Normalizing Terror

Normalizing Terror

We are free to choose but every choice has a price.
https://scroll.in/article/849804/this-photograph-of-two-murdered-teens-should-disturb-an-india-that-has-normalised-hate

“Hate: It has caused a lot of problems in this world, but it has not solved a single one yet.” Maya Angelou

We seem to be living in times when some people appear to be bent on challenging this law of nature – that fire burns and the result is always ash.

The way people handle catastrophic news is as follows:
Shock > Grief > Anger > Hope > Faith
If, this cycle is interrupted, then a new ending happens. The new cycle becomes:
Shock > Grief > Anger > Hope > Despair
Beware the man who feels he has nothing to lose. Crime can be prevented. Crime must be prevented. As they say, ‘prevention is better than cure’. In the case of crime this is even more important because like the case in point above, nothing that can be done now will ever restore the lives of those who were murdered for no reason other than they belonged to a particular religious group. I didn’t put it like that because I am reluctant to use the word ‘Muslim’, but because Muslims are not the only ones at the receiving end. We had Sikhs killed in their hundreds (maybe thousands) when Indira Gandhi was assassinated and Congress was in power. They still await justice. We have Dalits who have been killed for decades and nobody even talks about justice for them. We had churches burnt, priests and nuns killed, one burnt alive in his car with his two little children. They still await justice. We had Muslims who were killed all over Gujarat in 2002 (one among hundreds of so-called riots all over India). We had two terms of Congress government rule thereafter but the victims still await justice.
What I am trying to say is that what is happening in India today in the name of ‘cow vigilantism’ or extremism, is not new. Neither can the responsibility of it be laid at the door of the BJP alone. It is true that it is BJP in power today and so we look to them to ensure that justice is done and good governance is not sacrificed at the altar of political expediency. But that was and will always be our expectation from any government in power. Governments are supposed to govern. When they don’t, the country loses. Not any individual or group, but the whole nation. Where the loss is likely to be irreplaceable, it is even more important to ensure that it doesn’t happen in the first place.
This is why a strong system of crime investigation, community participation and swift justice plays a very powerful role in keeping the victims from the brink of despair. As long as people know that they have a viable alternative for redress of wrong, they will take that option every single time. But when they begin to see from experience after experience, that criminals always get away, crimes go unpunished, there is no hope for justice, compensation or retribution, then they fall into despair. Take the latest breaking news about the killers of Pehlu Khan, the dairy farmer who was slaughtered while he was legally, legitimately and justifiably transporting cows to his dairy farm.
I have no comments to make as I didn’t handle the investigation. All I can say is that Pehlu Khan didn’t commit suicide or drop dead on his own. He was killed. Before he died, he recognized and named his killers. So, if they are not guilty, who is? That is what the police and the State are supposed to find out and bring to book.
If Pehlu Khan’s case was a Pehli-bar, then one wouldn’t be so concerned. But this is like a broken record, or a bad penny (choose your own proverb), it seems to happen every time. I can name incident after incident but don’t want to waste space here or your time. You know all the incidents that have happened. All with the same ending, nobody is guilty of the crime. Today there is a lot of justifiable concern to prevent radicalization of youth. What is needed is a frank assessment of what leads to radicalization and acceptance of the fact that it is lack of law enforcement and swift justice that leads to people falling into despair. That is a downward spiral that has only one end.
India is a land of contradictions. The only constant is diversity which we tolerate only by force. However, we are very comfortable living with complete contradictions as we live in compartments in our minds. Let me give you some examples: In India, we worship the woman – as a goddess – of everything from wealth, to fertility to knowledge to music to power. But have no problems demanding dowry from the bride for the favor of marrying her and then burning her alive (or murdering her in other ways) if the dowry is not enough or if we simply decide later that we want more. Incidentally this is an Indian issue, not a Hindu one. Muslims for whom taking dowry is Haraam, do so under different pretexts, trying to deceive God and man. But they deceive nobody except themselves.
Of late, rape has become a national pastime with our august politicians saying in effect, ‘Boys will be boys. Girls must not provoke them by dressing immodestly.’ Another said, ‘It is the effect of eating a lot of noodles.’ He was from Haryana where evidently, they eat a lot of noodles. Muslims like to proclaim loudly for all those who care to listen that Islam treats women and men equally and gives rights to women that they don’t have in many modern countries to this day. But they remain silent on the fact that Islam gives women these rights but Muslim men don’t. So, Muslim women continue to be deprived of what their religion guarantees them.
Take food, which today has literally become a matter of life and death in our country. Beef is the main course in Kerala, Goa, Nagaland, Manipur, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Meghalaya (all Hindu majority states) and prohibited, banned, proscribed, Haraam in Kashmir (Muslim dominated state). But in UP, MP, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Gujarat, if you say the word ‘beef’ without due respect, as determined by the Gau Rakshak (Cow Protector) who hears you, you will be summarily slaughtered without any problem or inconvenience to the slaughterers. Never mind that nobody in their right minds slaughters milch cows or buffaloes. It is bulls, male calves, or old cows which have run dry and are past yielding age which are slaughtered. That is an economic need of the farmer who can’t afford to keep and feed them, so he sells them. Anyway, none of these logical arguments makes any sense. Nor does the fact that despite the fact that Gau Rakshaks rule the roost, India continues to be the largest exporter of beef to the world. How that is possible in a country where even if you talk about killing a cow, you will pay for that with your life, is, like the Indian Rope Trick and the Water of Ganges magician’s tricks, an enduring mystery.
We worship snakes but slaughter the first one we see. We talk about Vasudev Kudumbakam (whole world is one family) but protect, uphold and propagate the caste system. We have Lord Aiyappa on his hilltop residence to visit whom you must necessarily, by his order, first pay respects to his Muslim friend, Vavar Swamy (resemblance to my name is accidental), whose temple (why a temple to a Muslim?) is at the foot of the hill. Millions do it, but it is Open Season on Muslims all over.  
I can go on endlessly but I won’t. Why is this important? Because it shows up in attitudes in the workplace, society and politics. The ability to hold two opposing ideas simultaneously in the mind is a sign of intelligence. The ability to hold two opposing values simultaneously in the heart is a sign of hypocrisy. In this we are very skilled and entirely at ease. 

The question is, where will this lead us. It is a rhetorical question to which I am sure we all know the answer. 

Terror is fire. 
Fire always burns. 
And the result is always ash.

Marriage Evils

Marriage Evils

Today it is tragic to see that Muslim weddings in our city seem to be devoid of any commitment to Islam. They have instead become famous for ostentation, vulgar display of wealth and wasteful expenditure. That too when we as a community are among the most economically backward and deprived of all people. To see the wealthy among us displaying such a colossal lack of concern for the deprived, by spending lakhs and crores on weddings while poor Muslims suffer untold miseries is something that is designed to attract the anger of Allah.


According to the statistics for 2014-15, Hyderabadi Muslims spent Rs. 4000 crores on catering and hall rental for weddings. The actual amount spent will be far higher as we all can guess. How will we answer Allahwhen we meet Him as we surely must? Meanwhile our divorce and separation rate is three times that of any other community in the country. So obviously our spending is not bringing us any happiness. I am not saying that divorces are only because of spending. They are also the result of the almost total lack of upbringing of our children, the total lack of Akhlaaq, the very little connection with Allah and His Deen. Our insane spending in marriages is an indicator of a much deeper malaise which is destroying our community.

See these statistics: http://www.deccanherald.com/content/565190/more-women-divorced-india-report.html

Allah honored the marriage by calling it one of His signs. He said:


Rum 30: 21. And among His Signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that you may find tranquility in them, and He has put between you, love and mercy. Verily, in that are indeed signs for a people who reflect.

Marriage in Islam is an act of worship because if it is done according to the Sunnah of Rasoolullah it is something that Allah will reward us for. The key is to ensure that we do it in accordance with the Sunnah.

Abdullah ibn Mas’udtreported that Rasoolullah said to us: O young men, those among you who can support a wife should marry, for it restrains eyes (from casting evil glances) and preserves one from immorality; but he who cannot afford it should fast for fasting is a means of controlling sexual desire. [Tirmidhi]

In this Hadith and in several others, it is clear that marriage is the responsibility of the man who must make arrangements to contract it according to his means. It is not the responsibility of the girl’s parents to worry about her marriage or to incur any expenses in this connection. This is the cardinal difference between the Islamic way and that of others, where the woman and her parents are freed of this responsibility.

Abu Hurairah (R) narrated from Rasoolullah who said: “A woman may be married for four things: her wealth, her lineage, her beauty and her religious commitment. Seek the one who is religiously-committed, may your hands be rubbed with dust (i.e., may you prosper).” [Bukhari & Muslim]

It is clear from this Hadith that though you may look for the other three things in a spouse, what you should choose her/him for is religious commitment over and above anything else.
It is the rich who set the trend. And it is thanks to them that middle class and poor Muslim parents are pressured to spend more than they can afford for the weddings of their children. As a result, one of the biggest problems in Muslim society is that of indebtedness – inability to pay back interest bearing loans. Even more tragic is the fact that in most cases it is women who pressure their men folk to spend money on all kinds of customs and practices which have nothing to do with Islam. 

The only purpose is to ‘impress’ others with the degree of Jahaalat that one can achieve and the constant refrain is, ‘What will people say?’ Allah called ostentation and ostentatious spenders the brothers of Shaytaan.



(Garland for the bridegroom being brought in by a crane in a Hyderabadi wedding)

He said:
Isra 17: 27 Verily, spendthrifts are brothers of the Shayateen and the Shaytaan is ever ungrateful to his Rabb.
Add to this the evil of dowry which we have adopted with the result that men have no shame in demanding it and parents of the bride are forced to cough up the ransom for their daughter. We have all kinds of shameless ways of asking for it. Dowry is Haraam. Asking for it is either begging or extortion and makes you a Bhikari (beggar) or a highway robber. I ask the parents of brides, ‘Why do you want to marry your daughter to a beggar or bandit? Then there are demands on the bride’s family for ‘fat’ weddings with all kinds of unislamic customs like Manja, Sanchak, Mehndi, Sangeet, Dholak and the pressure on the bride’s family to host a dinner on the day of the Nikah.
All these customs are against Islam, add to the expense and make the wedding a source of great suffering for the bride’s family. In addition, all these customs are against Islam and sinful to say the least.

Compare this to the Islamic way: The man or his family send his proposal to the bride’s family. The man and bride meet face to face and decide if they want to marry. The amount of Mehar is decided among them which the man has to pay. The Nikah takes place in the masjid. Then the man hosts a Walima (meal in celebration of his wedding) on the same or next day. The bride’s family incurs no expense at all. The man incurs whatever expense he wishes as the Walima is his responsibility. And all this happens simply, with dignity and in accordance with the Law of Allah and the Sunnah of His Messenger. Such a marriage is blessed and its results can only be good.

We believe the time has come for all people with a conscience to raise their voice against these evil practices. Whether or not you are religious, it is our duty to refuse to support these social evils.

For this it is essential that we do three things:

1. When we have a wedding in our family ensure that it is strictly according to the Islamic way which I have described above. In that alone there is Khair, the blessing of Allah and the honor of the Sunnah of Rasoolullah.

2. When you are invited to a wedding, ask about what is happening there. If there is any unislamic custom, don’t go. Tell them clearly that you will not attend because the wedding is not according to Islam. Don’t make an excuse. Say clearly that you are against unislamic weddings as you are a Muslim and so will not attend.

3. It is especially important that Ulama and opinion leaders don’t attend because their attendance becomes a proof for people that what they are doing is correct. When Ulama don’t attend and tell people why they are not attending, people stop to think and InshaAllah this can bring about change. One argument in support of Ulama attending unislamic weddings that I heard takes the cake. Someone said, ‘If we don’t attend people will do even worse and they will dance naked.’ Not my words but the words that I was told.

4. My submission is that this argument goes directly against the Qur’an and Sunnah.

Allah said about supporting good and not supporting evil:

Ma’aida 5: 2 Help you one another in Al-Birr and At-Taqwa (virtue, righteousness and piety); but do not help one another in sin and transgression. And fear Allah. Verily, Allah is Severe in punishment.

Rasoolullah said: Abu Sa’eed al-Khudree (R) said: I heard Rasoolullah say, “Whoever sees an evil, let him change it with his hand; and if he is not able to do so, then [let him change it] with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart — and that is the weakest of faith.” [Muslim]

Please see this Ayah and Hadith and tell me where is the permission to participate in a gathering where the laws of Allah and the Sunnah of Rasoolullah is being broken and remain silent and benefit from the meeting? The only justification, especially for Ulama to go to unislamic weddings would be to stop whatever is happening there which is unislamic. Needless to say, that would create an even bigger Fitna. And so the only choice they have is to boycott such events and tell people why they are boycotting them. If not, they will become the proof that people will use to commit Haraam and they will be answerable before Allahfor that.

There are two stages that a person goes through in life – the wedding and the funeral. That is why in Hindi and Urdu – we have the same word with a slight difference, for the traditional vehicle of the bride which symbolizes the moving from one state to another – doli and dola.

I ask you, will you accept a funeral with a band and dancing before the Namaz-e-Janaza? Why then do you accept a wedding with bands, dancing, free mixing of men and women, ostentation and vulgar display – all against Islam?

All social change starts with one person – me. So take this decision that you will not attend a wedding which is not in accordance with Islam. Tell others about it. And stick to it. Don’t go even if it is the wedding of your closest relative. And if anyone talks about family ties, please tell him/her that our ties with Allah and Rasoolullahtake precedence over all other ties. Allaheven ordered us to disobey parents if they order us to disobey Him. So where is the question of doing thing to anger Allahto please anyone else?

Islam seeks to make Nikah easy and Zina (fornication) difficult. We have turned this on its head and then we wonder why there is so much corruption in society.

Abu Hurayrah (R) said: Rasoolullah said: “If someone whose religious commitment and attitude pleases you proposes marriage, then marry [your female relative under your charge] to him. If you do not do that, there will be tribulation in the land and much corruption.” (Tirmidhi, Ibn Maajah, Sahih by Albani).

Hazrat Aaisha (Radiyallahu Anha) reports that Rasoolullah said: “The Nikah with the most Baraka is that Nikah wherein the least expense was incurred.” (Musnad Ahmad)

The primary responsibility to ensure that no unnecessary expenses are incurred and that nothing is done which is against Islam is that of the bride and groom. NOT OF THE PARENTS. If you don’t think you are old enough to stand up for your Islamic duties, then you are not old enough to get married. Obedience to parents or anyone else comes AFTER obedience to Allah and Rasoolullah. Neither your parents nor anyone else is going to come into your graves with you. You will be there alone and you will answer why you allowed unnecessary expenses and unlawful practices to be done in your marriages. How do you expect Baraka in your married life, the help of Allah, good children, happy relationships and prosperity and safety when you did everything possible to anger Allah during your marriage? Get real people. Stop fooling yourself. You are not fooling anyone else. So please grow up or remain unmarried. It is as clear as that.

Narrated Anas bin Malik (R): Rasoolullah saw the trace of yellow on ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn ‘Awf (R) Rasoolullah asked him: What is this? He replied: Ya Rasoolullah I have married a woman. He asked: How much Mahr did you give her? He said: A nawat weight of gold. He said: Hold a Walima, even if only with a sheep. (Sunan Abu Dawud; Sahih, Albani)

This shows that when he got married not only did he not host a meal inviting his friends on the day of the Nikah but he did not even invite Rasoolullahand Rasoolullah didn’t know that he had got married until the next day. This is not an indication of lack of Adab. It is an indication that the Nikah is to be a simple ceremony without any party after it. 

Rasoolullah told him to give a Walima which he did. That shows that the Walima is the responsibility of the groom and not the bride or her family.

Finally, please remember that if we, especially the wealthy among us, don’t change our ways, then we will invite the Adhaab of Allah. It is in this connection that Allah warned us and told us that we are the architects of our own destruction. He said:

Ra’ad 13: 11   Verily! Allah will not change the good condition of a people as long as they do not change their state of goodness themselves (by committing sins and by being ungrateful and disobedient to Allah).

And He warned the wealthy among us, especially and said:

Isra 17: 16.   And when We decide to destroy a town (population), We (first) send a definite order (to obey Allah and be righteous) to those among them who are given the good things of this life. Then, they transgress therein, and thus the word (of torment) is justified against it (them). Then We destroy it with complete destruction.

Allah promised to punish those who insist on disobeying Him. Allah’s orders are for our benefit. When we obey Him we create a beautiful society that is beneficial to everyone. If we disobey Him, we harm ourselves in this life and attract His anger and punishment. Allah said:

An’am 6: 44     So, when they forgot (the warning) with which they had been reminded, We opened to them the gates of every (pleasant) thing, until in the midst of their enjoyment in that which they were given, all of a sudden, We took them to punishment, and lo! They were plunged into destruction with deep regret and sorrow.

Please remember that you are the most important person in the world and all change begins with you. So first of all if you took a dowry, calculate it in today’s money and return it to your wife. Let her give it to her family or keep it. It was Haraam for you to take it and so return it. Do this for all the material stuff you took also. Calculate the value in today’s terms and return it. Then make Tawba for whatever you did or allowed to happen in your marriage that was against the orders of Allah and the Sunnah of Rasoolullah. Free Tawba is not accepted. You have to compensate people for your oppression before you seek forgiveness of Allah. So please do this. And do it immediately. And it you feel reluctant about it, then remember that when you meet Allah this compensation will be extracted from you and that will be far more expensive. I don’t wish that on you under any circumstances. Thank Allah that He kept you alive and gave you an opportunity to make Tawba. Don’t squander that. Make Tawba and return what you took.

Remember that you will not be asked, ‘What happened?’ You will be asked, ‘What did you do?’

So don’t allow what is not in your control to prevent you from doing what is in your control.

Marriage Notes

Marriage Notes

Allah said about the marriage:

وَمِنْ آيَاتِهِ أَنْ خَلَقَ لَكُم مِّنْ أَنفُسِكُمْ أَزْوَاجًا لِّتَسْكُنُوا إِلَيْهَا وَجَعَلَ بَيْنَكُم مَّوَدَّةً وَرَحْمَةً إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِّقَوْمٍ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ

Rum 30: 21. And among His Signs is this, that He created for you  (mates) spouses from among yourselves, that you may find tranquility in them, and He has put between you love and mercy. Verily, in that are indeed signs for a people who reflect

The marriage is based on three principles: Sukoon, Mawaddah, Rahma

Sukoon (Tranquility):

No movement away from the spouse…heart, eyes, company. You are and must become each other’s best friends, confidants, supporters and advisers.

No public arguments or contradicting each other before others under any circumstances.

No carrying tales about each other to anyone else…absolutely anyone else. Especially NOT to your parents.

Settle differences mutually between yourselves because you’re adults
If you’re not adults, don’t get married.

Tranquility of the home is critical– No storm in the port.

No running battles at home – no scoring points over one another – no power struggles at home.

Don’t nag. If he wanted a nag he would have married a horse. So would she.

Do the small things: Those small thoughtful, tender, loving things that touch the heart.

Don’t do the small things: Those small petty, irritating, aggravating things that make them angry.

Just because he/she is silent it doesn’t mean they’re happy. Silence can hide many things including disgust, grief, hopelessness, despair and anger.

Communicate, communicate, communicate. Don’t keep it inside. It will fester and grow until it bursts. Let out the steam before it blows up the cooker. But let it out with concern. Don’t blame but talk about how it affected you. Don’t say, “You insulted me.” Say, “When you said that, I was very hurt.”

Remember that marriage is about trust. Trust means that there are no barriers between you, no defences. So take special care because your words will go straight to the heart. And no matter what, you can heal the sick but you can’t raise the dead. Words can kill more effectively than weapons so consider carefully before speaking anything negative.

Never react. Respond after thinking and only if you need to. And do that appropriately in the right place at the right time.

Always defend each other…their honor is your honor. What hurts your spouse, hurts you.

No arguments at the dining table and in the bedroom. Show only concern and affection.

No screens (TV, phone, iPad) at the dining table or bedroom. Give each other attention.

Mawaddah (Love)

Enjoy each other physically, mentally, spiritually.

Enjoy mentally by good conversation and humor (Laugh with, not at). Never bad-talk your spouse directly or indirectly. Humor is fine. Mocking is shameful.

Enjoy spiritually by praying together. Couples who pray together, stay together.

Show love…not on anniversaries but every day. An apple 🍎 a day keeps the doctor away. A kiss a day keeps the lawyer away.

Show mutual respect in every way. Disrespecting your spouse is to insult yourself.

Demonstrate affection appropriately and at the right time and place but demonstrate it. Don’t leave it to them to guess. Be embarrassed about disputing in public and about disobeying Allah. Not about showering your spouse with affection.

There’s nothing cute about laughing at your spouse. It just shows that you’re a lousy decision maker. If he’s such a joker why did you marry him in the first place. Change him to her..same message.

Show that you trust and never betray trust. Remember that it takes a lifetime to build trust and one action to destroy it. After that you may be forgiven but you’ll never be trusted again. Don’t do that to yourself.

Never lie. Never cheat. Always be truthful because even if you can deceive your spouse, you can’t deceive Allah.

Express thanks verbally, nonverbally and daily. Don’t assume that they know. Allah knows but He said that He would increase the blessings you show gratitude for and warned of punishment for those who don’t express gratitude. Expressing gratitude is about you and your character. Not about the other.

Spend time together: Love needs nurturing and nourishment like a beautiful plant. Without that it will wither and die.

Mulaqaatain Zaroori Hain,
Agar Rishtay Bachanay Hain,
Laga Kar Bhool Janay Se To Poday bhi Sookh Jatay Hain…Ghalib

Raazdani Zaroori Hai,
Agar Rishtay Nibhany Hain,
Rishtay fursat kay nahin tawajjo kay mohtaj hotay hain…my concoction.

A marriage is not a hobby. Marriage is commitment which earns huge rewards but needs attention and maintenance. It’s not a machine that runs on its own. It’s a beautiful rose garden that you have to tend and nurture to be able to enjoy. Others can’t do it for you. You have to grow your own roses. Remember finally that even the most beautiful and fragrant roses have thorns.

The home is not a hotel. Couples must spend quality time together every day…not just on holidays. Being bodily present before the TV imbibing popcorn doesn’t amount to spending time together.

One meal and one prayer together as a family every day is mandatory. Build this into your schedule. Change your work if you need to but don’t compromise on this.

Wake up each other for Tahajjud because Allah loves the man who wakes his wife up for Tahajjud and the woman who wakes her husband up for Tahajjud. If you have Allah’s love your marriage can’t go wrong.

Don’t criticise each other for anything other than violation of religious duties. Even that, don’t criticize but advise lovingly. Then make special dua for your spouse.

Your spouse is your asset. Treat them like assets. Care for them, protect them, maintain them, pamper them, make sure that they’re well and happy.

Make sure your earning and food is always Halal. It affects your marriage positively. Haraam earnings and doubtful food poisons your marriage and life. Halal earnings and food have Baraka, give Izzah, protect against illness and loss and earn Allah’s pleasure.

Rahma (Mercy)

Maintain a Book of Good Deeds: Write down daily whatever good you receive from your spouse no matter how small.

Keep it in a place accessible to both and read it daily. This encourages each other to do good and to remember it at times when things are tough.

Forget anything bad. Don’t demand apologies but always hasten to offer your own. Be gracious when your spouse apologises because one day you’ll need that grace yourself.

Never remind about negatives from the past. Don’t stockpile garbage. Or you’ll have to smell the stink yourself.

Remember and be mentally prepared for tough times, materially, mentally and spiritually. They will come but if you’re connected with Allah and recall the good you received from one another you’ll sail through them.

Consciously thank one another and thank Allah. Any time you feel you’re getting a raw deal, look at someone who’s worse off. Sadly plenty of examples of that all around.

Thank Allah for your spouse. If he/she is good, you should be thankful. If not it’s an opportunity for Sabr and Allah is with those who have Sabr. So thank Allah always.

Beware of hurting the pious spouse for she’s connected to Allah. If she’s helpless against you and calls upon her Rabb, He’ll answer her. Never put yourself in that position. Same advice for bossy, aggressive wives lording it over submissive husbands.

Marriage is another word for adjustment. Adjustment means to understand that you have to give up something to get something. What you get in a good marriage is far superior to whatever you give up in terms of career, freedom or friends. Never forget that.

If you don’t believe that, don’t get married because a marriage ruined for a career, friends or freedom is suicide and Hell on earth.

Remember that Allah will reward you for every time you behave with Sabr so be patient. Nothing lasts forever. Not even the bad time that you’re going through.

A closed mouth gathers no evil. So speak good or remain silent. What you didn’t say can’t hurt you, so don’t say it.

Finally remember that mercy is to return good in exchange for evil. Not good for good. We expect that from Allah as we expect forgiveness for our sins.

Rasoolullah (S) said that Allah will show mercy to those who show mercy to others. Show mercy because you’ll also need mercy one day

May Allah fill your life with grace, Baraka and Rahma.

Tyranny of the Few


Headlines scream out at you: ’80 killed in terrorist attack on two Pakistani mosques.’  ‘Lal Masjid threatens to give the call for jihad.’ ‘Clash with security forces leaves 16 students dead.’ And all this accompanied by pictures of women in burqas wielding lathis longer than themselves. Talk of women power!!  Another one: ‘Flaming jeep drives into Glasgow airport.’ (No, it was not Lucifer trying to catch a flight either). ‘Doctor from Bangalore was the driver.’  Malala Yusufzai is shot because she wants to educate women. Shot by people who claim to be the representatives of Islam and Muslims. So let me begin by saying that I am Muslim and they don’t represent me. Nobody who can shoot a 14 year old girl represents me. Nobody who makes war on women and children represents me. Islam doesn’t teach anyone to shoot people whose ideas we don’t agree with. So if that is their Islam, then I am not from their religion. I hope that is clear enough as far as my stance goes.

What’s the common thread in these and many other such headlines? The names of the actors are all Muslim. And the pressure mounts on all of us – normal, harmless, garden-variety Muslims – to explain what is going on in the name of Islam. I know I am treading on very unsafe ground when I am writing this. I have no illusions about the possible threat to my own popularity and esteem, in which I am held for no fault of mine. In the strange world we live in, we Muslims and our Islam seems to be defined either by the strident discordant cries of people like the Imaam of Lal Masjid or the bleating of the likes of Salman Rushdie, Tasleema Nasreen, Irshad Manji and Hirsi Ali. Both these groups seek to foist their version of Islam on the rest of us. I believe the time has come for us, people who are practicing Muslims, proud of our great religion and culture, obedient to AllahY, conscious of our accountability to him, with no intention of changing Islam or its Shari’ah in any way whatsoever; to stand up and say, “Do what you want but leave Islam out of it. You don’t represent us. You are not our leaders. We don’t follow you.”
We Muslims ourselves are in a state of denial. The usual standard answer that we get when we mention the different acts of violence allegedly perpetrated by Muslims is that actually these have been done by or orchestrated by agencies of the enemies of Islam. Or we point a finger at America and Europe who have done worse in terms of slaughtering innocents and continue shamelessly while preaching peace to the world. Their leaders have no shame. I agree. But we forget two important matters when we make those statements.
1.    Those leaders are not Muslim. They are not our role models. They are not our benchmarks. We don’t follow them. They don’t have the Book of AllahY. They don’t claim to follow Muhammadr, the Messenger of AllahY. So what they do or don’t do has no relevance to what we do or don’t do.
2.    Two wrongs don’t make a right. Just because Madeleine Albright said on TV that the killing of Iraqi children was worth it – in terms of the American invasion of Iraq, it doesn’t give the Taliban the right to shoot Malala Yusufzai. At least the Americans do it to others. We do it to our own.
We have become used to blaming the West, our cousins, so-called ‘International Agencies’ or who-have-you for whatever happens that involves Muslims. That is a classic victim stance, the stance of losers and slaves everywhere. Export the blame in the false belief that it releases you from the responsibility of your actions or their consequences. It doesn’t. We are responsible before AllahY for what we do and our actions have consequences in this world and the Hereafter. Make no mistake O! Muslims. This is what your religion teaches you.  What helps the proponents of this victim stance is the fact that there have been incidents in the past where it has been proved that one or more of these agencies did in fact have a hand in either staging an act of violence and laying it at the door of Muslims who had nothing to do with it; or of aiding and abetting Muslims in committing hara-kiri of one kind or another. However the uncomfortable fact remains that there are many incidents that have happened and continue to happen that are entirely the effort of Muslims themselves. Call them misguided. Call them ignorant. Call them extremist. Call them what you will. Which Western agency pulled the trigger on Malala Yusufzai?
So what is the solution?
In my view the solution lies in the amazingly fortunate situation the Muslim Ummah finds itself of being in the eye of the world, provided that we can get our act together and act proactively in a coherent, sensible, creative and positive manner. Potentially Muslims today have access to the world media, any channel, and any country, free of cost. Anything that has an Islamic bent attracts the cameras and the world watches. Whose fault is it that almost all of it is negative? If our people drive flaming jeeps into airports; that is what will be shown. If they shoot a 14 year old girl because they don’t agree with her ideas, that is what will be shown. If they kill innocent people because someone somewhere made a film that is disparaging about Rasoolullahr, that is what will be shown. If they hole up inside a masjid or madrassa keeping women and children hostage, that is what will be shown. If they shoot up a masjid and kill worshippers that is what will hit the headlines. Propaganda is created and propagandists thrive in a situation where their victims readily provide them with real data and events. And that is what we continue to do. Provide data which is then not reported for what it is – the insane actions of a few but is interpreted as ‘problems’ of Islam. Then it is not the few criminals who are indicted and punished but the Prophet of Islam (Peace be on him) who is implicated, maligned and mocked because of what his followers who claim to love him, choose to do. Will someone ask them, ‘If you love your Prophet so much how come your actions are so different from his?’
Think Tanks & Team work
I believe that the first step to change our situation is to get the minds of the Ummah together. I propose that Think Tanks be created at a local level in every place where Muslims live. These Think Tanks must comprise of a cross-section of Muslims from all walks of life – Ulama (Theologians), professionals, academics, business people, scientists, bankers, parents, men and women. People who participate in the Think Tanks must learn how to collaborate, dialogue, differ and deal with conflict. They must learn to disagree without being disagreeable. They must learn to focus on issues of common concern while agreeing to live with the differences. They must learn to put the interest of Islam and the Muslim Ummah above their own narrow partisan concerns. And they must learn to obey an Ameer (Leader). These local groups must network and come together at a country level and in time at a global level. There are many secular and religious organizations today who follow this model, very successfully. All it needs is sincerity and dedication. 
These Think Tanks must identify important emerging issues, deliberate on them, take expert advice and then create solutions for them from an Islamic perspective. These solutions must be innovative, attractive and powerful and with great media savvy, must be made public. Believe me, if we do the right thing, world media will be only too glad to give us air time free of cost. After all the Nobel Peace Prize went to Mohammad Younus of Grameen Bank fame with a battery of appearances on all the major media channels, with his Islamic identity clearly visible in every appearance. If you become news worthy, you become news. I believe that it is time for the thinking ones to wake up and start thinking so that they don’t allow the mindless to hijack their image and thereby draw suffering on their heads for no fault of their own. 
Lethargy in today’s world is a crime. Especially lethargy in a situation where our very existence is threatened. Let us remember that as long as we are seen as people who are addicted to violence neither we nor our religion are likely to be seen in a positive light. Whether this image is fact or not is immaterial. It is the dominant image today. And it is an image that must be debunked. Nobody likes to be with or to support murderers of innocent people. We don’t either. I know that the people who shoot up mosques or do other such brave deeds don’t first come to the likes of you and me to ask our permission or opinion. I know that people like you and me have never actually seen someone like the murderers who shot up the mosques in Pakistan. Or the brave ‘men’ who shot Malala Yousufzai. We don’t know who they are and we wouldn’t dream of supporting them in their Haraam (prohibited) actions. Islam has never permitted killing people at random, irrespective of their religious belief. However none of this will make the problem go away or keep us safe from its effects when it keeps recurring again and again. So we need to find solutions. And we need to get together and do it. The problems affect us the most and so we need to solve them. After all it is the one who is sick who needs to eat the medicine. Not anyone else.
When the time comes for the truth to be spoken, silence is culpable.
I believe that time has come.