their leaders proved to be the most farsighted in anticipating the type of Pakistan that would emerge. In the second half of May 1947, the Sikh leaders met Jinnah in Delhi. Jinnah and Liaquat had come fully prepared to convince them to support the Pakistan demand. They told the Sikhs to write down whatever they wanted and it would be granted. The charm offensive, however, was too late in the day. Earlier, in March 1947, Sikh villages in the Rawalpindi, Attock and Jhelum districts had borne the brunt of mob attacks at the hands of Muslims. At least 2,000 Sikhs lost their lives.

No Muslim League leader, including Jinnah, issued a public statement condemning those attacks. I have looked in vain in the two main English-language newspapers of pre-partition Punjab, the Tribune and The Pakistan Times as well as in the Jinnah Papers for any evidence of the condemnation of that outrage. In the event, Hardit Sikh Malik, who acted as the spokesperson for the Sikhs told Jinnah that they could not risk their future on his promises; the day he is gone things would change. He was right.

I have always held the view that the anti-minority stance took birth at the time of the 1945-46-election campaign in the Muslim-majority provinces of north-western India. Once it was born, it assumed a life of its own. Only someone totally naive can believe that Jinnah’s August 11, 1947 speech was a magic mantra that could suffice to make it vanish. Already in early 1951, the ulema of all Sunni sub-sects — including the Barelvis — and the Ithna Ashari Shias had signed the 22-point Islamist agenda for an Islamic state prepared by Maulana Maududi. Gradually that agenda encroached on the constitutional and legal machinery, culminating in the Islamisation measures of General Ziaul Haq.

The mindset that such measures generated percolated all sections of society, with a few honourable exceptions. In the current situation, while President Zardari and Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer are willing to spare the life of the Christian woman, Aasia Bibi, who most certainly has been wrongly framed on charges of blasphemy, federal Law Minister Babar Awan has made theatrical pronouncements in support of the draconian Blasphemy Law, thus undermining his own government. The legal fraternity remains badly divided. While the Lahore High Court has issued a stay order against the reprieve granted by the president, the President of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA), Ms Asma Jahangir has boldly criticised that decision. The confusion is absolute.

How do we explain that despite several Sufi shrines being targeted by suicide bombers the Ahle Sunnat ulema are demanding that Aasia Bibi should be executed? How can the Ahle Sunnat ignore that fact that they themselves are on the hit list of extremists who consider them guilty of crimes no less serious than blasphemy? The Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) is considered a ‘democratic, parliamentary’ party by some western academics. I have seen with my own eyes a doctoral thesis passed by the reputable Gothenburg University of Sweden in support of JI’s democratic credentials. Its leader, Syed Munnawar Hassan, has also demanded that Aasia Bibi should be put to death. That is the type of democracy the JI actually represents.

Can one seriously believe that all these people who are crying for the blood of a poor Christian woman are doing this for their love for Prophet Mohammad (PBUH)? Perhaps, but what a love!

The writer is Professor Emeritus of Political Science, Stockholm University. He is also Honorary Senior Fellow of the Institute of South Asian Studies, National University of Singapore. He can be reached at billumian@gmail.com

FREE ISLAM FROM PAKISTAN (via IJQURESHI’S ThinkPad)

FREE ISLAM FROM PAKISTAN A nation was born in 1947 name Pakistan. It was created on the basis of 2 nation supposition Muslim and Hindus. Muslims of sub continent under the leadership Quaid-e-Azam liberated Pakistan from British Raj. Since 1956 this country ,that was formed in the name Islam doing injustice with Islam. Pakistan is the only country who has damaged and maligned Islam more than any other Islamic country of this world. In the land of Pure Muslims whether shia … Read More

via IJQURESHI'S ThinkPad

Islam: Religion of Peace (Part 9: Khomenism)

PreviousPart 8

There is a long history of growing Iranian consciousness of its exploitation and enslavement by foreign powers of one type or another. Despite the fact that a very large majority of Iranians are Muslims.  One cannot ignore the fact that Iranians have never been able to forget or forgive the conquest by Arabs of their homelands. Although the wounds appeared to have been healed long ago and many potent factors such as commonality of religion and common enmity against other countries have played an important role in cementing the Iranians to the Arabs, it cannot be denied that there is still an undercurrent of dissatisfaction at the Arab domination of Iran for the past few centuries. One must also bear in mind that in the pre-Islamic era, Iran could boast one of the most powerful and illustrious civilizations ever to have influenced mankind anywhere in the world. At the inception of Islam, the Arabs knew of only two worlds—that in the West, dominated by the Roman Empire, and that in the East, commanded and governed by the Chosroes of Iran. The memories of that remote and glorious past, though subdued to some extent by the strong influence of Islamic brotherhood, could not entirely be wiped out. There always has been along and lingering shadow of the great Iranian civilization in the hearts of Iranian intellectuals.

The long history of Iranian-Arab feuds and Iranian punitive excursions into Arabia also left ugly and irritating scars on the Arab minds which even the great healer, time, could not obliterate. This is only human. People throughout the world may sometimes find it difficult to dissociate themselves from the past or to forget injuries and insults to their honor. Such chapters of history are never permanently closed but are opened again and again.

Let us now turn to more modern times It is not against the Arabs alone that the Iranians have been nursing their grievances. During the Second World War, the Iranians were subjected to a worse kind of domination by predominantly British forces. Whilst in the Arab case there had at least been the redeeming factor of a common cultural and religious bond, in the case of the British the chasm between the ruler and the ruled, rather than narrowing grew wider. Nor could it be bridged by any social, cultural or religious similarities.

After the decline of British influence there followed an era of indirect control and subjugation of Third World countries by the major powers through stooges and puppet regimes. It was in this period of neoimperialism that the Iranian protégé was transferred from the British lap to the American lap. The Shah of Iran thus became a symbol of American imperialism which supported conflicting ideologies to its own as it does today, for example, in Poland, Nicaragua, Israel and South Africa.

The fuel of hatred which was ultimately sparked off by the Khomeinian revolution was not only a product of American oppression but had been accumulating for centuries, like the subterranean reserves of oil and gas. The important point to note is that this hatred was not essentially religious in origin. If Khomeini had not exploited the hatred in the name of Islam, some communist leader would certainly have exploited it in the name of social justice. Whatever religious or irreligious name was given to the revolution, the underlying forces and factors would remain the same.

I have pointed out many times to those who regard excesses committed by Khomeini against some of his own people, and acts of revenge perpetrated in other countries, as Islamic in character that Islam as a religion has nothing to do with the expression of Iranian dissatisfaction. In a manner of speaking, the West should treat Ayatollah Khomeini as their benefactor rather than as their enemy. I say this because I am quite positive that if Khomeini had not exploited the situation and given it an Islamic face in order to support and perpetuate a junta of Muslim ‘clergy’, the situation would most certainly have been exploited by Iranian leaders of leftist inclination. The same Iran which we see as green sprinkled with red today would have instead appeared to us entirely red. It would be naive to say that the communist leadership created and trained by Dr Mossadeq had been weakened and enfeebled to such a degree at the time of the Shah’s overthrow that it could not have played an effective and revolutionary role at this epoch-making juncture of Iranian history. In fact, the communist leadership was well supported and trained. It was entirely ready to seize an opportunity. But for Ayatollah Khomeini, Iran could well have ended up as a radical Marxist regime. Such an event would have had disastrous consequences for the oil-rich but militarily weak Middle East. So even Khomeinian Islam—however gory and loathsome it may appear to the West—could be seen as a blessing in disguise. The role of Ayatollah Khomeini should be seen in this perspective.

It would be naive to say that the communist leadership created and trained by Dr Mossadeq had been weakened and enfeebled to such a degree at the time of the Shah’s overthrow that it could not have played an effective and revolutionary role at this epoch-making juncture of Iranian history. In fact, the communist leadership was well supported and trained. It was entirely ready to seize an opportunity. But for Ayatollah Khomeini, Iran could well have ended up as a radical Marxist regime. Such an event would have had disastrous consequences for the oil-rich but militarily weak Middle East. So even Khomeinian Islam—however gory and loathsome it may appear —could be seen politically as a blessing in disguise. The role of Ayatollah Khomeini should be seen in political perspective.

NextPart 10

Religous dilemma

While reading the paper, I came across a story that covered a ‘break through’ in Islamic way of life. Here is the story I am talking about. (Express news 5th October)

Fatwah

Saying hello is permitted

As it turns out, greeting someone with a ‘HELLO’ in a telephonic conversation is permitted in Islam. Someone has given a fatwā(it is a religious opinion concerning Islamic law issued by an Islamic scholar) on it rejected the previous scholars’ opinion on the matter. And the story doesn’t end there, the scholar went on the challenge their beliefs and education.

Frankly, I am amused every time I read some news like this I find it amusing. These (religious) scholars have nothing better to do then waste time of Muslims everywhere. It makes me wonder though, are Muslims around the world so dumb and innocent. I mean, the word ‘Hello’, its a simple greeting word commonly used in countries that speak English. But in Islam this word can decide your fate whether you are going to end up in heaven or hell. Why do we forget that Muslims are also born and living outside of South Asia and Middle East. Do we need a ‘fatwā’ permitting us the use of ‘Hello’ as a greeting? Islam is spread within all continents and not everyone speaks Arabic or Urdu.

Why don’t these scholars channel their thoughts to the more important matters which concern the future of Muslims on earth. I don’t know may be ‘Is it permitted to make your own sects in Islam? And take it so far as to make 72 of them’ or lets say ‘Can anyone be a Islamic scholar and force his way on the less knowing people?’. For God’s sake, nations (of various religions) are now planning manned missions to Mars and beyond and Muslims, as it turns out, didn’t even know if they could greet someone with a simple ‘HELLO’!.

I must say these (Islamic) scholars are less of a culprit than those who blindly follow them. Yes, us Muslims, we don’t pay attention to our values at all, we don’t give enough thought to these matters. We are made to think we know nothing about religion by the scholars and we buy in to their tricks. Religion to them (scholars) is a new industry where they make their living and pushing their congregation in darkness.

Until Muslims start paying attention to their (basic) religious education, I am afraid we will have many more religious dilemmas like the one discussed.

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