Although religion has always been an important issue in Pakistan, from what I have heard religion was not the potent political and social force it is now before the reign, as it were, of General Zia-ul-Haq (ضياء الحق, Arabic: Diyā’ al-Haqq; Urdu: ziyā’ulhaq or ziyulhaq). I remember Zia-ul-Haq, although simply as the President/Leader of Pakistan. I had no personal feelings or opinions about him. I was too busy trying to pass my exams and such.
But the impact of Zia-ul-Haq cannot be ignored. He is vilified by many and practically canonized by many. (I still remember a pious mathematics teacher I admired speaking about Zia-ul-Haq as if he were sent by God Himself to rule Pakistan, a saint.) He presented himself as a pious, simple man when in fact he exploited religion and was quite crafty and cunning. What was most disastrous for Pakistan was his Islamization of the country. He wanted to bring Pakistani laws and customs into line with the sharī‛ah. Some have suggested that Zia-ul-Haq was instrumental in the program to attain military nuclear technology through whatever means necessary. He also promoted political rivalry as an attempt to prevent politicians and civilians from focusing their political ire and frustrations on him. However, this resulted in civil war, practically, between battling political parties; under him political parties were more like armed gangs of thugs and less like political parties. Read the rest of this entry »
This is according to the best of my knowledge. If I make a mistake, please let me know and I will correct my error. (Thought I’d turn into a post what I left as a common in the comment thread of “Mr. Imam, Tear Down That Veil!” by RightWingDuck of IMAO.)
There are various forms of veiling among Muslim women. Here are some words and some forms of veiling. Read the rest of this entry »
I got a book recently: Landmarks of Jihad by Lt. Col. M. M. Qureshi, published by Sh. Muhammad Ashraf in Lahore, Pakistan. On the cover is a very interesting phrase: (الجنةَ تحت ظلال السيوف, al-jannata taHta Zilāli-s-suyūf, “Heaven is under the shadow of the swords”). Considering that the first word (ألجَنَّةَ, al-jannata) is in the definite accusative case instead of the definite nominative case, it must be part of a quote. It comes from a Hadīth: number 4681 of Sahīh al-Muslim (صحيح المسلم, SaHīH al-muslim), book 20 (The Book on Government), chapter 14 (In proof of the martyr’s attaining paradise) (emphasis added):
The tradition has been narrated on the authority of ‘Abdullah b. Qais. He heard it from his father who, while facing the enemy, reported that the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: Surely, the gates of Paradise are under the shadows of the swords. A man in a shabby condition got up and said; Abu Musa, did you hear the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) say this? He said: Yes. (The narrator said): He returned to his friends and said: I greet you (a farewell greeting). Then he broke the sheath of his sword, threw it away, advanced with his (naked) sword towards the enemy and fought (them) with it until he was slain.
The book was written and published in 1970 and is dedicated to King Fahd bin ‛Abd al-‛Azīz Āl Sa‛ūd (who passed away some time ago and was succeeded by his brother ‛Abdullāh bin ‛Abd al-‛Azīz Āl Sa‛ūd, who was acting ruler during his brother’s ill health of many years). Regarding King Fahd, the author wrote (diacritics in the original):
Dār al-Islām is a territory whose inhabitants observe the law of Islam. As such, Saudi Arabia is the only substantial Dār al-Islām in the Muslim world of today and its Imām (head of State) the only competent authority who can iunvoke Jihād in terms of the Sunnī legal theory of Jihād. The present King is a person of sterling personal and princely virtues. He is exercising quiet, wise and progressive leadership in the World of Islam which is passing through manifold crises. As a token of recognition of these facts, I have ventured to dedicate this study of the landmarks of Jihād to His Majesty King Faisal of Saudi Arabia.
Should be an interesting book.
Another book I got was The Wisdom of Jihad by Abuhuraira Abdurrahman, published by Perniagaan Jahabersa in Malaysia. This is a stridently militant and Islamist book, promoting jihad and condemning Muslims who try to compromise the importance of jihad and its efforts. He is a Filipino and involved with Islamist organizations. He writes, on the back of this book, that he is involved with “Islamic missionary work since the year 1974.” This is quite a revealing admission: for a long time I have held that proselytizing efforts go hand in hand with Islamist efforts. Indeed, converting to Islam often also means becoming an active part of Islam’s political jihad against The West and promoting Islamism.
One thing I have noticed is that many foreigners have gone to Saudi Arabia for Islamic studies, people who usually turn out to be Islamist. This is not to say that everyone who attends a university in Saudi Arabia is an Islamist (although I can’t see how one can absorb and accept what’s taught there without becoming an Islamist).
Many people would like to read the Qur’an, especially as a way to understand Islam and Muslims. Anyone who embarks on such an endeavor will come to a realization that there are hundreds of different translations to choose from. Which one ought one to read? Read the rest of this entry »
(Disclaimer: Caution! This is a controversial and long post. Perhaps more controversial (at least I think so) than normal. Please proceed forward with caution. Comments are welcome; please keep them civil.)
Two people I admire very much (Dr. Victor Davis Hanson and Oriana Fallaci)—joined with many others I also admire—have made our engagement with Islamism clear: it is not only a war with bullets but also a war of wills and of civilizations (so to speak). If we focus only on the military aspect, we still might loose. We need to focus on all aspects of this war. Read the rest of this entry »
A popular feature of Ramadan is the tarāwīH prayers (صلاة التّراويح, Salāt at-tarāwīH; the latter word is pronounced as tarāvī by South Asian Muslims). What is striking–and many have noticed and remarked about this–is that this seems to quite the rage these days, a most fashionable thing to do. Although mosques had tarāwīH prayers even before, they were nowhere as popular as they are today. So much so that many mosques have more than one tarāwīH prayer time to accomodate the large numbers of people who can’t fit at one time. There is som dispute whether this is an indication of an increase in religiosity and piety, whether this indicates social pressure to exhibit more religiosity, or whether this is some sort of weird passing fad. To explain why it is somewhat surprising and puzzling that tarāwīH prayers, of all things, are so popular, let me explain what they are. Read the rest of this entry »
Ramadan (, ramaDān or ramzān) is one of the holiest months of the Islamic calendar. During this lunar month, Muslims are ordered to fast (refraining from all food and drink) from dawn to dusk. It is customary to eat a breakfast (سحري, saHarī, also pronounced sehrī by South Asians, “of or pertaining to سحر, saHar, “dawn”) before keeping one’s fast and to eat a meal (إفطار, ifTār, “breaking a fast”; also إفطاري, ifTārī, “of or pertaining to breaking a fast”) while breaking it. Oftentimes people will eat a large sehrī, break it with a lavish ifTār, and eat dinner later at night. Considering the type and quantity foods eaten during sehrī and ifTār, it should not be surprising that some people actually gain weight during Ramadan. Read the rest of this entry »
I have reached Pakistan safe and sound. The flight was nice, though long. It’s hot here.
The Islamic month of Ramadan (رمضان, ramaDān; Persian- and Urdu-speakers and other South Asians pronounce it as ramZān) has started, which obviously gives me lots of material to write about.
The Qur’an says: “There is no compulsion in religion” (لآ إكراه في الدين, lā ikrāha fi-d-dīn; 2:256: verse/āyah 256, chapter/sūrah 2 (sūratu-l-baqarah)). This refers to conversion: “there is no occasion for employing coercion in the matter of adopting and embracing Islam as its excellence is self-evident. This is the doctrine of toleration in Islam.” (Maulana Abdul Majid Daryabadi. Tafsir-ul-Quran. Lucknow, India: Academy of Islamic Research and Publications, 1981, v. I, p. 178.)
The above verse continues: (قد تبين الرشد من الغي, qa(d)-ttabayyana-r-rushdu mina-l-ghayy; ibid.), “The correct has been distinguished from the wrong.”
As such, because anyone with a brain ought to tell right from wrong, and thus choose Islam over everything else, there’s no need to convert anyone to Islam. Those who refuse to convert are actively and consciously rebelling against God.
But then the question arises: what about the use of force or compulsion after conversion? Considering the widespread use of “religious police” – such as the (مطوّعين, muTawwa‛īn, also known as the “mutaween”) of Saudi Arabia, the (بسیجی, basījī) of Iran, and similar groups in other areas – there has to be a shar‛ī (شرعي, shar‛ī, “of or pertaining to (ألشريعة, ash-sharī‛ah) or Islamic religious law”) justification for the use of force and compulsion by Muslims on other Muslims. I will have to hunt down the specific ruling or interpretation that permits this.
My point: don’t let the verse “There is no compulsion in religion” mislead one. It refers to conversion only. After conversion, all bets are off, as it were.
Answers to some of his questions and comments. Read the rest of this entry »
There are now no Crusades against the East!
! ليس حروب الصليب على المشرق الآن
The Crusades against the East, proper, ended in 1291, and there have been no more Crusades against the East since then.
A Crusade is a war authorized and preached by The Pope for the defense of Christendom for which participants receive an indulgence. One is required to “take up the Cross” – to make a formal pledge to fight in a Crusade, which pledge may also be redeemed by providing monetary assistance in lieu of joining troops. Without these conditions (proclamation by The Pope, authorization by The Pope, and taking upon oneself a penitential pledge to fight in a Crusade), no Crusade can be said to be legitimate at all.
And so those who allege that The West is fighting a Crusade against Islam are completely ignorant, it seems, as to what a Crusade is. A Crusade is not “holy war” nor is it comparable with jihad. (حربٌ للصليب ليس كما الجهاد في الإسلام؛ ليس حرب للدين أو لدولة الدين؛ أنما هي حرب لحفظ الدين وأهله من غزوات المسلمين )
ألحرب الآخرة للصليب على المشرق كانت في 1291 سنة ميلادية
So there are no Crusades now, and so Muslims and anti-Western propagandists need to revise their accusations.
Look how nice and respectful and peaceful Muslims are!
I noticed the following picture at “Going Down in History” by Isaac Schrödinger of Isaac Schrödinger, which in turn was taken from “Pope Rage on the Internet; church bombings in Gaza” by Michelle Malkin of Michelle Malkin. Read the rest of this entry »
There are a number of ways to say the word “Christian” in Muslims languages (Arabic, Persian, Urdu as examples – all of which borrow their respective terms from Arabic). There are three prominent words, two of which are considered Muslim and one which Muslims and Christians use. There is another which is rarely used by either Muslims or Christians. Read the rest of this entry »
I wrote about pork a few days ago. I’d now like to explain something about Islam and the Muslim paradigm: the belief by Muslims that God gave universal edicts, which everyone should follow and which are separate from those edicts incumbent upon Muslims.
It is true that Islam believes that Islam is incumbent on everyone, and that anyone who has rejected Islam (by not converting) is rebelling against God. (Recall that Muslims believe that every person is born a Muslim, so not being a Muslim is by default having rejected Islam, whether consciously or not.) As such, one can say that Islam’s edicts are universal, that Islam’s commandments are incumbent, or should be, on everyone. Nevertheless, Islam recognizes that certain edicts are incumbent on Muslims only and others are for everyone. Read the rest of this entry »
Almost all Muslims use benedictions (invocations of blessing) after the names of certain people. There are a number of benedictions, and certain benedictions are used for certain people. Here I will detail some of the more popular benedictions, how they are used, when they are used, and what they mean. Read the rest of this entry »
South Asian Sunni Muslims often recite something called Durood Sharif (درود شریف, durūd sharīf) or Salam (سلام, salām). While there are a number of variations, the most common one is known as the Abrahamic Durood (درود ابراہیمی, durūde ibrāhīmī) or the Durood of Abraham (درود ابراہیم, durūde ibrāhīm). Note that “durood” is a Persian word, meaning praise or greeting (the Salam mentioned above is used with the meaning of “greeting” or “salutation”). This type of supplication is known as Salat in Arabic (ألصلات, aS-Salāt; this word also means “prayer” as in the prayer one makes to God, and is also used to refer, accordingly, to the second of the Five Pillars of Islam), and the Durood-e Ibrahimi is known in Arabic as as-Salat al-Ibrahimiyyah (ألصلات الإبراهيمية, aS-Salāt al-ibrāhīmiyyah). Read the rest of this entry »
The most important thing in Mecca (officially known as ألمكة المكرمة, al-makkah al-mukarramah) in the Holy Mosque (ألمسجد الحرم, al-masjid al-Haram) or the Noble Sanctuary (ألحرم الشريف, al-Haram ash-sharīf). This Mosque is important because of a variety of holy elements within its walls. Here are the important elements: Read the rest of this entry »
One of the interesting aspects of Arabic is that it has many ways of forming the plural form of a word. It is not that one can use any method: one must know which method applies to which word. Here are a few examples that illustrate the formats that exist. Read the rest of this entry »
Christopher Taylor alerted me to two Irani websites. Let us take a look tonight at Irani propaganda. Read the rest of this entry »
There is a popular book called “Reliance of the Traveler” (عمدۃ السالک, cumdatu-s-saalik) which is a sort of portable shareecah. Going through it, I was a little shocked to find this:
ویجب (علی کل من الذکر والأنثی) الختان (وھو قطع الجلدۃ التي علی حشفة الذکر وأما ختان الأنثی فھو قطع البظر [ویسمی خفاضًا]).
Translation per Nuh Ha Mim Keller: Circumcision is obligatory (O: for both men and women. For men it consists of removing the prepuce from the penis, and for women, removing the prepuce (Ar. bazr) of the clitoris (n: not the clitoris itself, as some mistakenly assert). (A: Hanbalis hold that circumcision of women is not obligatory but sunna, while Hanafis consider it a mere courtesy to the husband.) (“e4.3” of the book.)
More literal translation: And it is obligatory (upon all men and women) the circumcision (and it is the cutting off the skin that is on the glans of the male and on the other hand the circumcision of the woman it is the cutting off of the clitoris [and it is considered decreasing]).
Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri (trans. Nuh Ha Mim Keller). Reliance of the Traveller. Delhi, India: Aamna Publishers, 1994, p. 59. If an Arabic-speaker can give a better translation for the text, I would appreciate it very much.
Circumcision is obligatory (for every male and female) by cutting off the piece of skin on the glans of the penis of the male, but circumcision of the female is by cutting out the clitoris (this is called khufaad).
“Khufaad” can be considered to mean “shortening,” “decreasing,” “diminishing.”
The Shāfi‘ī school is followed throughout the Ummah, but is most prevalent by Kurds in Kurdistan (in Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Iran) and by other communities in Egypt, Somalia, Yemen, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Palestine, Syria and is the official madhab followed by the government of Brunei Darussalam and Malaysia. It is followed by approximately 15 percent of Muslims world-wide.
The Shāfi‘ī tradition is accessible to English speakers from the translation of the Reliance of the Traveller.
So the good news is that female circumcision is not obligatory according to all four schools of jurisprudence: only the Shaaficee school of jurisprudence holds it as mandatory, which would explain why it is so prevalent in Africa and why al-Azhar supports it. The bad news, though, is that many Muslims (evidently, according to Wikipedia, 15% of Muslims) hold it as mandatory.
Update: Added another translation.