Articles By Asghar Ali Engineer.

The one and only free public forum for Bohras. The focus of this forum is the reform movement, the Dawoodi Bohra faith and, of course, the corrupt priesthood. But the discussion is in no way restricted to the Bohras alone.
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Articles By Asghar Ali Engineer.


Unread post by ghulam muhammed » Wed Apr 11, 2012 7:18 pm

Islam and The Concept of Justice

(By Asghar Ali Engineer)

In Islam, justice is a most fundamental value; it connotes one of Allah's names also. Allah's name is Aadil (Just). The Quran repeatedly emphasises justice and even goes to the extent of saying justice is closest to piety (Taqwa) and so “do justice”, it commands, as it is closest (aqrab) to piety. But many of our theologians think piety lies in offering prayers and fasting alone whether it results in just conduct or not. They say all Islamic laws are most just but then differ, like others, on the definition of justice. … ... nge/d/7012

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Re: Articles By Asghar Ali Engineer.


Unread post by ghulam muhammed » Wed Apr 11, 2012 7:19 pm

Sufism a Great Contribution to Islamic Civilization

(By Asghar Ali Engineer)

Those who oppose Sufism deceptively pose a question – is Sufism same as Islam? Then why Sufism, Islam is enough and is Sufism against Islam? Then we do not need Sufism. In fact one can pose such questions for every trend. For example is Wahhabism same as Islam? Then we need Islam, not Wahhabism or Is Wahhabism against Islam? Then we need Islam, not Wahhabism. … ... ion/d/7020

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Re: Articles By Asghar Ali Engineer.


Unread post by profastian » Thu Apr 12, 2012 1:03 am

Would be interesting to read some wahabis(anajmi, MF,etc) on this.

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Re: Articles By Asghar Ali Engineer.


Unread post by Adam » Thu Apr 12, 2012 4:21 am

profastian wrote:Would be interesting to read some wahabis(anajmi, MF,etc) on this.

Well said :)

Also, Engineer is a so-called Proggy right?
Gulam Mohammed just mentioned on another thread that he's NOT a Proggy. Rather only a Panjatn believer (and non one else). I wonder why he's fan of Engineer (The Prog)?

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Re: Articles By Asghar Ali Engineer.


Unread post by ozmujaheed » Thu Apr 12, 2012 7:52 am

Adam ..why do you and abdes dislike Mr Engineer

Is it because he took a stand against the dawaat? If so is that not ridiculous if you live in India , and yet you oppose and get upset by criticism.

Mr engineer is not looking to take over, as far as i am concerned he is only raising issues that many of us on this blog also object, the difference is he has literary capability that people like me would never be able to articulate. He has deep knowledge.

Are you admitting that the current dawaat is intolerant to any alternative view or criticism ?

I mean surely he has some facts and valid points,

Adbes please answer this stamens with some thought, not verbal spewing

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Re: Articles By Asghar Ali Engineer.


Unread post by MurtazaVds » Thu Apr 12, 2012 9:51 am

ozmujaheed wrote:Adam ..why do you and abdes dislike Mr Engineer
ozmujaheed there are many reason why we abdes dislike ajgar
check the one reason

"Sunday, 13th February 2000

Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin, head of the Dawoodi Bohras, was saved by some
of his followers and helpful airlines staff when an attempt to cause
bodily harm was made by Ajgar Engineer, leader of a breakaway group
of the Dawoodi Bohra Community.

The incident occured when the Syedna was boarding an Alliance Air flight
from Indore to Mumbai on February 13, 2000. The plane was delayed for a
few minutes at the request of the Syedna's staff as the Syedna was stopped
by huge crowds of Dawoodi Bohras and their bretheren who lined 1.5 miles
of the Syedna's motorcade to bid their beloved Syedna farewell. The very
courteous airline staff informed the passengers of the delay.

Ajgar Engineer who happened to be on the plane blocked the entrance
of the plane as the Syedna boarded the plane and attempted to push the
Syedna down. When one of the persons accompanying the Syedna attempted to
stop him, Engineer turned on him. Fortunately for him, the captain and
staff took charge and averted further conflict.

Syedna who was eighty eight years old has fortunately not sustained any

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Re: Articles By Asghar Ali Engineer.


Unread post by Humsafar » Thu Apr 12, 2012 9:59 am

This is a complete lie, a made up story to defame and demonise Engineer. That abdes would believe in this fairytale is not sruprising.

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Re: Articles By Asghar Ali Engineer.


Unread post by MurtazaVds » Thu Apr 12, 2012 10:16 am

Humsafar wrote:This is a complete lie, a made up story to defame and demonise Engineer. That abdes would believe in this fairytale is not sruprising.
aah according to Humsafar all the witness of this fact are completly wrong and the mess which was done by ajgar was a fairytale what a defend mr. Humsafar

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Re: Articles By Asghar Ali Engineer.


Unread post by think » Thu Apr 12, 2012 10:18 am

i need pictures and proof if engineer has this allegation, otherwise the way I see it who can benifit from such a scandal? difenitely not engineer; it is the kothar that profits from such media hype and I would not be surprized if some under dogs were fed a bone by the kothar to spread this scandal.

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Re: Articles By Asghar Ali Engineer.


Unread post by Humsafar » Thu Apr 12, 2012 10:32 am

MurtazaVds wrote:
Humsafar wrote:This is a complete lie, a made up story to defame and demonise Engineer. That abdes would believe in this fairytale is not sruprising.
aah according to Humsafar all the witness of this fact are completly wrong and the mess which was done by ajgar was a fairytale what a defend mr. Humsafar
What witnesses? Do you have any witness other than those who were with Sayedna?

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Re: Articles By Asghar Ali Engineer.


Unread post by humanbeing » Thu Apr 12, 2012 10:35 am

Even by common sense reading, this piece of news doesn’t make sense.

Ali Asgar engineer is a common man in front of the sultan of bohra community who would not travel without minimum 5 – 7 staff members. Morever with hysteria attached to sayedna saheb’s movement, non bohras too are well aware of his glamorous presence.

Delay in flights are common cause with airlines in India, passengers don’t start throwing tantrums in airplanes on delays, they are sitting in airplanes not some local ST Bus, where they can crib and bicker with conductor to start the bus, infact not even in ST bus people do that.

How in the world, Ali Asgar engineer has an authority to block the entrance of the plane, entrances are manned by airline and ground staff to facilitate boarding of passengers. Once the passenger are seated, they are not allowed to exit the plane unless exceptionally urgent or called for security purposes.

Ali Asgar Engineer is not dumb to indulge in a petty pushy fight with leader of a community, knowing very well that he would be beaten or restrained. Not only by Bohra Followers but by Airline staff also.

With all the hatred and disgust with Ali Asgar engineer from bohras, any bohra wouldn’t even allow him to come near sayedna saheb’s retinue, leave alone sayedna saheb himself.

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Re: Articles By Asghar Ali Engineer.


Unread post by Humsafar » Thu Apr 12, 2012 10:57 am

After this incident, while Engineer's home and office were being trashed by the abde vandals, Sayedna Saheb presided over a majlis in Bhendi Bazar and said that the "malaun Asghar attacked me". Sayedna Saheb said a lie. You can ask people who were in that majlis.

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Re: Articles By Asghar Ali Engineer.


Unread post by ghulam muhammed » Thu Apr 12, 2012 3:04 pm

Adam wrote:Gulam Mohammed just mentioned on another thread that he's NOT a Proggy. Rather only a Panjatn believer (and non one else). I wonder why he's fan of Engineer (The Prog)?
Everytime you speak it seems you are putting your foot in the mouth. Till now I thought that you were one of the very few diehard abdes with some rational thoughts but you keep on proving that you are one of the many 'kuva me medaks' who isnt allowed to explore the oceans............... lest he faints !!!! People like you dont know anything outside the bohraworld and the saifee mahal royals as 1) you are not allowed to 2) you refuse to. Hence abdes dont have any knowledge of comparative study of religion and remain in cocoons till death. I have posted articles not only on Asghar Ali Engineer but many Islamic scholars and even Osmam Bin Laden, so does it mean that Iam a fan of laden and support mass murder in the name of Islam ? You too have posted some sunni hadiths so does it mean you are a staunch wahabi ?

By the same yardstick, your master felicitates Modi, Thackerey, Advani, Haji Mastan and Yusuf Patel, hence by your logic he is anti-islam and pro-hindutva, he is also then pro-smuggling and anti-Indian.

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Re: Articles By Asghar Ali Engineer.


Unread post by Adam » Thu Apr 12, 2012 3:12 pm

Thanks for diverting. If you have nothing intelligent to say, don't say it.
Answer the questions.
Gulam Mohammed just mentioned on another thread that he's NOT a Proggy. Rather only a Panjatn believer (and non one else). I wonder why he's fan of Engineer (The Prog)?

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Re: Articles By Asghar Ali Engineer.


Unread post by Al Zulfiqar » Thu Apr 12, 2012 3:45 pm

so now the kothari bully adam wants to play the childish game of " heads i win, tails you lose" ?

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Re: Articles By Asghar Ali Engineer.


Unread post by ghulam muhammed » Thu Apr 12, 2012 3:47 pm

Adam wrote:Gulam
Thanks for diverting. If you have nothing intelligent to say, don't say it.
Answer the questions.
If you have nothing intelligent to say with relevance to my post then dont say it. BTW It is you who have been CONSTANTLY diverting/dodging questions of members on all threads and coming out with stereotype one liner rhetorics !!

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Re: Articles By Asghar Ali Engineer.


Unread post by ghulam muhammed » Thu Apr 12, 2012 4:15 pm

The attack on Dawoodi Bohra reformist Asghar Ali Engineer puts the spotlight on issues of freedom in a traditional religious context.

DR. ASGHAR ALI ENGINEER, reformist and civil liberties activist, was attacked in Mumbai on February 13 allegedly by members of his own Dawoodi Bohra community for "insulting and attempting to attack" the Syedna, the head priest of the community, Dr. Moha mmed Burhanuddin. A group of people later ransacked his house and office premises.

Three persons attacked Engineer in the security area of the Mumbai airport when he was returning from Bhopal after conducting a workshop on communal harmony for the Madhya Pradesh Police. Engineer said that while one of them was a co-passenger on the All iance Air flight, the others were from among a group of people who had come to receive the Syedna.

Engineer refuted the accusation that he tried to attack, or even insult, the Syedna, saying that it was the pro-Syedna group that first verbally and then physically attacked him. He said: "I was alone when the incident occurred. The Syedna never travels alone. Am I a fool to try and attack a man who is surrounded by more than 10 people?"

The trouble started in Indore, where the flight had a scheduled half-hour stopover. At the scheduled time the pilot announced that the plane was ready to take off, but it had to wait for the Syedna to board. According to the community's representatives, the Syedna was holding a prayer meeting in the airport premises. His supporters claim that they had obtained permission from the Ministry of Civil Aviation to delay the flight.

But Engineer asked: "Couldn't the Syedna's programme be arranged in such a way that it did not interfere with the flight timing?" Engineer said that some passengers noticed "a large number of the Syedna's followers at the (Indore) control tower."

Mumbai airport sources told Frontline that "to the best of our knowledge, the Syedna was not inside the airport during the period of the delay."

A spokesperson for Indian Airlines said that the reason for the delay was an act of proxy check-in, as a result of which the boarding cards of the Syedna and his travelling companions had already been issued but they had not boarded the aircraft. "In suc h a situation we have two alternatives. One is to follow a gate no-show drill, which means checking all the baggage and deplaning the passengers, among other things. The other is to leave the matter to the discretion of the station manager. In this case, the Indore station manager realised that there was a crowd of 3,000-4,000 people waiting for the Syedna and instead of creating a law and order problem he decided to inform the passengers of the delay."

Engineer says that after the plane took off he was subjected to abuse from two priests who were accompanying the Syedna. At the Mumbai airport "two people started dealing blows on my face and head with their fists," he said. Engineer was taken to the Nan avati Hospital after the airport manager telephoned his son, Irfan. Subsequently, two persons were arrested and booked on charges of assault. Engineer was provided police protection.

A widely circulated petition signed by citizens and civil liberties activists condemned the attack on Engineer, the fifth such attack since 1977. The petition said: "Asghar Ali is known for his secular and progressive views, for his active work for the p reservation of Hindu-Muslim unity, and he is the author of several scholarly books and articles. He is not a violent man, and that is the reason the Syedna thinks he can get away with his attack."

An interesting factor in the whole episode is the role played by Atul Shah and Raj Purohit, Bharatiya Janata Party members of the Legislative Assembly. The MLAs, whose constituencies of Khetwadi and Mumbadevi have a large Bohra population, were approache d by the Bohras to join the delegation that met the Chief Minister. Backing the demand for providing the Syedna with high security, Purohit said: "If the Syedna is attacked then what will the world think of India? This leader of the Muslim community need s the highest security."

Three persons were arrested in connection with the attack and six others for breaking in and causing damage to Engineer's house and office premises. In the statement to the police, two of the three accused claimed that they were the Sydena's followers. H owever, the First Information Report made no mention of the Sydena.

Although the immediate reason for the attack on Engineer was the "insult" inflicted on the Syedna, there is a record of aggression against Engineer who has been fighting for reforms in the Bohra community. The Bohras, believers in the Sunni tradition, a re a small sect of Ismaili Muslims engaged primarily in trade and commerce. The reform movement was launched at the beginning of the 20th century by a few educated Bohras, who defied the dictates of the head priest. Despite persecution, they persisted wi th their efforts. The human rights violations perpetrated on the reformists resulted in the appointment of a commission by the national executive council of the Citizens for Democracy in 1977. Headed by a retired judge, Narendra Nathwani, the commission inquired into three principal issues: the baraat or social boycott, the misaq or right of the religious head to demand obedience from his followers, and the matter of an independent audit of the vast amounts of money paid to the Syedna.

The Nathwani Commission recommended that the practice of social boycott be made a punishable offence. Victims of the social boycott are denied admission to Bohra mosques. They are denied burial rights in Bohra cemeteries. Their marriage rites cannot be s olemnised in the Bohra tradition. Engineer and his family have felt the brunt of these dictates for years. In fact, when his wife died last year, his relatives could not attend the funeral owing to the boycott decreed. Engineer is even unable to meet his mother.

On misaq, the commission said: "The misaq is so far-reaching as to involve unconditional surrender to the Syedna in secular as well as religious matters and that it amounts to a virtual charter of slavery... We recommend that the Syedna sho uld be requested to limit the misaq to obedience of his directions in religious matters. If he refuses to do so, the giving of misaq in its present form should be prohibited by law."

Engineer says: "Misaq is about swearing allegiance to Quranic teachings and to the Prophet. But today it has become more fundamental than the faith itself. It is being used as a tool for promoting authoritarian culture. We reject this."

Elaborating, Engineer says that wedding invitations have to be inscribed with the words "Abde Syedna", which means "Slave of the High Priest".

The third issue between the reformists and the orthodoxy concerns the trusts and funds that the Syedna controls. The commission wanted them to be regulated by suitable legislation. The orthodoxy feels that the Syedna is not accountable to anyone. Enginee r says that "the zakat (tax) must be spent as per the directives of the Holy Quran and not on conspicuous living as the Syedna and his family do."

The reformists have frequently stressed that their quarrel is with the social dictates of the Syedna and not with his religious proclamations. The Syedna's supporters have often suggested that the reformists leave the faith if they did not like its pract ices. But as Engineer has written in a pamphlet entitled "The Reformists and their Religious Beliefs", "the reformists do not believe in inflicting their point of view on anyone, not even on the orthodox Bohras. They accept the right of the orthodox also to believe and practise what they want. Similarly, they do not want others to inflict their viewpoint on them or coerce them to accept their authority on pain of social boycott. The reformists resent it when the orthodox treat them as not being Dawoodi Bohras. The reformists maintain that they are true Dawoodi Bohras and adhere to the doctrine of their faith."

It would seem that even this 'live and let live' attitude is not acceptable to some sections. They prefer to continue with what Engineer refers to as "their stranglehold over the community".

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Re: Articles By Asghar Ali Engineer.


Unread post by ghulam muhammed » Thu Apr 12, 2012 4:52 pm

The blatant lie has since been exposed by the findings of a two-member inquiry committee set up at the behest of the National Minorities Commission to investigate the Syedna’s complaint that Asghar had misbehaved with the high priest at Indore airport. Following investigations, the committee — comprising of Indore’s district collector, Manoj Shrivastava and police superintendent, Devendra Singh Sengar — said in its report that the alleged incident of insulting or pushing out the Syedna had not taken place at all.

The Hindi daily, Dainik Bhaskar, published from M.P. reported on March 3 that based on the statements of more than eight concerned persons at the airport, the investigation had established that when the Syedna boarded the plane at Indore, Engineer, who had boarded the plane at Bhopal, was already in his seat. The charges levelled against Asghar Ali Engineer were, therefore, false and baseless.

It is, of course, also too much to expect any of the Muslim leaders to be in the least concerned about the fact that the mob that broke into Engineer’s house vent its fury not only on his TV set and washing machine but also books – for him his most precious possession. But the question must be asked why these very people, who will not hesitate to call a countrywide hartal if a hair of the Holy Prophet went missing from the Hazratbal shrine in Srinagar, kept totally mum about the fact that among the books that the marauders desecrated in Engineer’s house were 50 copies of the Holy Quran — in different languages.

Even a fortnight after Asghar made this complaint before an over-crowded press conference in Mumbai, there was not even a whisper of protest at what would normally be decried as the worst possible provocation for the followers of Islam.

A welcome exception to this ignominy was the unambiguous condemnation of the “uncivilised incident” at Santa Cruz airport by a group of over 30 Urdu writers who met in Mumbai expressly to “condemn and criticise the unbecoming behaviour of Syedna’s followers and to express “its profound sympathy to Mr. Asghar Ali Engineer. Included among the signatories are Ali Sardar Jafri, Majrooh Sultanpuri, Kaifi Azmi, Hasan Kamal (former editor of Urdu Blitz) and Fuzail Jaffri (former editor, Inquilab daily).

The attack on Asghar Ali Engineer, incidentally, had as much to do with the hold up of the Alliance Airlines flight at Indore airport on account of the Syedna’s late arrival as the theme of the all-India conference on ‘Bohra reforms in the 21st century’ that the former had scheduled in Mumbai on March 4.

But why should a meeting of a relatively small group of intellectuals and Bohra reformists so enrage the Syedna and his coterie? For an answer to the question, please refer back to the observation of the Tewatia Commission at the beginning of this article. The high priest and the henchmen have much to hide and the proposed all-India conference would be yet another occasion for the reformists to bring to the media’s attention countless examples of the inhuman bondage in which the Syedna and his amils hold all Bohras, in India and elsewhere in the world.

Even the inability to pay one of the numerous ‘taxes’ the high priest imposes on his followers, from birth to death, can invite a cruel ex-communication following which all other Bohras — mother, father, wife/husband, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, close relatives, friends and business associates – are required to snap all ties with the victim of the firman.

The aftermath of the attack resulted in an interesting polarisation in the city of Mumbai. On one side were the Syedna and his clique, Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray and his sainiks, BJP MLAs (two BJP MLAs from Mumbai were part of the delegation of the Syedna’s clique that met Maharashtra’s chief minister, Vilasrao Deshmukh, to demand Engineer’s arrest), non-Bohra Muslim religious and political leaders and much of the Urdu press. Rallied in Engineer’s support, on the other side, were human rights groups, progressive Urdu writers.

A public meeting to show solidarity with Engineer, held in Mumbai on March 1, was attended by several hundred people representing human rights activists, women’s and communal harmony groups and trade unions. Among other things the question was raised whether democracy is best defended through hypocrisy and double-standards: Is it human rights violation when Shiv Sainiks attack Muslims and reduce their homes to rubble (1993), but an acceptable expression of ‘hurt religious sentiments’ when the henchmen of Balasaheb’s ‘good friend’ give an identical treatment to Asghar Ali Engineer?

Another disturbing fact that emerged in the days following the attack on Engineer was the media’s role. The accompanying article by Sajid Rashid will explain why the Urdu press unabashedly behaves like the Syedna’s slave. But no less shocking was the role of The Times of India whose masthead reminds readers everyday that ‘Let Truth Prevail’ is its motto. Two days after Engineer had been mauled and his house turned to rubble, The Times of India published a large photograph showing thousands of the Syedna’s devotees ‘praying for peace’ in response to the high priest’s call to maintain ‘calm’! Not a word even to suggest to the readers that the drama was nothing short of an attempt by miscreants to mask their own misdeed.

On the other hand, it took several calls before the same national daily took grudging note (a one para report inconspicuously placed on an inside page) of the fact that 30 nationally respected Urdu writers had convened a special meeting to condemn the attack on Engineer. As if to improve on this performance, it completely ignored the March 1 meeting attended by several hundred people to express their outrage at the same incident. The Indian Express and The Asian Age — the two other prominent national dailies also published from Mumbai – which had earlier done a fair job of reporting also carried no mention of the meeting, the Indian Express only a photograph.
Is this how the fourth estate proposes to uphold the rule of law and the freedom of expression?

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Re: Articles By Asghar Ali Engineer.


Unread post by Humsafar » Fri Apr 13, 2012 10:11 am

Thanks GM for reproducing these articles. I wonder why all the abdes jumping up and down over an hypothetical Imam are absent from this thread. Is it because this incident proves everything that is wrong and venal about the mafia clergy and the Dai whom they never tire of defending? That the Sayedna was attacked was a lie, it was blown out proprtion, it was turned into a great scandal and Bohras world over were pressed into action, bleating and protesting to the media, writing letters to editors and all the rest of the drama. And for what? For a bald-faced lie? And not just that, the mafia clergy also turned violent, its goons attacked and destroyed Engineer's home and office. With lie and dishonesty comes intolerance and violence. And all these vile characteristics were on full display during this episoide. This is the true face of the Kothar, the "royal-family" and the Dai and his obedient cattle.
Worst of all, the Sayedna uttered a lie in public. Imagine the infallible Dai telling a lie.
And here we have stupid abdes hyperventilating about an Imam who may never come. What is wrong with these people?

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Re: Articles By Asghar Ali Engineer.


Unread post by SBM » Fri Apr 13, 2012 10:27 am

Br. Humsafar
If Kothari Goons can turn against their own, remember incident of Mazoon as well as Shakir of Zahir-Batin in Mumbai. These Goons have no character their bhagwan is MONEY and more Money. IF they can not spare their own family members do you think they will spare any one. These are Religious Mafias worst than the other Mafia because they are using religion and God to abuse their power and arrogance

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Re: Articles By Asghar Ali Engineer.


Unread post by ghulam muhammed » Sun Apr 15, 2012 3:40 pm

Abdes are 'missing in action' on this thread, their tyres got deflated no sooner facts were displayed with documentary evidence (hawa nikal gayi), all their hue and cry about the aircraft incident which was made out as an attack on dai, an attack on islamic leader, etc etc by the evil minded higher ups in saifee mahal turned out to be a blatant lie thrust on the non thinking abdes. Hence whenever issues relating to corruption, nepotism and tyranny by the dai and his gang are raised, abdes vanish like ghade ke sar pe se singh and the few who choose to defend their masters have to beat a hasty retreat due to lack of any strong evidence supporting their masters actions.

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Re: Articles By Asghar Ali Engineer.


Unread post by Hanif » Sun Apr 15, 2012 4:01 pm

Brother Gulam Muhammad,

Thanks for posting the article on Sufism by brother Engineer. His articles are well researched and need wide circulation because he has a lot of knowledge on Islam and its various sects. I circulated them to a lot of our youngsters who have a bad impression of Islam.

I love Sufism because it is a very tolerant, compassionate and all encompassing religion.

Al-Ghazzali turned to Sufism in his later life and became a very peaceful person. In his earlier life he used to preach against Ismaili doctrines, but when he turned to Sufism, he accepted the Ismaili ta'lim doctrine and admitted that a teacher was necessary in one's life. Every Sufi, be it a Shia Sufi or Sunni Sufi has a "teacher".

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Re: Articles By Asghar Ali Engineer.


Unread post by ghulam muhammed » Sun Apr 15, 2012 5:37 pm

Hanif wrote:I love Sufism because it is a very tolerant, compassionate and all encompassing religion.
Bro Hanif,

I second that.

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Re: Articles By Asghar Ali Engineer.


Unread post by ozmujaheed » Mon Apr 16, 2012 9:17 am

Murtazavds, I was not on the plane but it sounds very ridiculous that some one over 50 would risk jail leave alone the wrath of abdes to cause a commotion on a plane attack the sayedna. I don't know about India but in many countries this is a federal crime and the authorities would have made arrests.

Secondly I am also surprised that abdes would have access to control towers to adjust flights..It sounds very comical

Is that the only reason A Engineer disliked

Can abdes start by accepting can say whatever he like with his civil liberty ? You agree to disagree and learn to live with diversity?

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Re: Articles By Asghar Ali Engineer.


Unread post by ghulam muhammed » Tue May 01, 2012 3:44 pm


Asghar Ali Engineer

In view of what is going on in Gujarat where victims have been denied justice for more than 10 years, a debate has started that one should forgive and forget and march forward and engage oneself in economic development which is taking place there. How long the victims will keep on wailing over what happened in 2002, however disastrous it might have been. Sometime ago Maulana Vastanvi who runs several madrasas and other high level secular educational institutions also expressed similar views and advised Muslims to join the developmental stream in Gujarat and benefit from it.

It is, in my view, very important debate and one must understand all its implications thoroughly well. It has both moral and legal implications quite serious in nature. At one level it might have moral appeal that one should forgive the killers of Muslims in Gujarat and forget the whole incident. But at another level, one may argue, it has equally serious legal and constitutional implications.

First let us understand the difference between forgiving and forgetting. We often use the two words together and in one breath. However, there is significant difference between the two. One belongs to moral category (forgiving) and the other to psychological category. It is easier to forgive (though not so easy for those who seek revenge) but much more difficult to forget.

Genocide like Gujarat was traumatic in nature and it is nearly impossible to forget the trauma it caused to hundreds of victims in Gulbarg society, Naroda Patia and other parts of Ahmedabad and North and Central Gujarat. There have been several incidents in which women were raped and brutally done to death in presence of close relatives or raped and her several relatives were killed in front of her eyes as in the case of Bilqis Begum.

Can such traumatic experiences be ever forgotten, however, hard one tries? Even ordinary rape incident is traumatic enough for a woman to forget, one during communal riots and accompanied with other barbarities, is much more so. Also one remembers selectively and also forgets selectively. It is psychologically selective process. What is remembered is helpful for psychological reasons as what is forgotten also plays a healthy role. Certain memories will make life a hellish experience and is thus selectively forgotten and at other level remembering an incident plays a healthy role. So it is very complex process.

Forgiving, on the other hand, is a conscious moral decision which a person has to take overcoming lot of initial resistance from within. One is programmed by the nature to take revenge for wrong done to a human individual by another human individual. But then often seeking revenge leads to continued bloodbath and hence religious scriptures exhort us to forgive the enemy to break the cycle of violence. Bible even advises us to present another cheek, if one slaps us on one cheek - most difficult moral decision to make. The idea is to put the enemy to shame for his/her act of violence.

But forgiving has other conditions. Forgiving, as already pointed out, is moral in nature and is primarily meant for change of heart. It should succeed in bringing about reconciliation. If it fails to bring about reconciliation and change of heart on the part of the perpetrator, such forgiveness is infertile and wasted though morally it may still be desirable. And in case of Gujarat Chief Minister Shri Narendra Modi has not even once owned his responsibility even a head of state (if not as conscious perpetrator though it is alleged by many that he was).

Many had suggested that a Truth and Reconciliation Commission be set up on the South African model but the idea was outright rejected. That means there was no sign of repentance on the part of the perpetrators who are ideologically motivated and consider what they did with their victims in 2002 fully 'justified' by their Hindutva ideology. Thus even act of forgiveness on the part of victims does not move their hearts, let alone change their hearts.

Thus act of forgiveness will not achieve anything in Gujarat. They think their party is in power and hence no one can touch them. The Best Bakery and Bilqis Bano cases had to be tried outside the Gujarat state with the permission of the Supreme Court to get justice to the victims. Not only that these perpetrators keep on threatening their victims to withdraw their cases else they will not allow them to come back to their villages from where they had to flee during the Gujarat carnage.

Had these perpetrators shown any sign of repentance it would have been worth the while to forgive them and bring about reconciliation? Forgiveness, when the perpetrators show the signs of repentance and reconciliation, is good for the moral health of the victims who successfully resists the feeling of revenge. In a way it compensates the victim for the spiritual suffering undergone due to violence and humiliation inflicted on them.

Now let us take the question of justice. Question of justice is no less important. It is perhaps more important. The mighty and powerful should not get away with what they do in subjecting the weaker sections to oppression and violence. The whole basis of democracy is on rule of law. And when head of the state who is responsible for running the state on the basis of Constitution and maintain law and order not only fails to do so but justifies violence by citing Newton's law of action and reaction publicly in the midst of violence, question of justice becomes even more important.

To strive for justice in a constitutional democracy is most essential for the health of democracy as well as for moral compensation for the victims. Justice is, though basically a legal category, is also from victims' point of view, a moral category. If the perpetrators are subjected to the process of justice it brings about an inner satisfaction to the victims and their faith in the system becomes stronger.

However, if ends of justice are not met it may have serious implications for a constitutional democracy as indefinite wait for justice erodes the faith and credibility of the system and victims feel this system favours only the politically powerful. But for the repeated intervention of the Supreme Court, no justice would have been available to the victims in Gujarat.

What happened in Gulberga Society was utterly shocking. Ehsan Jaffri and 61 others were bunt alive and even dead bodies were maltreated and despite all efforts widow of Jafri has not got justice. The Special Investigation Team appointed by the Supreme Court gave 'clean chit to Modi though Raju Ram Chandran, amicus curiae has clearly maintained that SIT has erred in giving clean chit to Modi.

Widow of Ehsan Jafri has yet not given up and her yeoman struggle clearly shows that after such grim tragedy justice is the only hope for the victims. Justice, not for revenge as revenge could have been taken in other ways also but justice for preventing such monstrosities in future and justice for relieving the survivors from the guilt that that did their best for those innocent killed in such barbaric manner.

And it is not in Gujarat alone. What happened in 1984 with innocent Sikhs is also equally shocking. The anti-Sikh riot culprits also have not been punished as they too are quite powerful. And what happened in Hashimpura in 1987 is even more shocking. More than forty young boys were pulled from their houses loaded on trucks, taken to a canal on the outskirts of Meerut. Shot and their bodies thrown into canal. It is more than 25 years and yet the culprit has not been punished.

One starts wondering whether there is rule of law in our democracy. Our administrative machinery and delay in dispensation of justice throws poor light on our functioning. What is worse our law and order machinery has been badly communalized and what is still worse is that it is known to our political rulers and yet no effective steps are being taken to cleanse the machinery. Some political parties openly provoke caste and communal violence and yet they go scot free.

Once justice is dispensed with honesty certainly politicians and policemen would be afraid of consequences and communal violence would not occur, at least not as it happened in Gujarat and elsewhere. It is for this reason that justice needs to be done otherwise our democratic functioning will further degenerate and law and order will become thing of the past.

Those who talk of forget and march ahead have to think seriously of the consequences of what they are saying. They may be giving such advice sincerely so that the community may engage itself in matters of education, development etc. But while this is important, efforts to get justice is even more important for reasons stated above. Efforts to get justice should not be under-rated in any case.

Above all obtaining justice has cathartic effect for victims who otherwise suffer constant mental pain.

ghulam muhammed
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Re: Articles By Asghar Ali Engineer.


Unread post by ghulam muhammed » Mon Jun 04, 2012 2:41 pm


Asghar Ali Engineer

Last year I had gone to Afghanistan for a series of lectures on women’s rights and I also spoke on this subject in the gathering of distinguished gathering of ‘Ulama and one of the issues which came for discussion was about women being naqisat al-‘aql (short of reason and naqisat al-iman (short of faith). I said is it in Qur’an, I do not find it anywhere in Qur’an. Is it in hadith and answer was it is. I said any hadith which goes against Qur’an cannot be accepted as authentic.

All Ulama agree that Qur’an gives equal rights to men and women and both enjoy equal dignity, then how can she be short of reason and faith? However, the ‘Alim who was asserting that women are short of reason and faith, though could not reply but murmured and sat down. Recently I was going through a book written by Maulavi Nazir Ahmed, a great scholar of Islam with somewhat liberal views and was given title of Shamsul ‘Ulama by the British rulers where he discusses the story creation of Adam and his being expelled from paradise for eating the forbidden wheat (fruit?)

Maulavi Nazir Ahmed also mentions that though the Satan could not mislead Adam as he was firm in his resolve not to eat the forbidden wheat but he (Satan) succeeded in misleading Hawwa as she was short of reason and Hawwa persuaded Adam and both ate and were expelled from Paradise. It is highly surprising that a scholar like the Maulavi did not bother to consult Qur’an which no where says that Satan succeeded in misleading Hawwa but Qur’an directly blames Adam for being misled and thrown out of paradise.

Thus the Qur’an says, “But the evil made an evil suggestion to him (Adam); he said: O Adam, shall I lead thee to the tree of immortality and a kingdom which decays not? (20:121) And in the same verse the last line is “And Adasm disobeyed his Lord and went astray.” Here Adam is directly being blamed for being misled and going astray and Hawwa is no where mentioned.

Despite this Maulavi Nazir Ahmed and most of our Ulama blame Hawwa for yielding to temptation and persuading Adam to eat of the fruit of the tree. The evidence of the Qur’an is totally ignored and ulama rely on hadith. Why does it happen this way? The reason is our anti woman attitude and thinking women are inferior to men and men are the rulers. Where this attitude comes from? Naturally from the patriarchal values which are prevalent in the society.

We would continue to think this way quoting prominent Ulama without understanding that our Ulama were product of certain period and were prisoners of their time. In other words we have to adopt socio-cultural approach to religion. What we call Islam is not merely based on Qur’an and sunnah but also of our social and cultural values. The social structure of that time was not only patriarchal but also the prevalent patriarchal values deeply penetrated our understanding of the Qur’an but also our theology and we considered our theology as divine.

Women in the past feudal and patriarchal structure of society were subjected to severe restrictions including denying her any public role. Segregation of women from men also became part of our treatment of women. During Prophet (PBUH)’s time women played active role, took part in various public debates and even accompanied the Prophet (PBUH) to battle fields and at times played active role as combatants. The battle of Jamal, it is well known, was led by Hazrat Aisha.

However, all this changed once Islam entered in the era of monarchy and feudal culture became the ruling culture. The monarchs maintained large harrams and made women their prisoners to be guarded by eunuchs. It was in this environment that women lost their rights which they were given in Qur’an and sunnah. Men were now projected as superior class totally ignoring what Qur’an had to say.

Qur’an gave equal rights to women in every respect see verses like 33:35, 2:228 and so on. Qur’an did not use words like husband and wife and used zawj or zawja instead (zawj or zawja means one of the couple. Thus husband and wife are referred to as zawj and our ulama, later on, under the influence of feudal and patriarchal culture began to quote a hadith that had prostration (sajda) been allowed for man I (Prophet, PBUH) would have ordered wife to prostrate before her husband.

The Qur’an avoided using the word ba’al as in Arabic it signified a diety. Qur’an uses the word ba’al only thrice and that too for narrating stories of the past, otherwise it uses the word zawj for husband. It avoided the use of word ba’al lest it should be of the status of a diety. Husband in Islam is no more than one of the couple signifying equality of both husband and wife. But our ‘Ulama privilege husband over wife.

Since women were confined at home and their role reduced to that of housewife they lacked experience of outside world and also parents thought a housewife does not need any higher education. She thus usually remained illiterate and could acquire no experience of public life outside home and hence came to be described as naqisul ‘aql (short of reason). Today conditions have changed drastically and women are working in every field of life and have become great achievers in fact they have proved themselves to be superior to men in several fields. To call them naqisul ‘aql is to display ones own being short of reason.

ghulam muhammed
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Re: Articles By Asghar Ali Engineer.


Unread post by ghulam muhammed » Mon Jun 11, 2012 3:41 pm

Meaning and practice of religion

By Asghar Ali Engineer,

Recently I was taking a workshop on secularism and communal harmony in Calicut, Kerala. The participants were mostly college and university students and discussion started on religion and its role in the society. Many of them were not comfortable with the very idea of religion. I have experienced this in many similar workshops. Those who are secularists are generally not favourable towards religion. A majority of them think secularism and religion cannot go together. Ironically the orthodox practitioners of religion too think secularism is anathema to religion. Thus both on opposite poles feel secularism and religion are mismatch.

What is religion?

Now the important question is what is religion? What is its role in our composite society? And what place it should have in our personal lives? These are important questions and we have to deal with these questions both on philosophical, ideological and practical levels. Ignoring these questions will only result in more and more confusion. The youngsters I generally deal with in my workshops are generally confused and have no clarity on these questions.

Before we deal with these questions it is important to note that human mind cannot remain bereft of beliefs. Of course nature of belief may vary and may even be antagonistic to each other or non-conforming to each other. But nevertheless human mind cannot be comfortable without certain beliefs. In this sense secularism or even atheism acquires form of belief and is defended as vehemently as religious belief.

Atheism thus cannot be described as state of non-belief. A religious person who believes in God may describe it as non-belief but it is non-belief in God, not non- belief per se. It is certainly a form of belief. A secularist may be either atheist or agnostic or may even accept existence of God though not as part of some formal religious belief but as some kind of super power or even as creator.

It is also important to note that as human mind cannot be bereft of belief, human life cannot be without purpose or meaning. Either human person lives with received or inherited purpose or meaning or discovers some meaning herself/himself. One who lives according to received or inherited meaning lives mechanically but one who discovers it herself or himself lives much more passionately.

Now let us answer the question what is religion? The most fundamental answer would be it is a set of beliefs. Generally these beliefs include belief in God but examples of Buddhism and Jainism, among organized religions, show that belief in God is not necessary condition for being religious. Buddhist beliefs are agnostic in nature and Jain ones atheistic. Yet both are counted among world religions. Thus belief in God is not essential condition for belief in religion.

And belief in religion is of course much more that belief in God or even in one God. Belief in one God is essential part of monotheistic religions like Judaism, Christianity and Islam. All these religions belong to one family, family of monotheistic religions and belief in Prophets. For these three religions belief in prophets is also necessary as, according to these religions God sends prophets with a message and it is this message which becomes religion for its followers.

It is also to be noted that non-semitic religions like Hinduism or Confucianism are less organized or not organized and also may or may not have belief in one God like monotheistic religions. Also, as many Hindu scholars point out Hinduism is not religion with fixed set of beliefs like monotheistic religions but dharma which emphasize duties rather than beliefs. It is more a way of life than set of beliefs.

Well it is more idealistic than realistic view of Hinduism. In practice, as we all know Hinduism is also a set of rigid beliefs and expresses itself through these beliefs. As for way of life all religions stake this claim and thus cannot be ascribed to Hinduism alone. Muslims also repeatedly stress that Islam is a way of life but it is true that unlike Islam Hinduism is not set of rigid beliefs but it varies from place to place and time to time. It neither came into existence at one period of time nor originated in one geographical location.

It is generally believed that religion is rigid and claims immutability and hence cannot keep pace with the changing world or changing times. It is nothing but set of immutable beliefs and hence a great obstacle in change and progress. Also, it is exclusivistic and rejects truth claims of other beliefs. This is only partially true because a section of followers of religion, not all reject truth claims of other religions.

For example the Sufis of wahdat al-wujud school believe in what is called doctrine of sulh-i-kul (peace with all) and they accept the truth claims of other religions, even of Hinduism which in practice believes in idol worship. Some Sufis like Mazhar Jan-i-Janan goes to the extent of describing Hindus as monotheists as according to their shashtras (Holy Books) Ishwar (God) is nirgun (without attributes) and nirakar (without form) which, according to him, is the highest form of monotheism.

Tolerance, in-tolerance

One should note that tolerance and intolerance are psychological categories, not religious one i.e. one follower could be more tolerant than the other. Thus of the two followers of the same religion one could be more tolerant than the other. Had it been religious category all followers would have been equally tolerant or intolerant. That is not the case. We have great saints like Mu’inuddin Chishti, Nizamuddin Auliya, Kabir, Ravidas and others who were highly tolerant and readily accepted truth claims of other religions.

Also, there are different trends in the same religion. In Hinduism there is Bhakti movement (devotional trend). Their whole emphasis is on love of God and they believe in annihilating themselves in God as a lover likes to annihilate himself/herself in the existence of beloved. Sufis of wahdat al-wujud school also put whole emphasis on love of God, not on fear of God as theologians do.

Sufis believe in fana’ fi’ Allah (i.e. annihilating in Allah) who is described by them as beloved. Entire Sufi love poetry is devoted to love of God and their beloved (ma’shuq) is Allah. They also call it ‘ishq-i-haqiqi (real love). Since death is annihilation in Allah Sufis call it wisal i.e. meeting with Allah. Thus Sufis use entire terminology of love for their birth, life and death.

Thus their birth and earthly life is described as hijr (separation) from beloved. Thus for Sufis earthly life is nothing but a period of separation from beloved and they celebrate their death as a day of joy when they would meet their beloved. And since all have been created by Allah, there is no question of discrimination between one and the other be they Muslims or Hindus or Christians or of any other religion. All walls of separation are demolished.

Even in Sufism there are different schools and all schools are not as open and tolerant as wahdat al-wujud school. Sheikh Sirhindi of 17th century (Jehangir’s contemporary) was quite puritan and was against the philosophy of wahdat al-wujud and came into conflict with them. He developed instead a concept of what he called wahdat al-shuhud i.e. unity of witnessing and emphasized truth of Islam as against other religions. Many people came under his influence and some scholars even maintain that his philosophy led to political separation in India and resulted in partition. However, this needs to be carefully examined.

In Hinduism too there are different trends from peaceful to extremely violent. Vedantas and Upanishads are highest expression of Hindu philosophy which is quite liberal and catholic. It is ethical and moral. But we also have Hindutva trend which is basically political and extremely violent and intolerant. It is Hindutva ideology which is responsible for several communal riots and Gujarat genocide in 2002.

Continued.......... 2.

ghulam muhammed
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Re: Articles By Asghar Ali Engineer.


Unread post by ghulam muhammed » Mon Jun 11, 2012 3:43 pm

Meaning and practice of religion

PART TWO.........

Political misuse

It is therefore obvious that not religion but its political misuse which is mainly responsible for intolerance and violence which at popular level is taken to be on account of religion. In politics in general and in democratic politics in particular, more than religion and its teachings, political identity becomes a problem. In countries like India, as we have shown in one of our articles on identity, religious, caste and linguistic identities play a key role in all elections. But it should be noted that it is not only religious but also caste and linguistic identities also play such role.

In developing countries due to backwardness and illiteracy religion has firm grip over the minds of people and politicians are tempted to use and misuse religion and religious identities for gathering people’s support. From our experience in India we also know that these politicians do not allow even textbooks to be changed and thus education, instead of part of solution, becomes a part of the problem. Education is being used as a powerful instrument by politicians to perpetuate narrow orthodoxy and for reinforcing religious, caste and linguistic identities.

Our education system, as the noted revolutionary American philosopher Herbert Marcuse pointed out produces one dimensional man who thinks that the given system is the best system and needs to be preserved. The media also becomes a powerful instrument, like education system, to perpetuate religious orthodoxy and narrow caste and regional outlook. In every caste, communal and ethnic riots we see that media plays very negative role and because of media provocations, violence gets greatly intensified.

Also, religious festivals are occasions of outbreak of communal violence. Most of the riots take place on these festivals not because these festivals carry any germs of violence but because politicians exploit these occasions to make Hindus and Muslims fight by insisting on particular route which passes through certain locality where the other community lives and the leaders of other community opposing and also raising provocative slogans against a particular community. Earlier these processions used to pass through peacefully and people of all religions participating in them as a religio-cultural event.

Now in this era of globalization, multinational companies have begun to sponsor these religious festivals which are now being celebrated on much grander scale. It has nothing to do with the real purpose of these festivals and religio-cultural motive behind them but for these companies it is mere business and to promote their business they do lot of social and political damage by reinforcing religious orthodoxy.

Today these festivals are not only being observed on grand scale but also have become occasions of making huge amounts of money. Even criminal gangs are using these festivals for establishing their leadership in a particular area. They also put up huge Ganesh Pandals in many cities and through it promote their own activities. The media also gives full publicity to miracle mongering Babas who use various tricks to dupe gullible people.

The important question is why these fake Babas and Godmen and Godwomen (though few in number but are nevertheless there) are there. The modern urban life is full of tensions and uncertainties and even educated people suffer from these problems and these people look for quick remedies which these Babas claim to provide. Some agents are also employed by these Babas to promote their miracles among the people who go around and claim that thanks to the Baba their problems were solved. Thus more people flock around them.

Once a Godman becomes successful and gathers large following politicians also begin to visit them and seek their support for their political purposes. This further reinforces their public image. Politicians of the level of Prime Minister indulge in such tactics for votes. Here I am not naming the names but several such examples can be given. Naturally many rationalists become averse to religion.

We should add to this list the orthodoxy of our ulama, theologians and priests who acquire vested interest in perpetuating orthodoxy. In countries like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and several other countries they are product of poor masses and in turn, after qualifying as theologians control these backward masses, perpetuate orthodoxy and display extreme rigidity in the name of religion.

This rigidity and orthodoxy, as pointed out above, not inherent in religion but reflects the kind of education they receive in madrasas and theological institutions in a backward environment and continue to preach the same. It thus becomes a viscous circle. I had long debate with the mufti of city of Saharanpur on the question of triple divorce. He admitted it is wrong but said I cannot take public position like you as my rivals will exploit it. Some of these compulsions also become great obstacles for change.

In an attempt to codify Muslim personal law in India we met many ulama who fully agreed with us on necessary changes and laying rules and bylaws to minimize misuse of certain shari’ah provisions but refused to take public position for similar reason. I know some ulama and theologians who are bold enough to take even public position. The poor and illiterate masses and in many cases even educated ones, accept everything uncritically in the name of religion.

Critical thinking

There is need to develop critical thinking in order to make religion serve its real purpose. Perpetuating what was developed by Ulama centuries ago does not, in any case serve useful purpose. In earlier phases of Islamic history the ulama could develop quite advanced Islamic legal system because they critically examined issues and publicly debated them. But once legal schools were formalized, the process of thinking and reflecting came to full stop and all gates of ijtihad (creative and critical thinking) were closed and no one dares open them.

Thus instead of rejecting religion as a part of the problem we have to critique those who exploit it or try to perpetuate orthodoxy. And those rationalists who criticize religion do not criticize the whole social environment and the system in which rigidity and orthodoxy flourishes. It is like criticizing poverty instead of the system which creates poverty. We should also remember that religion is not changeable.

It is for us to understand what is changeable and what is not. We should also understand religion is not borne in vacuum, it is born in a culture, in a social milieu with its own customs and traditions. They are not integral part of religion but they appear to be so and eventually they do become part of religion. The Ulama and priests begin defending all this as divine and hence immutable. In Islam many practices are nothing but Arab customs and traditions which became part of Islamic shari’ah and is being treated as divine injunctions.

All this needs to be critiqued and their relevance and irrelevance determined and if they become part of the problem, need to be changed. We inherit religion with all these customs and traditions as integral part of our culture. Instead of treating it divine as a whole we must separate what is cultural from what is transcendent and universal and change what is changeable. Religion is what we make of it.

The most essential part of religion which is imperishable and permanent is higher values. These are seven values which are almost common in all religions: Truth, equality, human dignity, love, compassion, justice and non-violence. The differences between religions are not in core teachings constituted by these values but in socio-cultural practices through which a religion is practiced. To pray to God is essential but how to pray is cultural.

Truth of very central importance but how many those who claim to be religious practice truth? Truth is the first casualty among almost all followers of religion, whatever their religion. But how many of us make truth as the ultimate criteria of religion. Religion has been reduced to be a bundle of formal rituals. Instead of judging religiosity by truth value of followers’ conduct, we judge it by ritual he or she performs or does not perform. Even a liar who faithfully performs certain rituals passes as ‘religious’

Thus it is necessary to change the whole criteria for judging ones religiosity and it was always in this sense that Sufis and saints criticized ulama and priests. If Allah is truth (haq or satya) then one who compromises truth is most irreligious person and not one who misses certain rituals. Truth, justice and love are the most essential characteristics of religion and there can be no religion or religious behavior without these characteristics. In Qur’an Allah’s name is haq (truth) and justice is essential part of taqwa (piety) and love of Allah and all that He has created is integral part of Islam that is Allah’s message brought by his Messenger Muhamad (PBUH). Shorn of this everything else is hypocrisy.

ghulam muhammed
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Re: Articles By Asghar Ali Engineer.


Unread post by ghulam muhammed » Wed Jun 20, 2012 6:12 pm


Asghar Ali Engineer

Recently BJP President Shri Nitin Gadkari said, in the BJP Executive Committee meeting in Mumbai, a few days ago, that we should try to woo minorities to win forthcoming 2014 General Elections. He gave example of Goa that we wooed the Christian minority there and won the Goa election. We, therefore, should try to woo Muslims too, in the country, to win 2014 General Elections.

Mr. Gadkari, who is a RSS appointee as President of BJP should know the difference between winning Goa, a small Union Territory election and the General Elections in India as a whole. Also, Goa has some specific problems whereas India as a whole with 15% Muslim population is very different proposition. The two are far from comparable. Also, Goan Christians' attitude towards BJP is not the same as Muslim attitude towards BJP. And BJP's sins against Christians in Goa are not the same as BJP's sins against Muslims in different parts of India.

In 2014 BJP is desperate to come to power. In last General Elections BJP got 19% votes and the Congress got 27% and the Congress formed UPA II Government with the help of its allies. Thus between Congress and BJP there was difference of 8% votes and BJP is desperate to make up this difference and if it can get a section of Muslim vote it can make some difference.

BJP' mathematics unfortunately depends again on communal concept. It thinks Muslims and Hindus are homogenous communities and they vote on communal considerations and not on the basis of their regional, linguistic and class interests as it happens in a democracy. It incited hatred against Muslims throughout post-independence India on the assumption that it could polarize voters into Hindus and Muslims and Hindus will vote for the BJP and it will come to power. However, it never happened and BJP remained outside the charming circle.

It then merged with the Janta Party under the leadership of Shri Jayprakash Narayan and took a vow for Gnadhian secularism and socialism and vowed never to resort to communal politics. However, under dual membership controversy its members in Janata Party refused to resign from RSS and ultimately Janta Party Government under Morarji Desai leadership fell and BJP once again resorted to communal politics with vengeance.

It was during this phase that it raised the issue of Ramjananmbhoomi-Babri Masjid controversy during late eighties and polarized Indian population along communal lines as never before. Its vow not to resort to communal politics was thoroughly exposed. It was nothing but sheer opportunism. Its secularism was thus very short lived. There was no genuine change of heart or in other words its decision was not based on inner conviction but merely on political tactics.

The BJP never misses any chance to attack any scheme or project which can benefit Muslims even remotely. It has been opposing implementation of Sacchar Committee scheme under its well-known theory of appeasement of Muslims and year after year Narendra Modi Government has been refusing to utilize scholarship amount sent by the Central Government for Muslim children under the pretext that his Government does not believe in any 'religious discrimination' in dispensing scholarship amount.

Also, the BJP Governments in M.P. and Karnataka have passed stringent laws against cow slaughter which is directed mainly against Muslims and police will have one more weapon to harass them. I am not saying that Muslims should eat beef; they should renounce it voluntarily as Jami'at-ul-Ulama-i-Hind also has advised them but anyway all cannot be compulsorily stopped from doing so and even if they do not eat the police will harass them. The law is very very stringent and even dalits who too, eat beef, are opposing it and in Hyderabad University these dalit students even organized a food festival and ate beef in the University Campus.

The M.P. Government also has passed such law but also has been introducing Hindu rituals in schools like Surya namaskar and others and hardly cares for any religious sensitivity of minorities. Thus wherever it comes to power it imposes Hindu rituals over other religious minorities. Not that there is anything wrong with Hindu rituals but question is of others religious sensibilities and of imposition against will.

Also, the Sangh Parivar has hardly love for democracy. In Gujarat Hitler has been glorifies in textbooks. In Rajasthan when BJP was in power in class XI text book of social science is Fascism was glorified and it was stated that fascism suits India as a fascist leader can take right decision at right time. It is utterly shocking but true. I myself drew Mr. Arjun Singh, the then Human Resources Minister's attention to it and he could not believe that such a thing has been included in the Rajasthan text book.

Fascism and Nazism are strongly anti-minorities and highly intolerant of religious pluralism. Such text books are anti-democratic and go totally against our own cultural traditions of pluralism and tolerance. It is anti-constitutional too. Also, the Sangh Parivar has been inciting violence against Muslims since the day one of independent India. It has accused Muslims of being not loyal to India and being pro-Pakistan. It treats Indian Muslims from Kashmir to Kanya Kumari and label such accusations the whole community which is grossly untrue.

With horrible massacres like Gujarat in 2002 Narendra Modi refused to take any responsibility, let alone express any regret and apologies to Muslims for what happened with them in that state. He, on the other hand, expects Muslims to forget and go ahead. Instead of apologizing he pretended to promote what Modi calls sadbhavna (communal harmony) and he sat on one day fasts in several districts of Gujarat. Muslims of Gujarat refused to fall for his pretensions and despite all efforts they did not take part in his sadbhvna rallies except the Bohra Muslims whose head Syedna Muhammad Burhanuddin is placating Modi for his personal vested interests (The Syedna has huge income from various mausoleums and waqf properties in Gujarat which goes unaccounted).

Now Narendra Modi's rival Mr. Sanjay Joshi is accusing him of organizing communal riots in Gujarat in 2002 to retain his chair. Mr. Joshi's supporters put up a poster which said "I am an RSS member, I don't sell purchase land, I don't do genocide for power, I don't change my color for power (reference to sadbhavna rallies)..The supporters of Modi all were wearing Sanjay Joshi mask on their faces as Narendra Modi's followers did (wearing Narendra Modi masks) on the eve of last Gujarat assembly elections.

Keshubhai Patel, the former Chief Minister has also come out and attacking Narendra Modi and is appealing to his Patel biradari to rise against Modi and defeat him in coming assembly elections. This is the condition of BJP which one claimed while the Congress is a party with differences, BJP is the Party with difference. Now the shoe is on the other foot. It is the BJP which is a party with differences. It is as corrupt, if not more, as Congress. It supports Anna to defeat 'corrupt Congress' and Anna and his team obliges BJP by targeting only the Congress and keeping absolutely mum about corruption in BJP.

Whatever if BJP is desirous of Muslim supports it has to first of all apologize to Muslims and the nation for demolition of Babri Masjid and allow Babri Masjid to be reconstructed at the plot where it once stood. Also it should compel Narendra Modi to apologize to Muslims for organizing their genocide in Gujarat in 2002. Also the BJP should convince the nation and Muslims that it would not resort to communalism and communal violence and would not betray the nation this time round in any case.

This also cannot wash away BJP's sins but at least pave way for reconciliation and we altogether - Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, tribals and all others can raise our Indian nation and make it peaceful and prosperous. It should also apologize to Christians for organizing riots in Kndhamal district, Orissa Then only we can become a true nation without any distinction of religion, caste and creed.

The minorities then will surely give BJP a chance to come to power and prove its worth and that unlike in seventies it would not betray its promise. And if BJP really apologizes the minorities would magnanimously forgive and forget all that happened in the past and go ahead. This is what happened in South Africa and Satya is very much part of our Indian culture and forgiveness too is our precious heritage. If at all BJP is proud of our rich cultural heritage it should not mind following this course.

A superficial approach like promising Muslims to salvage their waqf properties as suggested by Shri Nitin Gadkari will not attract Muslims to the BJP fold. For more than 60 years they have suffered at the hands of BJP and its politics of communalism. Only salvaging waqf properties is not going to do the trick. And let BJP leaders be also reassured that the Congress will also be not be able to use fear of BJP to get Muslim votes. Its communalism will also be exposed and it will also have to work hard to woo Muslims. It would then be real competition between two great parties to bring about great unity and solidarity between all people of India - the ultimate goal of our politics. Long live our nation and our unity!

ghulam muhammed
Posts: 11653
Joined: Tue Oct 07, 2008 5:34 pm

Re: Articles By Asghar Ali Engineer.


Unread post by ghulam muhammed » Tue Jul 10, 2012 6:58 pm


By Asghar Ali Engineer

A few days ago we had organized a discussion on codification of Muslim personal law in a way that could be acceptable to all the sects of Islam in India. We have done so in consultation with the ulama Muslim intellectuals, lawyers and women activists. Also, this codification is strictly with frame-work of Shari’ah that is Qur’an and sunna. We have had a few
consultations before we finalized certain proposals and we also had kept in view the codification done in many Muslim countries like Pakistan, Jordan, Egypt and other countries.

Our draft codified law addresses the question of misuse of polygamy, triple talaq, inheritance, custody of children etc. The orthodox Ulama who have constituted the Muslim Personal Law Board since seventies of last century, hardly do anything to stop misuse of these provisions with the result that a large number of Muslim women suffer – are arbitrarily divorced ruining their lives for ever and throwing their children in an uncertain future. Many men taking advantage of provision for polygamy desert their fist wives and marry another one and in order to take revenge do not even divorce them as under unregulated Muslim personal law today khula’ cannot take place without the consent of husband.

Our proposed codification is chiefly meant to stop such abuses and restore its thrust for justice and gender equality. Though we have finalized proposals we, by no means, consider it perfect and so have kept it open for consultation and further perfection. Continuing with consultation we organized one such consultation at Lucknow which is a centre of Islamic learning and invited ulama from Nadwat-ul-Ulama and Farangi Mahal, the two great centres of Islamic learning, besides other Ulama, intellectuals and women activists.

Though we are aware that it is by no means easy to get such proposals accepted by orthodox Ulama or Muslim Personal Law Board (MPLB) we continue to discuss with them and persuade them to accept these proposals in the interest of Islamic spirit and justice to women. We also wish to have dialogue with MPLB, preferably its chief Maulana Rabe Hasni. In this consultation we requested that MPLB should depute some representative to have at least preliminary discussion with us.

A maulana was deputed and from Farangi Mahal its chief Maulana Irfan Siddiqui himself came. The consultation was great disappointment and proved how rigid our Ulama are and one of the reasons why Islam appears to be so rigid to non-Muslims and rationalist Muslims is chiefly because of this rigidity. Right at the beginning the Maulana from Nadwa (I am not naming him) right in the beginning said you are undertaking very ‘dangerous’ work (khaufnak kam kar rahen hain).

He also alleged that you are trying to ‘change Qur’an.’ I said let us first go through the proposals and then you point out why it is ‘dangerous’ and how it amounts to change Qur’an. We again reiterated that our proposals are strictly within the frame-work of Qur’an and sunnah, all we are doing is to regulate and prevent their misuse like polygamy, triple divorce etc. We have proposed, for example, that a man should not be allowed to marry another wife unless he is permitted to do so by the marriage council (or shari’ah court) presided by a qazi and his first wife after thorough inquiry which could include need for second wife and his capacity to do justice.

Both the Qur’anic verses in on polygamy in Qur’an (4:3 and 4:129) stress justice, not number and justice is very primary in Islamic value system too and in taking second wife too justice cannot be ignored. The Maulana then said it is Hindus who marry more than one wife more often than Muslims. I said so what, we are here discussing the Muslim Personal Law and not Hindu law or violation of Hindu law. We must understand the maqasid al-shari’ah (intentions of shari’ah) and should not go by formal law as formulated by early jurists. In fact early jurists also had kept justice in mind and even tried to define justice but soon it began to be misused by men and justice became quite secondary to number (upto four)

Similarly triple divorce in one sitting is not mentioned in Qur’an and Qur’an has clearly prescribed method also and requires two witnesses at the time of divorce (65:1-3) and yet among Hanafi Muslims triple divorce in one sitting has become the only form of divorce in India. Qur’an also makes provision for arbitration before divorce (4:35) which is also avoided today. Thus Qur’an becomes secondary when it comes to men’s domination.

The Maulana said if I prove the Prophet (PBUH) had allowed triple divorce would you accept it? I said surely I would. Please quote the source. He could not and then I quoted the hadith in which the Prophet (PBUH) had strongly denounced triple divorce when Rukkana divorced his wife thrice in one sitting. The Maulana had no reply but again he said very few Muslims divorce their wives. One ‘alim even said none of us present here has divorced his wife. I said we are not going by numbers but quality and intent of law, not how many Muslims divorce their wives. I know of several Muslim women whose lives have been ruined because of triple divorce.

The Maulana when rendered speechless adopted tactics of *munazarah*(debate) in which matter is twisted rather than give solid reply. The Maulana at last left in a huff rather than give any constructive suggestion. I was very much pained that our religious leaders are so rigid and have lost the true spirit of Islamic legislation.