Thursday, January 30, 2014

Most Successful Life

Whose life is most successful?

As Muslims we do have an answer that is universal.
Beloved Prophet (PBUH)'s life is most successful.

Reward for a believers success is Jannah.
In this world he is guaranteed only bare minimum sustenance.

And hence when beloved Prophet (PBUH)'s mission is complete the intructions to him are rather crisp, carrying almost military like precision, understated but very decisive.

"When comes God's help, and victory, and people are entering the religion of of God in gusts then sing the praises of your Lord. And ask for forgiveness for He is surely accepts repentance."

This is Surah Nasr from the Noble Qur'an.

There might be Steve Jobs and Bill Gates in this world.
There might be Warren Buffets and Birlas.
There might be mighty generals and sport stars.
There might be big politicians and respectable statesmen.
There might be Einsteins and Newtons.
There might be great nations and huge empires.
There might be magnificent cultures and enchanting civilizations.
But none of them have the durability and assurance that is found in the life of beloved Prophet (PBUH).

That life has it all that we should look forward to.

May Allah (SWT) give us the ability, capability, capacity and opportunity to emulate that life.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Without Comment

Here is a quotation from a report in left leaning Israeli daily the Haaretz:

To some extent Jews got involved in Bollywood, or Indian cinema as it was then known, through a quirk of cultural circumstance. When Indian cinema began, it was taboo for Hindu and Islamic women to appear onscreen, so initially female roles were played by men, in the style of Shakespeare or Monty Python! However, the Jewish community was more liberal and progressive and they were prepared to take these role[s]. The fact that they had lighter skin made them all the more suited for celluloid.

These communities had very different values. Jewish women worked on other professions that at the time Hindu and Islamic women shunned, like being telephone operators. The Jews did not regard it as dirty and neither did the viewing public, who adored these stars.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Falling in Love Again

Yours truly had written about falling in love with various Elders of Islamic tradition.

Name of Pir Zulfiqar Ahmed Naqshbandi Sahab (DB) should be included in the same list.

And since yesterday Dr Israr Ahmed too has joined the ranks of the people whom yours truly has fallen in love with.

Yours truly was already impressed with the late scholar.
Falling in love is a step beyond being impressed.

Yours truly is impressed with a lot of scientists but is unlikely to fall in love with them. Latter act is reserved for the people of Allah (SWT).

Some one might interject that at this speed yours truly might end up in falling in love with Islam itself. And then Rasoolallah (SAW) and then Allah (SWT).

Well that is already done, by the Grace of Allah (SWT).
Of course an increment in that is expected.

And all thanks are due to Allah (SWT) for all these blessings.

And then I invite all Muslims to fall in love with all with whom yours truly has fallen in love with.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Price of Indiscretion

What is the price of indiscretion?

In case of Tarun Tejpal it might be career.

Looking at his record, we mean the sting operations, there might be a very natural reaction that he had it coming.

This distracts us from a serious concern.
Should a discretion cost a person his career?
Even in Saudia they give a person three chances before chopping the hand of a thief.

Yours truly is not conservative about it and is open to discussion on this matter related to coming down with a hammer on a person indulging in indiscretion.

The whole way of life espoused by people like Tejpal stinks.
But that too is a distraction.

Yours truly remembers Delhi police dealing with eve teasers in the following way. They will simply threat to inform the family of the perpetrator.
This would be very numbing for the person - the fear of shame in immediate family.

In order to protect our society from the social and psychological damage all precautions should be taken before we destroy the career of a man.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Blessing of Islam

For a person there is no blessing better than the blessing of Islam.

Many impressive blessings of Allah (SWT) are scattered around us.

People are awed by the military might of the US.

Economic grit of Japan is impressive for anyone.

Chinese economic upturn is in the same league.

World sports are simply awesome.

And then there are many more impressive worldly things around.

But the blessing of the faith of Islam is a different thing altogether.

I you have it then the rest of the fire works of the world are very evanescent.

Transcendental Islam

Why do the teachings of beloved Prophet (PBUH) transcend all that we see around us?

Many would disagree with the premise behind the query.
But their objections are merely the manifestation of the sickness of the present times.

Islam does transcend all that we see around us.

When Allah (SWT) chooses some one to draw him towards Him then He (SWT) creates situations where the person is induced to search for the meaning of life.
And when he searches earnestly then he is given a glimpse into the reality behind the facade of this world.

It does not matter that Islam is not the biggest military power today.
It does not matter that that Muslims do not control the power structure of the most powerful nation on the world.
It does not matter that Muslims do not control the finance, business or the economy of the world.
It does not matter that Islam is the most reviled religion today.
Islam transcends the reality around us.

We shall suffice with one evidence.
The most difficult problem to solve in real life is the one society has degenerated in some way.
An example is that of mutual feuds of Arab tribes.
An enmity started by most flimsy cause could drag for centuries.
And beloved Prophet (SAW) did bring that silliness to stand still.
Do we have any other such example?

And that was only one example.

Regeneration of a decayed society is an uphill task. Islam did the miracle.

Other stories of success, mind boggling as they might be, fall much short on the standards set by Islam.

Shashi Tharoor and the Death of Sunanda Pushkar

Death is a solemn, sad and humbling occasion.

Death is not a glamour event. Or a juicy event.

Unfortunately the vibes we are getting at the death of Sunanda Pushkar are in the vein of yet another socialite gig.

Normality of life events stands completely compromised.

We, for sure, have done something wrong to our life style.

Femininity has become a card to be used.

Privacy has become another card to be openly flaunted.

But why should a Muslim be interested or concerned with this unfortunate turn of events?

Well one kosher reason is that one should be aware of one's surroundings.

After that one can ask a question.
Suppose both of these spouses were Muslims?

By the Grace of Allah (SWT) Sunanda Pushkar was not a Muslim nor is Shashi Tharoor.

We know Tharoor because of his endearing writings in the Times of India during his UN stint and later on his political career.

And then we know of Sunanda Pushkar because of him.

For a Muslim multiple marriage, even at the same time, will not be news that is one would emphasize too much.

Tharoor-Pushkar marriage was a social entertainment event.
Perhaps that too would not be problem because marriage is indeed a celebration.

But the show-off part of that marriage will seriously fall into a category of questionable acts.

They did indulge in show-off.
We hear that she took excessive dose of anti-depressant drugs and that is what killed her.

This is a strange amalgam of elements - to take anti-depressants and to show off.

A person ending with anti-depressants is a bad news.
It indicates an ailment. Physical ailment entailing emotional and spiritual sickness.
To show off too is a spiritual ailment.

And now that she is dead the public interest in the event is yet another collective ailment.

We have made an a spectacle of our life.

Personal things should be left private.

The Mehar Tarar angle too is debauch.

For one why should a Muslim woman, as this Pakistani in all probability is, be romancing publicly? Or even privately? Irrespective of the light of her eyes being a Muslim or not.

Society is so much against two or more wives. On part of Muslims it amounts to a mockery of Islam.

But luckily we are not talking about a Muslim couple and at the moment this amount of musing is sufficient in this case.

Except for one point. We Muslims of India did not bother to call them to Islam when we could.
Can we at least make a suggestion to Shashi Tharoor now?

Friday, January 17, 2014

If You are a Muslim You Don't Know Nothing

A selection committee is in progress for the department that yours truly works in.

Yours truly is not a candidate for promotion in the said selection committee.

Things worked out that way only.

But even yours truly was wondering why Allah (SWT) so trnformed the things that yours truly did nothing to appear before the committee.

Now yours true knows why.

Yours truly sports a Sherwani and a beard. Muslim like.

And then there are people who think that Muslims know nothing.

One such person is sitting in the committee right now. He, being what yours truly terms a residual communist, would most certainly take the biased view.

Thus Allah (SWT) saved yours truly the trouble of tackling a begot.

Not that yours truly minds sending them spiraling down. There is no sight prettier than that of an enemy of Lord Most High going glug, glug, glug.

Ghazals by Shabab Meerathi - 1

Yours truly intends to talk about some Ghazals by a new friend from Meerut.
Kindly wait for transliteration, translation as well as commentary.
मुझे क्या ख़बर मिरे सामने तिरी चांदनी की शराब है
मिरी आँखों पर बड़ी देर से घने आंसुओं का नक़ाब है

मिरे दिल में टीस उठी अगर कभी दश्त में तो समझ गया
कहीं दूर दर्द की छांव में तिरी उँगलियों में रबाब है

तू महक गया मैं बहक गया तू संवर गया मैं बिखर गया
तिरी हर अदा के हिसाब से मिरे पास तेरा जवाब है

वही रौशनी की चमक-दमक हमें खींच लायी क़दम-क़दम
जहां तिश्नगी का पड़ाव है जहां तेरा मेरा सराब है

मिरी ज़िन्दगी मुझे नफ़रतों का अजीब ज़ह्र पिला गयी
मिरी नींद भी है तबाहकुन मिरा जागना भी ख़राब है

जो तिरे लिये ही जहान से तिरे साथ-साथ न लड़ सके
उसे अपने दिल से निकल दे वो रिवायतों की किताब है

ये सितम से लड़ने का दौर है ज़रा आग भर ले ज़बान में
वहां रौशनी की ग़ज़ल सुना जहां ज़ुल्मतों पे शबाब है

ज़रा मेरी आंखों में झांकिये जहां नींद भर के चले गये
इन्हीं पत्थरों पे खुदा हुआ मिरा इक हसीन सा ख़ाब है

कभी गिर पड़े कभी उठ गये कभी चल दिये कभी रुक गये
तू बिछड़ गया है तो ज़िंदगी भी सफ़र नहीं है अज़ाब है

 दिनेश कुमार स्वामी ‘शबाब’ मेरठी
Source : Lafz Group

I am Afraid of China

There is a book by Col Bhaskar Sarkar: Who is Afraid of China? I Am.

I too am scared of China.

Indeed China can do no harm to us without the permission of God Most High.
And God Most High has made this world a place we have to adopt our own means to defend ourselves.

Defending India from China is our Achilles heel.
Late Rajiv Ghandi had remarked that if Pakistan messes up with us then we shall make it remember maternal grandmother - a Hindi-Urdu phrase conjuring images of distress.

Indians usually dabble in that fancy, ignoring a stark reality across the northern border. The increasing and increasing military might of China is no different from the presence of an elephant in the drawing that everyone connives to ignore.

And we Muslims of India simply do not talk about it at all. It is taken by us as an Indian problem. As is Indian problems have nothing to do with us.

Have you heard Syed Shahabuddin talking about it? Jamiat-e-Ulama-e-Hind? Jama-at-e-Islami? Aziz Burney? Azam Khan? Asaduddin Owaisi?


And then we complain that we are given a second class citizen treatment in our own country.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Subconscious Mind in Action : A Strange Episode

Yours truly was traveling by car.
Something written at the back of the vehicle ahead of us sent a chill down the spine.
Yours truly could not check the words because a third vehicle has come in between.
Soon the traffic dynamics exposed the same text again.
Now yours truly read the word. It said : Narwari.
It was the name of some place.
There is a hidden meaning in the text.
Replace the word by Narbali and the meaning comes to the fore.
Narwari means sacrifice the man.
Narbali means human sacrifice.
There you have the meaning in its stark form.

It is amazing how our subconscious is a few steps ahead of us.

It took a thorough look at the word and a processing of the meaning to reach the same conclusion that our subconscious can reach nearly instantaneously.

PS: Are the people at the said place so stupid that they have not thought of changing the hideous name? Yours truly can think of another scenario. Initially they were too shocked to change it and now they have forgotten the implication of the name and thus live with the constant curse of a dubious name. May Allah (SWT) protect all the believers from ambiguous punishment.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

What I Told Them

The attendance was not full.

Hence I did not present any additional technical details.

In earlier years I would do the opposite.

Then I told them not to take burden beyond their respective capacities.

If God has not made them responsible beyond their capacity then men can not do the same.

I also told them that it is all right to be not an engineer.

Engineers are the most boring people around.

No offense to you dear engineers - make yourself interesting for us if you still take notice.

And then I told them that it is not such a bad thing if you are not doctors, physicians. Why do you want to be a person who has to deal in diseases all his or her life?

And Then I Fell In Love

So what is wrong with that?
Am I not allowed to fall in love?

Maulana Aashiq Ilahi Bulandshahri (RA)'s book What Happens After Death ? is amongst first books this sinner had read.
It was the original Urdu version.
The book has four parts containing the descriptions of death, the Judgment day, hell and heaven.
Late Maulana made the matters both stark as well as extremely easy to digest.
Not a small achievement in these days when religion looks darn difficult.

And that is why this sinner fell in love with late Maulana.
The book looks like as if it was written centuries ago.
It was surprising to know that Maulana died very recently in Madinah.

The same falling in love episode was repeated when yours truly read the description of Hazrat Hasan Basri (RA)'s life in Ali Miyan (RA)'s book The Saviors of Islamic Spirit, first volume.

And the same happened again when Imam Ghazali (RA)'s life was described in the same volume.

And the falling in love, intense love, happened again in case of Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilan (RA). And Nuruddin Zangi (RA) and Salahuddin Ayyubi (RA).

When this sinner blabbered this all to a colleague he remarked that I have no standards.

Yours truly would like to beg to differ.

Later on I may not fall in love with Imam Ibn Taimiyya (RA) but I am already in love with Umar Mukhtar Shaheed.

My colleague might be still puzzled but only this sinner can tell you the following secret: It is easy to fall in love again and again if you have done it once.

So brother go ahead and fall in love with all of the above people.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Perspective of a Muslim

Our elders have taught us that in our supplications we should start with our own self, then we should supplicate for our near and dear ones and for our friends and relatives and then for the rest of the Ummah.

This is a hierarchy, a warrant of precedence.

To supplicate one has to be aware, first, of the the normal human necessities and requirements and then about the current situation and contingencies and emergencies. Only then one can supplicate for the elevations of difficulties and granting of well being as blessings.

Clearly to this end a Muslim must be aware about personal circumstances and he also must be educated to a suitable level about local, regional as well as global realities.

And since these levels of reality keep changing constantly, these are dynamic, even the task of education is a continuous one.

We Muslims fail at all levels in these matters.

Even most educated Muslim do not know what they should be supplicating at personal level. They have never got time to fix their priorities.

The number of Muslims aware about regional problems of Muslims is rather small. Can one supplicate for their regional brothers and sisters if they are not aware about regional social, cultural, economic, business, industrial and financial dynamics?

If we were aware of our regional problems then a global unity of Muslims would not be a dream like an air castle it would be a reality. It would be a fulfillment of the Qur'anic injunction that we are a global Ummah.

At least in India we must take suitable steps to make each and every Muslim a part of the Indian part of the Muslim Ummah.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Self-Actualization Redux

Redux means to bring back or restore.

In the present post we are using it in the sense of coming back to self-actualization.

Self-actualization, or self-realization, is a term in positive psychology.

It is used in various connotations. Here are some examples.

(1) Pursuit of Knowledge
(2) Urge to Do Something for Society
(3) Desire for Spiritual Enlightenment
(4) Expression of Creativity

Psychology is the discipline dealing with human psyche and hence it has natural boundary with the Islamic mystical tradition.

The main modern scientific tradition, as much as it can be used for psychology, is to present a mechanical view of the world.

As a result a modern psychologist would conclude that religion has nothing to say about human psyche.

Falsity of above claim should not be a point of contention.

But one can not ignore the fact that western scientific tradition sneers at anything that can not fit its mechanical paradigm. This manifests, for example, in a very patronizing attitude towards homeopathy. The Unani Medicine tradition, so prevalent in the Indian subcontinent will receive the same treatment by the western establishment were it presented to them.

Practitioners of Unani Medicines are called Hakims and the irony is that many of them would prefer to be called doctors and in deed so many of them use western allopathic medicines in their prescription - an act for which they are certaunly not qualified.

But let us talk about conservative practitioners of Unani Medicine. Many of them are products of our Islamic Darul Ulooms, Islamic seminaries and some of them are experts of Islamic mysticism. They deal both with physical ailments as well as matters spiritual.

So what do the practitioners of Islamic mysticism, the mystics, the Sufis, say about above matters of self-actualization.

Let us take one of them: Pursuit of Knowledge.

A western psychologist would assert, after Kurt Goldstein [1], that tendency to actualize self is the mater motive of an organism. 

Let us restrict ourselves to human beings.
In the context of pursuit of knowledge a western psychologist would assert that a human beings have the master motive to acquire knowledge.

This should be qualified. The motive is strong in some people and moderate in others and there are people who are rather detached from this tendency.

This is a rather obvious but significant aspect of the issue at hand.
We do have mighty scholars of every discipline of academic pursuit.
Over the period of time we have seen mighty scholars of Islam - both Muslim and western.

Then there have been western scholars of Christianity, Hinduism as well as the fames Indian scholars of the latter.

Then there is the long list of western Muslim and Indian scholars of philosophy. Similar long list of scientists with insatiable urge for knowledge. Same is true for the disciplines of humanities and social sciences, including economics and literature.

So this observation that some human beings have a rather strong desire to acquire knowledge is a truism.

But there is another truism. Every human being is not like John L. Esposito or Syed Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi or Noam Chomsky or S. Radhakrishnan, Amartya Sen or Edward Witten. The matter of fact is there are only few people like them.

Let us be little more specific and accurate. Every modern society has a sizable number of academicians of various hue. But what is its percentage of the whole population. It certainly vary from country to country. For a Jewish population it will perhaps be very large but for an underdeveloped country it will be very small. On the average we would be lucky to have a hundred good academicians per million residents.

Here we are not talking about literacy. That is quite different from self-actualization.

Let us include all the people overwhelmed by the self-actualization desire in all the fields mentioned the list at the beginning. Let us also include also those disciplines that are not mentioned in above list. The number still might reach only a hundred souls per million. That is a tiny percentage of population.

The number is so small that it is not worth mentioning even if multiplied by hundred.

This raises a question. Why are such people so visible if there number is really so small? Answer to that is that we talk only about such people and we do that again and again.

In conclusion we do have examples of self-actualization but the numbers are insignificantly small.

And the phenomena is remarkable because of the impressive nature of every such achievement and the fact that we human beings focus on such things but phenomena is really rare.

Indeed this rareness and scarcity contributes to the mystique of the phenomenon of self-actualization.

From the Islamic point of view this would be a mundane observation that Allah, Exalted is He, sometimes distributes his bounties appreciable to some of His slaves. This is a Grace of God and He bestows it by His Will on whoever He wants.

To view the same from a mechanical angle is a travesty of truth because it dissociates a piece of reality from not only spiritual but even psychological content. A better attitude, even for a western academician would be that an emotional and psychological phenomena is more than the content of its parts and that is spiritual. Before that we got to accept that psychological phenomenon is more then its biological content. Even before that we got to accept that biological phenomenon is more than corresponding mere bio-chemical collective content.

Our western friends would disagree with that.

But we do have an Islamic perspective.

[1] Arnold H. Modell, The Private Self (Harvard 1993) p. 44

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Purpose of Life and Self-Realization

There are two disciplines related to meaning of life: psychology and mysticism.

These address the same aspect of our life yet these are so far apart from each other.

Psychology, basically the modern psychology, developed with the studies of its pathology.

Soon psychologists realized that this is not a wholesome approach to, perhaps, the most complex discipline of studies - human psyche.

Hence they came up with the ideas related to positive aspects of psychology.
Self-realization is one such aspect.

Basically psychologists assert that a healthy psyche will have an irresistible urge to put its creative abilities to utmost use. This, according to them, manifests itself in extra-ordinary feats of achievements of people.

What does mysticism say about these matters?

Does mysticism assert that human beings have extraordinary inclination to become religious?

This certainly is not true. If there are people with extraordinary commitment to religion then opposite too is true - there a fanatic atheists.

Indeed in Islam faith is a voluntary step with the responsibility ensuing from it falling squarely on the undertaker.

This is quite different from and extraordinary urge to do some thing.

Things are further compounded by the very well known observation that Divine love, Ishq-e-Haqiqi in mysticism, has all the manifestations of the extraordinary urge for self-realization.

But it is self-realization after personal choice and decision to have a faith.
In sense worldly self-realization is a basic instinct while faith is a conscious choice for which we are responsible.

It is clear from this analysis that the two concepts, self-realization and a purpose of life, are neither the same nor opposite to each other. Nor we can assert in a straightforward way that these are complementary to each other. In fact we are simply talking about two very different things. One is human urge ( self-realization) and another one is responsibility ( accepting that life has a purpose).

We hope these words help those who are curious about the connection between psychology and mysticism.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Dr Abu Tamim ( Malih Ahmed Siddiqui ) : In Memorium

With utmost sadness I have to announce that an Internet friend of mine, Dr Malih Ahmed Siddiqui , a diabetes expert from Mumbai died on Thursday, January 2, 2014.

He is survived by three sons, less than a year old Abu Hani, about three years old Abu Shamail and about five years old Abu Tamim and his gynecologist wife.

Verily we belong to our Lord and unto Him is our return.

The news was broken to us by Dr Siddiqui's mother through Maulana Junaid from Gujrat.

This sinner came to know about him through Sunni Forum where the feisty doctor used to post under the user name Abu Tamim.

He had a characteristic style of smothering long pompous posts against Islam by breaking it into sentences and replying to each argument one at a time with  academic vigour and exemplary zeal.

This sinner joined Sunni Forum because of his activities and adopted his style as well as the style of his avatar on that forum. Dr Siddiqui showed utmost love as well as respect to this lowly self and hence leaves a vacuum behind him that can not be easily filled.

Even before Sunni Forum ceased its activities a few months back Dr Siddiqui was too busy in his practice as a physician that he rarely posted on the forum he was already sorely missed because of his no nonsense attitude and a personality lacking all guile. He had very visible sense of humour.

He was a person who taught us that we do not have to suffer fools after we have submitted our will to the Will of Allah (SWT). For a person with modern academic career he was remarkable informed about Islamic theology and he could muster a variety of arguments based on actual texts in favour of his point of view. This was a rather rare ability in these times when modern educated Muslims turn their abilities against Islam and Muslims themselves rather than defending the Deen of Allah and its followers.

In spite of his blogs ( one, two, three) and an emphatic presence on Sunni Forum I do not expect any public presence on his part and thus we might be the only one in public domain to cry for him. I request my readers at Thus Spake, An Alig's Armchair and Kamalat-e-Kalimia, Sunni Forum and and the users of Mufti says to do supplications for our beloved brother late Dr Malih Ahmed Siddiqui.

May Allah (SWT) forgive his sins, convert his failings into good deeds and grant him a high place in Jannah.

Rest in peace my friend. We miss you a lot.

We loved you for the sake of Allah (SWT) and we do the same now. We expect a shade in the shadow of the Divine Throne on the Judgment Day because of your friendship.

May Allah (SWT) give Sabr-e-Jamil to your mother and wife and may He (SWT) make the best arrangements for them as well as your three sons. By the Grace of Allah (SWT) we are with them in thought and deed.

And we seek all the help from Allah (SWT) in this difficult time.

And indeed he took you away from us to remind us of the perishable nature of this world. In your presence He was our only support and now that you are no more with us again He (SWT) is our only support.

And seek help and support from Him only. And he is sufficient to take care of our affairs. In Him we put our complete trust.

There is no blessing better than the faith and it is special blessing that Allah (SWT) gave us birth in the Ummah of beloved Prophet (PBUH).

And by providing a friend like you He only enhanced His favour to us. In your presence you warmed our hearts and in your absence you accentuate our sense of duty. In your life you were a blessing for us but in your death you did a favour to us by reminding us of the real object of life.

You left before us while we are coming after you. May the Mercy of Allah (SWT) be upon you.

Update 1 : Following threads at different fora have posts on the sad demise of Dr Abu Tamim.

(1) Sunni Forum
(2) MuftiSays
(3) Ummah Forum
(4) Multaqa Ahlul Hadith
(5) Islamic Awakening