Excerpts from my life

To Love or not to Love..

We got a kitten at my mom in law’s place a couple of days back. The first day, he was a bit anxious and timid. Two days later it seems that he has accommodated well. The playful self that kitten are. He has swept everyone off their feet and has been the center of attention ever since.

 

Last night, however, he went missing. I was amazed to see how anxious and depressed everyone became. Every member of the house was searching at every possible niche one could think of. Precisely why I dislike having pets. Not because of the responsibilities they bring but because they die too early. Ten to fifteen years down the line, they grow old and then they’re gone. And if they don’t die in front of your eyes, they just vanish one day- either abandoning you or perhaps falling prey to some bigger animal whilst on their regular stroll.

 

Pet lovers might not relate to my opinion. I know, the joy they bring might seem more. But I guess your childhood frames a major portion of how you think. When I was eight, dad brought home a mongoose. Apparently, its mother had died in the 1999 cyclone in Bay of Bengal coast. I don’t remember, how long we looked after it but the heart was attached. There are still so many moments with it I remember very well. We never kept it chained. It had free access to our lawn and so one day it went out and never came back. I remember how emphatically I searched for it. I still remember the moment when I last saw it.

 

Next came home an injured Jungle Babbler. Had fallen on dad’s factory window sill after being struck by something. When it came home, it was already pretty weak. We looked after it for some days. Feeding it grain by grain. Dripping water into its mouth with an ink dropper (90s kids will know). Five to seven days later, I found him dead. I remember screaming and calling my mom to find its head dangling down while I seemed perfectly perched on the bar.

 

A fish was what we adopted next. We got it from a local fisher-monger. Amongst his heap of dead fishes, this one was still breathing. Allah had destined a longer life for it. It stayed in our water tub for a couple of weeks until dad decided to free it in a pond nearby. And so we did. Perhaps as a kid, I was expecting a Free Willy come back. But that ungrateful fish dived in the pond and cut through the waters without even looking back. The first time I realized, not everyone loves you back equally.

 

This was too much pain for my eight year old heart. That’s when I decided I will never adopt any pet. Fast forward eight years, a dog gave birth to three pups in my garden and abandoned them.Much as I scorned at the idea of having pets again, I had to raise them lest they would die. One fine day when I was coming back from my school, one of the pups rushed towards me from across the road on seeing me. Half way through, a speeding car came from nowhere and rammed it. I froze as I watched it flung into the air and lying half dead on the further end of the road. It died in a few hours. Two days later, the second pup was found dead in his kennel. Didn’t survive the winters. The third just left after that.

 

As I write about this I wonder, how Allah fills our hearts with love for these beings. How we keep giving them without any hopes of returns from them. Yet, how less affection humans show to their own families. In my last post I spoke about goodness. When I think of this term, I realize how subjective it is. There were times when I have wanted to do things that I felt were right, yet many disproved saying those were ‘not the right things’. Who set these standards in the first place? Does good and bad (in personal choices like religion, clothing, spouse or food) really need social sanction even if it costs a lifetime of mental agony?

 

For me, I found solace in the good and bad set by my Lord. Goodness in Islam begins at home. Much like the very popular phrase of “charity begins at home”. In this rush of a chaotic life that can be proudly flaunted on social media, Islam gave me the true essence of life. Not only to read, but to inculcate in life. The society is moving towards a lifestyle where parents are being taken out of homes and children made to love things. Weekend time with parents is deemed to be something mention worthy! A lifestyle that is very youth centric but ignores the needs of children and the old. What is the need of these two classes? Time, love and affection- in ample!

 

The best man is he who is the best to his wife.[1] The person worthy of your best behavior is your mother and thrice more worthy than your father![2] The amount you spend on your family is considered greater than charity.[3] Loving your wife is quoted as Ibadah. Even putting a morsel in her mouth is rewarded by Allah.[4]  Looking after your children and raising them with the goal to contribute to the society beneficially is tagged Ibadah (worship). The right to first learn religion from you is of your family.[11] Every shepherd is responsible for his flock and a man is the shepherd for his family, a woman of her home and children.[12]

 

Men are advised live with their wives with kindness. They’re advised to overlook her flaws and focus on her goodness.[5] Women are a trust from Allah to men, thus Allah tells men to fear Him with respect to women.[6] They’re their protectors and maintainers. [7] Thus, they are required to look after the needs of their womenfolk.

 

Women, on the other hand, are called the twin halves of men.[8] Allah says that it is He who fills the hearts of spouses with love and mercy so that they may dwell in tranquility. Yes, the word is not happy, together, or forever; the word is “tranquility”- an absolute sense of bliss. They are advised to be thankful for the hard-work their spouses puts in for providing the family. She is expected to be helpful to him in his faith.[9] That includes, being his adviser in enjoining good and forbidding evil.

And a woman is shouldered with the biggest responsibility- to carefully raise the next generation of ummah! And how demeaned is this task. Considered to be so fickle that now nourishing a child’s mind, soul and heart is completely compromised for everything else that the society sanctions.

 

These are not just texts. These are instructions to integrate into your life and I see families thriving on it. Prophet Muhammad (salallahu alayhi wasallam) was the perfect example of being kind and loving to his family. I remember a hadith where a man mentioned to the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wasallam) that he has ten children but has never kissed them. Prophet (salallahu alayhi wasallam), who was holding and planting a kiss on his grandson, told him that whoever does not show mercy will not be shown mercy. [10]

 

I have seen closely knit families laughing for hours each day, sharing conversations about each ones lives, advising on how to move closer to Allah and never running out of words to express concern for each other. So I know it is possible. It is the parents who lay the foundations of a family. They get to decide right from the time they marry what the family framework will be. And most choose the path opposite to the straight and easy path given in Islam. How will then blessings and barakah (increase in goodness) come?

 

Ever thought why the fabric of family is disintegrating? It is because we are not providing the rights our families have upon us. Rights that Allah, Our Maker, placed for them. Then we remorse when we do not get our rights from them. We crave to earn fame and acknowledgement in the society but behind closed doors live strangers.

 

Perhaps that’s why we love pets- they never rebel no matter how much we ignore them. They always come back affectionately. We do not see the side effects of family negligence in them. No wonder, the moment parents see their adult kids wanting to live a life that does not fit their social strata, pop comes the famous Bollywood statement, “tum mere liye marr chuki ho.” . (you are dead for me). How easy an solution for dealing with differences of opinion but how grave the consequences of breaking family bonds. Bonds that we never valued in the first place.

 

The cat, to everyone’s much relief, was found selfishly sleeping in a inaccessible corner of the storage area. I, after settling to the idea of it being gone (inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi rajioon), clenched my jaws at the idea of going through it all over again.


1. Ibn Majah, 1977

2. Muslim, 2548

3. Muslim, 994

4. Bukhari, 6352

5. Qur’an, 4:19

6. Muslim, 1218

7. Qur’an 4:34

8. Abu Dawud, 236

9. Ibn Majah, 1856

10. Bukhari, 426/10

11. Qur’an 26:214

12. Bukhari, 7138

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Excerpts from my life

Feminism and the Growth of Liberal Ideology in Muslims

Muslims are obliged to understand and practice Islam as per the understanding of the Salafs (Qur’an, 2:137). The Sahabas are learnt Qur’an directly from the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wasallam). Their understanding is therefore the purest and perfect. The prime cause of liberalisation of western Muslims is apathy towards the doctrines of Islam based on this understanding of Sahabas.

Abandoning this methodology has led to confusions and misconceptions; which eventually led to deviating from Sirat al-Mustaqeem. The expansion of misinterpretation of Islam led to seeping in of many Modernist trends all over the globe. We started seeing ‘Muslim reformers’ demanding ‘progressive’ interpretation of Islamic values. This led to inflow of various ideologies in Islam such as “gender friendly Islam”, “humane Islam”, “liberal Islam” etc. Soon these reformers were discussing liberalisation of individuals that reflected an apathy for Islam and Muslims, oppression of Muslim women, human rights for deprived Muslims and the need for good-governance in Muslim nations. The reformers were self-acclaimed champions to liberate everyone who felt oppressed by the “aggressive” interpretation of Islam. (Kayum, S.A)

With this begun the journey of liberalisation of Muslims in the West. The first things that contributed to this, was the straying from the path of salaf-us-saliheen. Every reason that follows actually branches out from this root. The shortage of people of knowledge as the Last Day approaches was prophesized by Our Prophet (salallahu alayhi wasallam). The people will then take the ignorant as their leaders. [Bukhari & Muslim]. Holding on to the deen has gradually progressed to be like holding hot coal and this too was prophesized.[Tirmidhi] Especially in the west, where we see such “liberal” outlook amongst the Kuffar, practising Islam on the correct methodology is possible only in whose heart lies the strong backup of imaan billah and knowledge of religion.

One such major wave that has swept the Muslims is the wave of Feminism. The rights and honour given to a mominah has been mocked over and over. Honoring a woman’s modesty by way of hijab, injunctions regarding mosque and her responsibilities of home have been demeaned by tagging them oppressive. (Kayum). The call of feminists calling women to intermixing of sexes, zina, and all other forms of corruption is actually what oppresses women. Not only is her modesty compromised, this has caused the weakening of a Islamic family structure where division of responsibility along with respect to mutual rights and duties is promoted. It puts her under the burden of equal responsibilities as males whereas Allah has allotted different responsibility upon men and women and has commanded us to not covet what He has given to some in preference over others. (Qur’an, 4:32-34). Never has the primary duty of guarding the household been considered a hindrance if she wants to earn wealth, educate herself and hold public offices as per shar’ia limitations. In fact, even men have been appreciated to uphold sunnah of helping in household chores. (Bukhari).

The modernists, including feminists, consider Aql and desires over revelation (Naql). The roots of feminism originate from patriarchy where the male was given supremacy over women and children. There was control of men over a disproportionately large share of power. In this system men used their authority largely to oppress and exploit them which is clearly indicated in verses 58 to 59 of Surah An-Nahl. Women were placed as objects instead of subjects and were not given any decision making power. There was male violence, sexual assaults and wife battering to keep women subservient in home and public. (Maggie, 1995)

Feminism was a reactionary movement which rose in the west against patriarchy. It aimed at achieving social, economic, personal and political equality of sexes. The modern feminist movement was spread across the 19th and 20th century comprising of women’s suffrage movements. In the 1960s begun the women’s liberation movement to gain legal and social equality. (Hakesworth, 2006) (Chris, 1999)

From the above we realise that when in the patriarchal structure women were deprived of basic human rights such as right to inherit, right of guardianship, right to education etc., feminism was a movement that rose to grant them these. It aimed at a structuring a society of women independent from he control of the oppressive man. This in itself is a loud reason for Muslims to understand that feminism does not liberate women. Rather, Islam has always advocated and protected a woman’s right to be honored and her dignity to be protected.

This movement started making women feel liberated as women started delaying marriage to retain their identities- a right ensured to Muslim women much earlier emphasizing their right to keep their maiden name always. It undermines the value of ethical child rearing causing an epidemic of bad kids. We see a rise in zina, abortions as well as illegitimate children. It can be owed to the patriarchal culture, especially in Asian nations, due to which feminism found quick acceptability in Muslimahs who saw it as a key to attain freedom, respect and appreciation.

Allah has made women the twin halves of men. (Abu Dawud, 216). The purpose of creating different genders is to perpetuating human race and to create love and mercy and stability in homes. (Qur’an) Men and women are perfect creations of Allah. They derive their mutual rights and duties from His commands. They are meant to mutually live with each other as garments to each other. (Qur’an 2:187).

Allah has set up basic crux of family and commands us to give the due right to every person- male or female. Severing relationships is equated with mischief. (Qur’an 47:22, 17:26). It is obvious that Islamic Feminists, lack knowledge and faith on these commandments.

Feminism defies the covenant of marriage by bringing in some unproductive and unnatural arrangements that we witness these days. There is no scope to make good arrangements for children that come in this scenario, nor is there any consideration for old parents which Islam provides.(Qur’an 17:23). We see the Modernist scholars addressing the freedom of the young woman but it skips the nurturing of female children and old women. These protectors of Muslimahs have used all means to misinterpret verses of Qur’an, use weak ahadeeths and even reject hadiths to develop an islam that suits their need.

Safeguarding the institution of family and maintaining the legitimacy of offspring is most important for morally upright and corruption free society in Islam. A husband is shepherd (guardian) of his flock (family); and a woman of her husband’s home and is responsible for it. (Bukharee, 853). The allocation of intergender rights and duties in islam is based on principle of justice and pragmatism (Qur’an, 16:90, 2:228). Man is placed as protector and maintainer wherein woman’s primary responsibility is placed as motherhood. (Qur’an) Sisters need to understand that in the name of equality, feminism expects unnatural responsibilities from men and women. Whereas Islam truly presents the workable gender justice.


BIBLIOGRAPHY
Al- Qur’an

http://www.Sunnah.com for Saheeh Bukhari, Sahih Muslim, Abu Dawood, Tirmidhi

Hawkesworth, Mary E. (2006), Globalisation and Feminist Activism, Rowman & Litllefield. pp. 25-27.

Chris (1999), What is Feminism?, New York: Sage, pp. 3-11

Humm, Maggie (1995), The Dictionary of Feminist Theory, Columbus: Ohio State University Press, p.251

Walker, Rebecca (January -February 1992), Becoming the Third Wave, Ms.: 39-41

Kayum. Sajid A., (2011), A Critical Analysis of Modernists and Hajith Rejectors, QSEP Publishers

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Excerpts from my life

Qur’an is a Mercy for Mankind…

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I feel sorry to see the hate that has engulfed my country. There has recently been riots in Pune and it is disheartening. Something as simple as a YouTube channel voicing his opinion on democracy, politics or communities is followed by such derogatory shame messages that it stirs the soul. I wonder how easy could it be to type filthy words for a fellow human. Or even worse, how easy is it to consider that an entire community should be wiped off just because of some personal grudge one has for no apparent reason.

 

Where does all of it stem from? And no, it is not only agaist Muslims. I remain aghast when I see people having muslim names retaliating with equal filth. What are we moving towards? In a world of progressiveness and modernity we are developing a gutt full of disgust. Just because we have the access to voice our opinion, we use this opportunity to only waste humanity.

 

Surprisingly, even the educated and urban Indian thrive on this. What we do not realise that a basic civilian would rather live in peace. Irrespective of his religion, he would choose to have a good rapport with his neighbour or none at all. But certainly, one would not by thirsty for his neighbors blood. One would actually wonder, how the seeds of this hatred was planted in the hearts of people. What did I, as a Muslim, do anything that the other questions my very existence on earth? But is it about just you and me in the first place? If I look immediately around me, everything seems great. Somehow, the India of the media and the India around me do not tally. It confuses me about what undercurrent is being built.

 

Just yesterday I was reading the History of Islam by Najeebabadi. I am perhaps halfway through the first volume. The struggle that Prophet (salallahu alayhi wasallam) went through to bring the message of Islam is overwhelming. It is so tough to even imagine the being of Muhammad (salallahu alayhi wasallam). His wisdom, taqwa (god consciousness), tawakkul (faith of God) and sabr (patience) makes my heart clench. Every chapter of the book has choked me and made me realise how I have failed to be a good Muslim in the first place.

 

Definitely, I chose my religion based upon everything it stands for but did I stand up to what it expects of me.

 

So, this brings me to the most important question to us. We can sit and lament over the crisis Muslims face on earth today. We can frown and debate on how Muslims are oppressed. But, are we good Muslims in the first place?

 

I feel sorry for those who type with such hatred against Islam. So much hate against Allah, The Qur’an and our Prophet (salallahu alayhi wasallam). Those poor fellows have lost the opportunity to know the God who created him. The God who gave him the very fingers with which he types filth. The God who gave him the mind which he uses to plot against His religion. That man, who points at the character of Muhammad (), he never got a chance to read these books to know him. Because if he did, it would shake him.

 

It is hard for someone who reads the Qur’an to not accept Islam as the true religion. It is absolutely mind boggling and soul stirring. The verses scream that they are divine. And honestly, the phase when you realise that you are on the wrong side of the stream, it is disturbing. It crumples your heart. Perhaps it is the realisation to let go all the wordly falsehood that we have been holding on to. When your soul realises that there is more reward in inert goodness.

 

I am often asked why I shifted my faith. Most of those who ask never really want to understand. Not their fault. We rarely want to understand things from someone else’s vision. We want him to explain it from the way we see ‘how life should be lived’. Though now India is coming into terms with people choosing their own spouse, own clothes and parents not having to make these choices for them, yet the same line of thought is missing when it comes to faith. Wherein, it is as much of a choice like everything else.

 

The desire to want to adhere to a religion that speaks of pure monotheism is frowned upon. As if this desire is not a desire like any other. Its the heart and it may want anything. Immediately, I am asked why I could not find monotheism in my birth religion, or some other religion. Many try to show the monotheistic aspect of their faith. Or even better, why could I not just worship without any religion and choose to be a good human.

 

Firstly, these questions never crossed my mind when Islam was impressing me with no other. I could not find a religious text as simple as the Qur’an and I could not find a description of God as perfect as Qur’an explains it. Here is just one of the many descriptions in the Qur’an:

Allah – there is no deity except Him, the Ever-Living, the Sustainer of [all] existence. Neither drowsiness overtakes Him nor sleep. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. Who is it that can intercede with Him except by His permission? He knows what is [presently] before them and what will be after them, and they encompass not a thing of His knowledge except for what He wills. His Kursi extends over the heavens and the earth, and their preservation tires Him not. And He is the Most High, the Most Great. (Qur’an 2:255)

 

How perfect is this? A flawless God is what I would like to believe there is. How can God be someone who is weak with human flaws? The Creator, Owner and Controller of everything that He has created. Islam places The Creator distinct from His creation. He does not reside in His creation, He does not contain His creation, nor is present amidst His creation, nor is He anything like His creation. He is above His creation. Omnipresent by virtue of His knowledge. He is THE ONE under whom everyone is.

 

Allah actually translates to The God in English. Unlike the misconception that He is the God of Muslims, the Qur’an actually clarifies that Allah is The God of Mankind. He did not just create the Muslims but even every other human and non-human.( Qur’an 2:21)  In fact, the Qur’an tells us that it is for all of mankind. Not just for Muslims.(Qur’an 31:3) Muhammad (salallahu alayhi wasallam) was sent as a mercy for mankind.( Qur’an, 21: 107)  Imagine those who allegate him of being murderous without having read a page of his biography.  Islam gave me the easy way to connect to God. And this path, was my choice to connect with Allah. It gave me the smallest ways I could please Allah and how easy was it to know that He is pleased with you.

 

The sad thing is today is that Muslims themselves do not read it. Copies of Quran lie in their shelves in the arabic language. Most never bothered to open and read the translations to understand what message lies in it. Why are they Muslims in the first place? As usual, they did not make the choice to be a Muslim. They’re just there because their forefathers were there too. A small consequence of this ignorance we see in the triple talaq chaos in the nation! Some Muslim women here are unhappy with the triple talaq bill! How ignorant can we be? All those who unhappy with it are perhaps those whose wives and daughter-in-laws will benefit from this bill.

 

And then the self-acclaimed guardians of Allah’s deen on social media who protect Islam by replying back with equal filth to the attackers of Islam. I am sure those few are not even here to read my page. Nevertheless, Allah’s religion does not need any explanation or soliders to defend it. The words in the Quran are self explanatory of its perfection and goodness. The slanderers of Islam will pick and choose verses out of context to defame it but the wise holders of modern outlook should show wisdom in reading the religion before holding grudge against it.

 

And you, O Muslim, read the religion and allow it to shape you. Know what your Maker expects of you. It’ll change you as a person. Those who know me might frown with hundreds of my flaws flashing before their eyes claiming that they do not see any change in me. Well, to that,

“Every son of Adam sins. But the best of them is he who repents” (at-Tirmidhi)

 

A Muslim’s perfection does not lie in not making mistakes ever. The perfection lies in reflecting upon your flaws, holding a conscience that nags you at every wrong you do, fearing Allah that He knows what you did and making sincere repentance to avoid accountability for it and lastly, trying to make up for every wrong that you do. If we nurture our sins and egos despite knowing them, it reflects lack of taqwa. Worse, is if we do not realise our sins in the first place. That reflects lack of knowledge (ilm).

 

So, let’s work on our souls. For those who hate Islam, harboring hatred will do no good. Any form of violence (verbal or physical) never hurts one party solely. It will cause an equal to the hater and the hated. It is really not feasible that an entire community is filthy, aggressive, inhuman, blood drinkers and murderous. They were born human with the same basic instincts as you after all! The One who created you also created them. If there were different Gods, the design would definitely vary! For Muslims, let us work on spreading awareness about Islam. And the first sample that the people around you see is You! Very few will actually want to see the book of the Allah unless you tell them what you have imbibed from it. It is huge responsibility on our shoulders. Why? Because everyone deserves to receive guidance and mercy that I did from the Qur’an.

 

May you O Reader feel the Mercy of Allah in your heart. He is the Source of Love and He is The Source of Peace.

 

“Indeed this Qur’an guides to the path which is clearer and straighter than any other” (Qur’an 17:9)

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