Friday, September 30, 2005

The Unscientific Myth of Darwinian Evolution and the Qur’ān ...

In his ground-breaking book, Creation of Man, A Review of the Qur'an and Modern Embryology, Professor Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri, one of the most eminent scholars of Islam, has clearly shown how the Qur'an unambiguously discusses the chemical and biological stages of the creation of Man. Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri's book is a must-read for students who are seriously interested in researching the relationship between Islam and Science. For the benefit of knowledge-seekers, the book is available online free of cost.

In Chapter 2 of his book, the learned professor has completely demolished the unscientific myth of Darwinian evolution in the light of unassailable and overwhelming modern scientific evidence. The book is an eye-opener for those who do not believe in the concept of "intelligent design". Check it out!

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

My Favourite Verse ...

I don't think there is a single verse in the whole of Allama Iqbal's poetry that fails to impress the senses with beauty and profundity. But there is one verse there which simply knocks me down. No amount of translation can convey the semantic beauty of the verse, but I will offer my own translation here for the benefit of those readers who cannot understand Urdu.

تو سمجھتا نہيں اے زاہد ناداں اس کو
رشک صد سجدہ ہے اک لغزش مستانہء دل

You do not understand it
O ignorant ascetic!
A hundred prayers cannot match
A single stagger of the drunken heart

Monday, September 26, 2005

Moderation and Enlightened Moderation ...

Col (Rtd) Riaz Jafri Sahb has kindly included me in his list of recipients of his almost-daily "newsletter". At 75 years of age, the retired colonel is one of those rare people who are a first-hand witness of the upheavals of the partition of Pakistan from India in 1947 and have experienced the entire history of Pakistan. His emails are often an almost nostalgic take on current events and personalities. His thoughts are intelligent, amusing, insightful, and thought-provoking. The following is an email that I received from him, followed by my response, followed by his response to my response.

Col Sahb's email:

Dear Dr. Fayyaz


September 23rd, 2005

Yaum e Tahreem

Maulana Hamid Ali Mousavi has called to observe Yaum e Tahreem in the memory of recent deaths of some Shias of eminence. Though I am a Shia myself yet, I feel that the Maulana is given such mourning calls rather too often. We are called upon to observe the Shahadat of most Imams and their Ashaab & Ahbaab on certain days by allocating each one of them a special name. I was seventeen at the time of partition and had never heard of such days. It all started with the influx of more knowledgeable and “superior” Syeds and Shias migrating from central India who brought with them such ritualistic practices to Pakistan. This has made Shias altogether a distinct community of Muslims and has distanced them from the main stream. Needless to say that it is not at all in the interest of Pakistan and its one nation.

Our Sunni Ulema too do not fare much better in the matter of merry making in Islam. Any thing entertaining is Makrooh if not Haram in their eyes. So much so, that even laughing joyously and whole heartedly is not approved by them. Of course, music is satanic to them. Shias go one step further. Not only that they deny themselves any merry making but they must mourn. Weep and cry remembering the sufferings of the Imams and their families before any thing which can bring them some happiness - such as Eid, marriage of the children or any other celebration entail! ing happiness.

When are we going to really enjoy the bounties that Allah (swt) has bestowed upon us? When are we going to spend happily in the name of Allah (swt) and enjoy it ? I would request the Maulana and all other Ulema to give some call for the joyous merry making also some day, such as Jashan Fatah e Makka, when the Muslims all over could come out of their homes, in their best dresses, and sing and dance in the streets and cities. Let’s also enjoy something and be happy about it.

Col. Riaz Jafri (Retd)

My response:

Salam Col Sb...

That was a very thought-provoking email. You have hit upon one crucial point in your analysis, and that is:

Why do the self-styled "ulemas" emphasize upon one virtue of religion at the expense of another point of the religion?

This is an extremely important question and I think that in the answer to this question lies the answer to ALL our contemporary questions about religion. The fact of the matter is that Islam is the religion of moderation par excellence. Despite present-day claims of "enlightened moderation" that some stooges of Westernism make, the moderation prescribed by Islam is just as applicable today as it was 1400 years ago. But unfortunately, Islam has been taken hostage by a heterogenous group of self-styled pseudo-scholars who have made every attempt to interpret Islam with their own myopic lens. I call these ulemas as "self-styled" because, instead of following the moderate path set out in the Holy Quran, practised by the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him), and followed on by a legacy of 1400 years of Islamic scholarship, these ulemas have twisted, tortured, and corrupted Islam to suit their own whims. There are, for example, those ulemas who think that the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) was "bashar" (human) but not "noor" (light), when in fact he was the perfection of both bashar and noor. Then there are those who emphasize on the "fear of Hell" (khauf) at the cost of the "hope of Heaven" (umeed). There are also those idiots who think that the role of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) was only to transmit the Divine message and that love and personal attachment with the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) has no place in Islam. The truth is that love and personal attachment with the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) is what Islam is all about! Finally, as you mentioned, there are those who stress upon the sad days of the year at the cost of the happy days of the year. These ill-advised pseudo-scholars do not realize that they are preaching this pessimism at the cost of Islam itself. The bottomline is that one should modify one's whims to suit the preachings of Islam and not modify the preachings of Islam to suit one's one whims.

Having said that, I would like to say that there ARE, even in these days of ignorance, true scholars of Islam to whom the the Holy Prophet's (peace be upon him) saying, "The scholars of my Ummat are like the Prophets of Bani Israeel" could be applied very aptly. It is our responsibility to search for and follow these gems of the Ummah so that we can make the World a better place to live in.

Dr Fayyaz Khan

Col Sahb's response to my response:

Dear Dr. Sahib:


You have summed up beautifully and all encompassingly when you say,"The bottom-line is that one should modify one's whims to suit the preachings of Islam and not modify the preachings of Islam to suit one's whims." Regarding your second point that "there are even in these days of ignorance, true scholars of Islam", I agree that there are such scholars but unfortunately there are dubbed as the 'renegades' or heretics by the 'established' Ulemas of stereotyped schools of thought.

Dr. Taha of Egypt was one such scholar. He was one of nine children of a poor farmer, became blind in infancy. Studied in mosques and madrissas. Wrote his first paper at the age of nine. Kept studying and found himself in a French university. Married the lady who helped him with is studies. Got his doctorate from France in some Islamic discipline - that I don't remember now. Came back to Egypt. Rose to be the Rector of Al-Azhar and later Minister of Religious Affairs in the Federal cabinet. Wrote a number of books, papers on Islam - focussing of early Islamic history and causes of its degeneration. He was declared heretic and once when in Iraq was sentenced to death for his such views. More than 100,000 telegrams were sent in a day from all over the world to the Iraqi govt., who spared his life but banished him from Iraq. Egypt had already exiled him. Died some time back in Beirut. A series of his four books on the four Khulfa-e-Rashideen makes a very illuminating and thought provoking study.

Best Regards
Col. Jafri (Retd)

Well, I'll reserve my views on the personalities mentioned by Col Sahb in his emails, but Col Sahb is one very interesting person, isn't he?

Friday, September 23, 2005

Importance of Hadith ...

Those people who think that the Quran is the only source of Islamic Law should read the following verses from the Holy Quran and do a bit of introspection (a mighty bit, that is):

لَقَدْ كَانَ لَكُمْ فِي رَسُولِ اللَّهِ أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ لِّمَن كَانَ يَرْجُو اللَّهَ وَالْيَوْمَ الْآخِرَ وَذَكَرَ اللَّهَ كَثِيراً
Indeed in the Messenger of God (Muhammad) you have a beautiful example to follow for him who hopes in (the Meeting with) God and the Last Day and remembers God much. (33:21)

وَإِنَّكَ لَعَلى خُلُقٍ عَظِيمٍ
And verily, you (O Muhammad) are on an exalted standard of character. (68:4)

How can one attempt to follow the "gold-standard" character of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) without the Hadith literature?


قُلْ أَطِيعُواْ اللّهَ وَالرَّسُولَ فإِن تَوَلَّوْاْ فَإِنَّ اللّهَ لاَ يُحِبُّ الْكَافِرِينَ
Say (O Muhammad): "Obey Allah and the Messenger (Muhammad)." But if they turn away, then Allah does not like the disbelievers. (3:32)

وَأَطِيعُواْ اللّهَ وَالرَّسُولَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُرْحَمُونَ
And obey Allah and the Messenger (Muhammad) that you may obtain mercy. (3:132)

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ أَطِيعُواْ اللّهَ وَأَطِيعُواْ الرَّسُولَ وَأُوْلِي الأَمْرِ مِنكُمْ فَإِن تَنَازَعْتُمْ فِي شَيْءٍ فَرُدُّوهُ إِلَى اللّهِ وَالرَّسُولِ إِن كُنتُمْ تُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الآخِرِ ذَلِكَ خَيْرٌ وَأَحْسَنُ تَأْوِيلاً
O you who believe! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger (Muhammad), and those of you (Muslims) who are in authority. (And) if you differ in anything amongst yourselves, refer it to Allah and His Messenger, if you believe in Allah and in the Last Day. That is better and more suitable for final determination. (4:59)

وَمَن يُطِعِ اللّهَ وَالرَّسُولَ فَأُوْلَـئِكَ مَعَ الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمَ اللّهُ عَلَيْهِم مِّنَ النَّبِيِّينَ وَالصِّدِّيقِينَ وَالشُّهَدَاء وَالصَّالِحِينَ وَحَسُنَ أُولَـئِكَ رَفِيقًا
And whoso obeys Allah and the Messenger (Muhammad), then they will be in the company of those on whom Allah has bestowed His Grace, of the Prophets, the Siddiqun (those followers of the Prophets who were first and foremost to believe in them, like Abu Bakr as-Siddiq), the martyrs, and the righteous. And how excellent these companions are! (4:69)

How can one obey the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) without access to the Hadith literature?

Thursday, September 22, 2005

On the Hijab ...

The French authorities may have banned schoolgirls from wearing the Hijab on the pretext that this was tantamount to advertisement of religion - which is not permitted in French schools. But if Mary, mother of Jesus (peace be upon him) could wear a hijab, then why not our sisters and mothers?

Note: I have censored the depiction of the face of Mary, may God be pleased with her, according to the beautiful method of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him), who immediately covered a portrait of the blessed lady with his hand when he noticed it inside the Ka'aba at the occasion of the Conquest of Makkah.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Terrorists, Terrorism, and Terror ...

The United States has launched an alleged war against terror. This is the newest link in a chain of events that have been unfolding for quite a while. Nine/eleven was a single terrible event that is now serving as a scapegoat for a whole new series of terrible events in the world that are almost always targeted against Muslims. Irrespective of who is responsible for 9/11, there can be no doubt about the fact that there have always been a small number of extremist elements amongst us who have created mischief while the Muslim community as a whole remained pacific. These extremist elements have restricted themselves in the past to terrorist activities within the Muslim community, but of late they have expanded their horizons and thought it more advisable to play the enemies' own dirty game against him. Ill-advised as such a manner of thinking is, it has only served to sandwich the Muslim community between the terrorist extremist element within itself and the terrorist of the World, which is America. It is admittedly difficult to manouevre in such a tight situation, but there sure is a way out of it. As the final Ummah, it is imperative that we unite against both enemies - the enemy on the right, as well as the enemy on the left - and affirm our position with an assertive stance (and I am NOT talking about General Pervez Musharraf's sycophantic attitude here!).

Anywayz, one wonders how terrifying this war would be that is supposedly pitched against terror. God protect us from the terrors of this terrible war.