Quran For All

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Archive for February, 2008

Finding Freedom in Fundamentals

Posted by Admin on February 27, 2008

Woodrow Wilson Women’s Studies Fellow examines transnational Islamic women’s academy

They gather in local classrooms and in each other’s homes; in rural villages and in urban centers; around kitchen tables and computer screens; in Karachi, Toronto, and Tempe. Many, though lifelong Muslims, are reading tafsir (exegesis) of the Qur’an for the first time to understand what it actually says about everything from hygiene to civil society. And many students of the Al-Huda Academy for Women, according to khanum Shaikh (WS ’07), find the experience freeing.

“There’s an incredible enthusiasm and excitement, a transformation among [Al-Huda’s] members,” says Ms. Shaikh, a doctoral candidate in women’s studies at the University of California at Los Angeles. “Many talk about how unaware Pakistani women have historically been of what religion really means in daily life—raising children, being a citizen, forging a relationship with Allah. Al-Huda opens up a wealth of information for people to reformulate their lives, while also providing a space for internal reflection.”

Although women have always been educated in Islam, the Qur’an is in Arabic, which is not Pakistanis’ native language,” Ms. Shaikh says. “Through my traditional Qur’anic education, I could quote sections in Arabic—but not necessarily understand what they say. We learn to rely on interpretations dominated by male scholars.”

Founded in Islamabad in 1994 by Farhat Hashmi, who completed a Ph.D. in Islamic studies at the University of Glasgow, Al-Huda (Arabic for “guidance from Allah”) offers locally hosted religious study groups for women, as well as online resources, recordings, and radio broadcasts in Pakistan. The group’s recently opened school in Ontario has generated controversy among both Muslims and non-Muslims.

Ms. Shaikh’s dissertation examines how Al-Huda engages gender and Islam, how Al-Huda members reconceive their identities, and how Al-Huda’s discourse is interpreted in multicultural North America. Al-Huda gives Pakistani Muslim women an unprecedented opportunity, Ms. Shaikh says, to consider their own values and ethics—“everything from intimate day-to-day matters to larger ways of living in the world, concerns like arrogance, class privilege, disease. One woman said the entire year was magical for her, in terms of coming into a voice and thinking hard about these things.”
But there is much debate about Al-Huda within Pakistan, where Dr. Hashmi is the first woman to attain such prominence as a religious teacher.Many traditional male Islamic scholars call Al-Huda’s approach too liberal, Ms. Shaikh says, while others suggest that Dr. Hashmi’s perspectives are rigid and constricting. Still others question her qualifications to be a religious teacher at all. Meanwhile, Ms. Shaikh adds, Westerners exoticize the Al-Huda approach. “Many articles emphasize Dr. Hashmi’s ‘modern’ methods—the
reporters see a disconnect when she teaches in full abaya and face veil, using a PowerPoint presentation. There shouldn’t be so much dissonance between the image of a fully veiled woman and a laptop.”

o is Al-Huda a feminist phenomenon? “It’s not that easy,” replies Ms. Shaikh, who has taught a UCLA course titled Gender and Religious Fundamentalism. “Through Al-Huda women do learn about their rights in Islam—to inherit, to divorce, and so on—and many had no idea they had these rights. “But I wouldn’t say that the goals of Al-Huda’s leaders are the same as those of feminists. A lot of Al-Huda members distance themselves from
feminism, just as many feminists see a vast gulf between themselves and the gendered religiosity that Al-Huda represents. Exploring that gap is part of my research.”

Source:

2007,Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, Newsletter Woodrow Wilson in Focus, pg. 6.[Available from:here]

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Posted in Canada, Dr.Farhat Hashmi, Islam, Karachi, Muslim Matters, Non Muslims, Pakistan, Prophet Muhammad (saw), Quran, Religion, Women | 1 Comment »

In reply to the Danish Press – Part I

Posted by Admin on February 25, 2008

Let us tell you something about the man, Muhammad (peace be upon him) that the Danish press didn’t. By the end of this article,which mostly consists of quotes from non-Muslim writers, historians, Nobel Prize winners and the likes, you will come to know him as a person and you will be amazed. We believe, and have done so for 14 centuries, that every human deserves to hear about this man a man who perfected humanity, yet was perfectly human.

 

 

Muhammad (pbuh) or his followers never at any time claimed that he was a Son of God or the God-incarnate or a man with divinity – but he always was and is even today considered as only a Messenger chosen by God. He continues to inspire faith in more than a billion men and women. Vouched for as the “Most historical of all religious personalities” by Encyclopedia Britannica, it is an accepted fact that every event of his personal and public life has been immaculately recorded, even the minutest details preserved conscientiously for posterity. His life and works are not shrouded in mystery or doubt but open for all to study. Yet it is sad that instead of the truth becoming clearer with the growth in information and communication, many a times, fabrication overshadows and outspreads the truth.

 

 

As Thomas Carlyle, the author of Heroes and Hero-worship admits:

“The lies which well-meaning zeal has heaped round this man (Muhammad) are

disgraceful to ourselves only.”

 

So let us see who Muhammad (pbuh) really was, what was it about this man that he is accepted as the greatest sample of humanity by friends and foes alike. So many aspects of greatness did he cover, so many roles did he excel at, that it is difficult to summarize a lifetime of character in a few lines.

K. S. Ramakrishna Rao a professing Hindu, writes in his book ‘Muhammad, The Prophet of Islam’:

“There is Muhammad, the Prophet. There is Muhammad, the Warrior;

Muhammad, the Businessman; Muhammad, the Reformer; Muhammad, the Orator; Muhammad, the Refuge of orphans; Muhammad, the Protector of slaves; Muhammad, the Emancipator of women; Muhammad, the Judge; Muhammad, the Saint. All, in all these magnificent roles, in all these departments of human activities, he is alike a hero.”

Not a god, nor supernatural, not an angel nor omnipresent nor all-knowing, he was simply the servant of God and His Messenger.

 

 

Muhammad : The Praise Worthy

Muhammad means-the one who is praised and the past and present have witnessed how people from all walks of life have praised him. Even his enemies could not deny his excellent qualities. When his enemy, Abu Sufyan was summoned by Heraclius to his court and questioned about the Prophet (saw), he was forced to admit his virtues. Even the Jews and those who did not believe in his message would come to him for arbitration in their disputes due to his justice and honesty. He was named “Al-Ameen’ ‘The Trustworthy’ and ‘As-Sadiq’ ‘TheTruthful’ by his contemporaries. Even after centuries people admit his sterling qualities.

In his book Michael H Hart ranked Mohammed first in the list of people who contributed towards the benefit and uplift of mankind. He defended his choice in the following words:

“My choice of Muhammad to lead the list of the world’s most influential persons may surprise some readers and may be questioned by others, but he was the only man in history who was supremely successful on both the religious and secular levels.”

 

 

(M.H. Hart, THE 100: A Ranking Of The Most Influential Persons In History, New York, 1978)

The world has had its share of great personalities. But these were one-sided figures who distinguished themselves in but one or two fields, such as religious thought or military leadership. The lives and teachings of these great personalities of the world are shrouded in the mist of time. There is so much speculation about the time and place of their birth, the mode and style of their life, the nature and detail of their teachings and the degree and measure of their success or failure that it is impossible for humanity to reconstruct accurately the lives and teachings of these men. Not so with Muhammad (pbuh).

Lamar Tine, the renowned historian, speaking on the essentials of human greatness wonders:

“If greatness of purpose, smallness of means and astounding results are the three criteria of human genius, who could dare to compare any great man in modern history with Muhammad? The most famous men created arms, laws and empires only. They founded, if anything at all, no more than material powers which often crumbled away before their eyes.

This man moved not only armies, legislation, empires, peoples and

dynasties, but millions of men in one-third of the then inhabited world; and more than that, he moved the altars, the gods, the religions, the ideas, the beliefs and souls…. His forbearance in victory, his ambition, which was entirely devoted to one idea and in no manner striving for an empire; His endless prayers, his mystic conversations with God, his death and his triumph after death; All these attest not to an imposture but to a firm conviction which gave him the power to restore a dogma. This dogma was two-fold, the unity of God and the immateriality of God; the former telling what God is, the latter telling what God is not; the one overthrowing false gods with the sword, the other starting an idea

with the words.

Philosopher, orator, apostle, legislator, warrior, conqueror of ideas,restorer of rational dogmas, of a cult without images, the founder of twenty terrestrial empires and of one spiritual empire, that is MUHAMMAD.

 

As regards all the standards by which Human Greatness may be measured, we may well ask, IS THERE ANY MAN GREATER THAN HE?”

 

(Alphonse de Lamar tine, HISTOIRE DE LA TURQUIE, Paris,1854,Vol.II)

 

To Be Continued….

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Allah, Islam, Muslim Matters, Non Muslims, Prophet Muhammad (saw), Quran, Religion | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Women Scholars of Hadith (Sayings of Prophet Muhammad saw)

Posted by Admin on February 2, 2008

by Dr.Muhammad Zubayr Siddiqi

History records few scholarly enterprises, at least before modern times, in which women have played an important and active role side by side with men. The science of hadith forms an outstanding exception in this respect. Islam, as a religion which (unlike Christianity) refused to attribute gender to the Godhead,1 and never appointed a male priestly elite to serve as an intermediary between creature and Creator, started life with the assurance that while men and women are equipped by nature for complementary rather than identical roles, no spiritual superiority inheres in the masculine principle.2 As a result, the Muslim community was happy to entrust matters of equal worth in God’s sight. Only this can explain why, uniquely among the classical Western religions, Islam produced a large number of outstanding female scholars, on whose testimony and sound judgment much of the edifice of Islam depends.

Since Islam’s earliest days, women had been taking a prominent part in the preservation and cultivation of hadith, and this function continued down the centuries. At every period in Muslim history, there lived numerous eminent women-traditionists, treated by their brethren with reverence and respect. Biographical notices on very large numbers of them are to be found in the biographical dictionaries.

During the lifetime of the Prophet, many women had been not only the instance for the evolution of many traditions, but had also been their transmitters to their sisters and brethren in faith.3 After the Prophet’s death, many women Companions, particularly his wives, were looked upon as vital custodians of knowledge, and were approached for instruction by the other Companions, to whom they readily dispensed the rich store which they had gathered in the Prophet’s company. The names of Hafsa, Umm Habiba, Maymuna, Umm Salama, and A’isha, are familiar to every student of hadith as being among its earliest and most distinguished transmitters.4 In particular, A’isha is one of the most important figures in the whole history of hadith literature – not only as one of the earliest reporters of the largest number of hadith, but also as one of their most careful interpreters.

In the period of the Successors, too, women held important positions as traditionists. Hafsa, the daughter of Ibn Sirin,5 Umm al-Darda the Younger (d.81/700), and ‘Amra bin ‘Abd al-Rahman, are only a few of the key women traditionists of this period. Umm al-Darda’ was held by Iyas ibn Mu’awiya, an important traditionist….

Read Full Article here

Posted in Hadith -Sayings, Islam, Muslim Matters, Prophet Muhammad (saw), Religion, Women | 1 Comment »

What to do in the present tumultuous conditions?

Posted by Admin on February 2, 2008

In view of the present situation in our country, what should be the correct attitude and responsibility of the Muslims?

Dr.Farhat Hashmi discusses this issue in light of the chapter from Sahih Bukhari “Book of Trials and Tribulations” ۔کتاب الفتنListen to this discussion here

Posted in Allah, Bukhari, Dr.Farhat Hashmi, Islam, Karachi, Muslim Matters, Pakistan, Prophet Muhammad (saw), Religion, Urdu Lecture | Leave a Comment »