Category Archives: Religion

The Beloved

Dawood (alayhis salam) and his son, Sulaiman (alayhis salam) were not only prophets, but also kings of the people of Israel. They were both known for their strength, wisdom, judgement, and devotion to Allah.

Before Dawood (alayhis salam) became king, Talut (Saul) was the king of Israel. When he set out with his army to fight Jalut (Goliath) and his forces, he tested his soldiers by telling them not to drink from a river which they were crossing. Only a small sip of water out of the hand was allowed. But only a very few men passed the test. With that small band of obedient soldiers, Talut prepared to meet the larger and stronger army of Jalut. The men put their faith in Allah, knowing that size and numbers were no match for a steadfast faith in the power of Allah. Dawood , who was a very young man in Talut’s army, killed Jalut. After that, Jalut’s army fell apart, and the small band of Israelites was victorious.

Dawood (alayhis salam) , besides being brave and wise, was known for his wonderful voice, which he used to sing the praises of Allah. When he sang, the mountains and valleys and all of nature seemed to join in. It was to him that the holy book, Zabur, was given by Allah. It is a book of songs praising Allah.

Allah also showed Dawood (alayhis salam) the art of making iron, so that he was able to make suits of armor to protect his soldiers.

The prophet Muhammad ??? ???? ???? ???? used to say, according to the traditions of Sahih al-Bukhari (Vol. 4: 631), that the most beloved fasting to Allah was that of Dawood (alayhis salam), who used to fast on alternate days. And the most beloved prayer was that of Dawood (alayhis salam). He would sleep the first half of the night; then he would pray for one-third of the night, before going back to sleep for the remaining one-sixth of the night.

Dawood (alayhis salam) was a wise and just judge of disputes which arose in his kingdom, but his son Prophet Sulaiman (alayhis salam) surpassed him in the ability to provide a fair judgement.

In one tradition (Bukhari, Vol.4; 637), there were two women, each of whom had a child. One child was stolen and devoured by a wolf. Each woman claimed that it was the other woman’s child who was taken. They brought the case to Dawood (alayhis salam) and he judged that the older woman should have the remaining child. Then they went to Prophet Sulaiman (alayhis salam). He called for a knife, so that he could cut the child in half and give half to each woman. But the younger woman, who could not bear to see her child cut in half, cried out that the child belonged to the other woman. Prophet Sulaiman (alayhis salam) then gave the child to the younger woman.

In another story, referred to in the Quran (21: 78) a man’s flock of sheep strayed into a farmer’s field at night, destroying the crops that had been growing there. The case was brought before Dawood (alayhis salam), who awarded the flock of sheep to the farmer as restitution for damages. But Prophet Sulaiman (alayhis salam) suggested another solution, which would repay the farmer without ruining the herdsman. Prophet Sulaiman ruled that the farmer would keep the sheep and use their milk and wool, until the herdsman had restored the damaged field to its original condition. When that had been done, the flock would be returned to the herdsman.

Both Dawood (alayhis salam) and Sulaiman (alayhis salam), although powerful and rich, never ceased to acknowledge that all their gifts were from Allah. They remained obedient to Allah and used their power to follow Allah’s will.

You can read about Dawood (alayhis salam) and Sulaiman (alayhis salam) in the Quran 2:249-251; 21: 78-82; 34: 10-14; 38: 17-26, 30-40.

to be, or not to be…

fascinating stuff…

A digest of last week’s prophetic and interpretive thought

“I was not commenting and I will not comment on the wisdom of making a decision to put a mosque there. I was commenting very specifically on the right that people have that dates back to our founding.” —Barack Obama

“We all know that they have the right to do it, but should they?” —Sarah Palin

“Where the ‘Ground Zero mosque’ is concerned, opposition is roughly proportional to distance, even in New York.” —Hendrik Hertzberg

“I believe that this is an important test of the separation of church and state—as important a test as we may see in our lifetimes—and it is critically important that we get it right.” —Michael Bloomberg

“Obviously my opinion is that I’m opposed to it.” —John McCain

“If you are a healer, you do not go forward with this project. If you’re a warrior, you do.” —Rudy Giuliani

“It’s a community center. They’re going to have a gym. They’re going to have point guards. Muslim point guards.” —Al Franken

“Nazis don’t have the right to put up a sign next to the Holocaust Museum in Washington. We would never accept the Japanese putting up a site next to Pearl Harbor. There’s no reason for us to accept a mosque next to the World Trade Center.” —Newt Gingrich

“There is no valid comparison there.” —Pat Buchanan

“This is like a metastasized anti-Semitism.” —Daisy Khan

“We strengthen America by distinguishing, clearly and unequivocally, between our al-Qaida enemy and our Muslim neighbors.” —Jeff Merkley

“How is this opposition to the mosque being funded? How is this being ginned up?” —Nancy Pelosi

“It is a real affront to people who lost their lives…. Another site would be a better idea.” —Howard Dean

“The longer we have this feud, the more the terrorists are laughing.” —David Paterson

something fishy goin on

Israel has asked an Indian geneticist to study the link between the Indian Pathans tribe and certain tribes of Israel, the Times of India reported this week.

Geneticist Shahnaz Ali has been asked to study the link between the Afridi Pathans, based in the Lucknow region of India, and certain tribes of Israel who migrated across Asia thousands of years ago.

Ali is based in Haifa where she is working in collaboration with Israel’s prestigious university the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology.

ayatollah

where do these people get this jibberish in their head? why don’t we all time travel to the stone age and live like the amish. damn fatwa’s. i’d love to know where all this profound knowledge comes from.

As if the debate around using ethanol to fuel cars weren’t already complicated enough, now an Islamic scholar has suggested that driving or even riding in a vehicle fueled by ethanol could be considered a sin for observant Muslims.

The opinion comes from Sheikh Mohamed al-Najimi, of the Islamic Jurisprudence Academy in Saudi Arabia. It is based on the part of Islamic law derived from a statement by the prophet in which dealing with alcohol in any form–including purchase, sale, transport, consumption, and manufacture–is strictly prohibited.

The sheikh urged that the issue of ethanol-powered vehicles should be studied by Islamic religious scholars, and stressed that the statement was not a fatwa but simply his own opinion.

the god particle

i wrote about richard dawkins a little while ago and how he debunks harun yahya’s ‘atlas of creation’. anyway, seems like the turkish government decided to reprimand him slightly and now his website is unavailable for everyone within turkey.

Oktar, a household name in Turkey, has used hundreds of books, pamphlets and DVDs to contest Darwin’s theory of evolution. In 2006 his publishers sent out 10,000 copies of the Atlas of Creation, a lavish book rejecting evolution on every one of its 800 pages. Dawkins, one of the recipients, described the book as “preposterous”. On his website the British biologist and popular science writer said he was at “a loss to reconcile the expensive and glossy production values of this book with the breathtaking inanity of the content”. It is the third time Oktar and his associates have succeeded in blocking sites in Turkey. In August 2007 Oktar persuaded a court to block access to WordPress.com. His lawyers argued that blogs on the site contained libellous material that it was unwilling to remove. Last April he made a libel complaint about Google Groups, which was subsequently blocked.

Kashmir Humanitarian Crisis

Justice Navanethem Pillay, High Commissioner
Dr. Kyung-wha Kang, Deputy High Commissioner
Ms. Gay McDougall, Independent Expert on minority issues
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
United Nations
Palais des Nations
CH-1211 Geneva 10
Switzerland
Subject: Humanitarian Crisis in Jammu and Kashmir
August 12, 2008

Dear Justice Pillay, Dr. Kang, Ms. McDougall:

We write to bring to your attention the profound humanitarian crisis continuing in the Kashmir Valley due to the ongoing blockade of the Srinagar-Jammu highway by religious nationalist groups from India. This has resulted in severe shortages in the Kashmir Valley of food and other vital provisions. We are reliably informed that petrol and essential medical rations, including blood, are in critically short supply, as well as newsprint, and that communication services and infrastructure are severely disrupted.

The situation in Jammu, where the Muslim minority is facing violence on a scale that can be described as ethnic cleansing, is alarming. The Government of India and the military and paramilitary forces have shown themselves unable and/or unwilling to take any effective action, either to end the blockade or to stop the violence against Muslims in Jammu. Meanwhile, military and paramilitary forces have opened fire on counter-demonstrators in Kashmir, using live bullets and mortar. A communiqué from the Kashmir Valley states that:

“The situation here on ground is that essential commodities have started getting dried up, diesel is already out of stock and petrol at its verge of end. The people here are very much concerned as if the same continues for next few days there will be nothing left to eat with the people of Kashmir. And on the other side the Army is supporting the mobs who have allegedly beaten up the drivers stranded on the national highway. The drivers who were beaten up reported that they asked Army to help them but all went in despair and the Army people in return handed them over to the mobs. The target is only the Kashmiri Muslims and some sources from Jammu say that it is the outsiders who have come to Jammu and are doing such attacks on the Muslims and it is quite evident that the Hindu fundamentalist groups viz. BJP, RSS VHP, etc., are all sponsoring the planned attacks onto the Kashmiris like it was done in Gujarat. Here in Kashmir we feel the history seems to be being repeated by the Hindu fundamentalists who had earlier in 1947 killed about 250,000 Muslims in Jammu.”

On August 11, 2008, approximately 100,000 Kashmiris, including fruit growers and others gravely affected by the blockade, marched toward the Line of Control toward Pakistan markets in protest. They were met with gunfire and tear gas from the military and paramilitary forces, and Sheik Abdul Aziz, an All Parties Hurriyat Conference leader, was shot dead, intensifying the situation. Police reports stated that three others were killed and over 200 injured, enervating health systems already low on supplies. Other sources we contacted stated that as many as 18 others may have been killed in Kashmir on August 11. By early evening of August 12, as we write you, reports stated that as many as twelve persons were killed in Kashmir on that day as armed forces fired on demonstrators. Other reports stated that civil society groups, students, and labor unions participating in non-violent civil disobedience and peaceful protests are being targeted by the forces, as curfew conditions prevail.

The Srinagar-Jammu highway is the only land route linking the Kashmir Valley to India and the sole conduit for essential supplies as well as for exporting horticultural goods, which are among the Valley’s chief products. News updates on the state of the blockade and situation can be found from leading Kashmiri newspapers, which are online at www.greaterkashmir.com; www.kashmirtimes.com; www.risingkashmir.com; www.etalaat.com/english/.

About 95-97 percent of the population of the Valley is Muslim, while Muslims are a minority in India. This has made Kashmir the target of increasingly aggressive campaigns by Hindu nationalist groups since 1947, despite guarantees of autonomy written into the Indian Constitution. The Government of India has failed to take measures to prevent these campaigns, consisting of marches and demonstrations, and culminating in the current blockade. Since 1989 there has been an armed pro-independence struggle in Kashmir, together with other and non-violent movements for self-determination. Indian counterinsurgency operations have resulted in grave abuses of human rights with social, economic, psychological, political, and environmental consequences, which meet the definition under international law of crimes against humanity. To a population suffering the effects of nineteen years of armed conflict, the economic crisis caused by the blockade comes as the last straw.

We urge that you respond expeditiously to this situation in accordance with the mandate to uphold human rights as enshrined in the charter of the United Nations.

Recommendations:

1. The Government of India should immediately end the economic blockade and ensure that goods and services, including emergency medical and food supplies, can move in both directions along the Srinagar-Jammu border.

2. The Government of India should open the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road, a promise repeatedly reiterated by successive governments of India and Pakistan, though never implemented. This would ensure that the current crisis situation is not repeated as well as mark a concrete step forward in addressing injustices and the peace process.
3. Take immediate action to stop the violence against the Muslim minority in Jammu and bring those responsible to justice.

4. Put an end to ongoing human rights abuses by Indian forces and pro-India militias as repeatedly promised by the Indian Prime Minister and expected of democratic governments.

5. Take steps for a long-term resolution of the conflict by beginning talks with all sections of the Kashmiri leadership and civil society. 6. Take steps to hold the Indian state accountable under the provisions established by the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir, Constitution of India, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and International Laws and Conventions.

We, the undersigned, are academics, social activists, writers, filmmakers, artists, lawyers, and concerned citizens. Our work and conscience connects us to Kashmir and its people. We hold no political affiliations. Please do not hesitate to contact us if we may be of further use.

Contact persons:
Dr. Angana Chatterji, Associate Professor, Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, California Institute of Integral Studies, Office: 001-415.575.6119, Mobile: 001-415.640.4013, E-mail: achatterji@ciis.edu.
Dr. Haley Duschinski, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Ohio University, Office: 001-740.593.0823, E-mail:duschins@ohio.edu.
Dr. Shubh Mathur, Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of History, Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, Office: 001-347.404.2238,
E-mail: Shubh.Mathur@stockton.edu.

Yours Sincerely,
Signed [Institutional information noted for affiliation purposes only]:

Dr. Angana Chatterji, Associate Professor, Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco

Dr. Haley Duschinski, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Ohio University

Dr. Shubh Mathur, Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of History, Richard Stockton College of New Jersey

Dr. Paola Bacchetta, Associate Professor, Department of Gender and Women’s Studies, and Director, Beatrice Bain Research Group, University of California, Berkeley

Dr. Srimati Basu, Associate Professor, Department of Gender and Women’s Studies (and Anthropology), University of Kentucky

Medea Benjamin, Cofounder, Global Exchange, San Francisco, and CODEPINK

Dr. Purnima Bose, Associate Professor, Department of English, Indiana University

Dr. Jeff Brody, Professor, College of Communications, California State University Fullerton

Adem Carroll, Chair, Muslim Consultative Network, New York Disaster Interfaith Services

Dr. Lubna Nazir Chaudhry, Assistant Professor, School of Education and Human Development, State University of New York, Binghamton

Huma Dar, Doctoral student, Department of South and South East Asian Studies, University of California, Berkeley

Dr. Geraldine Forbes, Distinguished Teaching Professor, Department of History, State University of New York Oswego

Dr. Sidney L. Greenblatt, President, Central New York Fulbright Association

Dr. Sondra Hale, Professor, Department of Anthropology and Women’s Studies, University of California, Los Angeles

Dr. Lamia Karim, Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Oregon-Eugene

Professor Ali Kazimi, Department of Film, Faculty of Fine Arts, York University

Dr. Omar Khalidi, Aga Khan Program, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Rafique A. Khan, Community Development Planner, CRA, City of Los Angeles

Tasneem F. Khan, Kashmir Relief, Los Angeles

Dr. Amitava Kumar, Writer and Professor, Department of English, Vassar College

Rabbi Michael Lerner, Chair, The Network of Spiritual Progressives, Berkeley

Barbara Lubin, Executive Director, Middle East Children’s Alliance, Berkeley

Dr. Sunaina Maira, Associate Professor, Department of Asian American Studies, University of California, Davis

Dr. Lise McKean, Senior Research Specialist, Learning Sciences Research Institute, University of Illinois at Chicago

Dr. Abdul R. JanMohamed, Professor, Department of English, University California, Berkeley

Dr. Swapna Mukhopadhyay, Associate Professor, Graduate School of Education, Portland State University

Dr. Richa Nagar, Professor, Department of Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies, University of Minnesota

Dr. Vijaya Nagarajan, Associate Professor, Department of Theology and Religious Studies, University of San Francisco

Annie Paradise, Doctoral student, Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco

Dr. David Naguib Pellow, Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Minnesota

Faisal Qadri, Human Rights Law Network

Dr. Mridu Rai, Associate Professor, Department of History and Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies, Yale University

Dr. Cabeiri Robinson, Assistant Professor, International Studies & South Asian Studies, Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington, Seattle

Dr. Sabina Sawhney, Associate Professor, Department of English, Hofstra University

Dr. Simona Sawhney, Associate Professor, Department of Asian Languages and Literatures, University of Minnesota

Dr. Kalpana Rahita Seshadri, Associate Professor, Department of English, Boston College

Professor Richard Shapiro, Chair, Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco

Murtaza Shibli, Editor, Kashmir Affairs, London

Dr. Magid Shihade, Visiting Scholar, Middle East/South Asia Studies, University of California, Davis

Snehal Shingavi, Doctoral student, Department of English, University of California, Berkeley

Dr. Ajay Skaria, Associate Professor, Department of History and Institute of Global Studies, University of Minnesota

Dr. Nancy Snow, Associate Professor, S. I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Syracuse University

Dr. Rachel Sturman, Assistant Professor, Department of History & Asian Studies, Bowdoin College

Dr. Fouzieyha Towghi, Visiting Professor, Department of Ethnic Studies, University of California, Berkeley

Sandeep Vaidya, India Solidarity Group (Ireland)

Saiba Varma, Doctoral student, Department of Anthropology, Cornell University

Feroz Ahmed Wani, Social activist

David Wolfe, Human security and conflict resolution specialist

Pei Wu, Doctoral student, Department of Social and Cultural
Anthropology, California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco

Cc:

Ms. Helene Flautre, Member, European Parliament
Chair of the European Parliament’s Sub-committee on Human Rights

Mr. Geoffrey Harris
Head of Human Rights Unit, European Parliament

Ambassador Richard A. Boucher, Assistant Secretary
Timothy Fitzgibbons, India Desk
Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs United States Department of State

Mr. David J. Kramer
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor United States Department of State

Ms. Felice D. Gaer
Chair, United States Commission on International Religious Freedom
______________________
Dr. Angana Chatterji
Associate Professor, Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology
California Institute of Integral Studies
1453 Mission Street, San Francisco, California 94103
415.575.6119
achatterji@ciis.edu

Haley Duschinski
Assistant Professor of Anthropology
Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Ohio University

ya ya’s and yo yo’s

Richard Dawkins (The author of “The GOD Delusion”) at his website:

In 2006, I was one of tens of thousands of academic scientists all around the world who received, unsolicited and completely free, a huge and lavishly illustrated book called Atlas of Creation by the Turkish Muslim apologist Harun Yahya. The thesis of the book, which was published in eleven languages, is that evolution is false. The main ‘evidence’ consists of page after page of beautiful photographs of fossil animals, each one accompanied by a modern counterpart that is said to have changed not at all since the time of the fossil. It is a large-format book, a thick coffee-table book with more than 700 high-gloss colour pages. The cost of production of such a book must have been extremely high, and one is bound to wonder where the money came from to produce it and then distribute it gratis in so many copies and so many languages.

Given that the entire message of the book depends upon the alleged resemblance between modern animals and their fossil counterparts, I was amused, when I began flicking through at random, to find page 468 devoted to “eels”, one fossil and one modern. The caption says:
There are more than 400 species of eels in the order Anguilliformes. That they have not undergone any change in millions of years once again reveals the invalidity of the theory of evolution.

The fossil eel shown may well be an eel, I cannot tell. But the modern “eel” that Yahya pictures (see photo) is undoubtedly not an eel but a sea snake, probably of the highly venomous genus Laticauda (an eel is, of course, not a snake at all but a teleost fish). I have not scanned the book for other inaccuracies of this kind. But given that this was almost the first page I looked at . . . what price the main thesis of the book that modern animals are unchanged since the time of their fossil counterparts?

Incidentally, in May 2008 Harun Yahya, whose real name is Adnan Oktar, was sentenced in a Turkish court to a three-year prison sentence “for creating an illegal organization for personal gain.”

Keep reading. It get’s better.

desi’s and daisies

A burqa may not be the flirtiest garment ever invented for women. The highly modest head-to-toe robe even shrouds the eyes, so for centuries it’s been difficult for women wearing them to send suggestive signals to men.But now a German designer has debuted a digitally-enabled burqa that can broadcast a photo of the wearer to nearby mobile phones. Markus Kison calls it the “CharmingBurka,” and says it isn’t forbidden by Islamic law.

A model demonstrated a prototype of Kison’s garment at the Seamless 2008 design and fashion show in Boston, a high-tech fashion event run with support from the Masschusetts Institute of Technology.

Kison says the burqa has a “digital layer” that incorporates a Bluetooth antenna, which lets women “decide for themselves where they want to position themselves virtually.” Nearby mobile phones that also use Bluetooth will light up with any small file a woman chooses to broadcast as her identity — a photo, a cartoon, a text file or even a sound clip.

hated or hateful?

Ottawans who remember August 1999 and Parliament Hill will know the name Shirley Phelps-Roper, and the woman who has been called The Most Hated Woman In America is back in the news again with her anti-homosexuality crusade, this time over the death of actor Heath Ledger, but she has some new shots against Canada as well.Reached on the phone to explain the link God Hates Canada on the website of her Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas — headquarters of her war against the homosexuality she and church members say is destroying the world — Phelps-Roper, 50, lawyer, mother of 11, says: “Canada is like the United States, a filthy, perverted, immoral, nation. America is doomed. The Bible prophesied all of this, the end time. God chose America to show the way, the Christian principles, but it’s over, America is collapsing from within. Canada is doomed, too. I was so thankful to get out of your sick country. It has no hope.”…

Ledger’s sin? He played a homosexual in the movie Brokeback Mountain. Phelps-Roper: “God hates the sordid, tacky, bucket of slime, seasoned with vomit, known as Brokeback Mountain, and He hates all the persons having anything to do with it.” (God watches movies? I wonder if he puts butter on his popcorn

Keep reading.