Friday, June 29, 2012

Question of Music

A Chishti, of Barelwi inclination, said that music is the soul of us Chishtis.
This is tricky issue and it has been exercising the neural networks of Sunni Forum users for some days.
Not that it has not been discussed earlier. It has been several times.
Luckily we do have an official position on music. Music is not allowed by the scholars.
But then there are always differing opinions also.
Barelwis indulge in music en masse and then to make the things worse a scholar from the unexpected denomination, Yusuf Al-Qardawi, has permitted it.
To common people it does create a problem.
Unless you are protected by Taqleed.

Now some musings about music. Please read above words once again after reading the following because we may not assert again and again that music is not allowed.

Once a gnostic ('Arif ) poet recited his work after Hazrat Shaikh Hakim Kalimullah Sahab (DB)'s Majlis.
Some times the poetry is recited in tone - it is called Tarannum in Urdu. This is how it was done by the poet in incident mentioned above. After the Majlis some one asked Hazrat Shaikh (DB) whether Qawwali is permitted. Hazrat Shaikh (DB) was not pleased at the question, "Was this not a Qawwali?", he asked.
Hazrat Shaikh (DB) is completely against music. So reciting poetry in a tone is no different from Qawwali but the moment you introduce instruments or the moment you switch to tune from tone or you do the both then you have crossed the fine line.

Here is an example that you too can enjoy - in a particular way.
In this case the poet is Khwaja Aziz-ul-Hasan Sahab Ghauri Majzoob (RA).
The reciter is reciting in tone ( please differentiate it from tune) - Tarannum.

Now the moment this tone is abused it turns into a tune. We shall not give any links here but will mention two incidents that should be sufficient for people familiar with Urdu poetry circles to convince that even in case of a non-religious but allowed activity like poetry meet there is a limit on tone.

Our first examples is of a poet in one of the two annual poetic meets of Department of Urdu, AMU. They have poetic meets on the evenings of August 14 and January 25. August 15 is India's independence day and January 26 is India's republic day. In one of those poetic meets a visitor from Kolkata (then Calcutta) was presenting his poetry and then suddenly the listener next to yours truly said in voice that every one around could hear - hey he is singing!

What does it mean? We can conclude that even a commoner, as the audience is supposed to be, knows that singing is different from reading poetry in tone.

Then there is second example, or a common occurring. It is a sign of slight laxity on part of social circles that many a times some poetesses are called to the poetic meets. There are good poetesses in Urdu even today but then there is a number of entertainers - their job is to do just that, to entertain. They read poetry is a style that is hardly different from singing, except for the absence of music. And everybody knows that. In serious circles these poetesses carry no academic value. Yours truly asked about a poet (not poetess) who indulges in stand up comedy on stage. A professional critique said that we do not take stage poets (Manchiya Kawis) seriously.

In summary it is clear that crossing the tone to tune boundary is not considered desirable even in academic circles.

Perhaps now we can insert a few comments about recitation of the Noble Qur'an. The very fact that we have maintained the dignity of its recitation for fourteen centuries should be taken as a tribute to the fact that we have not succumbed to the charms of music. Do we need any more evidence that music is not a very desirable activity in Islamic circles?

Here is the recitation of Surah Waqia by Shaikh Ibraheem Jibreen.
He looses control of his voice at the words Illa qeelan salamn salamaa.
The effect is barely perceptible. Please do not blame yourself if you can not notice it.
So what does he do? He does not go right ahead. He repeats the portion of the Verse again.
That is his correction.
And that is a fine example of Muslim sensitivity.
No intonations in Recitation of Noble Qur'an.
We recite it in beautiful voice and we have very strict limits on that.
And we do it with ease.
People say that writing Naat, poetry in appreciation of beloved Prophet (PBUH), is like walking on the edge of the sword.
But people do not say that recitation of the Noble Qur'an is liking walking on the edge of the sword.
This is in spite of the fact that tone can easily slip into a tune.
Why are we not worried?
Reason is simple - we hearts are sure that we shall not lapse into tune.

It is really strange that some people are still confused about the music question.

On a second look the reason can be traced to the dominance of western ways of life. Music is a big thing there and or many Muslim youngsters it can not be wrong if some thing is done by the west. Aren't they successful, powerful and prosperous?

Then there is one of those western cultural shocks that come from the west with a nauseating frequency.
In one of  the Time Magazine  lists of most influential people in US had a Sri Lankan girl's brand name M.I.A. in the list. She was, and is, a singer. Yours truly was puzzled. How can be a singer amongst most influential people. That it was a girl from Sri Lanka is only a minor curiosity. Yours truly checked the most viewed video by her on YT called Paper Planes. "Bona fide hustler, making my fame!", she coos in the track. And there is more. How can decadence be most influential? These question all become meaningless once you have accepted one meaningless thing as meaningful. And that meaningless thing is called music.

And your truly will leave a home work for an interested reader. There will be a quip by the supporters of music - what were you doing listening to her, we mean M.I.A.? Try to answer that as a home work.

Then there is another comment on the current music thread at Sunni Forum. Some one said that Muslims gave made deep contribution to music. Unfortunately and sadly that is true. In India there are two broad styles of instrumental and vocal music. The north Indian style is called Hindustani and the south Indian style is called Karnatic. In the Hindustani style Muslims contribution is enormous and this creates a significant dilemma. If so many people, Muslims, dedicated their life for such a long time that half of Indian music is synonymous with their work then can they be wrong? Of course the technical answer is not that difficult - an activity can not become allowed just because a large number of talented people indulge in it. The moral question remains but we are not supposed to talk about the sins of the by gone people. That is where we shall leave the matters.

There are a few more points that need squaring but we shall just forget about them, unless, of course, we are reminded of them by others.

When a Part Overwhelms the Whole

It is perfectly possible that a part might overwhelm the whole.
Take, for example, the case of a boil that manifests like a pinhead only but when you operate then you realize that whole system has completely rotten.

This thought came to mind as reaction to the activities of a particular person. He loves to get into the nitty gritty of technicalities of theological matters (masa-il) and tries to use them to prove others Minhaj ( method, ideology, point of view, madh-hab) wrong. This technique is very effective if your addressing the laity. Masa-il are legitimately left for the scholars for the common folks have other pressing matters to bother about. But when a scholar goes bad and starts dumping his material on the lay people then it is a big tragedy.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Islam is Legitimate

This assertion is trivial to us Muslims only.
The rest of the world fears to accept this.
May be we are to be blamed for that but that is not the point of this thread.
Let us take up the task of asserting that Islam is indeed legitimate faith and belief, that it is legitimate way of life and that it is a legitimate ideology.
We have to assert this before those individuals, groups, societies, nations and media who either do not accept it or pay mere lip service.
These could be Muslims, unfortunately, but mostly these are non-Muslims.

Personally I feel that this trivial assertion has enormous potential.
And I do feel that this is a just and lawful assertion.

Let us begin with the first step in that direction. Here is a report:

MINIAPOLIS, May 06: The US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton was pained to know that the majority of Bangladeshis consider America as an anti-Muslim country. A survey conducted by the US embassy in Dhaka revealed this. This was reported by media in America. Bangladesh officially is a secular country.
Now first of all a question.
Does being secular mean that you can not raise questions as a Muslim?
It is clear that the reporter is very cautious to state the plain truth.
And once stated, or as it came out in a poll, the truth did rattle Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

This is My Garden, My Garden

Kya Tujh Ko Pata Kya Tujh Ko Khabar, Din Raat Khayalon Mein Apne
Eh Kaakul-e-Gaity Hum Tujh Ko Kis Tarah Sanwaara Karte Hain

How would you know, how would you perceive that in our thoughts, day and night
Oh the beauteous curls of World, how indulgently we were busy arranging you

This is by one of the illustrious products of Aligarh - Muin Ahsan Jazbi.
He did not leave too much of work behind him but he did live a long life after writing some early good poems.

Man is not supposed to get attached to this world. And that has to be earnestly kept in mind.
And that is the solution for the problem that pops up because of above couplet.

A poet may raise a problem but he can legitimately shy away from a solution. That is what late Jazbi Sahab has done in above couplet.

And now let us come to our Gaity=World. It is called AMU.

When we delicately arrange its curls then it does also mean that those who try to destroy that order and create chaos will not be appreciated by our hearts.

Is that too difficult to understand? If not then why do we not show our dislike and displeasure over the actions of those movers and shakers who, like Kardashian sisters, famous for being famous in our circle.

AMU is an academic institution and academics should be the highest priority here even if we decide to solve a million Ummah problems at the periphery.

It means that our leaders and heros should not be those people who have little to show on academic front - even if they are quite nimble at political maneuvering.

And this is one of the tragedies around us. Too many heros without academic credentials.

And please do not tell us that academics and solving problems of Ummah can not be managed simultaneously. Professor Irfan Habib will be presented to you as a counter example.

And no it is not an invitation to line up behind him. Ummah is defined by Islam and Marxism is not part of Islam.

So have a good look around and try to identify those who are famous for being famous. Just like the Muslim faces in Congress over a period that extends for more than half a century and a decade.

A leader or a hero is not a leader or a hero if his personal career is the only thing that he manages to take care of.

And if some one comes to you with the evidence that he is a hero because he chased Dr P.K.Abdul Azis away from the campus then just have a good look at this person. He is not a hero for Dr Azis was no giant.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Book : Small is Beautiful

(1) Collection of 13 essays (20 in later edition) by British economist, E.F.Schumacher, who had worked with John Maynard Keynes and John Kenneth Galbraith, was published in 1973.
(2) The Times Literary Supplement ranked Small Is Beautiful among the 100 most influential books published since World War II.
(3) Single-minded concentration on output and technology is dehumanizing.
(4) Infinite economic growth is impossible within a finite system.
(5) Subtitle of the book - a Study of Economics as if People Mattered.
(6) Another Book by him: Good Work
(7) Good Work: The effects of modern economics on the individual.
(8) Yet another book by him : A Guide for the Perplexed
(9) Its Subject Matter : the philosophical and spiritual underpinnings of his work.
(10) Work coincided with ecological concerns and environmental movement.
(11) Concluded that government effort must be concentrated on sustainable development.
(12) Ideas grow out of study of village economics later termed Buddhist economics.
(13) Blasted bigger is better and growth is good slogans.
(14) Man is small, and, therefore, small is beautiful.
(15) First to question GNP as a measure of human well being.
(16) A professor's advice to student: Read the book but do not quote it to protect your reputation - he will also turn out to be right in the end.
(17) Critic : Messy, digressive writing. Point does not become clear by the end of the chapter. Vague and worthless solutions without any idea about implementation.
(18) Critic's summary of ideas: Intermediate technology, think locally, value people, distinguish between renewable and non-renewable resources

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Other Statement in Ghuniya

Ghuniat-ut-Talibeen by Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (RA)
Chapter 8 (Forbidding Wrong, Demanding Right)

Confidence and Beliefs (p.150, 151)

This is regarding recognising Allah (SWT) the crux of the matter is that one must keep His unity in consideration .
only that Being will remain who is Most High and Exalted, He (SWT) is on grand 'Arsh, His Being overwhelms the whole creation.


And this all that you have there regarding the position of Allah (SWT) on the throne.

Waiting for Years

A brother is waiting for years to get a simple answer.

Question is what is the meaning of Allah (SWT) being on or above or at the throne.

The answer is that the question is wrong. Just like have you stopped beating your wife?

Our own desires, the machinations of our Baser Self, as well as machinations of Satan the cursed combine to push us down from the Straight Path.

Allah (SWT) clearly says that we should not dig any deep at all about Cryptic Verses.
The trick is to hold fast to this dictum.
A single lapse and then things go wrong and wrong.

Our Baser Self tells what is wrong with little bit of inquisitiveness.
Well it is disobedience to Allah (SWT) and Allah (SWT) does not like deviation in the least bit.
That is what is wrong trying to be inquisitive.

Satan, the cursed, tells us that people will call you timid, ignorant and un-smart  if you do not thoroughly investigate this deep problem.
Amongst other things he, the cursed, slipped in a false terminology - the word deep.
The correct word is forbidden. It is forbidden problem. We are not supposed to delve into those matters that Allah (SWT) has forbidden for us.
Only those people indulge in it who have a disease in their hearts.
And those fears of being called timid, ignorant and un-smart are just like the fear of hunger and loss of worldly things that he tries to put in our hearts.
He, the cursed, is a liar and he is an open enemy of ours.
Treat him as such.
There is no power and strength except from Allah (SWT) and we do declare our faith in Allah (SWT) and beloved Prophet (PBUH).
And we seek Allah (SWT)'s refuge from machinations of our Baser Self as well as Satan, the cursed.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Come to the Point Please

There are some people who insist that we should be Atharis.
It means, in a nut shell, that we should think of Allah (SWT) like an idol.

And then they also tell that Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (RA) thought exactly in the same way.
On the face of it this looks like an irrefutable argument - how could the honourable Shaikh (RA) be wrong?

Luckily they give quotations also. And the quotations are from Ghuniya by Shaikh (RA). This is a bit surprising because Ghuniya is not supposed to be deep treatise on Islam. Shaikh (RA) is a giant of a figure in the history of the universe - a tribute to the truth of Deen of beloved Prophet (PBUH) and he is capable of saying those things that can be impenetrable to accomplished scholars but Ghuniya is a different matter altogether.

So what is that he (RA) said in Ghuniya that has the Atharis in high spitits?

Here is one link.

No they do not get to the point straight - you have the relevant information some where in the end. Let us quote it here:

“Allaah rises over His throne. Allaah is upon His throne and he is separate from the creation and nothing is hidden from his knowledge and it is not correct to say he is present everywhere and this is what Allaah has mentioned in the Qur’aan: ‘The most Merciful rose over the Throne’ (20:5).” (Al-Ghuniyyah, 1/121-124)

It is essential to carry the Attribute of al-Istiwa' (Allaah’s Ascending) by His Essence over the Throne. Istiwa' does not mean sitting (qu'ud) and touching (mumassa), as the Mujassimah and Karramiyyah say, nor does it mean highness ('uluww) and elevation (rifa') as the Ash'ariyyah say; nor does it mean conquering (istila') or domination (ghalaba), as the Mu'' tazilah say. Nothing of this has been reported in the Law (shari'ah). Nor has this been related from any of the Salaf al-Salih, from the Companions and the Followers, or from the Ashab al-Hadith. Rather it is reported from them that they carried al-Istiwa' with its apparent meaning" (Al-Ghunya li-Talibee Tareeq al-Haqq 'aza wa jal, pg. 50)

And it is proper to mention regarding the Sefaat of Establishing/Istiwah (upon the 'arsh) literally without ta'weel. And it (means) Establishment of the self (istiwah adh-dhaat) upon the Throne, (but) not meaning by way of Bodily settlement (qu'ud), and making physical contact (al-mumassa) as the Mujjasimah and Karamiyyah say, nor (does it) mean exaltedness (al-'uluw) and elevated dignity (al-rif'a) as the Ash'ariyyah say, and nor does it mean control (al-'istila) and dominaton (al-ghalaba) as the Mu'tazilah say, the shar'a has not come with anything supporting these (doctrines) not one of the sahaaba, or tabi'een from the salaaf as-salih from the Ashaab ul-Hadith have passed anything to support them. Rather the evidences point towards the literal (itlaaq) expression (Al-Ghunya li-Talibee Tareeq al-Haqq 'aza wa jal, volume 1, pg. 124)
And if you have gone through these three passages then one thing is clear that Shaikh (RA) categorically refuses to indulge in any interpretation of the attribute of sitting on the throne. We are talking about those attributes of Allah (SWT) about which we should not indulge in any kind of interpretation. That is precisely what the honourable Shaikh (RA) did.

So what the fuss is about?

Well these brothers who are calling themselves Atharis in this context are the very same brothers who try to play down Tasawwuf  in another context. In yet another context they try to advocate that one does not have to follow any school of Fiqh - Hanafi, Maliki, Hanbali or Shafei.

But one might get an impression of something being negated by Shaikh (RA). If one looks at the quotation in an earlier post then this doubt disappears:
... He has no limits and limitations. He (SWT) is neither in the front nor the back, neither beloe nor above, neither before nor later nor any comment or question be raised on Him - such attributes of Allah (SWT) do not occur in Sharah but does occur that Allah (SWT) is on 'Arsh, as it occurs in Qur'an and Hadith. He is the creator of all around and He (SWT) is free from the attributes of measure and phase.

Now Hanafi, Shafei and Maliki scholars do have very strong arguments to demolish the Athari arguments to demolish Tajseem, idol like interpretation for Allah (SWT). They think they have got an ally in Shaikh Jilani (RA), a Hanbali.

By the grace of Allah (SWT) words of Shaikh (RA) are not amenable to any such interpretation.

Six Number

These 6 qualities need to be practised upon and not just learnt.

1. Conviction in Kalimah.

To have the conviction of belief that the Sahabah رضى الله عنھ had in the kalimah LaIllahaIllallah Muhammedur Rasullah (There is none worthy of worship except for Allah, Muhammed is the messenger of Allah) (صلىالله علیھ وسلم) .

The deeper meaning to this is that Allah does each and everything without the help of the creation, but the creation can not do nothing without the help of Allah; success of both the worlds lies in following the commands of Allah shown by the prophet of Allah (صلىالله علیھ وسلم).

To bring this reality into our lives:

a) We would call (giving dawah) towards the ‘Power, Might and Majesty of Allah’. The help Allah gave to the Prophets, The help Allah gave to the Sahabah رضى الله عنھ and the signs of emaan.

b) The practice would be to listening to the talks of the greatness of Allah, ponder over Allah’s abilities in the creation, ponder over the greatness of Allah

c) Make dua to Allah to for the reality of emaan, full conviction and ehsaan.

2. Salaah

The way Rasullah (صلىالله علیھ وسلم) taught Sahabah رضى الله عنھ to pray their Salaah and achieve its reality; in the same manner we want to pray our Salaah. How our outside 24 hour life can be like the state of Salaah. How everyone of our problems can be resolved through Salaah.

To bring this reality into our lives we would:

a) Call towards the reality of Salaah that the Sahabah رضى الله عنھ had reached, and how they lived their lives according to the manner in how they performed Salaah, and resolved all their problems through Salaah.

b) Pray nafl Salaah as a practice towards perfecting our Salaah by having 5 qualities:

- The full conviction in the kalimah
- Concentration and devotion to Allah
- Knowledge of the rules of Salaah
- knowledge of the virtues of Salaah
- Sincerity (in doing Salaah) for the sake of Allah

c) Make dua to Allah to provide us with the reality of the Salaah

3. Ilm (knowledge) and Dhikr (remembrance)

The way Sahabah رضى الله عنھ had that zeal enthusiasm to ask Rasullah (صلىالله علیھ وسلم) and those regarded as Ulama or Fuqahah in regards to the commands of Allah and the Sunnah of every action, and then practised upon it; we should also ask Ulama or Fuqahah about the correct requirement from Allah and what is the Sunnah practice for every action.

To bring this reality into our lives we must:

a) Call towards the zeal and enthuasim of acquiring knowledge from the Ulama and Fuqahah; the way Sahabah رضى الله عنھ had that zeal and enthusiasm to ask Rasullah (صلىالله علیھ وسلم).

b) Read ‘fazail e amaal' to achieve the virtues of deeds, ‘Munkhtakab Ahadith’ to achieve the ilm of the 6 qualities, read ‘Hayatus Sahabah’ to achieve the correct training and only acquire knowledge from reliable scholars.

c) Make Dua to Allah that he gives us beneficial knowledge.

Dhikr (remembrance)

The Sahabah رضى الله عنھ were constantly in a state either as if they were seeing Allah or that Allah was watching them.

To bring this reality into our lives we must:

a) Call people towards the state of remembrance of the Sahabah رضى الله عنھ

b) Recite the ‘three tasbhihaat’ 100x in the morning and evening. Third Kalimah - draw the closeness to Allah. Durood - attain the love of Rasullah (صلىالله علیھ وسلم). Istigfar - gain forgiveness from Allah.

c) Make dua to Allah that he gives un the quality of Ehsaan and his remembrance that ensures we do only do those acts that are halal and refrain from those acts that are haraam.

4. Ikramul Muslimeen

The Sahabah رضى الله عنھ were willing to do whatever it took to keep the the Ummah united

To bring this reality into our lives we must:

a) Call towards the Character of the Prophet (صلىالله علیھ وسلم)

b) Learn the rights of others and fulfill those rights even if it means suppressing our own rights.

c) Make dua to Allah to give us the Character of the Prophet (صلىالله علیھ وسلم)

5. Sincerity of Intention

Each and every act the Sahabah رضى الله عنھ did was for the pleasure of Allah alone

To bring this reality into our lives we must:

a) Call towards the sincerity that the Sahabah رضى الله عنھ had for Allah

b) Always check the state of our intention, if it correct then say ‘Praise is to Allah’. If our intention strays then say ‘Allah forgive me’ and correct the intention.

c) Make dua Allah gives to reality of doing all actions for his pleasure.

6. Struggling for the sake of Allah

Sahabah رضى الله عنھ were willing to give their health, wealth and abilities for the sake of Allah

To bring this reality into our lives we must:

a) Call towards the sacrifices of the Sahabah رضى الله عنھ and how we should like them give our health, wealth and abilities for Allah and bring the entire ummah onto the sacrifice of Sahabah رضى الله عنھ

b) Following the prescription of the elders we should aim to give 4 months as soon as possible and renew this with 4 months every year with a minimum of 40 days. 10 days a month with a minimum of 72 hours. 8 hours every day dedicated to the Masjid with a minimum of 2.5 hours.

c) Make dua to Allah that our living and dying becomes only for his sake.

Source : SF

A Step Towards Idolworship?

One can destroy one's faith on his own, no enemy required.

There is one very prevalent activity amongst some Muslims, particularly Muslims with modern education, to impose their personal ideas and opinions on Islam at the cost of compromising on the basic tenets of Islam.

One fundamental injunction of Islam is that you do not try dig any deep at all about the Cryptic Verses of the Noble Qur'an.  One such Cryptic Verse is, for example, Surah Ar-Ra'd (14:3):

It is Allah who erected the heavens without pillars that you [can] see; then He established Himself above the Throne ...
The question is can we invoke an image of any kind, say like Hindus,  about Allah (SWT) above the Throne?
Answer is no because it is clear from Surah Ikhlas (112:4)
Nor is there to Him any equivalent.
Because of Surah Ikhlas (112:4) above Verse  Surah Ar-Ra'd (14:3) becomes cryptic. The matter ends here.

But there art some people who insist upon going further.

This is clearly disobedience to Allah (SWT) - disobedience not in words but disobedience by action.
If you ask them verbally they shall assert that they accept each and every injunction of Lord Most High.

Here is an example of a brother counter questioning - You can't worship something you don't know.

So close to idol worship.

Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (RA) on Attributes of Allah (SWT)

Book : Ghuniyat-ut-Talibeen
Author : Hazrat Abdul Qadir Jilani (RA)
Urdu Translation By :  Amanullah Khan Armaan Sarhadi
Chapter 10, Page 187 (Third Topic From End of Chapter)

Attributes of Allah (SWT):

In this book we have briefly stated the recognition of Allah (SWT) and the beliefs of Ahl-ul-Sunnah that has been related in two rounds so that people become aware of them and keep walking on the Path of Allah (SWT).  In one round it has been related that the characteristics of slaves and their attributes should not be associated with Allah (SWT) and those points have been stated that harm Muslims and then those injunctions have been related that are not lawful to associate with Allah (SWT) and those injunctions too have been related that are lawful to glorify Allah (SWT). In the second round we relate about the deviated people and it has been told that on the Last Day their argument will turn out to be false.

Characteristics of Allah (SWT) : Now we shall describe those attributes that are not lawful and it is difficult to associate the same with Allah (SWT). These attributes are immaturity, doubt, hesitation, guessing, mistake, sin, drowsy, sleep, disease, heedlessness, humility, death, deaf, dumb, blind, carnal urge, hatred, desire, anger, sorrow, regret, sad, longing, melancholy, taste, profit, loss, craving, inspiration and lie.


... He has no limits and limitations. He (SWT) is neither in the front nor the back, neither beloe nor above, neither before nor later nor any comment or question be raised on Him - such attributes of Allah (SWT) do not occur in Sharah but does occur that Allah (SWT) is on 'Arsh, as it occurs in Qur'an and Hadith. He is the creator of all around and He (SWT) is free from the attributes of measure and phase.


Saturday, June 23, 2012

From Atheism to Extinction

Nigel Barber thinks : 
Countries with the best standard of living are turning atheist. That shift offers a glimpse into the world's future.
He takes it as an evidence for extinction of religion. And he got it wrong. Let us look at the fertility rates of the countries that are turning atheist.

Belgium (1.65)
Czech Republic (1.27)
Denmark (1.74)
France (2.08)
Germany (1.41)
Japan (1.39)
Netherlands (1.78)
Sweden (1.67)
United Kingdom (1.91)

Except for Japan, protected by its Asian heritage, all of them have below 2.00 fertility rates. Thus these are the states that are going extinct on their own and whether they do down as believers or atheists is of no consequence. So one can not conclude from the data that religion is going extinct.

And now that we are at it we can give one advice also. Do not blame increasing Muslim demography, dear Europe, on Muslims. Try blame it on your atheism. And we can help you in that formulation - if you request nicely.

Kantian Calamity

An introduction to western humanities says:
The immensely influential German philosopher Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) spent his entire life in Koenigsberg, in the northern part of East Prussia, and is now known as Kaliningrad, in Russia. 
There are many problems with the ideas advocated by Kant, a cornerstone of western revival, but in this note we shall focus on enlightenment in the sense that prevails in the west. His famous essay has been translated by many and the opening paragraph reads:


An Answer to the Question: "What is Enlightenment?"

Konigsberg in Prussia, 30th September, 1784.

Enlightenment is man's emergence from his self-imposed immaturity. Immaturity is the inability to use one's own understanding without the guidance of another.This immaturity is self-imposed if its cause is not lack of understanding, but lack of resolution and courage to use it without the guidance of another. The motto of enlightenment is therefore: Sapere aude! Have courage to use your own understanding!

 On the face of it the assertion looks deep, which it is, as well as full of wisdom and insight and that is only partially true. No wonder that as a reaction Germany lapsed into idealism from which it has yet to emerge.
Western psychotherapy and much before that Islamic mysticism were striving precisely for this maturity.

But where did he get it wrong then? Answer is simple - there is no God in the picture painted by Kant. When you try to build an edifice without God then you shall get something deep, profound, effective in some vague manner, even successful as well as remunerative and much more but it shall always be deficient in an essential way to the limit of being ultimately harmful - any benefit ensuing from it will be only temporary.

If you look at the statement then it is clearly an invitation to revolt against the authority - the Church for the intended audience. That is what it engendered - a comprehensive walk out from the Church.

Now that is a relief and that is a tragedy. It was relief because Christian Church had lost its direction -much before that, to say the least, and enlightenment should be taken as a reaction only. But this so called enlightenment is a tragedy of gigantic proportions for it removed the whole continent of Europe away from God.

Ensuing European revolution as well as European prosperity should be taken God's absolute disregard for the riches of this world - He (SWT) give it to whosoever He (SWT) wishes and there is not consideration of deserving and undeserving at all.

 The Kantian calamity had repercussions for Islam and Muslims too. Not in the form of increased opposition from Europe which too is there in the following sense. They might not say it in so many words but a western person does have on the back of his or her mind, "I have kicked my religion why don't you?"
But we are talking about a different affect. The matters concerns when a Muslim starts questioning the authority at the drop of a hat. This only the first step in the journey that the west has already made.

A Muslim should be wiser.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Scholar's Advice to Layman

Maulana A S Desai's advice to non-Ulama. Please read as it is extremely edifying.


30 Muharram 1430 (26-01-2009)

Abdus Sattaar Syed
Cape Town

Respected Brother,

Your e-mail dated 24-01-2009 refers.

Islaah of the Nafs is of paramount importance. In all spheres of life,
whether in business, in family affairs, or Deeni matters, never be
neglectful of this aspect. It is essential to always examine the
intention and the motive. Even when embarking on a Deeni project,
refelect, do some soul searching and endeavour to fathom yourself to
detect whether the niyyat is sincere or contaminated with some
nafsaani motive.

When a person always adopts the practice of reflection before action,
then after some time Allah Ta'ala bestows to him the capacity of swift
detection of any thief which may be lurking in his heart. When we
criticize those whom we believe are on baatil, we should do so with
trepidation, recite Istighfaar and think deeply before the criticism
to ascertain whether the criticism is indeed motivated by Ikhlaas and
by a concern for the Haqq.

It is best and safest for laymen to strictly adhere to the issue and
not deflect therefrom.
For example, when you criticize Sanha, only
point out to them their flaws, their errors and the harm they are
causing with their halaalization projects. Do not degenerate to a
personal level where you will brand them with labels and epithets in
the way in which we (Mujlisul Ulama) do.
We have our own Deeni agenda
and we understand what we are doing. It is not for everyone to adopt
our methodology.

If for example a person's father is committing haraam, then it is the
duty of the son to offer naseehat. He shall plead and advise his
father. He will speak with affection and respect, addressing his
father appropriately. If his father consumes liquor, he may not begin
his naseehat by saying: "Drunkard! Faasiq, Faajir! On the other hand,
if the father admonishes his son for the latter's misdemeanours, it
will be proper for him (for the father) to say: 'O faasiq! O
shaitaan!, etc. etc.

Thus if a layman admonishes a Molvi who has strayed, he should not
address him as we do, e.g. 'Ulama-e-Soo!, etc. Relationship, rank and
position should be taken into consideration when criticizing.
Everyone does not have the same right of acquittal.

Furthermore, make dua of hidaayat and general goodness for those who
are being criticized and for those whom we believe to be on baatil,
and at the same time supplicate for our own safety and protection of
Imaan, for we do not know what the morrow holds for us.

So, do speak out strongly against baatil, but restrict the criticism
to the acts and save the culprits from epithets. Don't imitate our
example in this respect.

Source : SF

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Flame : A US - Israel Collaboration

Flame is the name of a deadly virus that left even the computer security providers in shock.

Last time New York Times hinted that it was US - Israel collaboration that is responsible for it.

Now the Washington Post asserts the same.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Civil War in Syria

BBC report:
Syria is now in a state of civil war and the government has lost control of "large chunks" of cities, the UN's head of peacekeeping has told reporters.

Who Are The Alawis?

In Syria this is Shiite branch. Population is 12 % of Syria. Have control of that country for last forty years. Celebrate Christian and Zoroastrian festivals. Secular. Some element of Ali is God. According to BBC:

Syria's Alawis are concentrated mainly on the country's Mediterranean coast, in the port towns of Latakia and Tartous, spreading north across the Turkish border into the province of Hatay and south into northern Lebanon.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Either a Mistake or a Falsehood

Delayed Fatherhood Extends Life

That is BBC headline.

Either they got it wrong or there is some mischief.

Nature does not violate common sense. We do some times train our common sense to deceive us.

Monday, June 11, 2012

West is Friendly Towards India

India’s slowdown
Farewell to Incredible India

Bereft of leaders, an Asian giant is destined for a period of lower growth. The human cost will be immense

This from the Economist.

Japan has been an eternal nightmare for the west.
China has not disappeared and remains a specter for them.
No wonder that our friends are eager to write off India.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

On Crows and Falcons

Religion, of necessity, is easy. It has to be followed by everybody, including the simple minded people.
What will you say of those people who try to make it difficult?
The least you can say is that they are going against common sense as well as sensibility.
And the matter indeed reaches serious proportions for they are in a way aging a war against Allah (SWT) by complicating something that Allah (SWT) wants to keep simple.
But Allah (SWT) does allow long ropes to errant people, many times.

Then there is the other reality. Some matters concepts in Deen do become difficult enough to be beyond the reach of common people.
Our scholars of the past found a solution that problem.
That is called Taqleed - follow a one of the four great scholars of Fiqh, jurisprudence, of Islam.
Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam Malik, Imam Shafei and Imam Ahmed bin Hanbal.
May Allah (SWT) have Mercy on them all.
This solution looks a bit inconvenient on the face of it. Our scholars should have been solved the maters between themselves and they should have given the common people the final solution.
But this ignores the ground reality - the matters that remain undecided go back to Sahabah (RA)'s opinion and one can not prefer one over the other. Sahabah (RA) are Sahabah (RA).
Hence the proposal to do Taqleed - follow one scholar of Fiqh.

This route has been arduous. Lots of acrimony and bad blood has been created in the past by this differing set of four schools. Imam Abu Hanifa has been the target of most excruciating calumny. By the last hundred years or so the dust seemed to have settled and a relative amicable peace and tranquility settled in between various schools of Fiqh - a sort of peaceful co-existence with mutual respect and love.

Except for a calamity of gigantic proportions. Saudia, a traditionally Hanbali society, fell into the grips of Salafi waywardness. With that also started the hideous imposter phenomena - using Hanbali Madh-hab as a front to revive the old differences. A masterful use of hair splitting to undermine the fabric of Islam. And the main target is again the Fiqh of Imam-e-Azam Abu Hanifa.

The new Mutazila, having no consideration for laity, tries to dump huge amount of information on common people and tries to bring that discussion that rightfully as well as because of pragmatic reasons belongs to the academic world of Islamic scholars. This sort of has met a limited success because youth in its enthusiasm does have an inclination to indulge in grand design and hence you see every one trying to have a go at matters of Fiqh.

There is sort of deception that our Baser Self pushes us into - you want to decide your religious matter yourself. You do not want to self-medicate, you do not want to file your income-tax return yourself, you do not want to fix your electric circuit but Islam is that rare department where everyone feels confident to decide. When beloved Prophet (PBUH) was asked about the people of cave then how many of these wannabe Mujtahids would have given the answer? None. But now they are there in the battle field, en masse to take on the followers of Madh-hab, main target being Hanafis.

To dump serious and complex technical details on unsuspecting populace is moral crime but fear of Allah (SWT) is not there in the dictionary of the enemies of religion of Allah (SWT). They think that they are having a joy ride while history is a witness that Allah (SWT) merely gives such people a long rope.

Using small technical details to undermine the whole edifice of Islam is indeed a big affront to Allah (SWT) out matched only by its silliness. It is really beyond imagination that people professing the faith of Islam could come down to this. May Allah (SWT) soon establish the truth in this matter.

And a couplet for such people :

Shauq parwaz ka rakhte ho to shaheen bano
Yoon to kawwe bhi fizaon mein uda karte hain

If you are fond of flight then be a falcon
Otherwise crows too fly in the sky

French Rush

Four French soldiers were killed in an attack on NATO convoy and this has prompted France to evacuate Afghanistan by the end of 2012.

French are also worried about the securities of their troops in Afghanistan.

NATO evacuation is slated for 2014 end. Because of an earlier attack on French troops France decided for an earlier withdrawal - by 2013.

BBC reports that rushing up is because of the election promise of French President but any onlooker could tell that it is because of the heat turned on the foreign troops in Afghanistan.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

US Secrets Leaked

It is all on BBC:
(1) US conducted cyber attacks against Iran
(2) US has infiltrated into an al-Qaeda-linked group in Yemen

And the whole information has leaked.

Is the giant showing signs of loosing grip? 

Links : (1) Cyber Attack on Iran 
(2) Speeded Up Attacks 
(3) Tough Obama

Friday, June 8, 2012

US Military Caving In

God gave them power and they used it cruelly. The US.
The country that is wisdom savvy - they know absolute power corrupts absolutely.
And now they are caving-in.
Have a look at this report - a report that can not be summarized.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Ray Bradbury No More

Stories are fascinating.
Specially in childhood.
And then there are science fiction stories.
Every one remembers Isac Asimov and Arthur Clarke fondly.
But there was another name associated with publications like Astounding Science Fiction.
Yours truly did not get to read much from him but his name did appear in the collection of SF stories.
Ray Bradbury is no more.
A man who weaved a fascinating  world of imagination has sad good buy at 91.

For record, he was the one who said more than half a century ago, that people will be moving around with ear plugs that will be giving them news and music.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Tale of an Italian Clip

And then the things went out of control.
The meekest was the host of the show.
Can not make sense of it.
Can you?
But it is about Islam.

Metamorphosis of Barak Obama

 (1) Barak Husain Obama came to presidency of USA on the platform of closing Guantanamo Bay and end of Iraq war.
(2) He shunned the legislative deal-making required to close the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay in Cuba.
(3) Persistent on targeted killings.
(4) Has relegated the responsibility to himself near completely.
(5) Approves lethal actions without hand-wringing.
(6) He finds such decision easy.
(7) Uses his lawyer capabilities to this end.
(8) Drone attack reports skewed to under report civilian deaths.
(9) Closing Guantanamo Bay meant no detention policy.
(10) This in turn means no prisoner taking.
(11) Result : Ambassador to Pakistan, Cameron P. Munter, complained to colleagues that "he didn’t realize his main job was to kill people."
(12) That C.I.A.’s strikes drive American policy there.
(13) Obama's counter terrorism adviser, John O. Brennan, working like a dogged police detective from White House basement.
(14) Blessings of a priest have become indispensable for Obama to apply just war Christian theology to a modern conflict.
(15) Drone attacks since April : 14 in Yemen, and 6 in Pakistan.
(16) Every attack personally approved by the President.
(17) Drone attack refrain in White House : This is the only game in the town.
(18) Reminded me of body counts in Vietnam : Dennis C. Blair, former director of national intelligence.
(19) An unfamiliar realist side of Obama came to the fore, not carried away by his own rhetoric.
(20) Government lawyer John A. Rizzo, panicked at the prospect of closing once and for all the secret overseas “black sites” where interrogators had brutalized terrorist suspects.
(21) "Don't worry, it is only short term detention that has ended."
(22) Those who could not be transferred or tried but were judged too dangerous, their “disposition” would be handled by “lawful means, consistent with the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States and the interests of justice.”
(23) Without showing his hand, Mr. Obama had preserved three major policies — rendition, military commissions and indefinite detention.
(25) US laws seen as inconvenient stumbling blocks.
(26) "The protection of innocent life was always a critical consideration" - transfer of responsibility directly to the President.
(27) "All military-age males in a strike zone are combatants."
(28) Civilian do not hitch hike with Al-Qaida.
(29) Low civilian death because all killed were enemies.
(30) Outside officers alarmed at deceptive estimation - single digit civilian deaths in a year.
(31) President thinks that all it takes is to sketch a vision. Oblivious to the practical route to it.
(32) "Lyndon Johnson would have steamrolled the guy."
(33) Every week US security apparatus prepares the list of new targets by video conferencing run by Pemtagon.
(34) What is Al-Qaida facilitator? "If I open the gate and you drive in, I am the facilitator".
(35) A student of writings on war by Augustine and Thomas Aquinas, the President believes that he should take moral responsibility for such actions.
(36) He believes that his own judgment should be brought to bear on strikes.
(37) "He’s a president who is quite comfortable with the use of force on behalf of the United States."
(38) "Mr. Brennan, the C.I.A.’s agent in the White House, steering Mr. Obama to a targeted killing strategy".
(39) "Mr. Brennan, who saw closing of GB is like a priest with extremely strong moral values who was suddenly charged with leading a war."
(40) "Their policy is to take out high-value targets, versus capturing high-value targets."
(41) C.I.A. worry : " Mr. Mehsud, whose group then mainly targeted the Pakistan government, did not meet the Obama administration’s criteria for targeted killing."
(42) Attempted airliner bombing and Forthood shooting bolstered President's resolve.
(43) Target and neighbouring two families killed in first strike in Yemen.
(44) Trail of cluster bombs killed more innocents later.
(45) How do you differentiate between terrorists loading a truck and farmers loading fertilizer?
(46) Obama solution moves into secrecy against promised transparency.
(47) The president "was very interested in obviously trying to understand how a guy like Awlaki developed".
(48) "Is it legal to kill US citizen in another country?"
(49) Convenient secrecy.
(50) "Nixon to China" quality in Obama operations.
(51) Program is based on personal legitimacy of the president and is not sustainable.
(52) Childhood years in Indonesia. No war with Islam. Drones.
(53) Mrs. Clinton criticized drones only approach.
(54) If OBL complained that US undermined Al Qaida by constant propaganda of no war with Islam then we must be doing the right things.
(55) Unlike his predecessor Obama's criticism in not sweeping.
(56) Mr. Obama’s liberal reputation and “softer packaging” have protected him.
(57) Because of focus on strikes new relations with Muslim countries are difficult to forge.
(58) Drone strikes: low cost, no U.S. casualties, gives the appearance of toughness.
(59) Drone strikes is not a lurid fascination with covert action and special forces.  It is practical.

Source :NYT

Monday, June 4, 2012

Three Months for Euro

Euro has three months to come out of its current troubles.
Says George Soros.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Let Us Talk About Einstein's Theory

One tragedy of modern society in general and Muslim society in particular can be names Einstein.
You can not talk about matters scientific with common people.
It is supposed to be, or has been decided to be beyond them.

Result is that in spite of the fact that our main objective at Armchair is to talk about such things we rarely indulge in that luxury.

The argument, for lack of better formulation, can be summed up as follows.
Science includes Einstein's work.
Einstein was amongst the greatest technical brains.
Hence he did things that are most difficult.
Such things are not for us common people.
Science is not for us common people.

Now can we catch the fallacy here?

It is simple. The problems he solved were difficult but now these problems stand solved.
The genius lies in the fact that he gave the solution.
You are not being invited to compete with him.
You are only being invited to understand and appreciate that to your own abilities.

Then there is second tragedy in the same genre.
There are people who try to prove Einstein wrong.
There are such people in our own society as well as in global society.
This tragedy is of more grave nature.
People do not have the guts to make an attempt at his ideas but in the next moment they are ready to prove him wrong.
One can see the enthusiasm of a child here who has purportedly found the mistake of an adult.

So what is the safest attitude?

Well do make a sincere effort to understand what Einstein said and discourage your Baser Self from harbouring any thought, idea or intention to prove him wrong.

Some people might have asserted that he, we mean Einstein, proved Newton wrong. This is merely a dramatization of events and post facto does not serve the intended purpose, or does more harm than good. Einstein did find limits of Newton's ideas, both in laws of motion as well as gravitation, but that is not the same as proving Newton wrong.

We shall conclude by two examples of failed attempts at proving Einstein wrong. One was by late Sir Shah Sulaiman, our former Vice Chancellor and another one was rather recent one by a research group at CERN.
Einstein's ideas are there but the counter arguments stand refuted.

Now what triggered the present post? Here at Physics Today two pedagogues have presented their perspective on how to teach general theory of relativity. Yours Truly is in general piqued at B.Ed (Bachelor of Education) type of vocation - that is what articles like the present one resemble. But that is not the case wholly. What yours truly does love is the suggested books. It saves you the trouble to prepare the list yourself.

For Indian people one can, with profit, add the books by Professor Jayant Vishnu Narlikar.

Many texts can form the basis for an excellent undergraduate course in relativity. Here are some that we recommend, along with a smattering of classic graduate-level books.

S. Weinberg, Gravitation and Cosmology: Principles and Applications of the General Theory of Relativity, Wiley, New York (1972).
C. W. Misner, K. S. Thorne, J. A. Wheeler, Gravitation, W. H. Freeman, San Francisco (1973).
R. M. Wald, General Relativity, U. Chicago Press, Chicago (1984).
B. F. Schutz, A First Course in General Relativity, Cambridge U. Press, New York (1985; 2nd ed. 2009).
H. C. Ohanian, R. Ruffini, Gravitation and Spacetime, 2nd ed. Norton, New York (1994). The first edition was written by Ohanian alone in 1976.
E. F. Taylor, J. A. Wheeler, Exploring Black Holes: Introduction to General Relativity, Addison Wesley Longman, San Francisco (2000).
J. B. Hartle, Gravity: An Introduction to Einstein’s General Relativity, Addison-Wesley, San Francisco (2003).
B. F. Schutz, Gravity from the Ground Up, Cambridge U. Press, New York (2003).
S. Carroll, Spacetime and Geometry: An Introduction to General Relativity, Addison-Wesley, San Francisco (2004).
T.-P. Cheng, Relativity, Gravitation and Cosmology: A Basic Introduction, Oxford U. Press, New York (2005, 2nd ed. 2010).
L. Ryder, Introduction to General Relativity, Cambridge U. Press, New York (2009).
R. J. A. Lambourne, Relativity, Gravitation and Cosmology, Cambridge U. Press, New York (2010).
R. N. Henriksen, Practical Relativity: From First Principles to the Theory of Gravity, Wiley, Chichester, UK (2011).
T. A. Moore, A General Relativity Workbook, University Science Books, Sausalito, CA (in press). See

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Prison Mubarak

AP News:

Egypt's Mubarak sentenced to life in prison

Muslims have witnessed a long period in which their world was getting stomped by the western powers and their rulers were busy on the perk side of their position and ignoring the duty part. And suppressing the population is any one dared to exhort them to fear Allah (SWT). They did not fear Allah (SWT) and Allah (SWT) by His Mercy has started turning the wheels.

And all thanks and praise is due to Allah (SWT) for that.

US Warship Movement

US is going to relocate its warships, 60 % of them, to the Pacific.

It has nothing to do with China, they say.