Terrorism Part 1

Terrorism sweeps the country, the city, the lives and the dreams. We flee the country, those of us who can; we slander the city; we condemn our lives and we are afraid of our dreams. And we are so busy doing all these things to escape terrorism that, poor us, we don’t even stop to think what we are running away from.

There’s a brand-new hype around town now…more hyped than it ever was before. Terrorism seems to vastly affect our ‘cultural’ shows in Lahore now, whether they be the Rafi Peer Theater World Performing Arts Festival, or the cultural complex or whatever. Yes, these groups, which are just patriotically producing the necessities or our nation (o should that be in inverted commas too?), are being directly threatened by those extremely sick people who wear beards. At least, those are the people that are arrested if they dare to show their faces.

To clarify, the necessities mentioned above are:

1) Dance shows

2) Music shows

3) Tacky stage shows

But let me tell you what happened, what is happening and in all probability, would happen again.


That’s what happened. Outside the cultural complex, outside the Rafi Peer Theater Festival, and well, goodness knows where else. Intense terrorism, my friends, intense. And fully dramatized on that blasted channel Geo.

Forget the girls being raped and murdered every day. Forget the fact that America is bombing us every day. Forget the fact that the new black (but thinks, looks and speaks white) American President is silent on such issues being resolved. Forget that if we don’t know of Shakespeare we are ignorant but if we don’t know of Al-Ghazali it’s not too bad. For the cultural, spiritual, degrading colonization we’re living in. Forget the world outside our bubble. Look! Some people who get offended by the scantily-clad dancers on the LCD screen in the World Performing Arts Festival actually have the audacity to put firecrackers outside!

These people have gotten so much sympathy, so much coverage…because they deserve it! After all the odds, they went back and performed, and will perform again! Because their art is so much more important than lives in Waziristan y’ know. That’s why Geo dramatizes this and not that.

The lives of the non-elite, the non-monied don’t matter, of course. Your countrymen die by the million and all the elite, the newspapers, and the universities think about is how and when and where and what is that amazing new musical called Chicago? How brave of them to perform in smaller and smaller clothes and how nice of them to come to Lahore! After all, firecrackers are no small thing, because they have started hurting the dancers and singers now. Never the mind the generations of children killed by firecrackers in the past, not even to mention the jugular veins cut by the strings of Basant. No. We must celebrate our life, because we have the money and we have the channels. Why represent the poor? We have our tacky stage shows to perform. We are the brave ones to perform at such a time, and then flee the country as soon as we get a third-rate citizenship anywhere. We have to present the faithful dog-image to America so that it will give us citizenship. Poor, brave elite. Eight people injured by firecrackers versus a hundred thousand dead by the American bombings.

Bravo, Chicago, bravo…go, Chicago, go…you’re what we need, you’re it, you’re the man (or the two leading women)…our saviors the elite….save us…save us….

23 Comments so far

  1. Hasan Mubarak (hasanmubarak) on January 29th, 2009 @ 6:52 pm

    Sad but true. The events promoted as our culture are not really part of us. Do we even care about the richest traditions in Sufi poetry, ethnic music and centuries old languages, all dying of our utter neglect and negation of what we really are. Just look at what our theater has ended up becoming; a combination of two extremes, either the highly liberalized version of western musical adaptations or the vulgar stage mujras…

    Still, if it hurts that means some of us still care. What we require is to create awareness especially among our respective circles of influence; friends, family, neighborhood and raise a collective voice for what we want, what we don’t want and condemn what is being imposed on us by a certain section of so-called liberal social activists.

  2. Ali (aliadnan) on January 29th, 2009 @ 7:54 pm

    Excellent post. I fully agree with your point of views.

  3. kaami on January 31st, 2009 @ 4:18 am

    It was agreat Arab by the name of Ibn-e-Khaldun, (who perfected the art of history writing and made predicting rise and fall civilization a mathematical formula). In his book Muqademah he writes that sophistication in the art of singing reflects the state of any civilization, i.e. the more sophisticated the music of a people the more advanced their civilization.

    Every kind of artistic endeavour is important and has its place, be it sufi poetry, ethnic music or contemporary / modern arts. Great civiliations try to preserve the good in their past, at the same time exploring new avenues of creativity.

    But those are great people, on the other hand, we are now fast becoming a maddening crowd of self righteous zealots who find no faults within and try to impose their particular brand of thinking on others. In this atmosphere creativity flees the land and bigootary takes over. Thanks to suo motto destabilization, the crack pots are exploding the crackers and kaam ke loag are leaving one by one.

    No wonder others are becoming bolder and bolder in trying to clean up our mess, heil to Obama may he be firm and decisive.

    P.S. these are not ordinary firecrakers, filled with nails and metal they can be very lethal.

  4. sceptic on February 1st, 2009 @ 7:42 pm

    The poison is spreading fast to the rest of the country. Firecrackers one day, bombs and rockets the next.

    Kaami’s insightful comments, as always, should be read with what Irfan Husain had to say in his weekly column.


  5. aamna on February 2nd, 2009 @ 10:28 am

    @ kaami: It’s not that I don’t respect each and every comment that passes through my posts (or anyone else’s, for that matter), but if the firecrackers are filled with nails, the kite-strings are dipped in powdered glass. No member of this concerned class of showmakers has ever talked against Basant, in spite of the kids killed every year…hopefully not this year, though. There are things more lethal than flying nails. A long, lethal string comes at a toddler, what can she do to avoid it?
    Plus, you call this art? you call these idiotic stage shows art? we don’t know what art is; in our comedy acts, we condemn our own people; in stage shows we present a circus; in the higher-budget dramas we copy Star Plus and blindly follow whatever the glamorous world of Bollywood and Hollywood give us. And the elite thrust it upon us and call it art. I cannot agree. Ibn Khaldun would have condemned this society if it were on the basis of its singing today (also, never confuse singing with music when talking of Ibn Khaldun, it’s not accurate).
    But don’t even agree with this; however, why do you cry hail to Obama? His skin and his ignored middle name are going to bring us nothing. His policy on Pakistan will not change and he will continue to bomb Pakistan just like old Bush…just wait and see…or better still, just look at the newspapers. And look to your own God for solutions, not a black man that looks, speaks and acts like a white colonizer.

  6. aamna on February 2nd, 2009 @ 10:32 am

    @ sceptic: the rockets and bombs are already here…in Waziristan, in Balochistan…why don’t you look at the outsiders bombing your countrymen instead of snobbishly condemning your own countrymen for possibly throwing bombs tomorrow when they are throwing firecrackers today? Shake yourself out of this colonization of the mind and the soul, for someone’s or something’s sake!

  7. mozang bijjli (gadhishahu) on February 2nd, 2009 @ 5:03 pm

    im leaving the universal debate of terrorism and bombing aside but really nothing infuriates me more than PTV’s mindless efforts to become a starplus satellite. Even from business point of view PTV blind policy is sheer suicide, it has spent decades building an image for itself with real hard work going into its foundation and now all of a sudden it has realized that it actually prefers to be a satellite of starplus with the same consipiracy dramas of loud music and filmi cuts.
    I can watch ptv just on weekends and it is a torture watching ptv sucumbing to starplus-ism in the earlier "kitnay dur kitnay pas" and the resham, saba pervaiz drama playing now,perhaps called "mujh ko chat chahiye"
    Not very long ago i told an indian that we do’nt like the starplus dramas where saas is scheming against her bahu,daugther inlaw is scheming against sister inlaw and husband inshort ever chracter is involved in a onsipiracy, wher PTV darams are based on social themes where one can relate to the characters, thieir trials and trouble,their lifestyle, their achievements every thing is most ordinary and from our every day life.
    But ina-lilah-e-wa-ina-elahey-rajeoon PTV ko haq maghfarat kar
    ajab azad mard tha

  8. sceptic on February 2nd, 2009 @ 7:36 pm

    aamna – While I thought my two-liner won’t give it away, I was wrong in guess the power of you intuitions. It was very perceptive of you that you so quickly saw through my few words to find me “snobbish” having “colonized” my “mind and soul”.

    Now that I have reread your post I have completely come around to your viewpoint – you may say that I have taken a step towards the “decolonization” of my mind and soul, coming down from my high horse of “snobbishness”. Yes, indeed, the biggest plague gnawing our society, threatening the societal values and making the life miserable for the masses is none other than dance and music. Not the bombs, not the religiously motivated violence, not the growing intolerance, not the indoctrination of the impressionable with hate literature and deviant teachings, not the ignorance, not even the economic misery, but it is DANCE and MUSIC, the biggest enemies of Pakistan.

    Somehow, I also find myself agreeing to your impeccable arguments that the so-called firecrackers are actually firecrackers, not intended to hurt anyone. In fact, what Lahoriites needs is something more potent that firecrackers to wean them away from addiction of dance and music. The tactics employed by our devout friends in Swat – with the benefit of having practiced and perfected these methods across the Durand Line from 1996 to 2001 – come to one’s mind. While places like theatres, cinemas, TV stations and a certain suburb in the vicinity of the Badshahi Mesjid should be the obvious first targets, we need to ensure that the NCA (and other such institutions) with its nude statues and paintings are also not spared.

    To think of it, the starting point of any music-and-dance based debauchery is the woman. It is rather distasteful to watch a man dancing inelegantly with his unshapely limbs moving without rhythm and charm. In our moral sweep of the city, obviously led by incorruptible pious men from mad-r-ass-as, it should be a priority to win back Lahore’s public space from women. Their presence in provoking dresses in the city’s bazaars and roads is an open dawat-e-gunah. Once women are safely confined to their homes or under the safety of walking tents, the city’s men won’t take long to mend their ways. With no women to enthrall lustful men with their rousing dances, men and, importantly, TVs would devote their energies to what matters the most. Have we not already seen that how successful was the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan in bringing education, employment and economic progress to its people, once Amir ul Momineen Mullah “the bike-rider” Omer made women and art disappear from the people’s lives.

    Way to go, aamna. Oh, we will also have to stop pigeons from flying over the city as they may then give the liberal elite a chance to make rude jokes about great Lahore.

  9. aamna on February 2nd, 2009 @ 11:59 pm

    Sarcasm is really much too overrated; why don’t you say everything as you mean it? Sorry about the priggish response to your two-liner; I got carried away. Should not have done it; it was a general response, and yet I focused it on one person. My mistake. Profound apologies. Really.
    But I will stop apologizing there, because you place other accusations on me that are just inaccurate. Did I ever say the firecrackers didn’t hurt people, or were not meant to hurt people? Did I ever say that dance and music are the only things that are corrupting our society? Did I ever say that we should oust the elite out of the country?
    Well, gee whiz, I must be possessed by the devil himself.

    My post was never meant to be taken literally, people. Soch kay parho. It is an analogy, an allegory, whatever you like, of the treachery we are living in. We are told to believe that purdah and Islam and getting offended at certain things is ‘backward’ and ‘extremist’, and if we uphold any of these values, or have respect for them, we are just to be shot at with American bombs and poisoned with the sarcasm from our own people.
    We are told in the newspapers how brave it is for stage performers to perform their shows in spite of firecrackers, and we blindly stumble into their worship, putting up scholars like Ibn Khaldun and the like. Tell me, someone talked of Sufi performances here; how many of you are familiar with the Sufis themselves? The real ones I mean—Rabia’, Ibn Arabi; Rumi; Jami; Junayd; Shibli—how many are there, how many does anyone here know? Or do you just hold Sufism to be what the media has presented to you? The whirling saints; do you know how the story came about? Ana ‘al Haqq (I am the truth!)–does anyone know what resulted in that exclamation, what kind of remembrance of Allah made that exclamation come to be?

    Don’t talk to me of music and dance, don’t please, I hate the stuff. And I have a right to hate it, and I have even more of a reason to hate it because the people that give us this bloody dance and music are the ones that corrupt society more than anyone else. It is they who present women as nothing but sex objects to sell products; it is they who make me feel used and exposed whenever I turn on the television. They are hurting me more than any firecracker could hurt them. I do not say anyone has the right to hurt anyone by this, but what will people do if pushed to the limit? Push the Americans to the limit; insult them; defile them; boycott their products; cut yourself off from them, and then see. Then you’ll see their firecrackers soon enough.

  10. kaami on February 3rd, 2009 @ 4:33 am

    Amna Bibi

    After your comments, I had to read your post again and then I realized where you are coming from, you were being sarcastic. Fine, but here is my reply:

    When you post a comment don’t be under the impression that you are the only one who knows, humility will take you a long way.

    You are opinionated, good, but others have opinions too, based on their experinces in life plus their intellectual persuits.

    You hate music fine, your choice, your preference. I cant live without music, my choice, my preference. However, since you have oulined your reasons, and I am kind of a person who is always open to change if convinced. Sadly, in this case, I found your assertions about music not different from the views of an illeterate Moulvi. For me, Every living thing in this world is alive because of a certain rhythm, if your heart starts beating you are no more. No music no life.

    Now to Suffism:
    Yeh tou koi Mansoor hee bataaei tou bataaei
    Suli pe latakne mein maza he ke nahein he

    Slogan of Anal Haque by Sufi’s like Mansoor is interpreted as Kufr and Shirq by religious biggots of all times, and all Mansoors are deemed fit for hanging. Hence, in present day and age,after the Talibaan take over of Afghanistan, they were hunted down and killed mercilessly, God knows how many peaceful souls were butchered, and , they were not even having an Art festival.

    Ahh Bulleh Shah:
    Masjid dhaa de, Mandir dhaa de
    Dhaa de jou dhaa sakdaa he dhaa de
    Per kisi daa dil na dhawein
    Je Khuda dil which wasda

    So much music, such beautiful words…..but sadly shirq.

    Now, Heil to Obama;
    That was my way of being sarcastic, but pun aside, I never thought that an educated intellectual will get a chance of becoming the president of the greatest country in my life time. But it has happended, and unlike Bush, if you talk to him he will listen, and he will tell what the problem is with his country and what the problem is with you.

    For the last thirty years we have been the hot bed of fanatical terrorism and we cant expect the world to watch silently, while we export this screwed up ideology around the world.

    I agree that there shouldn’t be no clandestine drone attacks in the North, instead govt of Pakistan should openly run joint operation in collaboration US, China and the international community. That’s the only way to minimize the civilian losses and go after the Arab and local suicidal crack pots that have attacked and killed thousands of innocent souls.

    As for Americans, they are least bothered about what we think about them or how much we curse them, however, if you pinch a lion too much then better be ready to face the consequences.

    To be Continued…….

  11. aamna on February 3rd, 2009 @ 10:53 am

    Whatever you say of humility applies to you too…you may call Obama an educated intellectual but I don’t. I am just brave enough to say that I don’t like dances. And my personal experiences with people who are in the dance and music industry have not been many, but the gilt on their lives is causing us to degenerate into an extremely materialistic nation, which in my opinion is not on. I know my opinions are a little controversial, but they are not illiterate. This is what I am being taught in one of the best universities in this country. And it’s about time we stopped blindly stereotyping maulvis as illiterate, and start searching for those amazingly faithful people that exist in our society today, who are knowledgable about our deen as it should be known. It is not these people that throw firecrackers; it is the illiterate. Or whoever. But it is not the truly religious people. But never did I want to defend the throwers of the firecracker, but just reveal the hypocrisy and self-centredness in the dance and music industry posing as the epitome of bravery, even though they cannot connect nor speak about what’s happening to the common man today.

    And never did I post under the impression that I was the only one that knows. It was a form of writing a post, of expressing my emotions.

    Lastly, do not take Mansur Hallaj’s words at face value, but look at what the classical theorists say. Hallaj did not commit shirk; do you know the classical, the scholarly reason why? But this is not what we are told in classrooms are we? No, it is the media that performs these beauties of thoughts and thus helps us tolerate them.
    All I want is some form of scholarly knowledge to be accessible to us about our deen, so we don’t have to join ether the illiterates who throw firecrackers, nor do we uphold every secular value that comes our way. We have our own spot in this world other than that; I just wish we can find it.

  12. kaami on February 3rd, 2009 @ 8:49 pm


    This is much better, now you have mellowed down and can be reasoned with.

    I deliberately used the phrase "Illeterate Moulvi’s" so as not to blanket label all of them, and keep the distinction, implying that there are illeterate moulvi’s and literate ones. I’ll talk about some of the literate ones later.

    Also, being admitted into a premiere institution does not necessarily means that a person is being bestowed with wisdom or he / she is truly literate. After all, it took a graduate of London School of Economics to slit the throat of Daniel Pearl with a knife and proudly distribute the video of the sickenning episode. In contrast, you can be a double Ph.d and yet be humbled by a simple peasant in matters of philosophy.

    However, this does not mean that I do not appreciate your desire to embark upon intellectual pursuit and seek answere’s for the questions that are troubling you. This is not short journey but a life long quest, in order to find answere’s you need to have an open mind. There is a lot baggage that we carry since our childhood, that includes, our belief system, the education that we have received and the norms of the society that we live in. We carry a lot of prejuidices and pre-concieved notions, whereas, intellectual pursuit demands that we open our mind and challenge all of the above, the goal – "seek the truth". Thus enter the realm of free thinkers.

    We can count ourselves lucky that we live in the age where humans can afford to speak their mind and there are countless vistas open to them to seek the truth and do science. But, this was not always the case, Cupernicus had to wait until he was on his death bed to publish his work about Earth revolving around the Sun and not vice versa, still he was persecuted. Same is the case with the great Ibn-e-Sina or Al-Razi, they had to run for their lives to protect their thought process and intellectual endeavours. Not only them but the four Imams from Abu Hanifa to Humbel, were either tortured or jaieled. One even had his hands chopped off. True, Ibn-e-Sina and Al-Razi were radical and not at all Godly, but the Imams just offered interpretation of religion that clashed with the dogma. Ghalib and Mir can call themselves lucky, they were born in a more tolerant times and got away by saying:

    Hum ko Maloom he jannat ke haqiqat lekin
    Dil ke bhalaane ko ghalib ye khiyaal achaa he

    Again I will not question your like or dislike of music / dance, but to link it to be the cause of materialism seems to be a far fetched argument. After all listening to greats like Abida Parveen, Noor Jehan, Farida Khanum or watching poetry in claasical Khattak by Naheed Siddiqui, I only felt a certain calmness and noticed no urge to indulge in materialistic persuits. The present day materialism is dictated by economics and technological developments to counter that you will have to look at western countries like Denmark (where happiness index is highest in the world). They are showing the world of how to be tech savy and still be happy.

    In your post you touched upon "rape" in our society. I would like to come to "some" of the literate Moulvi’s in this context. You must be familiar with the names "Moudoodi" and "Hasan Al-Banna", the ideological mentors of orgainizations like Jamaat-e-Islaami and Akhwan. Now look at what they have laid down when a Muslim army occupies a non-Muslim land.

    "The marriage contracts of the occupied stand null and void. A muslim soldier can help himself with as many women as he can lay hands on and the state cannot take them away from him. However, it is desirable that the Muslim government, collects all the women plus the bounty and distribute them fairly among the soldiers "to use" as they please.

    Now tell me as a girl who so concerned about these issues, can you give consent to this interpretation of Surah Nisa by Moudoodi? How would it feel if the others did the same to us under legal cover?

  13. kaami on February 4th, 2009 @ 3:10 am

    And then there was your passing reference to Al-Ghazali.

    The philosopher Al-Ghazali was the most prominent exponent of the Asharite school of thought in direct conflict with Mutazalite’s (rationalists) of his time. To some he is the one who inspired closing the the door of Ijtehad and I quote "saved orthodoxy by depressing science". As a direct consequence of the interpretation of his writings, great works by Andalusian Averoes (Ibn Rushd) remained forbidden for centuries. Also Avicenna (Ibn Sina), Farabi and Ibn Khaldun were labelled Kafirs.

    I quote "According to Asharite’s and Ghazali the movement of the world is not based on physical sciences. He believed that when cotton catches fire its not due to heat of the flame but God’s will.

    In the present day and age we Muslims have a choice, we can emulate great Muslim scientists and philosophers, such as Ibn Rush, Kindi, Ibn Sina and Khaldun, or follow the orthodoxy that labeled them apostate"

  14. oanon on February 4th, 2009 @ 7:43 am

    So in your opinion, President Obama is not educated or intellectual, but just a black man pretending to be white. I bet,at your ‘best university in the nation’, you must ace in Bigotry 101.

  15. aamna on February 5th, 2009 @ 9:42 am

    @ oanon: lol…forget my poor university, my opinion about Obama is my own…I have my doubts about him being the saviour that everyone thinks he is. My fellow students love him, and almost no one here will ever dream of saying such a statement as I have.

    And while still on the subject of the instituion I study in, I just mentioned it to show you what is being taught in secular classrooms as far as I can see. It may be hailed by some as the best university in the nation, but really, many things are far from excellent here. Maybe I’ll have a post on that soon.

    @kaami: whatever these ‘literate’ moulvis have said is clearly contradicting with the injunctions laid down by the Quran itslf…even a five-year old can see that. But I don’t know if people following Maududi’s ideology are such people as will even defy the Quran. What they have said is against everything that the Quran says of war and occupation, let alone the Sunnah. As for the people who say things like this, whther moulvis or not…do I really have to say it out loud? If what you say is true, then what I feel about it is too heavy to be expressed in words.

    While judging a certain group like maulvis, I don’t think one should look at politics and international fatwas anymore. Today, any moulvi who goes into politics is swallowed up by the system and is not strong enough to defy it, in my opinion. Stick with the ones who follow the deen out of fear for Allah, and not for their material gains, or their ‘cultural’ systems; look at the ones that are humble and who are not comfortable with labelling themselves as true Muslims. They’re less easy to find, but they’re there if you look out for them.
    And about Al-Ghazali, he never ‘depressed science’, but rather he rejected the basic assumptions of Hellenistic philosophy, not philosophy as a whole. And I am currently reading one of his books; his intellectual autobiography, and studying it with a scholar of his works. There is nothing that of lebelling anyone, but he presents his own arguements very clearly. Don’t quote from anywhere and don’t repeat what you have heard about scholars such as Ghazali, because you do not know how big a perosn you are dealing with here. Study him for yourself, and then speak. Don’t add to the misinterpretations of his works, which, as you yourself has said, led to such consequences that you talked about.

  16. kaami on February 9th, 2009 @ 3:35 am

    Borrowing words from Inzamam, "First of all" I would like to say sorry for the late response, I usually post while at work during coffee breaks, but this week was particularly hectic.

    As mentioned in my earlier post philosophical credentials of Al-Ghazali are never in doubt, his anti Hellenistic and anti rationalist views are well documented in his book the Incoherence of the Philosophers . I have carefully chosen words of how his work was interpreted. That said, there should be no doubt of how these lines from his book Ihya ulum al-din be interpreted:

    "If the husbands body is covered with pus and blood, and if the wife licks and drinks it, her obligations to her husband will still not be fulfilled"

    So, continue with your scholarly pursuit and, I can only recommend that you study the Hellenistic Arab philosopher’s with similar zeal as you are doing the anti-Hellenistic one.

    Now coming to what I quoted from Moudoudi’s Tafheem-ul-Quran Vol.1. We cannot be dismissive of scholar’s like him, he was no ordinary dude, whatever, he says its either from Quran or from some historical precedence set by the earliest Muslims. And dont worry about what hisfollowers will do, sadly, his interpretation that I quoted has already been put into practice in 1971, when Bengali’s resisting Pakistan army were declared Kafir via an edict, hence, all the poor Bengali women became open game. The Republic of Bangladesh still demands official apology for those heinous acts.

    Speaking of precedences there are quite a few, that are not so pleasant like:

    – Execution style massacre of all (600 to 900) adult, unarmed males (ages 12 and above), of the Jewish tribe of Bani Quraiza, just after Ghawa-e-Khandaq. The distribution of the surviving women, children and other possessions among the faithful. It is said that a ditch was dug in the Bazaar of Madina. The poor souls were killed, pushed and covered up in sand together. We might have erased this unpleasant episode from our history, but some sick souls still draw inspiration from it.

    – The incident at Saqifa Bani Saeda where noblest of the noble companions argued, cursed and drew swords over who should be the leader of the faithful, while the Prophet was not even buried.

    – The intrigues and bloodshed within the companions faced with the question of succession, from the first Caliph onwards.

    – The real cause of enimosity between Ali and Ayesha, culminating in the Battle of the Camel that took thousands of lives.

    – Though women for the first time were give the right of inheritance, sanctioning of beating up a non compliant wife escapes me.

    – Then there is Slave and Kaneez taking and the fact you are allowed to have extra marital relationships with your female slaves is something to ponder. Though it is ordained that you treat them well. But this institutionalizes the practice rather than abolishes it.

    – The Kharjee episode and their radical philosophy.

    – Usman’s actions resulting in turning Khilafat into Umayyad Dynasty.

    – The continued persecution of Prophet’s family, first by Ummayyad’s and later on by Abbasid’s.

    – During the Abbasid period, the fourteen year revolt of "Zanj" by the black muslim slaves around Basra, fed up by the ill treatment of their Arab and Persian Masters.

    – The destruction and demolishing of historic Mecca and Medina, including the houses of the Prophet, Khadija and Abu-Bakr by the Najdi / Wahabi clan of Sauds, who by the way are illegitimate rulers of Hijaaz.

    The list goes on and there is a lot to research, then reject or justify. But for me the cross over point was not from history. I said farewell to my inherited faith as a consequence of a broader conflict /
    debate between science and religion.

    To be continued ……..

  17. kaami on February 9th, 2009 @ 10:18 am

    …..Guzishta se paewasta

    Since the time that living organisms evolved consiousness in the form of humans The one questions that have dogges us are:

    – Where are we?
    – Who we are?
    – Where did we came from?
    – Where are we going?

    Religions especially the biblical ones have tried to give some simplistic anwere’s that a Divine Being named God created the universe in 7 days and we wound up in this world because our ancestor ate an forbidden apple. Furthermore, the present living species in the world are the ones that opted to get on board the Noah’s arch which was cleaned by Elephants acting as Janitors, approx. seven thousand years ago.

    Being religious we have no option but to accept the above on face value and fruitlessly try to to find justifications for these prepositions.

    But there is another way to find answer’s to the questions outlined above, that is called scientific method and free thinking. The brave souls that have taken that approach since the Sumarians, Egyptians and Greeks have been target of persecution by the religous dogma, however, the renaissance in Europe changed every thing. Now we know that the Earth is atleast 4.5 billion years old, not 10 or 12 thousand years (Biblical / Quranic calculation). We know that evolution / extinction of species is spread over millions of years and is much more complex than getting off or on a boat. We also know that we are not the centre of Universe but just an insignificant planet located at the outer spirals of the milky way galaxy, which by the way has billions of other stars and corresponding solar systems. And that the Milky Way galaxy is just one of the billions of galaxies that form this universe. So the pre-Copernicus ancient astronomic concept of seven heavens endorsed by Judaism, Christianity and Islam does not hold ground:

    Universe is geocentric, i.e. the Earth is flat and located at the center of the universe. That the Sun and the Moon along with Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Venus and Mercury made the seven known objects of the heaven are deities.

    I admit science cannot provide all the answer’s, yet it is the best way to pursuit them and increase the collective prowess of the human race.

  18. kaami on February 9th, 2009 @ 10:19 am

    Please for give the typo’s in the above post, please read:

    The questions that have dogged us are:

  19. zimd on February 10th, 2009 @ 12:45 am

    Dear Kami,

    My knowledge on religion (or science) is very limited. And just like you I intend to keep an open mind to accept ideas that are convincing and reject the ones full of fallacies.

    Given the above, I believe in God and I do believe in religion.

    As it appears that we have a difference of opinion on some matters, so let’s analyze them briefly:

    First of all (Inzy notwithstanding) there is no conflict between religion and science. Both are studies / pursuits to understand the truth, and embrace it with open heart. Both, however, are grossly misinterpreted at times, which is where the apparent conflict comes in. Science doesn’t reject religious beliefs. (pls keep in mind that religious beliefs do not include man made stories that have no authentic reference in any religion, we will come to these a bit later). Yes, science hasnt been able to prove the existence of God. But equally important is the fact that science hasnt been able to prove that God doesnt exist. So science, with regards to this question, can at best be deemed as, inconclusive.

    Religion doesnt contradict science. Islam, for example, doesn’t give a time frame of 10-12 thousand years to earth, as mentioned in your post. Neither does it say that we (human beings) are the center of the universe. Quite the contrary, as Quran seems to suggest that Universe is a far bigger entity than we ever thought of:

    Certainly the creation of the heavens and the earth is greater than the creation of the men, but most people do not know. (040-057)

    There surely came over man a period of time when he was a thing not worth mentioning. (076-001)

    However the basic addressees of Quran are us, the human beings. Therefore it’s only logical that Quran (or Bible) would talk extensively about us, and not about dinosaurs or creatures that lived millions of years before us on earth or in other galaxies. Science has proven that the history of modern man (us) is indeed few thousand years old, which also happens to be the time frame the scriptures focus on. I dont see any contradiction here.

    Having said that, the question of faith is a long debate, and at the end of the day it’s a matter that cannot be confined to half backed information from unauthenticated sources.

    I see Islam as a liberal, modern and forward looking religion. However to understand the real Islam, one needs to read the Quran. Verdicts of any scholar, no matter how famous, are nothing but personal opinions. Quran invites us (on many occasions) to "think". We can chose to accept a certain opinion from a scholar, or reject it, if we think we are not convinced.

    The lines "if the husbands body is covered with pus and blood…" are not from Quran. Neither from any authentic sayings of the Prophet. The lines "The marriage contracts of the occupied stand null and void…." are again not from Quran or Hadith. Your accounts of "intrigues and bloodshed" in the era of four caliphs, ummayads and abbasids – unfortunate as they are, are power struggles between kings and nobles. They have nothing to do with religion or belief system. You can see similar accounts of bloodshed in any era of ancient and medieval history, be it european, asian or african. Why then would you assume that religion had something to do with these instances.

    I guess it has become a long post. However I would urge you to read Quran. Do not fall prey to misinterpretations of it, either by extremist zombies or by negative thinking intellectuals. First hand research is always helpful.

  20. kaami on February 11th, 2009 @ 9:45 am

    Dear zimd,

    This is becoming extremely hard to manage while at work, and I am not allowed to surf at home. Since, you have taken time to post in such detail, therefore, I feel obliged to respond.

    Back in my university days, one cold winter night I was watching "COSMOS" the amazing documentary by Carl Sagan and it dawned upon me that I don’t need God or Religion to live my life. It was like a weight was off my chest. Since then I have researched, read Quran, Islamic history and touched upon Judea-Christianity accounts, World history, Anthropology, Evolution Sciences, Astronomy, the human civilizations, paganism and what not. Unfortunately, I found nothing that could change my mind. I tried. More on this later….

    But first to make things clear, if you read my posts I try my best that if I quote some thing, its not a mis-representation. So if I quote from Ghazali, its not from Quran and if its an interpretation then its an interpretation. Also it is very difficult for me to quote from someone while at work, so I take my time and be absolutely sure. I usually, dont quote from Quran or other scriptures, because then it opens up the Pandora of interpretation and people respond with emotion, every body has a version, for instance about 7 heaven, I will only quote and not comment:

    "And He created seven skies (heavens) in two days, and taught each sky its duties. And He adorned the nearest sky (or: the sky of this world) with lamps (stars)…" (Fussilat 41: 12)

    "It is He Who created everything on the earth for you and then directed His attention up to heaven and arranged it into seven regular heavens. He has knowledge of all things."
    (The Qur’an, 2:29)

    The references from history were to provide some food for thought for Amna bibi, they might help her to keep an open mind during her quest.

    I agree that the actions of the companions after the passing of Prophet, and the subsequent history, its just history and should be studied as such. On the other hand if you dont talk about people without Alqabaat and place them on a pedestal, it becomes very difficult to maintain objectivity. That said, there are quite a few historical episodes (e.g Bani Quraiza) while the prophet was alive that defy justification or logic and I am yet to meet an Islamic Scholar who can justify them. Similarly, I dont see anywhere in Quran, " Thou shalt not make/keep slaves or molest your londi’s."

    About Science and Religion, how can they reconcile? When the later is based upon the revelations by a Divine Authority, that cannot be challenged, while science seeks truth by way of logic, proof and experiment and scruitinizes everything. Once a question was asked, "Can religous belifs adapt to the future?" The answere given was, "If religion is about saying how the natural world is, then to be successful it must adopt the methods, procedures, techniques of science and then become indistinguishable from science….And ther are the Judeo-Christian-Islamic religions have adopted the best science of the time but that was a long time ago". If Iam not allowed to ask, "Where God came from"" then I shouldn’t be allowed to ask, "Where did the Universe came from?"

    And then there is the small matter of evolution of Biblical religions from Paganism. If you read the writings on the Egyptian Temples, there was a Sun god, who had a son by virgin birth, the son had miraculous powers to cure, he was killed but was sent back. Doesn’t this sound familiar.

    Here I dare to suggest a small correction in your post. Its true that written human history is few thousand year old ( that is related to discovery of agriculture and subsequent formation of civilizations ), but its also proven from fossil record that the evolution of present human species is spread over 5 million years, which is insignificant when compared to the geological time frame. It is also true that we all carry the DNA of the African Eve that lived around 140,000 years ago. And it is also true that there lived another species of humans from a different Adam known as Neanderthals who died out around 50,000 years ago in Europe. Also its true that development of written language was only possible after humans settled down as farmers but cave paintings have been around more than 30,000 years and hunting tools dated more than 700,000 years have been discovered.

    Then there is the question of Biblical religions being concentrated in middle east while the humans isolated in Amazon or Borneo, still live the jungle life, roam around naked, do not have a written language. They are our living ancestors with no prophet and God as we know it.

  21. zimd on February 13th, 2009 @ 3:31 am

    Hello Kami,

    I guess this will turn out to be a long post… So pls grab a cup of tea or coffee and read on, with open mind :)

    You have mentioned that a documentary on cosmos by Carl Segan made you realize that you don’t need God. I am guessing that the documentary delved on how large, infinitely large the universe is and how small, insignificant, we are.

    Wouldn’t you then be surprised that the absolute geniuses in the field of understanding universe, cosmos and its workings, Issac Newton and Albert Einsten were both believers in God – one an “avid” Christian and other one a Jew. And you have already mentioned many Muslim scientists of past who believed in God. The above two are from fairly recent times.

    So what is it that these geniuses realized (with a more profound knowledge of the universe) that you missed out? Think about it.

    You mentioned that “it was like a weight off my chest”. Well, my experience is exactly the opposite. Believing in God, and believing that the world is nothing but a trial, gets you rid of enormous weight of little fears, frights, panics and worries of this world. You can either live with thousands of small worries of this, that and those in the world, or you can simply accept that you are not all powerful and in control of your fate (which you are not) and submit to who is.

    Iqbal once said, “yeh eik sajda jisse tu giraan samajhta hai, hazaar sajdon say daita hai aadmi ko nijaat. The idea is not to simply leave everything to God and sit by idly, the idea is to do what our human instincts of survival and prosperity allow us to do, but leave the consequences to God, without worrying about thousands of ifs and buts and otherwises… it keep your heart open, and mind free of worldly fears that everyone appears to be drowned in.

    And what’s more. If your have researched Quran, you would have realized that God does not demand anything extraordinarily difficult from human beings… The rules: be good to others, stay clean, never lie, don’t steal, don’t harm anyone… aren’t they only logical to follow? … does one have to live a life of never ending lust, greed, selfishness to consider himself “free”… and as western society now clearly depicts, is that sort of “everything goes” freedom, and guilt-free greed a good thing for social fabric?… and just why do Western societies have such high suicide rates, and number of people seeking psychiatric help, despite taking God “off” their heads?

    Off course there are no such rules or restrictions in Islam on issues such as keeping or not keeping a beard, and many other moulvi propaganda that you touched upon earlier.

    The verse you mentioned (2:29) ends with the line, “He has knowledge of all things”. Now either we as human beings should stand up and claim that “we” have knowledge of all things, and we “know” that what’s mentioned in Quran about creation of heavens is not correct. I am sure no human being, no scientist can claim that. Then why challenge the claim of God? Our theories keep changing every 150 years. The comments of Einstein about infiniteness of human stupidity (or lack of wisdom) come to mind when we stand up in front of the huge undiscovered universe.

    I am quite convinced that many actions of Muslims after Prophet Muhammad’s passing were not in accordance with Islam. The battles (many among each other to gain or retain power), the nature of governance in some cases and the attitude in other cases. Many unfortunate and others uncalled for.

    On the topic of slaves: slavery was very much a common thing; in fact part of the social fabric, of Arab culture at the time of Prophet Muhammad. On social and personal issues Islam has usually taken an evolutionary approach to change, rather than a revolutionary approach. Islam did not prohibit alcohol one fine evening. Quran first just made it appear as an unappreciated entity. Later it disallowed Muslims to pray if they were drunk (leading many to cut down and finally quit drinking altogather), and then finally Quran declared it forbidden altogather. Similar approach was applied to slavery. Initially Muslims we allowed to keep / retain slaves as was the norm in the society – with the condition that they treat them nicely and fairly. Later it was ordered that if a slave wants to be set free, he/she should be freed, and finally it was ordered that no new slaves be taken from occupied lands / tribes, thus abolishing slavery altogather. Please do note that rest of the world kept on with the concept of slavery (including west) many centuries later.

    You have to remember that the world of that time was way differed from our world, and Islam gradually changed the norms. Tribal wars, slavery, idolism – Islam got rid of them one by one. The best example is that of conquest of Makkah, when the Muslim army was strong enough to bulldoze the city of Makkah under its feet (people of Makkah therefore conceded defeat without fighting – a very uncharacteristic for Quraish tribe). And just read what Muhammad (entering the city as a conqueror) ordered to his troop – something very unlikely from a conqueror of those times – i.e. It will not be permissible for anyone () to kill any one in Makkah. Nor shall any one destroy the greenery of Makkah. I have forbidden the practice of all custom of the age of illiteracy”… To the people of Makkah he said “Today there is no reproach against you. Go, you are all free”.

    You also touched upon human beings living in Amazon or Borneo, detached from the world. Fair point, but Islam makes it clear that you are only accountable for what you can know and what is within your domain. A mentally incapable person, for example, cannot be held accountable for his actions or beliefs, and God (as Quran says on so many occasions) is beneficent, the merciful.

    Further, Islam also says that there have been around 124,000 messengers in the world. We do not need Quran to give an account of every single one of them, but rest assured, messengers were not all concentrated to Middle East. About Egyptian temples, maybe a messenger of God prophesized about a later day messenger with certain characteristics and later-on people documented it on those walls, or maybe there was a messenger in earlier times with similar characteristics as that of Jesus. Its quite possible. God knows best. Also please remember that Islam does not believe that Jesus or anyone else was son of God.

    Neanderthals, which may or may not be linked to present day human beings, were not same as us. This points links to a previous one; we are only answerable for what we can know, and what’s in our domain. If I was a Neanderthal, I would probably not be questioned by God about what I believed and how I behaved in the world because I would probably have no idea what these words mean. So it’s only logical that Quran talks to and about us, the modern human being.

    Our job is to seek truth and continue seeking it. I hope you agree. I appreciate your taking time to discuss this matter with an open mind. God knows best and may God bless all of us.

  22. kaami on February 13th, 2009 @ 7:42 pm


    I am sipping my coffee and enjoying it, I find your bundling of Einsteins God with every body elses very amusing, however, your post gives me a chance to touch upon God hypothesis. I ‘ll take this opportunity to comment in detail over the weekend.

    Thank you for keeping an open mind and engaing in a rational argument. I’ll try to post a reply tomorrow.

  23. kaami on February 15th, 2009 @ 4:13 am

    Tou silsilaa waheen se jorte hein jahan se munqata hua thaa:

    My dear, the god of Einstein is the sum of all physical laws governing the Universe, he is completely different from Judeo-Christian-Islamic god. Einstein’s god does not intervene in every day life, no micro management and no prayers, its not even clear that this god created the universe in the first place. In his own words:

    "I am, of course, and have always been an atheist…. I have repeatedly said that in my opinion the idea of a personal God is a childlike one. You may call me an agnostic, but I do not share the crusading spirit of the professional atheist whose fervor is mostly due to a painful act of liberation from the fetters of religious indoctrination received in youth. I prefer an attitude of humility corresponding to the weakness of our intellectual understanding of nature and of our being."

    Now to Newton and his belief in a divine Creator. A brilliant man who by employing a few simple and highly non arbitrary laws of nature, deduced to high precision the motion of the planets in the solar system. The Newtonian method has remained valid from that time to this. He found out that the orbits of the planets circle the sun in an ecliptic plane, so he questioned "Why everything is so regular?" Why are all planets in the same plane? Why do they go around the sun in the same direction?". On the other hand the comets known in his days were helter-skelter. Their orbits were at every possible angle to ecliptic plane. From that he deduced that the distribution of the cometary orbits was the state of the nature and this is how planets have moved had there not been an intervention. He believed that God established the condition for the planets to go around the Sun in the same direction,in the same plane and rotating in a compatible direction.

    But Newton was not clearly here, the general solution for this problem was provided by both Kant and Laplace by observing the discs of Saturn and the elliptical nabulae beyond the Milky Way. Both of them proposed that the solar system came from such a flattened disc and the planets condensed out of the disk. However, since the disk has some rotation, so everything that condenses out of it will be going around in the same direction. And if you think for a moment, you will see that as particles come together and make larger objects, they will have a common sense of rotation as well.

    This concept is now known as solar nabula or ascertion disk, whose flattened form is the ancestor of the planets. Also, today we know that random orientation of the comets is not primordial, that they began in the solar nabula, going around in the same direction, they were ejected by gravitational interactions with the planets and passing stars, resulting in randomization of their orbits.

    So Newton was wrong in both senses (a) that chaotic distribution of cometary orbits is what you will expect in the primordial system and (b) in assuming that there was no natural way that in which the regularities of planetary motion can be explained without divine intervention.

    So if, Newton can be fooled…….

    Interestingly as science advances, there seems to be less and less for God to do. Evolving in front of our eyes is the God of the Gaps; that is, whatever we cannot explain is attributed to God. And then after a while, we explain it, and so that’s no longer God’s realm. The theologians give that one up, and it walks over onto the science side of the duty roster.

    God has been evolving to a do nothing king, who gets the universe going, establishes the laws of nature, and then retires and goes somewhere else

    Lately, one one of the major gaps being filled in has to do with the origin of life :-)

    Oooops this can go on for ever and I have not yet touched upon other portions of your post, and other segments of God Hypothesis e.g The Watch maker logic, the Creationists and Design theorists. Enough for the day, this was heavy stuff and it would be unethical of me not to give reference:

    The Varieties of Scientific Experience
    A Personal View of the Search of God
    Author: Carl Sagan, Penguin Press

    And this discussion started from fire crackers. Thanks to Amna for letting it drag on, but I am not finished yet :(

    To be Continued…………….

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