Monday, May 23, 2016

Ramadan Revisited

Ramadan In pre-Islamic times, the tribe of Quraysh observed Ramadan and Jews would fast on the day of Ashura, marking two historical events: the day when Noah left the Ark and the day when Moses was saved from the Egyptians by God. During the downpour of his revelations, God proclaimed to Prophet Muhammad that fasting for His sake was not a new innovation, but rather an obligation practiced by those truly devoted to the oneness of God. During the holy month of Ramadan, Muslims are called upon to re-evaluate their lives in conformity with Islamic traditions, making peace with those who have wronged them, strengthening ties with their family and friends, avoiding harmful thoughts and acting nobly and courteously toward mankind. During this month every part of the body must be purged of every evil impulse or inclination. The tongue must be restrained from gossip and backbiting. The eyes must not covet that which is unlawful. The ears must refrain from listening to idle talk or angry expressions. The feet must refrain from approaching dens of vice and violence. That way, every part of the body can participate in fasting, rejecting the corruption of sin, hatred and malice, and purifying one’s body and soul to seek God’s grace and guidance. War is not permitted during the month of Ramadan. War is a great transgression in the sacred month of Ramadan. (2:217 Quran) Fasting is not only abstaining from food, but purging oneself by shunning the forces of evil, draining out hatred, malice, enmity and the lust to kill and abstaining from defiling the sanctity of any woman’s body or soul. Allah is not in need of leaving his food and drink, and He will not accept the fast of the one who tells lies, acts on lies and refrains not from evil actions. - Prophet Muhammad/Al Bukhari [3:127-O.B] Shall I inform you of a better act than alms, prayer and fasting? Making peace between one another. Enmity and malice tear up heavenly rewards by the roots. - Prophet Muhammad Times of Fasting A fast begins before sunrise and ends immediately after sunset. Muslims fast from fajr— dawn, until dusk. Fajr means the light of the morning, and Prophet Muhammad said: “God has ordained for you to eat and drink until you can discern the white streak of dawn against the blackness of the night, then resume fasting until sunset.” These are the bounds set by God. Do not then offend against them. It is thus that God makes clear His messages unto mankind, so that they might remain conscious of Him. (2:187 Quran) Eat and drink and do not be misled by the ascending white light. Eat and drink until the redness of dawn appears. - Prophet Muhammad Clerics pressed by zeal throughout centuries have succeeded in convincing Muslims worldwide that fajr starts three or four hours before sunrise. Sidelining Quran and Prophet’s injunctions ‘Eat and drink until the redness of dawn appears.’ Eid-ul-Fitr A day which occurs often, this is a festive and joyous occasion after a whole month of fasting (known as Ramadan). Sumptuous feasts and sweets - especially vermicelli cooked in sweetened milk - are prepared to be shared with friends and neighbors. It is a three day festival when Muslims visit friends, relatives and neighbors in the spirit of love, enjoying feasts and friendships, and forgiving all past rifts and grievances. Everyone wears new and colorful clothes, especially children, who are presented with gifts of cash or sweets. Other celebrations include fairs and entertainment, accompanied by song, music and dancing. This is much like the time when the Prophet Muhammad would sit with his family, watching the performance of dancing with spears, and enjoying songs and music. This joyful festival after the conclusion of Ramadan marks the birth of Islam, as Prophet Muhammad received his first revelation during this holy month. The festival also serves as a reminder to Muslims that they have an obligation toward the poor of the community. A special contribution called sidaqat-ul-fitr is made for this purpose. It is recommended that this contribution be given to the poor before Eid so that they too can enjoy the Eid celebrations. Fasting is a form of worship which has been prescribed and practiced for many ages by different peoples and religions. The essence of this worship may best be presented through this revelation from the Quran: O you who believe! Fasting has been prescribed upon you as it was prescribed upon those before you, that you may learn self-restraint and God-consciousness. (2:184 Quran) The best way of avenging yourself is not to become like the wrongdoer. Marcus Aurelius

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Taliban No Islam

The Talib in Pashto, meaning student, and plural ,students, as in Taliban are Jihadis from the Arabian Peninsula and Mujahedeen—the warlords of Afghanistan who resisted the invasion of Soviet Union in Year 1979, regrouped as Taliban in Year 1989 after the Soviets were defeated, to fight the pro-Soviet Government. The time period is the same as the emergence of Al-Qaeda. They fashioned their own laws to govern and subjugate. Most of them were orphans or belonging to poor families, the victims of Soviet aggression and taught in madrassas funded by the Saudi Arabia. They were schooled to fight the 'infidel' and brainwashed into believing the distorted version of Islam which had nothing to do with Islam. Trained to have long beards and turbaned at all times, they went from village to village, carrying a copy of the Quran in one hand and Kalashnikov in the other, demanding that the chieftains put down their weapons for the sake of the Quran. If anyone resisted the armed bandits styled as Taliban, they were shot dead on the spot by the Taliban ruthlessly. The militant Taliban kept fighting the puppet government set by the soviets, but they didn’t succeed until Year 1992 when they toppled the government of Najibullah. Yet it was not until Year 1996 that the Taliban kidnapped Najibullah, the president of the Afghanistan, and his brother. They beat both Najibullah and his brother and castrated them publically, dragged their bodies behind a jeep, then hanged them by the wire nooses from the lampposts. After these brutal acts, the Taliban began issuing their man-made edicts of prohibitions outside the pale of Islam. No music, no pool tables, no kite flying,. No nail polish, no toothpaste, no television. No beard shaving or adopting the hairstyles of the British or the Americans. The women were to wear burqa, covered from head to toe, and banned from working. The girl schools and colleges were closed. In early 1998, the Taliban succeeded in capturing the northern town of Mazar-e-Sharif. On a spree of blood-thirsty rampage, they slaughtered about six to eight thousands of Shia men, women, and children. Not satisfied with mass murder, they ploughed their way into people’s homes, raping, murdering, and slitting the throats of all they could find, regardless of their age, gender or ethnicity. Pressed by the fever of madness, they packed hundreds of victims into shipping containers without water to be baked alive in the desert sun. Movie theatres were closed and music was banned. The Taliban stopped all women from working in schools or hospitals, and if they deviated from the Taliban’s edict of complete covering from head to toe, they were publicly beaten. Local festivities of New Year celebrations were banned, as well as festivities of the two Eids, and Ashura—Shia’s Islamic month of mourning. The taking of portraits and the photography too were banned. In essence, all extremists, tied to the naval of same lies, zeal, ignorance are not worthy of even the name 'human' save alone 'Islam'.